How do you decide if you're getting a "good deal" on used reef equipment?

BRS

How do you decide how much to spend on used equipment?

  • Not more than a certain percentage of the cost of a new one

    Votes: 127 42.9%
  • Not more than a certain amount

    Votes: 30 10.1%
  • Look for the best deal currently available

    Votes: 90 30.4%
  • It depends on what I can find in the couch cushions

    Votes: 28 9.5%
  • Other (Post in thread)

    Votes: 21 7.1%

  • Total voters
    296

jfoahs04

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What I was trying to say is you don't know what the used equipment went through and what the seller is keeping a secret. 50% of the time you're buying someone else's problem. If the new stuff breaks at least it has a warranty and can get it fixed at no extra cost but I never had to use a warranty so far. I'm speaking from experience. Ive baught used stuff in the past only to be disappointed. So I always say if you buy used your buying twice. If you buy new your buying once.
The bold is definitely true and that's a part of the reason why many reefers just prefer to pay full price for a new product and the warranty that comes with it.

But I'm not sure how you arrive at the "50% of the time you're just buying someone else's problem" figure. That definitely hasn't been my experience. I've had pretty good success with used products by doing the following:
  • Only buying stuff I can pick up in-person so I can check it out first.
  • Trying to stick to the "for sale" section of the local reefing club and buying from reputable members rather than Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
  • Buying used products manufactured by reliable, quality brands rather than cheap junk*
  • Having backups of most essential equipment in case anything fails - a good approach even if you're only buying new stuff.
Sticking to the above, I've never had a major issue with used equipment in 20 years of reefing and I've used a lot of used equipment. If you're a smart shopper and you have some backup components just in case, there's no reason you can't do very well with used products.

*Quality brands tend to stand by their products even after the warranty period has ended. I've had several send me free or very cheap replacement parts long after the warranty had expired. And most of the time, the issues were my fault rather than a faulty product (breaking a return hose while cleaning my AIO, accidentally submerging several electronics that weren't designed to get wet, dropping a light, etc.).
 

lynn.reef.nerd

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I rarely buy used with higher end items unless it is as a backup now. Learn my lesson hard.
I regret most of the used items (skimmers, light, etc.) I bought because they always end up breaking after a while and with no warrantee, it cost more time and effort to replace parts or have to get new ones anyways.
Example, I bought a used deltec skimmer. So far, I have spent about $300-400 just trying to fix pump problems, getting parts in metrics, etc. It's still sitting there not working .... and I bought it less than a year ago.
 

xtravism

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What I was trying to say is you don't know what the used equipment went through and what the seller is keeping a secret. 50% of the time you're buying someone else's problem. If the new stuff breaks at least it has a warranty and can get it fixed at no extra cost but I never had to use a warranty so far. I'm speaking from experience. Ive baught used stuff in the past only to be disappointed. So I always say if you buy used your buying twice. If you buy new your buying once.
Never know the used may out live the new at times and sometimes you can get used at a third of the price. But most likely when you buy twice it’s still gonna outlive buying once. And most warranties aren’t more than a year and have a lot of limitations.
 

ScubaShane

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The bold is definitely true and that's a part of the reason why many reefers just prefer to pay full price for a new product and the warranty that comes with it.

But I'm not sure how you arrive at the "50% of the time you're just buying someone else's problem" figure. That definitely hasn't been my experience. I've had pretty good success with used products by doing the following:
  • Only buying stuff I can pick up in-person so I can check it out first.
  • Trying to stick to the "for sale" section of the local reefing club and buying from reputable members rather than Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
  • Buying used products manufactured by reliable, quality brands rather than cheap junk*
  • Having backups of most essential equipment in case anything fails - a good approach even if you're only buying new stuff.
Sticking to the above, I've never had a major issue with used equipment in 20 years of reefing and I've used a lot of used equipment. If you're a smart shopper and you have some backup components just in case, there's no reason you can't do very well with used products.

*Quality brands tend to stand by their products even after the warranty period has ended. I've had several send me free or very cheap replacement parts long after the warranty had expired. And most of the time, the issues were my fault rather than a faulty product (breaking a return hose while cleaning my AIO, accidentally submerging several electronics that weren't designed to get wet, dropping a light, etc.).
If you have 20 years of experience and a well established reef why do you buy used? If you needed a new return pump would you buy a used return pump for one hundred dollars less than retail for a 20 year reef tank with mother colonies you've grown for years and a 12" Blond Naso with beautiful streamers that you had forever? Husbandry is all about stability including avoiding equipment breakdowns..........and power outages.
 

xtravism

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If you have 20 years of experience and a well established reef why do you buy used? If you needed a new return pump would you buy a used return pump for one hundred dollars less than retail for a 20 year reef tank with mother colonies you've grown for years and a 12" Blond Naso with beautiful streamers that you had forever? Husbandry is all about stability including avoiding equipment breakdowns..........and power outages.
Buying certain things used is so much better then buying new. Got ato reservoir, 2 gen 4 xr 15s with mounts, diffusers, reef link, eheim heater, reef octopus 110 skimmer, 2 qd mp10s, all for 670. If I bought new that would have been over 2300 dollars. And the second you use it all can’t get more then 60% of your money back if you sell. I can sell all my used equipment I just bought for either the same amount or more.
 

jfoahs04

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If you have 20 years of experience and a well established reef why do you buy used? If you needed a new return pump would you buy a used return pump for one hundred dollars less than retail for a 20 year reef tank with mother colonies you've grown for years and a 12" Blond Naso with beautiful streamers that you had forever? Husbandry is all about stability including avoiding equipment breakdowns..........and power outages.
I have 20 years of experience, not a 20 year old reef. I've taken several breaks from the hobby. But to answer your question, I don't always buy used. But I have no issue picking up a used wavemaker if I decide I want to increase flow or add a new flow direction, picking up a used light if I want to increase PAR in a spot my existing lights aren't reaching, etc.

And that's my point, it's up to the reefer to assess risk. You seem to be under the impression that used components are all doomed to fail in short order. That hasn't been my experience, and there are plenty of scenarios (like the above) where I'd have no issue picking up a used MP-40QD off of a longtime reefer in the local reefing club for ~1/2 of retail to improve the flow a bit. I don't worry too much about it breaking down and IF it does, it's not going to cause my tank to crash. But in the situation you describe - I'd absolutely pay retail for the return pump and the warranty. I'd still gladly keep a used return (or two) as a backup in case my shiny new pump fails and I need to wait a week for the warranty replacement.
 
BRS

Fish food fine-tuning: What are your challenges when feeding your reef?

  • Maintaining water quality

    Votes: 116 52.0%
  • Feeding best amount of food

    Votes: 96 43.0%
  • Selective eating

    Votes: 48 21.5%
  • Competition and aggression

    Votes: 19 8.5%
  • Frequency

    Votes: 59 26.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 9 4.0%
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