10 Things You Should Never Buy Used

Things You Should Never Buy Used AI-Generated Image

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Things You Should Never Buy Used AI-Generated Image
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Buyer Beware

While buying pre-owned items can be a great way to cut costs and promote sustainability, there are some items where the downsides far outweigh the potential savings. Buying certain items used can pose risks to your health, safety, and overall well-being. For items like car seats, shoes, and skincare products, the risks of malfunction, contamination, diminished effectiveness, or lack of warranty make it wiser to buy new.

Here are 10 things where you're better off spending a bit more on to prevent bigger (and more costly) problems down the line. 

Man installs a child car seat in car at the back seat. Responsible father thought about the safety of his child
Oleksandr Hrytsiv/istockphoto

1. Car Seats

Car seats are crucial for child safety in vehicles. Used car seats may not adhere to the latest safety standards, which evolve as new research and technology emerge. There's also the risk of unseen internal damages if the seat was previously involved in an accident. These damages can drastically reduce the seat's effectiveness in protecting a child during a crash and are simply not worth the risk.

Cyclist Living Actively

2. Helmets

Similarly, helmets — whether used for biking, motorcycling, or other sports — are designed to absorb the shock from a single impact. Even if a used helmet looks undamaged, its internal structure could be compromised from a previous impact. The materials can also degrade over time, which would further diminish safety and effectiveness.

Woman putting soft white mattress on bed indoors, closeup
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

3. Mattresses

Beyond the obvious hygiene concerns, which can include the presence of dust mites, bed bugs, and bodily fluids (nope, nope, and nope), there's also the issue of wear and tear with used mattresses. Since mattresses lose support over time as the coils or springs weaken, a used mattress can affect your sleep quality and leave your back aching.

While new mattresses are almost always much pricier, it's worth it to invest in one that's good quality and will last you a long time. Plus, new mattresses often come with warranties and guarantees to offer more peace of mind. 

Comfortable bed with soft pillows indoors, closeup
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

4. Pillows

Similar to mattresses, used pillows can harbor dust mites, allergens, and skin cells or oils from previous users. Over time, pillows lose their shape and supportive qualities, which can lead to poorer sleep quality as well as neck and back discomfort. The fill material in pillows — whether down, memory foam, or synthetic — will also flatten and become less effective at providing the right support for your head and neck. 

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Running Shoes

5. Shoes

Since used shoes tend to mold to the shape of the original wearer's feet, this can lead to a poor fit for a new owner — potentially causing discomfort, foot pain, or posture problems. Over time, the cushioning and soles will also wear out and offer less traction, which can increase your risk of slips and falls. 

Plus, you never know if the shoes were properly sanitized prior to being sold, and they might still harbor bacteria, fungi, or lingering odors. Not worth it! 

Related: Don't Make These 11 Mistakes the Next Time You Go Thrifting

Autumn skincare and autumn makeup concept with beauty products on table

6. Makeup and Skincare Products

These products are intimately used and can become breeding grounds for bacteria or fungi if they've been tampered with. Makeup and skincare products also come with expiration dates for a reason; using them past these dates can lead to irritation, rashes, infections, or other adverse reactions to your skin.

Related: The Best Beauty & Makeup Subscription Boxes

colorful clean women's panties hang on a rope. on a pink isolated background

7. Underwear and Bathing Suits

This one should go without saying, but underwear and bathing suits are typically designed for personal use due to hygiene reasons. Buying them pre-owned can increase your risk of infection or skin irritation, especially if the items weren't properly washed and sanitized beforehand. 

Used undergarments can also lose their shape after being washed and dried a bunch of times, and probably won't provide the right fit or support for your body. 

Asian man giving milk to twin babies

8. Baby Bottles

Over time, the plastic in baby bottles can start to break down from continuous use and sterilization. This can result in the release of microplastics or harmful chemicals into a baby's formula or milk. Plus, you never know what previously-owned bottles were used for and they can be difficult to thoroughly clean and sanitize — posing a risk of introducing germs or bacteria to your baby's food. 

Shot of a young mother using a cellphone while completing housework and holding her baby at home

9. Vacuum Cleaners

Older or heavily used vacuum cleaners may have reduced suction, battery power, and efficiency. They can also harbor dust, allergens, and even mold in their filters and compartments, which can be difficult to completely clean out. This can pose a risk to air quality and cleanliness in your home. 

Old computers, digital tablets, mobile phones, many used electronic gadgets devices, broken household and appliances on white background. Planned obsolescence, electronic waste for recycling concept

10. Electronics With No Warranty

Used electronics like hair dryers, TVs, and laptops can fail unexpectedly, and without a warranty, you have no protection against potential defects or malfunctions. The technology may also be outdated and lack the latest features and updates. New electronics typically come with manufacturer warranties and, often, the option for extended protection plans. 

Related: Buyer Beware: 9 Things You Should Never Buy Without a Warranty