Never Buy Second Hand for These 10 Items

Over the years, I have become a huge fan of thrift stores. When you buy second hand, you reduce your carbon footprint and save a whole ton of money. I have spent an amazing amount of time roaming around Goodwill and checking out local garage sales. Even buying items online at places like Etsy and Craigslist have become incredibly popular in the last few years. However, there are a number of items that I will not buy second hand. Sometimes it is just too great a risk for the cost and other times there is some ‘ick factor’ that I just can’t get over. I thought I would put together a list of items you should never buy second hand unless you absolutely have no choice.

Never Buy Second Hand for These 10 Items

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Items you should never buy second hand

Children’s furniture:  It’s tempting to try to save money on the big ticket items but never buy second hand cribs, bassinets or baby seats. Safety regulations have changed significantly over the last 10 years and what may look like a good deal may be dangerous for your child.

Helmets:  Whether you are talking about bicycle helmets or motorcycle helmets, you should never buy second hand. Helmets are designed to protect you from one accident and then they are no longer good. Sometimes the damage isn’t visible after an accident and you may be buying a helmet that will no longer offer you sufficient protection.

Never buy second hand computers

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Technology:  Sure, that second hand iPhone is way cheaper than the new one but do you know it hasn’t been dropped in the river? You might want to think twice about a second hand computer as well. There is no way of knowing what sort of history it has or the types of viruses it has been exposed to. Anything that falls into the technology category should be bought new. Unless you know the person you are buying it from, don’t buy second hand technology items.

Anything considered an ‘undergarment’:  Any item that hugs your naked body should never be bought second hand. There is not enough bleach in the world to ensure all the questionable bacteria and such are completely destroyed. That goes for second hand bathing suits, underwear, bras and socks. I have a neighbor who bought second hand jock straps and cups for her son to play football and the ick factor there is just too much to even describe.

Should you buy second hand shoes?

Shoes:  Never buy second hand shoes. Each shoe molds itself slightly to the owner’s foot. Once molded, that shoe is never going to fit a second owner as well as the first. Not to mention the whole sweaty, gross foot germ issue. I won’t even let my daughter try on shoes at thrift stores. The whole idea of it makes me a bit squeamish.

Bedding of any sort:  This country has had a serious outbreak of bed bugs in the last few years. Avoid buying second hand bedding in case your purchase isn’t as clean as it looks. Sheets, pillows, mattresses, blankets, and anything else that goes where you sleep should be bought new.

Second hand beauty products

Beauty products:  Okay, so not many people would buy beauty products that have already been used, right? What about a new bottle of perfume at the thrift store? Or how about an unopened lotion container at your neighbor’s garage sale? Second hand beauty products are cheap but you have no idea how old they are or how they have been stored. Perfume will not smell the way it should after 3 years of sitting on the window sill in the heat of the sun.

Vacuum Cleaners:  Have you ever heard of someone getting rid of a vacuum cleaner that works perfectly fine? Doesn’t happen very often, right? Used vacuum cleaners run a very high risk of not working. You can buy a factory refurbished vacuum cleaner (affiliate link) for slightly cheaper than new and it will come with some sort of guarantee that it works.

Second hand stuffed animals

Stuffed Animals:  Like the bedding issue above, it is very hard to clean stuffed animals so that you are 100% sure it is not infested with bedbugs, lice, or some other nasty bug type critter. Buy your child new stuffed animals and avoid the risk.

Tires:  Second hand tires are never a good deal. Buying new tires for your car is a safety issue you should not ignore just to save a few dollars.


While I firmly believe that we should buy second hand whenever possible, some items may not be safe or hygienic if you don’t buy them new. Do your research and look for a good sale before you spend your hard earned money. A high quality item may cost more but many times it will also last significantly longer as well.

What items do YOU buy second hand?


10 thoughts on “Never Buy Second Hand for These 10 Items”

  1. I am very picky about what I buy secondhand! It’s not a great deal if it doesn’t work and you have to replace it almost immediately.

  2. I would never have thought about the shoes thing, but it makes sense. I always try to find refurbished products and have had a lot of luck with them. Thanks for sharing… great list

  3. I agree with almost all of these. I have bought secondhand technology before though. I just made sure to take it to the store to see that it was in good condition to buy.

  4. I have no problems buying a spinning wheel or loom second hand if it is in good or refurbishable condition. Knitting needles are also great second hand. These of course are always cleaned up and polished before use.

  5. Okay, I’l go duck in a corner as I have to admit being guilty to some of these. Underwear was passed down from one boy to the next (all in the family, of course) and I’ve bought used dress shoes as well. Sneakers are where I refused to buy used as they get worn out so quickly.

  6. Item #1 in this list is utter BS. I not only use second hand computers for myself, I teach middle school students to recycle used computers for needy families. If you are obtaining a used computer, simply wipe the hard drive and install Linux as the OS. Not only does that get rid of viruses and other software problems, Linux runs better on older machines than Windows does. If you want to see how immigrant middle school students do it, read this article:

    • Thanks for your input. I see number one as children’s furniture but I assume you meant the technology issue. While second hand technology has its perks, there are also a lot of negatives to it as well. If that is the only way you can afford a computer, then it will do what it needs to do. I have an old Dell laptop that was stripped and had Linux installed. By my dad who is a computer guru and knew what he was doing. If you are NOT computer savvy, trying to do everything yourself may not be a particularly simple matter. And it IS significantly slower than my new desktop since the components themselves are older, it has less memory, etc. Sure, building computers and personalizing them with your own, new parts is great if you know how to do it. But, for the general public who can afford a new computer if they are smart with their money, something new will most likely last longer, get more support and provide a better experience than something second hand.


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