20 Things You Should Never Buy Used

US News

We all love scoring great deals on Craigslist and Ebay, but many second-hand purchases are actually terrible deals. Stay clear of these 20 used items that will end up costing you money -- or even endanger your health.

More from USNews.com

10 Inventive Ways to Save

How to Save on Big-Ticket Items

How to be a Savvy Cheapskate

1. Cribs and children's furniture: If there's any chance that you'll put your children at risk by buying used, just buy new. Used children's furniture, especially cribs, can be a safety hazard because you can't be certain of a potential recall or if the crib was installed correctly. (See also 7 Baby Items You Don't Need to Buy.)

2. Car seats: Even if a used car seat looks OK, damaged car seats aren't uncommon. Considering that safety technology improves every year -- and the fact that car seats can go for as little as $50 -- buying new is usually the better option.

3. Bicycle helmets: Usually, a crash would only crush the foam inside the helmet casing, so the damage to the helmet may not be visible. However, since helmets are meant to protect against one accident only, buying new would be a safer bet.

4. Tires: Sometimes it's hard to tell if used tires were once part of a totaled wreck. If they have been in an accident, they're bound to be unstable and unreliable. Putting your safety at risk for the sake of saving a few bucks just doesn't add up.

5. Laptops: Because of their portability, laptops are prone to all sorts of abuse and problems. When you buy a used laptop, unless it's refurbished, you have no idea what it's been through or when important parts will die on you. You also don't get the warranties and tech support that come with buying new.

6. Software: Most software comes with a serial number that you register with the company when you activate the software on your computer. If the serial number on your use software has already been registered, you can't use it again.

7. Plasma and HDTVs: The cost for fixing or replacing the parts on plasma or HDTVs is high. Sometimes, it costs as much as buying a new TV. Considering the repair costs, you'd want to get an extended warranty, but that isn't an option if you buy your TV used.

8. DVD players: While it's smart to buy used DVDs, this doesn't apply to DVD players. DVD players have lasers that will eventually wear out. The cost to repair or replace may cost more than the player is worth.

9. Digital and video cameras: Like laptops, used digital and video cameras are likely to have been dropped and banged around. It may not be obvious, but once the damage kicks in, it'll be expensive to repair. If you know what to look for in a digital camera, you can get a great new camera without breaking the bank.

10. Speakers and microphones: Speakers and microphones are sensitive audio equipment that don't stand up well to blasting and mishandling. Like laptops and cameras, the damage may not be obvious, but their performance would be severely compromised.

11. Camera lenses: An SLR camera lens is the most expensive part of a camera. It also directly affects the quality of your images. Any damage to the lens, however slight, will show up in your photos.

12. Photo light bulbs: Not the ordinary light bulbs you use at home. We're talking about the light bulbs used with photography equipment. They're relatively expensive, but their life span is short enough that you likely won't get much use out of them if you buy second-hand.

13. Mattresses and bedding: Just think: You may be sleeping with other people's mold, mites, bacteria, and bodily fluids. Besides, even the really good mattresses are only supposed to last eight to 10 years, and it's hard know for sure how old a used mattress may be.

14. Swimsuits and undergarments: This is probably a no-brainer, but it needs to be said: Do not, do not, do not buy used swimsuits or undergarments. They're worn too close to the body -- someone else's body -- to consider buying used.

15. Wet suits: Wet suits lose the ability to keep you warm over time. If you're a scuba diver, or the last owner was one, the constant change in water pressure will eventually wear out the wet suit and make it more likely to tear.

16. Shoes: If you get used footwear, it's likely they're already molded to the last owner's feet. Poor-fitting shoes are not only uncomfortable but can cause all sorts of health problems, as well.

17. Hats: Hats are likely not cleaned before they're resold or donated. If you buy a used hat, you don't know if you're also getting skin infections, old sweat stains, hair products, and other cringe-worthy remnants. Now that's a deal you don't want.

18. Makeup: A good thing to remember about used makeup is that it's a breeding ground for bacteria and a number of contagious diseases. The great deal you found may come with pink eye and cold sores. Instead of buying used, consider making your own beauty products (it's easier than you think) or skip makeup altogether.

19. Pet supplies: Old stains and odors continue to ferment even if used pet supplies are sitting around in storage. If cleanliness is ever an issue, just say no.

20. Vacuum cleaners: Vacuums are among the heavy-duty household appliances that tend to get a lot of use and abuse. They can also cost more to fix than if you bought them new right from the start.

Amy Lu writes at Wise Bread, a blog dedicated to helping readers live large on a small budget. Wise Bread's book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, debuted as the #1 Money Management book on Amazon.com.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Transgender boy wins controversial girls state title

      CYPRESS, Texas (AP) — A 17-year-old transgender boy completed an undefeated season Saturday by winning a controversial Texas state girls wrestling title in an event clouded by criticism from those who believe the testosterone he's taking as he transitions from female to male created an unfair advantage.

      Associated Press
    • Hmm, maybe this is why Trump doesn't want to attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner

      On Saturday, Donald Trump made history as only the third president to bow out of the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And while this has much to do with Trump's ever-worsening battle with the press and his constant struggle to book talent, it's also worth remembering that, to be frank, Trump probably has another reason for ditching: He usually gets clobbered at these things. So, in the interest of, uh, elucidation, please enjoy these videos of Trump getting roasted at the 2011 and 2016 White House Correspondents' Dinner. Better yet, enjoy Trump's mirthless reactions. They're uncomfortable to watch, but extremely worth it. SEE ALSO: An exclusive look at Donald Trump's Twitter drafts for Oscar night First, here's President Obama clapping back at Trump's relentless "birther" conspiracy-mongering. The Lion King is involved. Next, observe Seth Meyers insisting that Trump must be running for president as a "joke." Trump does not smile. And here's Obama ripping on The Apprentice.  Finally, here's a delightful compilation of all the best Trump burns from the 2016 dinner.  A Larry Wilmore highlight: "Yeah, Trump's campaign is inspiring ... mass violence." (Trump did not attend that one, BTW.) So, there you have it. While we're not sure about the future of this year's event, we'll always have those stunners to fall back on.  And you can always zoom in on this cursed image while listening to "Sound of Silence." Image: Youtube/C-Span BONUS: Jordan Peele reacts to 'Get Out' as Barack Obama: 'Surrounded by white people! Not fun'

      Mashable
    • Robert De Niro snaps at wife for 'spending all my money'

      Trouble is brewing over Grace Hightower’s coffee company. We’re told that her husband, Robert De Niro — who is a major investor in the firm — is steamed because the 5-year-old Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda brand is turning into a money pit. The New York Post reports that Hightower has frustrated business associates — as well as the legendary actor — by dithering over simple decisions, and “changing her mind about how to run the business depending on who she spoke to last.” A source tells the paper that, in a moment of frustration, De Niro boiled over while bickering with Hightower in public at a Manhattan bar, telling her, “I wouldn’t have to keep making s - - tty movies if you didn’t spend

      Fox News q
    • No ‘Nerd Prom’ for Him: Trump Says He Will Not Attend the White House Correspondents Dinner

      Donald Trump is skipping the annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year,” Trump tweeted to his followers on Saturday. The legendary event, known as the “nerd prom,” is traditionally attended by the president, with Barack Obama having joked in the past about the fun-loving undertone of the dinner. The news comes about a month after Trump, 70, was sworn in as President of the United States.

      People
    • Fast and furious: Man cons salesman out of $150K Maserati

      Maserati is missing after a man conned a Florida salesman during a test drive

      ABC News q
    • The mistake that caused Warren Buffett to lose $6 billion

      “Today, I would rather prep for a colonoscopy than issue Berkshire shares,” writes Warren Buffett in his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) shareholders. “I earlier described our gradual shift from a company obtaining most of its gains from investment activities to one that grows in value by owning businesses,” Buffett writes. “Launching that transition, we took baby steps — making small acquisitions whose impact on Berkshire’s profits was dwarfed by our gains from marketable securities.

      Yahoo Finance
    • Khloe Kardashian Cozies Up to 'Love' Tristan Thompson on Jamaican Vacation -- See the Pics!

      The 32-year-old reality star showed off her curves in a sexy white one-piece.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Amal Clooney Really Is Glowing During a Paris Stroll With George

      Amal Clooney officially debuted her baby bump at the César Film Awards with George on Friday, and now we're getting another look at her growing belly. On Saturday, the expectant mother looked gorgeous while strolling the streets of Paris with her husband. Clad in a '60s-inspired suit, the human rights attorney appeared cool and collected as she held on to George's hand and walked alongside him. George, whose mother spilled the beans that they're having a boy and a girl, seems pretty excited about expanding his family. Not only have he and Amal "embraced it all with arms wide open," but they've decided to scale back on the places they're now willing to travel for the safety of their family. As

      PopSugar q
    • Transgender boy 2 wins away from girls state wrestling title

      CYPRESS, Texas (AP) — Mack Beggs could win a Texas state wrestling title on Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • The assassination of Kim Jong Un's half-brother keeps getting weirder

      North Korea denied responsibility for the murder of Kim Jong Nam. Ten days after Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed at a Malaysian airport, we still don’t know who murdered him — or why. Malaysian investigators are pointing fingers at North Korea and at Kim Jong Un himself for organizing the murder, which was reportedly carried out by two women recruited as assassins who attacked Kim Jong Nam with a fast-acting poison.

      Vox.com q
    • This journalist just hilariously predicted Donald Trump's tweets, and was 100% right

      Donald Trump's obsession with live-tweeting his morning cable news binges has made his erratic timeline...incredibly, disconcertingly, comically predictable. One Boston journalist proved it on Saturday morning, with his own impressively prophetic tweet. SEE ALSO: The president is literally tweeting what he sees on TV David Bernstein was watching Fox and Friends when he saw guest Hermain Cain (Remember him? The Hermainator?) regurgitate a bogus stat—one clearly too tantalizing for our Twitter-egg-in-chief to resist amplifying. Cain claimed, somewhat misleadingly, that the national debt decreased $12 billion during Trump's first month in office,  compared to a $200 billion jump in the same time

      Mashable q
    • Barack Obama Takes Daughter Malia to Broadway Show — And He Looks Incredible!

      Former President Barack Obama seems to be enjoying his trip to New York City. After being treated like a rockstar while grabbing coffee on Friday afternoon, the two bonded some more in the evening, attending the revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price on Broadway, starring Danny DeVito and Mark Ruffalo. Obama caused a commotion among New Yorkers and social media took notice of his glowing complexion, likely due to his post-presidency vacation in Palm Springs, California and, later, in the British Virgin Islands.

      People
    • 8-year-old fatally shot in Houston after car crash

      An 8-year-old girl was fatally shot following a car crash in Houston, Texas, early Saturday morning, police said.

      ABC News q
    • Neighbor: Bar attack suspect a 'drunken mess,' not political

      OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man accused of shooting two Indian immigrants and a third man at a bar, in what some believe was a hate crime, was always a drinker but became a "drunken mess" after his father died about 18 months ago, a longtime neighbor said Saturday.

      Associated Press
    • Gunman opens fire on car after crash, kills 8-year-old in Texas

      An 8-year-old girl was shot to death after surviving a car crash early Saturday morning in Houston, Texas.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • All the Celebrities Sitting Front Row at Milan Fashion Week (9 photos)

      While we love the clothing, models, and new trends that emerge during Fashion Week, one of our favorite parts of the show takes place just beyond the runway: the front row. The coveted seating section is home to the best of the best, from all-around it-girl Olivia Palermo and A-list celebrities like Salma Hayek , to edgy, fashionable men like Tom Hiddleston and A$AP Rocky. And then, of course, there's the wow-worthy fashion. From sexy metallic ensembles to elegant embroidered dresses, front row-style is versatile and can be unpredictable, but always leaves us in awe. VIDEO: Watch Our Recap of Milan Fashion Week RELATED: See All the Wild and Mild Looks from the Gucci Fall 2017 Runway Show Browse through our gallery of celebrities seated front and center. Milan Fashion Week draws some of the chicest and most stylish celebrities, so keep checking in to see even more celebrities runway show sighting. Where fashion goes, fashionistas follow!

      InStyle
    • Amal Clooney debuts her baby bump on the red carpet, is perfection as usual

      She’s a busy human rights attorney who kicks ass on the daily, but Amal Clooney took some time out of her busy…

      Hello Giggles
    • NFL player who negotiated his own contract without an agent had it completely backfire

      Last offseason, NFL offensive tackle Russell Okung decided to enter free agency without an...

      Business Insider
    • Gamer dies while attempting 24-hour livestream for charity

      VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man who died at home while playing a 24-hour video game marathon was part of an online livestreaming community where members sometimes go to extremes to build their audiences, experts say.

      Associated Press
    • Warren Buffett has a message for Donald Trump

      Warren Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders was just released, and it has an important message for policymakers and those seeking to help spur economic growth.

      Yahoo Finance