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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Find the best deals on refurbished Apple products

No more trolling Apple's clearance page for deals; RefurbMe finds even more products and alerts you when they're in stock.

Think there's no such thing as a deal on Apple products? Think again.

I'm on record as saying that when you shop for Apple gear, you should almost always look for refurbished options. That's because Apple routinely offers computers, tablets and other stuff for less than the price of new.

Ah, but what if you're looking for a refurbished iPhone? You won't find those in Apple's outlet store. And what if you're looking for a particular model or configuration not offered by Apple proper? How can you find third-party deals on refurbs?

RefurbMe aggregates listings for refurbished Apple products and helps you find items not available from Apple proper.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Simple: Head to RefurbMe. Born a few years ago as a simple catalog of Apple's own clearance items, the site now offers all manner of refurbished Apple products from many sources, like Best Buy, Apple, Gazelle and Target. Even better, it can alert you when a particular item becomes available.

The site is divided into six major sections: Mac Laptop, Mac Desktop, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV. (You can also search for a specific product, natch.) Click iPhone, for example, and you can then filter by model, carrier and even refurbisher (Apple, Best Buy, Gazelle, Jem Jem and so on).

So, for example, if you happened to be looking for an unlocked iPhone 5s with at least 32GB of storage, RefurbMe would quickly steer you to a JemJem option priced at $249. (Whether or not that's a smart buy is topic for debate; just saying you can find it easily.)

Once you filter your way down far enough (specifying things like color, storage capacity and carrier), RefurbMe will let you create a product alert just by providing your email address. You can also opt to receive alerts via SMS.

Just keep in mind that RefurbMe is merely aggregating all refurbished Apple products under one roof. The product conditions, warranties and other factors can vary greatly from one seller to the next, so it's up to you to do your homework.

But don't assume that the site always has the latest and greatest deals. For example, I just spotted a refurbished Apple Watch at Best Buy for $189.99, but as of this writing, it's not on RefurbMe. I'm not sure how often the latter crawls various sites for new deals, or whether it's as comprehensive in its crawling as it needs to be.

Even so, I consider this a useful tool for anyone seeking to save money on Apple gear.