Graded Stock: A Tech Bargain or Something to Avoid?

When you consider buying a new television, you're inevitably going to be spoiled for choice. You'll want something stylish and efficient, but naturally don't want to break the bank either, and because of this actually choosing a TV can frequently become quite an undertaking.

Sometimes, the possibility of buying a ‘graded' TV steps into this situation, but the usual reaction from the consumer is to dismiss this option without too much thought. Unless a TV is billed as ‘new', the most common reaction is to view it with suspicion; at best it's viewed as a poor quality or used machine that inevitably won't live up to expectations, and at worst it's seen as an utter waste of money, but is that really fair?

The problem lies within people's perceptions of what ‘graded' actually means. With that in mind, I'm going to try to set the record straight, and take a look at whether graded stock really deserves this negative reputation, or whether it could actually be exactly what you're looking for.

What Does ‘Graded' Mean?

A graded television is essentially a new television.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

The only reason that a graded TV possesses the ‘graded' tag is that, due to many reasons, it can no longer be sold to customers as being ‘new'. However, these reasons have absolutely nothing to do with being broken, poor quality, second-hand, or any other negative accusation you may have heard.

So what exactly leads to a TV being classed as ‘graded'?

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Reasons for a TV to be Classified as ‘Graded'

  • Older Stock – TV models are constantly being refined, and new stock is always jostling for place on a shop floor. Because of this, slightly older models become classed as ‘graded', as they cannot be sold directly in parallel with the very newest stock.
  • Ex-Display – We're all very familiar with window or shop floor displays, and the simple action of a TV being used for a display purpose means that it can no longer be sold as ‘new'. Despite being essentially untouched, the TV therefore becomes ‘graded'.
  • Battered Packaging – Damaged packaging may look unsightly, but the whole point of packaging is to protect the TV it houses. A TV might be totally unblemished, but if its packaging is battered then it must be sold as ‘graded', rather than ‘new'.
  • Surplus – Retailers are taking new stock orders all the time, and sometimes they find themselves with too much of a particular product. In this case, the surplus TVs become ‘graded' and are passed on to be sold through dedicated suppliers.
  • Customer Return – Sometimes, a customer may return a TV intact and with the packaging unopened; usually when the product has been purchased as a gift and the recipient doesn't need or want it. Again, the TV is new, but its previously sold status results in a ‘graded' tag.

Is There Any Reason to be Suspicious about Graded Stock?

The short answer is a resounding ‘no'.

Graded televisions are all fully tested to ensure their suitability, and more often than not they will be identical to the products you see on the high street.

The fact is that televisions have an exceptionally short turn-around anyway (usually approximately 6 months), and once TVs become anything other than the latest technology they soon find their way into graded stock. This means you can find some true TV gems within graded stock, and best of all you can find them for less than 50% of their original prices. That means you can obtain a television that's literally new for half the price. What's not to like?

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Choosing Between Graded TVs

Clearly, dismissing a graded television could be a huge mistake for you to make, as for the same price as a high street model you could actually be able to procure something far more impressive than you could ever have afforded otherwise.

With that in mind, the question changes from ‘why would I want to buy a graded TV?', and instead becomes ‘which graded TV would be best for me?'

Just like when choosing any other sort of television, navigating through the huge variety of graded TVs can be a mammoth undertaking, so here are a few basic suggestions to make sure that you're getting the most from your new television:

  • TV Size - Certain sizes of TV suit different requirements, and the philosophy of ‘bigger is better' isn't always a good guideline to go by. The size and shape of your viewing room will determine the optimum TV size for you, and you can find many online guides to calculate your ideal TV size on websites such as CNET.
  • TV Capabilities - Gone are the days when a TV was ‘just a TV', as many TVs now exhibit different qualities; such as variant displays, 3D capabilities and ‘Smart' functions. All of these properties are accessible within graded stock, so you'll need to decide what you want.
  • TV Price - When you buy a graded TV, you're always going to get a bargain, but you still need to decide upon a budget and then stick to it. If nothing else, this limit will allow you to narrow down the selection of possible TVs into a more manageable assortment.

Ultimately, choosing a graded TV won't make deciding on your ideal TV model any easier, but it will ensure that your new purchase is a real bargain par excellence, and it won't compromise on quality either. When you take all that into account, avoiding graded televisions just doesn't make sense. It really is that simple.

Written by Russell Elliott of

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