Repair vs Replace

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Updated November 14, 2022

Deciding to repair or replace a device or tool is a tough choice. Unless your current device is completely broken, there are some severe factors to consider when deciding between repairing or replacing a product. The choice of repair vs. replace is an economics question. While no two situations are the same, you should check out our recommendations on when to repair or replace a device. Thankfully with right to repair laws, the cost of repairing some items is much less than it used to be. You should also be sure you understand how a warranty works.


  • If the repairs to your device meet or exceed 50% of the cost of a new device, go with a replacement.
  • Repair devices that are still useful and not obsolete.
  • Replace defective devices that waste your time or are dangerous to use still.

When is Repair Worth it?

There are times when you just can’t afford to replace your current smartphone or tablet, even though you think you should. However, there are times when picking up a replacement might be the more affordable option. For example, maybe you dropped your smartphone or spilled coffee on your laptop. Before you run out to a local repair shop, you should know when device repair is worth it. And if you’re in Massachusetts, you will want to know about the Right to Repair law known as Question 1. Additionally, you may be interested in reading about some court rulings on some right to repair cases like the Impression Products Inc v Lexmark International Inc or the Image Technical Services v Eastman Kodak case.

Is the Device a Classic?

“They don’t make them like they used to.” While that phrase is usually uttered about antique appliances and classic cars, some older electronics command the same type of respect from professionals. While smartphones typically get better with time, some electronics, like specific models of Apple MacBook. In addition, some older electronic audio equipment is more desirable than modern options. In these cases, find out why your device is considered desirable and if it matters to you. If so, a repair might be in order, even for older devices. As a farmer, you will also be interested in the Illinois right to repair legislation.

How Old is the Device?

For some devices, like smartphones, consumers are expected to replace their devices about every two years. This is regardless of the working condition of the device. While two years is a stretch, most modern electronics older than three years are probably worth replacing. Repair is almost always advised if your device is under a year old. In that case, visit our guide to a printer’s repair for further assistance.

When Should I Replace a Device?

We get it: sustainability is the new move, and people are coming around to the motto, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.” That said, there are times when replacing a device is the superior choice to repair. Not only is replacement often the economically responsible pick, but there are other concerns beyond wanting a new piece of tech. So before you run out to your local retailer to price out new phones, you should know if it’s time to replace a device.

Consider Safety

While defective devices like smartphones, laptops, or tablets aren’t often a safety hazard, others can be risky to keep around. Letting a nagging issue hang around for products like power tools is a serious safety hazard. While cheap fixes might keep your device around longer, sometimes, the safest thing to do is to replace the device entirely.

Consider Saving Time

If you’re dealing with an older electronic device like a smartphone or tablet, you may have noticed how slow it is now. That’s not your imagination. Tech slows down as it ages, and while your favorite old device is technically still kicking, it could be holding back your productivity. So, even if a device isn’t inoperable, the time savings from a more formidable device might be worth a replacement.

Repair vs. Replace: Which is Better?

The most foundational question to ask about repair vs. replacement is: What will cost you more time, money, or trouble? While every situation is different, the easiest way to decide which is best is the cost of each option. Experts recommend that if the repairs to your device meet or exceed 50% of the price of a new device, go with a replacement. While this rule isn’t always valid for every industry, the “50 Percent Rule” is a general rule of thumb for business owners and consumers alike.

Insider Tip

Experts recommend that if the repairs to your device meet or exceed 50% of the price of a new device, go with a replacement.


Is it worth fixing a 20-year-old washing machine?

Experts recommend repairs on some older appliances, but you’ll need to verify that your model qualifies as an industry classic.

How many years before I should replace my laptop?

Laptops, on average, last about three to five years before replacement becomes the better option over repair.

When should I repair or replace an asset?

As a general rule, the repair is ideal unless it costs you more than a replacement.

STAT: The repair vs. replace debate is different from person to person and device to device. The “50 Percent Rule” dictates that if repairs cost 50% the price of a replacement, go with a new device. However, some classic devices might be worth repairing even if they are older. (source)

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