Laser Tattoo Removal Machines – Deciding on New vs Used vs Refurbished

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Purchasing a tattoo removal laser for your tattoo shop or healthcare practice isn’t always an easy thing to do. Now, more than ever there are a number of options available – new, used, and refurbished.

Used laser tattoo removal systems can save a buyer money, but the systems can sometimes end up costing as much as a new one, if not looked into properly. Since there are pros and cons to each option (New vs Used vs Refurbished) this guide is designed to help laser tattoo removal machine buyers navigate which is the best choice for your needs.

What is an Actively Q-switched Laser?
An actively Q-switched Laser is an advanced laser device that is more complex to manufacture and maintain than other types of light-based devices (e.g. IPL). The complexity and need for proper maintenance are factors that make purchasing a used or refurbished Q-switched system different than that of other medical laser systems. It is important to keep this in mind when searching for the right laser tattoo removal system for your business.

Many healthcare practices and tattoo shops buy Q-switched lasers new because they get the assurance of guaranteed delivery, a full warranty and a brand-new machine.  

Purchasing a new laser takes out some of the uncertainties surrounding the machine. You’ll never have to worry about preexisting wear on the system because every component is completely new with no previous owner.

Pros to Purchasing New Tattoo Laser Removal Devices:

  • New equipment, no concerns about wear and tear
  • Full warranty and service plan
  • Service/support provided directly from manufacturer
  • Value-added services like marketing assistance & training included
  • Plenty in-stock for immediate delivery

Cons to Purchasing New Tattoo Laser Removal Devices:

  • Pay retail / full price

Refurbished Q-Switched Lasers
If you have recently been in the market for a car, you might be familiar with the concept of buying a car “certified pre-owned” or “floor model” from the automotive manufacturer. Refurbished systems, similar to high-end automobiles, are a little-known secret in the laser industry.  

Most tattoo removal laser companies have systems in the field that are used as demo models and at other events. Often, when these demo units have reached a certain age, they are taken out of the field and refurbished in preparation for sale.

In many cases, refurbished laser systems are typically only lightly used prior to resale, so they have relatively low pulse counts.  Usually, the only “consumable” part for Q-switched lasers, the flashlamps, are replaced.

Going back to the purchase of a certified pre-owned car, laser tattoo removal device shoppers can often save significantly over the price of a new system when purchasing a refurbished device.

Pros of Purchasing a Refurbished Tattoo Laser Removal Device:

  • System works and has been tested
  • Flashlamps and other key parts replaced or maintained
  • Warranty plan sometimes available
  • Access to service/support from the manufacturer
  • Significant cost savings over buying new

Cons of Purchasing a Refurbished Tattoo Laser Removal Device:

  • Typically in short supply
  • Some use on the devices

Used Q-Switched Lasers
There are a number of places you can look for laser tattoo removal devices. eBay and medical laser trading websites are just a few of the places you will see used Q-switched systems listed for sale. Yes, these systems offer great savings but are sometimes a headache for the buyer.

For starters, most laser companies don’t have transferable warranties, so if you buy a used laser through a dealer, you will not have access to a factory-trained service technician included with your purchase.

You can look into getting the manufacturer to  “re-certify” your used laser to give you access to their service technicians, but this can be expensive.  Q-switched lasers are highly complex systems that require regular maintenance to perform properly and safely. If there is ever an issue with your used Q-switched laser, you will have major headaches getting repairs completed.

Despite these concerns in regards to technical service, the largest issue in the used laser market is the many scams you’ll see. Often used laser dealers (and eBay dealers) will falsely advertise systems that they don’t truly have in stock or are broken.

Pros of Used Q-Switched Lasers:

  • Lowest price possible for a system

Cons of Used Q-Switched Lasers:

  • What you see might not be what you get.
  • Have to beware of scam artists
  • No access to parts
  • No support or service provided by manufacturer (unless you pay for recertification)
  • Very few freelance Q-switched laser technicians in the US
  • Training and marketing support not included

Buying a laser for tattoo removal is a major decision – because of both the monetary investment and fact that the system will be an important asset to your business for years to come.

The choice of a new, refurbished, or used system can be one that either makes life easy or hard for you – and it’s up to you as a business owner to find the right solution that works for both your budget and goals.

Contact us if you have a question about our current inventory or you need help finding a specific laser.