What Does “Open-Box” Mean ?
When you see an item marked as "open-box," it means just that: the packaging has been opened. It's likely been returned for some reason, but not necessarily because it's damaged. An open-box product could simply be something a shopper changed their mind about. The buyer may have returned it because they decided they didn't like the color, or for an equally trivial reason. So you could be picking up a completely new, unused item for a nice discount.
However, that may not always be the case. Most stores allow you to return products for at least a couple of weeks, and as a result, open-box items could have seen some use. They could show a little wear or cosmetic damage from their brief time in the original buyer's hands. This usually isn't a problem, but you should be aware that buying open-box means some items will be used, if only lightly.
Open-box products can also be floor models that the store has used to show the item off to customers. They may have never left the store.
Whatever the reason items have been labeled "open-box," these products usually get an inspection to make sure they're working before they're resold. This could be a thorough check of each product's functionality, or the inspection could be as basic as plugging the item in to make sure it powers on.
Open-Box vs. Refurbished Items
Retailers may sell refurbished and open-box items in the same section of their store or website, and even use the terms like they're interchangeable. However, there's a big difference between refurbished and open-box products. Refurbished item tend to be damaged goods that have been repaired to return them to like-new condition, while open-box items have simply been returned to the store for some reason, then put back on store shelves with an open-box label.
Either type of product can give you a good price.