Warranties are good for some products but can be a waste of money for others.


hristmas is just around the corner, which means you or someone you know might be getting a new gadget to play with. When you purchase a new tech toy, you're often given the option from the salesperson to tack on extra warranty time—for a fee, of course. Is the additional cost worth it?

When it comes to Apple, our own experience says yes. You're generally not covered for more than a year on computers, and some repairs can be more costly to take care of than just buying a whole new machine, especially if you're not too skilled in the DIY category.

tv TVs generally don't benefit from extended warranties.

It depends on how rough you are on the things you own, as well as what sort of tech you're trying to protect. When it comes to something that stays stationary all the time—like a TV—an expensive warranty is pretty unnecessary. Other things, like iPads, might warrant a warranty (ha!), if only because they're tossed around a lot more.

In general, computers and laptops can benefit from having a warranty, because they are both a)more expensive than televisions (usually, at least), and b)used hands-on more frequently. In other words, their usage level is high enough that a warranty makes sense. Simply pressing a power button and changing channels won't cause a lot of wear, but when it comes to monitors, hard drives, disc drives, and all the other components, warranties are great because lots of parts can become worn out before the warranty is up.

Obviously, your desire for a warranty will also depend on how much the item costs to you in relative terms—that is, if your new $400 Android phone isn't a bother to replace if it breaks, then a $100-200 warranty may not be worth it. In cases like these, your likelihood of breaking something comes into play.

When you're debating a warranty, make sure to look at the fine print, too. Some warranties may cover something wearing out, but won't cover something breaking if you drop the object. Warranties often have different clauses for theft and water damage, as well.

Weigh the pros and cons against your own budget, level of use, and cost of replacement before you decide on buying an additional warranty. While they're great for some technology, they're not a good bargain for others.