Where's the best place to buy a cheap iPad in the UK?

Thinking of buying a new iPad? Then you've come to the right place. Here, we'll help you find out the best place to buy an iPad, whether you want the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, the iPad Pro 9.7-inch or the iPad mini 4, or one of Apple's older iPads such as the iPad Air 2, original iPad Air 1iPad mini 3 or iPad mini 2. We also explore ways to get cheaper iPads through refurbishment services and by buying second-hand.

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Best cheap iPad deals UK: Which iPad model should you buy?

We'll be assuming in this article that you've already made two key decisions: firstly, that you're going to buy an iPad, and secondly, which model you want. If we're getting ahead of ourselves, head over to our Best iPad buying guide 2016 article (condensed into a video below), which explains the differences between each of the iPads, measures their comparative processing speed and battery life performance, and walks you through the various buying options. We'll still be here when you get back.

Finished? Great. Now we can talk about the best places to buy your chosen iPad.

Best cheap iPad deals UK: Can you get an education discount on your iPad?

Before moving on to the deals available for each model of iPad, let's briefly check whether you qualify for Apple's education/student discount, which will net you a small saving on the purchase - just £15 or so for most iPad models. (The saving is larger for Macs, incidentally, but it's still worth getting a few quid off your iPad if you qualify.)

The gist is that anybody who works in an educational environment qualifies for a discount on Apple computers: students, teachers and lecturers qualify, of course, but so do administrative workers and other members of staff at an educational institution.

If you think this applies to you, take a look at our article How to get an education/student discount from Apple.

Best cheap iPad deals UK: Apple, or not Apple?

The most obvious place to buy your iPad is from Apple itself, but that's not the only way. In this article we'll take you through a few more of the options.

If you do want to buy your iPad from Apple, there are two ways of doing so. The first is to head down to an Apple Retail Store and pick one up. You can buy the iPad Pro 12.9in, iPad Pro 9.7in, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 or iPad mini 2.

Ordering online will mean you'll have to wait for your new iPad to arrive, but it's a quick and easy way to buy a new iPad.

It's not just Apple that sells iPads, though. Retailers including TescoJohn Lewis, Argos and Curry's also sell iPads, including Apple's latest iPads. They tend to be the same price as they would be from Apple, but occasionally these retailers will offer deals on iPads so it's worth keeping an eye out.

You'll also find iPads available from Apple Premium Resellers. You can find out where your nearest Apple Premium Reseller is here. For us here in London, the nearest resellers include Albion iStore, CompuB and Stormfront.

Carriers such as O2, ThreeEE and Vodafone also offer iPads, though you'll only be able to get a cellular iPad with a contract from them.

In the following sections we'll look at the various iPad models individually, but the general buying advice above should hold you in good stead.

Read next: iPad Air 3 release date rumours and features wishlist

Best cheap iPad deals UK: On contract, or not on contract?

Buying your iPad on contract will be cheaper up front, but cost more in the long run, so we'd usually recommend paying up front to buy an unlocked iPad. But it depends on your finances: it may be more convenient for you to spread the cost. And you may find a particularly appealing contract deal.

Bear in mind that an iPad bought on contract will probably be locked the carrier's network. Here's how to unlock an iPad from its network (once you've fulfilled your contractual obligations).

Best cheap iPad deals UK: iPad Pro

11 models available: 12.9in: 32GB Wi-Fi/128GB WiFi/256GB WiFi/128GB cellular/256GB cellular. iPad Pro review

Best cheap iPad deals: iPad Pro

Here are your buying options for the iPad Pro.

Buy new model direct from Apple: £729/£819/£909/£939/£1,029

Apple's Refurbished Store also stocks several variations of the 12.9in iPad Pro.

The lowest price you're likely to get on the iPad Pro is from Amazon, but the prices change so frequently that it's hard to offer definitive advice. Obviously you should be comparing the prices with Apple's own deals, taking into account the education discount if you qualify for it.

Amazon offers the iPad Pro, too, and often at dramatically reduced prices. Make sure you read the reviews and the description if the seller isn't fulfilled by Amazon, though. Click here to see the latest Amazon iPad Pro deals.

If you want to buy your (cellular) iPad Pro on a data plan, you'll pay more in the long run, but for some budgets this will still be a better option. And bear in mind that the total costs listed below include the cost of the data, which you'll have to pay for separately if you go for one of the deals above (and pick the cellular model).

O2 currently offers the 128GB cellular iPad Pro 12.9in on a 24-month contract. Plumping for a 2GB monthly data plan will set you back £69.99 upfront, followed by 24 monthly payments of £43.

If you can manage with 500MB a month, it'll cost you £99.99 and then 24 payments of £37.

The top-end 20GB plan costs £9.99 upfront, followed by monthly payments of £57. This is actually the best value deal given the high volume of data you get combined with the low upfront cost. You could run a whole business off an iPad Pro with 20GB data every month. 

Also check Carphone Warehouse, Three, Vodafone and EE for cellular iPad contracts.

It's also worth thinking about buying an unlocked iPad through one of the deals above, then paying for the data plan separately; this is often cheaper, albeit slightly less convenient. Giffgaff is generally among the cheapest options.

For plenty more iPad Pro deals for both the 12.9in and new 9.7in model, visit our regularly updated iPad Pro deals round-up.

Best cheap iPad deals UK: iPad Air 2

4 models available: 32GB/128GB (Wi-Fi only). 32GB/128GB (cellular). iPad Air 2 review

Best cheap iPad deals UK: iPad Air 2

Here are your buying options for the iPad Air 2.

Buy new model direct from Apple: £379/£469 (Wi-Fi only). £469/£589 (cellular)

Apple's Refurbished Store may be a good option here. (The store, as we explain here - Should I buy a refurbished iPad? - sells second-hand hardware but gives all of its wares a thorough MOT and warranty.) There are plenty of iPad Air 2 models available in the refurbished store at the time of writing so take a look.

Again, you should check Amazon for its latest prices, which are likely to undercut Apple's. View Amazon's iPad Air 2 deals here. You could try eBay too, but be even more cautious there.

Also check O2, EE, Carphone Warehouse, Three and Vodafone for iPad Air 2 contract deals.

As with the iPad Pro, take a look at the feasibility of buying an iPad Air 2 and paying for the data separately, with Giffgaff likely to be the cheapest option.

Best cheap iPad deals UK: iPad mini 4

4 models available: 32GB/128GB (Wi-Fi only). 32GB/128GB (cellular). iPad mini 4 review

Best cheap iPad deals UK: iPad mini 4

Here are your buying options for the iPad mini 4.

Buy new model direct from Apple: £379/£469 (Wi-Fi only). £499/£589 (cellular)

The iPad mini 4 has recently been added to the Apple Refurbished Store, which may well be indication that an iPad mini 5 is on the way for 2016. Click here to see the iPad mini 4 in the Refurbished Store.

You can also try Amazon, where it is available from £280 (for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model). View Amazon's deals on the iPad mini 4 here.

The likes of O2, EE, Three, Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse sell the iPad mini 4 on contract, so be sure to check there if you want the cellular option and would prefer to spread the cost over 24 months.

Best cheap iPad deals UK: iPad mini 2

2 models available: 32GB (Wi-Fi only). 32GB (cellular). iPad mini 2 review

Best cheap iPad deals: iPad mini 2

Here are your buying options for the iPad mini 2.

Buy new model direct from Apple: £239 (Wi-Fi only). £359 (cellular)

At time of writing there are plenty of iPad mini 2s on the Refurbished Store, so it's well worth a look if you want to pick up a bargain.

Amazon has deals on the iPad mini 2 starting at £193 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model. View Amazon's iPad mini 2 deals here.

If you need data, as usual consider Giffgaff's Goodybags data plans.

Macworld poll: How often do you update your iPad?

Before we move on to talk about refurbishes and second-hand iPads in a little more depth, here's a little poll:

Where to buy an iPad: Best place to buy refurbished or second-hand iPad

As we mention in the individual entries above, to get more for your money, you can buy a refurbished or reconditioned iPad from a reselling service such as the one we offer here at Macworld UK. With our partner mResell, we run a service that you can use to sell your unwanted Macs, iPhones and iPads, and buy those products at reduced prices, too. If you're looking to buy an iPad, make sure you take a look. It's a risk-free way of buying second hand. What's more, we buy the device and check it, refurbish and recondition it, and then you buy it from us, so there is no risk of getting stiffed by someone dodgy.

At time of writing there are several iPads available to buy from our Buy/Sell channel so check it out.

Another option is to buy refurbished from Apple, if you've not got your heart set on one of Apple's newest iPads, is to visit the Apple Refurbished Store. You can save loads of money by opting to buy a refurbished iPad from Apple rather than splashing out on a brand-new iPad.

If you're interested in buying a refurbished iPad, read: Should I buy a refurbished iPad?

If you want to save even more money, you could try sites such as eBay and Gumtree for second-hand iPads, but you should ensure that you carefully read the description of each item and collect as much evidence of purchase as possible. Pay through PayPal or via Credit Card to help ensure that you aren't left out of pocket should you unfortunately find yourself dealing with a con artist.

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