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Where to Trade in Your Phone & Other Gadgets for the Most Money

by Elizabeth Harper on February 19, 2016

You may be tempted to write off your old gadgets when you're ready to upgrade, but don't think your old tech toys aren't valuable just because they're not the newest thing on the market. You might be surprised at how much money a high-tech closet-cleaning can yield.

Take your goods to a store to trade in, use an online trade-in program or auction off your gadgets on a site like eBay. Whichever avenue you choose, the process is similar. You'll take your item to the store or mail it in; some online services even send you the packaging and postage. Once the retailer has your item, it will be inspected and an appropriate value determined. Then when it is officially sold—for a predetermined price or at auction—you'll receive cash or store credit.

Follow our tips to get the best return on reselling or trading in your old gadgets:

  • Gadgets in good condition—not battered or broken—sell for the most cash, but some stores will even take broken items. If your gadget no longer works, check the store's policy before you try to sell.
  • Many retailers want the accessories that were originally included with your gadget, such as charging cables. If you don't have them, expect to get less cash.
  • Be sure to enter the exact model number and product information if you're trading in online. A mistake could make a big impact on your item's retail value. Sometimes even small details like color can change the price.
  • Make sure you know what the retailer's policy is on items that are valued less than expected. Some retailers will return the item, but with others, you're stuck with whatever value they place on your gadget, even if it's lower than the initial estimate.
  • If you take your item to a store to trade in, you'll usually get cash or credit immediately, but if you sell online, it could take days or weeks to get your money. If you need cash quickly, in-store trade-ins are your best bet, though they might not pay as much.
  • Some retailers seem to offer great prices but take fees out of the final purchase cost before sending you money to you (most notably auction sites like eBay). These sites can still give you a great value for your trade-in, but read the fine print so you know what to expect.
  • Before you send an item in, delete any data you have stored on it. Though many resellers will do this for you, don’t risk having your information stolen.
  • If you're trading in an iOS device like an iPad or iPhone, turn off the Find My iPhone feature
  • You will generally get more in-store credit than cash back at stores that offer both options. This makes accepting credit a great option as long as the store is somewhere you'll want to spend the money.

If you're trying to unload a cell phone, we recently ran a thorough comparison of smartphone reselling options.

If you're selling anything else, check out the following chart. We reviewed payment options and offers on the major trade-in sites for three older gadgets: iPad Mini 3, Dell Inspiron 17 i7746, Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Wi-Fi camera. All offers shown here are for products in good (rather than "like new") condition, without personalization and including original cables.

  How it works What they'll take iPad Mini 3 Inspiron 17 i7746

Canon PowerShot SX700 HS

Payment method When they'll pay
Amazon Search for your product, select its condition, and send it in using a provided shipping label.
A wide variety of electronics plus books, video games, music and movies.
Item requirements: Items must be in working condition, include original accessories and not have any personalizations. 
$150.71 n/a $116.71 Amazon gift card Within 10 business days
Best Buy Search for your product, select its condition, and send it in using a provided shipping label, or trade it in at your local store.
A variety of electronics as well as video games.
Item requirements: Items must be in working order to receive payment, though they'll recycle broken tech for free.
$96.00 $150 $24 Best Buy gift card Within 10 days of receiving your item
eBay will walk you through setting up an online auction and suggest an average selling price. When an item sells, print a shipping label and send it off.
Everything, though there's no guarantee that your auctions will sell.
Item requirements: Any condition, even broken.
Up to $211.00 Up to $471.00

Up to $188.00

PayPal Varies
ecoATM Bring your device to an ecoATM kiosk (1,890 nationwide in grocery stores, malls and other retail locations) and place the device in the test station. The ecoATM will examine device and then search for the highest price in a network of buyers. Over 5,500 devices (phones, tablets and MP3 players) regardless of condition. ecoATM will also accept all chargers and other accessories (cases, etc.) but just for recycling. $21-$85 n/a n/a Cash Immediately
Select what you're trading in, answer a few questions about its condition, then print your offer and take it to a local store.
Select cell phones and tablets as well as video games, consoles and accessories.

Item requirements: Any condition.

$135.00 cash or $108.00 credit

n/a n/a Cash or store credit Immediately
Gazelle Search for your product, select its condition, and then send it in with the provided shipping label and packaging.
Cell phones, tablets, Apple computers, iPods
Item requirements: Any condition
$125.00 n/a n/a Check, PayPal, or Amazon gift card A day or two after receiving your item.
Glyde Glyde will walk you through setting up an online auction and suggest an average selling price. When your item sells, Glyde will send you a shipping kit with a prepaid label.
What they'll take: Cell phones, tablets, MacBooks, video games
Item requirements: Any condition
Up to $177.80 after fees n/a n/a
Check, direct deposit, or bitcoin
Three days after receiving your item
NextWorth Search for your product, select its condition, and then send it in with a provided shipping label. You can also do in-person trade-ins with participating retailers including Target.
What they'll take: Cell phones, laptops, tablets, video games
Item requirements: Not personalized
$125.00 $47.48 n/a PayPal, check, Discover prepaid card, Target gift card After the item is inspected, or immediately at a Target store
uSell Search for your product, select its condition, and then get an offer from uSell's network of buyers. Choose and offer and then send it in with a provided shipping label.
What they'll take: Cell phones, iPads, game consoles, textbooks
Item requirements: Any condition
Up to $128.80 n/a n/a
PayPal or check
Within five business days of receiving your item
Search for your product, select its condition, and then send it in with a provided shipping label. You can also do in-person trade-ins at Walmart stores.
Cell phones, tablets, MP3 players, games and game consoles, cameras
Item requirements: Any condition
$80.75 n/a n/a Walmart gift card After the item is inspected, or immediately at a Walmart store

As you can see, tablets, phones, video games and video game consoles are easy to trade in, but you'll have to dig to find options for other types of electronics.Amazon and eBay offer the best options for selling less common gadgets.

To find the right place to sell, weigh how much effort you want to put into selling your item against how much it's worth and how you'll get paid. Auction sites like eBay offer the best cash value but can involve a bit of extra hassle (even though eBay does walk you through the process). After auction sites, buyers that pay in gift cards typically pay the best returns—but it’s only worth it if you'll use the gift cards you get. Whatever type of program you decide to use, read the fine print before you hand over your item so you know exactly what you're getting out of the deal.

Updated: 2/19/2016 with new price comparison information

[computer tablet phone image via Shutterstock]


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Discussion loading


From Sara William on March 05, 2015 :: 6:44 pm is the best place to sell your gadgets too. I’ve sold to gazelle before but found techtwice and tried them because they offered more. I sold my husbands iPhone 5 and was paid in 5 days (that includes shipping time)!! Great list of places.I didn’t know that Nextworth worked with Target..



From Kay Gard on March 08, 2016 :: 9:57 pm

I’ve always had good luck with Gazelle, hassle-free, and very good customer service. Amazon also has good customer service, but their requirements are more strict. concerning the items you send.



From Rune on April 08, 2016 :: 5:47 pm

I used iosbay to sell my iPhone 5s Gold and it works so good..


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