Whether you've got a stash of old flip-phones in your desk drawer, a gifted low-budget tablet from last year or a current device that's due for an upgrade, you're most likely sitting on a few bucks of hardware. And with the holiday season approaching, that pile is sure to (hopefully) get a little bit higher. Thankfully, there’s a way to make use of your old toys and actually get paid for some dated gear: an electronics recycler or reseller.
While many laptop manufacturers such as Apple and HP will let you trade in laptops for credit toward a new purchase, they won’t necessarily take all your tech junk (smartphones, handheld gaming consoles, DVDs, etc.), but a third-party reseller will. Working with an online recycler/reseller is really straightforward. You tell the service what gadget you want to unload to get an estimate of how much money you’ll earn by selling.
How To Resell Your Gadgets
- Pick your preferred reseller. It’s a good idea to compare as many of these services as possible, as the amount each offers for a given piece of tech will be different.
- Describe your product. Tell the service what product you want to sell. You’ll be asked to describe its condition, including any damage done, and whether or not you still have the original cables and packaging.
- Get a quote. Once you’ve described the product, you’ll be given an estimate.
- Send in the product. If you accept the offer made for your gear, provide your info to the site, and they’ll mail you a box to pack the product. Once it arrives, you’ll put in your gear, and drop the box in the mail.
- Get paid. Once the service receives your gear, it will appraise it in person, adjusting the quote if necessary. Then they’ll pay you. Payment can be sent using a variety of methods, and in many cases the money can be forwarded directly to a charity of your choice.
Each of these sites is very similar, offering variations on a theme in terms of layout and functionality. Amazon is the newest, having just been released this month. Gazelle offers a slightly more refined user experience, while some of the others, such as NextWorth, are much less inviting and visually bland.
One of the latest to enter the tech trade-in fray, online retailer Amazon recently expanded its trade-in service to include gadgets such as tablets, phones, MP3 players, and cameras. Users looking to get rid of old gear will receive reimbursement in the form of store credit deposited directly into their Amazon accounts. The site sends you a box and a label to cover the cost of shipping.
BuyBackWorld covers the basics, letting you sell old gadgets or donate them for recycling if they’re not worth anything. When you visit the site you’re greeted by a video avatar, which offers the basic directions. This site looks the least professional in terms of the design, but it also offers a referral program where you can make $10 for every $100 worth of electronics that one of your friends sells.
This site will accept cell phones, smartphones, digital cameras, MP3 players, eReaders, game consoles, GPS devices, and all Apple products. BuyMyTronics promises to wipe all personal data before the devices are recycled.
The service covers the cost of shipping and then pays you via check or PayPal. BuyMyTronics also offers a unique fundraising option; the site will send you a giant box that you could place, say, in the middle of an office space. People can then deposit their old gadgets in the donation box. When you’re done, you mail it in using the pre-paid shipping labels. You can then have the funds sent directly to your charity of choice, along with a 5-percent bump, courtesy of BuyMyTronics.
Thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign and excellent service, Gazelle is the most prominent company in this space; it handles the trade-in program for Walmart, where you can get store credit for your old gadgets. In addition to buying your gadgets (everything from laptops and eReaders to Blu-ray players and video games) for cash, Gazelle allows you to send them in for recycling. However, the service won’t pay for shipping if your device is worth less than $1.
The site also has a charitable side. You can organize a gadget drive, where a group donates its old gadgets to Gazelle, with the proceeds from the sales going to a charity of your choosing. And if you’re in Boston, you can drop off the gadget directly at the Gazelle office.
Helpfully, NextWorth offers in-store drop-off. You can take your used cell phones, cameras, game consoles, DVDs, and other gear into one of more than 850 Target stores nationwide, and exchange them on the spot for either a gift card or store credit. If you’re in range of a Target, it’s hard to beat that level of convenience.
YouRenew offers the basics in the cash-for-gadgets space, and its claim to fame is that it’s the “easiest, fastest, and greenest way to turn your old electronic devices into cash.” If your gadget isn’t worth anything, or if you don’t want any money, you can simply turn it in and recycle it.
For every device YouRenew takes in, the company lets you choose between a donation to Carbonfund.org (one metric ton of carbon offset per 20 recycled devices) or Americanforests.org (one planted tree for every four YouRenew customers who choose this option). YouRenew also offsets all its carbon emissions through CO2stats.com.
Who Pays the Most?
To give you an idea of how six of the top reseller services stack up, we got quotes for ten products you might be trading back this year. In order to avoid bias from varying definitions of 'good' and 'bad' from site to site, we described each item as being of the highest quality possible. That means no scratches, cracks or water damage, as well as original packaging and cords. Here’s what each service offered:
|iPad 16GB + WiFi||273||221||184||213||191||190|
|Motorola Droid X||73.5||72||47||47||56.32||50|
|Amazon Kindle WiFi||24.25||26||28||26||27.56||0|
|B&N Nook Color||60||64||31||73||64.42||40|
|Samsung Epic 4G||116.75||59||52||0||0||87|
|Moto Atrix 4G||148||103||101||10||133.39||100|
|iPhone 4 16GB||242||212||182||180||180||187|
|BlackBerry Curve 3G||88||74||18||32||60||54|
|PowerShot ELPH 300 HS||60.5||64||0||0||41.25||0|
|Total buyback amount:||$1086||$895||$643||$581||$753.94||$708|
Amazon.com's wide variety of accepted items and high offers propels it to the top of the list, but they certainly have the most specific definition of a 'like new' item, leading us to believe that unless your old gadget literally hasn't been touched, those prices may move down a little. Regardless, there's plenty of variation from site to site to make it worth your while to do some shopping around before selling any item.