old and obsolete cellphone on white background

How to Get the Most Money for Your Old Phones and Devices

If you’ve ever wondered where old mobile phones and electronic devices like iPhones, Androids, iPads, tablets, and computers go to die, it’s pretty simple.

Some get tossed into a recycle bin somewhere to be parted out and melted down. iPhones are often passed down to children to be used as iPod touch substitutes. A large number of mobile phones are simply abandoned and misplaced due to neglect. Thankfully, growing numbers are finding their next life with a new owner.


old and obsolete cellphone on white background

As a result, the secondary market for electronic devices is on its way to becoming as robust as the primary market.

So let’s say you’re ready to order the new iPhone, Android, iPad, or computer. You paid a lot for your current device and it’s still in great condition. Recycling is good but getting paid to recycle is even better.

So, your plan is to sell that old phone or another device to help pay for the new one. You have options: Sell it yourself or trade it in.

Sell it yourself

Selling your phone, tablet, or computer directly to a new user has the greatest profit potential, provided you are aware of the risks and the best ways to mitigate them.

Friends and family

Seems pretty simple. Just wipe the hard drive or memory clean, name your price, collect the cash and you’re home free. Unless the device or phone dies the next week or its new owner encounters problems getting it unlocked, or some other problem with a new service provider, in the case of a mobile phone.


What amounts to one ginormous online classified ad, Craigslist is a place that will likely turn up buyers for your item—folks willing to pay cash. And things could go very well. Or not. There are pitfalls you should know about.

A chronic problem with Craigslist is that potential buyers make appointments and promises and then fail to show up. Because you won’t want strangers coming to your home you’ll need to establish a well-lit, public pick-up location.

There are tons of flakes using Craigslist, so even if you believe you have made a seamless, easy transaction, don’t count too heavily on that, at least not for a while.

Your customer has your contact information, which means the potential is there for you to receive calls and texts suggesting the item was misrepresented or doesn’t work or isn’t unlocked after all. Consider carefully if you are ready to deal with any of that.


You can auction your item on eBay and see where that goes. Or list it at a set “buy now” price. You may come out OK, but even in the best case, there will be hefty fees to pay.

Make sure you go in knowing that eBay heavily favors buyers when transactions turn sour. When that happens eBay buyer chargebacks to the seller are all too common.

Should eBay require that you accept the item’s return including a full refund to the buyer, good luck with getting it back in the same condition you sent it out. Been there done that and it was not pretty.


Gazelle, a third-party trade-in company, offers straight cash via check or PayPal—or an Amazon gift card if you prefer—for your phone or electronic device (even old camcorders, calculators, just about any electronic). Even if your phone and or other items you wish to sell are broken to the point it will not even turn on, Gazelle will more than likely still pay you up to $75 for it. Gazelle has kiosks at many stores and malls, where you can make the transaction, on the Gazelle website.

There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through Gazelle to sell or make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks! Read more.


Gather up all those old cell phones and tablets  and head to SellCell.com. Plug in their information and  SellCell will quickly scan the Internet and compare prices of the top buyers willing to take your items off your hands. Once you choose your buyer and agree on how your preferred method of payment, ship your devices, and wait to get paid. It’s ridiculously easy.


At MaxBack.com you you can recycle just about any electronics just for the joy of doing the right thing. If what you want to get rid of has value, MaxBack will send you a check if it passes its inspection. You can ship devices for free to MaxBack and then wait for your payment.

Trade it in

Trading your phone or another device for cash, store credit or gift cards is the lesser of the profitable methods for getting rid of it, but the safer option because once it leaves your possession, you are not liable for issues that may arise, provided it arrives in the condition you represent.

Apple Trade-In

If Apple is willing to take your older iPhone on trade (programs come and go, so check to see what is currently available) you will be paid in Apple store credit, not cash.

Best Buy Trade-In

You can walk into any Best Buy store and your item’s negotiated value will be paid out to you in Best Buy gift cards. Not bad if you plan to buy your new iPhone there, but not ideal if you want to look elsewhere. Use the trade-in calculator on the website to find out if your item has any value and if so, how much your gift card will be.

Best option

All things considered and after having researched and weighed carefully the options, my recommendation for the safest and most reliable way to resell used iPhones, Samsung phones, computers, tablets, and other electronic devices, is the online third-party trade-in company, Gazelle.

I value your time and your lack of desire for irritating hassles, sketchy meet-ups, shady text messages, unethical buyers, and store credit or gift cards that are redeemable with one merchant that you neither want nor need.

For these reasons, I highly recommend you take a look at what Gazelle, an online company that has been around for a long time, having built a sterling reputation for easy transactions and quick payouts.

You can go to the Gazelle website and without making any commitments, receive an on-the-spot cash offer for your device followed by complete instructions for how to send it in should you wish to proceed.

Gazelle makes it easy, with a box and a prepaid shipping label arriving in your mailbox in less than a week.


Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you.


More from Everyday Cheapskate

homemade baby formula
percolator coffee pot sitting on table
vInterior of classic kitchen with white and grey walls, concrete floor, white countertops and cupboards and comfortable white island
oman shredding a piece of paper
Jar and bowl with corn starch on table
home repair gluing mug
A green fire hydrant sitting on the side of a road
Instant Pot Duo

Please keep your comments positive, encouraging, helpful, brief,
and on-topic in keeping with EC Commenting Guidelines

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Caught yourself reading all the way 'til the end? Why not share with a friend.

3 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.