Looking to get the best value for your old phone? Here are your best options.
With smartphone technology advancing at a lightning pace, it can be downright irresistible to snag the latest models, even if you already have a great device in your pocket. You might want more storage, a better camera, or you might just want the latest color. It may even be that your other personal needs have changed between the time you originally got your smartphone and now. Whatever your reasons for wanting to upgrade, you’ll most likely want to get the best phone trade-in you can for your current model.
Furthermore, with the pandemic squeezing pocketbooks, there’s a rising demand to get your money’s worth out of a mobile trade-in. That’s where the CNET directory of gadget trade-in providers comes in. We’ll look at a few of the best phone trade-in options like ItsWorthMore and others where you can get top dollar for your devices.
Read more: Best Places to Sell Your Used Electronics in 2022
To evaluate the merchants on our list, we looked at a composite picture of each business. We ranked merchants based on our research into Better Business Bureau ratings, CNET staff reviews, online reputation among resellers and how easy or hard it is to get in touch with someone at each business, among other factors.
Every service is different, though, and trade-in values change by the day. They also assign values based on the condition of the cell phone you’re trading in, and take into account things like the device’s color. This means that preowned phones in good condition are likely worth more money or store credit.
So you’re going to have to shop around. Below the list of merchants is our basic FAQ of carriers, buyers and online marketplaces for your best phone trade-in experience.
What about Gazelle?
Gazelle has lived on this list for a long time, but after refining our review criteria, we’ve removed it. The change comes in light of an increased number of poor customer reviews and recent complaints to the BBB. We will continue to update this list over time.
FAQ: Carriers, buyers and online marketplaces
When looking for value from your old phone, there are four types of organizations you can work with: retailers, buyers, marketplaces and carriers. The characteristics of each are quite different:
Retailers: These are the brick-and-mortar stores in your neighborhood, ranging from Walmart and Target all the way to the remaining Radio Shack locations. In many cases, you can walk into the retailer, hand over your old Apple, Google or android phone and walk out with a new one, with a healthy discount applied. Many of these retailers won’t just give you money for your old phone. They want the deal for your new business and give you a trade-in offer, so keep that in mind. Some also offer online trade-ins.
Carriers: These are the cellular service providers and almost all of them have some sort of mobile phone trade-in program, to encourage you to trade up to the next model and keep their service. Good news: this doesn’t necessarily mean that the phone needs to be in working condition.
Buyers: These folks want your phones and will give you money or credit for them. A buyer generally won’t force you to buy a new device from them (although expect some deal sweeteners if you go that way). Some of them will send you packaging to send your device back to them. This is the group we look at in this guide because they generally send you real money in return for your device, which means you’re free to buy anything you want once you get your green.
Marketplaces: This option includes the classic resell methods like Craigslist and eBay, along with some specialty referral marketplaces like Flipsy, which are built around the idea of trading in gadgets. Here, you’re often dealing directly with individual buyers (or bulk buyers who are scooping up phones for other markets). Straight talk, though: There is substantially more risk when selling to individuals than companies with known reputations.
Keep those concepts in mind as you look for the best deal for your device.