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How to Ditch Your Used Electronics (Now That You Just Upgraded for Christmas)

With the holidays coming to a close, you no doubt have a boatload of shiny new gadgetry — a next-gen digital camera, wireless headphones, a new smartphone — in your possession. Now, the question is: What to do with your useless-to-you tech? Beyond Craigslist or eBay, here are three of our favorite programs through which you can sell used electronics and cash in on your previous-generation gear.


Touting millions of successful transactions, Gazelle is one of the best-established solutions for trading in your old smartphones, tablets, and other tech gadgets. Much of their popularity is due to how easy they make the process. Visit the trade-in page, find your particular device, and select the item’s condition (Gazelle simplifies this with three options: broken, good, or flawless). The site immediately returns an offer price. Upon your confirmation, you’re presented with a shipping label, and the company will even send out a free box if the valuation is over $30. Ship your item within 30 days, and you’ll receive payment via PayPal, check, or Amazon Gift Card. We’ve personally used Gazelle in the past and found their process quick and easy with lightning fast payment. Parent company ecoATM operates self-service kiosks in locations throughout the U.S. that automate the process and pay for used gadgets on the spot.

Pros: Fast (typically receive payment in less than one week); user-friendly; several payment methods available (including PayPal and check); instant buy-back with ecoATM; free shipping on most items; free telephone support line.

Cons: Limited catalog of acceptable goods (mostly just smartphones, tablets, and some Apple products).

See also: uSell is a carbon-copy competitor of Gazelle.

Amazon’s Trade-In Program

Amazon may be the world’s largest online retailer, but they’re also one of the largest purchasers of used gadgets, games, and books. Through their Trade-In program, users can sell thousands of old, unwanted items. Like Gazelle, the process is quick and painless. Login to the Amazon Trade-In and search for your item. Choose the item’s condition (acceptable, good, or like new), then checkout. A few things separate Amazon from its competition. First is the number of items in their catalog. Beyond just smartphones, tablets, and laptops, users can also trade in things like Roku units, old books, e-readers, smart watches, and gaming systems. In cases where an item’s condition doesn’t match the user’s appraisal (you thought it was like new, but Amazon didn’t agree), users can opt to have the item returned to them or automatically confirm the trade-in with a lower value.

Pros: Fast (typically receive payment in less than one week); easy-to-use; broad catalog of acceptable goods; free shipping on all items.

Cons: Payment only with Amazon Gift Cards; not always the best value for your used electronics; customer support is almost exclusively via email (difficult to reach via phone).

See also: Target and BestBuy offer similar trade-in programs.


Lesser-known BuyBackWorld is a solid combination of both Amazon and Gazelle. They buy from an extensive catalog of goods, including smartphones, tablets, camera lenses, headphones, desktop computers, and even obscure items like tools, designer handbags, and guitar effects pedals. For any item not listed in their catalog, customers can request a custom quote. What’s more, they’ll also buy back unwanted gift cards, so it’s a one-stop shop for making the most of all your unwanted holiday treasures.

Pros: Large list of acceptable goods (including gift cards and obscure items); easy-to-use; free shipping on all items; fast payment via check or PayPal.

Cons: No telephone support.

See also: SellBroke is a close competitor, and will even buy back broken electronics.

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