Replacing an old device is straightforward—you just pick out a new one and hand over some cash. Getting money for your moderately older or unused electronics can be that easy, too. Instead of using online marketplaces to sell your tech, you can turn to a buyback service instead. They provide a quote based on the item’s age, specs, and condition, then you ship it to them on their dime and wait for the payout. You’ll earn less than if you sell it yourself, but you’ll deal with far less hassle.
The best of the bunch stand out from the rest both for the types of devices they’ll take and how much they pay out. You’ll find them below, along with tips for having a good experience.
Decluttr accepts select iPhone, Samsung, and other Android smartphones, Apple Watches and iPads, MacBooks, Samsung and Kindle Fire tablets, Samsung smartwatches, and video game consoles. The service also even takes CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays if you want to extend your purging to media. To qualify for a quote, you must sell Decluttr at least one tech item or 10 media items worth a total of $5 or more.
Unlike rival sites, Decluttr does not promise a specific window for processing your gear once the package arrives. Instead, the company says that its on-site evaluation process happens “as quickly as possible.” That may be a detriment for some, but the exclusive use of UPS for its prepaid shipping labels may balance that out if your access to a post office or FedEx is limited. You’ll use the label with your own shipping material to send out your device.
Offers can get revised after the inspection—if that occurs, you’ll have up to 14 days to accept or decline the new amount. You can have your gear returned to you at no charge should you decline a revised offer.
Please note, PCWorld is partnered with Decluttr to offer readers extra cash-back: During checkout, use the code PCWORLD10 to receive an additional 10 percent on your trade-in.
Payments are sent via direct deposit or PayPal within one business day of an accepted offer. You can also choose to donate the money to a charity instead. Decluttr’s payouts tend to fall on the higher side, and often closely compete with ItsWorthMore (see below). However, the company treats items that are unopened or in mint condition the same as gently used gear for its evaluations, so you may make more cash on those elsewhere.
Our sample iPhone quote was higher than Gazelle but lower than ItsWorthMore, while offers for a Google Pixel 3 and a Samsung Galaxy S8+ beat both Gazelle and ItsWorthMore. An estimate for a 2015 MacBook tracked closely to ItsWorthMore for a baseline configuration.
Sample payout estimates:
$195 for a factory-unlocked iPhone 8 Plus (128GB storage, good condition)
$98 for an unlocked Google Pixel 3 (128GB storage, good condition)
$103 for a unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8+ (64GB storage, good condition)
$200 for a 2015 MacBook (Core M 1.1GHz, 8GB RAM, good condition, original charger)
This popular service limits its buybacks to just iPhones, popular Samsung and Google smartphones, and iPads. Gazelle only wants your newer devices, too—supported models go back about five to seven years.
If your gear qualifies and you get a satisfactory quote, you’ll send in your item using a prepaid USPS or FedEx label and your own shipping materials. Upon receipt, the company will take one to two business days to process your box. If the company lowers its offer based on its inspection of the item, you can ask for a re-evaluation. Once that new offer is issued, you have five days to take it or leave it. If you decline, the company will send back your gear at its cost. A non-response will result in an automatic payment at the revised amount.
That money will come to you via Amazon gift card, PayPal, or check. For the electronic payments (Amazon gift cards and PayPal), expect 24 to 48 hours of processing time. For checks, Gazelle sends them via USPS first-class mail, which can take five to 10 days to arrive. Email confirmations with payment details are sent when payments are processed.
On average, Gazelle’s cash offers trend lower. Our sample iPhone and Pixel quotes were almost half of those from Decluttr and ItsWorthMore. The estimate for a Samsung Galaxy S also fell short of those from its rivals, though not quite so badly.
Sample payout estimates:
$120 for a factory-unlocked iPhone 8 Plus (128GB storage, good condition)
$55 for an unlocked Google Pixel 3 (128GB storage, good condition)
$82 for a unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8+ (64GB storage, good condition)
Having trouble finding a taker for your PC or laptop? Try ItsWorthMore—this buyback service takes a wider variety of tech devices compared to its rivals. In addition to iPhones, iPads, Samsung and other Android phones, Android tablets, and MacBooks, you can get quotes for desktop computers and laptops, including high-end lines like the Mac Pro, Surface Studio, and Surface tablets. ItsWorthMore also accepts game consoles, smartwatches, and accessories like AirPods and Beats headphones, too.
To send in your items, you’ll pack them yourself and then slap on your choice of a prepaid FedEx or UPS label. ItsWorthMore’s evaluation for items typically happens one to three business days after the company receives your box. You can request a re-inspection if you don’t agree with a revised offer, and also have the item sent back should you still disagree with the final verdict. You must respond within three days to the new amount, or you’ll be automatically paid out.
Payments are processed within 24 to 48 hours of approval, though you can upgrade while getting the initial offer to an expedited option that guarantees processing within 24 hours and a quicker shipping method. You’ll receive your money through PayPal, Zelle, or check.
Compared to Gazelle and Decluttr, ItsWorthMore tends to make higher offers for more expensive configurations or items still in sealed factory packaging. For example, our quote below is for a 2015 MacBook with a baseline configuration, but the amount increases if you choose the model with a larger SSD. That’s not the case with Decluttr, which doesn’t factor in storage size.
For items in good condition or worse, ItsWorthMore tracks with Decluttr, offering more in some cases and less in others. It also consistently beats Gazelle. Our sample estimates for an iPhone 8 Plus and 2015 MacBook were higher than both rivals, but for a Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy S8+, its quote was only higher than Gazelle’s.
Sample payout estimates:
$220 for a factory-unlocked iPhone 8 Plus (128GB storage, good condition)
$75 for an unlocked Google Pixel 3 (128GB storage, good condition)
$89 for a unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8+ (64GB storage, good condition)
$210 for a 2015 MacBook (Core M 1.1GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, good condition, original charger)
Tips for using a buyback service
Securely reset your device before shipping it. Most laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even smart home devices retain personal information about you, and simply deleting the info won’t wipe that data properly. Don’t trust the buyback service to do it properly for you.
Clean the item before sending it back. Getting rid of dirt and light scuffs helps increase perceived value.
Be precise in reporting the item’s specs and condition to get an accurate quote. As mentioned, these services do an inspection upon receipt, and will update their quote if your item doesn’t match its initial description.
To get the most money back, always get quotes from more than one service. Sometimes, you’ll find it more advantageous to go with a service that is less particular about details, while other times you’ll get more from a site that asks for greater information during its valuation process (usually when you have a device with a more expensive configuration).
Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.