We all probably have electronics laying around our house that are either super outdated or completely broken and therefore, useless. Though it may be fun to occasionally dig them out and reminisce over the good times, the truth is you could be making money (back) from your junk. If you find yourself needing a little extra money or in the spring cleaning mood, make sure to consider the following options when deciding what to do with your discarded electronics.
Obviously if your electronics are broken, you won’t be able to get as much money for them compared to still functioning (but maybe old) gadgets. Even then, it is still better than throwing them in the trash, as there may be some reusable parts from which you can make a little spare change. Selling broken electronics is better than trashing or recycling them!
Before we get to the useless and broken stuff, if your item works then the best place to sell it is Decluttr. They make it super simple to sell almost anything electronic (cell phones, CDs, DVDs, games, books, Legos, etc). You put in the barcode (or search if it doesn't have a bar code, like your cell phone) and they will give you an offer immediately. You then mail the item to them, they send you the money, and you're done. They pay almost immediately, there are no auction fees, they have a pre-printed insured shipping label, and I've had great experiences with them.
I sold an old iPhone 6 this way and the only way I could've gotten more for it is if I risked dealing with a private party on eBay. I wasn't willing to go to the effort of listing it, dealing with a buyer (and potential scammers), and the allure of just mailing it with a pre-printed label was too strong!
ecoATM operates kiosks nationwide where you can deposit your broken or unwanted electronics in convenient locations for immediate cash back. They are usually located in shopping centers, strip malls, or other highly trafficked areas for ease of access. ecoATM acquired Gazelle in 2015, which helped them expand their presence into more geographic markets.
Not only does ecoATM purchase your useless electronics for cash, but they are also driven by an environmental mission, so you can feel good about selling your electronics back versus dumping them in the landfill. In fact, ecoATM was started in order to address the issue of throwing away electronics when they become obsolete. They incentivize recycling by giving cash back to the consumer.
While you may be able to get more money for your electronics elsewhere, the appeal of ecoATM is it’s convenience. You don’t have to do much work as far as marketing your product for sale or paying shipping costs to send them to someone (if you’re not meeting in person). You can just drop them off at the kiosk, which takes maybe a few minutes of your time.
This is a great option if you aren’t concerned about squeezing the most amount of money possible out of the item, and just getting rid of it.
GreenBuyback.com is a website that will buy your used and/or broken electronics from you. When you go to the site, you will be prompted to select what type of electronic you would like to sell. They will purchase anything from smartphones to gaming consoles and even some wearables. Once you identify which product you have and fill out necessary information regarding its condition, you will receive a quote. There is also an option to sell in bulk if you contact the GreenBuyback team.
When you click “Checkout,” you will be prompted to fill out your address and payment method (PayPal or check in the mail). The great thing is, you don’t have to pay for shipping! GreenBuyback will generate a shipping label for you to place on the package so you can just stick it in the mail. Once they receive the item, they will then process your payment according to your selected preference.
Given the company pays for shipping, this option is quite convenient as well.
GadgetScouter doesn’t buy your phone or tablet directly, but they are a price comparison tool that compiles quotes from 20-30 vendors who will.
Once you fill out the necessary details regarding your gadget, they will search a number of sites and let you know which is offering the best price. If you care about getting a higher price over the convenience of just dropping off your device (in a kiosk or in the mail), this may be the solution for you.
For example, when I input my device details into GreenBuyback.com’s tool, I received a quote of $75.00 for my 16GB iPhone 5s on the Verizon network. However, when I input the same exact details into GadgetScouter, the site that offered the highest was BuyBackWorld at $86.00.
GadgetScouter is basically Priceline for used electronics. It is just an aggregator, so the terms of the sale are still going to be up to the discretion of the end company that you choose to sell your device to.
Using GadgetScouter is free for you. What they don’t necessarily disclose this on their site is that they likely make a commission if you sell your device to a 3rd party company found through their link. Personally, I’m all for supporting affiliates by using their links, especially if they are providing a service that is saving me time and/or effort.
If you want to try your luck at potentially getting more for your device and you don’t mind putting in the time to list it online, Ebay or Amazon are great options. You can do a price check now to see what your specific device is selling for. Online auctions are a huge market, especially for broken electronics, so this may be the best avenue if you have a device that can only be sold for parts. The aforementioned sites are great for old electronics, but don’t offer a great return on broken items.
If you don’t mind taking some photos of your item, posting them online, and fulfilling the order yourself, you could find success selling your broken devices online. It does entail a bit more work than just dropping it off at a kiosk, though.
Of course, you can make money through online auctions/marketplaces not just selling your own electronics, but others as well! Given the large market for broken electronics online and the general population’s attitude toward these products (throw them away!) you could potentially profit off of other’s electronics as well. This entails a little bit of creativity and hustle, but if you are looking for a side gig, you can engage in something called “arbitrage”. Arbitrage is taking advantage of market inefficiencies.
You don’t even need to be able to fix electronics to engage in arbitrage, though of course that is a skill that could come in handy (and which we’ll talk about a little further down in the article). Just checking my local Craigslist “Free” page now, I see people giving away TVs, computer monitors, printers, etc. If you have time to invest in scanning Craigslist or yard sales and transporting the items, you can make money from just flipping broken electronics.
While we mention Craigslist above as a great place to find free broken or old electronics, Craigslist is also potentially a great place to sell your electronics. Given it’s a local community site, you would likely need to either physically meet the potential buyer (which does weird some people out) or arrange some other sort of payment method. Most of the time, buyers and sellers meet in a public place, and cash is the preferred method of payment.
It can be time consuming to post an ad and weed through potential responses (and the potential no shows), but for larger items that are more difficult and costly to ship, this is a great option.
Local Facebook sale groups
Local Facebook Buy/Sell groups have taken off recently and are a great way for buyers and sellers to connect. Given you can see the buyer or seller’s Facebook profile, it actually can be an easier way to meet since there is typically a little more trust involved over Facebook. There are large, generic sale groups as well as smaller, more niche sale groups, so where you post really just depends on what you are looking to sell. Keep the target audience in mind. Televisions, iPhones, tablets etc are more widely used versus specialized gaming PCs, for example.
Use Your skills
In #4 of the list, we discussed how you could potentially profit from not just selling your broken electronics, but finding free electronics and then “flipping” them to Ebay or Amazon. This situation is ideal for someone who may have some free time to find deals on broken electronics and then re-list them.
For someone who actually knows how to fix broken electronics – or even how to repair small issues – the potential to add value is huge. You can get free broken electronics off Craigslist, repair them, and then re-sell them. You can increase your profit potential this way, but it is also the most hands-on, so would require a time investment. It would be a great side gig for someone who is handy and enjoys the challenge of fixing things.
Are you motivated to find all the old, broken electronics you have scattered all around the house yet? There are a surprising amount of things that Americans throw away that can actually be re-purposed. The general consensus is “consume” and then “discard,” but if you’re creative you can actually use society’s penchant for throwing things way and turn that into cold, hard cash.