Nowadays, a shiny, new flagship phone can burn a hole in your wallet. Look at the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – you’re paying around $1000 for all the features packed inside each phone. Not to mention the cost of the on-going cell phone plan.
However, gently used phones are sold at a more affordable price.
In fact, the used phone market is an enormous and ever-growing industry. According to a recent Deloitte report, the used phone market grew to 120 million units in 2016. Furthermore, IDC reports that over 222.6 million used devices will be sold or traded in by 2020.
There is no excuse not to purchase a used phone. Fortunately, there are plenty of sites that will sell you a used phone at a budget-friendly (or friendlier, at the very least) price.
Benefits of Purchasing a Used Cell Phone
There are plenty of advantages to buying a used cell phone, including:
You’re saving money.
This is the most important point of buying a used cell phone. You can purchase a used cell phone for less than the price of a new phone. For example, a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge with 32GB of storage can be purchased for $250 on Swappa used, when a new one would be priced at a little over $600. The same goes for the following iPhones:
- iPhone 6 (32GB): $180 used, $399 new
- iPhone 6S (32GB): $220 used, $449 new
- iPhone 7 (32GB): $350 used, $549 new
- iPhone 7 Plus (32GB): $350 used , $669 new
Furthermore, upgrades in recent generations have been miniscule, so you’ll find little value in purchasing a new phone each year.
It’s more environmentally-friendly.
If a phone can be used, why toss it out? According to the EPA back in 2010, approximately 350,000 mobile phones are disposed of each day, totaling to more than 152 million phones per year. Purchasing a phone and then discarding it is harmful to the environment, so opt for a used phone.
You’ll feel more relaxed when it comes to damages.
This is more dependent on the person, but when a used phone isn’t nearly as expensive as a new phone, you’re less likely to experience anxiety when damaging the phone. In fact, a used phone is a great option for a child, as the most predominant age children receive their first cell phone is 10 years.
What to Consider when Purchasing a Used Cell Phone
There are several points to consider when purchasing a used cell phone, such as the:
What is the condition of the phone? Is it in poor, fair, very good, or like-new condition? Be sure to review photos, description, and any certification closely to make sure you know what you’ll be getting.
Compare prices of the specified used phone among various sites to make sure you’re saving the maximum amount possible.
Without question, a used phone should have a warranty. Make sure to investigate the details of the manufacturer’s or store’s warranty. For example, a refurbished iPhone purchased directly from Apple will come with a one-year warranty.
Is the phone locked or unlocked? If you purchase the phone locked, you may have to do some additional legwork to unlock the phone. We recommend selecting an unlocked phone, which provides you with optimal flexibility and allows you to save more by switching to a low-cost carrier like Mint SIM or US Mobile.
Where to Buy a Used Cell Phone
Below are the top five most-trusted sites for purchasing a used cell phone:
Decluttr is a site that will happily sell you its used phone inventory. While the used phone selection is far more affordable than what you’d pay for a new phone, the prices you pay on Decluttr are a tad higher compared to the used phone prices offered by eBay or Amazon.
However, what you are getting out of Decluttr is free tracked shipping on all technology as well as 14-day returns, guaranteed refurbished quality devices, and 12 months limited warranty on tech.
Gazelle is one of the leading “reCommerce” sites around. The company purchases used smartphones and tablets from sellers before inspecting, certifying, and selling the products to consumers at a more affordable price.
Products also receive Gazelle certification, meaning no contracts or strings attached. Furthermore, each item has passed a 30-point quality inspection, and as the cherry on top, buyers have access to a 30-day risk-free return policy.
With eBay, you can purchase (or bid, if you’d like) with peace of mind if you follow the general guidelines and read valid reviews. Always check the seller listing of the used phone for an uploaded, genuine photo of the phone, as well as an authentic, detailed description.
Amazon allows you to purchase used phones directly from manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola, Apple, Huawei, or any local sellers.
Keep in mind that phones sold by Amazon are certified and backed by a 90-day warranty, meaning that if you find that the product doesn’t fit the description or it encounters some type of failure, then you’ll be able to replace the product. However, the warranty only applies to Amazon certified refurbished phones, and warranties on other phones will vary by the manufacturer or seller.
Swappa is a user-to-user marketplace that ensures only gently-used technology is sold to buyers. Not only will you be able to find more affordable prices by cutting out the middleman.
Furthermore, there are no selling fees, though buyers will have to pay a small fee that comes attached with the sale price.
How to Save the Most Money
While all these sites are great to use during your hunt for a used phone, to save time and money, we’d recommend using MoneySavingPro’s used cell phone price comparison tool. There, you’ll be able to compare prices on popular used phones, which typically allow you to save an extra $50 on your purchase.
Furthermore, for maximum frugality, once you’re finished with your old device, you can sell your old phone for cash online.
Rob Webber is the Founder of MoneySavingPro.com and a Forbes contributor. He has 10 years experience helping consumers save money on their cell phone, TV & internet bills.