Trade-In Wars: eBay Instant Sale vs. Gazelle vs. Nextworth vs. Amazon

Starting today through Friday, eBay is in New York City giving the citizens a chance to experience the company’s Instant Sale process in person. Drop by The Ainsworth at 122 West 26th St between 6th and 7th Avenues from 6PM to 9PM each night to see how much your electronics are worth.

There’s always a bit more buzz around trade-in programs when a new Apple product launches, though this service has been around since February of last year. And while many are all about trading in an old iPad to get a new one, there are plenty of other electronics that will earn you some cash.

However, last night when I attended the eBay preview event and had them look up some of my devices, I was surprised that several of them werenÂ’t in eBay’s database. The company will take anything for recycling purposes. But, if you want money, it has to be on their list.

eBay Event

That got me wondering about the range of items all of the popular trade-in sites would take and how they compared on trade-in offers. I looked up several devices that I either have lying around or are the type of thing consumers might be ready to get rid of in favor of new models and looked them up on eBay’s Instant Sale, Amazon’s Electronics Trade-In, NextWorth and Gazelle.

iPad 2 Wi-Fi 16GB$200$310 (Like New) $279 (Good)$241.50 (Like New)$230 (Good)$240 (Flawless)$220 (Good)
Galaxy Tab (original) Wi-Fi 16GB$64.69$89.00 (Good)$112.83 (Good)n/a
HTC Evo 4G$53.75$75.25 (Good)n/a$44
Kindle 2$11.64$21.50 (Like New)$19.59 (Good)n/a
Toshiba Camileo S30n/a$23.00n/an/a
Samsung NC10$35.77n/an/an/a
Dell XPS 15$254.16 (Good)n/a$7.87 (Generic Dell w/ same specs)n/a
Apple MacBook Pro 13-in (2009) 2.53 GHz
Core 2 Duo 250GB
Samsung Series 5 Chromebookn/an/an/an/a

As you can see from the table above, eBay usually offers the lowest trade-in value for smaller electronics, but does pretty well when trading in laptops. It also had most of the items I looked up in their database.

Amazon consistently offered the highest trade-in for the products I could find. iPad 2 owners should probably jump on that $310 offer ASAP. Though it did well on smaller devices, I didn’t find any of the laptops I searched for, including the MacBook.

NextWorth isn’t great for laptops that aren’t a MacBook of some kind. Their database didn’t have any specific Dell models, but let me give the specs of a generic Dell. As you can see, the result isn’t great. It wouldn’t even let me enter information for a generic ASUS or Samsung laptop.


Gazelle only takes a few kinds of devices these days

Gazelle is problematic because they no longer accept all items for trade-in, only a few narrow categories. It’s the place to go if you want to sell an Apple product, of course (not always at the best price) and cell phones from BlackBerry, Motorola, Samsung and HTC. That’s all.

One thing I noticed about these sites is that the age of the product doesn’t matter as much as I thought. For instance, eBay has the Samsung NC10 netbook from 2008 in their database but not the Samsung Chromebook. No one would take the Chromebook for money. The Toshiba Camileo camera isn’t that old, either, yet only showed up in Amazon’s search.

I would have assumed that laptop trade-ins would be very popular for these sites because, unlike phones and even tablets, they’re still usable and sellable long after they’re new and hot as long as the owner takes care of them.

The other lesson I learned is that Apple products fetch some of the best prices, even those not in good working condition. I have a semi-broken iPhone 3GS (16GB) and when I looked it up I found that Gazelle would give me $30, NextWorth offered $42, and eBay valued it at a modest $20.25. For a broken phone.

The Bottom Line is that if you have devices you want to get rid of, be sure to check across multiple sites. All of them give you a way to ship for free, so all you have to do is pack them up. It might be a little extra work to do so, but the prices vary enough that it’s worth it.

Also, keep an eye out for in-person trade-in events such as the eBay Instant sale in New York and Target’s trade-in specials. In some cases you get your money right away and don’t have to wait.