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Best Unlocked Cell Phone Deals of 2021

Compare unlocked cell phone prices

Cheap unlocked phone deals in April

It's a great time to be a wireless customer! Cell phone plans are more competitive than ever, and with contracts solidly in the history books, your phone can probably be unlocked for use on any carrier you choose.

What is an unlocked phone? It's a device that is no longer locked to a specific carrier. This allows you to take it to another carrier if you find a cheaper plan.

There are some conditions though. In the following guide, you'll learn what an unlocked cell phone means, when you can and cannot take your device to another carrier, how to find the best unlocked cell phone deals and how to save 50% or more on your cell phone plan.

It's a lot of information to cover so let's get started!

Best Unlocked iPhone deals

Unlocked iPhone SE deals

Best iPhone SE Deals

Apple iPhone SE

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
64GB
Condition
New
Price
$149*
MSRP: $399*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

4.7"

Screen Resolution

1334 x 750 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

A13 Bionic pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Operating System

iOS 13

Back Camera

12MP

Front Camera

7MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 14 hours

Dimensions

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm

Weight

148g

Splash Proof

IP67

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight

  • Water-resistant

  • Amazing A13 chip performance

  • Affordable price

  • Touch ID

Cons

  • Battery capacity

  • Night mode is missed

  • Only a 5W charger

Unlocked iPhone 12 deals

Best iPhone 12 Mini Deals

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
64GB
Condition
New
Price
$479*
MSRP: $729*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

5.4"

Screen Resolution

2340 x 1080 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

A14 Bionic Chip pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Operating System

iOS 14

Back Camera

Dual 12MP

Front Camera

12MP

HDR for Photos

HDR

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Dimensions

131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm

Weight

135g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

nano

eSIM

Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great compact size

  • Excellent camera

  • 5G compatible

  • Brilliant OLED display

Cons

  • Battery life

  • No tele lens

Best iPhone 12 Deals

Apple iPhone 12

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
64GB
Condition
New
Price
$579*
MSRP: $829*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.1"

Screen Resolution

2532 x 1170 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

A14 Bionic Chip pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Operating System

iOS 14

Back Camera

Dual 12MP

Front Camera

12MP

HDR for Photos

HDR

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 20 hours

Dimensions

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm

Weight

164g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

nano

eSIM

Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Attractive design

  • Fantastic audio quality

  • 5G compatible

  • Amazing OLED display

Cons

  • No charger or headphones included

  • Battery life

  • Not much camera upgrade

Best iPhone 12 Pro Deals

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
128GB
Condition
New
Price
$749*
MSRP: $999*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.1"

Screen Resolution

2532 x 1170 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

A14 Bionic Chip pixels

Internal Memory

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Operating System

iOS 14

Back Camera

12MP (Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto)

Front Camera

12MP

HDR for Photos

HDR

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Dimensions

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm

Weight

189g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

nano

eSIM

Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Bright and colorful OLED display

  • Good photo quality

  • 5G compatible

  • Good quality speakers

  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Shorter battery life than iPhone 11

  • No charger or headphones included

Best iPhone 12 Pro Max Deals

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
128GB
Condition
New
Price
$849*
MSRP: $1,099*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.7"

Screen Resolution

2778 x 1284 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

A14 Bionic Chip pixels

Internal Memory

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Operating System

iOS 14

Back Camera

12MP (Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto)

Front Camera

12MP

HDR for Photos

HDR

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Dimensions

160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4mm

Weight

228g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

nano

eSIM

Yes

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable and water resistant

  • Large OLED screen

  • 5G compatible

  • Great battery life and fast charging

  • Photo and video quality

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Heavy

  • No charger or headphones

Unlocked iPhone 11 deals

Best iPhone 11 Deals

Apple iPhone 11

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
64GB
Condition
New
Price
$349*
MSRP: $599*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.1"

Screen Resolution

1792 x 828 pixels

HDR Screen

No pixels

Processor

A13 Bionic pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Operating System

iOS 13

Back Camera

12MP (Dual)

Front Camera

12MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 17 hours (video playback)

Dimensions

150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm

Weight

194g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

Yes

Model Number

A2111

User Manual

Apple iPhone 11 User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tougher and water resistant design

  • Great quality speakers

  • Good photos from main camera

  • Excellent selfie photo and video quality

  • Powerful A13 processor

Cons

  • No screen update

  • Storage starts at 64GB

  • Only a 5W charger included

Best iPhone 11 Pro Deals

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Powered by:
Network
AT&T
Storage
64GB
Condition
New
Price
$649*
MSRP: $899*$250 off with 20GB data plan
Device Specs

Screen Size

5.8"

Screen Resolution

2436 x 1125 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

A13 Bionic pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 256GB, 512GB

Operating System

iOS 13

Back Camera

12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto

Front Camera

12MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 18 hours (video playback)

Dimensions

144 x 71.4 x 8.1mm

Weight

188g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

Yes

Model Number

A2160

User Manual

Apple iPhone 11 Pro User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Fast charging battery

  • Quality stereo speakers

  • Amazing video quality

  • Fast A13 processor

Cons

  • Ultra wide camera lacks autofocus

  • Very expensive

  • No headphone jack

Best Unlocked Galaxy deals

Unlocked Galaxy S20 5G deals

Unlocked Galaxy Note 20 deals

Unlocked Galaxy S10 deals

Best Galaxy S10 Deals

Samsung Galaxy S10

Powered by:
Network
Verizon
Storage
128GB
Condition
New
Price
$699
MSRP: $699
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.1"

Screen Resolution

3040 x 1440 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 855 pixels

Internal Memory

128GB, 512GB

Operating System

Android 9.0 (Pie)

Back Camera

12MP, 12MP, 16MP (Triple)

Front Camera

10MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 34 hours

Standby Time

Up to 3.67 days

Dimensions

149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm

Weight

157 g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-G973U

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy S10 User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Compact size

  • Amazing photo and video quality

  • Stunning display

  • Reverse wireless charging

Cons

  • Fingerprint reader accuracy

  • Average battery life

  • No auto focus on Ultra wide camera

  • Slow charging

Best Galaxy S10+ Deals

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Powered by:
Network
Verizon
Storage
128GB
Condition
New
Price
$799
MSRP: $799
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.4"

Screen Resolution

3040 x 1440 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 855 pixels

Internal Memory

128GB, 512GB, 1TB

Operating System

Android 9.0 (Pie)

Back Camera

12MP, 12MP, 16MP (Triple)

Front Camera

10MP, 8MP (Dual)

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 39 hours

Standby Time

Up to 4.17 days

Dimensions

157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm

Weight

175g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-G975U

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy S10+ User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Has a headphone jack

  • Reverse wireless charging

  • In screen fingerprint sensor

  • Amazing photo and video quality

  • Spectacular display

Cons

  • No autofocus on ultra-wide cam

  • Slow software update

  • Low light selfies

  • Night mode needs improvement

Best Galaxy S10e Deals

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Powered by:
Network
Verizon
Storage
128GB
Condition
New
Price
$579
MSRP: $579
Device Specs

Screen Size

5.8"

Screen Resolution

2280 x 1080 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 855 pixels

Internal Memory

128GB, 256GB

Operating System

Android 9.0 (Pie)

Back Camera

12MP, 16MP (Dual)

Front Camera

10MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

4K, FHD, HD

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 31 hours

Standby Time

Up to 3.33 days

Dimensions

142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm

Weight

150 g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-G970U

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy S10e User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Compact size

  • Outstanding display

  • Amazing build quality

  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Fingerprint reader placement

  • Autofocus is needed on ultra-wide angle camera

  • Night mode needs improvement

Unlocked refurbished phone deals

Best Galaxy A10e Deals

Samsung Galaxy A10e

Powered by:
Network
Unlocked
Storage
32GB
Condition
Refurbished
Price
$101
MSRP: $179
Device Specs

Screen Size

5.8"

Screen Resolution

720 x 1560 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

Exynos 7884 pixels

Internal Memory

32GB

Operating System

Android 9.0 (Pie)

Back Camera

8MP

Front Camera

5MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

FHD

Wireless Charging

No

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 23 hours

Dimensions

147.3 x 69.6 x 8.4mm

Weight

141g

Splash Proof

No

Water Resistant

No

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-A102UZKAXAA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great battery life

  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Lacks good performance

  • Poor sound quality

  • No fingerprint sensor

  • Not water-resistant

Best Galaxy S7 edge Deals

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Powered by:
Network
Verizon
Storage
32GB
Condition
Refurbished
Price
$119
MSRP: $780
Best Deals
Device Specs

Screen Size

5.5"

Screen Resolution

2560 x 1440 pixels

HDR Screen

No pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 820 pixels

Internal Memory

32GB

Operating System

Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)

Back Camera

12MP

Front Camera

5MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

HD, 4K

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

No

Talk Time

Up to 27 hours

Dimensions

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm

Weight

157g

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-G935V

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good battery life

  • Improved camera

  • Water resistant

  • MicroSD support up to 200GB expandable memory

  • Fast focusing camera

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Glass design makes it fragile

  • Glass back is a fingerprint magnet

  • Touchwiz is not fully optimized

Best Galaxy S8 Deals

Samsung Galaxy S8

Powered by:
Network
Unlocked
Storage
64GB
Condition
Refurbished
Price
$161
MSRP: $725
Best Deals
Device Specs

Screen Size

5.8"

Screen Resolution

2960 x 1440 pixels

HDR Screen

No pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 835 pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Operating System

Android 7.0 (Nougat)

Back Camera

12MP

Front Camera

8MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

HD, 4K

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 20 hours

Dimensions

148.9 x 68.1 x 8mm

Weight

155g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-G950U

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy S8 User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent camera

  • Large and amazing display

  • Headphone jack

  • MicroSD Support

Cons

  • Poor Battery life

  • Badly placed fingerprint sensor

  • Fragile

Best Galaxy Note8 Deals

Samsung Galaxy Note8

Powered by:
Network
Verizon
Storage
64GB
Condition
Refurbished
Price
$272
MSRP: $930
Best Deals
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.3"

Screen Resolution

2960 x 1440 pixels

HDR Screen

No pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 835 pixels

Internal Memory

64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Operating System

Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)

Back Camera

12MP

Front Camera

8MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

HD, 4K

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Talk Time

Up to 22 hours

Dimensions

162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6mm

Weight

195g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-N950U

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy Note8 User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Two cameras take fantastic pictures

  • MicroSD expansion

  • 6GB of RAM

  • Amazing design and build

Cons

  • Badly placed fingerprint reader

  • Quite big and heavy

  • Speaker is weak

Best Galaxy S9+ Deals

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Powered by:
Network
Unlocked
Storage
64GB
Condition
Refurbished
Price
$230
MSRP: $839
Best Deals
Device Specs

Screen Size

6.2"

Screen Resolution

2960 x 1440 pixels

HDR Screen

Yes pixels

Processor

Snapdragon 845 pixels

Internal Memory

128GB

Operating System

Android 8.0 (Oreo)

Back Camera

12MP

Front Camera

8MP

HDR for Photos

Yes

Video Resolution

HD, 4K

Wireless Charging

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

Dimensions

158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm

Weight

189g

Splash Proof

IP68

Water Resistant

Yes

WiFi & 4G Calling

Yes

GPS

Yes

SIM Card

Nano

eSIM

No

Model Number

SM-G965U

User Manual

Samsung Galaxy S9+ User Manual

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Long battery life

  • Great display

  • Camera performance

  • High-end build

  • Wireless charging

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Fragile all glass design

  • No major upgrades

Unlocked phone benefits

When it comes to value the best unlocked smartphone deals are in the used and refurbished market.

Benefits of buying a refurbished smartphone:

  • Save money: You can get a popular device just a model or two old for about half the retail price.

  • Keep your freedom: Having an unlocked, paid-off phone means you can switch to a new carrier if you find a better deal.

  • Plenty of reliable sellers: The used cell phone industry is booming, resulting in a variety of reputable sellers to choose from, stocking everything from Samsung unlocked phones to unlocked iPhones and more.

  • Repairs are easy: With this market growth many affordable phone repair services are available.

  • More bang for your buck: You could spend up to $1000 on a shiny new smartphone only to get a couple of small upgrades from the previous model. It's seldom worth the price hike.

Key considerations when buying an unlocked phone

Now that you know why buying a used or refurbished phone online is a budget-wise decision here are some things to keep in mind while shopping:

  • Refurbished vs. used - used smartphones come as-is, while refurbs are devices which have been repaired and repackaged for sale.

  • Returns - choose a seller with a solid return policy in case the item doesn't meet your expectations.

  • Warranties - many sites offer a warranty on their products. These range from 30 days (from BuyBackWorld, for example) to a full year, like Decluttr offers.

  • Device compatibility: As we discussed above, you may experience problems taking a CDMA phone to a GSM network and vice versa. Your best bet is to compare unlocked cell phones made for the specific network you want. For example, if you have T-Mobile, look for the best T-Mobile cell phone deals.

  • Certification - some sellers offer certified iPhones and Android devices so you can be sure it's been put through rigorous testing.

  • Condition - some sellers use "grades" to indicate the phones condition. A is the best, B may have some minor wear, C has visible defects. Other sites use "Excellent", "Good", and "Fair" to convey the same information.

  • Payment plans - more and more sites are offering device payments. These typically come with high interest so think hard before taking advantage of the offer.

If you have the luxury of time, you'll find the cheapest unlocked phone prices when you buy right before a new model comes out. For example, when the Samsung Galaxy S9 came out, the price of used Samsung Galaxy S8 phones dropped considerably.

What is an unlocked phone?

An unlocked phone is a device that has been released from its tie to the original carrier. When you buy a phone through, say, T-Mobile, until that phone is unlocked you can't, for example, take that phone to AT&T.

In order for a phone to be unlocked from the carrier:

  • The account must be in good standing.

  • The phone must not have been reported stolen.

  • The remaining balance on any device payments must be paid off.

The exception to the rule is Verizon Wireless - Verizon phones come unlocked. The carrier had announced plans to implement a locking period at the end of 2018 but at the time of this writing that hasn't happened yet.

Can you use an unlocked phone on any network?

Yes, and no. The two types of signals used in wireless technology are GSM and CDMA. AT&T and T Mobile operate on GSM networks, Sprint and Verizon on CDMA.

While you may be able to take a GSM phone to a CDMA network and vice versa, only your 4G signal will work. If your signal drops down to 3G your phone will become a paperweight.

If your phone is a universal (sometimes called global) unlocked phone, it is designed for full functionality on both technologies. There are only a few models of global unlocked versions. These devices are more expensive, but come in handy if you're a frequent international traveler because you can just pop in a new SIM card at your destination.

COMPARE NOW: Unlocked Cell Phone Prices

Cheap cell phone plans

If you're buying an unlocked phone in order to switch carriers you'll be happy to know you can save up to 50% off your cell phone bill by going with an MVNO.

Switch to a low cost carrier

Mobile Virtual Network Operators - MVNOs - are smaller carriers that buy or lease extra space on the big four networks. Lower overhead allows them to sell service to you at a lower cost than you'd pay a major wireless carrier.

MVNO benefits

  • Cheap cell phone plans.

  • Service on the same reliable 4G LTE networks you're used to.

  • Freedom from contracts, credit checks, and overage fees - cancel any time.

  • Custom plans so you only pay for what you need.

  • Bring your own phone and number.

MVNOs offer all the same options as the big guys. Choose exactly what you need - from family plans to unlimited data plans and everything in between.

There are MVNOs for all four major networks - AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.

COMPARE NOW: Cheap Cell Phone Plans

Sell Your Old Phone for Cash

Don't leave that old device lying around - turn it into extra cold, hard cash in your wallet!

When you sell your phone instead of trading it in you'll get cash instead of credit, plus you'll get a higher offer for it, especially if it's in great condition.

Recap

Buying a used unlocked cell phone can save you more than 50% off retail. It's a great deal as long as you:

  • Compare prices before buying.

  • Choose a site or seller that meets your wants and needs (price, warranty, shipping, etc.)

  • Compare cell phone plans from MVNOs to maximize your savings.

  • Sell your old phone for cash.

Rob Webber
Rob Webber

Rob has 15+ years experience in the US and UK running price comparison sites for cell phone plans, smartphone deals, TV, and internet. He loves thinking outside of the box to build tools that empower consumers to make more informed decisions.