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Used Cell Phones

Compare cheap used cell phone deals

Deal of the Month: Pure Talk - $250 off iPhone SE
AppleiPhone 664GB
Apple iPhone 6
MSRP: $749$74See Deals
AppleiPhone 616GB
Apple iPhone 6
MSRP: $649$80See Deals
AppleiPhone 6S64GB
Apple iPhone 6S
MSRP: $749$84See Deals
SamsungGalaxy S732GB
Samsung Galaxy S7
MSRP: $670$84See Deals
AppleiPhone SE16GB
Apple iPhone SE
$85See Deals
SamsungGalaxy A10e32GB
Samsung Galaxy A10e
MSRP: $179$87See Deals
AppleiPhone 6S32GB
Apple iPhone 6S
$91See Deals
AppleiPhone 6S16GB
Apple iPhone 6S
MSRP: $649$95See Deals
AppleiPhone 632GB
Apple iPhone 6
$98See Deals
AppleiPhone 6S128GB
Apple iPhone 6S
MSRP: $849$105See Deals
SamsungGalaxy A1132GB
Samsung Galaxy A11
MSRP: $179$109See Deals
SamsungGalaxy A2032GB
Samsung Galaxy A20
MSRP: $249$110See Deals
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Disclaimer: MoneySavingPro is a free price comparison service but we do not provide service directly. We do our best to keep all the information up to date but there may be some discrepancies between the price you pay.

Used cell phone prices in 2021

If you're on a budget, a brand new smartphone may not be the best choice. Even with a device payment plan, a new phone can add $30 to $50 a month to your cell phone bill. Nowadays, the latest smartphone may be priced higher than a 60-inch 4K television!

Fortunately, there are plenty of great options, even for the tightest of budgets. The used smartphone industry is growing exponentially. The International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that the number of used smartphones in the refurbished phone market will increase from 81.3 million in 2015 to 222.6 million in 2020.

This high demand is due to multiple factors:

  • The average smartphone cost is rising at a rate of 10% year-over-year and now sits at $363.

  • Smartphone owners may recoup up to 50% of the original price when they sell their device, which is a good deal for both the buyer and the seller.

So how do you find a good condition used smartphone at an affordable price? Stay tuned, we'll answer that question in the following guide.

Used Smartphones

What exactly do we mean by "used phone"? There are two types of secondhand devices:

  1. Refurbished: This term refers to pre-owned devices that have been repaired and/or inspected and repackaged to be resold. These may be manufacturer refurbished phones or they may be serviced by a third party.

  2. Used: If a device is being sold simply as "used", that means the phone comes as-is. Even when this is the case, however, reputable websites test and verify the quality before selling the phone.

Terms used to indicate the condition of a used phone include:

  • Excellent/Mint: The screen and body are in excellent condition. If there are blemishes, they are minimal.

  • Good: The screen is very good. There may be small scuffs or nicks on the side or back.

  • Fair: The screen is good. There are scuffs and nicks on the side and back. Blemishes are easily hidden with a cover.

The used smartphone market is nothing new. Apple and Samsung have been taking advantage of this demand for many years. In fact, the two hold close to 75 percent of market share in the refurbished phone industry.

Why Choose a Refurbished/Used Smartphone?

The advantages of buying a smartphone make it an obvious choice for the budget-conscious consumer:

  • Third-party repair stores can fix cracked screens and other common issues for less than the cost of a new phone.

  • Flagship price tags are driving consumers toward more affordable solutions.

  • New smartphone models only offer minor upgrades compared to previous models. Waiting two or three years for a significant change to your favorite device makes much more sense - for you and your wallet.

Do You Really Need a New Smartphone?

That shiny brand new phone is tempting, I know. But consider this - why pay $200 for a bottom of the range Samsung when you can get a top of the range Samsung Galaxy from two years ago for the same price? You'll get better features like a bigger screen and better camera for about the same cost as that budget phone.

Has Your Carrier Offered You a "FREE" Upgrade?

It's time to recondition your thinking! Nothing in life is free and neither is the "FREE" phone your carrier is offering. The cost is simply bundled into your monthly price. Even worse, these payments lock you to a carrier even though major wireless companies aren't making customers sign contracts anymore.

A new iPhone X will set you back over $1k. That's over $40 a month over two years. Why not just buy a refurbished iPhone 7 for $400 and spend the rest on a vacation?

Carriers should not dictate when you upgrade your phone, if it's one to two years old, there's probably no need to change it.

Key Considerations When Buying a Refurbished Smartphone Online

Even at a discount, a smartphone is a considerable investment. Take these factors into account when looking for used cell phones for sale:

  • Warranty: Some sellers, like Gazelle, offer a 30-day warranty on their products. Others, like Swappa, don't offer this service.

  • Returns: Most used phone marketplaces offer a 30-day no-fuss return policy for peace of mind. Some offer as long as 90 days to return your device.

  • Shipping & Handling: This is typically included for free.

  • Certification: Gazelle and Decluttr put their phones through rigorous tests before being sent out, similar to the way used car dealers inspect vehicles.

  • Insurance: Third-party insurance companies like SquareTrade offer coverage on any phone, new or used. The cost is typically under $10 per month.

  • Smartphone financing: Gazelle allows you to pay monthly if you choose, through a third-party financier called Affirm. This option is rarely a good deal as you'll typically pay high-interest rates. It's much better to simply pay in full.

Choosing your model

Once you've decided where you want to buy your phone, use the following tips to choose a model.

  • Compatibility: There are two different technologies used in smartphones - GSM and CDMA (GSM - T-Mobile & AT&T, CDMA - Verizon & Sprint). While some phones can operate on both types of networks you'll have the best compatibility if you match the phone to the network's technology.

  • Unlocking Your Smartphone: Most smartphones come locked to their carrier. The only exception is Verizon - most of their devices come already unlocked.

  • Comparing Prices: You could jump around from site to site to find the best deal or you could just use our price comparison engine.

  • Consider timing: People are eager to get rid of their old device so they can get their hands on the new one. So the best time to buy an iPhone 7 is when the iPhone 8 releases.

  • Consider depreciation: Just like cars, some brands hold their value better than others. When buying a phone consider that Apple iPhones depreciate less than all other brands, followed by Samsung Galaxy.

  • Pro Tip: There isn't much of a second-hand market for brands outside of Apple, Samsung, and Google. It's worth sticking with one of the big guns.

Pros and Cons of Used Smartphone Sellers

We've broken down the advantages and disadvantages of our favorite sites for selling your phone:

Compare Used Phones

We've done most of the work for you in finding the best deals on everything from Apple refurbished phones to Verizon used cell phones and Samsung refurbished phones. Compared used phones online quickly and easily.

Sell Your Current Phone

You can put cash in your pocket easily by selling your device while you're buying a new one. Find out everything you need to know about the best way to sell your old phone. Be sure to compare offers so you get the most money possible out of your device.

How To Save Even More Money

Now that you've saved a bundle on your next smartphone, why not save 50% or more on your cell phone service? Consider Switching To an MVNO:

Mobile Virtual Network Operators - or MVNOs - are smaller carriers that lease extra capacity from the major wireless carriers - AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint - and sell it to consumers at a lower monthly cost. How are they doing this? They have lower overhead and spend much less on marketing. Most MVNOs don't have brick-and-mortar locations, which means you can sign up completely online without ever setting foot in a store.

Why choose an MVNO? You get:

  • Lower rates

  • The same 4G LTE mobile network you already enjoy

  • No contracts or credit checks as most operate as prepaid carriers

  • Customized plans so you only pay for what you actually need

  • Simple online sign-up process, just swap SIM cards

  • BYOP - bring your own phone (and keep your phone number)

Compare cell phone plans to find the best fit for you.

Recap

By simply changing your thinking about how to buy a smartphone and cell phone service you can save over half of what you're used to paying.

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.

Used Smartphone FAQs

How do I get the best used smartphone deal?

Used smartphone prices start at $74, compared to new models that often cost over $1,000. The prices vary by model, condition and memory size. Buying refurbished or used is a great way to save money. Always compare deals to ensure you get the cheapest used smartphone price.

Will used smartphone prices drop?

Used smartphone prices drop over time. The best time to buy a used or refurbished used smartphone is always just after the newer models are released. Find the best deal on a used smartphone by comparing prices online.

What's the difference between a used and refurbished smartphone?

A refurbished smartphone has gone through multiple checks by a specialist company and comes with a certified warranty for between 1-12 months and also includes a no risk returns policy. While a used used smartphone will generally be the cheapest option, it will not have a warranty because you'll be buying it directly from the individual seller.