The Best Trade-in Programs for Your iPhone, iPad, or Laptop of 2021

Plus, one you should avoid

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While the best bang for your buck is selling your device yourself, electronics trade-in programs can be convenient for those who don't have the time to sell, don't want to deal with the hassle of selling, or want the safest overall option to receive cash for their iPhone, iPad, or laptop. Trade-in programs tend to make the process simple, either by mailing you packaging to send your device in or letting you print out a mailing label to ship it for free, with cash (or store credit) hitting your account after the device arrives. Here are some of the best trade-in programs currently available (plus one you should avoid).

In preparing this list, we used an iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi only with 16 GB of storage to compare prices across the most popular programs. Prices of other electronics will vary, so you may want to check several trade-in programs for the best price.

Best Overall Trade-in: Gazelle

Screenshot of the Gazelle homepage
What We Like
  • Accepts cellphones, tablets, and broken iPhones.

  • Payment by Amazon gift card, Paypal, or check.

  • Free shipping for items worth $1 or more.

  • Get paid immediately at drop-off kiosks

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't buy e-readers like Kindle or Nook.

  • Doesn't buy non-Apple laptops or desktops.

Gazelle has stepped up its game recently, going from middle-of-the-pack to one of the best overall places for trading in your electronics. You can get a better deal with other sites if you're willing to take in-store credit rather than cold, hard cash, but if you want money in your hand, Gazelle has risen to the top.

Best Trade-In for Store Credit: Amazon

Screenshot of the Amazon Trade-In homepage
What We Like
  • Free shipping with a printable label.

  • Accepts Kindle e-readers, tablets, cellphones, and other electronics.

  • Immediate trade-in offers.

What We Don't Like
  • No trade-ins for laptops or desktops.

  • 10 business days to process payments.

Amazon doesn't offer cash for your devices, but considering the wide range of products sold by the largest online retailer, Amazon credit is the next best thing. It generally offers as much or more than other trade-in programs and does a fairly good job on the customer service side. 

Best Trade-In for Apple Products: Apple

The Apple store

KENA BETANCUR / Getty Images 

What We Like
  • Accepts Apple and other brands.

  • Recycles other brands if a trade-in isn't offered.

  • Pre-paid trade-in kits and shipping labels.

What We Don't Like
  • Accepts limited manufacturers and models for trade-ins.

  • Payment by Apple Store Gift card or as store credit toward an Apple device.

  • Trade-in process takes 2-3 weeks.

Apple has one of the best iPad trade-in programs around. The trade-in actually offers more value than Gazelle or Amazon, but Apple pays out in-store credit toward a purchase or Apple Store gift cards only. This makes it an excellent choice if you're planning to upgrade to the latest and greatest Apple gadget, but not if you're looking to buy a non-Apple product with the money.

Best Alternative: Glyde

Screenshot of the Glyde website homepage
What We Like
  • Buy or sell price guaranteed through TessaB blockchain technology.

  • Payments in cash or cryptocurrencies.

  • Quick quiz tells you how much your device is worth.

What We Don't Like
  • Glyde accepts Apple and Samsung devices for trade-in only.

  • International shipping is not available.

  • Trade-in credit applicable to certain Glyde devices only.

Glyde isn't actually a trade-in program, but it tries to make the process of selling your iPad similar enough that it deserves a mention on this list. If you like the prospect of getting more cash for your iPad, but you find eBay a little imposing, Glyde could be your solution.

It simplifies the buy-sell process by using a blockchain-powered ecosystem called TessaB. You can use TessaB to directly sell your device or you can trade it into Glyde for credit towards a higher-quality pre-owned device.

Best for Gamers: GameStop

Game Stop store

Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

What We Like
  • Trade in games, electronics, consoles, and more.

  • Many locations throughout the U.S.

What We Don't Like
  • Must bring items to store for trade-in.

  • Most trades are paid with in-store credit.

  • Some trade-in offers available to PowerUp Rewards members only.

If you're a gamer, GameStop is a good option. Its baseline store credit isn't as good as you might find with Amazon, and you won't get the cash Gazelle gives you, but if you join the PowerUp Rewards program you'll get some decent deals. GameStop has lots of locations throughout the U.S., and some of them offer cash instead of store credit (you won't get nearly as much value for your trade this way, though).

Best In-Store Trade-In: Best Buy

Best Buy Store Front
Image provided by Best Buy
What We Like
  • Accepts a large variety of devices.

  • Trade in devices at a local store or by mail.

  • Pre-paid shipping labels.

  • Will recycle devices with no trade-in value.

What We Don't Like
  • Trade-ins are limited to three of the same item in a 12-month period.

  • Part of your offer includes the cost of shipping.

  • Offers less value than other sites on this list.

Best Buy's trade-in program is middle-of-the-pack, with prices slightly lower than what you can get from other trade-in companies on this list. They also deal in store credit rather than cash. But, if you have a Best Buy around the corner, this may be the fastest of the bunch if you plan on trading in a device and upgrading to a new one.

Best Trade-In Shopper: Flipsy

Screenshot of the Flipsy website homepage
What We Like
  • Finds the best prices for your trade-ins from over 20 sites.

  • Lists the best places to donate used cell phones.

  • Displays device condition, payment type, and processing time.

What We Don't Like
  • Does not take trade-ins.

  • Not a reseller; brokers for other vendors.

  • It doesn't list all trade-in services.

If you want to get the absolute best price for your trade-in, you need to shop all of the trade-in programs. Just because one may offer more for an iPad Air 2 doesn't mean they offer the best for an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone.  

That's where Flipsy comes into the picture. It's not a trade-in program, but it searches trade-in programs for the best price. Unfortunately, it can't search every service, though, so you won't see price comparisons from Amazon or Apple. 

Best to Avoid: MaxBack


Courtesy of MaxBack 

What We Like
  • Free shipping for items that have a value.

  • Businesses can trade in bulk.

  • Companies can sell electronics in bulk.

What We Don't Like
  • Monetary offers are low.

MaxBack's focus on the environment sounds nice, but it makes this list as a warning rather than a recommendation. The program stinks of a way to take advantage of those who want a "green" alternative. But, here's the thing: All trade-in programs are "green" ways to cash in on your device, because someone else buys your electronics and uses them. MaxBack's offers are lower than other websites on this list as well.

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