Best Online Auction Websites

Use bidding websites like eBay to score awesome deals

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 Best Online Auction Websites

Lifewire / Design by Amelia Manley

If you're looking for great deals, there's a good chance you'll find some on an online auction website. Whether you're looking for jewelry, clothes, books, a car, house, or even a piece of land, they're all available at bargain prices on these bidding websites.

Collectors — from Star Wars to Disney — will also appreciate these websites because frequenting them is a great way to expand your collection without breaking the bank.

There are also many specialty online auctions

eBay: Where the World Goes to Shop

eBay auction item
What We Like
  • Well-established site with well-considered policies and procedures.

  • Buyer and seller reputations are a key part of transactions.

  • Just about everything can be found on eBay.

What We Don't Like
  • "Professional" buyers often engage in last-minute bidding wars, to the detriment of casual users.

  • The feedback system is, in some ways, a form of Mutually Assured Destruction.

eBay is one of the oldest auction sites online, and it offers a huge array of items, from diamonds to used clothes and even real estate. Buyers can bid or buy instantly, and sellers can use eBay to get rid of unwanted items. 

The company claims to be where the world goes to shop, sell, and give. There doesn't seem to be anything you can't find at this bargain-hunters behemoth. Place your bids from your computer or with the eBay auction app.

Sometimes, too much of a good thing is tough to navigate. Learn how to search eBay to find the product you're looking for, but remember that there are also other sites like it, as you'll see below.

ShopGoodwill: A Nonprofit That Benefits People in Need

Goodwill auction website listing
What We Like
  • Proceeds benefit a good cause.

  • Lots of unique finds.

  • Easy-to-use platform.

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of chaff to sift to find the wheat.

  • Donations can be cherry-picked by Goodwill staff.

Goodwill is a nonprofit organization that operates retail stores to raise money for people with disabilities or who otherwise need a helping hand. Its bidding website, ShopGoodwill, is a collaborative effort from Goodwill stores all across the United States and provides an impressive variety of all sorts of products.

Some of the categories of items that go for auction on Goodwill include For The Home, Bulk, Art, Tools, Wedding, Clothing, Musical Instruments, Pet Supplies, Computers & Electronics, Sports, Bath & Body, and Toys/Dolls/Games.

Listia: No Cash Needed. Just Donate Your Old Items

Listia online auction site listing
What We Like
  • Interesting take on the online auction experience.

  • Earn in-app currency through referrals as well as through sales.

What We Don't Like
  • Credit system is unnecessarily complex.

  • Not many users.

Instead of using cash to bid, Listia offers credits to users, so all the items are technically free.

Here's how it works: First, a Listia user lists something they don't want anymore. Then, other users bid on it using credits they earn from referring friends or selling their own merchandise. The user who bids the most credits wins the item.

Another way to look at this auction site is as a trading system, but since not all items are equal in value, you're given credits to use for other trades.

Depending on the item and where it's being sold from, some things can be purchased online as digital orders, shipped to you for free or a fee (which you'll need real money for), or can be picked up locally.

GovDeals: Government Surplus and Confiscated Items

GovDeals auction website
What We Like
  • Diversity of items, from office supplies to heavy industrial equipment.

  • Very clear terms and conditions for each sale.

  • Legitimate government sales.

What We Don't Like
  • Most places don't ship, so you'll need to pick up items yourself or arrange for shipping.

  • Online listings aren't always written by people with experience in sales and marketing.

GovDeals is the official portal to government auctions. There are dozens of categories of products to bid on, such as janitorial equipment, batteries, aviation, lumber, gambling machines, trailers, all-terrain vehicles, commercial furnaces, motorcycles, exercise equipment, and real estate.

The rules and regulations vary depending on the participating agency, and you deal directly with the agency after you're awarded a bid.

The deals are great, but be sure to inquire about packaging and shipping of an item before you place your bid because most sellers don't ship, pack, or palletize. You may be responsible for picking it up or paying someone to transport it.

PropertyRoom: Online Police Auctions

PropertyRoom auction site listing
What We Like
  • Wide variety of items.

  • Includes items sold by law enforcement agencies and items seized from criminal defendants.

  • Clean, easy-to-use website.

What We Don't Like
  • Hit-or-miss listings.

  • Work directly with the police department, so pick-up arrangements vary.

  • Titles may be complicated because of state-specific forms related to asset seizures.

Law enforcement is required by law to auction seized, found and unclaimed personal property at a public forum. An amazing number of goods are seized regularly, and the PropertyRoom bidding site aims to make it all available via public police auctions. Not surprisingly, there are tons of vehicles on the site, but it also features electronics, jewelry, art, coins, watches, and more.

PropertyRoom works with more than 4,100 law enforcement and municipal agencies, so the selection is vast and constantly changing. 

Municibid: Municipal Surplus and Forfeitures

Municibid auction site listing
What We Like
  • Items from city/state-level government agencies up for bid.

  • Wide range of items.

What We Don't Like
  • Not many participating jurisdictions.

  • Draconian charges accrue if you default on a bid.

  • There is an automatic 9% fee when you win a bid and is charged to your credit card.

Have you ever wondered how you can get your hands on something the government doesn't want anymore? Municibid is your best bet. This is an auction website for government agencies, schools, authorities, and utilities to sell their surplus and forfeitures directly to the public.

Auction items include cars, boats, furniture, computers, kitchen equipment, and much more. 

Webstore: Rare and Collectible Merchandise

Webstore watch at auction
What We Like
  • Eclectic batches of items.

  • Similar to eBay.

What We Don't Like
  • Grotesque site design.

  • Too many ads.

Webstore is an auction site supported by donations and advertisements, so costs are kept low and there are no membership fees.

Although not everything is sold on this site, their online auctions are highly rated for rare and collectible merchandise and state-of-the-art electronics.

Auction categories include Cameras, Art, Music, Sports Memorabilia, Real Estate, Bullion, Books & Magazines, Clothing, DVDs & Movies, Jewelry, Pottery, Travel, Tickets, Specialty Services, and more.

Auction Zip: Join Live Auctions Online

AuctionZip live auction website
What We Like
  • Site design mimics an auction hall.

  • Real-time bidding.

  • Clean site design.

What We Don't Like
  • Some auction lots are huge.

  • Registration barrier precludes random browsing.

If you're looking for live auctions, AuctionZip is the place to go. These live auctions are events that you can view right from your web browser to bid for items online at the same time as other bidders on the auction floor.

With live bidding, you can access auctions around the world and get in on all the action without any software to download or special tools to buy. The website lists auctions that are currently live and ones that are upcoming.

After you register to bid, you go straight to an auction to watch what's happening and bid in real-time if you see something you like.

Catawiki: Unique and Specialty Items

Catawiki auction site listing
What We Like
  • Specializes in unique items.

  • All items are sent within three business days.

  • Huge number of filtering options.

What We Don't Like
  • 12.5% fee for every purchase, and it's not included in the bid price.

  • Must change the billing currency in your settings if you don't use the Euro.

Catawiki describes itself as an auction site with "inspiring objects to discover every week." There are over 300 auctions on this site each week and lots of unique finds to sift through.

You can find auctions for everything from modern and contemporary art to stamps, classic cars, and jewelry. All items are handpicked and verified by their staff, which is comprised of over 100 experts.

They also have a mobile app that you can use to place bids on the go.

IRS Auctions: Focuses on Big-Ticket Items

U.S. Department of Treasury auction website
What We Like
  • A legitimate site operated by the U.S. Department of Treasury, not an intermediate contractor.

  • Emphasis on high-value items.

What We Don't Like
  • Complexity of working with federal procedures.

  • Limited availability. About 300 auctions per year.

Don't let this somewhat barebones website fool you; the IRS Treasury Auctions site is a treasure trove of items that you won't find anywhere else.

Every item on this auction site is under the authority of the Internal Revenue Code, and the properties described were seized or acquired for nonpayment of internal revenue taxes and therefore sold at auction.

The auctions are a bit more complicated than you'll find at other auction sites, but the items tend to be higher-ticket such as homes and land. They include great deals on anything from jewelry and art to commercial property. 

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