The Best Places to Trade In Your Laptop for the Most Money

Illustration for article titled The Best Places to Trade In Your Laptop for the Most Money

Ready to upgrade that old computer? Several sites will let you trade in your laptop for cash or gift cards, and even pay the shipping to send it to them. I researched some of the more popular places you can trade in your laptop to see which ones pony up the most.

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that trading in your laptop isn’t the most lucrative option. You’ll probably make more money by selling your used laptop on places like Craigslist or eBay, depending on your particular machine. However, that’s more work than some people would like to do, and if you don’t have a popular laptop, there’s a chance it won’t sell. Trading in your laptop is the quickest and easiest route to go if you just want to get rid of the old thing and get a few bucks back.

I got online quotes for about a dozen laptop models from seven trade-in sites. Most people only hang onto their laptops for a few years before replacing them, so I used laptops that were released between 2011 and 2014. The laptops also represent a range of different models, from budget PCs to gaming laptops. For each of the online quotes, I selected “like new” or “flawless” when asked about the condition, with all the accessories included. Here are the results:

Illustration for article titled The Best Places to Trade In Your Laptop for the Most Money


I was expecting Amazon to have the best trade-in prices, but except for the Razer Blade, Gadget Salvation offered the best trade in price for Windows laptops and Mac of All Trades the best prices by far for MacBooks. These sites offer double or even triple amount the other sites were quoting. There are some caveats, however, so let’s take a look.

Sell Your Laptop on Gadget Salvation

Illustration for article titled The Best Places to Trade In Your Laptop for the Most Money

If you’ve never heard of Gadget Salvation before, you’re not alone. I hadn’t heard of it before looking up laptop trade-in sites. You might be wary of sending in your laptop to an unknown company, but Gadget Salvation is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A rating from them. Users of ResellerRatings (42 reviews) also give the company an average 8.87 out of 10 score and the site is rated 4 out of 5 stars based on the 55 reviews on Trustpilot.

Like the other sites, Gadget Salvation will send you a prepaid shipping label to send your laptop in, and will pay you via check or PayPal for your device (with the exception of Amazon, Best Buy, and Apple, which will give you a store gift card).

Gadget Salvation comes with two catches, however. First, searching for the laptop’s make and model can be frustrating. I would sometimes find duplicate laptop listings, and wasn’t sure which was the correct match. When you select the laptop model, Gadget Salvation doesn’t show you a list of specs so you can make sure the quote is for the right laptop. When I searched for the HP Pavilion G6, for example, it returned a listing for “HP Pavilion g6, gx, gt” but this series offers different processor options. So I wasn’t sure if my laptop, with an AMD processor instead of an Intel one, would generate the same estimate. In cases like these, or when your laptop can’t be found at all, I’d contact Gadget Salvation with the laptop details to make sure the estimate would be accurate. If you send in your laptop and the model or condition doesn’t match, Gadget Salvation will offer you a revised quote.

The second issue is: to get top dollar, your device should be like new. That’s the same for other trade-in sites, but Gadget Salvation’s warning that only about 1 in 10 items qualify for the “flawless” condition makes me think they’re pretty strict about your laptop being in pristine condition. Most used laptops will probably only qualify for “good.” As an example of the possible price difference: A 2011 MacBook Air that’s flawless is quoted at $223.30 on the site; switching to good drops the estimate to $182.70.

Still, Gadget Salvation’s quotes are quite higher than the other companies’, so you’ll still probably come out ahead even if your laptop doesn’t look like it just came out of the box.

Sell Your MacBook on Mac of All Trades

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Technically, the site is Mac Me an Offer, but it’s a division of Mac of All Trades. The price difference between their MacBook offers and the other sites is so great you might be thinking it’s a scam or too good to be true. But the company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and, having recently sold my iMac to them, I can vouch that the company is legit. (Apple offered me $0 for the 2010 iMac, since the hard drive was broken, Gazelle offered $50, and Mac of All Trades sent me $205.)

If your Mac isn’t working properly, as mine wasn’t, or there are any cosmetic issues, you’ll need to fill out the details in the online form and wait for an email quote from them. That took a couple of days for me. When you accept the offer, they give you a few days to send the computer in and then pay you about three days after they check out the computer. When I hadn’t received my PayPal payment a day after I was told it would arrive, I emailed the company and the payment appeared in my account that day.

While mine was a positive experience, the company does have some negative reviews on Reseller Ratings, but those are from customers who bought refurbished Macs from them. The reviews of users who sold their Macs to them all seem to be positive.

Why You Might Want to Sell Your Laptop to Other Sites

None of this is to say you shouldn’t consider other sites. Amazon, for example, might not offer the highest price, but if for some reason Amazon rejects your laptop, they’ll ship it back to you for free. Other sites, including Gadget Salvation, may charge you a return shipping fee if you decline a revised quote from them.

If you have an old laptop that isn’t eligible for trade-in with Gadget Salvation or Amazon, try Best Buy or the Apple trade-in. You can get a quote for a generic Windows laptop (i.e., you don’t have to put in a specific brand or model). It seems they really care most about the type of processor in your system and whether the laptop is in working condition.

Finally, the sites I tested aren’t the only places you can trade in your laptop, either. There may be other lesser-known sites that pay more. For any that you come across, make sure you look for reviews on the company. Cash for Laptops is one site that ranks high on Google and promises big offers for your laptop, but I found tons of negative reviews, so I chose to leave them out of the running in this article. Better to be safe than sorry—and actually get paid.

Illustration by Nick Criscuolo.