Every year, smartphone and tech companies unveil slews of new gadgets touting perks like smart features and sleek designs. These products don’t just usher in new beginnings – they also leave many people rushing to their nearest Apple Store or big-box retailers like Best Buy just so they can lay their hands on the devices. 

Now, take a moment to look at your current phone. How much did it cost you when you first bought it? If you’re thinking it was somewhere between an arm and a leg, you’re not alone. And, unfortunately, there’s only one thing that is as certain as the unending march of technological progress: the endlessly increasing cost to own said piece of tech. 

However, what if I told you there’s a way for you to get a new iPhone (or Apple Watch, iPad, or MacBook) without breaking the bank and to get rid of your old device in the process? Without a doubt, the quickest and easiest way to turn your old smartphones, tablets, and other electronics into cash is to sell them. That’s where Best Buy Trade-In comes in. 

 

Best Buy Trade-In Program Review
Best Buy Trade-In Program Review

 

Contents

How Does Best Buy Trade-In Work?
     Online vs. In-Store Trade-In
      Which Devices Does Best Buy Accept for Trade-In?
      Best Buy Trade-In Reward Options 
Best Buy Trade-In Values
     Best Buy Trade-In Deals and Promotions
Pros & Cons of Best Buy Trade-In

 

Similar to the buyback programs offered by the likes of Apple, ecoATM, Verizon, T-Mobile, and GadgetGone, Best Buy’s trade-in program turns your old, unused devices into cold, hard cash (or in this case, less-convenient-but-equally-spendable store credit). But what kind of gadgets does Best Buy accept? And how do Best Buy trade-in values stack up to the competition? Keep reading to find out.


How Does Best Buy Trade-In Work?

Simply put, Best Buy Trade-In buys used electronics like laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smartwatches from consumers who no longer need them in exchange for a Best Buy gift card. 

In general, you only need to be at least 18 years old and have an accepted product in order to trade in with Best Buy. Additionally, although you’re able to sell up to three used items a day, there are some exceptions

 

Online vs. In-Store Trade-In

If you choose to trade in with Best Buy, you have the option of either completing the trade-in online or visiting a physical location. Of course, each method has its tradeoffs.

Keep in mind that while not required everywhere, there are certain locations that, because of local requirements, only accept trade-ins of items that are on a valid Best Buy receipt. So, be sure to double-check the details for your specific Best Buy location before trading in. In the event that your local store requires a valid receipt, or if your area Best Buy doesn’t participate in the trade-in program, you can, of course, still trade in your device online. 

 

Online Trade-In

Trading in your old device using Best Buy’s online platform works in much the same way as trading in with any other buyback website. Simply find the gadget you’d like to trade in and truthfully answer some questions about the item and its condition to receive your initial trade-in quote. If you’re happy with the offer, accept it, print out the free shipping label, and send your used iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, or whatever item it might be on its merry way within 14 days.

Once Best Buy receives your used tech, they’ll evaluate the device to ensure its condition matches what you stated while initially filling out the trade-in details online. If the facts check, your Best Buy gift card will be on its way to you seven to nine days after your item is received.

If, however, your item is received more than 14 days after you originally accepted the trade-in offer or if it doesn’t meet the condition as stated online, its trade-in value will be adjusted accordingly. Should you be unhappy with the new trade-in value, no worries—Best Buy will happily send your device back to you as long as no gift card has been issued yet and you pay the shipping fee. 

 

Best Buy store - exterior
Trade in online or at a Best Buy store. | “Best Buy” by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

In-Store Trade-In

Unlike some other buyback programs (GadgetGone included), one of the advantages of using Best Buy Trade-In is the ability to complete your trade-in at a Best Buy store. Thanks to a sprawling network of storefronts in the US, Mexico, and Canada, you can easily walk into a physical location to trade. It is important to note that not every Best Buy store accepts trade-ins, so do be sure to confirm that yours does before going into the store. 

Before going into your nearest Best Buy, we recommend finding out what your device might be worth by getting a trade-in estimate online first. Then, if the quote is in the neighborhood of the amount you’d like to receive, it’s time to pop into the store. Just be sure to take your driver’s license or other state-issued ID with you; and whatever you do, DON’T ship your used devices to your nearest Best Buy location, as the only thing you’ll get from doing this is a lot of pain and heartache.

Once in the store, one of the guys in blue will assess your device’s trade-in value based on its functionality and physical appearance. If you accept the offer, you’ll leave with a gift card in-hand that same day which can be applied to any online or in-store purchase. 

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Best Buy temporarily suspended in-store trade-ins. Based on the current information on Best Buy’s website, however, the service appears to have resumed. 

 

Smartphone and tablet stacked on a laptop
Best Buy accepts cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics for trade-in.

 

Which Devices Does Best Buy Accept for Trade-In?

As you might have guessed, the sky’s the limit when it comes to trading in with a retail giant like Best Buy. If it takes batteries or plugs in, chances are that Best Buy will buy it. Specifically, Best Buy Trade-In accepts:

     •     Cell phones      •     Video games
     •     Tablets/E-readers      •     Gaming systems and controllers
     •     MP3 Players      •     Laptop and desktop computers
     •     Cameras and camcorders      •     Smartwatches and other wearables
     •     Smart speakers and other streaming devices
 

Does Best Buy Accept Cracked Phones and Tablets?

Although smartphones and tablets with damaged screens were originally only accepted for recycling, Best Buy has since updated its policy to give store credit for these devices. However, screen damage does decrease the trade-in values of these devices considerably (more on that in a bit).

 

Best Buy Trade-In Reward Options 

We don’t know about you, but for us, payment is the most important part of every trade-in transaction. Call us crazy, but not much makes us happier than earning sweet, sweet cash for our unused devices. Unfortunately, as with some other popular trade-in platforms (we’re looking at you, T-Mobile and Apple), you have only one payment option to choose from: a gift card. 

Perhaps you consider yourself a regular at your nearest Best Buy establishment, so store credit is ideal. If you’re anything like us, however, only being able to receive a gift card is a bit of a dealbreaker. Yet another dealbreaker? Best Buy’s trade-in values. 

 

Best Buy Trade-In Values

When taken as-is, Best Buy’s trade-in values are more than fair. But just how do they stack up when compared to other buyback programs? Let’s dig in and find out.

For our comparison, we decided to look at devices accepted by both GadgetGone and Best Buy (as well as Apple, T-Mobile, Verizon, Gazelle, ecoATM, and GameStop when available), specifically the iPhone 8 Plus, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro 3, Series 5 Apple Watch, and a PlayStation 4 Pro. Please note that while our quote is especially for an iPhone on the Verizon network, unlocked smartphones are generally worth more than their carrier-locked counterparts. To learn how to unlock your cell phone and maximize your payout, click here.

 

Best Buy iPhone Trade-In Value
Best Buy iPhone Trade-In Value
iPhone 8 Plus
256GB, Verizon, good condition / cracked screen
Best Buy (credit): $225 (good) / $112.50 (cracked)
Apple (credit): $210 / $0 
T-Mobile (credit): $141 / NA 
Verizon (credit): $157 / $78.50
Gazelle (cash): $158 / $62 
ecoATM (cash): $100 / $80
GadgetGone (cash): $250 / $165 

*We did not include T-Mobile in the cracked iPhone screen comparison because their online trade-in value estimator assumes that all devices are in good condition. 

 

 

Best Buy iPad Trade-In Value
Best Buy iPad Trade-In Value
iPad Pro 3
12.9”, 256GB, unlocked, WiFi + Cellular, good condition / cracked screen
Best Buy (credit): $275 (good) / $137.50 (cracked)
Apple (credit): $500 / $100
T-Mobile (credit): $455 / NA
Verizon (credit: $555 / $277.50
Gazelle (cash): $476 / $113
ecoATM (cash): $200 / $80
GadgetGone (cash): $570 / $285

*We did not include T-Mobile in the cracked iPad screen comparison because their online trade-in value estimator assumes that all devices are in good condition. 

 

 

Best Buy Apple Watch Trade-In Value
Best Buy Apple Watch Trade-In Value
Apple Watch Series 5
40mm, stainless steel, GPS + Cellular, good condition / damaged screen
Best Buy (credit): $150 (good) / $52.50 (damaged)
Apple (credit): $190 / $10
Verizon (credit): $239 / $119.50
GameStop (cash): $104 / $24
GadgetGone (cash): $240 / $55

*T-Mobile, ecoATM, or Gazelle do not accept smartwatches, so we swapped them out of this comparison and replaced them with GameStop.

 

 

Best Buy MacBook Trade-In Value
Best Buy MacBook Trade-In Value
2019 MacBook Pro
15”, 2.6GHz,  256GB hard drive, 16GB memory, signs of normal use
Best Buy (credit): $640.50 (fair condition)
Apple (credit): $1,130
Gazelle (cash): $976
GadgetGone (cash): $1,100 (good condition)

*Although both GadgetGone and Best Buy both have a “good” condition category, they are not an equal match for this device category. Specifically, while GadgetGone’s definition of good allows for “average signs of use,” Best Buy defines good as “like new” and considers fair condition as showing “signs of normal use.” Hence, we opted to label the MacBook in question as in good condition for GadgetGone and in fair condition for Best Buy. T-Mobile, Verizon, and ecoATM do not accept laptops so were not included in this comparison.

 

 

Best Buy PlayStation 4 Pro Trade-In Value
Best Buy PlayStation 4 Pro Trade-In Value
PlayStation 4 Pro
1TB, good condition with controller / without controller
Best Buy (credit): $175 (w/ controller) / $105 (w/o)
GameStop (cash): $140 / NA
GadgetGone (cash): $145 / $135

*Of the trade-in programs we are comparing, only Best Buy, GadgetGone, and GameStop accept video game consoles. GameStop’s online trade-in value estimator assumes all components, including controllers, are included.

 

As you can see from the trade-in values above, Best Buy has competitive offers for iPhones and video game consoles, as long as they are in good condition and include all the components like chargers and controllers.

However, when it comes to other Apple products like the iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch, Best Buy’s offers fall considerably below its competitors. Additionally, although Best Buy gives good trade-in values for devices with average wear and tear and all original components included, they can’t compete with those offered by GadgetGone if something is damaged or a piece is missing. 

 

Best Buy Trade-In Deals and Promotions

From time to time, Best Buy will hold special trade-in deals and promotions to help you maximize your trade-in credit. By leveraging these deals, you are able to earn extra money off of a specific device. 

As long as you and your trade-in meet the requirements, these promotions can go a long way in making Best Buy’s trade-in values more competitive. Unfortunately, as these deals are used to advertise a particular product, the only customers who are able to benefit are those who were already interested in buying the promoted device.

 

Best Buy store exterior
“Best Buy” by Ian Muttoo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Pros & Cons of Best Buy Trade-In

When it comes to trade-in methods for used electronics, we’re fortunate to have a wealth of options to pick from. For those who frequently shop at Best Buy or who prefer to buy their smartphones there instead of from their provider or directly from Apple, Best Buy Trade-In does have its benefits, namely competitive trade-in values for iPhones and video game consoles.

However, their lack of payment options (i.e. no cash) waters down any advantage they might have gained. By only offering store credit, customers are limited on how they can spend their trade-in payment. That means, if you’re not planning on making any purchases at Best Buy in the near future or if you just need some extra cash to pay an unexpected bill, you’re out of luck. 

 

Best Buy Pros: Best Buy Cons:
A wide variety of devices accepted Only offers store credit
Good trade-in values for smartphones and game consoles in good condition with all components included Less competitive trade-in values for smartphones or video game consoles with damage or missing components
Able to trade in either in-store or online (shipping your device is free) Less competitive trade-in values for other electronics
Store credit can be used immediately if trading in in-store If trading in online, payment won’t be sent until 7-9 days after your item is received
Trade-in promotions offered frequently
Condition categories are inconsistent across devices and occasionally confusing
Must pay shipping fee to have your item returned if you are unhappy with your updated trade-in value for your online trade-in
Doesn’t price-match competitors’ trade-in value offers

 

When compared to GadgetGone, the choice is clear: Unlike Best Buy’s trade-in program, trading in with GadgetGone will consistently earn you more money (in cash!), and the process is just as simple.

 

GadgetGone Pros:  GadgetGone Cons:
More freedom with payment methods (PayPal, mailed check, or Amazon gift card) Accepts only smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, and video game consoles
Shipping your device is free Can’t trade in in-store, must ship your device
Condition categories are clear and consistent Promotions rarely offered
Some of the most competitive trade-in values in the buyback industry, regardless of condition or included components  
PriceMatch+ Guarantee – If you get a better offer from one of our competitors, we’ll beat it by $5
•  Payment is sent within 2 business days after your device is received
If you are unhappy with your updated trade-in value, your device is returned to you for free

 

Let’s face it, selling your device privately can be a daunting task. You have to deal with strangers who may or may not offer you the best price, wait forever to pay you, or may not even pay you at all. That’s why it’s so important to pick a trade-in program you can trust. 

Whichever option you decide, selling or trading in old devices you’re no longer using adds up to a little extra cash in your pocket or a nice deposit towards a shiny, new gadget. From where we’re sitting, that’s a win-win situation!


For our money (and yours), trade in with GadgetGone.

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