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How to cash in on your old tech gadgets

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

How to get sell your old gadgets.Everyone loves buying new tech gadgets. But as you salivate over your latest smartphone, TV or game console, you eventually realize you’ve got to do something with your old devices.

For me, that usually means stuffing them all into a closet until the clutter becomes a safety hazard, then waiting a few more months, because I’m lazy, before shipping them to a recycling center.

But your unused tech toys can do a lot more for you than just create a convenient trap for nosey houseguests. In fact, you can score a decent payday by trading in your old gadgets. And with spring officially underway, there’s no better time to get rid of your gizmos.

Here’s how to get some extra cash for your electronic junk.

Delete your data

Just because you don’t use your old gadgets anymore doesn’t mean they don’t still have sensitive personal information on them. So before you sell your devices, you’ll need to factory reset them to delete all of your data.

Before doing so, you’ll naturally want to backup anything you want to keep on a USB thumb drive or through a cloud service like Google Drive, iCloud or Dropbox.

Ebay

Ebay is the best place to sell your old tech if you want cash and not a gift card.

Ebay (eBay) is the place to buy and sell new and used gadgets. If you’ve got a used Samsung Galaxy Note5 with a few nicks and scratches and are planning on buying a Galaxy S8, you can sell your Note for about $270. That’s a solid value for a handset that’s nearly two years old.

Upgrading to a new PlayStation 4 Pro from your old PlayStation 3? You can sell your 10-year-old console for about $50. That’s more than the $28 in cash you’d get from GameStop.

Amazon Trade-in

Amazon Trade-In gets you an Amazon gift card for your old tech.

Amazon (AMZN) might be the website you go to when you need to buy, well, everything, but you might not know that the world’s largest online retailer lets you trade in your used gadgets, as well. Unlike eBay, which lets you sell your devices for cold, hard cash, Amazon’s Trade-in program only lets you trade in your tech for Amazon gift cards. But since you can buy everything from granola bars to a 10-foot tall inflatable elephant through the e-commerce site, it’s not a bad offer.

You can’t just sell anything you want through Amazon, though; the company has a continually updated list of devices it accepts. When you ship a gadget to Amazon for trade-in, the company evaluates your item and determines if it will accept it or not. You won’t be charged if the company decides not to take your trade-in.

Best Buy Trade-in

Best Buy’s trade-in program will get you plenty of money for your old smartphones.

Best Buy (BBY) also lets you trade in your old gadgets for a gift card. But like Amazon, the products you can actually trade in are a bit limited. You can’t, for example, trade in a TV no matter how long you stand at the customer service desk demanding to speak to a supervisor.

You can, however, trade in items like an Apple iPad 2 ($58) or that Fitbit Alta ($10) you swore you’d wear every day when you bought it as part of your New Year’s resolution. The downside to trading your devices in at Best Buy is that you can only use your gift card to purchase electronics, whereas at Amazon, you can trade-in an Apple Watch and use your gift card to buy $49 loaves of Bimbo white bread.

Apple Renew program

Apple’s Renew program scores you an Apple Gift Card for your old tech.

Apple (AAPL) isn’t just in the business of selling you new iPhones. Well, it is, but it’ll also buy them back from you, too. And Macs, iPads … pretty much any Apple product, actually. A buy-back effort run in partnership with Brightstar Corp., Apple Renew can snag you some quality deals on your old gadgets.

An iPhone 6s Plus with 128GB of storage can get you up to $260 in the form of an Apple gift card, for example. If your handset is significantly damaged, though, Apple won’t give you anything. But it will offer to have your device recycled.

Craigslist

Craigslist is a solid place to sell your old tech.

Craigslist, otherwise known as the internet’s equivalent of a strange-smelling flea market, is a great place to sell your old tech to someone with a lot of trust in strangers looking for a solid deal. Pricing, though, fluctuates a good deal. For instance, an iPhone 6s Plus with 64GB of storage can range in price from $325 to $260. Basically it all comes down to how much you want to list your gadget for.

If you’re going to use Craigslist, though, you’ll want to be careful when meeting up with your buyer by following commonsense safety practices.

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Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.