Selling old mobile phones for the best price
Exchanging old mobiles for cash is easy! Our five-minute guide compares the best recycling companies and shares how to get the best price...
There's only one way to prevent robots from taking over: stop hoarding your old mobiles by recycling them in exchange for money. Obviously.
If you're looking to sell your old phone for the best price, follow our top tips to make as much money from it as you can.
A bit of trivia: "There are more mobiles in the world than people". True or False? Answer at the end! 😉
What's in this guide?
Best mobile phone recycling companies
These are the top websites to compare quotes from when recycling your old phone:
When selling your old phone to Giffgaff, it will either be refurbished or recycled in the UK.
They have a pretty quick payment system, where you'll be paid within one working day of them receiving your phone.
But, they've also got quite a quick refund system (which could be less good for you as the seller) – if they reduce the offer amount after checking your phone and you're no longer happy with it, you have 48 hours to reject the price and request a free return.
As well as buying old phones, tablets and smartwatches, Mazuma also offers repair services for your phone, and sells new and second-hand devices.
Similarly to O2, when you sell an old phone to Mazuma, they'll pay you on the same day they receive your phone, as long as it arrives before 2pm on Monday–Friday, excluding public holidays.
EE Recycle offers pretty good prices for fully-working items, without any cosmetic damage.
If they think the condition is not as good as you said, they'll readjust the offered amount, but you only have three days to turn this down if you'd like them to return your phone.
On Envirofone's website, you can both sell your old phone, and buy new and refurbished phones.
A big perk of selling your phone to them is that you can get a 10% extra bonus on top of what they offer which you can put towards a new phone from their shop.
Plus, they accept damaged phones, so if your phone's a little worse for wear, you could consider selling to them.
Selling your phone to musicMagpie is a really quick process, and they offer some competitive prices.
After finding your phone's model on their site, you will be able to select either 'Good', 'Poor' or 'Faulty' for the device's condition and receive a quote instantly.
If you're happy with the offer, you can then send them your phone for free and, as long as the condition fits your description, you'll receive the payment on the same day the mobile arrives.
But, if musicMagpie disagrees with the condition and lowers the offer price, you'd then have up to 14 days to either accept the new amount, or decline and have the phone returned for free.
O2 Recycle's Price Promise means that, if you see a higher price advertised elsewhere within seven days of placing an order to sell your phone to them, they can match that price. Check out the T&Cs on their website for more info.
Another perk of selling your old phone to O2 is that they'll pay you the same day they receive your phone if it arrives before 1pm. So, if you're in a hurry to get some cash for your mobile, this could be a good service for you.
Sell My Mobile
On Sell My Mobile, you can compare up to 50 sites in one place. While we'd also recommend you check each phone recycling site as well to be sure, it's a good place to look for a general overview of prices.
The best part of the site is, if you find a better deal elsewhere within 24 hours of placing an order to sell your phone through them, they'll refund you the difference.
How phone recycling works
Hoping to recycle your old mobile for money? There are dozens of phone recycling services waiting to offer you cash in exchange for old devices, and it's super straightforward to do.
They all operate in a similar way, so really it comes down to comparing the quoted prices, and your likelihood of getting that.
Most companies will send you a postage-paid pack for your phone to be sent off. They will then inspect the device to ensure it matches the details and condition you provided online.
If it does, you should receive the quoted price. However, if the recycling company isn't happy with the phone's condition, they'll likely take some money off your payment.
Depending on the condition, your phone will then either be resold, exported abroad or broken down into parts for recycling.
Which old phones are worth the most?
To get the most money for recycling an old mobile handset, you will ideally need to be looking at selling a phone which is still in good condition and a relatively recent model.
For example, if (for some reason) you wanted to recycle an Apple iPhone 11 (64GB) in good condition, O2 has quoted £405*. But, even if the only problem with your phone is that it could be water damaged, yet is still fully functional(!), the quoted price is halved to £202.50.
Unfortunately, the majority of phones won't make nearly as much as an iPhone 11 when recycled. As a comparison, a Samsung Galaxy A10 in good condition, without water damage, is quoted as £21 by O2's phone recycling service.
Bear in mind, though, that it's still worth looking into how much you could get even if your phone's slightly damaged and outdated – even selling it for a few quid would be worth it if it's otherwise going to collect dust on your shelf. Plus, it's much better for the environment to save it from going to waste.
You can find out how much you could get for recycling a phone by heading to each website listed above, entering your device's details (make, model and condition) and noting down the guide price for comparison.
Hopefully, the tips in this guide will help you find the best price for your old handset, and you could rest easy knowing your recycled phone is going to good use.
* Prices correct at the time of writing.
11 tips for recycling mobiles for cash
These are the best ways to make money from old phones when recycling them:
- Always compare companies before offloading your phone – prices can vary massively
- You'll get a better price if your phone isn't tied to a network. It can be worth unlocking your phone first (usually free)
- Give your phone a clean with a soft, dry cloth. It's not worth spending money repairing dents and scratches
- Some phone recycling companies may offer a higher price if you take payment in gift cards rather than cash
- The price quoted isn't always what you'll get – it's based on condition. If you're unhappy with the final price, either challenge them or ask for your phone back
- Damaged phone? You could beat quoted prices by selling it for spare parts to private buyers
- If you're wanting a new phone, some networks offer trade-ins for your old one. First check the trade-in value beats the cash you could get for selling
- Remove your SIM card, copy and wipe your data, and reset to factory settings before you say adios to your old amigo
- If your best offer is ridiculously low, you don't have to sell. Keep your old phone as a spare for travelling, future museum item or consider recycling it through a local charity shop
- Don't forget to cancel any mobile phone insurance when you sell the handset
- Keep the original boxes and accessories for new gadgets. They can add to the value when it comes to getting rid!
Selling your phone to private buyers
Sending your phone off to a recycling company or site is generally quick and easy, but if you have the patience to really maximise the cash, it's best finding a buyer yourself (especially if it's a smartphone holding decent value).
The companies above make their profit by selling devices on, sometimes for up to three times as much for iPhone and Samsung mobiles. To keep that money in your pocket, sell direct using one of the methods below.
Best places to sell phones
To make as much money from selling your old mobile as possible, try selling it privately through these options:
- eBay – Biggest market but check fees. Boost your chances with our eBay selling tips
- Facebook Marketplace – Free listings
- Gumtree – Free listings
- Friends and family
- Twitter – Use the right hashtags and include a photo!
6 top tips to sell your phone quickly
- Include lots of quality photos of your phone in your seller ad
- Be totally honest about the phone's condition and what's included
- If sending your phone by post, ensure it's well-padded and use a signed-for delivery service (add the P&P costs to your listing)
- For local sales, arrange to meet the buyer in a safe public place
- Avoid 'wanted' adverts online – there is a risk of being scammed
- Digital banking apps allow you to get paid without sharing bank details.
Next read: 29 things you can sell right now!