Which Mobiles Have the Highest Resale Value?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on January 15, 2018, Buying Guides

Investing in a mobile phone generally means spending a fair amount of money. But if you’re smart, you’ll know that you can sell your old phone to recoup at least some of the cost of a new one. Not all phones are created equal though, so if you’re planning on selling on a mobile once you’re done with it, then you might want to choose your model pretty carefully in the first place. What sort of phone should you be looking for? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Phone and Resale Value

Over the last few years, dozens of websites have popped up to buy older model mobiles for cash. In the case of newer models, those phones then go on to be sold again, whilst older models still have value in their parts. Of course, you can always sell your phone person to person, using sites like Craigslist or Gumtree. And some manufacturers even buy back phones of their own brand.

In short, there are tons of ways of making some money off that old phone. And selling an old model to make way for a new one is a pretty savvy idea. However, in order for this plan to work effectively, you’ll need to get the best price possible for a phone when you sell it. When it comes to resale prices there are a couple of things that really affect resale price.

Number One: Brand

Simply put, some brand names retain their value better than others. And you’re more likely to get a good resale price on something like a Samsung or Apple than on a Huawei or Sony. In fact, in terms of resale value, iPhones retain their value better than any other model of phone. Based on both new and resale prices online, an iPhone loses around 35% of its value in a year, so if you buy that £1000 iPhone X this year, you can likely sell it for around £650 next year.

This is in part thanks to the fact that Apple never drops the price of a new iPhone model in the first year. In fact, iPhone prices don’t drop until the next model is introduced. And this gives us some clues to resale values in general: models that don’t drop in price when bought new in the first few months of sale tend to hold their overall value better.

In terms of brands you should be looking for, iPhones, Samsungs, and HTC models have tended to retain their values best over the last couple of years. Huawei, LG, and smaller brands such as OnePlus and Essential haven’t. So if you’re looking to sell on that phone when you’re done with it, stick with the big names.

Number Two: Model

The phone model you choose also obviously affects resale value. The first factor here is age. Let’s say you want to buy a phone, use it for a year, then resell it. If you buy a phone that’s only been on shelves for 2 months then when you’re ready to sell it will have only been on general sale for 14 months, meaning you’re likely to get a better price. Choose a phone that’s been around for 11 months and by the time you’re ready to sell it will be almost 2 years old, meaning there’s likely to be one, maybe even two updated models of the same phone available. So you’ll get a lower price.

If you want to resell your phone, you should look at buying the most recent release possible. However, the actual model is also important. Flagship phones tend to retain their prices better than other models. Even within that niche, some models do better than others. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are both flagship phones, but the S8 Plus gets relatively higher prices on resale sites.

The bottom line? If you want to sell on your phone when you’re done with it, then you need to buy the newest flagship phone that you can, the one with the biggest specs.

How Do I Know the Resale Value of My Phone?

Private Sale

Selling via eBay or a similar platform is going to get you the best possible price. To get an idea what your phone is worth you can look through previously sold listings on eBay and get an idea of price. Try to find sold listings of a device that looks in similar condition to yours and with the same accessories, box etc if you have them.

Mobile Phone Recycling Website

The first thing you need to do is hop on eBay again and see what your model is selling for as a used item. Then compare this to the mobile phone recycling websites. Generally, they’re going to be far lower than if you sold privately but that’s the convenience factor.

As a general rule don’t just choose the site that offers you the highest price. Look into reviews and customer satisfaction ratings first. Though a site offers you a high price, you don’t necessarily receive all that money. You’ll need to first send your phone to them and they’ll examine it before giving the final price. Some (unscrupulous) sites give high estimates, counting on the fact that once they have the phone in hand they can offer a lower price and you’ll accept it, not wanting to go through the trouble of starting the process again with another company.

Reselling your mobile phone is a great idea, but it’s a long-term plan. If you’re thinking about selling a phone on after use, then it’s important that you consider this fact when you’re actually shopping for a phone new. Choosing the right phone now could mean more money later.