Which Mobiles Have the Highest Resale Value?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on January 24, 2019, 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 the 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 S9 and S9 Plus are both flagship phones, but the S9 Plus gets relatively higher prices on resale sites due to consumers favouring the larger screen size on phablet style devices.

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. Of course, there are some exceptions for rare and classic mobile phones, the Nokia 3310, for example, can fetch good prices on eBay due to its iconic status.

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.

Tip Tips for Selling Your Mobile Phone Online

If you're anything like us, you've probably got at least a couple of old mobiles lying around the house. So why not make yourself a bit of cash and get rid of them? Selling your old handsets online can give you a healthy chunk of beer money, as long as you know what you're doing that is. Not to worry though, we're here to lead you through the process, so let's get started

Hold Up, Do You Really Want to Sell?

First, you do need to seriously consider whether or not you want to sell. And there are a couple of issues to think about here. The first is that it never hurts to have a decent backup phone. You know, just in case yours gets lost or stolen. It's good practice to keep at least one extra working handset somewhere in your home. Second, if you've got mobiles older than say three or four years lying around, then it's unlikely that you're going to be able to make much cash or even sell them at all, so you might want to save yourself the trouble. Finally, if you're still in a contract and sell, this can be against the terms of the deal.

Already got a spare mobile? Got a decent, good condition, a working handset that you want to unload? Alrighty then, let's move on to the next step.

Before You Sell

Obviously, before you sell you're going to want to delete all your personal data from your old mobile. You don't want a stranger getting their hands on your Facebook password and the like. At the very least you'll need to remove your SIM card and SD card if applicable, and factory reset your phone. You'll also want to give your mobile a good cleaning, so it looks sparkling…

So, Where Do I Sell?

You actually have a fair few choices when it comes to selling your phone. There are websites that buy old mobiles, so there's one option. However, you're likely to get more money if you sell your mobile privately (though take into account that you'll be doing a bit more work too). Yes, you could go with eBay, but eBay is going to take a commission, which is hardly ideal. The option that most people choose is to go with a private sale through a site like CraigsList or Gumtree. This is the easiest way to do things, the one that's likely to get you the most profit, and the most popular choice, so it's the option we're going to concentrate on…

Set a Price

Before you make your listing, you're going to want to do a bit of research and find out exactly what your phone is worth. There are various ways to go about this. Take a look at other listings for the same model to see what they're selling for. If your model is still being sold new, take a look at the brand new price too (keep in mind you'll want to knock off a percentage of that new price since your model is used). You might also want to get a quote from one of those websites that will buy your old phone for you (and in this case, keep in mind that you'll want to add a bit to that quote since these sites are likely to low ball you). And you can always check eBay listings too.

Once you've got a decent price in mind, you'll want to add a few pounds so that there's room for negotiation. For example, if you've decided £100 is a fair price, you might want to list your phone for £120 O.N.O. (Or Nearest Offer). People are more likely to take a look at something where they feel they can negotiate, and most people are likely to want to negotiate anyway, even if you set a fixed price, so it's in your own best interest to have a little wiggle room.

Write a Listing

Now you need to write a solid listing on the site you've chosen for your phone. The actual listing is up to you, but there are a few guidelines that you should try to stick to. Firstly, include a photo or photos if you can, people like to see what they're buying. Secondly, don't just state the model name and price, be a little wordier, since that reassures buyers that you're a real person (and not a company or spammer). Thirdly, be honest. If the phone has a couple of scratches, say so, and include pics. You're going to be showing the buyer the phone before they hand over money, so they're going to see any damage anyway. Better not to waste anyone's time (including your own) and tell the truth in your ad.

Making a Sale

Hopefully, you'll have some responses to your ad, so what happens now? First up, you'll need to be careful to avoid any scams. Scams change often and we can't warn you about all of them. But as a general rule avoid mailing the phone to anyone, avoid taking credit, cheque or money orders (or wiring, bank transfer etc.). If the buyer isn't prepared to meet you in person and hand over cash then turn the sale down.

Pro Tip: NEVER accept a cheque or bank transfer for more than the selling price. This is a very common scam. You get more money, the buyer asks that you transfer the extra money to another account or another person, then the cheque or transfer gets halted as fake and you're out of pocket!

When it comes to the actual sale itself assuming you aren't selling online and posting it via Royal Mail, you'll need to meet in a public place, preferably one with plenty of people around. Shopping centres make good choices, as long as it's during business hours, as do cafes and restaurants and pubs. Don't go to anyone's home, and don't meet somebody in a place where there are no witnesses!

And there you have it. Selling your phone online does take a little extra work, but it can be worth it to get your hands on a little extra cash. Stay safe, make smart decisions, and you could find yourself with a nice cash bonus to spend this weekend.