Electronic Recycling: Nextworth vs Gazelle vs Usell

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We all want the latest smartphone when it hits the market but what do we do with our used cell phones? Why not make some money off your used cell phone or electronics? Electronic recycling not only makes you money but it keeps our landfills “cleaner” by putting the parts to good use or reselling them.

Article Overview

Why Should I Recycle My Electronics?

Electronics are filling our landfills, causing our planet immense harm. If you don’t recycle your electronics properly and in a safe way you are causing our environment to become more polluted. Electronics can emit hazardous pollutants, too. All of this, paired with the opportunity to recycle our old, unused phones, tablets and computers for cash, provides great justification for doing the right thing.

How Much Electronic Waste Ends Up In Our Landfills?

In 2009 alone, discarded electronics, including TVs, computers, printers, and cell phones, totaled about 2.37 million tons! That’s more than 2 million tons that could’ve been recycled. Recycle cell phones and other electronics to help keep our planet healthy!

Get Quotes From All Companies To Compare Price

Before we share the best companies, we wanted to point out that you should be sure to get a quote from all of them because one may give you a better offer than the other!

And just to backup our pro tip, we’ve run a sample phone through each quote system to give you an idea of how they work: a factory unlocked iPhone 6S Plus, 64GB, space gray color. (Note the pricing changes frequently so this info may be outdated. However, we wanted to show for comparison sake).

We should also point out that the values are not necessarily indicative of a general trend – marketplace bids vary by device and time – so if you run the same phone you might get completely different quotes. If you’d like, share your findings in the comments, we’d love to hear whom you went with!

Where’s The Best Place To Recycle My Electronics?

Here are our top picks (in no particular order).

Best To Buy Used Electronics: Gazelle Review

Gazelle logoVisit Website

In addition to selling your used electronics for cash, you can also buy certified pre-owned phones and tablets for a discount.

Worried that the device you purchase may not have all of its features working? Don’t worry! Gazelle has a 30+ Point Inspection that insures that all the features are fully functional, the touchscreen is intact and set to factory default settings. And they’ll even give you more than quoted if they find it’s in better condition than you thought!

You can also sell iPods and Mac computers through Gazelle.



  • A+ BBB rating
  • 30+ Point Inspection insures that all devices have components that work
  • Bought and sold more than 2 million phones and tablets
  • FAQs, live chat and phone support
  • Available for all major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile)
  • No contracts
  • Buy/sell phones, tablets, iPods and Mac computers
  • Get paid via Paypal, check, or Amazon gift card (get a 3% bonus if you choose Amazon)
  • Receive a $20 credit towards a purchase when you sell a device
  • Sturdy box for free return shipping
  • 1 year warranties on all cell phones and iPads
  • No phones for smaller carriers like US Cellular
  • Don’t pay as much for used phones as uSell

Click here to read our in-depth Gazelle Review

How Did Our Sample Phone Do?

Gazelle came out on top with an offer of $260, which was $40 higher than our 2nd best offer (uSell).

Gazelle's offer for our used iPhone

Best To Sell Used Electronics: Nextworth Review

Nextworth logoVisit Website

You can sell more than just your phone on NextWorth. Other electronics you can sell for cash include wearables, laptops, tablets, iPods, games, portable audio and action cameras.

NextWorth partners with 1,500 stores so you may be able to take your electronic device to the store and get paid on the spot. Visit the website to find a Next Worth partner location near you.



  • More than 500,000 customers and 8 years in business
  • Buy/sell wearables, iPods, smartphones, laptops, tablets, games, portable audio and action cameras
  • Get paid with PayPal, check, Next Worth Discover Prepaid Card or Target gift card
  • Phone, FAQs and email support
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Quote guaranteed for 30 days
  • Free shipping and insurance included
  • Can’t buy electronics on NextWorth’s site (you must bid on them through eBay)
  • Does not accept phones from smaller carriers like US Cellular

How Did Our Sample Phone Do?

NextWorth came up way short with our sample phone, clocking in at a poor $160. Notice, however, that Nextworth asks a lot more questions regarding the phone’s condition than the competition does.

What Nextworth offered us for our iPhone

Best To Sell Damaged Electronics: Usell Review

Usell logoVisit Website

uSell is the only company in this article that will purchase a damaged device. So, even if your iPhone’s screen is cracked or it won’t power on, you can still make money on it. This is why we chose them as the best company to buy your damaged device.

We found no major cons with uSell but we do wonder what they do with all of the products they purchase since they don’t sell them back to customers. They also buy iPads, textbooks, consoles, gift cards and more!



  • Sell working or damaged phones
  • Sell phones from all major brands (Apple, Blackberry, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, and more!)
  • More than 418,000 customers
  • Get paid by check or PayPal
  • FAQs and email support
  • Accepts smaller carriers like US Cellular
  • Good price offered for broken/damaged photos
  • Not BBB accredited
  • Cannot purchase from u Sell
  • Shipping packaging is envelope which is less sturdy than a box

How Did Our Sample Phone Do?

uSell actually came in a solid second with our sample phone, ringing in at $220.

uSell's offer for our iPhone

How To Prep Your Phone For Shipment

The providers more or less cover this when you checkout, but it can’t hurt to mention it here given how important it is to a) protect your privacy and data and b) make the sales process more efficient and ensure that you actually get paid what you were quoted.

Gazelle: prepping your phone for shipment

This example is from Gazelle, but all the providers mention the two most important things:

  1. Turn off “Find my iPhone” – this is another type of “lock” that can hold up the sale of your phone
  2. Deactivate your service – make sure you’re all paid up and out of contract before you sell. If you’re selling a “factory unlocked” phone, make sure you unlocked it with your carrier (ie. AT&T), as they used to be “carrier locked” when you were in contract, meaning they won’t work with another carrier’s SIM card. If you are selling an iPhone, you’ll also need to unlock with Apple.

We also advocate, for privacy purposes, that you fully delete your phone (on iPhone’s go into Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings). Important: make sure you’ve backed up your data first! And remove your SIM card before mailing (that may contain personal data as well, and besides, it can’t be re-used).

Lastly, for Android phones, make sure you delete your Google account (Settings > Accounts > Google > More > Remove Account). Before shipping, it’s probably not a bad idea to take photos of your device for documentation purposes (in case damage occurs during shipment). Got questions? Hit us in the comments below.

Video: How Are Electronics Recycled?

Want to know how electronics are recycled? Check out this short video about the process behind recycling electronics.

Our Personal Experience Selling Electronics

We personally tested out an electronic recycling service with an iPhone that had pretty severe water damage. Within a matter of seconds we got instant quotes from multiple companies and within in a few days and a few easy steps the phone was shipped off (free of charge).

It took a little over a week to receive the funds, but well worth it considering the damaged phone was worthless to use.

Other Ways To Recycle

In addition to everyday products you probably already reuse or recycle (see our handy list of recycle codes), you might try tossing your food scraps into a compost bin or donating your car to a charity.

Do you feel you got a good return on the sale of your electronic device?

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