The best ways to sell or trade in your Wii U or 3DS

With the Nintendo Switch launch just months away, it's time to consider getting rid of your older gaming systems while they still hold value. Here are the best ways to trade in or sell your Wii U or 3DS.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Tonight, all the rumors about Nintendo's upcoming console, the Switch, will be laid to rest. We'll finally get a price point, release date and other details. This also means it's prime time to offload your old Nintendo consoles and handhelds, as their values are only going down from here.

Here are the best ways to sell your old Wii U or 3DS in preparation for the Switch.

Sell it yourself

To maximize your earnings, you need to cut out the middleman and sell privately. This method is higher risk and requires more effort on your end. There is also no guaranteed payout, but you can easily make more cash this way, and you won't be relegated to gift cards and store credit just to get more value out of your trade-in.

Craigslist

By and large, Craigslist is a risky bet, but it can certainly pay off. There are no seller's fees, listing fees or any fees, for that matter. You can negotiate the final price and sell to the highest bidder. But you do run the risk of being ripped off, robbed or scammed. Don't be surprised if a few would-be buyers flake out on you for seemingly no reason either.

Be clear in your listing, set expectations and only meet in well-lit public places, like the food court of the nearest shopping mall. It's also wise to bring along a friend.

The prices at which people will sell the Wii U, 3DS and 3DS XL will vary wildly by location, so check your local listings to gauge how you should price your devices.

eBay

A less risky solution is to turn to eBay, who helps facilitate smoother transactions. The lowered risk does, however, come at a cost. Both eBay and PayPal will take a cut of your final sale -- 10 percent from eBay and 2.9 percent plus $0.30 from PayPal, to be exact. In addition, you will have to pack up and ship your device, which cuts even further into your profits.

To determine how you should price your Wii U or 3DS, go to ebay.com and search for Wii U, 3DS or 3DS XL. In the left column, make sure to check any relevant boxes that pertain to your specific model, such as region codes, whether or not you're selling the console with controllers or extra games, etc. Then scroll to the bottom and check the box beside Sold listings. This will show you what the most recent listings have actually sold for (not what they were listed for).

Currently, used Wii U and 3DS systems, depending on what they're listed with and special editions, are going for approximately:

  • Nintendo Wii U 32GB: up to $375
  • Nintendo 3DS XL: up to $250
  • Nintendo 3DS: up to $200

Trade it in

If, instead, you're looking to make a quick buck, there are a number of sites or businesses that will give you cash or gift cards in exchange for used electronics. Like with anything else, though, when you trade in a used gaming console, the buyer will never pay top dollar. It's guaranteed fast cash, but they need to be able to turn around and resell it at market value, so you're not going to make nearly as much money.

However, while your used games are likely to be lumped together with the console or handheld when selling privately, when trading in, each used game can be processed separately. Most will only fetch a few dollars, but if you have a large collection or high-demand titles, they may be able to offset some of the lower returns of selling instantly.

GameStop

The first obvious choice is GameStop, who will give you a trade-in credit to be used in-store or cash, which will ultimately be a lesser value. Currently, GameStop is offering:

  • Nintendo Wii U 32GB: up to $120 trade credit
  • Nintendo Wii U 32GB: up to $96 cash
  • Nintendo 3DS XL: up to $110 trade credit
  • Nintendo 3DS XL: up to $88 cash
  • Nintendo 3DS: up to $90 trade credit
  • Nintendo 3DS: up to $72 cash

Amazon

Amazon makes it extremely fast and easy to send in your used gadgets for Amazon gift cards.

Just search for the electronic you wish to trade in, click to open the product page and, below the Add to Cart button is one that reads Trade in now with a trade-in value. Once you click the Trade in now button, you will need to fill out a short questionnaire about the condition of the item and what you're trading in with it, such as original bundle items or controllers. Then just print the label and drop off at a UPS location.

With Amazon's trade-in program, you can choose to get paid instantly or wait until the items have been inspected. Should you choose to get paid instantly and your items are in a lower condition than claimed, you may be charged for the difference in the value or for the full amount of the gift card with your item being returned to you, free of charge.

Currently, Amazon is offering:

  • Nintendo Wii U 32GB: up to $168.91 Amazon gift card
  • Nintendo 3DS XL: up to $113.25 Amazon gift card (or up to $193.13 for special editions)
  • Nintendo 3DS: up to $93.21 Amazon gift card

Cash For Gamers

Cash For Gamers is a trade-in site that will send you cash (via PayPal or a mailed check) for used games and consoles. Whereas Amazon won't accept trade-ins on consoles with heavy damage or without the original accessories, Cash For Gamers will. But each missing item will deduct from the total amount offered.

With none of the accessories and heavy damage (but still functioning), Cash For Gamers will give you $42 for your Wii U or $35.50 for a 3DS. They'll even give you $10.75 for a 3DS that's in good condition but doesn't work.

For systems that do work, Cash For Gamers will give you:

  • Nintendo Wii U 32GB: up to $95
  • Nintendo 3DS XL: up to $100
  • Nintendo 3DS: up to $55

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