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How to get top dollar for your used iPad 2

If you're thinking of unloading your old iPad to help cover the cost of a new one, it's time to start thinking about where and how you'll sell it.


New iPads are coming! New iPads are coming! Well, that's the rumor, anyway, and it might be only "new iPad," singular.

But let's be honest: whatever it is, you're probably going to want it. I mean, who wouldn't want a tablet with a Retina Display, 4G wireless, a high-resolution camera, and a hot-fudge dispenser? (A man can dream, can't he?)

Alas, iPad prices being what they are (and what they'll likely remain), you may need a second mortgage to finance it.

To help defray the cost, consider selling your iPad 2 (or iPad 1, of course, but keep in mind the resale values will be different). The question is, should you unload it now to get the best possible price, or wait until after Apple makes its (rumored) announcement next month?

Short answer: the sooner, the better. Once the iPad 3, iPad 2S, or iPad Whatever becomes real and starts shipping, the market will flood with used iPad 2s, and as a result yours will lose some value. Heck, Apple might keep the iPad 2 in the lineup at a lower price, which would really tank used-iPad values.

Of course, few people want to part with their iPads before they know what's coming, and certainly not before they know its ship date. After all, it could be May or June before the new iPads hit the street.


Thus, you'll probably have a small window of sales opportunity between Apple's announcement and actual iPad 3 availability--but not for long (see chart).

In any case, it doesn't hurt to start investigating resale prices right now, and maybe even track them over the next couple weeks leading up to the announcement (which isn't even official yet). For the record, I'm using the 16GB iPad 2 Wi-Fi as the baseline; whatever premium you paid for more storage and/or 3G should apply about the same to your sale price.

There are three main options for selling a used iPad:

1. Craigslist (or another local classified-ad option): Lots of used-iPad shoppers prefer to go local, as it allows them to negotiate, check out the merchandise firsthand, and avoid extra charges like shipping and sales tax. That makes you, the seller, more attractive, meaning you can potentially charge a slight premium.

In my area (metro Detroit), I saw 16GB iPad 2s selling for around $425 on average--only $75 less than what a buyer would pay for a new one. Whether the sellers were actually getting that much, I don't know. But it proves my point that selling locally might be the way to go. Added bonus for you: no shipping hassles! Oh, and no charge to list your item.

2. Amazon and eBay: Everyone knows about eBay, but did you also know you can sell your stuff on Amazon--even if you're not a vendor or reseller or anything like that? Indeed, a quick perusal of Amazon's used Apple iPad 2 tablet (16GB) page reveals pricing starting at $425 and leveling out around $450.

Keep in mind, however, that Amazon charges a 99-cent fee for selling your item, plus 8 percent of the sale price and a small "variable closing fee" (which is shipping-related) based on weight.

Selling a used iPad 2 on Amazon might be lucrative.
Selling a used iPad 2 on Amazon might be lucrative. Screenshot by Rick Broida

As for eBay, its listing fees are pretty minimal (usually under a buck, unless you start piling on auction features), though you'll probably get hit with some PayPal fees if that's how you accept payment.

Needless to say, eBay is pretty all over the place on used iPad 2 prices, but the 16GB Wi-Fi models I checked out had an average sale price of around $410.

3. Buyback sites: If you want to avoid selling your iPad to an individual (where there's always the potential for fraud and other hassles), consider a buyback site like Gazelle or NextWorth. You'll probably make less than you would otherwise, but there's something to be said for simplicity and convenience.

At Gazelle, for example, the going rate for an 16GB iPad 2 in "flawless" condition is $260--which you can get in the form of a check, PayPal deposit, or Amazon gift card.

NextWorth asks for a lot more specifics regarding your iPad's condition ("is it engraved," for example), and offers a maximum of $274.50 for one that's "like new." And if you have a Target store nearby, you can walk in with your iPad and walk out with cash (or a Target credit), as NextWorth has partnered with the chain.

This is what buyback site Gazelle will pay you right now for a mint-condition iPad 2 16GB (Wi-Fi).
This is what buyback site Gazelle will pay you right now for a mint-condition iPad 2 16GB (Wi-Fi). Screenshot by Rick Broida

It's worth noting that Gazelle and NextWorth will both "lock in" a promised trade-in price for a set amount of time (30 days and 21 days, respectively), meaning you can agree to sell your iPad now, but hang onto it right until the last day--and still be assured of getting that initial price.

So, tell me about your iPad-trade-up plans--especially if you're planning something other than what I've suggested here. Personally, I've always gone the eBay route when selling old gear, and for the most part it has served me well. Your thoughts?