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How to get the best price selling your used iPad

If you’ve ordered a new iPad, you may be wondering what to do with your old one. One option, of course, is to keep it, perhaps passing it along to a friend or relative. Another option, though (as Lex Friedman pointed out in his guide to disposing of old iPads), is to sell that older device for cold hard cash—or at least a gift card or two.

There are several outfits out there—including a mix of old-school retailers, online giants, and companies you’ve never heard of before reading this story—that will pay for used iPads.

I took a look at nine such buyers, getting price quotes for assorted iPad and iPad 2 models. Before diving in, you need to know that the values of used iPads are incredibly volatile, depending not only on the machine’s condition, but also on market demand. The prices I found were current the morning of March 15, 2012, but there’s a very good chance they'll be different by the time you read this—higher or lower, depending on market conditions. But they should give you an idea of what’s possible.

I priced every variation of the first-generation iPad (WiFi and 3G versions of the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models) and all iPad 2s, exclusive of color: I priced only black models. Few of these buyers differentiate between black and white. I also got pricing for iPads in top condition. So if your tablet is scratched, dinged, or engraved, you won't get the best offers.

When you sell your old iPad, you’ll generally have to choose between getting a gift card or cash in return. Gift card values are (generally) higher than cash, but if you want to use the money somewhere other than the vendor you're selling to, a gift card won’t do you much good. Note that NextWorth.com and Gazelle.com offer both gift cards (Target and Amazon, respectively) and cash options. Also, GameStop’s gift cards are worth 20 percent more than the cash values shown in the table.

Each vendor has detailed terms and conditions regarding their offers; please make sure you read each site’s terms before agreeing to send them your precious hardware. You’ll especially want to pay attention to shipping (pre-paid or not?), what happens if they decide your iPad’s value differs from the estimate (send it back to you? ask for approval on new bid?), and do some research on the company if you choose one of the lesser-known ones.

With all of those disclaimers in mind, here’s what I found at the nine vendors I chose. (You'll need to click on it to zoom in and make it readable.)

iPad resale values

(For the three vendors that offer both cash and gift cards, the values shown in the table are for cash. Note that through March 31, GameStop is actually offering 20 percent more than what's shown in the table.)

As you can see, values are all over the place, and there are some interesting outliers. For example, Amazon, BestBuy, and Gazelle all place a notable premium on the iPad 2 64GB Verizon models; if you’ve got one of them, those vendors will be your best bet. Strangely, when I checked Cash4iPads.com, it was offering $373 for a 64GB iPad 2, but only $299 for a 64GB iPad2 with 3G.

For a given iPad model, the range of prices can be incredible. The basic 16GB first-generation iPad will get you only a $110 gift card at Apple, but a $244 card at Amazon (or $183 in cash from BuyMyTronics.com). At the high end, a 64GB Verizon iPad 2 is worth only $272 at GameStop but a whopping $450 in cash at Gazelle.com. And congratulations if you’re holding a 64GB iPad 2 with AT&T 3G; it’s worth more than any other machine in my study, earning you a $530 gift card at Amazon.

In case it’s not obvious by now, the lesson to be learned here is to shop around: Your old iPad has value, but it’s up to you to figure out who offers the best combination of price, reputation, and ease-of-use in taking that old iPad off your hands.

[Senior Contributor Rob Griffiths is master of ceremonies at Many Tricks Software.]

[Updated at 10:51am pacific to note that GameStop is offering 20 percent more than what's shown in the table through the end of March.]

Product mentioned in this article

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  • Apple iPad 2 family

    The iPad 2 remains a solid choice, thanks to its lower price and strong app choices.

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