Apple has released a stable of new devices, among them the particularly eye-catching iPad Air and new iPad Mini with Retina display. If you want to upgrade from your old iPad, then it's time to find out who will give you the most money for it. Here's a look at how the usual trade-in services stack up.
For the purposes of this comparison, we went with a very common example: An undamaged 16 GB iPad of the most recent (4th) generation. There might be differences in how each service pays for additional storage, wireless options or older vintages, but this should give you a general idea of how the process works, and what you might be in for.
Note: Don't expect as much as you'd get for your iPhone 5 or the like! iPhones may be smaller, but they're actually more expensive. Since, in the U.S., we generally buy phones that are subsidized by carriers, it's easy to forget that a "$200" phone is really a $500 phone.
So then, in last place in our iPad trade-in survey, we have the Walmart "Gadgets to gift cards" program, which offered $225 maximum with a mandated in-store appraisal — and the company only pays in store credit or a gift card! Sure, there's lots you can buy at Walmart (and the new iPad Air will be $20 off), but cash is always preferable.
Best Buy and Gazelle tied with $240 offers. However, that was Best Buy's top offer, while a perfect-condition iPad could possibly earn an extra $15 from Gazelle.
NextWorth will give $250, doesn't ask too many questions, and offers a number of payment options, from prepaid cards to "cold hard cash, please."
Amazon gives a tiny bit more for a "good" device — $252.50 — but it's only good on Amazon.com. On the other hand, a "like new" device will net you $280.50, which is the best quick trade-in deal we see out there.
If you're feeling a little more adventurous, you can try to earn a few extra bucks by selling the iPad via eBay or Glyde's automated tools. Both let you set your own price, meaning you could come out with quite a bit more than the other services. eBay says the average selling price of our 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad 4 is $380 or so — but that's definitely not a guarantee, and you won't get the money right away.
Whatever method you choose, you end up with a sizeable sum. If you have a wildly different model from our example, you might do a bit of experimenting yourself. And if be careful about bringing it (and other devices) in to your wireless carrier; they tend lowball offers and generally don't give cash. Trade in with one of the services above and you'll have more money and more flexibility.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.
First published October 23 2013, 2:43 PM