Reselling Electronics

What To Look For and Pros and Cons

Electronics is a pretty big umbrella as you may know simply by having shopped in a Best Buy or Frys or back in the day Radio Shack or Circuit City. Think about how many products were available in those stores - it's a wide array of stuff! For the purposes of this article, we'll focus on things that can be plugged in or run on solar or battery power. 

We'll go over electronics that have sold for me personally and that sell for others and/or that other resellers say to definitely pick up when out sourcing. 

I have sold various electronics including calculators, TVs, video games, laptops, old appliances, VHS tapes, walkman, vintage voice recorder, just to name a few.

I always peruse the electronics section of any thrift store I'm at, or garage sale, or estate sale. Since there pros and cons to selling electronics online, especially ones you are buying second hand, I don't make electronics a priority unless I'm at the bins. If you pay up for for something then get it home and it doesn't work, then you're out that money. Granted you can always sell something for parts if it doesn't work and/or add a very big disclaimer that the item doesn't work. People will buy stuff for all kinds of reasons.

TVs I've only sold when they're mine and I'm just selling to let an old one go and/or to make room for a new one. I've never sold a TV and shipped it, my TV selling has always been local pick up using Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Keep in mind that people love and collect vintage electronics, including TVs, so it may be worth looking up comps if you ever see a cool old TV set. Who knows, it could end up on screen somewhere!

I personally have yet to buy and sell a VCR or other old school stereo equipment but this is a fairly hot item to resell. There is definitely a market for vintage electronics like thise. The timing has never quite worked out when I have seen a VCR at the bins or low priced and having a VHS tape on hand to test it. The best I could do is plug it in to make sure it works, which is the first step when buying electronics to resell - make sure they work! A note about VHS tapes - they are generally not good sellers, but there are still a few sought after tapes. 

BOLO Alert = Horror movies on VHS

Calculators to an extent are a pretty good flip, especially scientific or graphing calculators. I do believe that older calculators, the kind you plug and have a tape receipt are good items to buy and resell.

Video games are some reseller's bread and butter. My buying and selling of video games is basically to keep my personal video game stash fresh and generally once I'm done with a video game, I put it up for sale. One downside to trying to find video games to resell is that in thrift stores (and at the bins) the disc may be gone, so it can be a bit of a roller coaster. I highly recommend trying to find video games then look up comps to make sure they are worth the investment. There are still plenty of games that go for top dollar.

BOLO Alert = NCAA Football for any system

Older video game systems like Playstation and Nintendo - very good items to flip. I bought a PS2 from a seller going out of business among other cool electronics like cameras and blank media - got a good mix of stuff for $20 total. Sold the PS2 for $40 - already doubled my buy in so the rest of the stuff I picked up is pure profit. Always, always, always buy a classic Nintendo if you see one in the wild. Unless it's priced at the current ebay selling price, then it's not worth it unless you just want it! Along with older gaming systems, keep your eye out for the games that go with it - Nintendo cartridges, Game Boy cartridges can turn a profit. And don't forget old Sega Genesis, Xbox, Atari, Calecovision...all the oldies but goodies.

BOLO Alert = old Nintendo and Game Boy

Laptops, computers, keyboards - all good resell electronics. If you're selling your own old computer or laptop, make sure to remove the hard drive and for sure factory reset it. You don't want your personal information to get into the wrong hands, or anyone's hands for that matter. 

BOLO Alert = Old keyboards, especially mechanical keyboards

I have good luck reselling backup drives / back up hard drives; the two I sold were by Seagate. Found one at the bins and the other just out at a thrift store. Neither took too long to sell, so don't overlook a something that looks like a boring black brick, if you're not familiar with external hard drives.

The bins can be a treasure trove of old school electronics - I've come across old projectors, but ultimately don't end up walking out with them only because I don't want to deal with shipping that heavy of a thing. And the profit (sales price) can be all over the place, so it's a bit of an unreliable resell item. It's worth a mention, though, because electronics may end up being your niche - remember what doesn't sell for one person, may sell for another.

Black and Decker Spacemaker products - These seem to be a very good flip item to resell according to one expert in a particular Facebook group. Look for Black and Decker Spacemaker Coffee Makers - the ones that go under cabinets and off kitchen counters. Also keep an eye out for the B & D Spacemaker can openers or other electric can openers.

Pro Tip: If you do resell this product line, use both Spacemaker and Space Maker in your title and/or description.

Cameras are usually a good resell item. But do keep this in mind - just because it's a really cool older camera, doesn't mean you'll be getting a huge sale off it. For some reason certain vintage/old cameras don't fetch high dollars. But, I've had decent luck with older digital cameras - the little point and shoot ones. Also, there's a sweet spot for old film cameras - so keep an eye and run comps before picking one up for resell. Polaroid and instant cameras are so-so, I would advise not spending more than $5.00 on any old camera to resell.

Don't overlook camcorders either and the blank media that go along with it. The blank tapes could be Hi-8 or DV-8 or similar. When in doubt, look it up! Thrift stores may think the blank media is "worthless" because camcorders are such a thing of the past. But there are people who into camcorders and can't get blank tapes in stores anymore, so boom, insant potential buyer just by having something not in easy supply.

Of course cell phones deserve a huge mention. I didn't think about selling my old cell phones until recently, then boom I put 2 up for sale and they both sold very quickly. If you're selling your old phone, definitely do a factory reset, but also look into apps that will encrypt your old data so that the new owner has no access to andy of your information. And for sure, keep your eyes out for cell phones when sourcing - they can also be sold for parts if they aren't useable or locked. The same goes for tablets as well.

Printers and toner are also good things to look out for, especially toner and ink. Huge market for toner and ink. People are always looking for good deals on things that are expensive to replace and printers qualify for this for sure. Make sure the printer works and that your buy in on it is low.

Don't overlook record players, turntables, discman, and walkmans. Audiophiles will pay for these music players. Records themselves are generally not a good flip, with some exceptions, as are cassette tapes. The exception is blank cassette tapes. I once found a small case of "blank" tapes at the bins, they had already been used and recorded on, but I listed the case and tapes and they sold within 48 hours for my full asking price. I sold a voice recording-capable walkman pretty quickly, too. In fact, I picked up another huge lot of blank tapes that have been recorded on. Haven't listed them yet, but will update once I do.

Pro Tip: Check battery compartments before buying to make sure the battery isn't old and corroded; the item could be ruined because of this.

Pros and Cons of Selling Electronics:

  • Pro: can be a very good flip, especially if you can buy low
  • Pro: there is either a constant market (like for cell phones) or a good niche market (like for vintage electronics)
  • Pro: can sometimes be found on the cheap
  • Pro: sometimes the items are small, making them easy and cheap to ship
  • Pro: it's a fun market to sell in
  • Con: some items can be bulky, large, and/or heavy making them difficult and expensive to ship
  • Con: a little higher rate of return if the item arrives damaged or doesn't work
  • Con: item can be busted or not work, so test it before buying
  • Con: some of these things can be expensive to buy up front, so make sure to check comps before committing

Overall, electronics is a solid market to sell in. You may find that this is the niche you'd like to specialize in. It's an easy market to get into and learn about since we've all had electronics in some form or another all our lives, so there's not a super steep learning curve to start with. Brand new electronics are pricey, so there's always buyers out there looking for a good deal, as well as collectors of specific things.