Skip to Content
old iphones
© Elena Miroshnichenko |

Here are the best used phones for $100, $300 and $500

If upgrading to a new phone and not keeping your old one, you could be looking at a nice payday. Here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck for your old electronics.

Perhaps you need an upgrade but don’t want to shell out for a brand-new phone. No problem! There are excellent used phones out there to fit any budget. Here are some of the best for each price point.

Secondhand is fine, but don’t dig too far into the past

Developers typically support a phone for a few more years when it is taken off the market. This means you don’t always have to run out and buy the newest model to keep your phone up to date.

It’s essential always to have the latest software patches and operating system updates. Not only do you get access to new and improved features, but you get the latest protection against hacks, viruses, bugs and malware.

The level of support goes down with time. They may get small incremental patches for a while longer but not significant updates. Eventually, support is completely dropped for older phones. Here are some obsolete tech devices you shouldn’t buy.

Now, let’s look at some phones! We picked an iOS and Android phone for each price point.

Best used phones for $100 or less

Apple iPhone SE (second generation)

The second entry in the budget line of iPhones packs the same internal hardware as the iPhone 11. There’s no plus-size version of this phone, and it’s nearly identical to the iPhone 8 externally, including the home button. It supports HDR content and can record 4K video at 60 FPS — you’ll get some stunning cinematics with this setting.

You can pick up a 128GB or 256GB model for about $100.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

The Pixel 4 lineup was followed by the midrange 4a series, which included a 5G model. Though the processors see a downgrade, the maximum memory size is the same as the flagship Pixel 4 at 128GB. The Pixel 4a 5G has a Gorilla Glass screen, OLED display and HDR support.

A Pixel 4a 5G in good condition can go for under $100.

RELATED: Don’t make this critical mistake when getting rid of old electronics.

Best used phones for $300 to $500

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The 13th generation of Apple’s flagship iPhones has an OLED display, HDR support, and night mode. The iPhone 11 Pro can shoot 4K video at 60 FPS and is the first to pack three camera lenses: wide, ultra-wide and telephoto.

Excellent battery life rounds out the package, and you should be able to pick up an 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max with 512GB of storage for under $500. NOTE: iPhone 11 models do not offer 5G technology. That began with Apple’s line of iPhone 12 models.

Samsung Galaxy S21

The S21 series originally came in three flavors: the standard S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. A fourth model, the S21 FE, was later introduced as an entry-level step into the Galaxy series. It wasn’t exactly a stripped-down version, either. All these phones share the same processor and have HDR support.

If you’re big on photography, go for the Ultra, which has an option for 512GB of storage, the largest display and a telephoto lens capable of 10X zoom. It also comes with the S Pen stylus, which enables more precise actions for drawing, writing, editing, and more. Otherwise, the S21+ is the best of the rest.

You should be able to find any of these phones for under $500.

NOTE: If you’re buying a used Galaxy S21 Ultra, make sure the pen is included, or have the seller lower the price to compensate for a missing one.

Best used phones for $500

Apple iPhone 12 Pro

The iPhone 12 Pro is not a massive upgrade from the 11 Pro that came before it (you get the usual slight bumps to battery and performance), but there are some noteworthy changes. The screen is more durable and slightly larger.

The newer phone supports 5G networks and the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner, which helps the phone measure depth more accurately, leading to better photos.

You can find a used 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max with 256GB of memory for $500 or less. Take the deal if you find a 12 Pro Max with 512GB in good condition for about $500.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Though the Galaxy S22 lineup is just a year old, you can get some fantastic deals on the flagship phones. From smallest to largest, you have the S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra.

The S22 Ultra has more advanced cameras, a higher resolution, and the group’s largest battery capacity. You can also get more storage on the Ultra, which is ideal for the larger image files it can process. An integrated S Pen is standard.

If you are OK with 256GB of storage, you can find any of these phones for under $500. The Ultra, which offers 512GB or 1TB, will be closer to $500 or slightly above.

NOTE: If you’re buying a used Galaxy S22 Ultra, make sure the pen is included. Have the seller knock a few bucks off the price if it’s missing.

Stay up to date with iOS 16 and Android 13

Apple’s iOS 16 is compatible with the following models:

  • iPhone 13, 13 mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11, 11 Pro,11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XR, XS, XS Max
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus
  • iPhone SE (second and third generations)

Android 13 began rolling out last August. It isn’t easy to get a complete list of supported phones since various manufacturers are involved and more support is being added over time.

Here are some of the popular models that support Android 13:

  • Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+, S22 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, 3 and 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Z Flip 5G, Z Flip 3, Z Flip 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra
  • Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G
  • Google Pixel 5, Pixel 5a 5G
  • Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 6a

You may also like: Want to trade in your iPhone for a newer model? We have bad news

Tech smarts in 2 minutes a day

Get my Daily Tech Update and the Digital Life Hack. Just one minute each and arm you with the tech knowledge you need to impress your boss and friends with how smart you are.