5 Reasons eBay Is Better Than Craigslist to Sell Used Gadgets

Briallyn Smith 01-03-2017

Selling your old gadgets online is a great way to make money, but it can be hard to know where to start!


Craigslist and eBay both launched in 1995, making them online marketplace pioneers. Despite the competition offered by other sites over the years, Craigslist and eBay are still some of the most popular options for people looking to sell, well, anything.

The Craigslist vs. eBay debate has been raging ever since their creation. However, which site is better often depends on what it is that you are looking to sell!

For example, if you want to sell your old couch? Using Craigslist to have Jeff from down the street pick it up in his truck for $40 is a much better deal than trying to ship the couch across the country through eBay.

Craigslist is essentially the internet’s resurrection of newspaper classifieds. This design has several benefits: ads don’t require a listing fee (except for employment advertisements), detailed descriptions, or beautiful photos. You won’t have to pay for shipping, sales can happen fast, and your item is more likely to stand out in a smaller local market.

These features make Craigslist a great online marketplace for items like furniture, concert tickets, and services. But what about when it comes to selling your used electronics? These five reasons help explain why eBay is still your best bet!


1. Ease of Use

Okay, let’s start with the most obvious difference between eBay and Craigslist.

5 Reasons eBay Is Better Than Craigslist to Sell Used Gadgets CraigslistHome 670x500

Craigslist’s interface really hasn’t changed much since 1995. Sure, you can post classifieds, and add your location, photos, and a brief description. However, most of your transactions and interactions will need to happen over the phone, in person, or through e-mail.

5 Reasons eBay Is Better Than Craigslist to Sell Used Gadgets EbayHome 670x500


eBay, on the other hand, has continued to develop its buying/selling strategy over time. The site is easy to navigate and offers a wealth of resources for sellers.

Each listing can feature tons of details in an appealing way, host multiple photos Selling Online? Make Sure Your Photos Sell Your Goods How many times have you bought something second-hand in a shop without properly inspecting it first? Any answer other than "never" means you're doing it wrong, and the same is true for Internet sales too.... Read More , and show past users’ reviews of well-known products. You can also set clear parameters on what the purchase/shipping process will look like for your items. Potential buyers can ask public questions and receive a response from the seller, limiting the number of identical e-mails you need to send.

2. Seek Out Savings

Many people think that Craigslist is the way to get the best value for your dollar because it’s a completely free service. While eBay does take 10 percent of your final price as a “service fee,” many people find that they can sell items for a higher overall price.

A big part of this effect comes from the broader market available on eBay. With more people selling similar items, you’re less likely to be fending off low-ball offers like many users experience on Craigslist.


This does make for more competition, but it also allows you to be sure you are selling gadgets for a fair price How to Make More Money Selling on eBay To maximize your earnings on eBay, you need to take a number of factors into account; we'll walk you through the best way to get the most out of your auctions. Read More . You can also track products and users of interest over time, helping you to stay on top of prices and demand.

There’s also some more practical savings to consider. It’s important to remember that time is also money. When you sell through Craigslist, the hours add up! Think about how much time you could spend:

  • Communicating with potential buyers through phone and e-mail.
  • Coordinating a meet up point for the purchase to occur.
  • Travelling to meet up with potential buyers.
  • Waiting while potential buyers try out your equipment.
  • Bartering with potential buyers.

And, at the end of all that, there’s no guarantee the potential buyer will make a purchase. While you can still expect some time lost on eBay, it’s likely to be a lot less!

3. Reach a Broader Market

One of the most important things about online selling is reaching the right audience! There are a ton of different online marketplaces out there, and each site has a different user base that is looking for specific things.


eBay is known as a resource for rare items, expensive items, and discarded gadgets. Because of this, many buyers are interested in technology and do-it-yourself projects — exactly the type of people who may want to buy your old phone How to Sell Your Old iPhone for the Best Price Don't fancy an expensive contract to get your hands on a new iPhone? Then why not sell your old model to sweeten the deal? Read More , even if it isn’t in mint condition.

It’s also worth considering the overall size of each site’s market.

Craigslist is intended to be used for local sales. As I mentioned, there are times when this comes in handy, but for technology, the more people who might see your listing, the better! As well, with Facebook’s online marketplace Facebook Marketplace Lets You Sell Your Old Junk for Free Facebook has launched Marketplace, which lets people buy and sell used items listed nearby. As a bonus, Facebook Marketplace is completely free to use. Read More quickly gaining popularity for local online sales, you can quickly end up competing with local sellers on other platforms as well.

Because eBay offers your listing to a global market, you are far more likely to find a buyer who is looking for the device you are selling. You are also more likely to find collectors and tinkerers who are willing to take broken items Sell Your Broken Things on eBay to Turn Them Into Cash Don't throw away your broken items -- turn them into cash by selling them on eBay! Here's how to go about it. Read More off your hands (for a free price).

4. Stay Safe

The risks of online marketplaces that require in-person meet-ups are pretty well known at this point. You’ve heard the news stories, and read the warnings, and I’m not going to discuss personal safety considerations for online sales in depth. Craigslist has a safety guide available for exactly this purpose.

In short, always listen to your gut and always meet the other seller in a public place whenever possible. So yes, eBay doesn’t involve meeting up with strangers. Beyond that, eBay is also the safer option when it comes to your financial security — and that’s an important consideration as well!

Handing over a $20 bill or check works well for an end table. But, when you’re dealing with expensive electronics worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, eBay’s option to authorize payments via PayPal or major credit cards is a smart idea.

These options prevent you from directly handling large amounts of cash, and create a paper record of your transaction. You can also view potential buyers’ profiles and reviews written about their conduct by other users. This lets you see if potential buyers have been honest in their past dealings on eBay, and helps you decide whether to trust them.

It’s always a good idea to be cautious because eBay scams are real 10 eBay Scams to Be Aware Of Being scammed sucks, especially on eBay. Here are the most common eBay scams you need to know about, and how to avoid them. Read More , and you should always take precautions. eBay provides you with several tools to help protect you from being taken advantage of. By combining these tools with your judgement and reasoning skills, you should be able to avoid any safety issues when selling your devices.

5. Accessing Support

If something does go wrong with an online sale, it helps to have somewhere to turn for support.

Unfortunately, with Craigslist, you’re basically out of luck. A brief FAQ section answers some of users’ most pressing questions, but if a deal goes south, you’re left to deal with the fall out.

eBay’s system may not be perfect, but it is a lot more responsive and comprehensive. A detailed customer service page directs you to several different options based on your circumstance.

If a buyer goes back on their word (or their payments), you have a few options: send the invoice again, cancel the sale, or report the buyer to the site. Based on the situation, you may also be eligible for a “final value fee credit” if the buyer disappears without a trace and you are not at fault.

When you are selling expensive and valuable electronic items, it’s always good to know that your online marketplace will support you if necessary.

Happy Selling!

Selling your old electronic gadgets can be an amazing way to make some money while clearing off some space at your desk. Whether you’re using eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, or any other online marketplace 13 Bargain Websites That Are Cheaper Than eBay eBay is a useful site for finding cheap deals, but don't overlook these shopping sites that can be cheaper than eBay. Read More , be sure to be safe and cautious.

If you’ve used either eBay or Craigslist to sell electronics, I’d love to hear about your experiences! Let me know what you thought of the site in the comments below.

Related topics: Craigslist, eBay, Selling Online.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. drBob
    March 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Apparently the writer has not used either. Credit card companies no longer support the seller. I've lost $2,000 through PayPal. Item was never sent. Contact and letter writing to PayPal was no help, Zero! They took up for the seller. Read the fine print with your credit card company. Rules have changed. I've also been involved with a third party as witness to eBay buyer who broke the item he received. Totally destroyed! I tested the item before it was shipped. (The seller is out of state but uses our company for testing) The seller asked us to confirm the condition before and after it was returned to our facility by the BUYER. We provided documtention to eBay. The seller LOST HIS CASE! I could list many more similar cases. We deal only with Craigslist for both buying and selling.

    The pros and cons could go either way. Craigslist is local for those who do not know how to do searches but on the other hand they are no doubt eBay buyers either!

    For instance, if am looking to purchase a car I can search the entire USA Craigslist for the particular car I'm looking for.

    • Briallyn Smith
      March 9, 2017 at 3:17 am

      Hi Dr.Bob - Thanks so much for offering your personal experiences in the comments, it's definitely important for people reading this article to hear cautionary tales like your own. I'm so sorry that you had that experience with eBay - and I can imagine why you would be using a different platform after that!