Have you tried getting a new cellphone recently? If so, you must already know how easy it is to spend almost $1000 getting the latest smartphone. Even so, you might still be stuck in a contract for several months. However, researching the cheapest place to buy unlocked phones or refurbished unlocked phones can help you save hundreds of dollars. Plus, you will be free to change carriers as you wish, potentially saving you more funds down the road.
Use our comprehensive resources to get what you need without any hassle. To start you off, we’ve compiled the best clearance unlocked cell phones. Also, here’s a detailed Samsung unlock phone guide for those who need to unlock their smartphones. And to help you get the best overall deal, we’ve reviewed the best place to buy unlocked phones online. But first, let’s make sure you get the right unlocked phones meaning before we highlight the cheapest place to buy unlocked phones.
What is an Unlocked Cell Phone?
We hear many people talking about the perks of getting an unlocked phone, but what is an unlocked phone?
Simply put, it is a handset that comes without a network lock. So, it can work on any network because it is not tied to a specific wireless carrier. And you don’t have a service provider determining when you receive updates or which applications are pre-installed. Essentially, you don’t have to pay extra for the privilege of using your handset.
There are a few things to consider before you visit the best place to buy unlocked cell phones. Any unlocked gadget you purchase will be compatible with GSM networks such as T-Mobile, AT&T, or any of their smaller discount brands using the same towers. But if you plan on using an unlocked smartphone on Verizon wireless or its subsidiaries, you’ll want to verify that it’s compatible with CDMA-compliant.
Who Doesn’t Need an Unlocked Phone?
Nonetheless, there’s a caveat you must understand. Just because an unlocked phone lets you choose any service provider doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for everyone. You need to know whether going unlocked will work for you, mainly because you have to pay for it in full.
So, unlocked cell phone deals may not be for you if:
- You prefer installment plan purchases.
- If you have a single, preferred carrier who satisfies your cellphone needs.
- You don’t shop for the best cell phone deals or use multiple providers.
Buying unlocked might be an inconvenience if the three instances describe you.
Who Should Get an Unlocked Phone?
On the other hand, you should purchase unlocked if:
- You are willing to invest in an all in one transaction for your smartphone.
- If you don’t have a sole service provider who satisfies all your cellphone needs.
- You are always shopping for the best cheapest phone deals and service plans.
Purchasing an unlocked device allows you to use it on multiple networks. In that case, it will be easy to switch between different carriers, depending on your specific needs. Besides, this arrangement will put you in control of your cellphone bill at all times.
If you’re hunting for a new handset and you intend to go with one of the big three carriers or one of their discount providers, they’re likely to provide better phone offers than you could land on your own. However, if you switch carriers regularly, you are the ideal candidate for an unlocked cellphone.
And lately, unlocked gadgets have become intensely more popular among consumers in the United States. As such, the number of choices for where to get one has also exploded. But as usual, some places are better than others. Do you want to avoid SIM locks and restrictive carrier contracts for your next cellphone purchase? Keep reading below to find out for yourself the best place to buy unlocked phones online.
Top 10 Best Places To Buy Unlocked Cell Phones Online
Just so we’re clear, Apple’s virtual and physical storefronts aren’t perfect for everyone. For example, if you’re looking for an Android phone, visiting the Apple Store will be a waste of time entirely. But for iPhone lovers, Apple is the best place to buy unlocked iPhone.
We rank them as one of the finest retail experiences in this review. Apple’s stores, both offline and online, are well-designed. Besides, the brand boasts an extremely knowledgeable staff. Therefore, visiting the Apple Store is the best move if you’re looking for a place to get your iPhone fixed. Its outstanding online store is famous for shipping cheaply and quickly.
For great prices on unlocked cell phones on the internet, eBay is hard to beat. In fact, we’ve discovered the most offers on unlocked smartphones over the past couple of years. As an online marketplace, eBay has listings for numerous brands. However, it is a particularly great place to look for an iPhone.
Unlike any of its rival retailers online, they have an exceptionally active market for Apple fans. So, if you’re team iPhone, eBay is the second next best place to buy unlocked iPhone, after Apple Store. But make sure to check the ratings for prospective sellers. Taking the time to peruse customer reviewers will ensure a successful shopping experience. Moreover, acquainting yourself with shipping and return policies is vital since those details vary by seller.
3. Best Buy
Boasting over 200 unlocked cellphones to select online, Best Buy deserves mention as the best place to buy unlocked cell phones. Do you know what you are looking for? Well, use the convenient search bar to check if they have it in stock. Better still, look to the side of the interface to find filters that’ll help you narrow your search.
Remember that landing the best deals on this store might mean checking initial prices. You’ll notice that those prices come with same-day activation, including rates for unlocked devices. So, if you don’t plan on activating your smartphone immediately, you’ll likely notice a slightly higher price.
Even so, there are free shipping offers for online purchases in excess of $35. Most unlocked phones should surpass that bill. Be sure to select free same-day pickup while checking out to ensure faster delivery.
Don’t have the money to splash around buying a flagship smartphone but still need a phone upgrade? Well, it’s time for the next best choice. Check out Gazelle. Apart from reselling used devices, the online marketplace is among the cheapest places to buy unlocked phones.
There’s no need to worry if your purchase will last. Gazelle makes sure that the phone is working correctly. After that, they price it according to its overall value and current condition.
The retailer boasts an inventory of over a thousand unlocked cell phones on the internet. Some of Walmart’s famous brand names include Samsung, BLU, Google, Apple, LG, Motorola, and others. Shoppers can search for a specific phone if they don’t want to browse by brand.
To narrow down your search further, you can use filters like condition, price, carrier compatibility, screen size, and more. There’s also a decent selection of refurbished smartphones on their portal. Plus, your unlocked device qualifies for pickup in-store if it was sold directly from Walmart.
Newegg is one of those cheapest places to buy an unlocked smartphone in this roundup. Their unlocked cell phones’ selection starts from as little as $125. Besides, they stock devices made by top brands like Samsung, ZTE, Motorola, Apple, Google, and others.
Here, you’ll find offerings ranging from refurbished gadgets to the latest releases. And with most of their unlocked devices, they offer qualifying for free shipping, and you don’t have to pay extra.
In terms of global popularity, this giant online retailer is hard to beat. And they have a decent selection of unlocked cell phones. You can choose from refurbished to new smartphones directly from manufacturers at competitive rates. Also, there are several unlocked devices to be had from independent sellers, all at unbeatable prices.
8. B&H Photo
You’ll also want to check the rates on unlocked cellphones on this website unless you are in the market for an iPhone. Apple iPhones are unavailable at B&H Photo at this time. Meanwhile, you will be browsing an inventory of over one hundred unlocked phones.
Samsung phones make up the biggest selection of their unlocked section. Still, they have phones made by LG, BLU, Motorola, Google, and others. The best part is that your purchase may be eligible for free expedited shipping if it’s worth $49 or more. With an online comparison tool that allows up to four phones at once, it’s easy to decide which phone you’re buying on the site.
For the most competitive rates available on refurbished and pre-owned unlocked cell phones, Swappa is hard to beat. You can purchase cellphones directly from independent sellers on this online store. Swappa has a moderation team in place to review and approve every listing.
They review serial numbers, seller history, verification photos, and criteria compliance before posting any listing. Therefore, you can look through approved listings for unlocked smartphones in mint, good, and fair conditions. Unless you need to get express shipping, Swappa doesn’t charge additional shipping fees.
With a slew of stores across the United States, Target is another best place to buy unlocked cell phones online. It is an excellent place to shop for a selection of higher-end options that most people want. While they don’t necessarily stock the same inventory you’ll likely find on Walmart or Amazon; they have unlocked devices you will be interested in.
It is an excellent place to purchase new cellphones that are compatible with major carriers in the US. Besides, Target has some options for MVNOs. Simply put, they have all the rates you would expect on smartphones. And their Black Friday specials and weekly deals can lower prices considerably, creating an exceptionally appealing purchasing experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The best-unlocked cell phone to buy will vary depending on several things. Many factors and questions play out to determine the best smartphone. For instance, while some devices are best for taking photos, others excel at internal processing speeds and many other aspects. We recommend reading our unlocked cell phone post for a comprehensive guide about the topic.
Yes. It is cheaper to buy a phone unlocked in the long run. While locked smartphones seem affordable due to installment payments, you’ll end up paying more than the phone’s worth down the line. Besides, an unlocked phone will work with any carrier, allowing you to choose the cheapest provider in your area. The only disadvantage is that you must pay for it in full.
Yes. Best Buy has a slew of options for consumers to find their preferred unlocked phones. Also, they have an exclusive section dedicated to universally unlocked smartphones.
You can buy a phone from Amazon if you find one that fits your needs. The brand has an extensive vendor and seller review processes to make your purchase even more straightforward. And the platform’s secure and straightforward tracking services make it very safe to purchase phones.
Yes. Walmart has a wide range of refurbished and new unlocked devices. You can browse their unlocked selection for brands like LG, Samsung, Motorola, Google, Apple, and more.
If you want the freedom to switch carriers at any time, it will be smart to go the unlocked route. But it would help if you took time to compare rates before making your purchase. Doing so will ensure you get the best deal on an unlocked device. You can check out the offers at Amazon, Target, Walmart, Apple, and Best Buy for unbeatable deals on new and refurbished unlocked smartphones.
However, those are not the only best places to buy unlocked cell phones online. e-Bay and Swappa are also excellent, especially if you’re open to purchasing used unlocked phones in good condition. Moreover, B&H Photo and Newegg are potentially incredible places on the internet to browse competitive rates on unlocked devices.