Best used smartphones in 2024

Best used smartphones: Quick Menu

The best used smartphones are a great way to save money on recently-released device. It may be satisfying to have the latest and best phone, but with price tags only getting higher they're getting less and less affordable. If you're short on cash, you may find there are much better ways to spend that money. 

The only question is figuring out which used phone is right for you and how much you'll be expecting to pay. Fortunately the best phones always get a pretty generous price cut once a successor appears, and some people do religiously upgrade each 1-2 years. That means it's pretty easy to find a gently-used handset that may only be a year or two old.

So whether you want an iPhone, a Samsung or something else entirely, these are the best used smartphones you can pick up right now.

The quick list

Here are the best used smartphones you can buy right now, based on our own testing. You can scroll down the page to find more in-depth information about each model and what makes them so great.

The full list: Best used smartphones you can buy today

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best used smartphone

Specifications

Starting price: £849
Screen size: 6.1-inch OLED (60Hz)
Processor: A15 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) / 12MP front (ƒ/2.2)
RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Brighter display
+
Great cameras with added Action Mode
+
Improved performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks 120Hz display
-
No zoom camera
-
More expensive

The iPhone 15 may have stolen the iPhone 14's thunder, but there's still plenty to love about the phone — especially if you're looking to save some money. Sure the iPhone 14 may not have had a particularly compared to its predecessor, and it lacks many of the iPhone 15's refinements, but it's far from a bad phone.

The dual 12MP rear cameras proved they could take excellent photos, and the A15 Bionic is still one of the better mobile chipsets on the market — despite reaching its 2nd birthday. You just have to remember that this isn't an iPhone 15 or even an iPhone 14 Pro, both of which are a little more impressive.

It's also worth remembering that the iPhone 15 display had no technical upgrades beyond the Dynamic Island. So if you can handle a notched screen for a little longer, everything on the iPhone 14's will look exactly the same as the newer model.

But at the same time the iPhone 14 is $100 cheaper when bought new, and buying used has the potential to save you even more money. And those prices are only going to get lower as time goes on, especially as get closer to the Black Friday sales season. 

Of course if you're not ready for an iPhone 14 right now, keep your eyes open for a bargain. Now that the iPhone 15 is officially here, iPhone 14 prices are only going to decrease. 

What you'll pay for a used iPhone 14

From $477 on Swappa
From $495 on Amazon (Refurbished)
From $444 on Gazelle

Read our full iPhone 14 review

Best cheap used smartphone

Best camera phone: iPhone SE 2020best value awards badge

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best cheap used smartphone

Specifications

Display: 4.7-inch LCD (1334x750)
CPU: A13 Bionic
RAM: 3GB
Storage/Expandable: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB / No
Rear camera: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8)
Front camera: 7MP (ƒ/2.2)
Weight: 5.22 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 9:18

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price
+
Fast A13 Bionic performance
+
Very good cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
Big bezels
-
No Night mode

The iPhone SE 2020 is already a great value phone, but picking up a used model means you can save even more on Apple's budget iPhone. Your savings will be limited, considering the phone's $399 MSRP, but now that the iPhone SE 2022 is here the second generation model's price is going down.

You can have an iPhone 8-inspired design, but with some of the same hardware as the iPhone 11. There's the powerful A13 Bionic processor, wireless charging, a 12MP camera that uses computational photography to great effect, water resistance, and a solid nine plus hours of battery life based on our testing.

What you'll pay for a used iPhone SE (2020)

From $137 on Amazon (refurbished)
From $79 on Gazelle
From $100 on Swappa

Read our full iPhone SE (2020) review.

Best used Android smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best used Android smartphone

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch AMOLED (2340 x 1080)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No
Rear camera: 50MP wide (f/1.8); 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2); 10MP telephoto (f/2.4) with 3x optical zoom
Front camera: 12MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 5.93 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:27 (adaptive)

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant performance
+
Bright and vivid display
+
Great telephoto lens for the price
+
Significantly better battery life than Galaxy S22

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing front camera
-
Limited 25W charging speed

Samsung is typically not one to make huge changes from one flagship to the next, so you're not missing a lot if you opt for a Galaxy S23 instead of a shiny new Galaxy S24

The S23 has the overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, and the minor battery increase has led to over two and a half hours more battery life compared to the Galaxy S22. The cameras, screen charging specs and software are pretty similar to the Galaxy S24, and the phone will be getting new Galaxy AI enhancements in the near future.

What you'll pay for a Samsung Galaxy S23
From $398 on Amazon (Refurbished)
From $355 on Swappa
From $479 on Decluttr
From $349 on Gazelle

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 review

Best used phablet

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best used phablet

Specifications

Display: 6.8-inch AMOLED (3200 x 1400)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM: 8GB, 12GB
Storage / Expandable: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB / No
Rear camera: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP 10x telephoto
Front camera: 12MP
Weight: 8.2 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 13:09 (60Hz) / 12:22 (adaptive)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible 200MP camera
+
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy beats iPhone 14 on graphics
+
Amazing display
+
Fantastic battery life
+
Set to get Galaxy AI upgrades

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive when new
-
Curved screen can be problematic
-
Same 45W charging speed as before

The Galaxy Note range is dead, but only in name. Instead the Galaxy S Ultra range has risen in its place. If the S24 Ultra isn't for you, then the S23 Ultra can get you a lot of the same great stuff at a fraction of the price. That includes support for the S Pen, an incredible 200MP main camera, 45W charging and a glorious 1-120Hz adaptive display.

It's even set to get some of the same Galaxy AI features as the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Word is that will include features like Instant Slo-Mo, Live Translate, Interpreter mode and Chat Assist. The new handset may have better battery life and upgraded camera lenses, but if you don't want to pay full price for the latest model, this is a great option.

What you'll pay for a used Galaxy S23 Ultra

From $748 on Amazon (Refurbished)
From $616 on Swappa
From $729 on Gazelle

Read our full Galaxy S23 Ultra review

Best used Pixel phone

Google Pixel 7 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best used Pixel

Specifications

Display: 6.3-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)
CPU: Google Tensor G2 with Titan M2
RAM: 8GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No
Rear camera: 50MP (f/1.85) main; 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide
Front camera: 10.8MP (ƒ/2.2)
Weight: 609 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 7:13 (5G)

Reasons to buy

+
Great price for a flagship
+
Terrific cameras
+
Bright, colorful display
+
Tensor G2 a big step forward

Reasons to avoid

-
Performance could be better
-
Only three years of software updates
-
No improvement to battery life

The Google Pixel 7 has a lot going for it, but it always felt overpriced for what it was. Thankfully the launch of the much more impressive (and expensive) Pixel 8 means the price has started dropping, and will likely continue as people start to offload their older devices. 

The inclusion of Google's Tensor G2 sensor may not make it a performance monster, but it does mean there are several features and improvements you can't get on other phones. The chip is built to offer better security and machine learning capabilities, improving cameras and offering features like witchcraft-like Photo Unblur. The Pixel 7 also tweaks the unique design of its predecessor, while offering excellent photography and a bright colorful display.

What you'll pay for a used Google Pixel 7

From $279 on Amazon (Refurbished)
From $206 on Swappa
From $329 on Decluttr
From $199 on Gazelle

Read our full Pixel 7 review

Best wildcard used phone

Back view of OnePlus 11

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best Android flagship killer

Specifications

Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3216 x 1440)
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM: 8GB, 16GB
Storage / Expandable: 128GB, 256GB / No
Rear camera: 50MP (f/1.8) main, 48MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 32MP (f/2.0) 2x telephoto
Front camera: 16MP (f/2.45)
Weight: 7.2 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 13:10 (adaptive), 12:48 (60Hz)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent battery life
+
Great performance
+
New and improved update policy
+
Gorgeous display
+
Lower price tag than other flagships

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks wireless charging
-
Telephoto zoom maxes out at 2x

OnePlus produces some fantastic phones, though they certainly release a lot of them. Which is why picking up last year's OnePlus 11 is always worth thinking about. With the OnePlus 12 on sale, you can expect to find the previous device for a lot less than it would have cost you this time last year.

Not only does OnePlus throw in an incredible display, fast charging, 5G and a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, you also have some of the best phone battery life — even one year on. Not quite as much as the OnePlus 12, but still pretty high On top of that Oxygen OS has proven itself to be one of the cleanest versions of Android you can buy. 

The camera's a significant improvement over what came before, even if the telephoto lens tops out with 2x magnification. Sadly this model doesn't come with wireless charging, which may be a deal breaker, though the 80W wired charging may help make up for it.

What you'll pay for a used OnePlus 11
From $449 on Amazon (Renewed)
From $386 on Swappa

Read our full OnePlus 11 review

Best cheap Android

Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best cheap used Android

Specifications

Display: 6.1-inch OLED (2400 x 1080, 429ppi)
CPU: Tensor G2
RAM: 8GB
Storage/Expandable: 128GB / No
Rear cameras: 64MP (f/1.89) main; 13MP (f/2.2)
Front camera: 13MP (f/2.2)
Weight: 6.8 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:05 (60Hz)

Reasons to buy

+
Faster refresh rate on bright display
+
Excellent Tensor G2-powered features
+
Main camera offers more megapixels than before
+
Wireless charging support
+
Still a great value at less than $500

Reasons to avoid

-
Noticeable bezels on display
-
Colors in photos skew toward darker tones
-
Phone gets warm when playing demanding games

Now that the Pixel 8a is here you're going to start seeing the Google Pixel 7a drop in price. Google hasn't made that price drop official yet, but other retailers will already be slashing some prices. So $499 was a little too pricey for you, then you'll want to keep your eyes peeled.  The Pixel 7a is one of the best cheap phones, with a bunch of impressive features in a conveniently-affordable package.

It's got a large 6.1-inch display, sub-6GHz 5G, wireless charging, a dual camera setup with 64MP main and 13MP ultrawide lenses, and a 13MP selfie camera. The battery is also pretty great, lasting 10 hours and 5 minutes during our testing regiment. Not to mention the fact that it's powered by the Tensor G2 chipset with all the AI-powered features that comes with.

From $339 on Amazon (refurbished)
From $242 on Swappa
From $244 on Gazelle

Read our full Pixel 7a review

How to pick the best used smartphone for you

Deciding which used smartphone to buy is a bit harder than choosing a new phone, for obvious reasons. Aside from the fact you want to ensure the particular device you're looking at is in acceptable condition, you also have to consider whether or not the model you're interested in will be up to the task to handle what you expect to throw at it.

Flagship smartphones are more powerful than many of us realize, and so even if you buy a device that's two years old, you're still likely to get a phone that's more than powerful enough to handle everyday tasks. From browsing social media apps and websites, to GPS navigation, video and music streaming and snapping photos.

Where you might begin to see an older phone sweat pertains to those really taxing use cases, like playing the most strenuous, graphically rich mobile games and 4K video recording. Additionally, if the battery in an old phone has never been replaced with a fresh unit, it's likely deteriorated to the point where it won't last very long on a charge — another factor to consider.

You also have to be mindful of the status of software and security updates on the device. This is a particular area in which it pays to buy an older iPhone, because Apple supports its handsets for far longer than the standard 2-3 year policies Android phone makers commit to. In fact, the iPhone 8 — a device that released in 2017 — can still get iOS 17, the upcoming version of Apple's mobile operating system. The best case scenario on Android is the four years of updates Google reserves for its own Pixel devices and Samsung devices bought after 2019.

How we test smartphones

Every smartphone Tom’s Guide evaluates is tested for several days in real-world use cases and benchmarked with a gamut of performance-measuring apps. In terms of performance, we used Geekbench 5 to measure overall speed and GFXBench to measure graphics performance.

We also use our own video editing test in the Adobe Premiere Rush app to see how long it takes to transcode a clip, which we run on both Android phones and iPhone to compare performance.

We use a light meter to ascertain display quality data, like brightness and color accuracy, and our proprietary battery test determines longevity on a charge by continuously loading live webpages over a 4G or 5G network. We set each phone to 150 nits of screen brightness and try to use T-Mobile's network each time in order to achieve comparable results across phones.

Lastly, we explore the software, test gaming performance and conduct live camera comparisons with rival handsets — and each of these factors play a part in our comprehensive verdict.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.

  • redzaimranrazman
    Thanks for the great article.

    However, I found that the iPhone 11 in the article says that its equipped with OLED display but instead its actually equipped with the Liquid Retina Display.
    Reply