Consumer Reports: Best way to sell old electronics

How to unload gadgets and get highest return for your efforts

There’s always a lot of chatter about what new gadgets people are getting for the holidays. But what about the stuff they already have?

Their electronics may be in perfectly good shape in November or December but feel like old news in January.

Consumer Reports says there may be a way to make some quick cash after the holidays with those old gadgets.

Robin Newhouse treated herself to a new laptop, which means there will be one more old laptop hiding in her kitchen cabinet just above the drawer full of over-the-hill tablets. 

“I always feel bad throwing them away, but I don’t really know what to do with them," Newhouse said.

The tech team at Consumer Reports says yesterday’s devices could be worth something.   

“A lot of big electronics companies, you know, when they’re putting out their new products, they do a lot to make everything seem exciting and fresh," Thomas Germain said. "But your old stuff that you have lying around is still perfectly good -- and if it’s working, it’s a great way to make some extra cash.”

There are plenty of online classified services, but if you want simple, eco-ATMs are popping up across the country where you can sell MP3 players, tablets and cellphones. 

Just plug your device in at the kiosk and it will examine it to determine the storage, the condition and the value on the market. They’ll make you an offer and if you agree to sell, you get cash on the spot.

Online buyback services, such as Decluttr and Gazelle, work in much the same way. 

Answering a few quick questions gets you a price, and if you’re happy, you can just print a free shipping label, box up your device and send it off.

Maybe you’ll even make enough to pay off some of those holiday bills. 

Before you sell any electronics that once housed any personal data at all, Consumer Reports says it’s important to protect yourself by logging out of any accounts, including cloud-based storage and disable any apps that track your device, like find my i-Phone.

Then, be sure the device has been completely erased.

On a phone, you would perform a factory reset, which scrubs it clean.

You don’t want any bank account information, family pictures or even your browsing history ending up in the hands of someone you don’t know.