For something so important, mobile phones can be remarkably fragile. Dents, chips and cracked screens are sadly all too common, and problems with the battery or buttons are even worse. Fortunately, you can usually still sell a broken phone.

There's no official industry-wide classification for the condition of a phone, but by and large, a handset falls into four brackets:

  • New - brand new, still in its original packaging and hasn't even been turned on
  • Used or working - has been used, but works fine and is largely undamaged
  • Broken - is damaged but recyclers will still buy it
  • Beyond economic repair - so damaged that it can't be sold

The condition of the phone will determine the payment you'll get from a recycler, and it's important to be honest when you send them your device - otherwise they may downgrade your quote later. With that in mind, it's a good idea to have an idea what exactly constitutes a broken phone.

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How to sell your broken phone

Selling your phone is easy at SellMyMobile - just follow these steps:

  1. Find your phone model by typing it into the search bar. Click or tap your model to start comparing offers.
  2. On the comparison table, select 'broken' from the condition options. This will filter results to only show valuations for damaged handsets.
  3. When you find a deal you like, click it to get more information, or head over to the recycler's website to sell your phone.

Make sure you're honest about the condition of your phone when getting your quotes. With damaged phones, there's a greater chance that recyclers will revise their initial quote once they receive your phone and check it over.

Be prepared for that possibility, and remember that you're free to reject it. Many recyclers offer free returns if their quote is changed so if your nervous pick one of these companies.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I sell my water damaged phone?

If your phone has suffered water damage, it can be tricky to sell. Some recyclers will take it, but many will not. As a general rule:

  • if it's suffered water damage but otherwise switches on and works, some recyclers will buy it as a broken phone
  • if it doesn't switch on or shows other significant signs of damage you probably won't find a recycler to buy it

Our best recommendation is to search for broken phone deals, and click through to a recycler's website when you find a quote you like. Check through their terms and conditions and they'll state their policy on accepting water-damaged handsets.

What counts as broken a phone?

A disclaimer: the precise conditions for a broken phone change by recycler. They typically make them clear, so when you compare devices, and click through to a company's website, you should be able to check for yourself. There are common factors though - you should definitely class your phone as broken if:

  • it has a cracked screen
  • it has lots of dents, scratches, and chips in the body
  • the battery is faulty
  • it has broken buttons
  • it has broken microphones, speakers, SIM gates or other parts
  • the phone doesn't switch on
  • the operating system is missing or corrupt
  • the back cover is missing
  • there are dead or damaged pixels on the display

Even if your phone has one or more of these imperfections, you can still sell it. Simply head search for your specific model on and make sure the 'broken' option is selected. We'll find you the best price.

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What phones cannot be sold?

Sometimes a phone considered beyond economic repair - in other words, it's too broken. While some recyclers may take a phone in that state, your options will be rather limited if:

  • the phone is bent, twisted, or snapped in two
  • the body is crushed
  • there has been serious liquid damage
  • the SIM or SD card is glued in

There are some other scenarios where the phone won't be accepted - in some cases, selling it might actually be illegal.

If, for example, you're trying to sell a stolen phone, not only will you not get any money, you may be investigated by the police. Every handset has a unique IMEI number and recyclers will check it. If that code has been tagged as stolen or lost, the device will be passed onto the authorities. To find out more, check out our information page:

Selling stolen phones