How to trade in your Apple Watch and get the best deal

Getting a fair trade-in value for an Apple Watch can be a challenge. Here's how to get the best deal when trading in your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Series 4: Why you'll want this smartwatch

Now that the Apple Watch Series 4 has been announced your third-generation or older Apple Watch probably isn't looking as shiny. Getting your hands on the latest wearable tech from Apple doesn't mean you have to relegate your current Apple Watch to a desk drawer, though--you might be able to trade it in for cash.

Trading in an older generation Apple Watch can be trickier than trading in an iPhone or other device, but you still have options. The tough part is finding the best deal for your Apple Watch trade-in.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

Are you leasing your Apple Watch?

I have a third-generation Apple Watch with cellular, but I didn't buy it outright--I leased it from Sprint like I do my iPhone. If you're in a similar position, you'll need to contact your carrier to find out what early trade-in options are available. Turning in a leased device early might mean you have to pay the entire thing off up-front, so be sure to talk to someone before getting your heart set on the new Apple Watch.

SEE: How Apple Watch saved my life (ZDNet)

Send your Apple Watch to Apple

Quite a few of the places I recommended for trading in an iPhone don't accept Apple Watches, but Apple will. You can get an estimated trade-in value at Apple's GiveBack site. Sending your Apple Watch back to Apple will net you a gift card or an account credit that is usable at the Apple Store--if you want cash, you'll have to go elsewhere.

Note: Apple's trade-in deal for my first-generation Apple Watch was quite a bit less than the following options, so be sure to check a few places before making your decision.

Give your Apple Watch to your cellular carrier

Most cell service companies accept smartphones for trade-ins, but the same can't be said for Apple Watches--only Verizon and AT&T include Apple Watches in their list of accepted devices. If you don't use Verizon or AT&T, it's best to contact your carrier to see if trading in your Apple Watch is possible.

Send your Apple Watch to Cult of Mac

The Apple news website Cult of Mac has an Apple device trade in program, and of all the sites I searched it offered me the best deal for my first-gen Apple Watch. Cult of Mac offers cash as opposed to bill credits or gift cards, making it a better option if you just want to unload your Apple Watch for money quickly.

Explore other third-party trade or sale sites

TechRepublic sister site CNET has a good rundown of some of the other options for trading in an Apple Watch, including buyback sites like MaxBack and NextWorth.

If you'd rather take a gamble by trying to sell your Apple Watch for more money CNET suggests Swappa. The advantage of using Swappa over eBay is that the site doesn't charge sellers a fee, and instead adds $10 on to the price of the item that Swappa takes off the top.

If you would rather go to a physical store, electronics retailer Best Buy also offers trade-ins on Apple Watches.

SEE: Apple Watch Series 4 in pictures: Take a look at Apple's heart-monitoring wearable (CNET)

Research your options

Selling your Apple Watch, and getting a good deal for it, can be a challenge, but don't give up--check out the sites listed here and in the CNET article, or look for other sites if you're not happy with what you're being offered. As always, be sure the site you choose to sell your device to is reputable, and beware of offers that seem too good to be true--they probably are.

Also see

Image: Apple