What to Bring to Electrical Scrap Buyers

Jun 10, 2021 | General

Electronic waste to bring to electrical scrap buyers

So, here’s the dilemma. You’ve got a huge pile of old electronics gathering dust in the basement. You’ve got all kinds of computer parts, TVs, cell phones, and who knows what else. It’s all accumulated over the years, and before you knew it, you had a huge pile of electronic junk to get rid of. What do you do? Up to this point, you’ve just been trying to ignore it, which hasn’t been working out so well. One of your best options is to take all your gadgets to electrical scrap buyers to get cash for electronic scrap. 

You can take many broken or otherwise unwanted electronics to e-cycling centers, but did you know that some electrical scrap buyers will give you cash for electronic scrap? Of course, the things they’ll pay top dollar for are not your run-of-the-mill CRT monitor or an outdated cell phone. Electrical scrap buyers are looking for value. What kinds of electronics are best donated and what kinds you can sell will differ between electrical scrap buyers, so you should always check with the facility first. Most should have lists of what they accept and pricing tables for how they pay readily available.

Here, we’ve compiled a general list of what the best things to bring to electrical scrap buyers tends to be. But first, let’s define some terms. 

Ferrous or Non-Ferrous Metals?

When you’re looking at the websites of electrical scrap buyers to try to figure out what kind of cash for electronic scrap you can get, you might see this distinction. They will usually offer a different price for ferrous metals than they will for non-ferrous scrap. How do you know if what you’ve got is ferrous? What does that even mean?

Don’t get confused. Basically, ferrous means the metal has iron in it (“ferrous” is derived from the Latin word for iron). It’s that simple. Some common examples of ferrous metals are alloy steel, carbon steel, and wrought iron. You might not find too many of these in your electronics, so you will probably be looking at non-ferrous metals. Some common examples there would be aluminum, copper, and lead. 

The easy way to test to see if you have ferrous or non-ferrous metal to bring to electrical scrap buyers is to see if it’s magnetic. That’s why non-ferrous metals are more often used in electronics. Since they’re not magnetic, they’re better suited to that kind of application. They’re also less prone to rust than their ferrous counterparts, so you’ll also see them more often in things like gutters and outdoor signs.

Best Metals to Take to Electrical Scrap Buyers

Copper is definitely one of the most lucrative that you’re going to find in electronic scrap. There are several different grades of scrap copper, each fetching a different price. The kind you’re most likely to find in electronics is copper wiring, and you will probably come across some wiring with insulation. 

Whether you take this insulation off or not will affect how much cash for electronic scrap you get. With little spaghetti wires, it’s often not worth the effort to strip the insulation off; the difference in price isn’t enough to justify all that work. On the other hand, it can definitely be a good idea to strip larger wires of their insulation. It’s easier to do, and you’ll get more copper out of it. Many electrical scrap buyers will still take insulated copper wire and strip the insulation off themselves, they’ll just pay you less for it. Definitely ask your chosen electrical scrap buyers about it if you have any concerns.

While copper is one of the metals that will get you the most cash for electronic scrap, there are others that are worth your time, too. You might find steel in the shells of your appliances, and in certain electronic components, you’ll find precious metals like gold and silver. It won’t be very much of it, but when you add up all your electronic scrap, you might end up with a pretty decent payout.

Things to Bring to Electrical Scrap Buyers

Alright, we’ve got the most important vocabulary words and overarching concepts out of the way. Now we can get a little more detailed about what will get you the most cash for electronic scrap. Of course, there are other types of metal that you can scrap to rake in the big bucks, but we’ll focus here just on electrical scrap buyers. We’ll take you through how to get the most cash for electronic scrap — that includes which types of scrap tend to bring in the biggest bucks and which waste is better to just donate. Here are some of the most common items people want to take into those electrical scrap buyers:


Ranging from big-ticket items like washing machines to smaller items like microwaves, selling appliances can be one of the best ways to get cash for electronic scrap. Getting rid of large appliances like refrigerators or ovens can be a hassle. However, if you sell them to electrical scrap buyers, at least you can recoup some of the money you spent on them. If you’ve got appliances with copper tubing, you’re in for an even bigger payday. 

As with most items on this list, you’re probably going to get more money for your appliances if you take them apart and separate them into their different components before you sell them to electrical scrap buyers. This is especially true for relatively small and easy appliances like microwaves. You can snip off the cord, take off the shell, and separate all of the different pieces into piles based on what type of metal they contain. It’s a little extra work, but it can often make the process of selling to electrical scrap buyers that much easier and more lucrative.

Ceiling Fan Motors

If you’re upgrading your living room to beat the heat this summer, what better way to get rid of your old ceiling fan than selling it for a little extra cash? Granted, you’re not going to get very much from an old ceiling fan motor on its own, but adding it to the pile with all the other items we’re listing will give you a little extra bump. 

Remove the blades of the fan before taking it to any electrical scrap buyers, and then see what they’ll give you for the motor. There might be a copper coil inside of it, and that might be worth a little something. Always be on the lookout for where copper might be hiding to get the most cash for electronic scrap.


TVs are a little bit tricky. Some of them might be good ways to get cash for electronic scrap, but others are not good candidates. If you’ve got a CRT TV, you might have to pay to get it taken away. This is because of the cathode ray tubes within those old types of televisions. They can explode if not handled properly, so many electrical scrap buyers don’t want to touch them. 

They do, however, sometimes take some of the components from CRT monitors. For example, copper yokes from these types of TVs can be good elements to sell. Since copper is so valuable, any source of it might be a good way to get cash for electronic scrap. 

It all depends on how much effort you’re willing to put into taking your electronic scrap apart. Some people are quite comfortable with using their tools and breaking everything up while others aren’t. If you value convenience over getting the most cash for electronic scrap, you’re probably going to want to donate rather than sell in most cases.

Power Outlets

We’re not suggesting you rip all the outlets out of your walls to make a little extra cash. That would be pretty ridiculous and way more trouble than it’s worth. However, there are sometimes power outlets in desks and TV stands that you’re trying to get rid of. If you’d rather donate them than sell them, you won’t be losing out on much. But if you’re trying to get a big pile of electronic scrap together to sell, it doesn’t hurt to throw these in. You can also cut off the wires to separate them out if that’s something you’re comfortable with. Any effort you’re willing to put in will likely get you more cash for electronic scrap.

Backup Batteries

These devices are safeguards for when the power goes out while you’re working on an important document on your computer. Instead of losing all your hard work that you hadn’t yet saved, they’ll allow you to shut everything down properly. These types of batteries are pretty heavy, which translates into a pretty decent payout if you take them to electrical scrap buyers. Just be sure to check that they take these types of items before you bring them in, which goes for every item on this list.


What you have to watch out for here is the batteries. Often, electrical scrap buyers will want you to take out the laptop’s battery before they’ll buy it. You’ll have to find another way to get rid of the battery, but you can still get a good price for the rest of the laptop. They can contain a lot of valuable parts, like those precious metals we mentioned earlier.

Motherboards are the biggest circuit boards in computers, and they often contain the most gold. You’ll find the shiny stuff in their contacts and connectors, and there’s a thin layer of it on their surfaces. There’s also gold in their central processors and memory chips. If you can round up a lot of discarded laptops, you can get a lot of cash for electronic scrap.


You’ll find these on cell phones, cameras, and electronic chargers. If you’re looking for these, you’re looking for a small black box. These are good devices to sell because they contain a small copper transformer. Once you get that out of there, you can scrap it. Of course, one or two of them are not going to be worth very much and are probably not worth it, but if you can get your hands on a fair amount of them, they can definitely be worthwhile.

Desktop Towers

Scrapping an entire computer can be a fairly involved process if you want to take it apart. You can often get more money for it when you’re selling the individual pieces, but electrical scrap buyers will sometimes take the whole tower, too. Selling desktop towers can be one of the more lucrative ways to get cash for electronic scrap, especially if you take them apart. However, like most items on this list, you’ll want to check with electrical scrap buyers before bringing in your desktop towers. Some buyers might not take them.

Contact Electrical Scrap Buyers

There you have it. We’ve given you a good list of where to start trying to get cash for electronic scrap. Round up all the unwanted electronics in your house, and go from there. That includes obvious items like big appliances, but it also includes smaller devices you might not think of, like ceiling fan motors. 

The biggest tip is to take apart your electrical scrap and sort it into its components. You’ll likely get more money for it that way. Taking off insulation, sorting out different types of metals, and discarding any non-metal elements are all good places to start. However, if you don’t want to do all that, there are options for you, too. For those of us who just want to get rid of the dusty old electronic devices taking up space in the basement, there are often programs where you can donate your junk instead of selling it. That way, you can be free of it without having to put in any extra work. There are also some electrical scrap buyers who will give you money for whole devices, but you should definitely check with them before bringing anything in.

With all of these ideas in mind, you should be ready to pile up some old electronics and get out there.