Microwaves are a staple in most homes – used for quickly heating up leftovers, cooking frozen meals, and preparing snacks in a flash. But if your old microwave has seen better days or you’re looking to upgrade models, you may be wondering: can I sell or pawn my microwave at a pawn shop?
The short answer is yes, pawn shops do often accept microwaves as items for sale or collateral for loans. However, there are some key factors to consider before you lug that bulky appliance into your local pawn shop.
How Pawn Shops Assess Microwaves
Pawn shops deal in a wide variety of secondhand goods, including electronics, tools, jewelry, musical instruments, and household items. When it comes to microwaves, pawnbrokers will assess:
- Condition – Is it clean and in good working order with minimal cosmetic damage? Well-maintained microwaves in great condition have the highest value.
- Brand – Name brands like LG, Samsung, and Panasonic tend to be preferable than no-name brands.
- Features – Models with advanced features like convection cooking, sensors, and inverter technology can potentially get higher offers.
- Age – Newer microwaves tend to be worth more than older, outdated models.
- Market demand – Pawnbrokers consider the current market and whether certain models are in high demand by buyers.
They use these factors to determine the resale value and make an offer accordingly. This can either be an outright purchase price if you want to sell the microwave, or a loan value if using it as collateral for a pawn loan.
Microwave Condition Matters Most
Of all the aspects pawnbrokers evaluate, the overall condition is the most important factor impacting value. Let’s take a look at how different conditions can affect payout:
|Microwave Condition||Value Rating||Loan/Price Offered|
|Good condition, minor wear||Average||$20-$50|
|Major defects, heavy wear||Low||$5-$20|
As you can see, clean and damage-free microwaves in great working order will always be rated higher and get the best offers. Units with major cosmetic or functional issues will be valued lower.
Estimated Pawn Shop Offers for Microwaves
While every pawn shop will make unique value assessments, here are some ballpark estimates of what you could expect to receive when pawning or selling different types of microwaves:
|Microwave Type||Estimated Offer|
|High-end stainless steel smart microwave, like-new||$80 – $120|
|Name-brand 1,000W microwave, 5 years old, good condition||$30 – $60|
|No-name 800W microwave, 10+ years old, functional||$10 – $25|
Higher wattages, newer models, and stainless steel finishes tend to increase value. Of course, exact offers depend on local supply, demand, and condition. Don’t expect to get full retail value – pawn shops need to profit when reselling.
Should You Pawn or Sell Your Microwave?
Once you get an offer from the pawn shop, you’ll need to decide whether to sell or pawn the microwave. Here’s an overview of the key differences:
Selling Your Microwave
- You hand over the microwave and receive immediate cash payment.
- No loan terms or interest. The transaction is final.
- Usually receive around 25-50% of retail value.
- Lose ownership permanently.
Pawning Your Microwave
- Use the microwave as collateral for a cash loan with set repayment terms.
- Must repay the loan plus fees/interest to get the microwave back.
- If you default, the pawn shop assumes ownership and can resell it.
- Receive 50-75% of appraised value as the loan amount.
- Retain ownership unless loan defaults.
For quick cash, selling is simpler. But pawning allows you to keep ownership while borrowing against the value.
Factors That May Cause a Pawn Shop to Reject a Microwave
Though pawn shops are generally microwave-friendly, in some cases they may refuse to accept one or make very low offers. Reasons a pawn shop may reject a microwave include:
- Extremely old or obsolete models – Very outdated or uncommon microwaves can be a hard sell. Vintage appliances are an exception.
- Non-functioning or severely damaged – They avoid units with major defects that are inoperable or unsafe.
- Microwaves with advanced issues – Units that spark, have rust, or show signs of hazardous electrical/mechanical problems are risks.
- Oversized or specialty models – Giant restaurant-grade microwaves or niche appliances may not appeal to their customer base.
- Temporary overstock – Some shops may already have excess inventory of certain models.
- Banned items – In rare cases, items may be prohibited locally for resale.
It never hurts to ask your local pawn shop about their specific policies. Be prepared that in some cases, they simply may not be interested.
5 Tips for Successfully Pawning or Selling Your Microwave
Follow these tips to ensure you get the best offer when visiting a pawn shop to exchange your microwave for cash:
- Clean it thoroughly – Remove all crumbs, spills, and residue inside and out. Scrub off any stains on the body or door.
- Test it beforehand – Verify all functions work properly. Heat a cup of water to make sure it turns on, heats evenly, and doesn’t spark.
- Bring all accessories – Include parts like the glass turntable, racks, manual, and any other original accessories.
- Note product details – Write down the brand name, model, wattage, and age. This helps the pawnbroker appraise value.
- Shop around – Get quotes from several pawn shops in your area. Offers can vary, so compare to find the best deal.
Alternatives If a Pawn Shop Won’t Take Your Microwave
If you have no luck at local pawn shops, don’t despair. You still have options to unload that old microwave rather than letting it collect dust. Some alternatives include:
- Selling privately online via Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, etc.
- Donating to charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, or Habitat for Humanity.
- Recycling it at an electronics recycling facility if it’s very old and broken.
- Giving it away for free on Buy Nothing community groups.
- Offering it on Nextdoor or in local online classifieds.
- Scrapping it for minimal parts value if all else fails.
With some persistence and creativity, you can likely find a new home for your used microwave and get a little cash in return if pawn shops don’t work out.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pawning Microwaves
Can any pawn shop reject a microwave?
Yes, pawn shops can decline to accept any item at their own discretion. Local demand, limited space, and prohibited materials can cause them to refuse microwaves on a case-by-case basis. It’s best to call ahead.
How much money can I get for my microwave at a pawn shop?
Offers vary greatly based on the microwave’s condition, brand, age, and features. Expect to receive anywhere from 25-75% of estimated resale value. High-end models in great shape get the maximum offers.
What info should I bring to pawn a microwave?
Bring the make, model, wattage, age, and any accessories. Also clean it thoroughly and test functions ahead of time. All details help the pawnbroker properly appraise its value.
Can I pawn a broken microwave?
Most pawn shops will not accept non-working microwaves. Severe damage, missing parts, or electrical/mechanical issues make them unappealing for resale. Unless it’s a rare vintage model, broken microwaves have little value.
What are signs a microwave is worth money?
Built-in microwaves, high-wattage commercial models, smart features, stainless steel, convection cooking, and popular brands like Wolf or Sub-Zero tend to boost resale value. Vintage mid-century microwaves can also be desirable.
Selling or pawning a used microwave doesn’t have to be a confusing or frustrating experience. By understanding what pawn shops look for, preparing your microwave properly, shopping around for offers, and considering alternatives, you can likely turn that old appliance into some quick cash or a short-term loan. With the right expectations, pawn shops can be the microwave-loving allies you need.