Craigslist vs. eBay: Which To Use For What!

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Craigslist and eBay are two of the largest online hotspots for secondary finds. Yet mulling through the search results can take away the excitement of finding that special "thing."

Whether you're looking for a specific item or a local find in your area, looking for free items or in the mood to negotiate, here are 6 tips to help you decide which site is the best one for your needs!


  1. Specific Items: Although both sites have search functions, eBay's allows you to drill down further into specifics, such as chandeliers by glass, metal, etc. The winner is eBay
  2. Local Items: You can search both sites for local items: eBay with its advanced search zip code function, and Craigslist with its city-specific listings. But Craigslist also lets you search by neighborhood, a nice feature when you aren't familiar with all of the zip codes in an area. The winner is: Craigslist
  3. Free Items: Out of the two, Craigslist is easiest to find free and only free items. Although eBay sellers will often offer additional items or free shipping and other perks, for wholly free items, search Craigslist in the For Sale/Free section. The winner is: Craigslist
  4. Negotiating Prices: Both sides have forms of negotiation, be it formal or informal. On eBay, the seller chooses the lowest amount they will accept for an item and then bids raise that price. On Craigslist, sellers often notate whether a price is the absolute lowest price the seller will accept or not. Don't be afraid to ask if they will take less, you just may be surprised. eBay has a more transparent and systematic way of negotiating, though. The winner is: eBay
  5. Sure Sale: Anyone who has tried to sell something on Craigslist should be familiar with the flake factor. Since no money is exchanged until buyer and seller are face to face, it can take time and effort to set-up the meeting, and even then the potential buyer (or seller) may not show. On eBay, there are ratings, profiles, and reliability indicators that help the buyer understand how much of a sure deal the seller is offering. It also offers the seller the money upfront, so there is little back and forth required prior to sending the sold item. The winner is: eBay
  6. Immediate Sales: Both sites get you results, whether you are searching or selling. They also require a bit of patience, finesse, good-lookin' pictures, and connection with the site to manage potential customer questions and requests. That said, Craigslist items tend to get interested responses faster, while eBay tends to provide final sales faster. So the two win in their own ways. The winner is: Neither! It's a Tie

Thanks to Michelle Chin's series on finding exactly what you are looking for on Craigslist and eBay, the search is easier.

Any other tips, selling points, or preferences between the two sites?

(Image: Sodahead)

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