Best places to buy unlocked phones 2021

by Joseph K. Clark

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

As unlocked phones get dramatically more popular in the U.S., the number of choices for where you buy one has exploded — and as always, some are better than others. We hear a lot of talk about the benefits of buying an unlocked phone. You can use it on any network, you don’t have a carrier deciding which apps are pre-installed or when you get updates, and you typically don’t have to pay more for the privilege.

If you’re in the market to buy one of the best Android phones and want to make sure you purchase unlocked, here are the best places you should buy from in 2021!


Source: Android Central

Amazon has revolutionized the way we shop for just about anything, and that includes smartphones. You’ll find phones directly from the companies that make them and phones from specialized importers and bulk buyers, which can offer additional savings if you research.

From Amazon’s cell phones page, you can quickly narrow your search by all criteria, including whether or not the device is unlocked. Most phones also have a carrier compatibility check so you can know it’ll work properly when it arrives. So whether you’re looking for the flagship Galaxy S21 Ultra or the more affordable Pixel 4a, Amazon has you covered.


There is a reason Amazon has grown to be the internet’s most well-known and trusted online marketplace: all the happy customers. Shopping at Amazon is easy (almost too easy) and safe; their buyer protection and hassle-free policies are legendary. Shipping is fast and complete with tracking, so you’ll know where your stuff is during the trip and find any accessories you might need for your new phone.

From A to Z


You can find unlocked phones from almost any manufacturer you can think of at Amazon. Sort by manufacturer, price, rating, and more.

B&H Photo

Photographers know that B&H is the place to go for everything regarding camera gear, but they also have a great selection of mobile products.

One thing B&H has perfected that makes shopping easy and great is the search tools on the site. Narrowing things down by price, brand, or color makes shopping simple. B&H has phones from most manufacturers, and they can be the place to go if you’re looking for devices with a limited release, such as Sony’s high-end devices or even products you never knew existed.

More than just cameras

B&H Photo

B&H not only has some of the best camera equipment available, but it has most of the best camera phones available unlocked and at great price points.

Best Buy

Best Buy is known more for its sales of carrier devices bundled with plans but has opened up to selling many unlocked phones. Best Buy has unlocked versions of many different models alongside carrier versions, though when you search the site, it can be a little tough to differentiate them.

When you’re buying, you’re getting an unlocked model and not one with a carrier tie-in that needs to be activated. Many promotional deals and sales Best Buy runs are in conjunction with the carriers, so you can accidentally buy a phone that requires a carrier plan to make good on the price.

Superior service

Best Buy

You can find almost all of the best-unlocked smartphones at Best Buy, and you can get a natural person to help you set them up.


Whenever you need anything electronic, check out what Newegg has before pulling out the credit card. And that includes smartphones!

You’ll see a listing for unlocked phones from all major brands, from just-released devices to popular sellers that may not be the latest. Plus, you’ll see gear you didn’t know existed, as Newegg also imports unlocked phones worldwide. For the latter, check network compatibility and read the fine warranty print before buying.

Maybe the best part of shopping at Newegg is its open box, refurbished, and clearance deals. You’ll be able to find excellent prices on products with a full warranty, including all the accessories you might need for a new phone purchase.

All kinds of deals


You may only know Newegg for enterprise electronics needs, but it’s also a fantastic place to pick up consumer gear like a new unlocked smartphone.


Sometimes, when looking for an unlocked phone deal, it makes sense to look at second-hand devices. Swappa is where you start your search to save money by buying a used, unlocked phone.

This isn’t some dodgy marketplace, either. On the contrary, fully protected sales through the company make user-to-user buying (and selling!) as safe as easy. The phones listed are guaranteed to be gently used and in excellent working condition. And it’s obvious whether you’re looking at a carrier device or one that’s been unlocked.

If you’re in the market for a used, unlocked phone, Swappa should be your first stop. It’s incredible how much money you can save when a smartphone enthusiast gently uses your “new” phone for a few months.

Used utopia


You can save even more money on a gently used smartphone at Swappa. The buying process is trustworthy and secure, and you can use your savings for some cool accessories.


Before Amazon, Walmart was the actual “everything” store, and it’s still the place millions of people go to every day for essentials and electronics, including affordable smartphones and related accessories. It’s also a good place to sign up for affordable mobile plans, like Walmart’s Straight Talk Wireless.

Walmart’s website also has many unlocked phones, from budget options like the Moto G Power to more premium handsets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Money saver


As good as new

It’s good to know that you can find a tremendously unlocked smartphone where you shop for paper towels and snacks. And if you want, you can add service later through Walmart’s Straight Talk MVNO. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more

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