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August 22, 2022

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a computer for college. A standard setup will be sufficient for most online students who aren’t in computer programming or design-specific fields. You won’t be getting all the bells and whistles on a minimal budget, but you can get a solid machine with a decent processor, plenty of storage space, and web browsing capabilities.

You might have to dig a little for the best deals, but here are some great online laptop auction sites to look for a low-cost laptop.

E-bay: Everyone’s favorite, easily the most well-known, and our number one pick for online laptop auction sites. Many students turn to eBay for their computer purchases, and the reason is clear: You can get an affordable machine from a reputable seller. In fact, many companies that specialize in refurbishing items sell them through eBay. But if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. eBay has a reputation for defending its buyers against fraudulent sellers.

Make sure to ask the seller about any defects the laptop might have or warranties that the seller might offer. eBay is a great place to find deals, but don’t rush to click “Buy It Now,” If you love finding great deals at your local thrift store, give this online version a try. There were multiple laptops available at the time of publication and one even as low as $21!

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Not all sponsored colleges have laptop programs

Government Auction Sites:

Between seized property, abandoned lost and found items, and government operations themselves, many computers and laptops end up in the hands of the government. The items are then auctioned off to the public either online or in person. Federal auction items are available at,, Internal Revenue Service Auctions, U.S. Department of the Treasury Auctions, and the U.S. Marshals Service. hosts police auctions from over 3,000 different police agencies and municipalities.

For State items, click on the links below –

NebraskaNevadaNew Hampshire
New JerseyNew MexicoNew York
North CarolinaNorth DakotaOhio
Rhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
West VirginiaWisconsinWyoming also offers auction items from multiple, mostly east-coast, states. If you’re still striking out, see if your county or city hosts public auctions. These items usually come with no history or guarantee, but you’ll be paying rock bottom prices. With over 5 million registered users, Ubid has become a great resource for everyday item auctions. They sell new, overstocked, and refurbished items on their site. At the time of publication, the site had a handful of tablets available and 2 laptops priced at just over $100. Check back often as inventory seems to fluctuate frequently. is another popular live auction site that occasionally carries computers and electronics. The website lists both live auctions and auctions that are coming soon. You’ll need to register to place a bid. After that, you can go straight to the live auctions to see what is happening in real-time. has over 300,000 registered users, and that base is rapid. Sellers aren’t required to pay for listings since the site is supported by advertisements and donations, helping to keep auction prices low. At the time of publication, had several brand-new laptops available at some very competitive prices.

Tips for buying a laptop on an auction site

While buying a laptop on an auction site might not be the most conventional, it can be one of the best ways to stretch your computer budget. Just ensure you follow some simple steps to make the process seamless.

  • Always read the entire item description.
  • Ask the seller questions any questions you may have about the item before you place a bid.
  • Factor in shipping costs; you don’t want a steep shipping charge cutting in on your good deal.
  • Check the return policy; most auction items are final sell so make sure you know what you’re getting before you buy.
  • Check the seller’s reviews if possible.
  • If possible, use a 3rd party payment processor, such as Paypal. They will work with you to dispute charges if you’re not sent what you were expecting.