Spring Cleaning? We Tested out 3 of the Most Popular Apps for Selling Stuff

OfferUp vs Craigslist
Tinatin1/Getty Images

Garage sales were a big to-do in my family when I was growing up.

The day before any sale, I remember my mom and dad lining our two-car garage with folding tables, organizing each table with a theme of items (clothes, toys, books) then pricing each item with those neon inventory labels.

Early the next morning, while it was still dark outside, they’d shuffle the tables out to the driveway.

It was an all-day affair — and an especially hot one in Florida.

But that was the ’90s. And sure, people still host successful garage sales, but there are apps for that now.

We identified the most popular e-commerce apps (besides Amazon and eBay) and put them to the test: OfferUp versus Craigslist versus 5miles.

All of these secure apps allow you to sell to locals, which means no shipping hassles. They also offer the most variety in terms of what people are selling — clothing, books, electronics, household goods, you name it.

Even better: They’re all free to sign up for.

We put these three platforms head to head to determine which is best for you and most worth your time.


1. OfferUp

OfferUp is one of the newer apps on our list. But don’t underestimate the rising platform.

This app allows you to sell just about anything. In our area, we stumble across weedeaters, phones, rain boots and vacuums.

The sign-up process

Download the OfferUp app, enter your zip code, and then click the camera to sign up. You can “continue with Facebook,” which makes the whole process pretty seamless.

How to post an item

Posting an item proves to be a bit more detailed than what we expected.

Here are the steps we took to post the same origami dog:

1. Take a photo, or select a photo from your library. You can add up to five at once. Add a title to your item here, too.

2. Select a category and a condition (new, reconditioned/certified, open box but never used, used, for parts or other). Add a description if you want, too.

3. Add a price. You can select “firm on price” if you’re not willing to budge.

4. Opt to share it on Facebook and select your selling location, then post.

As soon as you post it, you’ll get a message from a customer service rep, who lets you know how excited OfferUp is to have you. It also sends along a FAQ page to your inbox, which is very nice and convenient. It’ll also make you feel a little special.

Snagging the sale

Within about two minutes, we get an offer from a user named Daniel.

He says he wants to buy the doggie for $1,000. We don’t think he’s serious… though he does have four positive ratings.

Our response? “Wow, that’s generous!”

Daniel doesn’t get back to us.

Again, it looks like OfferUp might have some similar downsides to other apps. You might not get serious offers or inquires, and people might not be willing to follow through.

Getting paid

This follows just about the same process as as we would expect: Meet in a public place, let the buyer inspect the item and gather payment in cash or through a payment platform.

Because this is up to you, OfferUp isn’t going to snag a percentage of the sale; it’s all yours.

Overall: OfferUp is really, super similar to other companies. It’s an app, it’s free and it follows just a few steps. It also has similar downfalls, including jokesters who offer $1,000 for a fancily folded $1 bill. However, the FAQ page is easy to get ahold of, and customer service welcomed us with open arms.

2. CPlus (for Craigslist)

CPlus is a third-party app because Craigslist doesn’t have its own. But it’s legit. It also has more than 10,000 ratings averaging 4.8/5 stars. Not bad.

The sign-up process

Again, you’ll download the app. You’ll need to agree to Craigslist terms and conditions before choosing your location.

Next, you’ll need to click the little draft icon in the top right corner of the screen.

If you don’t already have a Craigslist account, you’ll need to create one. This redirects you to Craigslist web page. Enter your email, then verify your account and create a password.

Navigate back over to the app, sign in and start posting.

How to post an item

After accepting more terms and conditions, you can create a new posting.

Choose the location (admittedly, a bit redundant), tap “Go,” then answer, What type of posting is this? You’ll likely choose “for sale by owner.” Then you’ll choose a category and select a subarea.

Title your posting, add a price, specific location, postal code and a description. Next, you’ll add images… and then the app crashed on us

We tried again, got through, snapped a photo then published it.

Snagging the sale

We didn’t get a bite on our origami dog. Perhaps people are getting tired of seeing it on every single marketplace app.

However, Craigslist has been around for a long, long time — a lot longer than these other platforms, and has a huge following. We suspect it won’t take too long to get interested locals if what you’re selling is worthwhile.

Do be aware of safety issues when it comes to Craigslist. As with the other apps, meet in a well-lit public setting and trust your instincts. Read our complete guide to Craigslist safety.

Getting paid

Securing the payment is up to you and cannot be done through the app. For safety, use cash — but not a ton.

Like any of the other apps, you’ll likely have people who flake out.

Overall: CPlus is a great app for those who already know and love Craigslist. Unfortunately, there are some glitches, and the app doesn’t work as smoothly as others. You might benefit just as well from using craigslist.org on your favorite mobile browser.

However, through the app, you still post directly to Craigslist, which is one of the largest and most popular selling platforms, so we suspect you’ll have some luck!

3. 5miles

After looking at 5miles for a while, we start seeing “Smiles,” and the app does put smiles on our faces.

The sign-up process

Unlike OfferUp (and more like Craigslist), you don’t have to download the 5miles app to post an item for sale. You can do it online, too, though you’ll need to upload photos — probably from your phone.

Like OfferUp, you can choose to sign up with Facebook. It’ll show you which of your friends are using the app so you can create a sort of community. Then enter your zip code.

Now you’re ready to post.

How to post an item

Click the camera icon at the bottom, and take a photo (or video!). You can add a title, a description and hashtags, which will help interested buyers better find your item. Then select a category and price.

You’ll also need to select “cash only” or “cash or 5miles Wallet.” (More on this below.)

Final step: Verify yourself. This just requires you enter your phone number. You’ll then receive a passcode via text you’ll enter. Sure, it’s an extra step, but the verification feature helps cut down on spammers and fakes.

Depending on what you’re listing and how many listings you’re making, you might have to pay a small fee.

For example, you’ll get five free car listings. Anything more than that, you’ll need to pay $4.99. This simply helps weed out spam. (Find the fee details here.)

Unless you’re selling more than five cars, five cell phones or 20 pieces of furniture, you’ll likely be fine.

Oh, and if your item passes “inspection,” 5miles will add $3 to your account, which you can use toward a future purchase.

Snagging the sale

We didn’t get any bites on 5miles, so be sure to check that it’s readily used in your area before posting everything.

It does stand out from the other apps in that it has a neat feature that allows you to promote your items. Categorize it as “must go,” “triple exposure” or “click-to-call.”

If you have a big item that really needs to go, you might consider paying $2.99 for these 3-day promo features (or $1.99 for 14 days of click-to-call, which means buyers can easily contact you).

Getting paid

You have two options in transferring the item: You can meet in person — again, exercise caution — or you can ship the item. If you choose to ship, you’ll be charged a fee. Or you can arrange to ship the item yourself.

In transferring money, you can hand over cash or use an app payment option. However, 5miles also has its own wallet, where you can transfer money within the app.

Here are more details on 5miles wallet and shipping.

The Verdict

Overall? 5miles is impressive. Although you have to take a few extra steps to post your item, we realize it helps weed out the frauds and makes the community a better place.

We also love the inside payment option — and the option to ship if you so wish. We predict OfferUp will follow suit with some of these features.