How Much Is A VCR Worth? The Answer May Surprise You!


If you have an old VCR laying around your house that you haven’t used in years you may have thought about throwing it our or selling it. But is selling a VCR worth it? I’m mean how much is a VCR worth today?

How much a VCR is worth today may surprise you….

  • BASIC VCR: A basic 4-head VCR in good working condition is worth anywhere from $25 to $75.
  • VCR/DVD Combination: these units are worth $50 to $150.
  • High-End VCRs like SVHS: these are worth $300 to $500 dollars depending on their features.
Sony SLV R1000 VCR

But VHS tapes and VCRs are from the days of the dinosaurs my son tells me, the Jurassic period I think. It’s outdated technology that any millennial would hiss at. Most people don’t even use DVDs anymore or even have DVD players as we are all so accustomed to instantly streaming media on our phones and TVs from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and more.

So why would a VCR be worth anything nowadays?

What is VCR a Worth Today and Why?

Chances are if you are reading this you have a VCR and you are wondering what it is worth. Chances are you also have some old VHS tapes laying around that you would love to convert to digital or DVD.

I’m not talking store-bought movies as that has copyright protection aspects to it (remember that opening screen on most movies)?

I’m talking about family events, weddings, parties, birthdays, anything you may have laying around on a tape that you’d love to see again, and would hate to lose forever.

In order to transfer these old tapes to digital you either need to pay someone to do it, or do it yourself.

For the do-it-yourself people the first thing they will need to do is find a VCR for sale so they can transfer their home movies. The 2nd thing is a capture device, most likely a USB device that connects to the output of a VCR. These are quite affordable if you search sites like Amazon and Ebay for them.

You could pay a professional service to transfer your VHS tapes, which can be a great option at about $15 per tape. But that can have its drawbacks as tapes can get lost either at the transfer center or in the mail, so many people would simply transfer the tapes themselves. This is also an expensive option if you have several tapes to transfer.

If you chose to buy a VCR to transfer your own video tapes, you can always sell the VCR once everything is transferred as long as the VCR is still working. You’ll probably be able to sell it for as much as you paid for it.

In fact, any legacy video equipment could be worth a considerable about money simply because they are no longer produced and are needed to transfer old video tapes.

Scarcity and capitalism at its finest!

A basic VCR that plays back tapes is good enough for transferring most video tapes and is therefore worth around $25 to $75 to someone that wants to transfer or playback their own tapes.

VCRs that can play back DVDs, or even better record to DVD will be worth more, from $50 to $150.

High-End ending VCRs with much better and clearer video playback will be worth the most at $300 to $500.

These figures based on what is currently for sale on marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, and Facebook Marketplace, and even WalMart. The average price I found on these websites for a basic VCR was around $45, with higher-end models selling for over $100 to $500 depending on their features.

Features That Increase The Value of Your VCR

All VCRs are not made equal, there are many higher end options that can affect the quality of the playback and thus command a higher price.

2 Heads vs 4 Heads

The heads on a VCR are what actually read the signal on the tape and convert it to the video output that you see on your TV.

A VCR only needs 2 heads to play a tape that was recorded in SP mode.

Remember VCRs had 3 recording speeds:

  • SP mode = Standard Play – roughly 2 hours of “high quality” video
  • LP mode = Long Play – roughly 4 hours of lesser quality video
  • EP mode = Extended Play – roughly 6 hours of lower quality video

The slower the tape speed the additional 2 heads whose only goal is to read the thinner lines of signal on the tape used during slow recording modes.

Chances are your VCR is a 4-Head VCR, most proudly boast it.

But a cheap 2 head VCR will probably demand the lowest price on the market.

Types of Output Connectors

VCRs generally can have up to 3 types of video outputs, each increases the quality of the output signal, therefore the more of these connectors the more your VCR is worth

  • TV/UHF/VHF OUT – the TV out connector is the most basic connector, it’s the same connector that a basic coax cable line like the one from your wall your cable box. This transfers the worst signal out of your VCR, in fact you may need to buy an adapter for it just to be able to connect it to a USB device on your computer.
  • Component Out (Yellow/Red/White): the component out carries a higher quality video signal vs TV out, as we as stereo audio to boot
  • S-Video Out – the S-Video was less common but for the fanatics back in the day a must. It carries only a video signal, but you use this instead of using the yellow component-out cable. It carries a higher quality video signal that the component out.

SVHS Playback – The Super VHS Feature

Most people did not have SVHS VCRS back in the day, unless you were really into editing your own videos.

SVHS literally stands for “Super VHS”, its a higher quality VHS similar to how Hi8 is superior to Video8 – just with a cooler name.

Regular VHS records at about 240-250 lines of resolution, where SVHS records at 400 lines of resolution, i.e., nearly twice the quality. Plus SVHS VCRs also can play back tapes recorded on a regular VCR.

So chances are unless you were really into editing video back in the day you do NOT have an SVHS VCR and most people never heard of it.

The Sony SLV-R1000 I bought “back in the day” I think I paid close to $900 for it at the time. The reason was this VCR would also low a mono-audio track onto a tape ahead of time, then not record over it as you added edits to the tape. It’s currently fetching from $350 to $500 used on Ebay.

This option made life so much easier when I used to edit ski videos to music on VHS back in the 90s. Sounds expensive but totally worth it at the time.

VHS/DVD Player Combo

With the evolution of DVD the next craze was VHS/DVD Player Combos – one device that could playback your old VHS tapes as well as play your new DVDs.

These players are fetching good money, I just searched the Walmart website and reconditioned models were selling over $200.

Not sure the DVD player is worth spending any extra money on since you can rip a DVD directly into your computer, that is, if your computer still has a DVD drive. If not then that might be why these sell for more.

Some of these units also have HDMI outputs with an upscaling feature that tries to make your old videos look good on today’s flat-screen TVs.

VHS/DVD Recorder Combo

The DVD Recorder Combo is the ideal non-computer based and ease of use way of transferring your VHS tapes to a digital format.

VCR DVD Recorder

Simply stick your VHS tape in one side, a blank DVD in the other side, press a button and your VHS tape will play and simultaneously record onto the DVD.

These will obviously fetch more simply for their ease of use for quickly backing up your old VHS tapes.

Editing features are lacking, and I strongly suggest even if you use this manner to back up your videos to DVD, that you then back up your DVDs onto your computer as DVDs can age, oxidize, scratch and just possibly not play back when you want them to.

Where to sell (or buy) a VCR

The most common places to buy and sell legacy video equipment like this is Ebay. If you type your model number into Ebay you can look at close listings to see what others have sold for to see if its worth your while and about how much the VCR is worth.

I do see some items for sale on Amazon or Walmart, but I don’t think these are as nearly as popular as Ebay.

The best local options are either Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and/or local yard sale group websites. I now prefer Facebook over Craigslist for finding items like this, and there’s no shipping charges involves in buying or selling local. Plus I tend to see higher prices on Facebook simply because its a hassle to pack and ship things on Ebay so items demand more money in person.

Conclusion

Your VCR if in good working condition is worth money to someone that is looking to transfer their old tapes. The better quality VCR the more money you will fetch.

Bob Hennessey

Bob Hennessey has been an avid videographer for several decades. Having shot video in just about every tape-based format from Video 8 , Hi 8, Digital 8 and Mini DV I am more than familiar with how to transfer video tapes to digital formats.

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