9 Tips For Finding The Best Pawn Shop

9 Tips For Finding The Best Pawn Shop

Pawn shops vary greatly from store to store. Learn how you can use Pawn Shop Map to find the best pawn shops near you.

Last updated December 6, 2022

Magnifying glass over $20 US dollar bill

Source: Pexels / Noelle Otto

Choosing the right pawn shop can make a huge difference in your overall experience when you are buying, selling, or pawning. Pawn shops can vary greatly from store to store, similar to how the food can differ from restaurant to restaurant.

Pawn Shop Map created a powerful tool to help you find pawn shops near you. Our map tool enables you to search by category and distance. Example categories include:

Not all pawn shops carry all categories - that is why you should do your research ahead of time and filter down results to pawn shops that carry exactly what you're looking for.

Pawn shops are great places to find deals. Many myths exist surrounding pawn shops. Pawn shops often carry a wide range of items that you cannot find anywhere else for a good price. Also, most pawn shops enable negotiating, so you can often walk out the door with more money in your pocket.

Tips For Choosing The Best Pawn Shop

Below we have gathered the top tips to help you find the best pawn shop near you. As mentioned above, pawn shops vary greatly, and choosing the right store can make a huge difference in your overall experience.

If you are new to pawning, we encourage you to visit several pawn shops to get a taste of the differences. Pawn shops vary even more than some industries like retail clothing and traditional jewelry stores. The variance among stores means that you may have to filter a few rocks before you find a gem.

Tip #1: Use Pawn Shop Maps

Illustrations showing person searching for pawn shop

The Pawn Shop Map manages the most accurate and up-to-date directory of pawn shops. We help you parse categories and find the exact items you're looking for at nearby pawn shops.

Our map tool is fast and easy to use. You can filter through thousands of pawn shops worldwide in seconds. Our map helps you visualize where pawn shops are located.

If this is your first time visiting a pawn shop, we recommend visiting a pawn shop zone, or an area where many pawn shops are clustered. Visiting a pawn shop zone lets you visit many pawn shops quickly so you can see the differences in store layout, staff, and merchandise.

In addition to our powerful map tool, Pawn Shop Map also features online reviews by other pawn shop customers. Our reviews are 100% independent and pawn shops cannot pay to alter or change them. Transparency and data help improve customer service and the entire ecosystem.

Tip #2: Read Online Reviews

Online reviews illustration

Online reviews are a great way to read honest and helpful testimonials by other pawn shop customers. You can get a sense of a pawn shop’s reputation, staff, and store inventory before you walk in the door.

Online reviews are a great tool to incentivize good behavior and honest business deals. Pawn shops have the motive to provide you with the best service and best prices so they get good reviews and more customer visits.

Tip #3: Ask Friends & Family

Friends and family illustration

Friends and family can provide some of the best unbiased feedback to you. Also, your friends and family often know your likes and dislikes best, so they can help you find a good pawn shop that matches your preferences.

Friends and family might have an existing relationship with local pawnbrokers. Ask them about their experience and recommendations.

Tip #4: Examine The Merchandise

We recommend that you walk the aisles and observe the inventory at the pawn shop. Some pawn shops have a great and fresh selection of merchandise, while other stores have more dated and less desirable inventory.

Look to see if you can find many items that interest you, and inspect the quality and condition of the merchandise. Typically pawn shops specialize in certain categories such as sports memorabilia, electronics, and jewelry. Determine if the pawn shop carries items that interest you.

Tip #5: Talk With The Pawnbroker

Ask the pawnbroker questions and try to determine if they are helpful and knowledgeable. Many pawnbrokers have been in the industry for decades and dealt with thousands of different items. Often pawnbrokers can be great sources of information and knowledge.

Pawnbrokers who take their time to speak with you and give you helpful feedback are better to deal with when you decide to buy, sell, or pawn an item.

Tip #6: Look At The Prices

Look at the sticker prices of items when you are browsing and compare them to prices of similar items that you know. Ask yourself if the prices are in-line, higher, or lower than what you would expect.

Keep in mind that most pawn shops price items with the expectation that the customer will negotiate the price down some. The sticker price is seldom the final sales price, so always assume that the real price is somewhat lower.

Tip #7: Try Negotiating

Negotiating illustration

Almost all pawn shops allow you to negotiate prices and terms. We recommend that you read our negotiating tips before you visit the pawn shop.

Negotiating skills can save you a lot of money in the long run. Negotiating is part art and part science, and often it takes work to get good at it. The best way to improve is by practicing.

Try negotiating the price of an item at your local pawn shop. Observe how the pawnbroker behaves during negotiations, and take note of how much of a discount you can achieve.

Pawn shops vary greatly from store to store on how much of a discount they will offer. Negotiation discounts are never published online or exact, so the only way you can find out is by trying to negotiate directly with the pawn shop.

Keep in mind that discounts can vary based on the merchandise. For example, a gold watch may have a different discount than a rare baseball card.

Tip #8: Observe The Store Layout

Look around the pawn shop and take note of the following items:

  • Is the store organized?
  • Is the store clean?
  • Is the store well-lit and freshly painted?
  • Are there decorations and does the shop make an effort to be nice looking?
  • How much inventory is there?

Pawn shops that try to make a good presentation for their customers often care a lot about their business and your experience. Pawn shops that have a clean and well-organized stores will probably give you better service and prices over the long run.

Tip #9: Observe The Customers

Look at the other customers in the shop. Ask the following questions:

  • Do they look like long-term customers who visit the pawn shop often?
  • Do they spend a lot of time in the shop, or are they just browsing?
  • Are they buying anything?
  • Are they negotiating for the items?

Many great pawn shops have long-term customers who visit the store regularly. You should try to find pawn shops that value long-term business prospects with their customers.


Pawn shops can be a great place to find a deal for a wide range of merchandise. Over time, you will become experienced in determining which pawn shops are best. We encourage you to use Pawn Shop Map to find your next local pawn shop and deal.

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