Cheap iPhones: What Do You Get for $100 and $300?

Written by |

Editor’s Note: This article was researched and composed by Grant Howard, money expert Clark Howard’s 14-year-old son. While they share a love of technology, they don’t always agree on brands! Clark has long been an Android fan and Grant prefers Apple’s iPhone. In an effort to help you save money, Grant guides you through the iPhone models that he recommends as affordable options.

Do you want an iPhone but have a budget of $100-$300? Here’s a look at two cheap Apple iPhone models that are under $300 right now.

$100 Budget: iPhone SE

It’s been almost three years since the release of the iPhone SE, and it still holds up pretty well today.


The iPhone SE has a usable camera. While not having the fancy three-camera design of the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone SE still has a decent rear camera that can shoot 4K video.

iPhone SE photo quality

iPhone SE photo quality test

However, the front camera on the iPhone SE is embarrassingly bad. This phone isn’t for anyone who enjoys taking selfies!


The iPhone SE is fast enough for normal tasks like checking your email or making a call. If you are a gamer, this phone won’t work for you.


The battery life on the iPhone SE is not great. It won’t work for a heavy phone user (someone who spends a significant amount of time on their phone).

For example, the iPhone SE likely won’t last through a full day of travel if you’re streaming movies on an airplane to pass the time.


iPhone SE: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Price ($100) Less than great camera
Small enough for one-handed use Is tiny

$300 Budget: iPhone 8

The iPhone 8 is still a very new phone and performs just as well as more recent iPhone models.


The iPhone 8 has a pretty good single-camera system. It lacks some of the features of newer phones like portrait mode or a TrueDepth front camera, but it still has a good, basic camera.

iPhone 8 photo quality

iPhone 8 photo quality test


The iPhone 8 is about as fast as you can get. Surprisingly, the difference in performance between the 8 and the 11 Pro isn’t substantial. It’s also faster than any Android that you can get at this price point.


The iPhone 8 has a better battery life than the SE model. It works well enough, although you will notice a difference if you are switching from a phone with a really strong battery life.

iPhone 8: Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Price ($300) Old design
Extremely fast Small screen
Will last at least three years Fragile (has glass back)
Water resistant

Final Thought

If you want an iPhone but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, it’s possible to get a great deal! You can find affordable prices on the iPhone SE and 8 models right now.

Phone iPhone SE iPhone 8
Price $100 $300
Camera Decent rear camera that can shoot 4K video; poor front camera Pretty good single-camera system
Speed Fast enough for normal tasks Extremely fast
Battery Not great for heavy phone users Better than the iPhone SE

It’s important to note that affordable iPhones are typically used. Since the phones are secondhand, the battery health on your phone can vary depending on the original owner’s use and maintenance. You can shop for cheap iPhones on eBay or Amazon.

Have you found any great deals on iPhones? Let us know in the comments below!

More Cell Phone Stories on

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses for 2023 - Team Clark spent hours reviewing the market for credit card sign-up bonuses and evaluated them according to the guidelines for usage set by money expert Clark Howard. Clark believes credit cards with exorbitant annual fees are a bad idea for most…
Team Clark's cell phone expert ranks the best cell phone plans and deals. Best Cell Phone Plans in 2023: The Cheapest Plan for Every Need - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.