How to Figure Out the Value of Your Scrap Metal

If you have scrap metal to sell, you may be wondering how to figure out how much money you’ll get by recycling it. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to call your Scrap It experts directly for more information – we’ll make sure you get the most money for your metal! However, if you’d like to take some steps to figure out your scrap metal value at home, we have some tips to help.

Three steps to help you identify your scrap metal

Step 1: Magnet Test

The magnet test will determine if the metal you have is ferrous or non-ferrous. All you have to do is take any household magnet, such as a refrigerator magnet, and hold it towards your scrap metal.

  • Ferrous metals have high iron content and will stick to your magnet.
  • Non-ferrous metals are different grades of metal and will not stick to your magnet.

We accept both ferrous and non-ferrous metals at Scrap It. If your metal is ferrous, it is probably iron or steel, which are the main types of ferrous material we buy. If it is non-ferrous, there are additional steps you can take to figure out your scrap metal value and type.

Step 2: Color Check

Non-ferrous metals typically come in three colors: yellow, red, and silver.

The final step to help you figure out what type of scrap metal you have is the weight check.

Step 3: Weight Check

If your non-ferrous metal is silver, you probably either have aluminum or stainless steel. To determine which one your metal is, check its weight:

  • If your non-ferrous silver metal is lightweight, it is probably aluminum.
  • If your non-ferrous silver metal is heavy, it is probably stainless steel.

Curious about which aluminum and stainless steel commodities we accept at Scrap It? Check our Aluminum Commodities list or our Stainless Steel Commodities list to learn more. 

Frequently asked questions about scrap metal value

Should I estimate my scrap metal value before coming to Scrap It?

While you can estimate your scrap metal value at home, the market changes almost daily, which means the prices frequently fluctuate at Scrap It as well. In addition, you may have a different type of metal than you think you have. As a result, it’s challenging for homeowners to estimate their scrap metal value accurately.

Your best bet is to call us directly or take a picture for us to help you estimate. The last thing we want is for you to feel shortchanged by your actual receipt even though we’re giving you the best prices available!

Why is my estimate different from my receipt?

Your scrap metal value may be different from what you expected for many reasons:

  • Daily commodity price fluctuations: the scrap metal market changes almost daily. If you weigh your scrap metal at home one day and bring it to our facility on a different day, the price may have already changed.
  • Inaccurate home scales: the scales at Scrap It are all certified and calibrated by the state. When you weigh your metals at home, your scale may be off by up to a pound. In addition, we only weigh your metal, not the containers you bring them in.
  • Gross ton measurements: most people think a ton is 2,000 pounds. However, ferrous materials are weighed by the international standard gross ton unit, which is 2,240 pounds.

For the most accurate scrap metal value estimate possible, we recommend calling us directly or simply bringing your metal in so you can be pleasantly surprised by how much money you make.

Why do different metals have different values?

Scrap metal is priced based on many variables:

  • Supply and demand
  • International market changes
  • The cost of processing and converting scrap into new products
  • The initial cost of mining the ore and producing the original product

Supply and demand is likely the primary factor in different scrap metal values. For example, steel is an abundant metal used in almost everything we consume and recycle, so its average value is only 7 cents per pound. However, copper is a great conductor of electricity often used in new technology, but it’s not as abundant, so its average value is $3.50 per pound.

How can I get the most money for my scrap metal?

Cleaning your metal can make it more saleable to a certain extent, but the best way to increase your scrap metal value is by sorting and separating it as much as possible to ensure you are getting paid accurately for your metal. Our scrapyard experts will help you separate the scrap metal you bring in, but you can help by following the three steps above to separate your metal by magnetism, color, and weight.

Cutting large pieces and stripping the insulation off any wires, or at least putting all your scrap wire into the same container, can also help ensure you receive the total value of your scrap metal. However, these small steps may take more time than they’re worth.

Ultimately, the best way for you to figure out your scrap metal value and get the most money possible is by getting in touch with your Scrap It experts directly. You can do this by coming to the yard with a sample, giving us a call, sending us pictures, or simply sorting and bringing your scrap metal so we can figure out the value for you.

When you talk to the experts at Scrap It, we can help point you in the right direction. Are you ready to get more money for your metal? Contact our recycling facilities to get started.