Scrap Lead Prices per Pound, Ounce, & Ton + Where to Sell Lead

A pile of scrap lead

Short Answer

Scrap lead is typically worth anywhere between $0.08 and $0.93 per pound, depending on the type. You can sell lead to scrap yards and manufacturers or through peer-to-peer marketplaces. If you’re unable to sell your scrap, you can also recycle it. For more details about scrap lead prices and where and how to get rid of lead scrap, see below.

Scrap Lead Prices

Lead prices typically average between $2,000 and $2,500 per ton in the U.S. at the time of writing.[1]

The lowest price on record was around $350 per ton ($0.16 per pound) in 1993, while the highest price was nearly $4,000 per ton ($1.81 per pound) in 2007.[1]

Exact prices vary depending on current demand and geographical location. To give you a better idea of how the prices may vary depending on where you’re selling your scrap lead, we gathered price quotes from various markets in August of 2021.

East Coast

  • Lead wheel weights: $0.40 per pound[2]
  • Soft lead: $0.93 per pound[2]

West Coast

  • Lead wheel weights: $0.40 per pound[2]
  • Soft lead: $0.92 per pound[2]


  • Lead: $0.45 per pound[3]
  • Lead batteries: $0.08 per pound[3]


  • Miscellaneous lead: $0.45 per pound[4]
  • Plastic cased lead-acid batteries: $0.20 per pound[4]
  • Steel cased lead-acid batteries: $0.18 per pound[4]
  • Lead wheel weights: $0.10 per pound[4]


  • Lead auto batteries: $0.22 per pound[5]
  • Lead wheel weights: $0.20 per pound[5]
  • Clean lead: $0.30 per pound[5]

New Jersey

  • Lead: $0.58 per pound[6]
  • Lead car batteries: $0.23 to $0.28 per pound[6]
  • Lead wheel weights: $0.10 per pound[6]

Where to Sell Lead

Scrap Yards

Most scrap yards will buy some forms of lead, though the prices, requirements, and restrictions will vary by location.

You can use a site like iScrap App or Scrap Monster to find scrap yards in your area.

Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

Depending on the type of item(s) you want to sell, you might be able to find a buyer on a peer-to-peer marketplace like eBay, Cragislist, or Facebook Marketplace.

With this type of sale, you’ll set your price and negotiate details like pick-up or delivery and payment with your buyer. It’s best to meet your buyer in a public place if possible to ensure a safe transaction.

Manufacturers and Retailers

Companies like battery manufacturers and auto shops may be willing to buy your lead scrap, particularly if you have automotive batteries to sell.

We were unable to identify any nationwide companies with buying programs, but you can contact manufacturers and retailers in your area to see if they accept lead batteries.

Tips for Selling Lead

Although it’s fallen out of public favor, lead has a long history of usefulness and is easy to find.

In the past, lead was favored for its malleability and corrosion resistance, making it useful for things like plumbing pipes, service lines, and solder.

Its adverse health effects became common knowledge in the late 20th century, so these items aren’t abundant in newer construction but can be found in older buildings and products.

Lead is now valued more for its chemical properties, which make it well-suited for use in industrial products such as underwater power/communication cables and batteries.

Of these items, batteries are likely the greatest source of scrap lead. Around 85% of modern lead usage is in the manufacturing of batteries.[7]

Common non-industrial items made from lead include:

  • Scuba weights
  • Fishing sinkers
  • Old pipes (including church organ pipes)

See our related research for information about places that sell lead ingots.

Identifying Lead

It can be difficult to know from sight alone what type of metal you have.

However, a few general characteristics can help you identify lead:[8][9]

  • Heavy, dense, and smooth
  • Very soft, meaning you can easily scratch it with something like a box cutter or knife
  • Dull gray in color unless polished or freshly cut
  • Not magnetic

Important Safety Precautions

Lead is a useful material, but it also poses potentially serious health implications when handled improperly.

High levels of exposure to lead can cause anemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage; very high exposure can be fatal.[10]

When handling any lead-containing items, you should take safety precautions to reduce your exposure.

As with any potentially dangerous process, we strongly recommend that you do your research thoroughly, use the proper tools, and understand the risks.

If done improperly, working with items containing lead can be a serious hazard to your health. If you have any concerns or questions, get in touch with a professional who can assist you.

We list some of the precautions to keep in mind below.

Cutting Lead

An important part of the recycling and scrap process involves separating materials. Using a cutting torch creates temperatures high enough to melt leaded solder and vaporize surface lead, which can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

HEPA air filtration systems can help reduce exposure to lead, as can removing coatings along cutting lines before cutting.

Additionally, using an extended cutting torch means that the object is kept further away from the operator than the use of a standard torch.

Breaking Down Lead Batteries

There are some special considerations for breaking down batteries for recycling. Inside batteries, there are not only lead plates, but also acids contaminated with lead.

The lead may be in the form of very small particles, which are easily inhaled.

The use of exhaust hoods, as well as personal protective equipment (respirators, gloves, and protective coveralls), help reduce lead exposure during recycling.

Lead Residue

Lead residue on tools and work surfaces also presents a potential hazard. Lead dust collects on just about any surface.

Never dry sweep potentially contaminated areas. Instead, use a HEPA vacuum followed by washing the surfaces with water and detergent. Finish up by using the vacuum on the surfaces one more time.


If you’re unable to find a place to sell your lead scrap, you’ll likely want to consider recycling it. In many states, it’s illegal to discard things like lead acid batteries to the landfill.[11]

Associations like Battery Recyclers of America and local recycling centers can accept lead scrap. You can find recycling solutions in your area using Earth911’s database.

You won’t earn money for your lead scrap if you recycle it, but there’s typically no charge for the service, except in certain cases where you’re recycling a low quantity through a specialized recycler.[12]

Scrap Prices for Other Common Industrial Metals

While it isn’t the least expensive metal on the market, lead demands a lower price than many other metals. Gold, platinum, and rhodium are the highest-valued. See our related research to compare scrap prices for brass, iron, stainless steel, and copper.



6 comments - Comments are closed.

  • Name* (displayed publicly)

    Hi there, doing some research on a lead recycling company. They say they are able to refine lead with 99.9% purity. Is there a set standard for how much lead sells for based on purity or is it all sold at one price?

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Sarah Quinn

      Hi there! I’d love to answer your question but wanted to clarify. Are you wondering about the price at which you can sell lead to a recycling company (depending on purity) or the price at which the recycling company will sell it elsewhere? Let me know and I’ll be happy to look into that for you.

      • Name* (displayed publicly)

        I’m curious about the price the company can sell it for. The company I’m looking at is called aqua metals, and they say their lead is 99.9% purity after being refined, where as lead smelters doesn’t produce 99.9% consistently. So I’m trying to understand whether or not the purity of lead the company can refine the lead to will impact the sale price, and if so does it fit into categories for example, 90-95% is x amount of dollars per ton, 95-99 is x, and so on. Also, since lead is mostly used by lithium ion batteries, do the batteries require 99.9% lead or will a less pure lead suffice.

        • First Quarter Finance logo
          First Quarter Finance | Sarah Quinn

          Thank you for clarifying; I better understand your question now. The information you’re looking for can’t be found on Aqua Metals’ website, and unfortunately, due to the volume of comments that we receive, we’re not able to help with specific, individual requests.I recommend contacting Aqua Metals at (510) 479-7635 to find out more about how the purity of the lead they refine affects its sale price. In reference to your comment on lithium-ion batteries, it’s my understanding that lithium-ion batteries do not contain lead acid as many other batteries do. I hope this helps!

  • Farah Farooq

    What is the import price of lead waste scrap per kg in India and which type of lead is considered waste scrap

    • First Quarter Finance logo
      First Quarter Finance | Hillary M. Miller

      Hi Farah,

      Import prices for scrap lead in India can vary by region. In Delhi as of February 2017, battery lead scrap was worth 51,250 INR per metric ton (or roughly 51.25 INR per kilogram). Common types of lead scrap include battery lead scrap, lead ingots, wheel weights, soft lead, or hard lead. I hope this helps!

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