What Electronics Have the Most Gold in Them? Answered

Short Answer: Computers and televisions typically have the most gold of any household electronics. Cameras, radios, and media players — especially older models — also contain gold in their circuit boards. Other electronics like game consoles, tablets, and phones only contain trace amounts of gold. Below, we list the electronics that have the most gold, plus a few things to consider when retrieving gold for scrap.

What Electronics Have the Most Gold in Them?

There is no simple answer to the question of which electronics have the most gold in them; the amount of gold varies by the item’s age, brand, and model.[1]

The value of gold in each item will depend on the particular item, its gold purity, and the retrieval method. Because of these variations, we cannot tell you exactly how much gold you can expect to find in each item. Gold prices also fluctuate regularly — you can find scrap prices at GoldCalc.com. (Our related research lists prices for other scrap metals.)

We consulted with e-scrap recyclers and scrap gold refiners, as well as scrap retrieval videos and reports from scrappers, to create the following list of electronics that have gold in them. We’ve sorted our list by approximate gold content, from highest to lowest; specific examples within each category are also listed from highest to lowest expected gold content.

Computers

There are about five troy ounces of gold in 2,000 PC circuit boards or 200 complete laptops. There is typically more gold content in older supercomputers and desktop computers (from the 1990s or earlier).[2] In addition to the circuit boards, the modem cards, graphics cards, and memory components also contain gold. Examples include:

  • Supercomputers: Like the Cray-2 (Note: The old Cray models typically have more gold than any other household electronic device, but they are not very easy to find.)
  • Laptops: Brands like Dell, HP, and Lenovo
  • Desktops: Mac and PC models

Televisions

Televisions — both old tube models and newer flat-screen models — contain gold in the printed circuit boards and/or integrated circuits.[3] Examples include:

  • CRT (Tube) TVs: Brands like Emerson, Panasonic, Quasar, and Toshiba
  • LCD and plasma flat screens: Brands like LG, Sharp, Toshiba, Sony, and VIZIO (Note: Plasma TVs tend to have much higher amounts of silver than gold; you can check the current price for scrap silver.)

Cameras

Both film and digital still cameras have circuit boards with gold components. Additionally, camcorders — especially older models that record full-size VHS tapes — have larger circuit boards that contain gold and other valuable metals.[4] Examples include:

  • Camcorders: Brands like JVC, Panasonic, RCA, and Zenith
  • Film and digital still cameras: Brands like Canon, Fujifilm, and Nikon

Stereos and Radios

Older stereos and radios contain much more gold than newer ones since they often have more gold-plated components, but all stereos have circuit boards with some gold.[5] Examples include:

  • Car stereos: Brands like Alpine and Sony
  • Radios: CB, ham, and shortwave radios
  • Home audio systems: Brands like Yamaha

Media Players

Gold is in the circuit boards of Blu-ray, CD, and DVD players, as well as VCRs and Betamax players.[6] Examples include:

  • Older media players: Sony Betamax players and VCR brands like JVC, Panasonic, and Sony
  • Boomboxes and portable CD players: Brands like Pioneer, Sony, and Yamaha
  • Blu-ray and DVD players: Brands like LG, Magnavox, Sony, and Sylvania

Game Consoles and Accessories

Circuit boards in video game consoles typically contain less than an ounce of gold per console. Older controllers and game cartridges may also have gold in them.[1] Examples include:

  • Consoles: Brands like Nintendo 64, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo NES, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360
  • Accessories: Wired controllers and old game cartridges

Cell Phones and Tablets

The amount of gold in cell phones is small; it takes approximately 10,000 phones to retrieve 10 troy ounces.[7] However, you can find old cell phones in abundance since many people replace them every few years. Both older cell phones and newer smartphones contain gold. In many cases, tablets are constructed like large smartphones, so you can expect to find slightly more gold in them than a phone (but less than in a computer).[8] Examples include:

  • Tablets: Brands like Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Smartphones: Brands like Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, Huawei P and Mate series, Samsung Galaxy, Sony Xperia, and Motorola E, G, Z, and X series
  • Older cell phones: Brands like Nokia and BlackBerry

What to Know About Retrieving Gold From Electronics

Many common household electronics have only small amounts of gold, though older electronics may contain higher quantities. Gold is found in electronic components like CPUs, pins, and circuit boards and is suitable for electronic use since it resists corrosion.[9] However, since gold is expensive, today’s manufacturers try to use as little of it as possible.[7]

Most places require that you recover the gold from the electronics before selling it so it can be more easily refined. Note that gold can be difficult to recover, and you will need to completely dismantle the device and separate the gold from other elements in components like circuit boards. The process can also be dangerous; some recovery processes require the use of corrosive chemicals.[10] An easier — and often safer — option is to sell the circuit boards whole to companies that specialize in electronic scrap.

You may also want to keep in mind that while older electronics typically contain more gold, the effort required to dismantle old stereos or computers may not be worth the value of the gold inside. Some older electronics like camcorders and game consoles may have greater value as collectibles. Consider selling the item whole or for parts instead. You can research similar items on sites like eBay or Etsy to find out current prices.

If you have gold jewelry to sell, consider our list of gold buyers near you. And, for more on scrapping metals, see our research on scrapping copper and iron.

  1. Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners (800) 426-2344[][]
  2. https://blog.dell.com/en-us/how-much-gold-is-in-smartphones-and-computers/[]
  3. https://www.specialtymetals.com/blog/2015/11/12/precious-metals-refining-how-to-make-money-from-americas-great-tv-trade-in[]
  4. http://www.goldrefiners.com/blog/2015/2/6/do-old-digital-cameras-contain-precious-metals-that-can-be-recycled[]
  5. https://encorerecyclers.com/how-to-scrap-a-stereo/[]
  6. https://www.specialtymetals.com/blog/2014/7/21/four-kinds-of-easy-to-overlook-electronic-devices-that-contain-gold[]
  7. https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/blog/how-much-gold-is-in-smartphones-and-computers/[][]
  8. https://www.specialtymetals.com/blog/2014/3/5/do-tablet-computers-contain-recyclable-precious-metals[]
  9. https://monroeengineering.com/blog/why-gold-is-used-in-electronics/[]
  10. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/extract-gold-from-electronics[]