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Tips for better searching

There are millions of listings on eBay, so knowing how to use our search tools is the key to finding exactly what you want. We'll explain how to use our search tools to narrow, broaden, sort or compare your search results so you can find just what you're looking for.

What to do if you're seeing too many results

Say you want to buy a DVD player, so you enter "DVD player" in the eBay search box. You could end up with thousands of results! You might enjoy browsing, but maybe you want to narrow it down a little. Here's how:

Make your search more specific: This is the easiest way to narrow down your results. Maybe you have a particular color, size, model, or manufacturer in mind. In that case, add that information to your search. For example, a search for "Sony DVP-NS575P DVD Player" gives you a much more manageable list of results.
Use our suggestions: Sometimes when you search for an item, you'll see a list of Related Searches just under the search box at the top of the page. For example, if you search for "DVD player" you might see related searches like "blu ray player" and "car DVD player". You can click any of these searches to narrow your results.
Use the Refine Search menu: On the left side of the page, you'll see a list of ways you can refine your search. For example: Categories: Click a suggested category to limit your search to only items in that category.
  • Categories: Click a suggested category to limit your search to only items in that category.

  • Price: Limit your search to items within a certain price range.

  • Condition: Limit your results to items in the condition you want.  For example, you can search only for new clothing or used DVDs.

  • Buying formats: Limit your results to only auction-style or Buy It Now items

  • Show only: Here, you can limit your results in several ways. For example, you can choose to show only items with free shipping or you can choose to show only completed listings. Find out more about searching completed listings.

Take a shortcut to refine your results: If your search results include items from multiple categories, you'll sometimes see a shortcut. The shortcut appears with a magnifying glass icon in your list of results and suggests categories you can use to limit your search. Click on a category to get relevant results faster.
Use search operators:  (Boolean logic): You can exclude certain words from a search and use other advanced techniques. Find out how to use search operators.
Try Advanced search: The Advanced search page lets you refine your search in all kinds of different ways. You can get to the Advanced search page by clicking the Advanced Search link next to the search box at the top of the home page. Learn more about advanced search.

What to do if you're not seeing enough results

If you're not getting enough results, try these tips for expanding your search.

Include sellers' descriptions in your search to get more results: We automatically search the titles of items and other item specifics, but sellers include more details in their descriptions. To get more results, select the Include title and description check box below the search box, and click the Search button again.
Try your search again using different words: There are many ways to describe an item. Imagine the words a seller might use. Try several different combinations, but use just 2 or 3 words at a time to be sure you get a variety of results.
Check your spelling: We'll usually be able to find what you're looking for, even if the spelling doesn't exactly match, but if you're having trouble finding something, try another spelling.
Be careful when using "and", "or", "not", and "the": Include these words only if you expect them to be in the item's title or description. Examples include "Beauty and the Beast," "The Fray," and "Trick or Treat." If you want to use words like "not" and "or" to refine a search (for example, "DVD player NOT Sony," or "DVD player Sony OR Toshiba"), use search operators instead. Learn more about using search operators.
Avoid using punctuation: Only use punctuation in your search if you expect it to be in the item's title or description. For example: "t-shirt."

Sorting your results

When you search on eBay, we automatically sort your results to show listings that best match what you're looking for first.

You can use the Sort by drop-down menu at the top of your search results to sort in other ways. The number of results is the same, but you control the order in which they're shown.

If you'd prefer to have your items always sorted in another way, learn how to change your default sort order.

Comparing items

Once you've found a few items you're interested in, you can compare them, side-by-side. Here's how:

  1. Add the items you want to compare to your Watching list. You can do this by clicking the Watch this item button in the listing.

  2. Once you have all the items you want to compare in your Watching list, visit My eBay.

  3. From My eBay, click the Watch link under the Buy heading on the left side of the page.

  4. Select the items you want to compare by clicking the boxes next to them.

  5. Click the Compare button.

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