There are some absolutely crazy deals to be had right now on penny auction websites but there is way more to it than signing up, buying bids and clicking the bid button. To win great deals it takes psychology, strategy, aggression, skill and luck to win. There are long term winners and there are a lot of losers! Not everyone wins these awesome items for pennies on the dollar and the successful penny auction sites have found a nice balance that entertain the losing bidders enough to keep them bidding while keeping the winning bidders battling for bargains and not totally stealing every high end item for cheap.

Penny Auction Strategies

Penny auctions are a game. A very competitive game of “Chicken” that costs money to play and offers up incredible prizes to win. Do not be fooled into thinking that these are discount shopping sites or places where you can quickly and easily buy discounted electronics for pennies on the dollar. These sites offer up a competitive game called penny auctions and there are winning strategies. Do not rely on luck to win, instead bid strategically and give yourself the best opportunity to win.

More and more penny bidding sites are coming online everyday and most new platforms lose money up front to acquire a strong base of active bidders.  These new sites also increase the number of penny auctions running market wide.  We feel this has created a market imbalance and now is a great time to jump in. Just be sure you are bidding at honest penny auction sites and getting a fair chance to win. If not, it does not matter how much strategic penny auction advice you employ with your bidding tactics as the game could be rigged against you.

The key to winning penny auctions is being informed and having a solid winning penny auction strategy.  Below are our penny auction tips and strategies that will get you on your way to racking up the penny auctions wins.

Penny Auction Tips

  • Know The Rules – Each penny auction site has it’s own rules and terms.  Make sure you know how penny auction sites work, the bidding rules, win limits and site terms before getting started.
  • Observe The Count Down Timer All The Way To Sold – In particular learn exactly how the count down timer works and how fast it goes from the ‘going twice’ to ‘sold’ portion of the auction. Some penny auctions give you good notice that the auction is about to close and some close very quickly if the timer hits zero. Know how your site works by watching an auction going to completion.
  • Study the competition for the item(s) you are interested in bidding on. You do not want to waste a bunch of bids against an established power bidder unless you have really deep pockets and want to make a name for yourself. Be warned, this is not a good strategy when you are first starting out.
  • Learn how the auto bidding features work – read all the help files, FAQ and observe the auction and make sure you can decipher what is going on. You will want to know if the bidders fighting for an auction are using the auto bidding feature or are single bidding. Auto bidding means that a real bidder sets up an auto bidder to bid from price a to price b and use xx # of bids, not that the site is doing anything shady.
  • Take some time to observe the site, auctions and bidders before jumping in.  The bidding methods and activity of the user base can change drastically from site to site and from auction to auction
  • Patience Pays – Penny auctions are a lot of fun and it is easy to get caught up in the action.  With that said, resist the temptation to bid for the sake of bidding.  Only bid on auctions you really want with the best opportunities.  Do the research and pick your spots and you will be rewarded.
  • Take advantage of Beginner Only auctions – these auctions are reserved for only people who have never won an auction before can bid on this auction. Start on these and make sure you win one of these before you go for a regular auction as the beginner auctions can often time be the easiest to win. I won a nice set of Bose earbuds in the beginner auction at Beezid.
  • Start Small – start on small Get a feel of each penny auction site by starting small and go after small auctions. Learn the intricacies of the bidding platform and other users with a smaller value items
  • Check The Time – Try to bid on auctions during non-peak traffic hours when the competition is lower.  We’ve noticed that weekdays around the typical lunch hour and end of business hours are good times to score a deal. The best strategy is to just study the penny auction sites daily schedule. They are naturally going to auction of the highest percentage of high end items when their traffic is the heaviest. If you are going for other items consider avoiding the busy time or seeing if an auction ‘squeaks through’ while all the normal bidders are fighting for other auctions
  • 1 Auction At A Time – Don’t try to bid on multiple items on the same site at once.  We have tried it and more often than not we end up missing a crucial bid and someone else gets the deal.
  • Avoid Bid Pack Auctions – We only recommend bidding on a bid pack auction when you have an initial beginner auction available (if they are offered).  After that avoid bid pack auctions until you consider yourself a seasoned penny auction bidder.  You might be able to break even but they are typically some of the most competitive auctions and end up being a waste of time (and bids) since the buy-it-now power of bids is greatly diminished when using bids won in a bid pack auction.
  • Don’t Forget The Gift Cards – Instead of going straight for that high dollar item and having to fight power bidders, it can often times be more effective to win a bunch of gift cards and buy the item that way through Amazon or something similar. The competition for gift cards varies from site to site but generally speaking you could win five $100 gift cards easier than you could win one $500 iPad (assuming you are new). If you are targeting a high dollar item you might want to look at the final values of past auctions and compare your item to the final value of gift cards from merchants that sell the same item.  Sometimes the best way to get a big ticket item is by picking up a few gift cards. You can even exchange the value of the gift card at a site like and get paypal funds or exchange them for a certain kind of gift card.
  • Study Up – If available, study the final values of past auctions.  Note the day of the week, time of day, number of bidders and bidder names.  This can prove very valuable to pick the auctions you want to participate in.
  • Know The Community – To add to the “Study Up” tip if you plan on using a penny auction site for a while you should take note of frequent bidders.  Know who the power bidders are and try to stay away from them.  If you “jump” a regular bidder at the end of an auction they are heavily vested in you might get some retaliation later on.  Many penny auction platforms have regular users that have an unwritten code of ethics.  While there is no rule or penalty against jumping a bidder late in an auction late it can get you a bad reputation and you might have problems later.  This is more of an issue on niche and lower  traffic sites.
  • Have Time Available – If you are bidding on a bigger ticket item make sure you have time available to stay with the auction.  High value auctions can last several hours.
  • Have Bids Ready – Make sure you have plenty of bids available before starting an auction.  The worst thing you can do is run out of bids and have to get more mid auction.
  • Average Your Bid Costs Down – Get the larger bids packs at a discount and take advantage of site promotions to average your bid costs down.
  • Monitor Your Competition – Know the available bid pack sizes for the site you are using and monitor the other bidders as you go.  Sometimes you can spot a user is about to run out of bids and use that to your advantage.
  • Have A Budget – Make note of how many bids you are willing to use and how much you are willing to spend on an item before starting an auction.  Stick to these limits.
  • Use Auto Bidders To Your Advantage – We use manual bidding most of the time but there are times that auto bidders are great.  1) If you need to get up for a minute set an auto bidder so you don’t run the risk of missing the auction end. 2) When the bidding gets weak and only a few bidders are left you can often use an auto bidder to drive the remaining bidders out.
  • Never Assume Logic – Many of the penny auction bidding strategies involve game play so don’t assume others are using a logical thought process in their bidding.  Some bidders let emotion get the best of them and others will intentionally drive an auction past retail value to garner a bully/power bidder reputation.  Don’t get emotional with your bidding.


Now to the actual bidding strategies.  As active penny auction users we debated if we should offer detailed penny auction strategies on this site at all.  Dominating penny auctions is all about a good strategy and most of the bigger winners will not share this information.  We decided we didn’t want the search engines to index our penny auction strategy content.  So instead of not sharing it at all we have decided that we will email it to interested readers only.  Submit your email address to the form below and we will immediately send you our complete report of penny auction strategies and tips.