Vroom vs. Carvana: Which is Better?

You can buy, trade in, and sell cars online through Vroom and Carvana. But which is better? Click here to learn more!
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
Heading to the car dealership to negotiate a vehicle sale may be the last thing you want to do. But thanks to car-buying sites like Vroom and Carvana, you can buy and sell a used car from the comfort of your own home. 
Like a Grubhub for cars, Vroom and Carvana have taken the hassle out of vehicle transactions by digitizing almost every aspect of buying a car. Gone are the days of battling sales pitches at the dealership—with either Vroom or Carvana, you can order or sell your car online and arrange delivery or pick-up without ever having to get up from the couch. 
Though both online car retailers function very similarly, there are key differences between the two. Ready to break down those comparisons with you is the
car insurance
savings super app
Jerry
. Whether you’re most concerned about pricing or vehicle quality, here’s what you can expect from Vroom vs. Carvana—and we’ll help you save on your
new car insurance
, no matter what you choose!
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Vroom vs. Carvana: the purchase process

As online car dealers, Vroom and Carvana expand the car buying experience beyond physical locations. Rather than driving to a used car dealership to make a transaction in person, you can search for, buy, sell, and finance a vehicle from home—which was certainly ideal during the peak of the pandemic.
But is online car buying as simple as it sounds? Let’s take a look at the different purchase processes you’ll experience with each retailer. 

Buying

The car buying process for Vroom and Carvana looks very similar, but it varies slightly regarding delivery and pick-up
Each retailer features a refined vehicle search engine. You can easily filter out used vehicles by body type and model year. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for in particular, you can also peruse a broader list of available vehicles—e.g.“
Toyota
SUVs.” Every vehicle listing showcases multiple photos and 360-degree views. 
Once you decide which car you want to buy, you’ll have the opportunity to arrange a trade-in and secure financing. Car buyers can then enjoy home delivery with a few exceptions. Namely, Vroom does not deliver (or sell) to
Massachusetts
, Alaska, or Hawaii, and charges a delivery fee upwards of $599 depending on your location. Carvana offers free delivery within certain ranges of their local markets (usually in most major U.S. cities). Like Vroom, however, they don’t service Alaska or Hawaii, and if your delivery address is outside of a free delivery zone, shipping costs can go as high as $1490
So what if you want to pick up your car yourself? Vroom only allows vehicle pick-up at their
Houston, Texas
facility, Carvana has 34 “car vending machines” located across the country for in-person pick-up. A bit of a novelty experience, Carvana’s car vending machines allow car buyers to “summon” their purchased vehicle vending-machine-style with a keepsake oversized token. They are then welcome to drive their new set of wheels right off the lot (with temporary tags). 
Note: You can’t test drive your vehicle with either Vroom or Carvana. While both car retailers have 7-day return policies to mitigate any after-purchase issues that arise, you won’t be able to get behind the wheel until after you sign. 

Selling

The car selling process is almost identical with Vroom and Carvana. Both sites will give you an instant, free appraisal after you enter your car’s VIN, mileage, and basic condition. The price they offer is good for seven days—if you decide to take them up on it, you will need to send photos of your ID and registration during that window to finalize the deal. 
Both retailers will pick up your car. Vroom does so for free and then mails your check via overnight mail 2 to 3 business days after the pick-up. While Vroom doesn’t purchase vehicles from Alaska, Hawaii,
Idaho
,
Montana
,
North Dakota
,
South Dakota
, or
Wyoming
, it will accept trade-ins from any of those states except Alaska and Hawaii. 
Carvana offers at-home pick-up or in-person drop-off. Unlike Vroom, Carvana promises on-the-spot payment, but they may charge a pick-up fee depending on your location. The vehicle must pass a test drive upon pick-up and needs to be newer than 1992 with a working odometer. 
Though you can’t currently lease a vehicle from Carvana or Vroom, Carvana will buy out a lease from you, whereas Vroom will not. 

Pricing

Both Vroom and Carvana have a no-haggle policy on their car prices, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you’re looking for the best deal out there, you may have more success bartering cheaper car sales at traditional dealerships—especially as microchip shortages stabilize, making the used car market a little friendlier to buyers.
As of late 2022, you can generally find used cars ranging between $9,000 and $93,000 on Vroom (depending on your location) and between $9,000 and $130,000 on Carvana. Carvana also has a useful tool to help you estimate your monthly payments based on different loan terms. 

Financing

You can’t finance your vehicle directly through Vroom, but it does partner with over a dozen banks and other lenders to ease the car loan process. Financing through Vroom’s lenders has no minimum credit score requirement. However, you will need to make over $21,600 in annual income and your first downpayment is due upon signing your loan contract. 
Carvana offers its own financing. There are also no minimum credit score requirements, and annual income requirements are much lower than Vroom’s—just $4,000 per year. You must be over 18 (or over 19 in
Georgia
) and have no active bankruptcies in your credit history. Your down payment is due upon vehicle delivery or pick-up. 
Both Vroom and Carvana accept
car loans
from other institutions, as well. You will typically need to provide more paperwork, along with a pre-approval letter. 

Return policy

Let’s say you drive that used
Honda CR-V
home and decide that it’s really not for you. Unlike traditional dealerships, both Vroom and Carvana accept returns with a 7-day money-back guarantee
There are a few caveats, however. Vroom’s shipping fees are non-refundable. It also charges you $1 for every mile over 250 miles, while Carvana charges $1 for every mile over 400 miles. Vroom may also charge a $599 restocking fee, depending on the reason for your return. 
Carvana is generally more flexible in its return policy, but you are limited to three vehicle returns. If you’re located within Carvana’s local delivery market, you will receive a full refund. But shipping costs may apply if you’re not. 

Vroom vs. Carvana: vehicle quality 

Now that we have an idea of how each car retailer compares when it comes to vehicle transactions, let’s take a look at what sort of vehicles you can expect to find. 

Quality inspections

Any vehicle purchased through Vroom comes with a free vehicle history report from CarFax. They also must pass a 187-point inspection, which tests specific mechanical, cosmetic, and electrical points to ensure that every major system and safety feature is functioning properly. Vroom also inspects the vehicle’s frame for penetrative rust, repairs major scratches and dents, and cleans the interior and exterior. 
Carvana follows a very similar reconditioning process. Each vehicle undergoes a 150-point inspection and must have no accident, fire, flood, or frame damage in its background. Buyers will receive a free Carfax and AutoCheck vehicle history report and the car is cleaned, waxed, and polished to get it looking as new as possible. 

Vehicle inventory 

You’ll usually find more used cars available through Carvana than you will through Vroom. While Carvana tends to have around 15,000 vehicles in its inventory, Vroom has between 3,000 and 4,000
Predictably, you’re going to have more options with Carvana because of this, but inventory is always circulating and shifting. If you have a specific used car in mind, your best bet is to check the inventories at both Carvana and Vroom to see what’s available. 

Warranty coverage

Vroom offers a 90-day limited warranty to help cover unexpected mechanical repairs after your purchase. One year of roadside assistance coverage also comes complementary. For an extra cost, you can purchase Vroom’s Vehicle Service Protection (VSP) extended warranty coverage—which covers up to 1,500 components throughout your vehicle’s major systems. 
When you purchase a vehicle with Carvana, you’ll get a 100-day/4,189-mile limited warranty, protecting major components of your vehicle against mechanical or electrical failure. You will also get 100-day complimentary roadside assistance. Carvana’s extended warranty coverage, Carvana Care, has three tiers of coverage options—basic mechanical, comprehensive, and premium coverage. At its highest tier, you’re entitled to a year of free oil changes, tire rotations, and maintenance inspections. 
Make auto loan refinancing easy with PriceProtect™
icon4.7/5 rating on the App Store | Trusted by 5+ million customers and 7 million cars
icon4.7/5 app rating | Trusted by 5M+ drivers

Vroom vs. Carvana: which one is better? 

At a glance, the differences between Vroom and Carvana can seem fairly subtle—so let’s break down where each car retailer comes ahead. 
Pros for Vroom
  • More detailed vehicle inspection process 
  • Range of lending partners allows for more competitive loan offers
  • Longer complimentary roadside assistance coverage 
Pros for Carvana:
  • Larger inventory 
  • More flexible delivery and pick up options 
  • Stronger extended warranty coverages 

Vroom and Carvana reviews

Of course, one of the best ways to get a read on a company is to see what its consumers have to say about it. Unfortunately, Vroom takes a big step back here. 
Due to a high volume of customer complaints, Vroom is actually flagged with a consumer alert by Better Business Bureau. In fact, ongoing government action has been taken against Vroom for marketplace misconduct after multiple buyers received damaged vehicles, delivery delays, and unresponsive customer service. Vroom is also notorious for delayed title,
vehicle registration
, and license plate processing with the DMV, which has prevented some drivers from legally operating their purchased vehicle right away. 
Though Carvana doesn’t have quite as many negative reviews on BBB, it’s not exactly a shining star either. Consumers generally complain about the same delayed delivery and vehicle registration issues, as well as some reports of vehicles not appearing as pictured. Consumer Affairs rates Carvana with a 2.8 out of 5 average from 696 ratings—Vroom comes slightly ahead with a 3.4 out of 5 rating from 1,415 ratings. 
While these reviews may seem daunting, it’s worth noting each company does give you an opportunity to visually inspect the vehicle before officially taking it into your possession. Be sure to examine it very closely for flaws during this inspection. You can also use that 7-day return policy to your advantage: if you suspect you have a lemon on your hands, don’t hesitate to send it back. 
Bottom line: Proceed with caution when using any online car retailer (including the very similar Carmax) and keep a very close eye on your car’s performance during your 7-day return period. 

Finding cheap car insurance for your new car

Vroom and Carvana eliminate the headache of heading to the dealership by allowing you to buy a used car without ever having to change out of your sweatpants. Wouldn’t it be nice if securing affordable
car insurance for your used car
was just as easy? 
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The best part? Each Jerry user saves over $800 a year on
car insurance
, so it’s definitely worth it to keep your new investment protected—with even less hassle than a car home delivery!
“Using
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FAQs

Yes! Both companies are very much legitimate. As with any online retailer, however, there is a slight risk that what you see online may not meet your expectations in person. Fortunately, both companies have a 7-day return policy, so use this to your advantage if you notice anything off about your newly purchased vehicle.
The number one benefit of an online dealership is that every part of the vehicle transaction can be done from the comfort of your own home. Prices are generally fixed, eliminating the stress of haggling with a salesperson, and your vehicle of choice can usually be delivered straight to your front door. Because the entire inventory is online, it’s much easier to peruse your options, as well.
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