Carvana vs Carmax – Which is Better?

In the new world of online car buyers it can be tricky finding a service that stands out among the rest. Since the advent of the internet, various companies have been popping up that offer an array of services that benefit car owners, drivers, and more. Two of those companies that have made a name in recent years are Carvana and Carmax. While there are actually many similarities between the two, which car buyer is better between Carvana vs Carmax?

What is Carvana?

Carvana is an online used car dealer from Tempe, Arizona. Founded in 2013, the company is well known for their creation of the multi story car vending machines. They also offer cars for sale with financing and help customers find the right car for them.

Carvana is also in the car buying space. They allow customers to submit their car’s information to receive an offer to buy their car. Plus, Carvana also offers trade in services. So if you are selling a car but still need to find a replacement, Carvana can help you trade in your car with ease.

How Does Carvana Work?

What are the benefits of using Carvana vs Carmax? For starters, Carvana is a much more modern company. They have a wide array of used cars for sale on their website that are all covered by a 7 Day Money Back Guarantee. That means after buying any Carvana car, you have seven days to decide if that car is right for you. If not, you can send the car back and replace it with another from Carvana’s website.

If you are buying a car from Carvana, they also deliver cars straight to your door. If you purchase on of their Carvana used cars then you have the option for it to be delivered by truck to your home. No need to visit the dealership because they bring the car right to you.

Carvana buys cars, so they are a great option if you are in need of a replacement car. Just like, Carvana can provide you an offer for your car and pick it up on your schedule. If you accept their offer, a local car buyer with travel to your location and tow away the car for free. Plus you will be paid on the spot.

What is Carmax?

Carmax is the United States largest used car dealer with locations scattered all over the country. The concept for the company was started by none other than Richard Sharp, then CEO of now defunct consumer electronics retailer Circuit City. Today the company has over ninety locations with their corporate headquarters located in Richmond, Virginia.

Carmax is the largest dealer of used cars in the nation and is also a Fortune 500 company. They buy, sell, and finance used cars for customers at any location or online. Their large physical footprint allows them the ability to field offers on cars from any of the fifty states.

How Does Carmax Work?

As the largest used car dealer in the country, Carmax works by having a robust distribution system. While they first started off as a fleet of used car dealerships, the company has expended into online car buying to leverage their footprint.

By having used cars for sale located in most states, Carmax can sell their cars online and provide short delivery times. In the discussion of Carvana vs Carmax, you have the peace of mind knowing where the car you are buying is coming from.

As a car purchaser as well, Carmax operates similarly to how other car buyers work. Similar to, you can submit your car’s information to Carmax and receive an offer. If you accept their offer, Carmax will pick up your car for free and pay you for it, or you can drop it off at one of their many locations.

Carvana vs Carmax Reddit Reviews

Thanks to online forums, we can see exactly how real customers fair in the Carvana vs Carmax debate. Here are a few reviews provided by people who have worked directly with these online car companies.

Reddit Review #1

“I was contacted saying the car would be fixed in a week. I contacted Carvana to see about starting the purchasing process again. They said they never, ever do things like this and they wouldn’t sell the car until it was shipped back to Arizona, inspected/cleaned, and then made available to the public on the website again.

The woman on the phone said, “If you had kept the car and fixed it under our warranty, that would be a different story.”

I said, “You want me to keep a broken car past its 7 day return policy on a hope that it could be fixed under warranty??” (The dealer would take one week to even look at the vehicle.)”

In this scenario, it sounds like Carvana did not notice the leaking transmission fluid in the car they sold. Normally a problem like this would be noticed during the Carvana car inspection but sometimes problems slip through the cracks. In any case, the car buyer was able to return the car using the seven day return policy.

Reddit Review #2

“So I bought a 2017 Chevy Volt Premier with 36k from Carmax. Carmax customer service was also excellent, on par with Carvana, but the difference is that I got to meet them in person. I test drove the car before buying. And they also have a 7 day return policy. I purchased the MaxCare plan, which I really like, because if I have a problem, I drive it in to the service center and talk to a human being.

Now comes the fun part. Less than 24hrs after buying the car, the check engine light came on. It’s at Carmax being diagnosed now. I drove home in a loaner. And here’s where Carmax wins in every way:

– They extended my return policy to 14 days, no problem.

– They provided the loaner instantly.

– I never had to call anyone or set up paperwork or do anything except provide my info and wait at the counter. They took care of EVERYTHING for me.

– And since it’s a dealership, everyone is on the same page. I wasn’t told one thing by an associate, just to have another associate say that’s not correct. This happened twice with Carvana. The whole re-purchasing thing and then when they were explaining their warranty. One guy said I wouldn’t pay a deductible, the next one said, “I’ve never heard about that.”

In this review it is clear that the customer was pleased with their experience using Carmax. The main difference in this Carvana vs Carmax reddit review is that this buyer was able to test drive the car of choice first at a Carmax location. Unfortunately the car did have some issues, but Carmax made it easy to resolve. They provided a loaner vehicle while the used car was repaired at the Carmax service center right away. The car buyer even purchased the MaxCare plan to ensure the car would be protected.


If you are in the market to buy a used car then chances are you may be decided between Carvana vs Carmax. While you always have the option of visiting a local used car dealer, these two companies provide many great services for used car buyers. Plus they make it easy to shop for cars online before making a decision in person.

While our reviews should a couple different issues, the main point is that both Carvana and Carmax offer the seven day money back guarantee. As big companies they understand that issues may pop up. To their credit they are willing to resolve those issues no questions asked.

So when trying to decide between Carvana vs Carmax, why not try both and see which one works for you. And if you need to sell your car, then you already know to visit