How to Do a Basic eBay Search

By Corbin HartwickUpdated on March 14, 2022

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Can’t find something that you’re looking for on eBay by browsing around categories of merchandise or checking out what’s trending? You might want to try searching for items directly. You can search for items by their name, category, brand, type of listing, and more!

To do a basic search on eBay:

1. Go to in your web browser and log in.

2. If you have an idea of what category the item you’re looking for is in, click the drop-down menu beside the Search button and select a category. Then (or otherwise) click in the box at the top that says “Search…” and type in what you’re looking for.

Select a search category

As you do, eBay will suggest key words or phrases that might match what you’re looking for. Click on one of the key words or phrases to use it as your search term(s), or click the Search button to search for exactly what you typed in.

3. Once you get to your results page, chances are that you’re still going to have quite a few different items to sift through, depending on how general or specific your search terms are. Fortunately, there are several ways to organize and narrow down what you’re looking for. For instance, try clicking one of the “Related” key words or phrases underneath the search bar to make your search terms a little more specific.

Click to see products related to your initial search

You can also click the check box beside “Include Description” if you want to search for your search terms within the description of the item as well, as opposed to just its listing name.

4. Click one of the buttons at the top-left of the results display to show All Listings that match your search terms, ones that you have to win in an Auction, or ones where you can Buy It Now.

Sort between items you can buy now and those you can win in auction

5. The options at the top-left of the screen allow you to narrow your search results to items within a specific category or subcategory. Click the category that you want to look inside.

Narrow eBay search results

6. You can also use the options below the “Categories” options to filter your search results by various criteria, such as the brand name, item condition, price, delivery options, or any special seller stipulations (such as whether or not they accept returns). If you click See All beside any criterion (or click More Refinements at the bottom of this list), a new window will pop up allowing you to set several conditions at once.

Filter search results with various criteria

Click the tabs on the left to select the different types of filters, and then use the buttons, check boxes, etc. on the right to set the parameters for those filters. A checkmark will appear beside each type of filter where parameters have been set. The specific filters will display at the bottom of the window; click the “X” beside a filter to remove it. When you’re done creating filters, click Apply to narrow your search results (or click Cancel if you don’t feel like applying these filters right now).

Click Apply to filter your search results

7. If you wish to sort your results, click the drop-down menu beside “Sort” and select an option. You can sort items based on:

  • Best Match: how closely an item matches your search terms
  • Ending Soonest: how soon an item’s auction or listing will end
  • Newly Listed: how recently an item’s listing was added to eBay
  • Lowest Price + Shipping: how inexpensive an item is, with shipping charges included
  • Highest Price + Shipping: how expensive an item is, with shipping charges included
  • Highest Price: how expensive an item is, without shipping charges included
  • Distance: how close the seller’s geographical location is to where you are
Use the drop-down menu to sort your search results

8. You can change how your results display by clicking the drop-down menu beside “View” and switching between a Gallery-style view and a List-style view. You can also click Customize to bring up a window with additional options.

Switch between a gallery-style view and a list-style view

Here, you can select a gallery-style view or list-style view, the sort order of your results, how large the pictures of your results are, how many results are displayed per page, and what additional information displays (or does not display in the listing). When you’re done making changes, click Apply Changes to change how your results display, Cancel to stick with what you have, or Restore Defaults to go back to eBay’s default display.

Click Apply Changes to change the way your results are displayed

9. You can click a result down the right-hand side to view popular items on eBay that match your search terms, items with related search terms, or collections that other people have made whose names match your search terms.

View popular items related to your search terms

10. Finally, if you want to save this search and have eBay give you updates in your email an on your eBay home page about new and popular items that match your search terms, click Follow This Search at the top of the results display. (Click this button again to stop following this search.)

Save your eBay searches for the future

11. When you see a result that you like, just click on the item’s title to take you to its details page.

Click on the title of a result to get details about that product

That’s pretty much all there is to know about how to do a basic search! If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, head on over to our next tutorial — eBay Advanced Search — and see if the extra options you have there can point you in the right direction.