How to Search All of Craigslist at Once [August 2020]
There have always been strong and active local buy-and-sell marketplaces for used goods. For decades, those marketplaces were dominated by local newspaper classified ad sections, with inexpensive classified-oriented publications like the Little Nickel always nipping at their heels. That all changed in 2000, when a neighborhood site named “Craigslist” went national and rapidly became an utterly dominant force in local buying and selling. Today’s online marketplaces like LetGo, Offerup, and Facebook Marketplace have taken the spotlight away from Craigslist in much the same way, but unlike the old classifieds – which are long dead – Craigslist is still a viable site for buying and selling. The site is great at finding deals located in your area. With specific Craigslist listings in each market, it’s easy to shop for items that are available in your area without having to worry about shipping. However, many users want more results than just their local area, which is where third-party Craigslist search applications come in handy.
In this article, I will show you how to use web-based Craigslist search engines as well as smartphone apps to run searches in multiple areas at once. If you’re more interested in selling than in buying, you’ll want to check out our article on how to advertise using Craigslist on multiple sites at once. We also have a good article on how to monitor Craigslist for specific keywords or items.
How Craigslist Works
Craigslist is a really useful site, but users have long seen areas where it could be far more functional. Suggestions in that direction have been in vain, however, because Craigslist has a very definite founding philosophy that is built around serving local communities. Craigslist could easily include cross-location searching, but the site’s creator wanted people to use the site for geo-localized transactions, not as a way to access statewide, national, or global markets. From the very beginning days of the site, people have tried to use Craigslist in ways that do not keep with the founder’s vision, and that’s OK. As users, we are not under any obligation to keep Craigslist the way its creators want it to be. However, be advised that going “against the grain” in this fashion runs the risk of having one’s participation on the site curtailed or punished, if it is detected.
Can I Search all of Craigslist At Once?
The simple fact is that it’s highly useful to be able to search all of Craigslist at once. True, you’re not likely to fly across the country to buy a few Beanie Babies, but you might be able to work out a long-distance deal with someone. Craigslist is also invaluable when trying to research prices and values. A relatively rare item might not show up on your local Craigslist site, but you can find it in a few places nationwide, and from those ads, you can get an idea of what the item is worth. Results from a nationwide Craigslist search help you cast a far wider net across the country or globe, searching for brand new items for sale without having to pinpoint the specific location you want to search.
How to Search Craiglist Outside of Your Area
Although Craigslist does not natively support any type of cross-location searching, third parties have created a plethora of tools for bypassing the site’s self-imposed restrictions. Several services allow you to search Craigslist in its entirety without limiting yourself to a single city. By casting a broader net, you’re more likely to find the item you’re looking for, especially if you don’t mind driving for it. There are a wide variety of websites to choose from, complete with some recommendations on which sites are great for which services.
Web-Based Craigslist Search Engines
Much of the browsing done on Craigslist takes place on a good, old-fashioned desktop computer. While browsing on the go can be handy (Craigslist has a mobile site just for that), there are plenty of reasons why you’d want to browse at home over browsing on your mobile device.
For one, it’s far easier to navigate through Craigslist with a mouse and keyboard than with a touchscreen, especially if you’re looking for specific items, looking to browse through a lot of listings at once, or simultaneously recording your findings in a database or spreadsheet. For that very reason, we kick this list off with some web-based Craigslist search engines that make it easy to browse through listings outside of your general Craigslist area. Some of these sites can even help you find listings on lesser-known Craigslist alternatives, making it easy to locate the desired item.
SearchTempest narrows your search results a bit more than what you may expect from other search sites, but for many users, the search engine may be the most useful site of all. Instead of searching in entirety on Craigslist without regard to location, or limiting your returns to one single state or province, SearchTempest allows you to search by a distance from your existing zip code or city name.
That means that shoppers who live near the border of states or Canada can easily search content close to them instead of searching by a general state area, such as Buffalo and Toronto. You can exclude or include US and Canadian city listings, search by category and sub-category, and even include search requests like filtering listings without photos or limiting a price request.
SearchTempest also has options to search by state and worldwide, making it truly one of the most useful sites on this list. Once you enter your search criteria, SearchTempest will group your results by location, making it easy to browse based on mileage and distance.
Statewidelist makes the process of searching your entire state for a specific item far more accessible than the traditional Craigslist site. The site’s homepage requires you to enter your search term, select a category of your choosing (by default, this setting sets to search all categories), and then select the state or Canadian province. Due to Google search changes, the site cannot list Craigslist results directly, but it does show eBay results. To work around the search-restricted issue, simply click a location found in the “Direct results links” row. The site will then populate Craigslist results based on your specified search criteria.
Other Craigslist Search Applications
While SearchTempest and Statewidelist are two of the best Craigslist multi-location search tools, other sites have an option to search Craigslist outside of your area (along with other site searches like Amazon or Pennysaver).
- Search All Junk: This search engine allows you to consolidate your results from Craigslist with results from other classified offerings, including Pennysaver, Oodle, Recycler, and more.
- ZoomTheList: The interface isn’t that pretty, but ZoomTheList can make searching through Craigslist a breeze with its advanced filtering.
Following the ads at the top of your search results, you will see all Craigslist posts for the search criteria you entered.
- DailyLister: This site is similar to ZoomTheList, containing a full list of options using Google Custom Search. Check this one out if ZoomTheList isn’t doing it for you.
- Onecraigs: Another “Search All Cities” Craigslist site, this one seemed more focused on major cities throughout the United States like LA and New York City. If you live in a major metropolitan area or you travel quite a bit, this one may be the site for you.
- Search Craigslist: This site accomplishes what most users need, which is looking to search the entirety of Craigslist. It has a simple interface and an even more straightforward premise: seeking every Craigslist listing regardless of your location. Using a custom Google search engine, Search Craigslist loads every result from the site based on your search terms, with sorting options for relevancy (by default) and date posted. Since the site is searching for active Craigslist postings, everything is up to date and current on the site. Clicking on each listing simply retrieves the information for you, making it easy to load the links inside your web browser.
iOS Craigslist Search Engines
If you’re on an iPhone, using a mobile app is a much better way to browse through Craigslist to find that unique item you want. If you’re on the move, using a mobile app for iOS is the best way to search. After many years, Craigslist has released an official app for iOS, but it is less functional than the third-party apps. Here is the best app to use on your iPhone.
- CPlus: In many ways, CPlus is the must-have app for iPhone users looking to browse through Craigslist. The app looks good, especially when compared to most other Craigslist services on the market today. CPlus features a color-based interface that makes everything feel a little more simplified while browsing through listings. The app has a ton of features, including, most importantly, the ability to search through multiple cities at once within the app. CPlus can even show your listings within a map view that’s built right into your phone, making it easy to pinpoint the exact location of the item. You also get the ability to post and edit your listings. Our favorite feature: CPlus will grey out listings you’ve already viewed, making it simple to pick up your searches later on in your day.
Android Craigslist Search Engines
The Play Store on Android has dozens of listings for Craigslist apps, with some quality listings making the top cut. The official app from Craigslist is less functional than the third-party apps, sad to say, but you can always check it out. But if you’re looking to search multiple cities or regions for your items on Craigslist, starting with a quick search on your Android device might be the best way to go about it.
- CPlus: Android CPlus is just copying the name and design of the successful iOS app of the same name, but it gets things right on its own. CPlus ranks at the top of our list for Android, as well as iOS, primarily because of its powerful search features. Overall, CPlus on Android does lack some of the visual polish that the iOS version delivers, but it’s also complete with the mapping ability we loved on iOS. Grab this one today.
- Postings: In terms of visual design, everything about Postings works great. It’s a gorgeous application that almost matches the graphical interface we’ve come to expect and appreciate on Android, making it one of our favorite ways to search through Craigslist regularly. Seriously, this app looks great, incorporating curved edges and a material design that makes it easy to browse while also using the amazing search engine provided by Postings (allows you to search multiple cities at once). Just note that you can’t search the Personals section of Craigslist on this app, due to past issues with the app getting pulled off of Google Play because of that feature.
There’s a lot to love about shopping for items on Craigslist, even if you aren’t looking for something specific. The major problem with Craigslist is that its search functionality is limited to what you can find in your area. While that limitation works well for broad searches, many Craigslist users have the means to travel to get the items they want. Sometimes, you put together a way to ship items without having to rely on Craigslist or eBay, making the distance between locations a non-issue for most users. These websites and apps make it quick and easy to search all of Craigslist from a single page. While it may still take a little effort to find what you want, these sites help you use Craigslist to its full potential and help you find that unique item you’ve been looking for online. Third-party search engines and apps are the smartest way to browse the site, whether you’re using your mobile phone, desktop, or laptop computer.