Tophatter Review: Making Internet Auctions Fun

Posted on Feb 23 2013 - 8:00pm by Susan Bewley

Like many of you, I am always trying to find bargains online. Years ago, when I was still in college, I used to hang around EBay looking for deals on textbooks and things like inexpensive, unique gifts. As I got older, my bargain shopping started to broaden, looking for fun, unusual items that I couldn't find anywhere else. In time, I eventually took my shopping elsewhere, waiting for some of my favorite shops to have sales instead of trying to fight with people 'sniping' bids at the last second. In fact, people bid sniping was one of the main reasons I gave up on auction sites like EBay. While existing auction sites have continued to grow and gain popularity over the years, I have mostly ignored them, until one of my friends online told me about a new auction site – Tophatter.  


If you spent a lot of time on Facebook, you have likely heard some of your friends talking or sharing auctions from Tophatter. At first glance, it likely seems just like any other online auction site. What makes it different and unique is that it's actually an online live auction – not an automated auction where things are listed for days. On Tophatter, sellers tell the site that they want to sell an item and put up a description for potential buyers, telling them the timeslot where the auction is going to appear and some basic information to get their interest. Buyers can then show up at the beginning of the hour when that category of auctions start, or set a reminder for Tophatter to text their phone a reminder when the item they want is about to show up for auction. Since the sellers are also available during the auction, you can ask questions on the fly, getting the information you need, when you need it! To learn more about Tophatter, make sure to watch the video below.

Tophatter: Auction System

Like some of you are probably wondering, my first concern with Tophatter was how the live auction system would actually work. When you first log into Tophatter, you are brought onto the catalogue page for a live auction.  Once you enter the live auction, you are shown an animated scene with an auctioneer, seller, buyers, a list of items set of auction, and a chat window. Right above the items set for auction, you will see the current item being bid on and a blue button you push to bid.

Just like a real auction, bids are instant and done in a set increment. (usually $1 – $2 at a time). As people push the button, the bid increases. After ten seconds of no one bidding, the automated auctioneer will give a warning telling you the higher bidder. A bar will then appear, representing the first five second warning as the auction is close to being finished. After that soft warning, the auctioneer will give another, final warning. Once the white bar fills on that final warning, the auctioneer will audibly drop the gavel, signaling the end of that auction. After another two seconds, the auctioneer will start talking about the next item – and the whole auction block will continue in that category until no items are left. If you are the winner of an auction, you will be sent an invoice by Tophatter to pay for that auction. Really, the whole auction system with Tophatter couldn't be easier!

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Tophatter: Buyer Experience

While I have never sold an item on Tophatter, I have to admit that the whole live auction experience on their site is very addictive! The first auction I attended I only planned on spending a half hour on their site. Two hours later, I was still talking to people in the chat and looking at all the pretty auctions coming up. When I found a listing of the day's auctions in my email the next day, I was smart and told the system to remind me about the next auctions. This saved me time and allowed me to still bid on some of the cute jewelry. With all the interesting and unique items up for auction, it is very easy to lose hours going through the auctions and get caught up in the experience. Having attended some in person live auctions in my life, I have to say they really brought the whole auctioning experience into everyone's home.

If I had to pick one thing I love the most about Tophatter, it's their live chat. Not only can you talk to other buyers, but the seller as well.  Nothing annoyed me more with EBay than sending a question to the seller, only to have them answer me days later once the auction had already ended. On Tophatter, the seller is right there, talking about the item and answering questions as people were bidding. At the jewelry auction I was attending, it was the same seller for everything and she had an awesome sense of humor, allowing everyone to have a blast. To me, interaction like this is what makes Tophatter interesting and fun!

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Tophatter: Overall

From my own experience, Tophatter is fun, addictive, and a great way to find some unique items. I have spent hours in the past two days looking at all the jewelry and cute craft supplies. This may be a dangerous place for my sisters, however, since they do have LOTS of Hello Kitty items as well. If you are looking for a fun auction sites, I highly recommend Tophatter and give them an A+ rating! Also, help you get started with your first auction, Tophatter is giving all of our readers at free $10 toward their first auction of $11 or more! To except this credit, click here to be directed to Tophatter.

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Disclosure: The author of this publication, Susan Bewley, did receive compensation for this post but all the opinions are her own & were not influenced by Tophatter or any other third party. This opinion, however, may different from your own. Budget Earth is not responsible for sponsor prize or prize shipment in this giveaway.



Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

25 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. natalie nichols February 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    It's fun just watching the auctions. I can't imagine how much fun I'd have if I could actually bid on stuff!

  2. 5lita5 February 24, 2013 at 5:54 am - Reply

    The more auction places online the better for all of us, bidders & sellers alike!

  3. Savannah miller February 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I have to check them out!!  I love finding good bargins and think auctions are the best place to get them ­čÖé

  4. pam February 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    really want to win this to bid on a ring i want

  5. Annabelle February 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Tophatter looks really exciting- I could find myself here for hours, I'm sure (I watch Auction Kings religiously)

  6. Kelly R February 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Great site.. We like it..

  7. Amanda Greene-Lebeck February 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    sometimes I go on Tophatter just to watch the auctions, its fun.  I cannot wait until I actually have money to bid on something lol

  8. Ari February 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Looking at all the cool items in all the various lots is very addicting! Tophatter is a great place for those looking to find those one-of-a-kind gifts!

  9. Amy S. February 24, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    This is super cool and it was actually entertaining to watch one.  Thanks for the review.

  10. Kara Marks February 25, 2013 at 12:26 am - Reply

    You're right that being able to talk to the sellers right there and ask questions live is a great feature!

  11. Paula V February 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Addictive, convenient, value, buy and sell, inexpensive, variety…sounds great.

  12. laurie nykaza February 26, 2013 at 3:52 am - Reply

    I love going to the Tophatter auction it is so quick and easy to bid everything is quick. I just started checking into it and all the items look wonderful 

  13. Cattz Zarraga February 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    thanks for the tops giveaway… i need to win to bid…

  14. nicole krutz February 27, 2013 at 1:33 am - Reply

    tophatter has really pretty jewelry

  15. Wendy Mastin March 4, 2013 at 2:01 am - Reply

    What is nice is that the auctions really don't last that long and they are right on to the next item.

  16. lisa March 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    I should check it out. I had a bad experience with e-bay and haven't gone back.

  17. Michelle E March 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Your reviews are helpful.

  18. desiree March 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    i am getting the   more and more gift idea  from you guys

  19. Mary W. March 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I love auctions.  This could be addicting. 

  20. bella March 9, 2013 at 1:05 am - Reply

    This auction site is the best I am hooked  when I visit I can not leave…It is good.

  21. WidyaningA March 9, 2013 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Thank you for your comprehensive review about Tophatter. 

  22. krista grandstaff March 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for explaining this site, and for the screen shots…I was wondering what it was all about! I love how you can see things as well as buying…

    • Susan Bewley March 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Yes, it’s one of the things I really love about Tophatter! It’s so user friendly!

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