There’s a lot of TF2 trading guides out there, some are bad some are good, but what most guides forget to do is explain exactly how to trade in TF2 and how to make a profit by trading, instead other guides skips the important parts and just forget that the read might not know anything about trading in Team Fortress 2. In this guide I will try to not make that same mistake, I will give you a trading guide that shows you all you need to know to get started with trading, a complete guide for new players who wants to start trading and more importantly wants to make a profit and earn them self some sweet loot. In this guide I won’t talk about trading unusual hats or any other high end trading, that’s not what this guide is about. This guide is about learning how to trade in TF2 and how to make a profit doing so.
I’m going to start with the basics, some of you might already know about certain things that I’m talking about, if you do, then just skip that part and move onto the next.
The Basics – Steam Trade and TF2 currencies
This part is for all you new players to Team Fortress 2, who might not know the basics of the TF2 trading system. If you already know about what I’m writing feel free to skip to the next part and just move on with the guide.
TF2 Currencies & Metal
In order to trade with other players you need to have either items, metal or keys to trade with. Every item in the game has been given a value/price by the community, this value is presented in either keys or metal. Here’s a example, the hat Tyrant’s helm is worth 1.33–1.66 refined metal (see the picture down below how much a refined/ref is worth). That means that you’re most likely have to pay 1.33–1.66 refined metal if you want to buy it. Keep in mind that the value of a item or hat isn’t firm, prices change all the time and what it all comes down to is supply & demand. It’s always a good idea to check the value of a item before trading. How to check the value of a item can you learn in the next part of the guide
Down below can you find a image that displays what metals are worth. The next currency after refined metal is TF2 keys, the prices for keys change all the time so I suggest you head over to a price checking site to see the value that a key currently has, but more on that later on in this guide.
If you’re still feeling confused how the value of items work in TF2 I suggest you check out TF2 Calculator, it’s simply put a calculator for TF2 items, you can for example check the value of keys and metal, if you have a certain amount of metal and you want to know how many keys your metal are worth then this calculator can easily do the math for you. Another great feature is that you can create your very own calculators with the items in your and the person you’re trading withs backpack, check out that feature over here. Having the calculator open when trading can be very useful if you’re having trouble understanding the different values of items or if you need some help trading, and it’s especially great for those who’re new with trading.
What are my items worth?
Checking the value of your item
A important part of trading is knowing what your items are worth, it can be hard to know what every little items is worth in TF2, so you need some tools to help you, luckily there’s plenty of sites where you can check the prices on TF2 items. There’s two major sites that most people use, it’s Backpack.TF & TF2 Spreadsheet. Using either of these sites to check the value of items is a must for any trader. I would suggest using Backpack.tf, you can search for any TF2 item there and see what the value of it is. The prices on Backpack.tf are determine by the community, people make suggestion of prices and then the community will vote on the item.
I would suggest you get to know this site and start using it right away, it’s also a great site for selling your items, you can easily list your items for sale here.
Item quality & Uncraftable items
Next up is item quality, there’s a bunch of different item qualities, a item can be available in a bunch of different qualities, let me show you an example with the hat Menpo, the Menpo can either be of Genuine quality or Unique quality, so what’s the difference between the Genuine Menpo and the Unique Menpo? Nothing, except one thing, the price, the Genuine Menpo cost around 1.22–1.33 ref and the Unique Menpo is 1.55–1.66 ref. So if you’re looking for a Menpo to wear then go for the genuine quality one because it’s cheaper, what I’m trying to say is that always check the price for a item, because you never know what the price might be, even for the same item with different quality.
If you want to know more about item quality I suggest you head over to the TF2 wiki where they talk about it more, you can find it over here.
Another thing to consider is uncraftable items, these are items that are market with the text ( Not Usable in Crafting )
What this means is that you can use that item in crafting, and these items are always worth much less then craftable items, this rule applies to all craftable and uncraftable items, you can find the price for uncraftable items on Backpack.tf, they’re worth less but they still have a value, sometimes the price difference between a craftable and uncraftable item isn’t that big, a good example when that’s the case is the price for The High Five Taunt, where there is none to 1 ref price difference between a craftable & uncraftable High Five Taunt.
Keep this in mind when trading, items marked, Not Usable in Crafting are worth less.
Trading sites you need to know about
There’s plenty of TF2 trading sites to help you in your trading, I already talked about Backpack.tf and why you should use it, down below I will list a few helpful sites that you should use. What’s similar for most TF2 trading sites is that you have to login with your Steam account in order to use the site, always make sure you’re signing in at the right address, it should always be steamcommunity.com. Why do you need to login on these sites you might ask? One of the reasons is so that they can get access to your TF2 inventory, so they can see what items you have. It’s also important to have your Steam inventory to be set to not Private in order to use these sites.
Trading sites – Buying & Selling
First off I will start with sites where you can buy and sell items, these site are great when you want to either sell or buy a item. I’m not going to explain how these sites work and how you make a listing to sell or buy a item. Each site has some great help sections where you can learn everything you need to know, if that’s not a enough I show you how to list a item on TF2outpost later on in this guide.
TF2Outpost. Buy & Selling TF2/Dota 2/Steam items here, one of the biggest trading sites.
Bazaar.tf. Similar to TF2Outpost, you can buy and sell items here, and make listings easily. Easy to use interface and a lot of cool features.
TF2 Trading Post. Another buying & selling site. Similar to the other sites, plenty of members.
How to make a profit
So now you know the basics of TF2 trading, you know about the currencies, trading sites and where to check the value of things. Now it’s time to learn how to make a profit from trading. And easy example of making profit is that you buy an item for 1 ref and then you sell it for more then 1 ref, and that way making profit from the trade, that’s what we’re aiming to do here. We want that every trade will give us at least some profit, otherwise a trade isn’t worth it.
Now I will show you two exact methods that I use to make a profit when trading, you need a bit of start-up metal/keys to get started with these two methods, the more the better but around 1,33 ref should be enough to get you started. If you don’t have any metal at all then check out some of our other guide, How to get unlimited free TF2 items or if you don’t even have premium then you can check out this guide, How to get free TF2 premium. Both are very similar guides, and both are pretty boring to do, but they do work and they’re a great way of getting started with TF2 trading and getting some items.
Method 1 – Buying & Selling Cheap Hats
This first method is all about buying and selling hats, we’re going to buy the hats for around 1,33 ref and then sell them for 1,66 ref, making a 0,33 profit. Might not seem a lot but we’re going to aim to do a lot of buying & selling so it will build up with time. So the first part of this method is of course getting the hats, we’re going to buy hats that are cheap but still looks good, making people want to buy them. I’m going to give you a short list of hats that you can buy to make a profit but you can do this with a lot of other hats, but that’s up to you to find out.
The hats on the image above is the Killer’s Kabuto, Tyrant’s Helm, Backwards Ballcap, Bonk Boy and the Bubble Pipe. These are only a few hats that you can buy to make a profit. But if you’re new to trading this can a be good starting point. So how can you find these hats and buy them for 1,33 ref (or less if lucky). What I do is I head over to all the major trading sites (see above for a list) and I make listings to buy these hats, TF2outpost is a good place to start, go there and make a listing saying you’re buying these hats.
When setting your buy price there’s a few things to consider, you can either buy the hats at 1,33 which is a fair price and then sell them for 1,66. Or you can buy them for less then 1,33, you will then get way less offers from people selling them to you but you have potential to make more profit when doing so. Or you can go with a third option and that’s buying the hats for more then 1,33, let’s say 1,44 or 1,55. You’ll then get much much more people adding you wanting to sell you their hats, but the downside is that you’ll make less profit per trade, this only works if you have a lot of metal to buy hats with. I would recommend buying the hats for 1,33 ref and selling them for 1,66 ref, it has worked for me in the past and it’s a fair deal for both the sellers & buyers. But feel free to experiment with different buy & sell prices later on.
How to make a listing on TF2Outpost
Making a listing to buy or sell items on TF2Outpost is really easy, but for you who are struggling with that I will now show you how to do it, if you already know how to do this then skip to the next part of the guide. The first thing you need to do when using TF2outpost is to login with your Steam account, you do this by clicking the green button at the top right corner that says something like Login with Steam. Next step is to click the tab button that says “New” (located at the menu bar to the right)
Here’s where you make your new trades, you’ll now see all the items in your TF2 inventory and all the items you have. Choose the items you are offering, click the items in your inventory that you’re offering, they will then be presented in the left side of the trade window. Next up you’re going to choose what you want to buy, click any of the boxes located in the right side of the trade, then use the search bar and write the item’s name that you want to buy, for example, Backwards Ballcap or Killer’s Kabuto. Then just click the items you want to buy and they should present them self in the right side of the trade.
Next you’ll be adding a comment so people know what you want. You can write something like this for example;
“Buying these hats for 1,33 ref each. Only craftable hats! Add me if interested.”
After that you’re done, just click the yellow button that says “Make Trade!”, now you created a trade on TF2outpost, now just wait for people to add you and trade with you.
Selling your hats
Once somebody added you and traded with you it’s time to sell your new hat, you can do this on any of the trading sites, but I suggest you use at least TF2Outpost and Backpack.TF, these are the most popular sites with the most people on. Pick your price and make your listings, then wait for people to add you. Making listing is pretty straight forward on Backpack.tf to, just login, head over to your inventory, click the item you want to list and choose “Sell This item” then choose your price and make the listing.
This method works but it requires time, luck and metal to invest, and have patience, you might not get buyers/sellers straight away, and if you don’t get a hat sold for the price your selling it for try lowering your price or invest in another hat.
Method 2 – Finding those good deals
Another amazing trading site that I haven’t mentioned is Trade.tf, this site isn’t like most TF2 trading sites out there, it’s a site that can help you make some pretty awesome profit. Trade.tf works like this, the site scans all the major tf2 trading sites for new listings, it then checks these listings price with the suggested values of items at Backpack.tf, it will then give you a % number on how much potential profit you can make by buying that specific item and then sell it. It’s a powerful site that has potential to make you a lot of metal and keys. You can check the site out over here; Trade.TF
The site is free to use but it has a premium membership available with additional features, the free version of the site is still great, but the premium membership is amazing, if you can afford it and you like the site, get it. You can get the premium membership for 1 key for a month or a 1 rec for a day, if you like the site I suggest you try 1 day of premium, you will love it.
So method 2 is basically just about using this site, head over there and login, then go to the “Good deals” section of the site, just wait and refresh the page and see if you find any good deals, this can be hard for a beginner trader, to know what a good deal is and what is not, you can’t always trust the Profit % that the site displays, it’s not always accurate, my best advice would be to stick with the site and try to learn how to use it, you might fail a few times and make some bad deals, but that’s part of the learning process, don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes.
There’s quite a few items you can buy for a profit, but I will help you guys some and give you some suggestions on some items you should keep your eyes open for, High Five taunts, and taunts in general are very popular and sell very well. Hats that are worth around 1,66 ref are possible to find for less then that, some of them sell very good for 1,66, you can find out which hats that are worth 1,66 by heading over to Backpack.tf and browse their price list.
Bonus tips, tricks & sites
Last but not least, here are some quick advice and tips that isn’t crucial when trading, but it will help you. Read & Learn.
Why +rep commenting is pointless
You might noticed that some traders asks you to +rep them after you traded with them, that means that they want you to go to their profile and write a comment saying “+rep, nice trader” or something similar, people think that the +rep system is a way of protecting the community from scammers. The point of the whole thing with +rep-ing is so that players can mark the good and the bad traders with a comment, so the next person that trades with that person knows what to expect. So why is +rep commenting pointless? It’s pointless because you can easily remove negative comments from your profile, and creating fake positive comments is easy, you just need a few Steam accounts. The whole system is very flawed and just doesn’t work, my advice is to not bother with it, instead if you want to check if a person is a scammer you should use Steamrep. It’s a site that the community of TF2 runs where you can check people out and see if they been reported for scamming before. You can find the site over here; Steamrep
Painted items and it’s value
In TF2 you can paint certain items with coloring buckets, the color cost a lot, some paints costs 1 key+. When it comes to painted item’s value the trading community has some mixed feelings. So say that a value of a item is the item’s value + the paint’s value, making painted items extremely expensive. But it reality this isn’t the case, if you paint a hat that has little value and nobody wants it, it’s not like everyone wants this crappy hat just because it’s another color, it’s still a crap hat. For a hat to be worth the item value + paint value you need to find a buyer that wants that specific hat in that specific color, finding such a person that’s also willing to pay the high price for it is very hard.
I’m going to let you decide your own opinion on this, for me I think paint add little to none value to a item, but that”s just me. Just see this as a heads up.
Exchanging your weapons for metal
When crafting weapons into metal in TF2 you need two weapons for the same class to make a scrap metal, and sometimes your weapons isn’t for the same class and you end up with a bunch of weapons in your inventory. It’s in situation like this a scrap banking site is perfect. A scrap banking site works like this, you go to these sites and then you add a trading bot, you can then trade the both any two weapons and get a scrap from it, no matter what class the weapon is for, it’s very convenient. You can also use these sites to get the weapons that you want, they always have a big inventory with a lot of weapons you can get for a scrap or less.
There’s two major Scrap banking sites, Scrap.TF & Scrapbank.me, scrap.tf is the biggest one of these two, with a lot of options and features. You can also scrap bank other items like hats, keys or trading cards.
That’s the end of the guide, hope you learned something, I know I might not covered everything you would want to know but I think it’s solid guide that will help a lot of new traders. If you have any suggestions on what more I should have in the guide feel free to head over to our Steam group and write your suggestion in the forums. You can find the steam group over here, FreeTF2Items Steam Group, I’m always open for suggestions and ideas from you guys, it’s much appreciated. Make sure to check out the other parts of this site, like the Giveaway section, where we give away free TF2 items, or the other TF2 guides where we have a bunch of guides on how to get free TF2 items. Worth checking out!