From Team Fortress Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Steam trading.png
Another satisfied customer!
The Engineer on his delivery services

Trading is an in-game system that lets players exchange items with other players. Introduced with the Mann-Conomy Update, this system allows players to swap weapons, cosmetics, tools and more with other players. Later on, Valve also added the ability to trade items from different games to each other.

Steam Trading

A screenshot of Steam Trading.

Steam Trading is a feature that was introduced on August 9, 2011 as an open beta. Steam Users that opted into the Steam Trade Beta were also given the ability to "tag" people on their Friends List and organize them into Common Groups.[1] The beta updates were added to the public steam client on September 6, 2011. With steam trading, players are able to trade their in-game items for other in-game items and/or gift copies of Steam games. Trade requests can be sent through Steam chat windows or via the Steam Friends List window.



  • At first, the Steam Trading window shows only 8 slots to trade. When the 3rd slot on the last line is filled, more slots will appear. This allows for up to 256 items to be traded at once, eliminating the need for successive trading.
  • Items can also be searched for by using the search tool, making trades quicker and easier to conduct. As with the in-game trading menu, a chat box is also available and items are color-coded according to their quality.
  • Once a trade is made, any received items are placed into the user's in-game Backpack and Steam Inventory, ready to be used.
  • Items from other games can also be traded by clicking the inventory drop down menu and choosing a supported game's inventory. The current inventories available are Portal 2, Team Fortress 2, Spiral Knights, Crimecraft: Gang Wars, Super MNC, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Steam gifts (games bought but not yet redeemed).
  • On September 4, 2013 a new feature called "Trade Offers" was released. It allows you to send a prepackaged trade to a friend, similar to regular trading, except you propose the items for both sides.

Trading inside TF2

To get started trading in Team Fortress 2, you go about it by going to the game's menu (by default, this key being "M"), and select trading. Once you've done that, another small window opens up, granting you access to certain checkboxes and such, allowing you to trade from people within your server, friends list, or Steam groups that you are a part of.

You can also go about opening a trade with a friend entirely from the Steam overlay itself. Some people prefer to use third party websites for trading all of their items to gain profits, and they may not be in your server. You must add them (or vice versa), and then you may select whether you'd like to invite them to a trade, separate from doing it within Team Fortress as if they were in your server or Steam group.There are also specific servers which people looking to trade will a accumulate to trade, However these servers may not contain people looking for your specific item and are normally populated with people selling high demand items in the game or quicksell items. (items they don't want for any number of reasons)

Trading in-game opens up a Steam Trade window in the overlay, which can be toggled to return to the game and vice versa. After a trade is complete, any items a player receives are posted to the server's messages if they are in a server.

Free-to-play players can not trade TF2 items with a few exceptions, such as tools like the Dueling Mini-Game, any items traded to them by premium users, and promos such as the Frying Pan and Ellis' Cap.

An option to filter trade requests is in the game's Advanced Options menu. This option can be set to Anyone, Friends Only, Friends and In-Game Players and No-one.

Item Value

In general, the value of items is defined by their rarity, that is, the difficulty and/or expense in acquiring them by a player. By extension, item rarity is usually tied to an item's Quality. Hence, Unique weapons, the most usual drops in the game, have the lowest value of all items, due to them being the most usual drops, as well as being craftable. Mann Co. Supply Crates are also common drops and as such also considered of low value. Vintage items are considered more expensive, due to their originally higher crafting value, and their general unavailability at present. Strange items have a higher value than Uniques since they can only be obtained from Supply Crates, but their price varies wildly depending on each item's specific probability of being obtained from a Crate, as well as the availability of the crate they can be obtained from. Genuine item values are often higher than the aforementioned, due to the related expense of obtaining them as promotional items, and the limited timeframe to obtain them this way.

Haunted items are also considered to have a higher value, due to their dropping window being limited to Halloween events and maps. Festive weapons have a similar seasonal limitation, but are considered to be of a much higher value, due to the strict timeframe allowed for obtaining them from special Christmas Event crates, their relative probability of being obtained from crates, and their cosmetic decorations. Festive weapons of a Strange quality have an even higher value due to their even lower probability of being obtained.

Items of any quality are considered to be "dirty" when they contain additional descriptive text ("gifted by ___", craft #, etc.), or when they have certain trading limitations, such as needing gift-wrap, or being uncraftable. Dirty items are considered to be of lesser value than "clean" items devoid of any of these attributes.

Items with attributes added by Tools, such as color from Paint Cans, or Strange Parts, usually have a fraction the value of such items added to the total value of the item up for trade.


Metal is often used as a trading currency by traders, and is traded for items according to their value in Metal. The value of specific items is usually given in terms of Refined Metal, or "ref" (e.g. 1.33 ref, 3 ref, etc.). To know how much metal is being asked for an item, the specific values for each type of metal are as given as: 1 Scrap = 0.11 ref, 1 Reclaimed Metal (or rec) = 0.33 ref, 1 Refined Metal = 1 ref. Since a scrap is produced from 2 weapons, a single Unique weapon is sometimes considered as equivalent to 0.05 ref. However, it is usual to see individual Unique weapons sold for a scrap each, by players trying to make profit out of trades.

For items with higher value, higher-level "currencies" are used. Keys are used as the next tier of currency, although their equivalent in Metal is often accepted as substitute when trading. Bill's Hats are sometimes used as the next level of currency due to their high value in Keys and/or metal. Earbuds, or "Buds", considered to be extremely rare and valuable, are often considered as the top tier of TF2 currency, and are used as such to buy and sell the most expensive items available.

Unusual Items

Unusual items are considered to be the most valuable and expensive quality for trade in the game by a wide margin. As such, they are considered to be in their own separate tier of high prices (usually given in terms of Earbuds or in keys to a lesser extent). In addition to the visual appeal of the Unusual Effects these items sport, their 0.66% probability of being acquired from Crates[2] makes them extremely hard to come by, and makes their base trading price extremely high. However, within its own realm of Unusual prices, the value of an Unusual item may vary wildly according to visual or thematic appeal, rarity, and general desirability.

Non-Tradeable Items

  • All items in the game are tradable with the exception of the items above and achievement milestone weapons. If metal is crafted using any achievement weapon, it becomes untradable. Anything crafted using untradable items also becomes untradable. However, most of the above items are gift-wrappable, providing a way to trade normally un-tradable items.

Purchased Items

  • With the Manniversary Update, all items purchased from the Mann Co. Store will become tradable after two days, as long as the Steam account has made another purchase at least 30 days prior.
  • Additionally, items that are awarded in Genuine quality upon pre-ordering a game on Steam are initially untradable, but generally become tradable once the game is released.
  • Items purchased from the Steam Community Marketplace are automatically placed in the user's inventory and are immediately available for trade or to place back on the market.

Pricing Guides

In any case, the value of all items varies with time, according to current trading trends, novelty of items, desirability, availability, and update modifications to items, among other variables. Sources for checking current trading prices for items include:

However, keep in mind that any listed prices are not set prices, but merely guidelines for traders to use as baselines for setting their own trade prices.

3rd Party Backpack Viewers

Websites used to examine a user's backpack items outside of Steam:

Some TF2 servers that are primarily used for trading may have a plugin that lets you view the backpack of another user on the server. The plugin will usually link you to one of the above sites in-game.

Trading Websites

Outside of in-game trading and Steam are websites users can use to trade and offer items. Such websites include:

Most websites let users post what they want to trade and what they want in return. Other users can offer on their items or add them directly to trade.

Trading tips

(See also: Community trading tips)

Note: Keep the following tips in mind while trading.
When trading for a Strange or Unusual item, look out for the quality colors to avoid being scammed. Note that the Free to Play account cannot give any items in the trade.
  • To know how much metal is being asked for an item, keep in mind the specific values for each type of metal: 1 Scrap Metal is 0.11 refined (or simply ref), 1 Reclaimed Metal (or rec) is 0.33 ref and 1 Refined Metal is 1 ref. Adding these values by increments will give you the exact value of metal that a trader is asking for, and lets you know which and how many items of metal are being asked of you.
  • Check the person's Steam profile to see if the person is on trade probation by Valve, or has a reputation for being a scammer. Also use
  • Use a trusted middleman when doing cash trades.
  • Pay attention to the quality of the items being offered.
  • Avoid trading for gifted or uncraftable items, as they are generally valued lower than non-gifted or craftable items.
  • Always review the items being traded before finishing the trade.
  • Trades should be conducted without any pressure; don't give into another player's pressure if they're urging you into a trade you do not want to be in.
  • If you feel that you are offering too much, ask a friend or another player. There are many "price guides" available online that estimate the value of items being traded (though these are often subjective).
  • Inventory items appear in the order in which they are arranged in your backpack. Be sure to preview items by hovering over them in the inventory or trading boxes to make sure you are adding the correct one(s).
  • Always respect the player you are trading with. Being polite, courteous and honest are very important aspects of trading, and are reflected on in real life trading too. Common courtesy is an important aspect.
  • Be aware of renamed items, as a scammer can rename a common item to appear as a rare item. For example, a Vintage Pyro's Beanie can be renamed to appear as an Unusual Pyro's Beanie. However, the hat will retain its blue lettering. The chat box will show notifications about renamed items to help avoid confusion.
  • Check if the items you receive in the trade are craftable. After the October 13, 2011 Patch, weapons bought from the store are uncraftable, but can be traded. The November 29, 2012 Patch changed this such that cosmetic items bought from the store are craftable.
  • Make sure the items you are receiving are not duplicated, you can check this by viewing a players backpack on backpack. tf, and by checking the item history of the item.
  • If you are trading for a strange weapon, its current kill count will be reset to 0.
  • While trading, verify the trader's last alias (This user has also played as) at his profile. Scamming players often use many different aliases, so they can't be recognized after the trade.
  • Some trading communities have adopted a verify system that can be very useful to the traders. If your trading spot has it, be aware of it.

Types of trading

There are several different types of trading:

  • Scrap banking - an act where a player charges metal for weapons. Scrap bankers will usually exchange one scrap for two weapons initially, then charge one scrap for one weapon after banking them. gaining them a small profit. This can also be performed the other way around, by trading two weapons to a scrap banker. This is referred to as reverse scrap banking.
  • Weapon banking - an act where a player gives another player a weapon for another weapon.
  • Hat banking - an act where a player purchases hats for 1.33 refined (the general price for most craftable cosmetics) or lower, then sells them for 1.33 refined or more, gaining the player a profit.
  • 1:1 trading - an act where a player exchanges a single item with another player for another item.
  • Game trading - involves exchanging items for games and vice versa.
  • Cash trading - involves exchanging items for monetary compensation outside of the Steam trade. This form of trading should always be done with a trusted middleman, if done at all; this practice is very risky, and is not supported by Valve.
  • Pure trading - when a person pays the pure value for a specified item(s), generally in Refined, Keys or Earbuds.
  • Quicksell trading - when a person sells an item (often with the Unusual quality) for pure currency for a value that is less than the suggested price of their item.

Things that should be watched out for:

  • Scamming - is the act of stealing from another person, generally when a player promises another player items that they will never give.
  • Phishing/Hijacking - is when a criminal pretending to be a trader sends a phishing link (which redirects the player to a fake site that harvests their login details or other information), or asks for a player's password. Players should always check the name of the link they are clicking and check for a green bar at the top of their browser signifying security. They should never share their password with anyone.
  • Sharking - Targeting a player (usually new or inexperienced players) and offering items that are worth a significant amount less than the targeted player's item(s).

Update history

September 30, 2010 Patch (Mann-Conomy Update)
  • Added trading system.

October 6, 2010 Patch

  • The Trading dialog now starts with the chat window having focus.
  • Gifted items are now craftable and tradable.
  • Community, Self-Made, and Valve items are not tradable or usable in crafting.

October 20, 2010 Patch

  • Added some anti-scam advice to the chat window.
  • Increased trading slots to 8 slots per person.
  • Added item rarity colors.
  • Added the item’s original name to the item description.

January 19, 2011 Patch

  • Added a note in the trading dialog to let you know when your trading partner is typing.

February 24, 2011 Patch (Community Map Pack Update)

  • [Undocumented] Fixed trades only displaying one of the items traded to the server.

June 14, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed Steam inventory/trading not showing the correct item level for some items.
  • Fixed Steam inventory/trading sort order not matching the in-game backpack.

October 20, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed "Not Usable in Crafting" text not appearing under certain conditions on item tooltips in the trading UI.

November 16, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed an exploit that allowed untradable items to be traded with Steam trading.

November 23, 2011 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Fixed a Steam Trading bug that allowed items to be duplicated.

December 15, 2011 Patch (Australian Christmas 2011)

  • [Undocumented] Players with free accounts can now trade items that have been traded to them.

February 14, 2012 Patch

  • Updated the in-game trading system to use the Steam trading menus.

September 4, 2012 Patch

  • Added a notification to Steam Trading when a user's backpack is full.

February 22, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed a problem where traders that send in-game trade requests would receive the error message "The other player is currently busy trading with someone else" when the problem was actually related to Steam Guard settings.

February 23, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed trade invites not working in-game.


  • If a player is kicked from a server while waiting for a trade request, the timer at the home screen will show over 10,000 seconds.
  • Sometimes users in a trade will be unable to add items to a trade or click the 'confirm trade' button, this can typically be fixed by pressing the 'F5' on your keyboard to refresh the trade.
  • Often items in a trade will not display correctly for a short period of time after they are added. The picture is typically absent in this scenario along with the item's description and name.


  • If you have been scammed, you can file a Steam support ticket and explain the situation. It helps to provide evidence of the scam, such as conversation logs or screenshots/videos of the scammed transaction.
  • There is a 30 second waiting period between unsuccessful trade requests.
  • If a player sends multiple trade requests to another player who declines them, there is a 2 minute waiting period between each trading request to prevent spamming.
  • As of December 12th, 2012, Steam Guard will be required for trading TF2 items, as well as other items that are tradable. Steam also requires for Steam Guard to be on for at least 15 days before trading.
  • When a user changes their account password, the user is then unable to trade for 5 days. This was implemented to prevent or discourage hijackers stealing others' accounts or items by forcing them to wait.

Old Trading System


See also


  1. Steam Trading: Out of Beta and available to everyone! - TF2 Team
  2. [1],Article on the Probability of Unusual Unboxing.

External links