I've only played for about 6 hours so far, and I've made minor profits (like, 100 credits per unit) trading, but I'm feel like there's got to be a better way of doing this that I just don't understand. Spending 10 minutes running between stations for a 400c profit just doesn't seem viable.

The answer to this question about how to use the Galaxy Map to view trade routes might be part of the answer, but I'm sure there is more to being a successful trader than that. Obviously, upgrading to a ship with more cargo capacity would help, but that costs a lot of money and 400-800c per trade seems like a slow way to get there.

Note that I am not opposed to using third party tools or websites that aggregate trade data.

7 Answers 7


From my limited playing of E:D so far there's a couple of ways of getting improved profits per tonne, although ultimately the best way to do it, is work towards larger cargo modules and also larger ships.

The first option is just to work on finding the most profitable commodity to trade from a specific station. For that, the best way I've seen is to use something like the Elite Trading Tool, which allows you to enter a starting station and other variables and gives you the best routes that it currently knows about. These aren't always perfect, but generally I've found they're better than just using the in-game tools.

Another option is to trade "rare" goods. These are specific items which are available at some stations and which get considerably more valuable the further away you take them. You need a decent amount of cash to start doing this (to pay for fuel to get far enough away to increase the value) but you can make considerable profits with the right route (e.g. with a 40 Ton Cobra, I made ~500,000 each way on a run).

The trick with rares seems to be finding good clusters of items at either end of a run. For example this one


I'm by no means an elite trader, but I figured out how to make one to two thousand credits a trade with the starting ship. Part of that has been done using this infographic here, which I use to plan my routes a bit:
(Click/tap on the image below to view the higher-resolution, original image.)


Basically, at whatever station you're at, go through the items for sale and compare the buy price to the galactic average. I usually try to find an item with a profit ratio of three hundred or more compared to the galactic average. Then, when my cargo hold is full, I plot a route to the nearest station that's outside the export area of the station I'm at, that wants that type of item, according to the infographic. Which is usually a minimum of four jumps away for the best profits. Then I just do that over and over; bonus if you can combine it with a mission to get something for someone from some distant system.


As Brock mentions, you can buy below the average and try to sell on somewhere that needs them. The window on the right of the commodity shows places they are exported to. http://elitetradingtool.co.uk/ can be useful too.

Having said that, if the starting systems are highly populated, the markets may have tanked a bit. You may need to move a little further afield to find a market that hasn't been run into the ground.

Ideally, look for two way trade runs. Typically that would be buying gold, palladium, beryllium etc from an extraction station and selling at a high tech one, where you then buy consumer tech, progen cells, perf enhancers etc to take back to the extraction station. If you can find these stations in systems within one jump of each other, and with stations nearish the jump points, all the better.

And obviously the more cargo you can hold, the better...

Rare trading can also be quite lucrative, though you may need to upgrade from the sidewinder first. I'm sure you can find plenty of routes for rare commodities (often between Altair and Leesti) with a quick google search.

Good luck out there commander.


Personally I found that when starting out in a Sidewinder I would just run missions where people provided me with cargo, as it is more profitable then straight buying and selling stuff if you can get the missions. Once you get around 100k you should be able to upgrade to a Hauler or a Adder for more cargo space. Once I upgraded to a Type 6 (around a million credits I think) I started more buying and selling more. I found that focusing on building reputation in a small area I wanted to quest in helped out, because you can get better quests as your reputation builds.


If shipping rares between the 2 potent and famous clusters of Lave & 39 Tauri:

Sometimes at Zaonce there are decent i.e. 40k+ contracts for silver, gold and palladium which can be fulfilled easily by stopping at Bhaghuti, where the station is only 10 Ls from the hyperdrive star.


I'd personally suggest Elite Dangerous Database. It's a constantly updated list of all systems that have been visited by someone with their tool, as well as an updated JSON file written daily by the system. It's completely free, and features 3 different modes for trading: Single Hop, Multi-hop, and Loop.

All of the modes feature multiple filters (excluding illegal commodities, hop distance, distance from star, etc.) and automatically sort according to highest profit amounts. You simply add in your filters, type in your current system and station, and press "find"!

Happy trading!


Learn what affects supply and demand.

This is affected by the economy(ies) of a system/station, but a system's state can also affect demand from a system.

eg. Systems experiencing a Famine state will pay well for food.

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