The Complete Trader Guide

Nicou   2   Trading 6 April 2018

This post is also available in: Français (French)

First published on the 1st Feb 2017. Updated on the 6th April 2018

Another complete role about something I love in Elite: Dangerous: The Trader. I hope to bring you my veteran techniques & other tricks that will make your life of trader better!

Other guides: Explorer | Miner | Pirate | Fighter | Liner| AX Combat





The role: Trader

As a trader, your goal will be to buy items at low prices in order to resell them at cheaper prices.

What qualifies a good trader?

  1. A cargo ship, the biggest!
  2. Depending on your route and your ship, weaponry is optional. A Keelback for example can be equipped comfortably.
  3. Modules, a good FSD drive, and generally light equipment to escape from other players and NPCs while keeping your jump range high.
  4. A minimum jump range of 12 LY, you need as much as possible! 15 LY is usually a good average if your cargo hold is full (Laden) when you start hauling.
  5. Trader’s tools on the glorious internet!
  6. Vigilance and patience. You’re a hauler, if a fighter wants to attack you they will have the speed and power advantage. Your best escape are great defenses and fast exit point.



Ships and modules

Every ships can trade in Elite: Dangerous… but some are of course better than others. Let’s see what Elite: Dangerous offers to maximise your incomes. Myself, I have started trading in a Type 6. Take your preferred ship, our build and have fun!
The first important mod to make is the Enhanced FSD Drive to jump farther, thanks Mrs and Mrs Engineers!

The ships below are ranked from the cheapest to the most expensive. Each of the links will lead you to the build I prepared in order to start a comfy long exploration trip. Note that they are built with very good modules, which explains why they look expensive.
► Every ships prepared here have their own shields to protect the cargo. It will allow you to dish out some damage while you charge your FSD to escape any incoming danger. You can swap it to more cargo, be careful in Open.

checklist To drastically reduce the price, I invite you to choose modules of lower ranks. D being the lightest and C the mid-range one.

  • The Hauler? Yes, why not? It is after all the first ship dedicated to transport… transport missions. We are talking about trading. The ship below offers more cargo with better protection
  • Adder – 813k credits
    • With 24.6LY unladen and 18.2LY laden, the Adder is fast and nimble to carry its 22 units of cargo. What do you want for less than 1M? Oh, yes, a Guardian FSD booster Class 1 to increase your jump range to 28.1LY unladen and 22.3LY laden for 20 cargo units.
  • Cobra Mk III – 3M 699k credits
    • The fastest ship in the game with a boost speed beyond 400 m/s! 44 units cargo and a very appreciable jump range of 25/21 LY make it a hard ship to intercept. With a Guardian FSD Booster Class 2, you push your jump range to 30.8/28.2 LY for 40 units.
  • Cobra Mk IV – 3M 071k credits
    • The Mk IV requires the purchase of both E:D & DLC Horizons within the first year after launch. It is much slower (300 m/s) than the Mk III and jumps less (22.6/17.2 LY). However it has double cargo: 80 units! It is also much more robust. You can increase your jump range unladen to 30 LY with a Guardian FSD Booster Class 3.
  • Type 6 – 3M 851k credits
    • Fast, 104 units of freight, inexpensive, well protected and optimized: the T6 is THE ultimate first hauling ship. 28.5/18.8LY (34.3/25.0 LY with a Guardian FSD Booster C2)
  • Keelback? Why not, however this ship is focused combat/transport. You will want to make it more powerful and resistant, at the expense of freight and this will often lead to less than 50 units of cargo.
  • Asp Explorer – 13M 678k credits
    • With 38.9/31.1 LY jump range and 116 units of cargo, this is a direct upgrade from the Type 6, with more space for you and your goods.
  • Type 7 – 29M 415k credits
    • 276 units of cargo, your first large trading vessel; It is therefore impossible to land at the outposts, only at the stations! Excellent defenses, tough hull, great shields to dish out any incoming damage while you escape the area. It has a 26.9/16.8LY jump range and you can enhance it to 34.6/24.7LY with a Guardian FSD Booster C3.
  • Imperial Clipper? Why not, but Type 7 does better (jump range, cargo, integrity, shields) for less credits (2M Cr diff) and no Empire rank required. The Clipper is much faster though (~2x) and that makes it an excellent Pirating ship.
  • Python – 66M 815k credits
    • 276 cargo units for this medium sized ship! The Python is a versatile ship, expensive to equip if one wants to do only transport. You can easily switch it to an effective mining ship, a fierce fighter or whatever goes through your mind. 23.6/15.4LY to a 31.3/23.3LY with a Guardian FSD Booster C3.
  • Type 9 – 110M 678k credits
    • A very slow ship with low jump range… BUT, it bolts a 740 units of cargo! If you have prepared your trade route well, the T9 will prove to be a real cash machine, getting you millions of profits on each of your sales. 29.9/21.4 LY jump range thanks to a Guardian FSD Booster C4, and don’t forget to mod your FSD to the Engineers.
  • Anaconda – 181M 013k credits
    • For almost half the cargo (420u) and an additional 70M credits, you will be very tough, faster, and even better you will jump farther; Which will improve your profits by joining two stations far from each others, thus you will have less jumps, thus gaining time. And time is money my friend. 38/27.8 LY with a Guardian FSD Booster C4.
  • Imperial Cutter – 292M 719k credits
    • Well, well… if you love the Empire, here are 712 freight units for you in a classy Gutamaya ship. Excellent protections ensure the ship’s transport of goods… or slaves in the utmost class. 31.6/24.5 AL with a Guardian FSD Booster C4.

To unlock the Guardians modules, follow our Crafting Guides, Tech Brokers.

How to test my Outfit

I usually use two websites to prepare my outfitting. E:D Shipyard & Coriolis, depending on your needs and preferences. Don’t forget that selling your ship is a net gain of the ship’s gain -10%, but the modules are sold 100% of their prices! Don’t be afraid of trying builds with your ships.

Be careful with your fast ships, do not crash in a station! I remember having crashed 216 units of Palladium in my old T7 against a station… I had only my eyes to cry ^^

Le T6 de Dilligaf

Dilligaf’s Type 6


About Trading

There are many ways to trade goods in Elite: Dangerous, however the main and important ones are the Rares trading, and the Cycles trading. This first one consists of traveling great distances in order to resell luxury and rares goods, while the latter connects a few stations between them in order to get the best profit by going back and forth between stations.


Rares Trading

Crucial step when you get a Cobra or a Type 6, Rares Trading is not to be overlooked because with only 60 to 107 units of cargo, you could earn between 900k and 1M500k credits per hour! Above 107 units of freighter for your medium ship, stop the rares and start your Cycles Trading.

En short:

  • 1h to 1h30 for a complete cycle (back and forth)
  • A Fuel Scoop is essential, class 2 for a Cobra and class 3 for a Type 6 at least.
  • Between 15,000 to 27,000 credits per item sold!

The principle is simple, the “rare” goods are yellow, a lighter yellow than the other goods in the market. Buy the entire stock. I strongly advise you to play solo for the rare trade because many pirates will have no scruples to stop you, especially around Lave if you have no money. If you do have money, please play in Open! If a pirate interdicts you, it’s her/his gameplay, just giveaway some rares 🙂

Carte par Tom Gidden

Map from Tom Gidden

Start with the system Zaonce and then follow the black path. If you have the time and cargo capacity, follow the grey path and adjust according to your desire. It will take around 79 units max (60 units mini) for the first cluster, and 107 units max (68 units mini) on return with the second cluster. It is best to sell your rares between 145 and 180 LY from where it is originated.

My rares route

The Rare route I used to do.

CLUSTER 1 (59t – 73t)

  • Leesti (George Lucas 259ls)Sell Cluster 2 and buy Leestian Evil Juice, Azure Milk
  • Lave (Lave Station 286ls) – Lavian Brandy
  • Orrere (Sharon Lee Free Market 961ls) – Orrerian Vicious Brew
  • Uszaa (Guest Installation 4350ls) – Uszaian Tree Grub
  • Diso (Shifnalport 284ls) – Diso Ma Corn


CLUSTER 2 (77t – 113t)

  • Witchhaul (Hornby Terminal 219ls)Sell Cluster 1 and buy Witchhaul Kobe Beef
  • Fujin (Futen Starport 559ls) – Fujin Tea
  • 39 Tauri (Porta 990ls) – Tauri Chimes
  • Zeessze (Nicollier Hanger 489ls) – Zeessze Ant Grub Glue
  • George Pantazis (Zamka Platform 45ls) – Pantaa Prayer Sticks
  • Chi Eridani (Steve Masters) – Chi Eridani Marine Paste
  • Altair (Solo Orbiter 667ls) – Altairian Skin


FIngerBob's route

If you want to change a bit your route, it is as good as mine.

Destination Station LS LY Jumps Stock Sell Rares from
Leesti George Lucas 257 109 6 21 Coquim, Wuthielo Ku
Altair Solo Station 670 115 5 22
Zeessze Nicollier Hangar 489 26 2 18 Karsuki Ti, Jaroua
39 Tauri Porta 980 42 3 17
Witchhaul Hornby Terminal 220 37 2 9 Baltah’Sine
Coquim Hirayama Installation 600 109 6 20
Wuthielo Ku Tarter Dock 145 120 7 17 Leesti
Karsuki Ti West Market 28 92 5 18 Altair, Zeessze, 39 Tauri, Witchhaul
Jaroua McCool City 143 72 4 18
Baltah’Sine Baltha’Sine 356 91 5 18



With these long journeys you will have to scoop fuel from the stars. Some can be scooped using a Fuel Scoop and others are not eligible like the brown and red stars for example. The stars are of various classes and the scoopables are the stars A, B, F, O, G, K, and M.

Remember this trick:

  • Always
  • Be
  • Fueling
  • Or
  • Gonna
  • Kill
  • Myself

With many of these trips, you’ll be on the right track to get a Type 7 😉


Cycles Trading

From 107 units of freight, you are on the Elite path! The Cycles Trading is quite annoying when you go back and forth many times, but it is the most profitable. Prepare your big thrusters, book your large landing pads and we’re off!


There are two kinds of Cycles: Quick ABA & Developed ABA/ABCA


First, I invite you to visit EDDB and fill the requested information:

  • Your location
  • Your max jump range LADEN x3
  • The size of your ship (Light, Medium, Large)

From here, the website will provide you with the best stations to trade with, and which items to buy and sell between two systems in order to get the most profit out of it!



The trading in Elite: Dangerous is very developed and exciting feature if we understand it correctly. In-game, open your galaxy map and then click on the View tab.

I advise you to establish yourself near high-tech, industrial, extraction, refinery high-population systems; From 5-10M inhabitants. These are the best combos that will quickly produce their commodities, have a high import/export rate and trade excellent items with each other.

There are multiple economies, here are the best trades you could make:

  • Extraction and Industrial to Hightech
  • High Tech to Refinery
  • Refinery to Industrial
  • Industrial to Agriculture
  • Agriculture to Extraction
  • (Services, Tourism, Military and Terraforming aren’t interesting at the moment)


Two methods are available:

Then open the ED Trader bible (I am creating a new version). The best goods are quoted here with the economies where they can be bought, and the economies where they can be sold.

◘ The old way, ‘cuz you kno da wae

  1. Check the economy of your system and your surrounding systems in order to choose an interesting trading route. You can go ahead with an ABA or ABCA.
    1. Pay attention to the systems with several stations, check each of their economies.
      1. A trade between an Industrial/High-tech station ↔ Refinery/Extraction (Progenitor Cells ↔ Gold) will bring you a lot of credits!
  2. Check the list of items that might fit earn you a good amount of credits in system A, buy one of each and then finish your freight with the most resourced good.
    1. These goods are often: Gold, Beryllium, Progenitor Cells, Consumer Technology, Superconductor, Performance Enhancers, Indite, Bertrandite, Advanced Catalysor, Resonating Separators and Battle Weapons.
  3. Go to the system B and target the station where you will sell all your items. Keep in mind the item that brought you the best profit.
  4. Do the same when you go back to system A and keep in mind the best selling item again.
  5. Here is your trading route!

◘ With the 3.0 Beyond tools

In-game, open the galaxy map then fourth tab to display the detailed map. You will have many filters here, select “Commodities”. Here I’m trading Gold, but you can test each of the commodities if you want.

  • Export is in Green, Import is in Blue.
  • To obtain the Trading Data, you must either: land at a station in the system that has a market, scan the navigation beacon, or purchase Trading data via the galaxy map.
  • For the chosen commodity, check the prices of the Import and Export markets. Calculate the best profits. Here, Hual → Tellus allows you to make 2,040 Cr profit per unit one way selling Gold.
  • For the return, do the same with various commodities and shoot at the best profit.
  • Congratulations, you have your ABA trading road!

You can also evaluate the surrounding markets in relation to the station’smarket you’re currently docked in. Just click on “Compare market commodities”. Then open the station’s market and you will get all the prices of the commodities and the realizable profit compared to the selected market!

A good profit is between 800 credits per unit sold and 1,500 credits per unit sold. If you have more, bravo!




When you accept a smuggling mission, you will receive a target system and a haul to transport into another system. This is an illegal good, so be careful and don’t be scanned. Practical in Sidewinder and Adder/Hauler, but I already did some in Anaconda, it’s a matter of skill and experience.

It may be required to search for that merchandise in another system if it’s a smuggling/scavenger mission. Head to the system and start searching for “unidentified signal sources” in hyper-space. These signals appear randomly. Keep an eye on your list in the “Navigation” tab and target them as soon as they appear. Generally, if you scanned the Nav beacon, the signal will be blue.

If you do not see them just keep flying around the system, or scan the Nav beacon close to the sun. The latter will provide you with the location of the wanted item.


Before you complete your mission, do not hesitate to look for a few more “unidentified signal sources”. As I mentioned earlier, they appear more frequently if you have a mission to find them (also depend on the system’s sate). You can use it to fill your cargo hold with interesting goods like the “Ancient Artifacts”.

It is common to go out for 2 or 3 units of a resource and end up coming back with 15 or 20. Selling the remaining to the black market or keeping some of them for another mission may be particularly profitable.


Beware of the police’s scanners, mostly around stations! Don’t forget to use your Silence Running to go stealth; Heat sinks are recommended and you should not appear onto the police’s radar.

Locate the missions with an arrow and a container, those with skulls in the background: they are smuggling mission. If there is no arrow, it’s a scavenger illegal mission or a pirate one.

There are also long-range smuggling missions. Very effective in T6, Cobra or Asp, it will give you a good amount of credits! You have to jump very far, so do not underestimate these missions. Keep your weapons and fuel scoop close.



Tips and tricks

1) When you enter a station, green and red lights appear. The green should always be on the right and the red on the left in order to respect the navigation direction.

2) If your ship is massive like a T9 or Anaconda, notify your arrival at the Letterbox of the station in order to avoid collapsing with other players.

For example: “I’m docking my T9, be careful at the letterbox guys!”


3) When you trade in open and you face the star after a jump. First reflex: look at the players list! They may want to steal your hold of goods, so be sure to check their ships and outfits. A cargo-scanner means piracy.

4) If you are interdicted by a player, immediately find out which ship the enemy player owns.

  • If you have a small ship, try to counter the interdiction. Bear in mind that in case of failure, your jump recharge will be very long. If so, stop and obey the pirate.
  • If you have a small ship and the enemy has a slower ship than yours, submit to the interdiction, maximum speed and boost then flee! If he has a bigger ship than yours he will be able to masslock you and you will have a hard time leaving; Obey the pirate.
  • If you have a big ship, do not try anything, you’re done. Submit to the interdiction and obey the pirate. A real pirate will never kill you if you obey the orders, he will ask you for some cargo… if you have any.

5) To approach a station, get closer by the inside of its orbit, near the planet. When you do so, you will always arrive in front of the station’s entrance. By the way when you are at 6s from the target, do not push your thrusters above 75% if you don’t want to overshoot it. 75% at 6 seconds is the perfect balance to approach safely and quickly.

6) When you trade, every second counts! Count 30s to jump from one system to another and 4 minutes to get you docked. If you have two jumps between your systems A→B→A, for example, it would make a round trip of 12 minutes (4′ + 4′ + (30″ x6)) = 11′ // ((jump to 1st star + jump to 2nd star + jump to final system) + 4minutes to dock) x2

7) When you are going to land in the station, observe the reticle as depicted below. It indicates your location in order to dock you at sight.

8) Again, use the reticle to perfectly land at stations. The latter will tell you where and how to place your ship. Proceed to the white/black reticle balance (meaning in front of/behind you). The reticle must be at the bottom of the circle.


9) Several trading tools:


Any comment on these tips or directly the Trader guide? Please share them with us!

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