How to Unlock and Obtain New Cosmetics in Team Fortress 2 Game

Team Fortress 2 (TF2) offers players a plethora of cosmetic items to customize the look of their in-game avatar. With over 1800 cosmetics currently available, standing out from the crowd can be an exciting prospect for new and experienced players alike. This guide will provide an overview of the various methods to unlock and obtain new cosmetics in TF2.

Getting Started

To equip any cosmetics in TF2, you first need to have a Premium account. This requires making any purchase from the in-game Mann Co. Store, which upgrades your account from Free to Play status. Once premium, you gain access to all item drop and trading systems necessary to acquire most cosmetics.

Random Drops

The simplest way to obtain cosmetics is through the random drop system. By playing on official servers, you will receive timed drops with a very small chance to unlock cosmetic items. This allows premium players to slowly build up their cosmetic collection over time at no extra cost. However, due to the large cosmetic item pool, acquiring specific items this way involves substantial luck.


For players interested in completing their cosmetic collections faster, TF2 offers a crafting system to create specific cosmetic items from other unwanted items. You can browse blueprints for the 428 craftable cosmetics under the crafting menu. Crafting provides more control over acquiring desired items, but requires some investment of resources. Key ingredients for crafting include:

  • Metal – Obtained by smelting down duplicate weapons/tools into Scrap Metal
  • Class Tokens – Created from combining Scrap Metal and Class-specific weapons
  • Dueling Mini-Games – Purchasable from the Store to help complete some recipes

The output items are always tradable, but cannot be re-traded if the ingredients used were untradable. Take care not to craft away rare items needlessly.


Trading for cosmetics with other players is the main route to amass large collections. Sites like provide price guides to help ensure fair trades for both parties. While newer players may be resource-poor for trading, building up a bank of crafting metal will provide means to buy many cosmetics. Alternatively, undesired cosmetic drops can be traded directly for items you want without metal as a middleman.


For those willing to try their luck, Mann Co. Supply Crates contain cosmetic items of various rarities if opened with purchased keys. While the odds of receiving worthwhile items are generally low, persistent unboxers may eventually acquire valuable high-tier cosmetics like Unusuals. Buy keys at your own discretion, as their real-money cost can quickly add up.

Achievement Rewards

Completing certain achievements in TF2 will grant cosmetic items the first time as a reward. These serve both to track player milestones and provide some starter customization options. Achievement cosmetics are untradable, but given freely for simply playing the game.

Promotions and Events

TF2 regularly runs limited-time events and cross-promotions with other games/services that grant exclusive cosmetics. For example, pre-ordering upcoming Steam games may include TF2 items as a bonus. While availability is often restricted, these events encourage player engagement and provide unique collectible cosmetics.

Third-Party Marketplaces

Outside the Steam ecosystem, players can buy and sell TF2 items for real money through third-party marketplaces like DMarket. While use of these services technically violates Steam ToS, they provide another option to obtain cosmetics you immediately want without relying on random chance. As always, exercise caution when involving real money trades.

Idling for Drops

A controversial tactic some players use is idling multiple game instances to farm item drops. While often considered exploitative, idling enables acquiring random cosmetic drops at scale. However, it provides no guarantees for valuable items and consumes substantial system resources. Most official servers have anti-idle measures as well.

Trading Up with and other automated trading sites are excellent resources for new players to trade up their duplicate weapons/cosmetics into metal to craft with. Simply deposit your excess items and browse the online shop catalog to directly exchange them for weapons/hats you desire. This helps build a cosmetic collection without needing in-game trading experience.

In Summary

There is no one right way to collect cosmetics in TF2 – explore different options and use what best suits your style and budget. Having premium status is the only firm requirement to get started. Focus on accumulating metal and other resources at first to more easily trade up into your dream cosmetic loadouts down the road. Good luck, and happy hat hunting!