Baldur’s Gate 3 trade vs barter: what’s the difference?

One is definitely better than the other

Isobel is a secondary wizard character in Baldur's Gate 3
Screenshot by Dot Esports

There are dozens of vendors that you can meet during your time in Baldur’s Gate 3. However, when you first go to trade with them, you might be confused by the barter system that appears on the screen by default.

If you didn’t know, you actually have two options when it comes to trading. You can either choose to barter, which requires you to place all of your gold or items on one side and the trader’s items on another to reach a mutually beneficial sale, or you can straight-up trade your items for gold. Some players might be wondering if there is a benefit to bartering or if they should simply trade their items away in BG3. I will be breaking this system down and letting you know which is the best overall option most of the time.

Should you trade or barter in Baldur’s Gate 3?

If you go to the trading screen at a shop, then you will be able to switch your system between bartering and trading by switching a dial at the top of the screen. Swapping the dial to “Trade” will make it so you can double-click any item to either sell it from your inventory or purchase it from the trader’s inventory.

The barter screen at a trader's shop in Baldur's Gate 3
This is how the barter system looks in BG3. | Screenshot by Dot Esports

By default, the dial will be set to “Barter” every time you visit a trader. In my opinion, there is almost no reason to ever use the barter system in BG3. It is extremely time-consuming to drag all items to the center of the screen.

Related: Baldur’s Gate 3 – How to reach and use the Adamantine Forge

Not only that, but you almost always have to do math in your head to find out how much you or the trader needs to give to make the trade work. If you don’t put up enough gold or items worth enough gold, then the trader will reject the trade.

As such, I always find myself immediately swapping to the trade system. This is far easier, as all you need to do is double-click on something to sell or purchase it. Trading allows you to get in and out of a trader’s shop and doesn’t require any quick addition to solve how much gold you need to add to make a trade work.


Joey Carr
Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 6+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.

Latest Articles