How and Why to Level Up Your Steam Account
Is your Steam level important? Is it worth trying to raise it up? If so what is the best way to do it?
What Does Your Steam Level Do?
Your Steam level is just that little number that shows up on your profile that shows how much you do on Steam right? Yes and no, while to some users a higher Steam level won't do anything for them, it can be very important to others.
The first benefits are the ones that Steam gives you directly for leveling up. Your friend list increases by 5 every time you level up. Every 10 levels you unlock an additional showcase for your profile and a +20% increase in your drop rate for booster packs.
You also have the more "social" benefits. People are more likely to trust a higher level account. The extra showcases are great for traders, community figures, or anyone that has stuff to show off. Some people use their Steam level as a way to verify their account(they keep their profile at a certain level and others will know any Steam account at a different level is a scammer/impersonator). And of course the simplest reason of all is that you just want to show off.
How Do You Level Up Your Steam Account?
You need to get XP by crafting badges. Most badges give 100 XP, and it takes 100 XP to get to the next level. The amount needed to level up increases every 10 levels, meaning after Steam Level 10 you'll need 200XP per level, after level 20 you'll need 300XP per level, etc. Most badges you need to collect all the trading cards for a particular game but before we get into those we will cover some easier ones.
The two easiest are simply being on Steam(Years of Service Badge - 50xp per year) and owning games(read more here). There is a community leader badge for doing certain tasks on Steam like posting a screenshot or making a trade. If you complete it(here is a guide if you need it) you will get 500 xp. And then you have all the badges relating to Summer/Winter sales, special events like the Summer Adventure, and random things like turning items into gems or voting for the Steam Awards.
If you want to get to a high level though you will need to craft a lot of game badges. Any game you own(not including F2P games) will only ever drop half of the cards for the set. You may think it best to sell/trade half of your cards for other ones you need but there are easier ways. There are a number of different tools that you can use depending on how you want to go about getting your cards.
Buy/Trade Full Card Sets From Websites(Recommended)
I think that the best and easiest way to level up your Steam account is to use a website like Steam LVL Up. You can either deposit items for gems or buy them directly. You can buy 10,000 gems for €10 and card sets cost around 200 gems per set. So for €10 you can get 500 sets of cards aka 5,000 xp. After you buy the card sets you just withdraw them and craft the badges. They even have a nice level up calculator so you can see how much you need to get to a certain level and what rewards you will get.
Buy Cards Using Steam Tools
Steam Tools allows you to easily buy cards and complete cards sets on the Steam marketplace. You can sort by set price and then click the "M" link to be taken to the Steam market for those cards. Buy the cards using your Steam wallet funds and then craft the badge. If you login you can sort out already crafted badges or see which sets you own some cards for. It's a super useful tool with a bunch of features but it can be a bit slow if you need to buy hundreds of sets of cards.
Finish Sets With Steam Card Exchange
Using the Steam market to sell cards can suck when you sell a bunch of cards for $0.04 each but only get $0.03 due to fees. If you want to sell your cards only to buy other cards I would highly recommend Steam Card Exchange. It is a lot quicker than trying to find people to trade with and you save a lot of money compared to the Steam market. If you have a bunch of half finished sets your can trade your cards so rather than 10 incomplete sets you have 5 complete sets and all the xp that comes with it.
Manually Buy Cards on the Steam Market (NOT Recommended)
There is pretty much no reason to manually look through a bunch of cards on the Steam market when there are all of these tools that can do it better. It takes longer and will probably end up costing you more. Selling is also a pain due to the fees and mobile confirmations.
Things to Keep an Eye Out For
If you can wait, you should craft your badges during a Summer/Winter sale to make things easy. You get bonus Steam event cards that can be crafted into badges an unlimited number of times.
Sell/trade the extra items like backgrounds and emotes for more cards. If no one is buying the ones you have you can craft them down into gems and buy a booster pack.
Foil cards cost more money but the badges give the same amount of xp as normal ones. Sell/trade the foils for normal cards to get more badges.