Sigbog is an avid Level 40 "Pokémon GO" player and raider with lots of knowledge and experience to draw from.
Novice or pro, getting to a higher level is what everyone wants. Even if you don't care about making stronger Pokémon for fighting it still just feels good to make progress. But the Pokémon Go experience curve is really harsh! It takes 20 MILLION experience points to get to the maximum level 40! When you stop to think that catching a Pokémon nets you 100 experience, it can seem near impossible to reach level 40. However, there are plenty of strategies and methods to power level yourself up quickly. Whether you're in the home stretch to level 40 right now and are just looking to finish it off, or you started the game later than other people and want to catch up, there's something here for you.
In this guide I'll cover the 3 best ways to level up quickly in Pokémon GO and how you should approach each of them. By the end, you'll know how to get to max level in Pokémon GO in less than 1 year.
If you just want to get to the numbers, jump to the conclusion at the end for the TLDR!
The "Pokémon GO" Experience Curve
Raids are a great way to earn experience, but they aren't the BEST way. Overall I'd say raiding is the single most important thing to do in terms of your overall progression as the rewards in raids outside of experience are simply too amazing to pass up. Raids don't take too long, and you get to do a free raid every day. For reference:
- Legendary & EX Raids: 10,000 XP
- 4 Star: 5,000 XP
- 3 Star: 4,000 XP
- 2 Star: 3,500 XP
- 1 Star: 3,000 XP
Raids seem to take about 10-15 minutes all in, so snagging yourself 10,000 XP in 10 minutes, along with the rest of the amazing rewards, awesome Pokémon, and just having fun, raids are simply a must-do. They aren't the most amazing way to level up, but they don't take a ton of effort either. You can also pop a Lucky Egg and boost that number up to 20,000 XP. If you time it right, you can also lock in your first Pokémon and Pokéstop of the day and streak bonuses along with it! As a side note, those bonuses are:
- First Pokémon/Pokéstop of the day: 500 XP
- 7th day of consecutive Pokémon/Pokéstop: 2,000 XP
The standard power leveling move, running your evolutions with a lucky egg can net you roughly 60,000 XP in 30 minutes. Up until the friendship system, this was the best way to level up by far. It is quite annoying, but it's still the 2nd best way to gain experience.
Of course you're limited in that you need enough candy and Pokémon to actually spend 30 straight minutes evolving. Even for the fairly engaged, this may mean several days of grinding to stockpile enough.
Low evolution cost Pokémon are the bread and butter here. Things that only take 12 candy to evolve (like Pidgey) or 25 candy (like Nidoran) are worth stockpiling purely for this reason.
Remember, you gain 1 candy for evolving a Pokémon, and 1 candy for transferring it. That may not seem like it, but when many Pokémon only require 12 candy to evolve, this starts to be meaningful.
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ALSO: Be sure to save new Pokédex entries for doing evolutions! A new entry gives you 500 XP, doubled to 1000 XP if you're running a Lucky Egg!
12 Candy "Pokemon GO" Evolutions
Silcoon or Cascoon
Going Hardcore With Evolutions
If you really want to go nuts with power leveling yourself, you can take doing your evolutions to a whole new level.
- Buy a Pokémon GO Plus!
- Find a location with multiple Pokéstops that are very close to each other where you can walk around.
- On a new day, before you've spun any stops or caught any Pokémon (so you get your daily bonuses), set up lures on each of those stops.
- Open an incense (Remember that incense spawns more Pokémon if you're moving!)
- Set up your incubators (as many as you want to spend on) as you get 1,000 XP for hatching a 10km egg, 500 for a 5km egg, and 200 for a 2km egg.
- Begin a Lucky Egg
- Set up your Pokémon GO Plus
- Do your evolutions (including new Pokédex entries) while walking around in a circle, catching Pokémon and spinning stops with your plus.
This is a bit intense, but it's also incredibly effective and efficient. You should be able to take your typical 60,000 XP evolution session and push it to 80,000 XP or even 100,000 XP.
The friend system in Pokémon Go is hands down the best way to earn experience and is unquestionably the highest experience gain per time there is. There is a catch, however, in that you are limited in your progress. You can only make progress on your friendship levels ONCE per day. For a quick breakdown:
- Gift sending has no daily limit
- Getting gifts from Pokéstops is limited to 100 per day, but not limited per Pokéstop so you can get all 100 from a single Pokéstop
- You can only hold up to 10 gifts at a time
- Opening gifts is limited to 20 per day
- Friendship progress is limited to once per day
While it seems fairly unreasonable to manage 100 friends, let's run some numbers at 20 friends. Getting 20 friends seems fairly reasonable, if nothing else you can find public groups in Discord, Reddit, Facebook, etc. that will share friend codes so you can find people to grind with.
Friend Status Experience Gains
"Pokemon GO" Friends Perks
20 Daily Active Friends
- 4,000 XP per day: 20 gifts sent per day, 200 XP per gift
5 total minutes assuming 15 seconds per gift
- 36,200 XP per day: 20 daily friend progress every day over 90 days
- With 20 active friends, you can get up to ~40,000 XP per day in only 5 minutes of effort!
Of course these experience gains can up to double if you're running lucky eggs, but it's hardly reasonable to expect to time it perfectly with all your friends as you can't pop a lucky egg prior to gaining the experience if your friend makes the last bit of friend progress for a level up moment.
However, Ultra and Best Friend level ups are the most efficient times to use Lucky Eggs, even more than doing a full set of evolutions, so wherever you can you should do it. Plus, it's way less annoying than tapping evolve for 30 minutes straight.
If leveling up a quickly as possible is your goal, start adding friends! But in total the best ways to level up summarize to:
- Raids: 10,000 XP in 15 minutes
Limited to once per day if you're doing a Legendary raid.
- Evolutions: 60,000 XP in 30 minutes
Limited by your grind, maybe once a week, more often if you catch a lot of Pokemon.
- Friends: 40,000 XP in 5 minutes
Once per day, requires 20 friends. You get roughly 2,000 XP per day per friend. Requires you to spin a lot of stops but overall this just can't be beat.
Depending on your engagement level, it's not unreasonable to push 300,000 XP to 500,000 XP per week! This puts you at level 40 in under 1 year! And it gets a lot faster if you push for more friends.