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The smart way to level up fast in Pokémon Go

Knowing when to power-evolve is just as important as knowing which Pokémon to power-evolve.


Dennis Scimeca

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 24, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 4:56 am CDT

You’ll level up quickly in Pokémon Go if you go about it the right way, by using one simple and powerful web-based tool.

Leveling up your trainer in Pokémon Go isn’t only a matter of bragging rights. You can’t collect Great Balls, which have better capture rates than the regular Poké Balls you begin the game with, or Ultra Balls, which are even better than Great Balls, until you level up your trainer. And the higher your trainer level, the more you will discover Pokémon that are challenging to capture.

The best method to level up quickly is to capture as many low-level Pokémon as you can, use a Lucky Egg for its experience bonus, and then evolve as many of those low-level Pokémon as possible while the Lucky Egg is in effect.

That means that—unless someone figures out a better way to level up—it will always be worth capturing Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles, three very common Pokémon, no matter how far you progress into the game.

Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles are a trainer’s best friends 

Pokemon Go/Dennis Scimeca

Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles each require 12 pieces of candy to evolve into Pidgeottos, Metapods, and Kakuna, respectively. They are the only three Pokémon that carry such a low cost in candy for their evolution and have such a high return on investment in terms of the experience points you earn for the amount of candy you spend on the evolutions.

Pokemon Go/Dennis Scimeca

You earn 500 XP for evolving a Pidgey to a Pidgeotto. That costs you 12 Pidgey candies. 

Pokemon Go/Dennis Scimeca

You also earn 500 XP for evolving a Pidgeotto to a Pidgeot. That costs you 50 Pidgey candies. In other words, you spend more than four times the resources in candy on this evolution, and get precisely the same amount of XP for evolving a Pidgey to a Pidgeotto.

In fact, 500 XP is the most experience you get for evolving any Pokémon in Pokémon Go. It doesn’t make sense, especially when you consider Pokémon like the Magikarp require 400 candies to evolve into a Gyarados, but those are the rules.

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It’s therefore always worth capturing Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles if you care about leveling up your trainer. That’s the case even as those three  Pokémon become progressively more difficult to capture as your trainer level rises and you discover higher-CP versions of these Pokémon.

Having a ton of Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles is only the first step to leveling up quick. Then you need to be smart about how you evolve them.

When to grind your XP 

Lucky Eggs double the amount of experience you earn, and the effect lasts 30 minutes from when you use the Lucky Egg. This means you’re earning 1000 XP for every Pidgey, Caterpie, and Weedle you evolve. You want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of each Lucky Egg because there are two ways to get them, and only one of those ways is free.

Pokemon Go/Dennis Scimeca

You sometimes earn a Lucky Egg when you level up, and at lower levels, one Lucky Egg, combined with a healthy run of Pokémon evolutions, may earn you enough XP to level your trainer again—and thus, potentially earn another Lucky Egg.

The higher your level, however, the more XP you need to earn to reach the next level, and the amount of XP required to level up later in the game is substantial. It takes 150,000 XP to advance from level 24 to level 25, for instance. 

A very efficient player might earn 66,000 XP during a power-evolution run, so you would need three Lucky Eggs to earn the XP you need to level from 24 to 25 if you did all the evolutions back to back.

Now consider how much money you’ll be spending when you’re leveling from 29 to 30, if you want to level up the fast way. You’ll want to be efficient with your Lucky Eggs. And there’s a tool that will help you do precisely that.

PidgeyCalc/Dennis Scimeca

PidgeyCalc will calculate how long it will take you to finish a batch of evolutions and, under the assumption that you are using a Lucky Egg, how much experience you will earn from those evolutions.

The default fields are for Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles. You plug in how many of each type of Pokémon you have, how much candy you have for each type (to make sure you have enough for the number of evolutions you want to do), and click the “Calculate!” button. PidgeyCalc will then tell you how many Pokémon you’ll be able to evolve, how long it will take you to evolve them all, and how much XP you’ll earn.

PidgeyCalc/Dennis Scimeca

If you don’t have enough evolutions to cover the entire 30 minutes that the Lucky Egg will last, PidgeyCalc will tell you how many more evolutions you need to maximize the benefits of the Lucky Egg. Then, you can add other kinds of Pokémon to your list of evolutions, and make up the balance.

Just click on the field that has “Abra” in it when you first load up the PidgeyCalc page, choose the Pokémon you want to add to the evolution list, and then click the “+” button. That type of Pokémon will be added to the list.

PidgeyCalc/Dennis Scimeca

You can add as many different types of Pokémon to the list as you like. This makes PidgeyCalc a fantastic tool for serious Pokémon Go players because it means you don’t have to depend strictly on Pidgeys, Caterpie, and Weedles to plan your path towards getting the XP you need.

Keep an eye on this story for updates as we investigate other ways to speed up the XP grind in Pokémon Go. And don’t forget to refer back to our Gym battling guide for pointers on how to use all the high-CP Pokémon you’ll start to find in the wild as your Trainer level increases!

SEE ALSO: Pokémon GO: Beginner’s Guide, Tips & Tricks: 

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*First Published: Aug 24, 2016, 8:00 am CDT