In many ways, Pokémon Go is the Dark Souls of the Pokémon franchise, especially when it comes to finding useful items like Poké Balls. While the main series games will happily hold your hand – no more so than with Sun and Moon – Pokémon Go resolutely shrugs of this notion and pretty much tells you to go figure it out.
There are pros and cons to this, of course. The freedom of exploring and figuring everything out for yourself is liberating, and the sense of achievement when you find and achieve something exciting, like beating your first raid or building a team to beat Team Go Rocket’s leader, Giovanni, is pretty excellent.
However, the downside is that you can easily be left trying to figure out the very basics, like how to get Pokéballs, how the catch mechanic works, and how to increase your storage and bag space.
Here, we well go through ways to get all of the different types of Poké Ball, and how you can stock up on Poké Balls ahead of your next big event.
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How to get Poké Balls in Pokémon Go
There are many ways to get Poké Balls in Pokémon Go – some of which we recommend, and some we absolutely do not.
The simplest ways to get Poké Balls is to simply buy them from the in-game store, but the let’s be clear on this: do not pay for Poké Balls.
Technically speaking, if you run out of Poké Balls, you can pay real money for a pack of 20 Poké Balls for 100 PokéCoins (around £0.79, or the equivalent tier in your local currency). However, given that you can get this for free with minimal effort, we strongly recommend that you never spend coins on Poké Balls.
So, the question then becomes how do you get free Poké Balls in Pokémon Go?
Simply spin a Pokéstop or Gym photodisk and see what falls out.
More often than note, you’ll get a couple of Poké Balls and a Great Ball with each spin, along with the rare Ultra Ball if you’re lucky, but this will depend on which level you’re at, and if you have unlocked either of these two balls.
The second free way to get Poké Balls that we recommend is opening Gifts.
Once per day, you can open a gift from an in-game friend to get a selection of free items and raise your friendship level. The main bonus here is striving towards Best Friend status, which grants a huge 100,000 XP. Maximising this is essential in your climb to the level cap of Level 50.
However, the second bonus here is that opening gifts bestows you more than just Poké Balls. What comes out of a gift is randomised, and can be anything from a small amount of Stardust to a couple of Poké Balls. Generally speaking, you can open 20 Gifts per day, although this is frequently raised to 30 during special events. This is slightly time consuming, but if you live in a rural area away from a high density of PokéStops, it’s an easy way to continue playing the game for free!
Next, we have your Daily Free Box. Visit the store once per day to see what you can pick up for free – sometimes it’s Poké Balls, sometimes it’s just a couple of Potions. As with everything in an RNG-based game, it’s all down to luck.
You can also gather Poké Balls by completing field research tasks. There are two types of field research tasks: event-exclusive tasks which are only available during in-game events and regular field research tasks, which rotate on a monthly basis. Both types can offer Poké Balls as rewards, so make sure you're spinning PokéStops to collect these tasks!
Special Research is another great way to get Poké Balls: once every few weeks, there will be a story event that unlocks, generally focussing on the season that Pokémon Go is going through. There will usually be a couple of simple tasks that unlock a couple of Poké Balls – this is usually a task where you have to catch 5 or 10 Pokémon to unlock some free balls, but they’re worth keeping an eye out for. In true video game spirit, take everything that’s not nailed down and put it in your bag!
Last, but not least, there is a new way of getting Poké Balls for free in Pokémon Go that players should be aware of. The new Daily Adventure Incense, introduced in August 2022, grants 30 Poké Balls per day to those who are running low on this precious resource. If you’re out of Poké Balls and have the option to crack your free Daily Adventure Incense, make sure you do so, even if you don’t plan on catching anything.
It should also be noted that the occasional limited-time Box in the in-game store will also have Poké Balls, Great Balls and Ultra Balls, and the tie in with Amazon Prime means that Prime subscribers will sometimes get freebies in Pokémon Go, but these should be viewed exclusively as perks, and not reasons to buy either product. Remember, you should never pay for something the game hands out for free!
Currently live is the Evolving Stars event, which includes the release of quest steps 5 to 8 of A Cosmic Companion - the Season of Light special research quest. Elsewhere, be sure to use Daily Adventure Incense for the chance of encountering Galarian Articuno, Galarian Zapdos and Galarian Moltres. There's also a new special research quest - A Mysterious Incense. Finally - don't forget about the new Prime Gaming rewards every fortnight.
How to get Great Balls in Pokémon Go
There are many ways to increase your chances of success in Pokémon Go. The easiest, without a doubt, is to switch the Poké Ball you’re using from a Poké Ball to, well, almost anything else.
Great Balls unlock as soon as you reach Level 12, which is phenomenally easy to do.
The maths surrounding the percentage chance of catching a Pokémon is fairly complicated, but suffice to say that using a Great Ball increases your chance of catching a Pokémon by 50%.
If maths isn’t your thing, this means that the chances of getting a green circle when throwing a ball at a Pokémon go up quite a lot when using a Great Ball. The greener the circle, the easier the catch!
As with Pokéballs, Great Balls drop when you spin PokéStops and open Gifts, so make sure you do these as part of your daily trip into the world of Pokémon Go!
One thing to note is that even if you haven’t hit the Level 12 requirement for unlocking Great Balls, you can still pick them up through Special Research, whether that’s through the usual slow-burn story missions or a Community Day special research – generally catch three of the day’s highlighted Pokémon. This is pretty unlikely to happen unless you start playing on a Community Day, but it’s good to know!
How to get Ultra Balls in Pokémon Go
Trainers who reach Level 20 will unlock the final tier of Poké Ball in the main part of the game – the sleek, black and yellow fan favourite, the Ultra Ball.
This ‘ultra-high performance’ Poké Ball doubles your percentage chance of catching a Pokémon, so it’s definitely worth stocking up on them for when you run into a shiny, or something ultra-rare using your Daily Adventure Incense like a Galarian legendary bird.
These drop in the same way as Poké Balls and Great Balls, but at much lower rates. You can easily go a whole day walking around a city like London, spinning PokéStops and easily pick up just 5–10 of these, making them as rare as they are useful.
However, the same rule applies in that if you can get them through special research, you can get them before Level 20, so make sure you pick them up where you can!
How to get Premier Balls in Pokémon Go
Premier Balls are a bit of a strange thing in Pokémon Go, in that they work completely differently to the main series games.
In the average Pokémon game, a Premier Ball is gifted to you whenever you buy 10 Poké Balls. (PSA: if you were unaware of this, in most mainline Pokémon games since Ruby and Sapphire, buying 10 or more Poké Balls unlocks a free Premier Ball, so make sure you always buy in bundles of exactly 10!).
A Premier Ball, generally speaking, has the same effectiveness as a Poké Ball. This is not the case in Pokémon Go, which gives Premier Balls a variable catch rate.
Again, we’re going to skip over the maths, but here’s a few things to note:
- You only get Premier Balls after a raid or when trying to catch a Shadow Pokémon.
- The number of post-raid Premier Balls you get varies based on several factors, from the colour of gym before the raid (i.e. if it matches your team colour) to how quickly you took down the raid boss, with better performance meaning more balls.
- After beating a raid boss, if the resulting Pokémon is shiny, your Premier Ball has a 100% catch rate if it connects; this means always use a Pinap Berry on a shiny Pokémon encountered after a raid.
- The same is true for Legendary Pokémon after beating Giovanni, the head of Team Go Rocket. The first ball that connects will always catch the Pokémon, so always use a Pinap Berry when catching a Shadow Legendary Pokémon.
- In what is loosely called the ‘pity system’, the percentage chance to catch a Pokémon increases with the number of Premier Balls you have thrown in a single encounter. As a rule of thumb, never start with a Golden Razz Berry unless you have very few Premier Balls – always start with a Pinap Berry, just in case you luck out, and swap to Razz/Golden Razz Berry when you have 5–10 balls left.
How to get Beast Balls in Pokémon Go
The introduction of Ultra Beasts in Summer 2022 upset many fans, with the first Ultra Beast in the game, Nihilego, being caught in a Premier Ball, which completely flies in the face of main-series canon.
Despite this, or perhaps because of this, Niantic rolled out Beast Balls — the Poké Ball designed for catching Ultra Beasts in the main games — at in-person events in summer 2022.
Which ball you use to catch a Pokémon doesn’t make any difference after it is caught – the only way you can tell is as a cosmetic at the bottom of a Pokémon’s page. As far as anyone can tell, Beast Balls and Premier Balls work exactly the same way, the only difference is cosmetic.
Are there Master Balls in Pokémon Go?
Fans of the main series games will know of the mythical Master Ball. You get just one per game, but it has a 100% catch rate, making it incredibly useful, and worth its weight in Golduck.
Technically speaking, there is no way to get Master Balls in Pokémon Go just yet. However, the game data shows that the item currently exists within the game’s code, which means that not only is it in the works, but it will be released at some point in the future.
While we don’t know the where, when or how of this just yet, we promise to keep you posted, and we’ll let you know as soon as we do!