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How to get Stardust in Pokémon Go, and grind Stardust to power up your Pokémon

The best ways to gather Stardust, from Eggs to Gyms, and what Star Pieces do.

Stardust is probably the most important resource in Pokémon Go. Forget Candy and PokéCoins – if you don't have Stardust, you're not powering up your Pokémon. And if you're not powering up your Pokémon, you're not taking down the hardest raids and you're not winning in Go Battle League.

While it's pretty easy to get Stardust in Pokémon Go, you can easily burn through your reserves if you don't know what you're doing.

It's easy to forget about Stardust, because it's not as exciting as Candy XL and PokéCoins – resources you spend in much lower increments. But, when you can easy drop 100,000 Stardust unlocking a second move for your Master League Dialga, or half a million to power it up to Level 50, you quickly realise why you need to stay on top of the grind.

Remember – that's just one Pokémon for one mode of PVP. If you want to be competitive across all aspects of the game, you're going to want to pick up all the Stardust you can.

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Watch as battle Guzzlord - one of the Ultra Beasts in Pokémon GoWatch on YouTube

How do you use Stardust in Pokémon Go?

In case it wasn't obvious at this point, Stardust is a vital resource in the world of PVP, but there are other ways to use Stardust in Pokémon Go.

The primary way you'll use Stardust is powering up Pokémon. You do this by selecting the Pokémon you have in mind and clicking the 'Power up' button. From here, you can select your desired CP by hitting the plus and minus buttons, which will show you how much Stardust and Candy you need to spend to get the desired result.

It's worth noting at this point that Lucky Pokemon require half the Stardust investment of a regular Pokémon to level up. This has massive implications in the Master League, where it could be worth up to 700,000 Stardust across a team of three Pokémon!

The second way you're likely to use your stardust is unlocking second Charge moves for your Great League, Ultra League and Master League Pokémon.

You do this by selecting the Pokémon you want and clicking 'New attack'. This generally costs a lot of both Stardust and Candy, so you should only do this on the very best Pokémon you want to use on a regular basis.

How much this costs depends on the walking distance of the Pokémon:

  • 1km Pokémon cost 10,000 Stardust and 25 Candy
  • 3km Pokémon cost 50,000 Stardust and 50 Candy
  • 5km Pokémon cost 75,000 Stardust and 75 Candy
  • 20km Pokémon cost 100,000 Stardust and 100 Candy
Powering up Pokémon can take a lot of Stardust Pokémon Go second charged move
Powering up a Pokémon and unlocking a second charged move can be very expensive!
Pokémon Go Shadow Mewtwo screen
Never purify a strong Pokémon in Pokémon Go – it's not worth it!

Purification is the next way you can use your Stardust. This is when you take a Shadow Pokémon and remove its evil aura. This can cost as little as 1000 Stardust for a Shadow Rattata, and as much as 20,000 for a Shadow Mewtwo. As with the above, this is all managed from the Pokémon's individual page.

Right now, it's not worth purifiying anything, as the +20% damage that comes with being a Shadow Pokémon is more powerful than anything except being a Mega Pokémon.

While there is the ability in the game code to make Purified Pokémon do more damage to Shadow Pokémon, this is effectively 'turned off' right now. Until this changes, you should never purify your best Shadow Pokémon.

Lastly, you use Stardust by trading Pokémon in Pokémon Go. Trading is a mechanic that came with the Friendship update.

How much Stardust it costs to trade varies depending on whether you're making a Special Trade (for a Pokémon either player doesn't have registered to their Pokédex, a shiny or a Legendary Pokémon), and the level of friendship you have earned.

If you're Best Friends trading something you both have, say a Pikachu, it'll cost a measly 100 Stardust. But if you're only Good Friends trading for that Shiny Pikachu that you still need, it'll cost 1,000,000 Stardust. Needless to say, this is not a good use of Stardust!

The best ways to get Stardust in Pokémon Go

Ok, so now we've ascertained two things: Stardust is really important and it is trivially easy to burn through it. But, this must mean that it's pretty easy to get, right?

Well, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that you get Stardust for doing just about anything in the game. The bad news is that you tend to get it in very small amounts.

Here, we'll run through the ways you can get Stardust in Pokémon Go.

Catching Pokémon

Pokémon Go cloudy weather info screen
The weather affects many things in Pokémon Go, from what spawns to how strong they are.

Far and away, the easiest way to get Stardust is to catch Pokémon. But, as we know, not all Pokémon are created equal, and if you're after grinding Stardust, there are some Pokémon you should always catch.

First, the base Stardust rate is 100 Stardust per catch. So, if you catch every Pokémon you see, you'll quickly start racking up the dust. However, as with all aspects of life (especially those of you living in the UK), you need to pay attention to the Weather.

Weather Boosted Pokémon drop an additional 25 Stardust per catch, which means a Charmander on a Sunny day is now worth 125 Stardust, instead of your base 100.

On top of this, the evolution stage makes a difference – first stage Pokemon drop 300 Stardust (+75 Weather Boost) and second stage Pokémon drop 500 (+125 Weather Boost). So, did you just spot a Charizard with a swirling white circle under it? That Weather Boosted Charizard is worth an impressive 625 Stardust, so make sure you catch it.

But wait, there's Morelull. As previously mentioned, not all Pokémon are equal in the eyes of Arceus, and some Basic Pokémon drop more Stardust than others. Here's the ones you need to watch out for:

Audino drops a large amount of Stardust.
  • Paras – 500 Stardust
  • Parasect – 700 Stardust
  • Meowth – 500 Stardust
  • Alolan Meowth – 750 Stardust
  • Persian – 700 Stardust
  • Alolan Persian – 950 Stardust
  • Shellder – 1000 Stardust
  • Cloyster – 1200 Stardust
  • Staryu – 750 Stardust
  • Starmie – 950 Stardust
  • Delibird – 500 Stardust
  • Shroomish – 500 Stardust
  • Breloom – 700 Stardust
  • Sableye – 750 Stardust
  • Chimecho – 1000 Stardust
  • Combee – 750 Stardust
  • Vespiquen – 950 Stardust
  • Audino – 2100 Stardust
  • Trubbish – 750 Stardust
  • Garbodor – 950 Stardust
  • Foongus – 500 Stardust
  • Amoonguss – 700 Stardust

Last, but not least, it's important to make sure you always catch at least one Pokémon per day because the first catch of the day is worth 1800 extra Stardust. If you can keep up your streak seven days in a row, you can get a whopping 9000 Stardust bonus, which is huge.

Hatching Pokémon

Just like catching Pokémon, hatching Pokémon gives you Stardust.

The amount of Stardust you get varies by the egg, with 2km eggs being the worst and 12km eggs being the best. You'll get:

  • 400-800 Stardust for hatching a 2km egg
  • 600-1,600 Stardust for hatching a 5km egg
  • 800-1,600 Stardust for hatching a 7km egg
  • 1600-3200 Stardust for hatching a 10km egg
  • 3200-6400 Stardust for hatching a 12km egg

This means that the most efficient way of doing this is to get 12 12km eggs and hatch them, all at the same time – ideally while using the Star Piece item, which gives all Stardust gains a 1.5x multiplier (more on that below). This means, if done right, you can get an instant bump of 57,600–115,200 Stardust. That's enough to unlock a second Charge move on even the rarest of Pokémon.

Opening Gifts

Opening gifts in Pokémon Go can net you up 300 Stardust
A single Gift in Pokémon Go can net you up to 300 Stardust.

Are you a rural trainer? Does going out and catching 100 Pokémon on a single lunch break seem like a big ask? If the answer to these questions is 'I miss the big city', then the answer is opening gifts.

These bundles of joy don't just contain a bunch of random items – ok, well they do, but they also contain bundles of Stardust.

While some gifts will drop no Stardust whatsoever, some will drop 300 Stardust (in bundles of 100). If you open your daily cap of 30 Gifts, this means that you can theoretically get up to 9000 Stardust per day by opening Gifts. However, thanks to the random nature of gifts, this is nowhere near as reliable as going out and catching 90 Pokémon. Such is the joy of RNG games – you win some, you lose some.

However, since opening Gifts costs nothing but the time investment of sitting through the opening animation, it's well worth opening your daly quota of gifts.

Pro tip: if you find sitting through the Gift-opening animation painfully slow, you can skip it by mashing the x button below 'Open Gift' when going through the motion. You still get the items (as seen in your Journal), but you don't have to sit through the whole animation!

PVP rewards

Participating in PVP is easily one of the best ways of getting Stardust in Pokémon Go, second only to catching every Pokémon you see.

The amount you get varies depending on how often you win, with the amount earned being easily visible at the top of the Battle screen, with yout total wins, battles and longest streak. But winning PVP battles doesn't just give instant gratification in the form of quick Stardust gains, you also get a little reward at the end of the season based on how many battles you do.

According to Reddit user Easy_Money_, this varies betwee 2000 at Rank 2 and 200,000 at rank 24 (Legend). This obviously multiplies by 1.5 with a Star Piece, so make sure you use a Star Piece before clicking into the Battle screen at the beginning of a Season!

Go Battle League, admittedly, isn't for everyone. However, if you want a more casual battle than climbing the ladder, participating in a friendly PVP match with a nearby trainer on your Friend list can drop you additional stardust, as will battling with your Team Leader in the Training section of the Battle page:

  • 300–600 Stardust for a Great League Team Leader.
  • 400–800 Stardustfor a Ultra League Team Leader.
  • 500–1000 Stardustfor a Master League Team Leader, or a local friendly Trainer battle.

The Season of Timeless Travels has arrived in Pokémon Go! The Adamant Time event is currently running, bringing the the Timeless Travels research quest with it. During it, take the time to try out Routes, Gift Exchange and Party Play while you're hunting down rare Pokémon, fighting in the Go Battle League or competing in PokéStop Showcases.

Other ways to get Stardust in Pokémon Go

Here are some other ways to earn Stardust in Pokémon Go:

Raid rewards

Raiding is another great way to get Stardust in Pokémon Go. Not only do you get a chance to catch the Pokémon at the end – along with any Stardust that doing so gives, but completing a raid will grant you 1000 Stardust, even if the Pokémon runs away at the end!

Rocket rewards

Pokémon Go Startdust battle reward
PVP battles, vs humans or the AI, can also help you get Stardust.

In a similar vein to the friendly PVP battle, taking down Team Go Rocket grants 500 or 1000 Stardust, depending on whether you beat a Grunt or a Team Go Rocket Leader.

If you're lucky enough to have a Super Rocket Radar and the chance to face Giovanni, you should know that beating him rewards an impressive 5000 Stardust.

Completing tasks and earning Research Rewards

On a more day-to-day note, the tasks given to you by both the Pokémon Professor (and now Rhi), and of course the tasks given by spinning Pokéstops offer the chance to earn Stardust.

There is little point in going over the amounts available as these constantly rotate. However, with each season and event comes new ways to get easy Stardust – this can be as simple as catching a few Pokémon to as complicated as battling in the Go Battle League 45 times when you hit Level 45 for 4500 Stardust!

Every quest and task is different, so keep your eye on your virtual to-do list for quick and sometimes easy ways to earn more Stardust.

Going for a Walk

Though it seems droll to tell you to go for a stroll at this point – as mentioned, the best way to get Stardust is to simply got for a walk and throw Pokéballs at everything, there are other benefits to this, and we're not talking cardiovascular.

If you have Adventure Sync turned on in your settings, you can rack up easy Stardust for just walking to school or work.

Adventure Sync tracks distance walked, both while playing the game and while the app is closed. On an iPhone, it does this natively; however, Android users may need to delve into the settings in Google Fit depending on the phone (and notably whether it has a native pedometer). Either way, this is where being active pays off in the game: you gain 500 Stardust for walking 25km, 1000 Stardust for 50km, and 16000 Stardust for walking 100km per week (measured from Monday to Monday).

Going to the Gym

Last, and honestly probably least, we have Gyms. While out on a walk, if you see a friendly gym with Pokémon resting in there, why not increase their motivation by cramming them full of berries?

Because it's painfully slow to do so? Yeah, ok, that is a fair point. However, each berry fed to a Pokémon gives 20 Stardust, and you can still catch Pokémon as you walk past a Gym using a periphery like the Go Plus. What else are you going to do with your hundreds of Nabnab berries – discard them? Waste not, want not, as they say.

What are Star Pieces and when should you use them?

Pokémon Go star piece
A Star Piece in Pokémon Go will increase the Stardust earned by 50% for 30 minutes

Star Pieces were introduced back in 2017 Pokémon Go Christmas event. They work in a very similar way to Lucky Eggs, except that the latter doubles XP for the next 30 minutes, while Star Pieces only give a 50% boost in Stardust from all sources over the next 30 minutes.

This "small shard of a beautiful gem" can be bought from the in-game store, either at 100 Coins per Star Piece or in a bundle of 8 Star Pieces for 640 Coins. On top of this, you can frequently get them in the Limited-Time Only bundles at the top of the store, and you often get them as part of the Community Day questline that comes with buying a ticket to the Community Day event.

While they may not be the rarest item, they're rare enough that you will want to use them wisely. Rather than using them simply because you're going on a walk, use a star pice when:

  • You're about to hatch a lot of eggs – ideally 12 12km eggs.
  • You're about to cash in a lot of research rewards that offer a lot of Stardust.
  • You're going to hit a 7-day catch streak.
  • You're starting a Commiuty Day with a double or triple Stardust bonus.
  • You're about to click into the Battle screen for the first time in a new Season of Go Battle League.

Of course, when and where you use a Star Piece is entirely up to you, but if you can get a couple of these done at the same time while using a single Star Piece, you can very quickly rack up huge amounts of Stardust!

How to grind Stardust quickly

Always catch at least one Pokémon per day, as the 7-day streak reward gives a lot of Stardust.

Wow, there is a lot to know about Stardust in Pokémon Go.

Grinding Stardust should be a part of your daily venture into the world of Pokémon Go, and before long, the ways to quickly get Stardust will become second nature. But, if we were to distil eveything into a quick guide to maximising your Stardust gains, here's what we recommend:

  • Catch everything that moves (even Sudowoodo, which moves very little)
  • Definitely catch at least one thing per day
  • Open your maxmimum 30 gifts every day
  • Play as much PVP as you can
  • Hatch as many eggs as you can, and try to sync up hatching your biggest eggs
  • Do the research tasks that grant Stardust
  • Use Star Pieces judiciously, and save cashing in the Stardust rewards for when you use a Star Piece if you can!

Good luck collecting Stardust in Pokémon Go!

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Nic Bunce