How do you get more XP and level up as fast as possible in Pokémon Go? Time, coins, and smarts!

Levels aren't just a way of charting your progress in Pokémon Go. The higher your level, the more game elements open up to you, including Gyms, Pinap Berries, Max Revive, and even the level of Pokémon you can hatch and catch, and the limits to which you can power them up.

To level up, you need XP. To get XP, all you have to do is play the game. To get max XP and level up as fast as possible, though, you gotta play smart. Here's how!

Note: Updated to reflect XP awards post Gym update and Battle Raids.

What is XP in Pokémon Go and why do you want it?

XP stands for Experience Points and it's what you need to collect in order to increase your level. As your level goes up, you get access to Gyms, to Max Revives, to Pinap and Nanab Berries, to Great and Ultra Balls, to Evolution Items, and more.

It also lets you hatch and catch higher level Pokémon from eggs and in the wild, and power up your Pokémon's CP and HP, so they can sit higher in Gyms and survive longer in battles.

It takes 1,000 XP to go from level 1 to level 2. It takes 8,000 XP to go from level 9 to level 10. 25,000 to go from 19 to 20. 300,000 to go from 29 to 30. And a whopping 5,000,000 to go from 39 to 40.

Needless to say, that makes XP extremely important in Pokémon Go.

How much XP do you need for each level in Pokémon Go?

As you increase in level it takes more and more XP to keep increasing in level.

Level Additional XP Totall XP
1 0 0
2 1,000 1,000
3 2,000 3,000
4 3,000 6,000
5 4,000 10,000
6 5,000 15,000
7 6,000 21,000
8 7,000 28,000
9 8,000 36,000
10 9,000 45,000
11 10,000 55,000
12 10,000 65,000
13 10,000 75,000
14 10,000 85,000
15 15,000 100,000
16 20,000 120,000
17 20,000 140,000
18 20,000 160,000
19 25,000 185,000
20 25,000 210,000
21 50,000 260,000
22 75,000 335,000
23 100,000 435,000
24 125,000 560,000
25 150,000 710,000
26 190,000 900,000
27 200,000 1,100,000
28 250,000 1,350,000
29 300,000 1,650,000
30 350,000 2,000,000
31 500,000 2,500,000
32 500,000 3,000,000
33 750,000 3,750,000
34 1,000,000 4,750,000
35 1,250,000 6,000,000
36 1,500,000 7,500,000
37 2,000,000 9,500,000
38 2,500,000 12,000,000
39 3,000,000 15,000,000
40 5,000,000 20,000,000

Can you just buy XP in Pokémon Go?

Kind of. You can't buy basic XP, but you can buy Lucky Eggs, which temporarily double the XP you get while playing the game. The effect lasts for 30 min., and you can get them in different quantities from the Shop:

  • 1 Lucky Egg for $0.80 (80 Poké coins.)
  • 8 Lucky Eggs for $5.00. (500 Poké coins.)
  • 25 Lucky Eggs for $12.50. (1250 Poké coins.)

The 25 pack is the best value in the game, if you can afford the up-front cost.

UPDATED: Did XP change with the new Gym system and Raid Battles?

It did! Now you can spin Photo Discs on Gyms to get XP and beat Raid Bosses to get XP, among other things. Prestiging, however, no longer exists, which means the old "bubblestrat" method of getting large amounts of XP for prestiging a Gym also no longer exists.

UPDATED: So, how do you get more XP in Pokémon Go?

By playing! Almost everything you do in Pokémon Go earns you XP. Sometimes in very small amounts, like the 10 XP bonuses you get for throwing curve balls on hitting "nice throw" targets. Sometimes large amounts, like the 2000 XP bonus for spinning stops or catching Pokémon on the 7th day in a row. Here's the complete breakdown:

For catching Pokémon:

  • Curve Ball bonus: 10 XP
  • Nice Throw bonus: 10 XP
  • Pokémon Flees: 25 XP
  • First Throw bonus: 50 XP
  • Great Throw bonus: 50 XP
  • Excellent Throw bonus: 100 XP
  • Catch a Pokémon: 100 XP
  • Catch 100th Pokémon of a species: 100 XP
  • Add a Pokémon to your Pokédex: 500 XP
  • Daily Catch Streak (Days 1-6): 500 XP
  • Daily Catch Streak (Day 7): 2000 XP

For spinning PokéStops and Gyms:

  • Spin a PokéStop: 50 XP
  • Spin 10th PokéStop in a row: 100 XP
  • Spin a PokéStop for the first time: 250 XP
  • Spin 10th PokéStop for the first time in a row: 500 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Basic): 25 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Bronze): 50 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Silver): 75 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Gold): 100 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Basic): 31 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Bronze): 63 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Silver): 94 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Gold): 125 XP
  • Daily Spin Streak (Days 1-6): 500 XP
  • Daily Spin Streak (Day 7): 2000 XP

For hatching Pokémon:

  • Hatch a 2K egg: 200 XP
  • Hatch a 5K egg: 500 XP
  • Hatch a 10K egg: 1000 XP
  • Add a Pokémon to your Pokédex: 500 XP

For evolving Pokémon:

  • Evolve a Pokémon: 500 XP
  • Add a Pokémon to your Pokédex: 500 XP

For battling at Gyms and Raids:

  • Feed a berry to a friendly Pokémon: 25 XP
  • Beat a Gym defender: 100 XP
  • Beat all Gym defenders: 25 XP
  • Beat a Raid Boss: 3000 XP

How do Lucky Eggs work in Pokémon Go?

You get Lucky Eggs as rewards for leveling up but you can also buy them in the Pokémon Shop, either singularly or at a discount for 8-packs and 24-packs. Once you use a Lucky Eggs, you get double XP for the next 30 min. That's 30 min. as counted by the Pokémon Go servers, mind you. If you stop playing to do something else, the time still goes down. Here's the difference a Lucky Egg makes:

For catching Pokémon:

  • Curve Ball bonus: 20 XP
  • Nice Throw bonus: 20 XP
  • Pokémon Flees: 50 XP
  • First Throw bonus: 100 XP
  • Great Throw bonus: 100 XP
  • Excellent Throw bonus: 200 XP
  • Catch a Pokémon: 200 XP
  • Catch 100th Pokémon of a species: 200 XP
  • Add a Pokémon to your Pokédex: 1000 XP
  • Daily Catch Streak (Days 1-6): 1000 XP
  • Daily Catch Streak (Day 7): 4000 XP

For spinning PokéStops and Gyms:

  • Spin a PokéStop: 100 XP
  • Spin 10th PokéStop in a row: 200 XP
  • Spin a PokéStop for the first time: 500 XP
  • Spin 10th PokéStop for the first time in a row: 1000 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Basic): 50 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Bronze): 100 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Silver): 150 XP
  • Spin a rival Gym (Gold): 200 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Basic): 62 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Bronze): 126 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Silver): 188 XP
  • Spin a friendly Gym (Gold): 300 XP
  • Daily Spin Streak (Days 1-6): 1000 XP
  • Daily Spin Streak (Day 7): 4000 XP

For hatching Pokémon:

  • Hatch a 2K egg: 400 XP
  • Hatch a 5K egg: 1000 XP
  • Hatch a 10K egg: 2000 XP
  • Add a Pokémon to your Pokédex: 1000 XP

For evolving Pokémon:

  • Evolve a Pokémon: 1000 XP
  • Add a Pokémon to your Pokédex: 1000 XP

For battling at Gyms and Raids:

  • Feed a berry to a friendly Pokémon: 50 XP
  • Beat a Gym defender: 200 XP
  • Beat all Gym defenders: 50 XP
  • Beat a Raid Boss: 6000 XP (bug shows 3000 XP but you still get 6000 XP)

Are there any other ways to get double (or more) XP in Pokémon Go? Events?

Absolutely. Pokémon Go has run several events so far that have offered XP multipliers. During two of them, it was a blanket 2x multiplier for all XP — essentially a constant Lucky Egg — all day, every day, for the duration of the event. And yes, if you used a Lucky Egg at the same time, you got quadruple the XP.

Pokémon Go has also run an event where the multiplier was 3x for catches and 5x for hatches.

It's entirely possible Pokémon Go will run the same events, and perhaps additional XP events, going forward.

Can you use a Lucky Egg during XP events as well?

You could during both the Thanksgiving and Spring events, effectively giving you 4x the XP for the duration of the Lucky Egg. Same for the Solstice event, effectively giving you 6x XP for catches and a whopping 10x for hatches.


What's the fastest way to earn XP?

There are a few good ways to "grind" XP in Pokémon Go and level up fast. Most of them involve using a Lucky Egg to get the maximum XP possible at any given time.

Time vs. money

You get Lucky Eggs when you level up but you can also buy them from the Poké Shop. If you don't have much time but don't mind spending some money, you can buy all the Lucky Eggs you need.

As mentioned previously, you can get:

  • 1 Lucky Egg for $0.80 (80 Poké coins.)
  • 8 Lucky Eggs for $5.00. (500 Poké coins.)
  • 25 Lucky Eggs for $12.50. (1250 Poké coins.)

Likewise, the methods using Pokémon Go Plus, the Bluetooth accessory that lets you spin Poké Stops and catch Pokémon faster, can go through a ton of Poké Balls in a short time. You'll either need to stock up by going some place that has a high-density of Poké Stops for you to spin, like downtown streets, or buy them from the Poké Stop as well.

It varies from region to region, of course, but in the U.S. you can get:

  • 20 Poké Balls for $1.00. (100 Poké coins.)
  • 100 Poké Balls for $4.60. (460 Poké coins.)
  • 200 Poké Balls for $8.00. (800 Poké coins.)

That's a lot of money, enough to buy a fast-food lunch or a couple of fancy coffees, but it's less than most movie tickets and can provide you with a similar amount of fun, if Pokémon is your jam.

Either way, time or money, grinding XP can cost you.

Mass-catching

The first method requires both a Lucky Egg and a Pokémon Go Plus accessory. The Plus lets you catch Pokémon swiftly and efficiently, and since it's binary — you either catch them or you don't — every catch nets you 150 XP. Add a Lucky Egg to that, and it's 300 XP per catch. If any Pokémon flee instead, you still get 25 XP, or 50 XP with the Lucky Egg.

  1. Go to an area with plentiful Pokémon mass-spawns. Parking lots at malls or strip malls work especially well. So do parks.
  2. Connect your Pokémon Go Plus.
  3. Start a Timer for 30 minutes.
  4. Drop your Lucky Egg.
  5. Optionally, drop an Incense to increase spawns.
  6. Start catching Pokémon with your Pokémon Go Plus.
  7. Travel slowly. As one mass-spawn depletes, move on to the next one.
  8. When the timer goes off, your Lucky Egg will be, done and you can stop.

Depending on how many Pokémon you average, your Lucky Egg and catching spree can net you tens of thousands of XP at a time.

  • 1 a minute: 9,000 XP
  • 2 a minute: 18,000 XP
  • 3 a minute: 27,000 XP
  • 4 a minute: 36,000 XP

It's expensive, because you need the Pokémon Go Plus and it uses a bunch of Poké Balls, but it works. And if you mass catch during a double XP event, your totals will be twice as high.

It works especially well during an XP event like the Solstice event, where catches were multipled by 3x — 6x with Lucky Egg.

Mass evolving

The second method requires a Lucky Egg and a large quantity of Caterpie, Weedle, and Pidgey, and an even larger amount of their respective candy, to evolve. Since Caterpie, Weedle, and Pidgey only require 12 candy to evolve, and each evolution nets you 500 XP — 1000 XP with a Lucky Egg — and it makes for incredibly efficient leveling.

You do need to catch enough common Pokémon to make it worth your while. Doing the mass-catch above is a great way to stock up while earning XP at the same time. There are also a host of Pokémon that only require 25 candy to evolve, including Rattata, Lebdya, and Sentrat, and more that can fall back on if you need to.

(If you have any Pokémon with evolutions that will get you new Pokédex entries, you can fold them in for an extra 1000 XP — 2000 XP with Lucky Egg — a pop.)

To make things as efficient as possible, you can rename all the Pokémon you want to evolve before you start. Using punctuation like ! to push them to the top of the list. Otherwise, Caterpie, Weedle, and Pidgey are all really close together in Pokémon number, so sort that way and get to it.

  1. Rename, sort, or otherwise prepare your Pokemon for evolution.
  2. Start a Timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Drop your Lucky Egg.
  4. Start evolving your Pokémon, fast as you can.
  5. When the timer goes off, your Lucky Egg will be done, and you can stop.

It takes 20 seconds to do an evolution, plus whatever time it takes to switch to and start the next one. So, depending on how many Pokémon evolutions you average, your Lucky Egg and evolving spree can net you tens of thousands of XP at a time.

  • 1.5 a minute: 45,000 EXP
  • 2 a minute: 60,000 XP
  • 2.5 a minute: 75,000 XP

That's not including new Pokédex entries. And, of course, if you mass-evolve during an XP event, your results will be even better.

Double catch-and-evolve dip

Because Pokémon Go Plus is so easy to use, you can actually double up on mass-catching and mass-evolving. It's especially useful for squeezing every ounce of value out of your Lucky Eggs, even if it does cost more in terms of Poké Ball usage.

  1. Go to an area with plentiful Pokémon mass-spawns. Parking lots at malls or strip malls work especially well. So do parks.
  2. Connect your Pokémon Go Plus.
  3. Start a Timer for 30 minutes.
  4. Drop your Lucky Egg.
  5. Optionally, drop an Incense to increase spawns.
  6. Start catching Pokémon with your Pokémon Go Plus.
  7. Start evolving your Pokémon, fast as you can.
  8. Travel slowly. As one mass-spawn depletes, move on to the next one, evolving at the same time as you go.
  9. When the timer goes off, your Lucky Egg will be, done and you can stop.

The additional overhead that comes from having to hit the Pokémon Go Plus and the evolve button on your phone at the same time can slow down your catch and your evolve rate, but you should still end up way ahead in total.

And yeah, XP events makes this even more profitable as well.

How about cheats? Can you beat the Pokémon Go XP system?

Some people try to force-quit the Pokémon Go app once an evolution starts, betting their phone is fast enough to relaunch before the evolution animation would have otherwise ended.

Others try to use multiple phones to get multiple concurrent evolutions in at the same time. That kind of stuff can get your account banned, though, so you're better off taking the huge amount of XP you can get legitimately and leaving it at that.

Any Pokémon Go XP or leveling up questions?

I've used most of the strategies outlined here to grind XP and level up fast in Pokémon Go, even the later levels where you need millions of XP at a time. I'd love to learn new and better strategies though. So, if you have suggestions — or questions! — drop them in the comments below!