During game play one of the most important questions is: how many harvesters do you have right now. Will it be effective to build 3 more harvesters or it is better to build additional production building (for example)?

AFAIK optimal number of harvesters per base is 30: 8 minerals + 2 gas multiply by 3.

But often is hard to detect how many do you have right now. From what I see you could go to your minerals line, select all harvesters and see how much do you have. But sometime it is hard to do that (other units, non-harvesting SCV/probes). Time - is also factor. I would like to look into my supply numbers and know something like this: currently I have 50/64 supply.... how much harvesters do I have 20? 30?

Usually in replays that I lost my opponents have around 27-35 harvesters on 1 base and 43-48 with expand... Usually I have less...

Probably I just need to build those harvesters CONSTANTLY till supply id less then 60/80? (don't forget to build army too)? Probably I don't need to worry that I have too many harvesters?

Any thoughts are welcome!

6 Answers 6


The easiest way to count harvesters is probably going to be to double click on a worker mining at each base. A full page is 24 workers and don't forget to add one for each geyser you have going (the double click won't select the worker currently inside of it). Just add up the results from there and it should be pretty close at least.

If you want your full worker count, you can also look at the bottom left to see your idle worker count and if for some reason it is not zero, then presumably these will have been missed by your mining worker counting and can be added as well. Other than that you are probably only going to miss a couple guys currently building things if you are terran. As far as non-mining workers though, this will really mostly apply to terran and even then will probably never average higher than 3 workers.

As for production, you should really never stop scv/probe production unless one of the following is true:

  • You are planning a one or two base push and are at your desired number of workers for it.
  • You absolutely have to to stay alive.
  • You have in excess of ~70-75 workers.

The 70+ workers is enough to give you three bases worth of decent saturation while leaving enough room for an army.

As zerg things get trickier as you don't have a building dedicated to worker production, but since you didn't mention drones I won't get into that for now.

  • What is special with Zergs? Could you please extend you answer for them too?
    – Budda
    Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 20:32
  • @Budda - Terran/Protoss can build workers continuously, and not affect military production. Zerg have to share production of workers with miltary units. Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 21:22
  • 2
    Ctrl-click has always been easier than double-clicking for me, since I sometimes miss with the 2nd click. Either way works though.
    – Davy8
    Commented Dec 24, 2010 at 19:00

The pro way is to know exactly how many military units you have out and how much supply they use; from there, you know your harvester count because it's (supply total - military supply).

Also, with the "select all harvesters" approach you mention, other units don't enter into it if you double-click on a harvester to select all of them on the screen, rather than drawing a rectangle. (Faster, too.) Non-harvesting harvesters still confound that count though.

  • good idea. Thanks. Will see if there are other options.
    – Budda
    Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 19:39

Nowadays, one can just hover over the supply indicator and popout will appear with army and worker counts.

  • Seems like a good answer, just curious if you have a supporting screenshot? That will help people a lot.
    – Tim S.
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 13:04

you can duoble click your harvesters and set them to a hotkey then see the # then you can reset your the hotkey


The optimal "efficient" amount is 2 harvesters per mineral patch, and 3 per gas. Someone did some testing, and the third harvester per patch does a little bit of waiting, so you would be better off sending that third harvester to another base, rather than just pile him up on an existing one, although if you are still trying to secure an expansion a little oversaturation could be a good idea.

For most normal bases, that's 8 patches * 2/patch + 2 geysers * 3/geyser = 16+6 = 22.

Gold bases have 6 patches, so that would be 12+6 = 18, but maybe you don't mind a little inefficiency at a gold base to mine it out quicker, given that gold bases are usually in risky positions.


After some time of playing I've found the following: doesn't matter how many harvesters do you have, you always need to build more! At least till the time when you have 2 bases fully covered with harvesters.

How to see if they are fully covered? I would say by eye - it will come with practice.

And when you are getting the 3rd expand usually you will have almost finished main and some harvesters loses. So you will move almost all harvesters from main to the 3rd expand and again you need to build them more.

  • So you just summarize the upvoted answers and accept your own answer? Why not accept a given answer? -1 for that
    – bummzack
    Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 8:44
  • Summarize? Did anybody suggested "Don't care about current number and build more always"? Probably I get as "answer" wrong answer, because it doesn't actually answer the original question "how to calculate", instead accepted answer proposes don't calculate them at all. But I think it is a good option. Moreover, I would say: spending (or better to say LOOSING) time on calculating harvesters - is a bad thing and you need to avoid that. Probably, when you are really high league player, you can remember actual amount of army supply and get amount of harvesters... But for now...
    – Budda
    Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 22:27
  • but for now I think it is a better solution.
    – Budda
    Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 22:27
  • Also, I voted for each of the suggestion, so I see nothing wrong accepting own answer. And I believe for middle league player - it SHOULD be a suggestion.
    – Budda
    Commented Jan 4, 2011 at 22:28
  • > Did anybody suggested "Don't care about current number and build more always"? yep: >As for production, you should really never stop scv/probe production by en1gmatic325
    – Meta
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 18:36

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