Since stardust seems to be a limiting factor in how much you can improve your pokemon, I want to know the most efficient way to use stardust.

If I use it on improving an average pokemon like Pidgeot, I may not have enough later on to improve a Dragonite when I catch one.

What's the best way to use it? Should I aim at maxing the pokemon with the highest CP potential? Or are there other ways to efficiently use stardust.

I have about 110k stardust at the moment.

  • 1
    110K? Holy crap I've had at most 11,000. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 20:21

6 Answers 6


The way to maximize stardust is to gain as many trainer levels as you possible can first, and then use it on pokemon that are close to maxing out anyway.

If you use it on a low level, it'll be a waste because in a couple of levels you're just going to find pokemon more powerful than the one you upgraded. So gaining as many levels as possible is your first priority.

That logic will always hold -- it is ALWAYS better to save your stardust until you're a higher level. But at some point you'll bite the bullet and decide you want to upgrade some pokemon now and do some battling. In that case, look at the half circle above the pokemon. This is an 'Upgrade Meter', where if it's filled all the way to the right, you can't use any more stardust. Pokemon you catch might start out with any amount of that already filled up. So use your stardust on a pokemon that's already mostly done for you.

See here for an example of the pokemon screen with the upgrade bar: https://i.sstatic.net/fyESv.jpg

In that case, the pokemon is about half-way powered up. I'd hold out for one that was already about three quarters upgraded.

  • 1
    I suggest adding that Pokemon hatched from Eggs max out at Level 20, while Pokemon caught in the Wild max out at Level 30, so once you've reached those levels, there's no reason to wait any longer to Power-Up a Pokemon, assuming it has strong IVs (which are the basis of its max CP).
    – scenia
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 5:19

For now leveling up your pokemon with stardust is always futile.

The reason for this is simple because of how the pokemon you catch CP scales with your level. So if you catch a 100 CP Pidgey at level 5 and pump all your stardust in him to get him to say 170 CP, once you reach level 15 you'll find Pidgeys well over 170 CP in the wild, and all that dust? Completely wasted. Since there is no advantage to "maxing" CP before evolution (CP increased by evolution does not effect level up cost) it is extra futile. This unfortunate cycle will continue indefinitely.

In my opinion the best "practice" right now is to be patient and spend no startdust, hoping Niantic will fix this system to add incentive training or otherwise make it feel like you're not wasting your time using stardust. Otherwise just focus on leveling up, continually catching higher and higher CP pokemon. Since so many people have been pointing out this fact it is only a matter of time until it is changed so patience will definitely be rewarded.

I would only spend stardust right now if you are level 20+ and want to do hardcore battling / gyming. Or if you find an exceptionally rare pokemon that you are proud of. Play the game how you want.

TL;DR Focus on trainer levels not stardust.


You can always get more stardust. I agree with saving it only until level 15 up then most will want to start hitting gym. I never understood why people are so dang worried about saving stardust. Run out? Catch more Pokemon, the world is not running out.

  • 3
    It's because it's a resource. There's always more resource, but you want to use it optimally and get the best returns. That's a basic concept for MMO's and competition. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:24

My personal take is this: Stardust is precious in Pokemon Go. You only want to power up Pokemon that you will need and use on your team, for both your attackers and your defenders. Do not power up Pokemon such as Rattata, Pidgey, Weedle, Sentret, and so on. Do research online and see what the max CP of a pokemon is as well as their movesets. If they have good CP, good moves, and they fill in a role on your team that you are missing (such as needing a grass type pokemon), these are pokemon that you want to power up. Do not power up 5 fire pokemon or 5 water pokemon. You want to have a variety of pokemon for a variety of situations, both offense and defense, so use your stardust wisely.

Once you decide what you want to power up, you need to use the appraise command under the settings of your Pokemon. From here, you can use this information on an IV calculator, whether online or in an app. If the IVs are good, and the pokemon is strong and good fit for what you need in your team, then power it up. My personal threshold for IVs is 80%- anything under that I do not power up. Looking at moves, movesets, IVs, and what pokemon you need can be very time consuming, but it will be worth the trouble.

So far I have been speaking about ideals. In a real playing situation, you will not always be finding 100% Rhyhorns in the wild and 100% Dratinis from eggs, or the moveset may not be the best. In these cases, it can still be okay to power up a Pokemon, since you can always get TMs from raids now and IVs are not too huge of an effect (though anything helps and you should still try for as high IVs as you can to stay competitive).

So, it may be okay to settle for a pokemon slightly less than ideal. It is a judgment that you have to make when it comes to what Pokemon to power up. Find a healthy balance between keeping up with the game (whether it comes to powering up Pokemon needed for any given raid boss that is out for a limited time only or otherwise) and holding out for Pokemon that really matter.


I have a dragonite with IV of 100%. I used stardust on it until it maxed out the upgrade bar. Back then, the dragonite was just 1900 MAX CP. I was level 20 then. When I upgraded to Level 21, then Level 22, I notice that the CP of the dragonite was raised to 2250 without me spending anything on the upgrade. I think when you level up, it will somehow raise the CP of the pokemons accordingly.

  • I don't observe this behavior. I got a decent Vaporen and maxed it out at level 15. I'm now level 22 but the CP has not changed.
    – Nelson
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 2:09
  • This didn't happen to me too, I'm level 31
    – Esqarrouth
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 5:31

You should be judicious in using stardust. I try only to power up mons with high IV and decent movesets. I started powering up when I wanted to succeed in battling gyms (in late teens). Waiting around to catch a mon at a high level, with high-enough CP to battle would be tedious, so I found it useful to evolve and power up the best attackers I had and went on to win more battles. I'm now L30, and have little dust saved, but some very good 90-100 mons that can win and hold gyms. And sitting in a gym earns you 500 stardust each day, so it pays off. Also, pick the right buddy to earn candy that you can use. I choose Blissey for this.

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