8 Best XP Heists to Level Up Fast in Payday 2, Ranked

Here are the best heists for XP and leveling up in Payday 2.

by Christian Bognar

Heists are the central focus of Payday 2 — granting players a high amount of cash and experience points. The player’s primary goal is to become a top-dog crime lord through the game’s leveling system, and while there are many ways to maximize the number of experience points received — the best way is to tackle specific heists that provide the highest reward when completed. That is why this article examines all the available heists in the game and breaks it down to 8 that are the most worthwhile for leveling up. Here are the top 8 best heists for experience points in Payday 2.

Ranking the Top 8 Heists to Level Up fast in Payday 2

While this article is probably best for beginners of Payday 2, I hope veterans learn something new about maximizing experience points. Here are the top 8 heists in Payday 2, ranging from a large amount of XP to the highest in the game.

8. Framing Frame

Image: Starbreeze Studios

Framing Frame takes place over the course of three days, but it is worth mentioning considering there is a hefty stealth bonus if players can go undetected. Better yet, the stealth bonus is applied each day — meaning you can potentially get a maximum of three stealth bonuses that will go toward the experience points you receive.

The heist pushes you to do stealth, too, pretty much holding your hand towards the bonus, considering that if you don’t complete the first day without being detected, there is an increased chance police will raid you on the second day. The only reason this isn’t higher on this top 8 list is because it can take a long time to complete.

7. Golden Grin Casino

Image: Starbreeze Studios

While Golden Grin Casino doesn’t provide the highest amount of experience points, it’s an easy enough heist that makes it a great farming spot. Your task is simple for the Golden Grin Casino heist, where you must head inside, grab a duffel bag, and leave. It’s that simple making it a quick way to complete over and over again for a great way to level up fast. I recommend those in the lower levels to farm this heist, as it will take much more time for those in the higher levels to level up.

6. Four Stores

Image: Starbreeze Studios

Payday 2 doesn’t give you the tools you need right off the bat to complete the harder heists for experience points. This is where Four Stores comes into play, where it is one of the easiest heists in the game — while still providing a large sum of XP. It’s a very straightforward mission where players are tasked with stealing money from four different stores, and at the end, they will get a nice payday in XP.

Players can increase the amount of XP they receive by increasing the difficulty level, which I recommend only doing once you fully understand the heist and have an idea of the lay of the land. Better yet, if you go undetected and pull off the entire heist with stealth — you get a massive bonus in experience points!

5. Diamond Store

Image: Starbreeze Studios

Another reasonably straightforward heist and an excellent start for beginners is the Diamond Store. Your task is simple — get into the building and steal jewelry without getting caught for a boost in XP. What makes the Diamond Store heist so great for farming is that it is one of the shortest heists in the game, making it easy to hop in and out — quickly leveling up. It’s a lot of fun, too, considering the game allows two ways to go about the mission: stealth or gun blazing.

Related: All Free and DLC Heists in Payday 2

4. Election Day

Image: Starbreeze Studios

Election Day is an excellent choice for those looking for a heist that demands high effort and a reasonable amount of time to complete — but is well worth it for experience points. Election Day is a two-day heist with a decent difficulty spike in the middle, but some bonuses increase the amount of XP received throughout these two days. Take the stealth bonus, for example, where players can gain a 20% bonus towards their experience points pool if they go day one without being detected.

Before tackling the Election Day heist, I recommend completing other heists on this list and allocating points toward the Ghost Skill Tree. This part of the skill tree specializes in stealth and will help with the chances of going undetected for the hefty bonus the heist provides.

3. Rats

Image: Starbreeze Studios

Rats is a heist where players aim to cook meth and sell it to a rival gang for a reward in gold and experience points. The more meth the player cooks during this three-day heist, the more experience points a player can receive — making it the perfect option for leveling up fast. Finishing this heist with the maximum allowed bags of cooked meth will result in 96,000 experience points! That said, there’s a newer heist lower in this list that is similar to the same objective of cooking drugs — but offers an even higher reward in XP.

2. Hoxton Breakout

Image: Starbreeze Studios

Hoxton Breakout is another two-day heist but is significantly easier than Election Day. The objective is to carry a bag containing a server to the finish line, and the game will reward players with one of the highest experience points boost out of all the missions in the game. Better yet, there are optional objectives that players can take on during this two-day heist, which will increase the amount of XP even further when the deed is done.

Redoing this heist over and over while completing the optional objectives a long way will have players inching closer to Infamy at a much faster rate. It also helps that Hoxton Breakout offers one of the highest gold rewards in Payday 2.

1. Cook Off

Image: Starbreeze Studios

It was without question that Cook Off would be ranked number 1 on this top 10 list. The Cook Off heist is among the most popular heists for the gaming community, and players are tasked with cooking drugs — which the more cooked will result in more experience points at the end of the day. Those who stay as long as possible and continuously cook will be rewarded with plentiful experience points, getting closer to the Infamy rank that every player desires. Raise the difficulty in Cook Off to level up even faster!

I recommend being at least level 50 or above before attempting the Cook Off heist. Additionally, ensure you are armed to the teeth with the best weapons the game offers — mainly because you must fend off police officers as your thief allies complete the cooking process. You’ll need strong weapons to increase your success rate.

- This article was updated on July 7th, 2023

About The Author

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Christian has been a writer of Attack of the Fanboy for about a year and has covered Shadows of Rose, Wild Hearts, Redfall, Remnant 2, and more; his favorite genre is Survival Horror. He has a business degree but felt the need to take his love for video games to the gaming community. Outside of writing, you can find him listening to all types of podcasts, especially Always Sunny Podcast and Morbid True Crime.