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Pokemon Go Guide: When to Evolve and When to Power Up

| July 10, 2016

Pokemon Go Guide: When to Evolve and When to Power Up GameGuides Mobile  Pokemon Go Guides Pokemon Go Pokemon

We’ve shown you how to train your Pokemon in Pokemon Go, but when should you do the two actions that allow you to make your Pokemon stronger? Power Up and Evolve are two actions that can’t be taken back, and they require a lot of resources that might take you awhile to gather. So, we’re gonna show you when to evolve and when to power up your Pokemon in Pokemon Go.

Luckily, the real answer to this question is: whenever you want. Seriously, I’m not backing out on this guide by just being lazy here. The CP level (click here for an explanation on that very important part of the game) will be the same if you evolve first, or use Power Up to raise the CP. For example, if you have a CP 50 Bulbasaur and evolve him to an Ivysaur then spend your Stardust and Candy powering him up, he will end up at the same level as a Bulbasaur that was powered up first, and then evolved.

So, with that out of the way, let’s dive into this a bit more as there are some cases where you should do certain things first. When to evolve is the real question, as Pokemon Go changes evolution in a big way. Each Pokemon in Pokemon Go has randomized movesets, with some being much more powerful than others. When you evolve they get randomized again.

What this means is, if you plan to take a Pokemon and evolve them, you should probably get it out of the way first. Afterward you should make sure that they have some good moves, ones that do a lot of damage, for instance. If they end up with terrible moves you can back out early and not waste Stardust and Candy using Power Up on them.

This is freeing in a lot of ways, but can also be stressful. This will happen if you evolve your Pokemon and end up with bad moves over and over again. It’s important that they have good moves if you plan to use them to battle at a gym, whether attacking or defending.

So, in short, evolve whenever you want, but if you’re really getting competitive you probably want to do it early.

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  • Ryan Barber

    This is such a poor guide… say you have to have 50 candies to evolve something, the best way to do it is just grind up as many candies as you can and wait for a random strong pokemon of that type to come along and keep that at the evolver. That way you are gauranteed the strongest outcome. It is also a way most cost effective way to get a nice strong pokemon without spending all your candies on it.

    It is also worth noting that as you gain player levels the potential combat points of your pokemon go up. So it is actually more cost effect to grind out a bunch of candies and stardust at lower levels and then spend those once your player level is high enough that you are getting high combat power pokemon in the wild.

    Example: if i find a maxed out pidgey in the wild at player level 5 and evolve it right now i will have about a 3/4 CP pidgeotto but the CP limiter on my level will only let that be like 250. Flash forward to level 15+ i can find a wild pidgey that has an almost full CP bar at 250 and evolve it to a pidgeotto that will be in the 600+ CP range without spending any more candies or stardust than my lvl 5 self.

    Naturally strong + evolution is alway the better route. (Evolution doesnt cost stardust so it actually, in fact, does matter when you power-up and evolve. Noob.)

    • Nehemiah Burney-Porter

      Yes this so much for overall strategy but i think he was talking more at a pokemon to pokemon basis.

      • Kyle Hanson


    • Dor Alon

      If you try to make someone else look dumb make sure you know what your talking about, what you said has nothing to do with the point made in the article (which is don’t waste power ups on a pokemon that may have bad moves at the end. noob.)

      • Edwin Zumbado

        Says you. You used the wrong “your” it’s, “make sure you know what YOU’RE talking about..” If you’re gonna flame someone about intelligence, at least use proper grammar.

        • ToasTd

          You put the comma in the wrong place. It should have been after “your”, not after “it’s”.

          • John

            (he whispers*) “….it actually should be a semi colon after ‘your’, not a comma.” ?


          • GrammarNazi

            ^ mah mann!

          • Cody

            Actually, sir, either would be suitable. ?

          • Tai TheGuy

            Now this guy is fukin smart! I was JUST thinking that. I just didn’t wanna stoop down there. So, thanks for that.

          • Sammi

            Incorrect. A comma between two independent clauses (sentences) is a type of run-on sentence known as a comma splice. While now widely used in our dumbed-down society, it is never correct. A period or a semi-colon would be correct.

          • Betty Swollocks

            How can the clauses be independant if the second one relies on the first to make the whole thing make sense?

          • Betty Swollocks

            How can the two clauses be independent, if the second is predicated on the first?

          • Nic

            In grammar, a clause is deemed independent if it can stand alone because it includes a subject and a verb. That makes these independent clauses. The second thought is predicated (based) on the first; however, the second clause has its own subject along with predicate. That indicates a need for a period, or more appropriately, a semi colon because the thoughts are connected… Forget what I just said if this comment was supposed to be a play on the word predicate. In that case, kudos!

          • lassie

            And you should have put your commas INSIDE the quotation marks, not outside of them!

        • Cory Day Wichman

          oh shaddup

          • Jorell Jose

            Oh, shut up. *

          • TheBearJew

            Nerds :p

        • Dor Alon

          I didn’t flame him about intelligence, I flamed him about his comment having nothing to do with the article.
          With that said, intelligence has very little to do with grammar either so…not sure why you had to use irrelevant big words, probably confidence issues
          And yeah, english is my 4th language, I have a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes, that dose not make my point any less valid

          • Jathon

            Before: “If you’re gonna flame someone about intelligence, at least use proper grammar.”
            Now: “With that said, intelligence has very little to do with grammar…”

            I agree with your original comment (that Ryan was off-point and had no basis to call anyone a noob), but at least be consistent if you’re going to argue with people.

          • Dor Alon

            Only one of those comments were made by me, So I’m not sure why that makes me inconsistent :P

          • Jathon

            Oh wait, you’re right. Sorry about that. I must had been reading too fast.

        • prairiefire

          you’re a jerk

      • Cory Day Wichman

        Dor is right… this article has nothing to do with CP… It’s talking about the pokemon’s quick attack and special attack primarily… which you cannot control. When you evolve them, they get a certain attack and special with numbers by them… could be low and could be high. If you are going to spend all of your stardust powering up a pokemon, you would like it to have good attack stats… The article makes sense to me…

        • justine brody

          The topic of the article actually is about when to power up and when to evolve. Which CP levels definitely are a major factor in determining when to evolve and power up. Why waste all you stardust and all your candies powering a Pokemon up, when you could just wait to catch one with a significantly high CP number; and then just evolve him.. It’s a much better choice and the outcome is greater..
          But thanks to all you for your irrelevant comments, incorrect grammar, etc. but I find Ryan Barbers comment was way more helpful than the author of this page!

          Also, you can wait to catch a Pokemon that already has a high CP and has an idealistic move set or close to an idealistic move set and evolve him. Instead of wasting candies and stardust powering up little baby Pokemon; which you will regret once you’ve caught the same Pokemon (with the same or higher CP and move set, as the one you’ve powered up 10 times)

    • Pendragon

      Jesus. did you even take the time to read the CP post linked in the very first fuggin line? It basically says everything you did, and wasn’t even the point of this particular article. Who’s the real noob?

      • Weezy Kinte

        you da real noob

    • Yui Chikako

      Come on guys = w= don’t be mean he was being helpful in a way C:

    • Poposhka

      at least we can all smirk at the fact a grown-ass man is calling people “noob” over a children’s game.

      • Larry Vos

        Ok so what about this: I have a kakuna cp 51 and a weedle cp 121. If i transfer the kakuna even though it is more evolved i’ll have exactly enough to get a beedrill. Should I then transfer the kakuna or just evolve it since it’s more evolved than the weedle already?

        • Wob

          Transfer the kakuna, weedles are cheap to evolve

        • Jared Walker

          Don’t waste your resources on the kakuna. Your Weedle is stronger than your beedrill would be. At those levels O’d hold off on using your resources at all, but if you insist, then you should evolve your Weedle making it roughly 200 CP as a kakuna. Evolve that Kakuna to bring your Beedrill to just below 400. Seriously though, hold off until until you’vre a higher level. FWIW

          • Cory Day Wichman

            Think the kakuna would be higher than 200…

          • Jared Walker

            If so, not by much. It’s been my expeience that evolving to a second stage on a three stage Pokemon often doesn’t yield as high if a gain as evolving to the second/final stage of a two stage Pokemon such as Eevee.

        • Cory Day Wichman

          evolve the weedle, a 51cp kakuna is going to take ridiculous amounts of stardust to get battle-ready… Though, I have a feeling you’ll end up not using either of those much…

      • …that was released less than a week ago.

    • Gawdzila

      You’re not taking moves into account, though. Moves after evolution are not assigned randomly, they change to a specific one based on what the pre-evolution form had (or stay the same if the evolved form also has access to those moves). If your Pidgey has moves that won’t be good after evolving, don’t evolve it even if it has higher CP. Either look for another one, or evolve the lower-CP Pidgey. It will cost you more resources, but that is better than spending half as many resources to end up with a much weaker Pokeman.

      • Frederick Littlefield

        This is not always the case. For example I evolved a zubat (who had relatively high attacks compared to all the other zubat I caught) and the evolved golbat had weaker attacks than the zubat did. Does anyone know why this is? It has happened to me with other evolved Pokemon as well.

        • Oh my goodness that is such a huge bummer. Here I was, finding pokemon with the best moves before I started leveling them up.evolving them. I’m kinda annoyed that I may have just been wasting my time instead…

    • Jake Smith

      So how do you know when to evolve then? If you keep waiting to find a higher CP Pokemon, it feels like a never ending process. How do you know when to make the move and evolve?

      • Benjamín Joel Fleet

        When you get one with close to maxed out CP as apposed to half or less CP.

        • Jake Smith

          Thanks for the reply! I was thinking they could have a higher cap, thanks for clearing it up.

          • Jared Walker

            It’s my understanding that the CP cap is based on your current level. A Weedle at level on may max out at 50CP, but at level 15 may go to 400CP. Just like pleasing a woman, the longer you can hold back, the better it will be when you finally let go of your resources. Ultimately the choice is up to you.

          • Branden McCormick

            Love the comparison ??

      • Kedreeva

        Find one close to its current CP cap and then just evolve it whenever you want. The CP cap grows when you level, the only limiter is your stardust. People are fussing about catching Pokémon at different user levels but the ones you’ve already caught will grow with you.

        • Jake Smith

          Thanks for the reply! Do you have any advice on when you should level your Pokemon with the Stardusts/Candy? I did for some already but feel like it was a mistake. I’m currently level 12.

          • Kedreeva

            Like the article says, just use it post-evolution when you’re sure the pokemon you’ve got has the attacks you want it to have.

    • Thanks for giving me what I came here for.

    • Ahahah

      The “noob” really drove it home at the end lol. Mitch

    • Rod

      Obviously you’re not going to grind out 50 candies and then use them on the first shitty pokemon you caught. You use them on the best one you have and trade the rest in. He didn’t mention that because it’s common sense and any idiot can realize it, not because it’s a shitty guide.

      • Jared Walker

        Maybe there should be an idiot’s guide, there seem to be enough of us to make it worth while.

      • Jathon

        If you’re stalking up on candies and stardust anyways, it may be worth it to use them on the first pokemon you caught if it has perfect or near perfect IVs.

        • Lead Crow


          stalking is something you do to exes you can’t get over.

    • Maxine Tran

      I wish I read this before I powered up everything I own

      • jack

        hi im a lvl14 trainer but then i hatched a aerodactyl which looks like it has a low co but then when i checked it using thr IV calculator even though it only has 160cp on silphroad it said that its a solid pokemon.
        29/30 on attack/def and 15,15 on stamina should i already power it up ? or wait to lvl up and wait for a better one ? and does trainer lvl affect when i power up a pokemon? thanks

    • Heather-Leigh Dysart

      I have a Raticate and I want to power it up. I have enough candy and stardust but the power up is greyed out. Is it possible I have to increase my trainer level?

      • Maksim Kirandziski

        same,i dont know what to do :p but i think that a raticate is the max evolution of a ratata

      • Jathon

        Yes, just increase your trainer level.

    • Danae Papadopetraki

      can’t we just play a game without trying to fill our low self esteems by calling other players words like noob? one game?

      • Cory Day Wichman

        absolutely not

    • Audioflyer

      Ok but what he is saying is is that it does bot matter if you use your extra candies before an evolution or after, because logically if evolving multiplies your cp then the highest possible cp pre evolution the better. But according to this you get the same cp no matter when ypu spend the extra candies.

    • Jorell Jose

      This is such a poor comment…

    • Jason

      Take that stick out of your ass. I came here for an answer to my question : should I level or power up first? The original author answered it perfectly fine without me having to sift through a bunch of horse cockery and that was awesome. I wasn’t looking for a “guide to how to play this game like your life depends on it” as yours clearly does. Maybe look at context next time or say “to add to this” instead of criticizing someone based on your own stupidity.

    • Jade B

      Okay, so is there a way to predetermine what moves your Pokémon will have when it’s evolved? How do you keep an XL Pokémon from becoming an XS when evolving??

    • Lee Paul

      Wouldnt your whole theory of “waiting out for the strongest possible outcome” be an infinite wait. Since every level brings stronger pokemon. So essentially, no matter what its a waste because you will eventually always come across something stronger than what you have.

    • Jathon

      Ryan, you are completely concentrating on the wrong thing. Out of moveset, IV, and CP to consider, CP and player level is the absolute least important things to consider. If my 10 CP Weedle has 90% perfect IV’s, it will absolutely destroy any weedle you find at level 40 (after being powered up of course). Focusing on CP is surface level, arbitrary material. If all you focus on is CP, you will probably end up with pokemon with bad movesets and IVs…which is ok now while everyone is weak, but will come to bite you in the late-game. Hold your tongue before you call someone a noob.

      • Daf

        Finally someone that understands! :D

    • MJ MJ

      I have a 23 cp arcanine and I have a 470 growlithe (which is the best among my Pokemons).. should I power up my arcanine (untel i get out of candies or candy dust) or evolve the growlithe and then power it up????
      P.S I have 66 growlithe candies :/

    • SuperDialga

      Sorry Ryan, but grinding Pokemon for candy and stardust at low levels is no more efficient than doing it at high levels. Catching a Pokemon, any Pokemon, at any level, will give you 100 Stardust and 3 of it’s candy. It is not more efficient at lower levels, because you still encounter the same amount of pokemon, and still get the same amount of stuff.

    • prairiefire


    • Alexf

      Flame wars aside, I’ve been to a half-dozen pages on this site so far, and it’s obvious that the intention here is to write as many different pages as possible, regardless of length or value, for ad revenue. I came to this page clicking through several related “articles” on Pokemon GO. They were all this length, and most had the same informational content.

    • Hemant Pawar

      You all guys are now going in comma

    • SSJ-Mad

      how do you know so much???

  • DagGummit

    What of the Pokemon’s size? I’ve read in other places that its relative size (say XL vs XS) plays a big role in its long-term potential. I’ve also been experimenting on my own and noticed that every single Pokemon I’ve evolved on my lowbie (currently 8) becomes XS regardless of their size before. I’ve hypothesized that maybe a maxed-CP XL might retain its size, but haven’t yet had the chance to test it.

    Can anyone confirm/ deny that? I’m not sure I’d like it if it truly is simple as the OP and first comment say. That’s pretty meh in my opinion, actually.

    • MiniEquine

      It’s random, even when evolving. Also, there’s nothing conclusive at the moment about size affecting different HP or CP levels. There have been XS Pokemon with less CP and more HP than an XL Pokemon.

      Right now it just seems to be fluff data but others have said that Niantic rarely puts details into games unless it has meaning or may eventually have meaning. I think it’s the latter.

      • DagGummit

        Yeah, my Rattatta and Pidgey experiments are pointing in the same direction.

        I would guess that XL vs XS do have some impact on some element, but it’s not yet clear to us yet. I wonder if there are collective data gathering attempts for the effects of size like there are for Eeveelutions.

        • pandapartaay

          I read somewhere that the size doesn’t affect anything combat point related, it’s just for acquiring medals. Some medals will require you to have pokemon that are a certain size.

    • Ricky Ray Malone III

      I watched a 802 “XS” battle a 900 “XL” (Snorlax) and the little guy crushed him. I’m assuming that’s what you’re referring to.

    • DKreps

      The size affects the attack speed in combat. You want XS. You’re welcome

      • DagGummit

        You have a source on that? From what I’ve just found in Googling, Attack Speed is determined by the move:

        • DKreps

          Honestly i dont remember what source i got it from. It could’ve said movement speed which could include dodging. Either way, just about everything is speculation at this point. I would just take it as a theory still being tested.

    • Cory Day Wichman

      freakin all of my main 6 cp pokemon are XS… cept one thats XL.. weird..

  • Garrett O’Neil

    why would you evolve a pokemon with good moves when powering up takes much less candies?? For example a pidgeotto to pidgeot is 50 candies but powering up is a lot less so wouldn’t you just want to power up the pidgeotto and not waste the candies on a pidgeot? …or is evolving using 50 candies really worth it?

    • Alex

      It’s a HUGE bonus to cp. I’ve seen Eevees gaining like 400 CP.

      • Nametab

        404 CP Eevee > 1104 CP Flareon

    • Cory Day Wichman

      cuz candies are easier to come by than stardust…

      • Cory Day Wichman

        plus the lower evolution is going to max out lower…

  • Person

    This is a lie. Evolving does power up your Pokemon. I had a Pokemon level 97 I evolved him and he went to level 347

    • Jathon

      You’re talking about CP, not level. Level is a hidden mechanic in the game, but CP is shown in game. Evolving will increase the CP of a pokemon, but it’s level will stay the same. To show this compare the position on the CP arc before and after evolving. It will be the same.

  • Michael McKinnon

    I have a question.

    Since the max CP of a Pokémon increases each time you level, does it actually matter what/when you evolve or level, aside from the fact that it is more cost effective to go with a Pokémon that has a higher natural CP?

    Like, if I (and I am just making these numbers up), evolve a Pidgey with 50CP all the way to a Pidgeot with 500CP and it has the move set I want. Then, I evolve a Pidgey with 150CP to a Pidgeot with 1500CP, but I don’t like its moves. Would they have different CP caps, or would they have the same, and I would just have to use more resources for the weaker one?

    • Cory Day Wichman

      right.. its just cost effectiveness basically… but stardust can be hard to come by, so use it wisely..

      • Cory Day Wichman

        they may have very slightly diff caps, but should be pretty similar…

  • TacoMLS

    You see, I don’t know what to do. What trainer level do you have to be to fully power up a Pokémon?

    • Jathon

      40, I believe. Which will be a ridiculous grind to get there.

      • Kaito Prower

        Actually, it’s been confirmed that all Pokemon encountered from Trainer Lv 30 and onwards have no difference in max CP cap; from Lv 1 to 40, each trainer will encounter the same pokemon, but from 1-29 the CP (and CP alone) will be different and 30-40 will be identical. Two trainers at the same level below 30 will ALSO get identical CPs, but there is no difference between a pokemon caught by a Lv 30 or Lv 40 trainer.

        This has also been confirmed for eggs. The pokemon inside is unique to that trainer (since it’s randomized after it’s received), but egg CPs cap at Trainer Lv. 20; a Pidgey hatched from a 2km egg at Lv 21 will max out to at same CP as one hatched at Lv 40.

  • Barry Steakfries

    I got 2 lvl 40 Pidgey and 300 candy. My plan is to max out 1 Pidgey and then evolve both to see if there a big difference in CP. I’m curious because An Eevee that I caught jumped from 211 to 536 when it evolved into Jolteon and I hadn’t given it any candy prior to that.

    • Maksim Kirandziski

      bruh 300 candies i really hope you bought them and not grind

      • Barry Steakfries

        Pidgey was the only thing spawning when I in NY. Plus u can’t buy candy

  • John P

    If you wait and save up all of your candies, evolve a lot of your Pokemon at once with a lucky egg and you will get a lot of experience. I went from lvl. 10 to lvl. 14 in 5 minutes

  • BostonLovestolearn

    I never thought of beards as being bully’s. I am very new to this game. All want to do is learn

    about it while I received kemo treatments for breast cancer. I am not a writer so gramar is not at all what I am thinking abou.. I can barley see the keyboard. But I am intimitadeted and disappointed I just want to learn this is my second day trying to play . It is a task when you come from a place where I never even heard of any of this . I just wanted some fun and to lear.. And by the way I don’t want to be treated mean for posting this comment , this by the way is the first comment I have ever put on the internet. I pray my treatment works so I can one day go out and just have fun playing this game. Thanks for your time.

  • FabFab Boii

    What happens if you max thier cp first, then evolve them? Does it make it where you can still upgrade their cp?

    • Jathon

      From what I believe, no. If you maxed out a magikarp and evolve, you will receive a maxed out gyarados.

  • Evolving increases your Health Points (HP) in addition to your CP. if you are active in Pokégym battles, you want to evolve first. The Pokémon status display has an arc the shows how far the Pokemon is to full 100% capability without needing tables and charts. The most important thing is to not spend resources on Pokémon that are low CP when you acquire them unless they have extremely useful potential in the future.

  • justine brody
  • Grant

    This helps so much if this is true. It’s really not like the ds version at all

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