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How to get coins in Pokémon GO

As part of a free-to-play title, the digital currency known as PokéCoins make the Pokémon GO world spin. PokéCoins are used to buy additional Pokéballs, draw Pokémon to your location, and even change your character’s appearance. From buying them with real money, to grinding them for free, we’re going to show you how to get coins in Pokémon GO.

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Buying PokéCoins

Pokémon GO is a free-to-play game and, as such, is commanded by the virtual currency of PokéCoins. Although you can grind coins for free — we’ll show you how in just a moment — you’ll need to fork out some cash if you want to purchase upgrades quickly. Thankfully, PokéCoins are fairly cheap.

  • 100 coins – $0.99
  • 550 coins – $4.99
  • 1,200 coins – $9.99
  • 2,500 coins – $19.99
  • 5,200 coins – $39.99
  • 14,500 coins – $99.99

The conversion is about a penny per coin, but you can save by purchasing them in bulk. For instance, the most expensive bundle includes $145 worth of coins for $99.99. Although it’s never fun dumping $100 into a mobile game, the larger bundles of coins are the best option if you want to get the best bang for your buck.

As for how far your real-world money will take you in-game, it depends on what you’re looking to buy. Pokéballs are around a nickel each, while Lures are a dollar. Like coins, you can save big by purchasing items in bulk, which we’ll detail in the last section of this guide.

Getting PokéCoins for free

Although various companies have done promotions featuring PokéCoins — Sprint gave away $100 worth of coins to customers a few years ago — the only way to receive PokéCoins for free is to place your Pokémon at gyms. Gyms are controlled by one of the three teams you can align with in Pokémon GO — Mystic, Valor, or Instinct. If your team controls a gym, you can place your Pokémon there. If not, you’ll need to battle for control. Depending on how many opposing Pokémon are at the gym, the process of defeating them all can take a while. You’ll need to defeat all Pokémon at the gym in order to take it over.

Once your team controls a gym, you can place one Pokémon there, removing it from your roster, temporarily. Placing a Pokémon at a gym can earn you up to 50 PokéCoins per day. You earn six PokéCoins per every hour the Pokémon defends the gym (or one PokéCoin per every 10 minutes). You should know that the most number of coins you can earn each day is 50, regardless of how many Pokémon you place at various gyms. This also means that even if a Pokémon defends a gym for longer than one day, you still only earn a maximum of 50 PokéCoins each time you place one at a gym.

After your Pokémon has been defeated, it will be returned to you with the number of coins it earned (up to 50). For example, if your Pokémon only managed to defend the gym for 10 minutes, it will earn you one PokéCoin when it’s returned to you. Niantic initially had a different formula for rewarding players with PokéCoins, but it was changed after the first year. The new setup is slower than before — incentivizing players to buy PokéCoins instead.

What you can buy with PokéCoins

Now that you have some PokéCoins lining your pockets, it’s time to spend them. Here’s what you can buy with PokéCoins.


For the most part, you’ll be purchasing Pokéballs with your coins, and thankfully, they’re pretty cheap. You can use Pokéballs to catch wild Pokémon, though only the standard Pokéballs are available for purchase in the shop. If you want special Pokéballs, you can get them from PokéStops.

  • 20 Pokéballs – 100 coins
  • 100 Pokéballs – 460 coins
  • 200 Pokéballs – 800 coins


You can use Incense to attract Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes, though which Pokémon you attract is random, not dependent on the location you’re in. Unlike Lures, Incense doesn’t provide a boost to all players within a certain range of you. If you’re going to use it, it only works on you.

  • 1 Incense – 40 coins
  • 8 Incense – 250 coins

Lucky Egg

Lucky Eggs grant you double XP for 30 minutes, allowing you to capitalize on catching new Pokémon, hatching eggs, and participating in gym battles. Like Incense, this effect only applies to you and lasts a half hour, no matter if you’re actively playing the game or not.

  • 1 Lucky Egg – 80 coins
  • 8 Lucky Eggs – 500 coins


Lures are a big deal in Pokémon GO, attracting Pokémon to a PokéStop for 30 minutes. Unlike Incense, however, the effect applies to everyone in proximity of a PokéStop. That means if someone drops a Lure at a PokéStop every 30 minutes, it could mean hours of stationary Pokémon grinding.

In addition to standard Lures, there are some special Lures available for purchase. Unlike most other items in the game, however, you can get these special items in various ways. You can learn more about that in our guide on how to get special items in Pokémon GO.

  • 1 Lure – 100 coins
  • 8 Lures – 680 coins
  • Glacial Lure – 200 coins
  • Mossy Lure – 200 coins
  • Magnetic Lure – 200 coins

Style options

Aside from practical items that help you catch more Pokémon, you can also use PokéCoins at the Style Shop — in exchange for cosmetics like clothing, hats, various poses, and more. They all have different prices, ranging from 50 coins to upward of 400.

Here’s what the Style Shop currently features:

  • Poses
  • Hats
  • Masks
  • Glasses
  • Tops
  • Bags
  • Gloves
  • Bottoms
  • Socks
  • Footware

The shop is updated frequently, with different items being added periodically. Limited items can be taken off the market without notice, so check the shop often to see if there are items you want to snag.

Other items in the Pokémon GO shop

In addition to Pokéballs, Incense, Lures, and Lucky Eggs, there are various other items, upgrades, and cosmetics you can purchase in Pokémon GO. The mainstays include the Egg Incubator for 150 coins, 10 Max Potions for 200 coins, and six Max Revives for 180 coins. If you find yourself buying too many items, then you can either buy an extra item bag or expanded storage for your Pokémon. Each of these upgrades will cost you 200 coins.

If you want to get a bunch of goodies in one fell swoop, you’re better off buying a box, which is a collection of limited edition items sold at a discount. At the time of writing, for example, there’s the Adventure Box for 1,480 coins, which includes 10 Super Incubators, three Incense, three Star Pieces, and seven Egg Incubators. Neglecting the Star Pieces, this box would have a value of over 3,000 coins.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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