Should you power up or evolve first in Pokemon Go?

by Paul Cotton


To Power Up or evolve first - the age old Pokemon Go question that even nearly four years following the game's release, some trainers still don't know the answer to.

Evolution is a universally known concept among fans – after all, evolving Pokemon is an integral part of the game. A much newer concept is to "Power Up" Pokemon, which is something those who haven't played Pokemon Go at length may not understand.

What is power up?

Firstly, before answering the question of whether you should power up or evolve first, it is important to fully understand what powering up does.

Pokemon Go Stardust
Pokemon Go Stardust
Powering up Pokemon will cost precious stardust...


Powering up your Pokemon essentially gets it closer to its maximum potential. There are 40 levels in Pokemon Go and powering up gets you closer to that maximum level. This Level 40 isn't to be confused with the maximum level a trainer can attain, as these are separate.

When powering up you also need to account for the diminishing returns of using precious stardust on increasing your Pokemon's power. As the level goes up, the more stardust it costs to increase it further for less reward. Pokemon Go players will be very aware of how hard it is to accrue a lot of Stardust and will, therefore, know it's important to use it sparingly and where appropriate.

It is worth noting that there is a big difference between CP and IV, whereby CP is an aggregated statistic that combines a Pokemon's level and IVs. A good way to think of this is that CP is how strong your Pokemon is, while its IVs show its potential.


A species' CP will also increase when it evolves. This is because evolved forms tend to have higher base stats, indicating a more powerful Pokemon. Again, base stats shouldn't be confused with IV and CP. Base stats are specific to an individual species, IVs show how strong that Pokemon is within a specific species, and as said above CP is a rough overall statistic showing its strength.

Pokemon Go Evolution
Pokemon Go Evolution
Evolving Pokemon will make their base stats better and increase their CP...

Evolve first?

So, now we know exactly what powering up does, we can discuss which to do first. Before the introduction of TMs, the Pokemon's moveset was more important. This meant it was better to evolve Pokemon first to find whether they had the desired move.

With that said though, there is no reason to waste TMs, as they aren't a common resource. Therefore, the argument can be made that it's more sensible to evolve first to see if you get the move you want for free.


In addition to this, an evolved Pokemon will have superior base stats and consequently be better in battle.

It's a question that is continually asked within the Pokemon Go community but as the mechanics of the game stand, as discussed, there is little difference.

As with any other game, this could change so it would be wise to keep on top of any changes that are made.