Maximizing Incubators: Egg Hatching Strategy Guide

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A Note for New Players

If you’re reading this guide, you’re likely over level 20, but new players reading this should wait and revisit this guide after leveling up a few more times. Hatched Pokemon will be the level that you were when you received the egg OR level 20, whichever is lower. Incubators have much better value when they hatch level 20 Pokemon, so your premium Incubators should be saved until then. Continue to hatch with your infinite Orange Incubator but save any Blue and Purple Incubators you get from leveling, Special Research, and Special Boxes till after you hit level 20.

General Strategy

For tips for the current event, an upcoming event, or past events, jump ahead to the section When to Deviate/Event-Specific Strategies

This guide can also be found in audio/video format here, for those that prefer that form of content. The video can be played alongside the article, or you can listen to it in podcast form on your commute or Pokemon Go play session. Listen to it the next time you crack a Star Piece or Lucky Egg! Now that's getting the most out of your items!

The general idea of this guide can be summarized in one picture.

With the orange (infinite) Egg Incubator, the best strategy is to hoard 2km and 10km Eggs while cycling through 5km Eggs. During specific times (outlined in “When to Deviate”), switch to orange Incubating 2km Eggs. Orange Incubate 2km Eggs when you have no 5km Eggs left.

ABI. Always Be Incubating. Especially with your infinite Orange Incubator. There’s no reason to ever stop. Pop another Egg in after each hatch as the first thing you do, and double check you did so during downtime. Unless you’re by a handful of spinnable photo discs, it’s usually better to Incubate whatever you have than hoping to get something better after visiting a Poke Stop. The distance you might lose in traveling to a Stop adds up over time.

10km Eggs should be incubated in Blue (and Purple/Super) Incubators. You can orange Incubate five 2km or two 5km Eggs in the time a 10km Egg clogs up your orange Incubator. Use Incubators with the most amount of uses left and hang onto 1 use Incubators to increase the ability to incubate multiple eggs at once. It is important to do this within reason, as Incubators take up Item Bag space. Still you should keep yourself with enough Incubators to allow you to hatch multiple eggs at once. The bag space taken up by a few extra incubators is likely well spent.

Deciding exactly when to start Blue Incubating 10km Eggs is a decision that needs to weigh current and upcoming events, number of available Blue Incubators, and current available coins and sales. In general, it is optimal to leave be holding at least 3 or 4 2km eggs, so clearing out 10km eggs to accommodate that storage is recommended.

Why Save 2km Eggs?

Saving 2km Eggs allows you to more quickly hatch Eggs when you need to, including but not limited to the following cases:

  • Release of new (or new Shiny) Pokemon
  • Egg hatching Research Tasks
  • Events with increased rates on desired Pokemon
  • Events with limited-release Pokemon
  • Bonus Stardust events as 2km Eggs have the best Dust : km ratio (see Egg Stats below)

Event-only Hat Pichu can all be obtained more easily by saving 2km Eggs. It is important to note that Eggs have never been re-rolled in the history of Pokemon Go. The Hatched Pokemon’s Species, Level, IV, and cosmetic status (shiny/hat/form) is determined when the Egg is acquired from a Pokestop and cannot change. If this was not the case, stockpiling 10km and 5km Eggs for new releases would make sense. Keeping an inventory full of 2km Eggs allow you to quickly and efficiently (from an Incubation perspective) remove old Eggs, allowing you to pick up the new ones quickly.

In a scenario where you have a few to no Blue/Purple Incubators, continue to hatch 2km Eggs during these periods, even as your inventory fills with new 5 and 10 km eggs. Any Pichu Eggs obtained during “hat events” will continue to have a hat even if hatched after the event window ends. Because of this, you should not feel rushed into hatching 2km Eggs with Super Incubators during an event. Many players are able to complete their hat Pichu collection while remaining completely FTP using this guide.

The Research “Hatch 5 Eggs” with Chansey Encounter Reward is one of the most sought after Research. By hatching 5km Eggs and stockpiling 2km, this research can be much quicker. Unready trainers will need to walk 20-25km to Hatch the needed Eggs, or are forced to spending Incubators which can make completing this research expensive.

Hatching 3 Eggs is a much easier task though still made much easier by keeping 2km Eggs on hand. With only 5km Eggs, it will take 15-25km to complete these tasks, while it can take less than 6-10km with stockpiled 2km Eggs.

Players following this guide will find that number drastically reduced to 8-13km, the distance remaining in the current 5km Egg + 4*2km. Trainers with an additional Incubator may speed this up by 2km by Incubating a 5km Egg halfway through the first 2km, a 10km Egg 1/5th through your original 5km Egg, or Super Incubating a 10km Egg 4.3/5km through the initial egg.

Egg Stats

2km 5-10 Candy 400-800 Stardust[Dust = Candy*75 + (0 to 75)] 200XP 1.33 in Super Incubator
5km/7km 10-21 Candy 800-1600 Stardust[Dust = Candy*75 + (0 to 75)] 500XP 3.33/4.66 in Super Incubator
10km 16-32 Candy 1600-3200 Stardust[Dust = Candy*75 + (0 to 100)] 1000XP 6.66 in Super Incubator
The list of current non-event egg available Pokemon can be found here.

The Batch Hatch: Incubators, Super Incubators, and Star Pieces

Egg Incubators and Super Incubators both perform the same function; they hatch 3 Pokemon. Blue and Purple Incubators will both grant the same in Pokemon, Candy, and Stardust. The only scenarios where Super Incubators outperform Egg Incubators are;

  • when trying to quickly complete Egg-related Research to make room for more Quests
  • if you will buy more Incubators when you run out
  • if you constantly run 9 Incubators
  • when you are limited in play-time during an event

*Egg-related Research can be abandoned and reclaimed when you are about hatch eggs.

Outside of these examples, Blue and Purple Incubators serve an identical function and should be considered the same when analyzing Special Box deals and when to purchase them. The next step is maximizing Incubator use. During events with increased rates of better Pokemon, new Pokemon releases, bonus candy, and bonus Stardust, it is obviously more advantageous to start incubating do maximize benefits. This also provides an additional incentive to not rush through Incubators if an upcoming event may offer hatching incentives.

To continue to get benefits, you can Batch Hatch piles of eggs. This allows you to use one Star Piece to multiply the effects of multiple Incubators. Star Pieces provide 1.5 times the Stardust for every activity in Go, making each 10km egg hatched under a Star Piece effectively like catching 24-48 Pokemon.

An example of a setup for a Batch Hatch (that also has the bonus of completing “Hatch 5 Eggs”)

Here are some additional things to keep in mind while performing a Batch Hatch.

  • If you are Incubating all 9 Eggs in synch, there will be some time after the hatch before you spin some Pokestops to receive Eggs. For this reason, it is recommended that players attempting to be efficient with Incubator use only ever have 8 Eggs Incubating at once so that there is always an available Egg for the infinite orange Incubator.
  • Don’t stop Incubating with the orange Incubator just to line it up with other Eggs. In the above picture, Super Incubators were started with 1.6 distance remaining on an Egg (0.4 on a 2km or 3.4 on a 5km) so that the orange Incubator would line up. A worse mistake is Super Incubating 9 10km Eggs at the same time. If you find this fun don’t let that stop you, but it is inefficient. If the goal is to hatch 9 10kms at once and you have Super Incubators, start Super Incubating when a 10km Egg is 3.3/10km through an orange Incubator., though it is still recommended to only incubate 8 at a time.
  • For the less diligent, having one of the Eggs hatch .1-.3 km before the other can be a nice reminder to break your Star Piece before it hatches your other Eggs. Don’t space Eggs too far out that you can’t complete the distance in one Star Piece reliably.
  • There are only 2 benefits to a Batch Hatch; combining them with Research Tasks and Star Pieces. Ideally, a Batch Hatch should be combined with a Star Piece grind session, though players with excess Star Piece may find themselves using them more frivolously. Those running low should Batch Hatch when they also have the availability to claim rewards, and catch Pokemon, including “banked” Research Encounters all together.

There are a few tactical errors with the above image comparatively to the previous NoLucksGiven certified Batch Hatch. Almost all of the above tips are ignored, leaving the player with a lot less resources, or requiring spending even more premium items. Some simple math can be done to help see an appropriate number of eggs to Batch Hatch for you. Add up the total number of uses in all of your Blue and Purple Incubators and divide by your total number of Star Piece.

Doing so let’s you know an optimal number of Eggs to Incubate per batch hatch. In this example, you can alternate Incubating 4 and 5 eggs at once (plus the infinite Incubator) 18 times and run out both premium items at the same time, ensuring maximum efficiency. The goal would be to do each of these Batch Hatches during bonus Stardust events or combine them with Special Research or weekly Field Research Breakthroughs plus your typical grind catch session and clearing through banked research encounters. Gifts now providing Stardust means they can also be included into a Batch Hatch session. Stretching out your resources and always having some on hand also allows you to slowly gather coins to purchase more in discounted Legacy Special Boxes without feeling pressured into making bad purchases.

Maximizing Gifts - Alolan Egg Hatching Guide

The addition of Trading and Friendship also introduced the ability to receive Alolan eggs as gifts from friends. Some of these can hatch and evolve into powerful and meta relevant Pokemon. Though some aspects of the gift feature are still quite bugged and drop rates have experienced some fluctuation, keep in mind the following while hoping to attain Alolan 7km eggs and maximize gifts in addition to incubators.

  • Alolan 7km eggs can only be attained by opening a gift with an open Egg Storage Slot AND an available space in your Pokemon Storage (true for all eggs). Be wary of spinning photo disks when close to hatching an egg, as you may have already hatched it before you see the animation.
  • Hatched Alolan Pokemon will have their location marked as the PokeStop the gift and postcard were attained at. Using this can allow players to complete their gold Pilot badge, which tracks trade distance, easily with other local trainers. It also can mean more candy from trading it away.
  • Players can only open 20 gifts daily. Don’t get stuck unable to open gifts when you want an Alolan 7km egg. Save some of your allotment of 20 gifts for when hatching eggs. To maximize chances of Alolan 7km eggs and friendship bonuses, wait till before midnight when the gift limit resets to finish opening your daily gifts. Doing this also has the added effect of making sure you don’t double up and open from friends whose friendship you’ve already increased that day.
  • Egg contents are determined when the gift is opened. Hatched Pokemon will be the level you were when you opened the gift or level 20, whichever is lower. Players below level 20 should avoid obtaining Alolan eggs (Though this is also the only way to obtain most of these Alolan Pokemon below level 20, for players interested in obtaining low level Pokemon for collection purposes).
  • There is also very likely a limit of receiving 10 Alolan eggs per day, though we have limited information on this matter.

Alolan Pokemon forms being added into Go is an exciting shakeup that not many players were expecting. While the Alolan forms do have something to offer, it is important to note that they grant the same amount of Stardust, Candy, and XP as 5km eggs. While you can maximise your chances of receiving Alolan 7km eggs from gifts, you also need to determine if you want to. Every Alolan 7km egg hatched is essentially a lost 2km egg worth of value that you could walk in the differences between their distances. Reasons to hatch 7km Alolan eggs include wanting to

  • Add Ratata, Sandshrew, Vulpix, Meowth, Grimer, Geodude, Diglett, and their evolved forms to your Pokedex. Other than Rat, newer players may still be looking to complete some of these normal Pokedex entries. Alolan forms share candy and Pokedex entries with their Kantonian counterparts, making these eggs an interesting way to earn specific candy and fill dex holes for species rare to your biome.
  • Add Alolan Form entries to your Pokedex. A basic point, this is the draw most players will have towards Alolan 7km eggs. Trading new Alolan forms costs 20k Stardust at the Good Friends level. Alolan Vulpix appears in less than 1/29 of Alolan 7km eggs (published before the addition of Ratata, Geodude and Diglett into 7km eggs). Considering hatching this many Alolan 7km eggs actually results in a loss of over 20,000 Stardust, it is actually more efficient to trade for Alolan Vulpix, on average, if you have not received one after hatching all other Alolan Pokemon. Edit: This is lo longer true after the July 20th update to the Alolan egg pool.
  • Add gendered Alolan Form entries to your collection. This provides another layer of collection for the more dedicated players that want an additional challenge. Like shiny forms, 
  • Collect high IV forms of specific or all Alolan Pokemon. Alongside Stardust, IV hunting is the huge draw to egg hatching. Some players will seek high IV of each Pokemon while others will look for specific and meta relevant Alolan forms.

Note: The 7km Egg Pool has been expanded to include baby Pokemon since the writing of this section.

So, given that we want to be receiving Alolan eggs, the following things should be kept in mind. Even for those players not interested in Alolan eggs, many of these tips can be used to get the most out of the friendship feature, which has many other benefits including reducing Stardust costs and increasing Premiere Balls received from a Raid.

  • Only open gifts when you have an open egg slot. You can only open 20 daily and don’t want to hit that limit and be unable to receive Alolan eggs that day. Avoid spinning stops until you have opened enough gifts to receive the desired amount of eggs. Note that for players willing to change their phone's displayed time, you can access tomorrow's gifts in the same way you can use tomorrow's Raid Pass if you're really in need of an Alolan Egg. This won't affect the current gifts in your inventory, but will consider the next day's limit and friendship level.
  • Alternatively, don’t open gifts until you’ve spun enough stops if you don’t wish to receive Alolan Eggs. These players can likely open all their gifts in the morning (or after midnight).
  • Open Gifts from players far away if you’d like to get Alolan Eggs and complete your Pilot medal.
  • Otherwise, prioritize players that you want to increase friendship levels with (for battling or trading purposes) and have not increased your level with yet today. Friendships can only gain one experience point per day, so don’t open from players you’ve raided/traded with that day, or those that have already opened a gift from you.
  • If you raid group differs from day to day or week to week, prioritize high friendship levels with the most active players in each group so you’ll always have a Great Ultra or even Best friend wherever/whenever you need them! Friendship bonuses for balls and damage don’t stack so you only need to ensure you have one from each area. The limit on gifts is 100 daily, so please share the love, but keep this in mind.
  • EX Raids generally give out passes more than 7 days in advance, meaning you have time to ensure at least Great friendship from someone on your team even if you aren’t friends when you receive the passes.
  • At the end of the day, open your remaining gifts up to 20. Night owls may want to set an alarm for 11:52 PM to ensure they remember to open up their remaining gifts before the reset. Again, prioritize players you haven’t interacted with during that day.

Note: This section was written before the addition of Lucky Friendship which can be a huge incentive to share gifts with friends.

  • Save 1 gift. If you have a gift in your inventory, you can see if your friend has opened a gift from you yet today, allowing you to open gifts from other friends. Note that this only works if you have a gift in your inventory. Otherwise you’ll only see the message “You have no Gifts in your inventory. Visit a Pokestop to look for them!” which has an icon identical to when a friend has an unopened gift from you.
  • After hitting your daily limit, send your last gift. The rest of your gifts should be shared as often as possible throughout the day. Sharing the love with your gifts always benefits you, if the warm feeling of giving your friends some Pokeballs and revives isn’t enough, so keep on giving. Sending a gift grants 200XP each and there’s additional XP bonuses for friendship milestones.

Additionally, remember you can only hold 10 Gifts at once so check periodically to send them out, especially if you notice you haven’t received a gift in a while. That means you’re already holding 10. Sending gifts allows others to build friendship with you and encourages others to keep sending too. Gifts are picked up from stops and gyms similarly to eggs. You can receive only one gift at a time, but can keep spinning a stop every five minutes to get more gifts. You may only pick up 100 gifts per day.

In terms of combining gifts with premium items, gifts providing Stardust makes quick opening about as fruitful as “quick catching”. Don’t break a Star Piece just for your gifts, but consider combining them to a Batch Hatch + grind as mentioned above. Using a Lucky Egg when becoming someone’s Ultra or Best is equivalent to Lucky Egging 5 or 10 Tier 5 Raids meaning it’s a decent use of a Lucky Egg even by itself. True friends should also notify their Ultra and Best when a friendship tier increases and plan together so you can both Lucky Egg it. Both players have until they see the popup notification for increased friendship and XP, meaning it is possible to immediately log in and apply a Lucky Egg if you know you're about to level up with a few friends.

When to Deviate/Event-Specific Strategies

Current/Upcoming Event:

Eggstravaganza 2019

Relevant bonuses; All 2km Eggs*, Bonus Candy for Hatches, 1/2 Egg Distance.

*This event has an increased number of species in the 2km egg pool, though it still offers some higher tier eggs. Events with all 2km is covered below and is mostly relevant. You should be able to churn through eggs this event with a great deal on Incubators and 1/2 distance. If you have a lot of Pokedex entries to fill this event is a wonderful opportunity to do so. Incubating 2km Eggs with double candy as opposed to 5/7km Eggs should result in the same amount of candy though less dust per incubator.

As an aside on research, event research is so abundant that you can freely toss Chansey quests until your about to complete a batch. You can also pretty reliably churn through 2km eggs meaning a Chansey quest can be completed in the Orange incubator in just 5km.

All 2km Eggs

Strategy: (if egg pool is good): If they're all 2km eggs, there's not much to say as far as strategy goes. It comes down to preference on how many incubators you want to purchase for hatching. The more you hatch the more you can pick up before the event ends. You'll very likely want to Batch Hatch larger eggs. Don't rush to clear through 2km eggs after the event ends. The contents will be exciting, but they wont change. Stretch them out to complete research. This is usually coupled with bonus stardust and candy (or during a localized event). Consult the chart above for direct comparison, but know that this generally doesn't make a Batch Hatch worthwhile, especially if low on Star Pieces.

Strategy (if egg pool is bad): Not much to do here. You can use this opportunity to stockpile 2km Eggs for the next Pichu release. Usually this is tied along with Bonus Stardust but not much to do if it isn't. Can potentially put higher priority on hatching research tasks since you'll have 2km eggs to burn.

Common Research: Hatch 2 Eggs - Rare Candy

Strategy: Forgo typical Batch Hatch sessions in favor of focusing on research completion, hatching in pairs. Super Incubating can be combined with orange Incubating to continually complete research. Super Incubate 10km Eggs when the previous Egg has 1.6km left before orange Incubating 5km Eggs. Super Incubate 5km Eggs when the previous Egg has 1.3km left before orange Incubating 2km Eggs. Pay attention to task locations and remaining Egg distance to acquire Research right before you complete it.

Limited Release: Event Pichu in 2km Eggs

Strategy: Prioritize hatching 2km Eggs whenever available and fill inventory with 5km Eggs to be cleared after the event ends, as their contents won't change when the event ends. A Batch Hatch on 5km and 10km eggs can help but is generally not needed if you had some 2km eggs to begin with. Egg contents won't change so prioritize event eggs over pre-existing ones. Eggs also won't change when the event ends. This is mostly for peace of mind in knowing weather or not you received the event Pichu.

Limited* Release: Shiny Pokemon

Strategy: For events with increased rates on hatching Baby Pokemon and new shiny releases, dedicated collectors will likely need to Incubate more than normal, as the rates on these Pokemon is quite rare. It has also been shown with events like Community Day that the shiny rate of a Pokemon may be event-specific. Unlike some events where the egg contents are determined when you receive them, increasing incubation may increase your chances to receive Shiny Pokemon variants if hatched before the end of the event.

Bonus Stardust for Hatches

Strategy: 2km Eggs have the best Dust : km ratio so prioritize these in your Orange Incubator unless one of the two above events is believed to be happening soon. Batch Hatching becomes more effective. This is particularly noteworthy for Community Days with these bonuses due to limited time and events with other Stardust bonuses, which increase the efficacy of breaking a Star Piece.

Bonus Candy for Hatches

Strategy: Stardust is generally the limiting resource but some rare species are mostly limited to 10km eggs. A Batch Hatch of those eggs can be easy to justify here and if probably beneficial towards completing rare Pokedex entries with multiple evolutions. Saving for bonus Stardust events is mostly a hedge against eggs with irrelevant Pokemon species inside.

1/4 or 1/2 Egg Distance

Strategy:  If the event if about to start, it's likely worthwhile to momentarily stop incubating completely, unless you can get close to hatching something before the start of the event. Decreased distance only counts for eggs that begin incubating during the event window. It also doesn't stop when the event ends if you can Incubate an egg first. The distance required will stay decreased. Towards the end of the event, leave yourself with a larger egg for a larger discount in your infinite Incubator.

Gen 1 Regional Pokemon in 7km Eggs

Strategy: Nothing to do but consider saving incubators and hatching additional eggs during the event if you have holes in your Pokedex. The strategy of stockpiling 2km eggs holds true as you can clear through them quickly and cheap after the event starts. Remember that egg contents are set once you receive the egg. This means you can hatch your 7km after the event window and still receive regional Pokemon.

Release: New Pokemon Generation

Strategy: To maximize your incubators, there's really not much to be gained by rushing to fill your Pokedex. Patient players should take the rest of this guide as normal. Remember that egg contents are determined when the egg enters your Pokemon Storage.

Community Day 10km Species

Strategy: Begin hoarding Incubators.During Larvitar CD, all 10km eggs contained Larvitar (note that this coincided with the Water Festival which meant all other eggs were 2km eggs). It is currently unknown whether or not we'll see Beldum receive the same treatment, but it should be taken advantage of if true. Pay attention to reports from parts of the world that receive CD before you if you're lucky enough to live in Europe or America. Australia/Asia, please let us know! Send reports to Reddit, GamePress or NoLucksGiven directly on twitter.


Again, the entirety of this guide can be more or less summarized by one picture, though that picture may be worth a few thousand words to fully understand the reasons the strategy is so effective.

Prioritize orange incubating 5km Eggs to reap the benefits of 2km Eggs for events and research tasks. Batch Hatch 10km Eggs as needed during Star Piece grind sessions for the greatest income of one of the game’s scarcest resources.