Pikachu is considered to be the mascot of the whole Pokémon franchise. The small, yellow Electric-type Pokémon is quite possibly the most famous creature from the whole franchise and not many people around the world can say that they’ve never heard of Pikachu. As with most Pokémon, Pikachu can evolve and in this article, you are going to get your full guide on how and when to evolve Pikachu in video games.
Pikachu can be evolved at any time during your journey together, thanks to the fact that Pikachu evolves via the Thunder Stone. Still, due to Pikachu being able to learn the powerful Thunderbolt move, it is advised that you evolve your Pikachu after it learns that move. Each game has Pikachu learn the move at a different level.
In the rest of the article, we are going to explain when the best time to evolve your Pikachu in the main games is. You’re going to find out whether it is better to evolve your Pikachu earlier or later, whether you have to wait until a certain level and finally, when the best moment to evolve your Pikachu is. It’s going to be a very informative article so prepare yourselves for a fun read.
What is the best level to evolve Pikachu?
As we all know by now, there is only one way to evolve Pikachu in the main games and most other games as well. Pikachu does not evolve by leveling up or via some other statistical value, it evolves exclusively via the Thunder Stone. So, in order to evolve your Pikachu, you first have to have a Pikachu on your roster. Then, you need to obtain a Thunder Stone and use it on your Pikachu. This can be done on any level, as there are no level-based limitations when evolutionary stones are concerned.
If you want more information on how to evolve Pikachu, check our guide.
So, seeing how Pikachu doesn’t evolve by leveling up, but via an evolutionary stone, one might think that you can evolve Pikachu at just about any moment of your journey, right? Well, although that is theoretically correct, as you are able to do it, there is a tactical approach to the games that advises you to evolve Pikachu after it learns a specific movie.
The move we are talking about is Thunderbolt, a very powerful Electric-type move that Pikachu should definitely know before you evolve it, as it won’t learn it after it has been evolved. So, when does Pikachu learn Thunderbolt? It depends on the game!
In Let’s Go, Pikachu and Let’s Go, Eevee!, the recent Generation I remakes, Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at Level 21.
But in Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at Level 42, even though he can learn Wild Charge at Level 50 you can still evolve Pikachu at Level 42 in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, because Wild Charge is a TM-teachable move as well.
In X and Y, Pikachu learns the move Discharge at Level 42 which isn’t a TM-teachable move. But Discharge is not so strong as Thunderbolt. While Discharge has a power stats of 80, Thunderbolt has a power of 90. Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at level 29
In Omega Ruby and Alpha Saphhire, Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at Level 42.
In Black and White, as well as Black 2 and White 2, Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at Level 29.
In Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Ruby, Sapphire, LeafGreen, FireRed, Emerald, Gold, Silver, Crystal and Yellow, i.e., the majority of the main games, Pikachu learns Thunderbolt at Level 26.
In Red and Blue, though, Pikachu cannot learn Thunderbolt through level up. You must have the TM 24 Thunderbolt and use it on Pikachu. At Level 26, Pikachu does learn the move Swift, which is quite useful in battle, despite not being very strong. So, in Red and Blue, you can evolve Pikachu at that time, when you have found the TM 24 for Thunderbolt and used it on Pikachu.
Is it better to evolve Pikachu early?
Now that you know all the information on Pikachu and his evolutions, we can give you a precise answer on whether it is better to evolve your Pikachu early or not. Now, you know that you’re not bound by any level and that you can actually evolve your Pikachu as soon as you obtain a Thunder Stone, regardless of the Pikachu’s level. But is that a good decision?
Okay, the obvious benefit of evolving your Pikachu is that it’ll become significantly stronger. In order to demonstrate that, we are going to give you a brief stats comparison of the two Pokémon:
* the stats for Pikachu are based on the “Partner Pikachu” from Pokémon Yellow, which is the strongest version of Pikachu in the games. We have used this version specifically to demonstrate that Raichu is stronger than even the strongest version of Pikachu in the games.
As you can see, there is a significant increase in the Pokémon’s attacking power, which is certainly a great benefit for all players who want to have a strong team and not just collect as many Pokémon as possible. But, is there a way you can utilise these stats and still get more from your Pikachu? If you evolve your Pikachu early, you’ll just be getting a stronger Pokémon, which can be beneficial in the beginning but ultimately, your Raichu won’t be able to help you as you progress further into the game.
This is why it is not really that good to evolve your Pikachu into Raichu early on. You should follow our guide above and let your Pikachu learn Thunderbolt and/or some other relevant move before you evolve it, meaning that you shouldn’t really evolve it early on. Sure, you could compensate the lack of moves with a TM, but it would be better if you waited a bit so you can get the most out of this evolution.