Pokemon Go Incense Guide: The Best Way to Attract Wild Pokemon

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There are many valuable and convenient items in Pokemon Go, from evolution items, such as the Sinnoh Stone or the Magmarizer, to the various berries that help make catching wild Pokemon easier, like the Razz Berry. However, in my opinion, the one item that has proven itself to stand above all the others is the Incense.

In this article, I’ll be explaining why.

My Bottom Line Up Front

Incenses are a unique item in Pokemon Go that attracts wild Pokemon to the player’s direct location. This allows the player to catch many Pokemon even when completely stationary.

Since they are so valuable, these items can become even more useful when paired with other things, such as a Lucky Egg. However, these items are relatively scarce without paying a visit to the in-game shop, so players will have to know how to get the most out of these items while they posses them.

8 Incense
“Photo by Ben Allen”

General Info

First, Incense in Pokémon GO functions like a radar for wild Pokémon. When it’s active, your avatar will be surrounded by a pink mist, making wild Pokémon spawn more often around you.

When they were first added into the game, Pokémon would spawn once every five minutes if you were standing still, but this would change to once every minute if you were actively walking around. A single Incense will last for half an hour, allowing you to take advantage of all the wild Pokémon.

With the unfortunate arrival of COVID-19, Niantic decided to encourage Pokémon GO players to stay safe and play at home, so the duration of Incense was doubled, they became cheaper in the in-game shop, and the spawn rate increased to one Pokémon per minute, regardless of whether the player was moving or not. This let everybody catch wild Pokémon at a decent rate even if they couldn’t go outside.

This spawn effect was reverted to its original incarnation back in October, but every other change remained.

Obtaining Incense

There are only two confirmed ways to obtain Incense in POGO, but one of the easiest is just leveling up at certain levels. You’ll gain a specific amount of Incense:

  • Levels 5: 1 Incense
  • Level 7: 1 Incense
  • Level 10: 1 Incense
  • Level 15: 1 Incense
  • Level 20: 2 Incenses
  • Level 25: 1 Incense
  • Level 30: 3 Incenses
  • Level 35: 1 Incense
  • Level 40: 4 Incenses

Also, new trainers will have two Incense in their Bags before starting the game.

However, if you want an Incense instantly, you’ll have to pay a visit to the in-game shop, where you can buy a single Incense for 40 Pokecoins or a bundle of 8 for 250 Pokecoins. You can earn Pokecoins by leaving your Pokémon to guard a Gym or by exchanging your own real-life money for some in the in-game shop:

  •  100 Pokecoins: $0.99
  •  550 Pokecoins: $4.99
  • 1200 Pokecoins: $9.99
  • 2500 Pokecoins: $19.99
  • 5200 Pokecoins: $39.99
  • 14,500 Pokecoins: $99.99
Obtaining incense
“Photo by Ben Allen”

You can also obtain Incense through the various Special Boxes that are available in the in-game shop; there was also a one-time Special Box that you could purchase for 1 Pokecoin back on the 12th of March; you got a whopping 30 Incenses in this shop items:

Ultra Box

  • x25 Ultra Balls
  • x18 Premium Battle Passes
  • x5 Super Incubators
  • x5 Incense

Adventure Box

  • x18 Super Incubators
  • x4 Star Pieces
  • x2 Incense
  • x2 Egg Incubators

(Note that these prices are for the UK version of Pokémon GO)

The Incense Controversy 

Incence with misterious fragrance
“Photo by Ben Allen”

As of recently, yet another change has been made to how Incense works in Pokémon GO. This time Incense has lost its stationary bonus, meaning that you’ll only get a wild Pokémon spawn once every five minutes if you’re standing still. To try and balance this change, the duration of Incense has been increased from 60 minutes to 90 minutes.

Arguably, the most standout feature about Incense is that it allows wild Pokémon to come directly to you without you having to find them. Still, this new change meant that the player base would have to go out tracking down Pokémon themselves, making the use of Incense sort of redundant in the first place.

This sudden change would have had a significant effect on the POGO community regardless. Many players believe that Pokémon GO is the easiest to play in a city or town because there are a lot of places for wild Pokémon to spawn, allowing you to get the most out of the game.

However, most of the community lives in rural areas where it isn’t as easy to find wild Pokémon. As a result, several players may have trouble moving around to catch wild Pokémon. However, Incense made these issues much more tolerable, allowing rural and other types of players to see lots of Pokémon without having to move too much, especially on the special Community Days or Spotlight Hours, where a specific Pokémon’s spawn rate increases dramatically for a few hours.

Unfortunately, this recent change to Incense seems to plan on sticking around for a while. 

Other Useful Items & Additional Info

A few items pair well with Incenses in Pokemon GO, from the unique selection of berries to the much more rare items such as the Lucky Egg. Below are some items that work exceptionally well when used in tandem with an Incense:

Star Piece

A store item that boosts the amount of Stardust you can obtain from catching wild Pokemon. Stardust is essential because it allows you to power-up and evolve Pokemon. As you can imagine, when this item is paired with an Incense, it can prove to be a very efficient way of farming Stardust.

Lucky Egg

Much like its mainline-game equivalent, the Lucky Egg boosts the amount of EXP (Experience Points) you gain from catching wild Pokemon, Evolving Pokemon & hatching Eggs. If paired with an Incense, you’ll be able to net loads more EXP than usual. However, these items are scarce without visiting the in-game shop.

Lure Modules 

Lure Modules are incredibly similar to Incenses because they increase the span rate of wild Pokemon; the only difference is that Lure Modules can only be used at Pokestops as opposed to anywhere, like Incenses. They also benefit any other trainers who are nearby. Lure Modules also come in many different forms, with each one specializing in attracting a specific type of Pokemon:

  • Glacial Lure Module:- Attracts Water & Ice-type Pokemon
  • Rainy Lure Module:- Attracts Water, Bug & Ice-type Pokemon
  • Magnetic Lure Module:- Attracts Electric, Rock & Steel-type Pokemon
  • Mossy Lure Module:- Attracts Bug, Grass & Poison-type Pokemon

Pinap Berry

Out of all the berries in Pokemon GO, I find Pinap Berries to be the most useful. These items can increase the amount of Candy you receive after capturing a Wild Pokemon, which can then be used to power up and evolve any Pokemon you have in storage. As you can imagine, these berries work wonderfully when you’re under the effects of an Incense. 

Pinap Berries
“Photo by Ben Allen”

Differences Between Games

Incense in Pokemon GO works quite differently from how it does in the main games, which is typical since POGO (Pokemon GO) deviates so massively from the mainline titles.

In the previous games, specifically in Generation 3 (Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire), Incense was used as a breeding item, allowing two Pokémon to create Baby Pokémon they usually wouldn’t be able to. So, for example, if you breed a male and female Wobbufet, you’ll get a Wobuffet egg; however, if one of the Pokémon is holding the Lax Incense, you’ll get a Wynaut Egg instead.

In later generations, Incense was also given various effects in battle:

  • Full Incense: Forces the holder to move last during the turn
  • Lax Incense: Reduces the foe’s accuracy when they’re attacking the holder
  • Sea Incense: Boosts the power of the holder’s Water-type moves
  • Odd Incense: Boosts the power of the holder’s Psychic-type moves
  • Luck Incense: Doubles the amount of prize money you earn from battles
  • Pure Incense: Lowers the encounter rate of wild Pokémon when it’s held.
  • Rock Incense: Boosts the power of the holder’s Rock-type moves
  • Rose Incense: Boosts the power of the holder’s Grass-type moves
  • Wave Incense: Boosts the power of the holder’s Water-type moves


Question: Are there any kinds of Incense that attract specific types of Pokemon? 

Answer: Unfortunately, there isn’t. Though I imagine something like that would come in handy, especially during certain weather where specific Pokemon types will spawn more frequently. 

Question: Can you stack the effects of Incense in Pokemon GO? 

Answer: Nope. If you try to use an Incense while you’re already under the effects of one, it will just reset the current Incense’s timer.

Question: When are the best times to use Incenses?

Answer: I’d recommend using an Incense during Spotlight Hours or on Community Days, as this allows you to make the most of these events. 

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