As noted in our guide on Stardust, Stardust is one of the two most important resources in Pokémon GO, the other being Candies. In fact, Candies are an even more important resource than Stardust as Candies are used not only to level Pokémon up but are also used to evolve them. Each evolution family in the game has its own specific kind of Candy. For example, Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard have Charmander Candy, Ekans and Arbok have Ekans Candy and Squirtle, Wartortle and Blastoise have Squirtle Candy. In order to evolve or power up a specific Pokémon, you are going to need a specific amount of Candies belonging to the evolution family of the Pokémon in question.
What are Candies used for?
In the game, Candies serve two very important functions – evolving Pokémon, and powering them up. If you want to power a Pokémon up, you are going to need a specific amount of Stardust and one or more Candies belonging to the Pokémon’s evolution family depending on how far along the Pokémon is on its CP arc.
Evolving a Pokémon in its next form, on the other hand, is entirely dependent on Candies belonging to the Pokémon’s evolution family. Different Pokémon require different amounts of Candy in order to evolve into their next stage. For example, evolving a Charmander into a Charmeleon requires 25 Charmander Candies, whereas evolving a Growlithe into an Arcanine requires 50 Growlithe Candies. If you want to learn how to evolve Pokémon in Pokémon GO, see this guide.
How can you get more Candies?
Unlike Pokéballs and Incense, Candies are a resource that cannot be bought in the Shop. Instead, Candies need to be earned, and the following are the three ways in the game through which Pokémon trainers can earn Candies:
The quickest and simplest way to earn Candies in Pokémon GO is by catching Pokémon. Most Pokémon trainers catch Pokémon by the dozens, if not hundreds, every day, and for each Pokémon that a trainer catches, they receive 100 Stardust and a total of 3 Candies belonging to the evolution family of the caught Pokémon.
Out of the three ways in the game that Pokémon trainers can use to acquire Candies, hatching eggs is the most rewarding one, although it is also the one that requires the most work. When a Pokémon trainer hatches an egg, they receive a Pokémon and along with that Pokémon come a pretty decent amount of Stardust and a generous number of Candies belonging to the evolution family of the hatched Pokémon.
The exact number of Candies a Pokémon trainer will get for hatching an egg can never be predicted, although the more you have to walk in order to hatch an egg, the more Candies you get when it hatches. Even a 2 KM egg awards Pokémon trainers 5-10 Candies, with 5 KM and 10 KM eggs dishing out significantly more.
Pokémon trainers can also earn some extra Candies by transferring duplicate Pokémon (more than one Pokémon of the same species) to the Professor. When a Pokémon trainer transfers a Pokémon to the Professor, they are rewarded with one Candy of the transferred Pokémon’s evolution family. One of the best ways to amass Candy belonging to a specific Pokémon’s evolution family is to transfer all of the excess or weak Pokémon belonging to that evolution family that you have.
The best way to use your Candies
The best way to use your Candies would be to NOT use them, at least not until you reach a higher trainer level such as Level 8. Using hard-earned Candies to power up and evolve Pokémon in your earliest days of playing the game becomes moot when you find the same Pokémon with much higher CP and better chances of becoming stronger after evolving in the wild.
Since that is the case, you should accumulate as many Candies for as many evolution families as you possibly can until you start encountering at least CP 250+ Basic Pokémon in the wild. Once you reach such a point in your Pokémon journey, you can break out your hard-earned Candies, power up your strongest Pokémon to their maximum potential and then evolve them to make them even stronger.
If you do decide to wait until you start encountering extremely strong Pokémon in the wild and then start using your Candies to evolve your Pokémon (which would be in your best interest), be sure to acquire and use a Lucky Egg before you go on an evolution spree to DOUBLE the amount of XP you get from all those evolutions.