On your first day in Stardew Valley, you get a set of tools that you’ll use for all sorts of things, from farming to mining. Because of how much you rely on them, you’ll want to upgrade them as soon as possible. These upgrades can be expensive, however, with each new version costing money, resources, and time. To help you out, here’s everything you need to know about tool upgrades in Stardew Valley, from how to upgrade tools to which upgrades you should invest in first.

Let’s get started!

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How to Upgrade Tools in Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Tool Upgrades Guide: Blacksmith
Image: ConcernedApe via HGG / Ethan Erekson

Upgraded tools help you perform tasks more efficiently, saving valuable time and energy. You’ll definitely want to upgrade your arsenal as soon as you get the chance. To do that, you’ll need to head over to the Blacksmith, which is located on the east side of the river in Pelican Town.

Once it opens, just head in and talk to Clint. If you provide him with the tool and the necessary materials, he’ll get started on the upgrade. A couple of days later, you’ll be notified that your tool is ready, and you can go and pick it up from Clint. That’s all there is to it!

Here are all the materials you’ll need for each upgrade:

Materials

UpgradeMaterials
Copper Tool Upgrade5 Copper Bars, 2000g (1000g for Trash Can)
Steel Tool Upgrade5 Iron Bars, 5000g (2500g for Trash Can)
Gold Tool Upgrade5 Gold Bars, 10,000g (5000g for Trash Can)
Iridium Tool Upgrade5 Iridium Bars, 25,000g (12,500g for Trash Can)

Best Tool Upgrades in Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Tool Upgrades Guide: All Upgradable Tools
Image: ConcernedApe via HGG / Ethan Erekson

Now that you know how to upgrade tools in Stardew Valley, it’s time to start upgrading them. You’ll eventually want to upgrade all your tools, but some tools and their upgrades are more useful than others. It’s important to prioritize your resources, especially in the early game.

Here’s what you should upgrade first and why.

1) Axe

The very first thing you should upgrade is the Axe. You’ll need a lot of wood and hardwood as you play through the game, and upgrading your Axe will let you chop down trees in fewer hits. On top of that, an upgraded Axe lets you remove Large Stumps. These are a great source of hardwood, and clearing them from your farm makes it so much easier to move around, especially on the maps where space is more limited.

Once you upgrade to a Steel Axe, you’ll also be able to chop down Large Logs, which will give you access to the Secret Woods. The Secret Woods has six Large Stumps that regrow daily. You’ll need plenty of hardwood later on in the game, and unlocking the Secret Woods early on is one of the best ways to collect more.

You can hold off on the Gold and Iridium upgrades until you have more resources. Sure, the extra efficiency is nice, but a Steel Axe will work until then.

2) Hoe

The next thing you should upgrade is the Hoe. It’s used for all sorts of things, including tilling ground for crops, digging up artifacts, and finding certain winter forageables. However, the Hoe can only dig one spot at a time initially, which can be time consuming.

Once you upgrade the Hoe, you can charge it to dig multiple spots at once, letting you speed up your farming, gather more clay, etc. You’ll want to upgrade to Iridium quality as soon as you have the resources so you can make the most of it.

3) Watering Can

Another tool you’ll want to upgrade early on is the Watering Can. It functions similarly to the Hoe, except it waters an area instead of digging it up. Upgrading the Watering Can increases both its range and capacity, so you can water more zones and go longer without refilling.

Of course, you can always use sprinklers for your crops, but the Watering Can still comes in handy every once in a while. And this upgrade is invaluable on the Beach Farm, where sprinklers are severely limited. Again, this is a tool you’ll want to upgrade completely as soon as you can.

4) Trash Can

Stardew Valley Tool Upgrades Guide: Trash Can Upgrade
Image: ConcernedApe via HGG / Ethan Erekson

Then there’s the Trash Can, which isn’t a traditional tool, but is still quite useful. It lets you clear items from your inventory, which is always nice when your slots fill up with junk while you’re mining for resources. The downside is that trashing items usually just makes them go to waste — that’s where the upgrades come in.

Upgrading the Trash Can makes it so you’ll back get a percentage of whatever your trashed item is worth. You don’t get the full value like you would from selling it, but it’s not a complete loss, and you do free up an inventory space for something more valuable!

Trash Can upgrades are also less expensive than upgrades for other tools. The resource cost is the same, but the gold cost is cut in half, making the upgrades much more accessible. Be sure to upgrade once you have the resources so your trash doesn’t go to waste!

5) Pickaxe

Finally, there’s the Pickaxe. The Pickaxe works fairly well for mining — upgrades are great when you first venture into the Mines, as they let you mine faster while consuming less energy — but in the end, it’s pretty inefficient. You can still only mine one thing at a time, even if you’re using an Iridium Pickaxe.

Once your Mining level goes up, you should start using bombs instead. Bombs cover a much wider area and instantly pulverize just about anything in their path. All you have to do then is walk on over and pick the stuff up. They also don’t consume any energy. As such, you don’t want to rely on the Pickaxe too much if you’re serious about making the most of your mining.

However, that doesn’t mean upgrading the Pickaxe is pointless. You still need it for a couple things. For one, you’ll need at least a Steel Pickaxe to rid of the boulders on the Farm. And if a meteor ever crashes into your farmland, you’ll need a Gold Pickaxe to mind that. These things aren’t particularly urgent, though, so you can wait to upgrade the Pickaxe until you really need it.

Other “Upgradeable” Tools

Stardew Valley Tool Upgrades Guide: Improved Tools
Image: ConcernedApe via HGG / Ethan Erekson

Of course, not every tool can be upgraded, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better version out there! Here’s some of the other tools in Stardew Valley and how you can “upgrade” to a better one.

Fishing Poles

Image: ConcernedApe via HGG / Ethan Erekson

First up are Fishing Poles. You’ll get your first one from Willy, but it can be a little hard to use. Fortunately, you can just head to his shop to buy another one! The Training Rod is limited in the types of fish it can catch, but it certainly makes it easier to reel in the fish after you get a bite. It’s also only 25g, so it’s definitely worth getting and using as you learn the ropes. You can then switch back to the Bamboo Pole once your fishing skills have gotten a little better.

Once you level up your Fishing, you’ll be able to buy the Fiberglass Rod, which lets you use bait! Bait attracts fish and causes you to get bites faster, which certainly speeds things up. It’s also easier to catch fish with it. At Fishing Level 6, you can purchase the Iridium Rod, which further improves usability and lets you use tackle in combination with bait. There’s all sorts of tackle with a variety of effects, which can help you up your fishing game. You’ll want to get the Iridium Rod when you get the chance.

Scythe

The Golden Scythe is definitely one of the harder tools to get, as it’s not something you can just upgrade to or purchase. If you want to get the improved Scythe, you’ll need to first head down to the Quarry Mine. However, there’s a slight problem — the bridge to the Quarry is broken, so you can’t get across! You’ll need to spend a year gathering forageables and a few other things to complete the Craft Room bundles in the Community Center to repair it. If you go the Joja route, unlocking the Quarry will just cost you 15,000g, but that’s not nearly as exciting.

With the Quarry unlocked, you’ll have to make it all the way through the Quarry Mine and fend off monsters so you can take the Golden Scythe from the Grim Reaper himself. Well, a statue of him, anyways. And after all of that, you get to keep the improved version of the Scythe.

Backpack

Last but not least is the backpack, which is another non-traditional tool. You start off with limited space in Stardew Valley, but you can always get a bigger bag. Just head to Pierre’s and pick up the Large Pack for 2000g to double your inventory space. Once you have 10,000g, you can get the Deluxe Pack, which ups your inventory to 36 slots.

You’ll still run out of space and need to use the Trash Can every now and then, but you’ll have enough space to carry most of the stuff that you need.

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