Iron marks one of the first major technological advancements in Minecraft. It opens up so many new items — more durable tools, heavier doors, anvils, and even iron golems to guard your base. Naturally, you’ll need plenty of iron to work with. In this article, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about where to find iron in Minecraft!
Thankfully, finding copious amounts of iron is easier than it used to be. Recent patches increased the spawn rate for iron that’s exposed to air, making it much simpler to find ore. If you’re trying to get a whole lot at once, however, efficiency is key. That means finding all the best places to mine iron.
Let’s get started!
Best Place to Find Iron in Minecraft
The best place to find iron in Minecraft is underground, around Y:15. To get technical for a moment, iron spawns in veins on a triangular distribution model, centered around Y:15. It can spawn anywhere from Y:72 down to Y:-64, but it’s most common from Y:56 to Y:-24. The center of this triangle is Y:15, so this is statistically the best place to find veins of iron ore.
In other words, just head to a cave and explore until you reach Y:15. This shouldn’t take long, as long as you bring plenty of torches to guide your way back. Many players mark the left side of their path with torches as they go — this gives them a clear path to the surface on their way back, as they just need to keep the torches on their right.
This will be the best way to get your first stack of raw iron. If you’re well-equipped enough to stay underground for a while, consider bringing a crafting table along with you. This will let you compress your raw iron into raw iron blocks. These stack to make additional room in your inventory, and you can break them back down into raw iron pieces when you resurface.
Delving Deeper — How To Find Iron Veins
Once you have a little more gear and experience, it’s time to delve deeper. While Y:15 is the best place to find iron en masse, it’s also easy to find as you continue spelunking. You’re more likely to find massive veins of concentrated iron below Y:0, which contain entire blocks of pure raw iron (no crafting tables needed!).
The downside is that deep slate takes significantly more effort and tools to dig through. If you already have a decent supply of iron, though, this won’t be much of a problem. You’ll be rewarded with deposits of even more valuable minerals like gold, redstone, and even diamonds. It’s also just a lot more fun than strip mining, which involves just digging straight into a wall. It’s nice that newer patches let efficiency still be fun!
Heading Higher — Iron & Mountains
Speaking of fun — feeling up for a little mountain climbing? Iron has a second triangular spawning model that faces upward. Any mountains that go above Y:232 have a very high chance of holding huge deposits of iron inside. These snow-capped peaks are an exciting new place to explore right now, with the addition of new neutral mobs like goats, and are a great place to go iron mining if you’re sick of caves.
Another big advantage to tall mountains is that you’ll also find a high concentration of emeralds. Tall mountains are some of the only places where emeralds spawn naturally. Head for the snow and they’ll be ready for you to dig up and spend.
Just be careful climbing up into the tall mountains if you already have a set of iron armor. Powdered snow can look just like regular, solid blocks of snow — if you aren’t wearing leather boots, you might fall in and freeze before you can find a way out.
What To Do with Iron in Minecraft
Now that you’ve got access to so much iron, it’s time to decide how to spend it. A little-known fact is that iron gear actually has a higher “enchantability” rating than diamond gear. This means you can apply better enchantments at a lower XP cost to iron gear than you can to diamond gear. Note that this doesn’t apply to Netherite gear — Netherite has an even higher enchantability than iron.
If you don’t have a lot of XP to spare but still want to get some solid enchantments, iron gear is a great way to go. It’s solid enough to withstand most fights in the game, while still being replaceable enough that you can wear it on deep-caving missions.
You can also use that iron to make iron golems. You can do this by pressing 9 pieces of iron bars into a block of iron, then stacking four blocks into a T shape. On top of the T, place a carved pumpkin. You can make a carved pumpkin by using shears on a regular pumpkin. As soon as you place the carved pumpkin, the golem will come to life and begin patrolling the nearby area for monsters. It will be loyal directly to you, attacking any other players that dare to attack you as well. You can also craft and use iron ingots to heal any iron golem that has taken damage.
Join the High Ground
And that’s it for our guide on iron mining in Minecraft — thanks for reading! May your coffers soon overflow with iron. Feel free to leave a comment with any other iron mining suggestions, and subscribe to our newsletter for more guides on Minecraft and your other favorite games.