[Guide] Animal Crossing New Horizons Best Ways To Get Iron (Top 5 Ways)

Top ways to get iron in Animal Crossing New Horizons
The Nooks need iron... Must mine... YES!!!

Iron is one of the most commonly required materials in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Whether you are trying to make your basic tools, or schmexy furniture, or complete the Nook Crime Syndicate’s latest “quest” (constructing houses for other people for free that Tom Nook charges you out the nose for, for instance), you’re going to need iron by the barrel. Never fear; we here at Gamers Decide know all of the best tips and tricks to maximize your iron accumulation, and are here to share our wisdom with you.

5) Mine Your Rocks Daily

Make sure to use the two-hole trick or a similar tactic when mining.

It’s no secret that mining the rocks on your island every single day is by far the best way to get iron ore reliably, especially in the early game. Each rock can be struck up to eight times with either a shovel or an axe, and each time it is struck, it will yield one random resource (unless it’s a money rock; these yield only Bells on each strike). The available options are clay, stone, iron, or gold.

However, once you hit a rock for the first time in a given day, a hidden timer starts. When that timer runs out, you’re done being able to extract resources from that rock for the day. In addition, each hit pushes you back, so to maximize your potential income using this simple method, follow these tips…

  • Make sure all eight spaces surrounding the rock are open (don’t contain any other items). Resources need a place to spawn, and can’t spawn on top of another item, so it’s imperative that those eight spots be clear. 
  • Make sure that you hit the rock at a steady, rapid rhythm, to ensure eight strikes before the timer runs out. This is the most that can be achieved before any given rock is unable to be mined again in a given day.
  • Dig 2 holes, creating a corner, facing one of the “corner tiles” in the square of eight spots surrounding the rock, and tuck yourself into the resulting space, before you begin. Since each blow to a rock has recoil involved, without something (like the aforementioned holes) to backstop you, you’ll slide too far from the rock to strike it in short order, which will break your chain of blows and cost you drops.

Pro tip: A fully repaired flimsy shovel can be used to dig 2 holes to brace yourself, and hit the rock all eight times, before breaking. This makes it a near-perfect choice for doing the whole job, as it should take you exactly 1 flimsy shovel per rock per day to harvest the maximum ore on your own island.

4) Blue Balloons FTW!

It’s so PURTY! Wonder what’s inside?

The shovel and the axe are not the only tools that can yield you iron ore, however… the slingshot is handy in this regard as well. Every so often, balloons will spawn on one side of your island or the other. Hanging from these balloons is a present box, which contains something random that may be of use/interest to you. Here’s the skinny on making the most of balloons to harvest additional iron.

Only blue balloons can possibly yield crafting materials, so if you are hunting iron specifically, skip the others, since you’ll just wind up wasting durability on your slingshot.

Balloons always drift from one side of your island to the other, spawning at sea and making their way across your island before vanishing out at sea on the other side. The side that they spawn is either the east or the west side, starting in the morning, and the opposite side after sundown.

Shooting the balloons will release the present, allowing you to collect it, but be careful! If the present lands in a spot that is occupied, it will despawn. This especially includes water, either fresh or salt.

Balloons seem to spawn on a semi-regular schedule, as follows: every ten minute block, at the fourth and the ninth minute, RNJesus decides whether a balloon will spawn. If so, it spawns a little out to sea on the side of your island currently marked as the spawn zone for balloons. From there, it drifts toward your island, and then across it, reaching land at roughly one minute after spawning.

This means that you are best served to wait at the bottom corner of the side of your island where balloons are spawning in the given time period, and then run to the top as the clock is hitting the fourth minute. Keep an eye out for balloons; if you see one, stop and wait for it to come by so you can snipe it.

If not, then wait at the top until the ninth minute, and start running down. Again, if you see a balloon, stop and get it when it drifts over the beach.

3) Mystery Tours For Fun and Profit

Because that’s JUST who I want piloting my plane… a flightless bird. Trying to kill me, Nintendo?!

For a measly donation of Nook Miles, you can print off a ticket that will take you to a Mystery Island, courtesy of the Dodos running the airport. On Mystery Islands, you can often find… more rocks to bash! These rocks, however, have a special caveat: they are way more likely than rocks on your home island to spawn iron ore, dropping it at nearly a 50% rate with every strike. Fewer rocks usually spawn on Mystery Islands than on your home island (an average of 2.5 rocks vs 6), but every nugget adds up. Read on to maximize the benefit of using this trick.

  • As usual, make sure your tools are in good repair before you start. Especially with the increased drop rate, and the lesser rock count, you want to make sure you get as many chances to hit the rocks as possible.
  • Also make sure to use the two-hole trick, for the same reason.
  • Did I mention to make sure that the area around the rock is clear? Good.
  • If you want to maximize your average iron income, go hunting for rocks on Mystery Islands before you speak to Katrina; good luck and bad luck both skew drop rates negatively for iron on Mystery Islands.

2) Rockin’ the Rocks

Break rocks on Mystery Islands for a shot at additional iron (and other goodies)!

A new player might not be aware, but you can actually break the rocks on your island. This should generally be avoided, as rocks will respawn in random locations, and only one rock can spawn per day, up to your home island’s max of six rocks, so if you go on a rock-breaking binge, you’re gonna be coming up short for a couple of days. Nevertheless, there are ways that breaking rocks can be beneficial in your iron hunt. See below for more details.

  • Unlike your home island, you can never visit a specific instance of a specific mystery island twice. This means that it doesn’t matter what you do there; feel free to break every rock on the island after you’ve mined it normally. This gives a rock one additional chance to spawn materials.
  • To do this, finish mining all of the rocks on the island, then eat a few pieces of fruit (any fruit will do). Hit each rock one more time with a normal-quality or better tool (flimsy tools won’t hack it), and the rock will break.
  • Because tool quality doesn’t impact drop rates at all, try to use non-flimsy tools ONLY for the final bash on rocks that you intend to break. The drop rates from breaking rocks generally wont justify the wear and tear on tools you had to spend iron to make.

1) Trading With Other Players

Not only is the game more fun with a group of friends, it’s potentially more lucrative.

This is by far the most efficient way to get iron, but it has a few caveats. Firstly, you need another person. Secondly, you have to trust them. Last but not least, exchange rates can be a bit murky. But there is indeed a thriving economy of trade in the ACNH community, and often, it’s faster to swap other stuff you already have with players in exchange for needed materials like iron. Here are some basics to get you started.

  • The market shifts all the time, but in general, two of the best things to offer for trade are spare fossils and *real* artworks from Red’s collection. Any time you see dupes of these (and you will, if you play long enough), nab them and sock them away as trade fodder. 
  • Rare flower starts are always popular, since flower cross-breeding is so frustrating in this game.
  • Gold nuggets are valid currency with practically everyone. 
  • Nifty decorations can also be used as trade fodder, but are often harder to move.

And there you have it! Using these five methods, you can maximize your iron in for time out, and make all of your crafting dreams in ACNH come true.

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Em maintains her hobbit-hole in the rural stretches of Ohio, but thankfully, she gets WiFi in her warren, and so is free to bring you the very best in video game related content at any time of year!
Gamer Since: 1996
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