The Top 12 Fastest Evolving Pokémon Worth Leveling

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Evolutions are synonymous with what Pokémon is all about.

It’s you and a bunch of your little critter buddies going on an adventure, growing, getting stronger, taking down criminal syndicates, and fighting gods. You know, typical 10-year-old stuff.

Looking back over the years, there have been a handful of Pokémon that evolve at ludicrously low levels – serving to introduce new players to the mechanic, or to give you a helping hand early in your adventure.

Well in this ranking we’re taking a look at some of the Pokémon that evolve the fastest – counting any Pokémon from gens I-VIII.

You might find some of these entries surprising. I know I did.


1. Weedle/Caterpie/Wurmple – Level 7

Pokemon Lets Go Caterpie screenshot

If you’ve ever played a Pokémon game before, then this entry should come as no surprise.

Even compared to the other starting bug-types in the series, Weedle, Caterpie, and Wurmple all evolve stupidly quickly.

In fact, you can expect these guys to all hit stage three evolution before almost every other Pokémon in history even gets their first evolution… because they hit Stage 3 at level 10.

So in truth, this entry includes not only these three, but their second-stage evolutions, too.

That doesn’t mean they’re worth using by any stretch of the imagination.

But you can’t argue with stone-cold facts and figures.


2. Pikipek – Level 14

Pokemon Pikipek screenshot

There are a few bugs between our first entry and Pikipek, but if I were to include them, this would be a top 12 bug Pokémon list…

Instead, I’m going to pick and choose from the various early-evolving Pokémon to highlight ones that I think are interesting or surprising.

Pikipek shares the title of earliest evolving flying type with Starly.

While I love the Starly line, Pikipek and its evolutions are, in my opinion, some of the most underrated Pokémon ever designed.

It’s stage three, Toucannon, is a beast of a Pokémon.

And you only need to get Pikipek to level 28 to trigger that evolution.

Admittedly, that means you need to suffer through 14 full levels with Pikipek’s stage two, Trumbeak. But the pain you’ll experience is more than worth it when you have one of the best early-game Pokémon we’ve ever seen.


3. Cyndaquil – Level 14

Pokemon Sun / Cyndaquil screenshot

Before making this list, I was under the impression that all starters from any given generation evolved at the same level.

That assumption was wrong.

There are few notable examples of starters evolving at different points in time, but none of those are as notable as these next two entries.

First up, Cyndaquil.

Evolving at level 14, Gen II’s fire starter is a particular outlier because of how extreme the level difference between it and its counterparts is.

Chikorita evolves two levels later, at level 16, the point that most starters evolve at.

Totodile, though, evolves at 18.

That’s a full four levels later.

That doesn’t sound like much, sure. But it can make all the difference in any sort of Gen II challenge run.


4. Chimchar – Level 14

Pokemon Platinum Chimchar screenshot

Game Freak seriously loves its fire starters.

Because the only other one that evolves below that level 16 threshold is Chimchar.

Aside from being the first stage of arguably the best starter evolution line of all time, Chimchar is an adorable fan favorite that still sees use to this day.

While it’s not my personal Gen IV pick (Turtwig for life), I can certainly understand the appeal, especially for its stage three – Infernape.

With how powerful Sinnoh’s fire starter is, you would think that it would evolve later, not sooner. But clearly the Pokémon devs don’t agree with me.


5. Bidoof – Level 15

Pokemon Sword Bidoof screenshot

Bidoof is something of a cult legend amongst certain corners of the Pokémon fandom.

Its goofy-looking appearance, combined with its place as one of the series’ best HM slaves, has turned this otherwise unremarkable ‘mon into a meme.

Bidoof evolves, though. Unfortunately.

Specifically, it evolves into Bibarel at level 15. Meaning you don’t get much time to bask in the glory that is Bidoof. Unless you decide to not let it evolve, of course.

Given that the only time you’re ever going to be running this guy is because of HM compatibility, that trade-off might be worth it.


6. Shinx – Level 15

Pokemon Sword Shinx screenshot

Shinx follows in the footsteps of Chimchar and Bidoof by being the third Sinnoh ‘mon to make this list.

Unlike Bidoof, however, Shinx is a monster when it comes to actual battle.

Don’t let its adorableness and dog-like design fool you. Once Shinx evolves into its stage three Luxray, you’ve got one of Gen IV’s best Pokémon on your hands.

Almost every single story playthrough team is going to run the Shinx line.

Its electric typing comes in extremely handy, especially if you choose Chimchar as your starter.

Not only is it super strong, but it also evolves very early, with its first evolution coming at level 15 and its final one at 30.


7. All Other Starters – Level 16

Pokemon Sword/Shield Treecko screenshot

Okay, maybe not all the starters… but definitely most of them.

We’re talking all three Gen I starters, Chikorita, Torchic, Treecko, Mudkip, Fennekin, Froakie, and on and on that list goes…

16 is the magic number when it comes to starters.

While there is a handful that evolve at later levels, 99% of them are going to mature into their stage two forms at level 16.

Otherwise, you can give or take a level or two.


8. Black and White Starters – Level 17

Pokemon Black and White Starters (Tepig) screenshot

The three Gen V starter Pokémon are the latest evolving starters in the entire series.

Well, them and Rowlet for some strange unknown reason.

Gen V is widely regarded as one of the best, and most difficult, entries into the Pokémon franchise.

Personally, it’s my favorite generation by a country mile.

The added difficulty and maturity might explain why the starters evolve a little later than their previous counterparts – forcing players to grind just a little bit more before that power boost.

However, it could have also simply been an absent-minded design decision. After all, how much of a difference does one level make, anyway?


9. Rookidee – Level 18

Pokemon Rookidee screenshot in Sword/Shield

Okay, all of the starters are out of the way.

That leaves us with a whole host of random, mid-tier Pokémon to sift through.

I’m going to be picking and choosing my favorite from the upcoming bunch, so if a Pokémon you know evolves at a lower level than these and isn’t listed, that’s the reason why.

But next here we have Rookidee.

This new addition to the Pokédex has taken the fandom by storm.

Its final evolution, Corviknight, is a staple in SWSH for both casual and competitive play.

Not only does its design look phenomenal, but it has the stats to back up those cool looks.

To take advantage of that, You’re going to need to slog through up to level 38, meaning a painstaking 20 levels as Rokidee’s second evolution stage – Covisquire.

For those that make the effort, though, you’ll be rewarded with arguably the best original Pokémon to come out of Gen VIII.


10. Magikarp – Level 20

Pokemon Sword Magikarp screenshot

I was a little bit surprised to find out that Magikarp evolves at level 20.

Given that this floundering fish is notorious for being useless until it evolves, I expected something higher…

Needless to say, Magikarp’s evolution Gyarados is a behemoth of the Pokémon franchise – and one of the series’ most iconic Pokémon that isn’t a legendary or starter.

It absolutely demolishes teams through any given generation’s story mode, making it one of the most sought-after ‘mons for a casual playthrough.

The downside to that is having to put up with a borderline-useless fish Pokémon for 20 levels.

But with the power of the EXP share these days, I’d say that isn’t too tall of an order.


11. Beldum – Level 20

Pokemon Shield Beldum screenshot

The final two entries in this list both share something in common:

They’re Pokémon that evolve into their first evolutions relatively early, but don’t get to experience their stage three forms until way late into the endgame.

The reason for this is simple: they’re both incredibly strong.

Beldum’s stage three, Metagross, has always been a mainstay of competitive play thanks to its great typing and phenomenal stats.

It’s easily a tier-S Pokémon. So it makes sense that to get it, you need to not only level your Beldum up to 20, but also get its stage two evolution all the way up to level 45 as well.

By that time, you’re going to be at Victory Road at least.

Oh, and on top of that, Beldum itself has one of the lowest capture rates in Pokémon history.

In fact, it shares the same capture rate that legendary Pokémon have. So good luck to anyone trying to get their hands on one.


12. Gibble – Level 24

Pokemon Shield Gibble screenshot

Last but not least, we have Gibble.

Now level 24 isn’t exactly “early”, I’ll admit that.

However, when you compare that level to just how powerful Garchomp is (Gibble’s stage three), you can understand why that could be considered low.

But that’s not to say actually getting your Gibble into a Garchomp is easy.

It evolves from Gabite into everyone’s favorite chompy-boy at level 48, at which point you’re definitely going to be at the Elite Four.

It’s just as well, too, because this guy is capable of taking down legendary Pokémon with ease. So having him any earlier would just trivialize the whole Pokémon experience.

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