How to Get Iron in Animal Crossing: EXPLAINED

A detailed guide explaining how to get iron nuggets in Animal Crossing as efficiently as possible. Including how to maximize iron nugget output per rock node.

Miles Vellozzo
Miles Vellozzo
8 Min Read

Iron nuggets are one of the most useful crafting materials in Animal Crossing. Most of the higher-tier equipment items that you gain access to as you progress require iron. Additionally, players need 30 iron nuggets to aid with Nook’s Cranny’s construction during the initial two weeks on their brand-new island getaway adventure.

As a result, iron nuggets are a scarce material, so you should probably learn how you can maximize your daily iron nugget income. This guide will provide a detailed overview of how to get Iron in Animal Crossing so that you never have to worry about the resource again.

Where Can You Find Iron in Animal Crossing?

Before delving into finding out the most efficient way to farm it, you should know the basics of where you can find it. Players can find iron nuggets in a few different places, including:

  • As a drop from the rocks that appear on your island when hit with a shovel or axe.
  • In presents floating above the sky on balloons (which you need a slingshot to shoot down).
  • As contributions from villagers during the initial two weeks of your new island, when Nook’s Cranny starts asking for resource donations. 

Alternatively, you can also acquire Iron via trading with friends or other players that you find online.

How To Get Iron from Rocks in Animal Crossing

Although we mentioned a few ways where you can find iron nuggets, arguably the best method how to get iron in Animal Crossing is by hitting rocks. Each residential island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons has 6 rock spawns. Initially, when you haven’t unlocked ladders or vaulting poles, you won’t have access to all rock nodes.

When hit with either an axe or a shovel, rocks will drop a mix of stone, iron nuggets, gold nuggets, or clay. Each day, a random rock on your island will also turn into a money rock – which will drop bell bags and coins when struck and nothing else.

The infamous bell rock!

There is a 10-second countdown that starts once a rock is hit. After that, the rock will not drop any more resources. Due to the speed of the swing animation, the maximum number of drops that you can theoretically get per rock is 8.

Also, with each hit, your player will be knocked back a little bit. If you don’t move closer, eventually you will be pushed back far enough to miss a swing. This is obviously not ideal, as you only get 8 chances in total to hit a rock.

How Often Do Rocks Respawn in Animal Crossing?

Once you have depleted a rock, it will be unable to release more resources until the following day. Islands reset for the day at 5 am in Animal Crossing.

You may have noticed that if you strike a rock after eating a fruit or piece of food, the rock will break completely and only drop one thing. Once broken, a rock will fully respawn at a random location on your island the following day.

However, only one rock can respawn per day. This is not the same as replenishment though. All rocks will be replenished and able to drop resources each day.

How To Maximize Rock Drops

As mentioned, each rock can spit out materials 8 times per day when hit. However, the knock-back effect can make this quite a challenge and can lead to new players missing a lot of hits, meaning they miss out on free resources.

But don’t worry – there is a little trick you can do to ensure you get all 8 hits.

Your player won’t be able to be pushed backward if there is something physically stopping you from moving. You may have noticed this if you try to strike a rock near a tree or structure. The nifty thing is you can manipulate the mechanic yourself easily.

In Animal Crossing, rocks essentially spawn on a 3×3 grid. Nothing can be placed in either of the 9 blocks directly adjacent to the rock. However, if you choose a corner of the 3×3 grid, and then dig two holes adjacent to the corner, it will act as a barrier blocking you from being pushed back. This can be seen in the below screenshot.

A representation of the 3×3 grid, including the 2 adjacent holes on the top-right corner.

Open holes in the floor work as a physical barrier in Animal Crossing, and you cannot pass through them. You can only jump over them, however, the knock-back effect from hitting rocks will not cause you to jump over them.

Using this mechanic, you can block yourself from being pushed back, so that you can successfully hit all 6 rocks for a maximum of 8 times per day.

An example of where you want to stand before you start hitting rocks, with the two holes behind you.

Part of Your Daily Routine

As a new player, you want to start getting into the habit of doing the full circuit around your island’s rocks. Doing so will make sure that you always have enough iron nuggets for whatever is needed, such as Nook’s Cranny. Iron is also used in better tools and furniture, so you will want to stockpile it for when you are at that stage. 

You also want to make sure that you do the 2-hole-trick. If you don’t use it on an entire circuit around your island’s nodes, you would have lost out on about 6 hits in total across all 6 rocks. That’s basically an entire rock itself!

Most days, I run around my island and complete this circuit as part of my daily routine, alongside other casual tasks such as scouring my beach for sharks in the summer (which is a very lucrative task…).

And thats it! You should now be confident in your mining abilities so that you no longer need to search how to get iron in Animal Crossing.

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Miles is a passionate writer, with a keen interest in writing engaging and intriguing content on all things Nintendo. Franchises such as Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda, and Mario have provided Miles with countless hours of fun, thus why he happily writes about them!
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