How to Get Golden Tools in Animal Crossing

Unlock the golden shovel, slingshot, watering can, fishing rod, and more

You'll gather a variety of tools to make the most of your time in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Six of them have special, golden editions that are more durable than the more common versions, and some also have special abilities.

Here's how to unlock every golden tool in New Horizons, along with their special uses.

How to Get the Golden Shovel

Like several of the golden tools, you unlock the golden shovel recipe by performing a specific task several times. In this case, you'll want to help the stranded sailor Gulliver when he washes up on your beach after he falls off of his ship.

Gulliver in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Gulliver appears about once a week, and you help him by digging up and returning the pieces of his broken communicator so he can call his crew for a pick-up. The day after you help him, he'll mail you a present, and after you've helped him 30 times, he'll send you the recipe for the golden shovel.

You can get a general idea of your progress by checking the Gulliver's Travails task in your Nook Miles app.

While helping the pirate captain Gullivarrr does count toward the Nook Miles goal, it doesn't contribute toward unlocking the golden shovel.

How to Get the Golden Watering Can

You breed flowers on your island using a watering can, and the golden version lets you both water more plants at once and grow special ones.

To get the recipe, you need to get your island a five-star evaluation by making your island as pretty and neat as possible. Make sure you pick weeds as they appear, grow plenty of flowers, add plenty of decorations, and attract as many villagers as you can. Check your progress by talking to Isabelle at Resident Services and picking Let's talk island evals. She'll provide your current rating and give you suggestions to improve the score.

Isabelle gives the island rating in New Horizons

Once you've hit five stars, Isabelle will give you the recipe for the golden watering can.

How to Get the Golden Slingshot

The slingshot lets you knock down the presents that occasionally float over your island on balloons. These presents might contain DIY recipes, furniture, crafting supplies, or even Bells. To get the recipe for the most advanced version of this tool, you'll need to pop 300 balloons.

Soon after you hit this goal, a special, golden balloon will appear. The present it carries will contain the recipe for the golden slingshot.

The golden balloon won't necessarily be the first one that appears after you reach the goal.

To track your progress, check the It's Raining Treasure activity in your Nook Miles app.

The "It's Raining Treasure" activity in the New Horizons Nook Miles app

How to Get the Golden Rod

The advanced version of the fishing rod is your reward for catching all 80 fish that appear in your island's river and the ocean throughout the year. You don't have to donate them all to the museum to get the reward; the recipe will appear in your mailbox the day after you catch the final fish.

The letter in Animal Crossing: New Horizons containing the recipe for the golden rod

To see how close you are to catching all the fish, you can check the Critterpedia in your Nook phone or the Island Ichthyologist activity in the Nook Miles app.

How to Get the Golden Net

You obtain the golden net like you do the golden rod; the difference is that instead of catching all the fish on your island, you receive the golden net recipe for snagging all the bugs. Again, you don't have to donate every insect and arachnid species to the museum to get the letter containing the recipe. It'll arrive the day after you collect the last bug.

An Animal Crossing character after catching their final bug

Track your progress from the bugs tab in the Critterpedia or by checking the Bugs Don't Bug Me activity in Nook Miles.

How to Get the Golden Axe

The axe is handy for chopping down trees. You can also use it to mine crafting materials from rocks (but a shovel works way better). The golden axe recipe is special among this group in that your character comes up with it themselves.

An Animal Crossing character thinks up the golden axe recipe

To get the recipe for the more durable axe, you'll need to break 100 weaker versions of the tool. You'll do this eventually just from playing the game, but to fast-track it, you can craft a bunch of flimsy axes using five tree branches and a stone and then hit a tree until the tool self-destructs. The flimsy axe is only good for 40 hits, so even if you're starting from nothing, you can have the recipe for the golden one in a couple hours.

You can't accurately track your progress toward this goal, but you can get a general idea by checking out the Trashed Tools activity in your Nook Miles app.

This activity counts every tool you've destroyed since you started playing the game, so it won't tell you about axes specifically.

How to Craft Golden Tools

Once you have the recipe for a golden tool, you can craft it at a workbench using the 'standard' version of the implement and a gold nugget. You collect the gold from hitting rocks with a shovel, although they are way rarer than stones, clay, and iron nuggets. You may also receive gold nuggets from gift balloons.

You can only make a golden tool from the basic version of a tool; you can't use the special versions for sale at Nook's Cranny, like the outdoorsy shovel.

Benefits of Golden Tools

All golden tools are far more durable than their normal counterparts, which means you can use them more times before they break. This table compares the durabilities of standard tools to their golden versions:

The watering can's durability varies based on how many flowers you reach in a single pour. Watering the ground still wears down the tool but to a lesser degree.

   Flimsy Regular Golden
Axe 40 100 200
Net 10 30 90
Rod  10 30 90
Shovel  40 100 200
Slingshot  n/a 20 60
Watering Can Varies Varies Varies

The gold watering can has benefits beyond just durability. It can water nine plants in a single pour, and it's the only way to grow a golden rose. To do so, use the tool on a black rose, and a gold flower may appear the next day.

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