How to Get Iron in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Find iron nuggets to make better tools

Iron is an essential resource in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s used to craft the most durable, standard version of several tools, it’s a component in many desirable DIY recipes, and you’ll need a lot of it to finish upgrading Nook’s Cranny.

Unlike many common resources, however, Iron can be difficult to find. Here’s how to get enough iron in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to prevent it from blocking your progress.

How to Get Iron

Iron Nuggets are obtained by hitting the rocks found on your island with a shovel or axe.

  1. Face a rock with a shovel or axe equipped.

    Animal Crossing character facing a rock
  2. Swing the shovel or axe at the rock. It will bounce off, pushing you back slightly, and a resource will appear nearby.

    Animal Crossing character swings at a rock
  3. Continue striking the rock until no additional resources appear. 

The resource that appears when you strike a rock is random. Iron Nuggets are a possibility, but you’ll also see Stone, Clay, Bells, Gold Nuggets, and even bugs.

Some rocks on your island are Bell Rocks that only produce Bells when struck. While great for racking up a fortune, they’re useless for obtaining Iron Nuggets. There’s no way to identify a Bell Rock before you hit it.

How to Maximize Iron from a Rock

Hitting a rock with a shovel or axe is the simple way to obtain resources, but it’s not the most efficient option. The amount of resources generated also depends on two factors. How fast you hit the rock, and if there’s enough room for resources to spawn.

Here’s how to maximize the resources you obtain.

  1. Clear all objects immediately adjacent to the rock. This includes items not placed by players, like weeds and flowers.

  2. Stand at a diagonal to the rock and dig two holes behind your character, as shown in the screenshot below. These stop your character from moving back after striking the stone. 

    Animal Crossing character performs shovel trick
  3. Strike the rock as quickly as possible until it stops producing resources. You can obtain a maximum of eight resources.

    Animal Crossing character obtains maximum resources from a rock

How to Farm Even More Iron

Your home island will have only six rocks on it at a time, and one of those will be a Bell Rock that produces no resources. Rocks, like trees, produce a limited number of resources each day. That puts a cap on the amount of Iron Nuggets you can get from rocks on your island each day.

Animal Crossing relies on the time and date of your Nintendo Switch to manage in-game time. If you’re impatient, you can skip to the next calendar day by changing the clock on your Switch. This setting is found on your Switch in System Settings > System > Date and Time.

However, you can get even more iron by visiting other deserted islands.

  1. Visit Resident Services and use the Nook Stop to redeem 2,000 Nook Miles for a Nook Miles Ticket.

    Animal Crossing character buys Nook Miles Ticket
  2. Take the Nook Miles Ticket to the Airport and redeem it for a trip to another deserted island.

    Animal Crossing character redeems Nook Miles Ticket
  3. Strike the rock to obtain resources.

    Animal Crossing character with rock on deserted island

The only limit on the number of islands you can visit is the amount of Nook Miles you have available, so this is a great way to rack up Iron Nuggets if you have lots of Nook Miles to spare.

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