Skip to content

Should You Use Pokémon HOME Free or Upgrade to Premium? An In-Depth Guide

So you‘ve heard about Pokémon HOME and are wondering – is the free version enough, or is it worth paying for Premium? As a fellow Pokémon trainer, I‘ve explored the ins and outs of HOME extensively. Read on as I walk you through the key factors to consider when choosing between Free and Premium based on your play style and needs.

Let‘s start with the big question:

Is Pokémon HOME‘s Free Basic Plan Worth It?

For many players, especially if you‘re just getting back into Pokémon on the Nintendo Switch, the free Basic version provides solid utility.

The Basic plan lets you:

  • Store 30 Pokémon from Switch games, Go, and Bank
  • Trade Pokémon on the Global Trade System (GTS)
  • Transfer Pokémon into HOME from supported games

This gives you a taste of HOME‘s cloud storage and trading features for free. If you‘re focused on completing the latest Switch Pokédex, the GTS alone makes Basic worthwhile.

However, Basic has strict limits that really constrain you if Pokémon is more than a casual hobby. Upgrading to Premium removes the caps that may quickly frustrate long-time collectors.

Keep reading as I dive deeper into exactly what you can and can‘t do with each plan.

Overview – What is Pokémon HOME?

First, a quick HOME overview if you‘re unfamiliar. Pokémon HOME is the latest cloud service for storing and connecting your Pokémon across compatible Nintendo Switch games, mobile apps, and older 3DS titles.

Think of it like a central hub for your entire franchise collection. It also lets you trade Pokémon around the world via the GTS without needing two Switch consoles side by side.

HOME launched in 2020 and already has over 30 million global users as of 2022. So what‘s all the hype about?


  • Cloud storage for your Pokémon collection online
  • Global Trading System (GTS) to trade Pokémon with anyone
  • Transfers between compatible Pokémon games and apps
  • Earn points to redeem rewards and Pokémon trades
  • Receive Mystery Gifts with special distributions

Now let‘s break down what exactly you can access with the Free and Premium plans.

Pokémon HOME Free Basic Plan Explained

Let‘s start with the free Basic plan. What capabilities do you get without paying?

The key perks are:

  • Store 30 Pokémon – That‘s right, with Basic you get a single Box that can hold up to 30 monsters at once. It may fill up faster than you expect though!

  • Trade on the GTS – This is huge. You can deposit a Pokémon and list the one you want in return for a global trade. Help finish your Pokédex!

  • Limited transferring – You can move Pokémon into HOME from Switch games, Go, Let‘s Go. But transfers back out are restricted.

  • Earn points – Complete activities in HOME to earn points. Exchange them for useful items.

  • Receive Mystery Gifts – Get special Pokémon distributions and gifts. Often rare forms you‘d otherwise miss!

For a brand new player, the Basic plan grants nice utility like bulk storing extra Pokémon and easier trading. You really do get a taste of HOME‘s potential for free.

But what are the limits?

Limitations of Pokémon HOME‘s Basic Plan

The unfortunate reality is Basic has harsh restrictions that really hinder you as a dedicated Pokémon trainer. Here are the biggest drawbacks to watch for:

  • Only 1 Box – That 30 Pokémon capacity fills up lightning fast when trying to store a meaningful collection. With Premium you get over 200 boxes!

  • No transferring back – You can deposit into HOME but can‘t transfer back out to Go or Bank. Dealbreaking for serious collectors.

  • 3 trades per day – The random Wonder Box trade caps at just 3 Pokémon per day instead of 10 with Premium. Painfully slow.

  • No analysis tools – You lose access to essential tools like the Judge feature that checks Pokémon strengths, stats, and information.

See the issue? Basic gives you a taste before hitting walls on storage, trading, transferring, and tools. If Pokémon is a daily hobby rather than just a casual game, the Basic limits become frustrations rapidly.

So what exactly makes Premium worth the upgrade cost?

Why You Should Upgrade to Pokémon HOME Premium

Based on my extensive experience, upgrading from Basic to Premium is a no-brainer if Pokémon is anything beyond a passing interest.

Here are the key reasons to upgrade:

  • Increased storage – Get over 200 Pokémon Boxes instead of just 1! That‘s room for over 6000 Pokémon vs 30. Critical for collectors.

  • Full transfers – Freely transfer Pokémon both to and from Go, Bank, Switch games. Link all your progress.

  • No trade limits – Remove all the annoying Wonder Box and Room Trade limits.

  • Advanced trading – Special TRADE tags let you mark Pokémon as Shiny, Legendary, and more for better trades.

  • Powerful analysis – Judge gives you instant insight into Pokémon strengths, stats, moves, and more.

Premium truly unlocks HOME‘s full potential. The storage alone is a must-have for completionists who want their living Pokédex in one place.

And transferring freely between Go, Bank, Switch, and more means all your hard work comes together into a single unified collection. Seamlessly move your favorites into the latest titles with ease.

For me the unlimited trades, advanced tools, and sheer collecting convenience make Premium a no-brainer buy.

But I‘ll lay out the differences in more detail next.

Pokémon HOME Free vs Premium Feature Comparison

To see the differences clearly at a glance, check out this comparison table:

Pokémon Storage30 max6000 max
Boxes1 Basic boxAll boxes
GTS TradingYesYes
Room TradesNoYes
Wonder Box Trades/Day3 trades10 trades
Transfer to Switch GamesYesYes
Transfer to/from BankNoYes
Transfer to/from GoNoYes
Judge FeatureNoYes
Move TutorNoYes
Earn HOME PointsYesIncreased rate

With Premium you‘re looking at over 200x more storage, unlimited trades, full transfers, and advanced analysis tools.

For a collector who wants to "catch ‘em all" across generations, pay the Premium price for the convenience and unhindered access.

Next up – what happens if you don‘t renew Premium on time?

What Happens if Your Pokémon HOME Premium Subscription Lapses

This is an important warning for Premium users. I made this mistake myself early on and don‘t want you to lose access to your collection!

If you let your Premium plan lapse too long by not renewing, here‘s what happens:

  • You lose instant access to all Boxes and revert to just the single Basic Box
  • You can only actively manage the first 30 Pokémon, the rest are inaccessible
  • After an undisclosed grace period, those excess Pokémon in other Boxes may disappear entirely

This means if you accumulated 1000+ Pokémon via Premium over time, failing to renew could make the vast majority inaccessible with no way to get them back!

Renew Premium annually to avoid this scenarios. Or be sure to transfer important Pokémon back to Switch games before lapsing just in case. Don‘t lose old favorites due to an expired subscription.

Okay, now that you know the costs of Basic vs Premium, let‘s talk about actually using Pokémon HOME for trading and transfers across platforms.

Transferring Pokémon Between Games with Pokémon HOME

A major benefit of HOME is being the connector hub between all your various Pokémon apps and games. Here are all the places you can move Pokémon to and from:

  • Nintendo Switch Games – Trade Pokémon between Sword, Shield, Brilliant Diamond, Legends: Arceus and more. Online trades or transfers.

  • Pokémon GO – Transfer select Pokémon from your phone to Switch and back again. Certain restrictions apply.

  • Pokémon Bank – Move Pokémon stored on 3DS via Bank into HOME. Requires Premium plan.

  • Mobile HOME App – Manage HOME collection and trades directly from your smartphone.

This interconnectivity is a collector‘s dream come true. I can finally consolidate my Pokémon from decades of games into one place.

Let‘s look at tips for new users next.

Tips for New Pokémon HOME Users Choosing Between Free and Premium Plans

If you‘re brand new to Pokémon HOME, here are my top tips for choosing between Free and Premium:

  • Try the Basic plan first to get a feel for the features before paying
  • Link Pokémon Go to bring those shinies and rare catches into Switch
  • Use the GTS actively to fill your Pokédex faster in Switch games
  • Remember Home only works one way from Go without Premium
  • Exchange points for useful items to help gameplay
  • Monitor your Box usage closely so you don‘t overfill Basic
  • Upgrade to Premium if you need cross-game transfers or storage space
  • Complete your living dex across games with Premium‘s unlimited storage

The key takeaway – enjoy Basic for simplicity first, but upgrade to Premium if you want to unify and collect Pokémon extensively across platforms.

Next let‘s talk more about the drawbacks of Basic.

The Limitations of Pokémon HOME‘s Free Version In Action

To really demonstrate the harsh restrictions of the Basic free plan, let‘s walk through a real-world example.

Say you just downloaded Pokémon HOME to complement Pokémon Go and Pokémon Legends: Arceus on your Switch. You use Basic to:

  • Transfer some of your best Pokémon from Go to Legends
  • Store extra Pokémon from Arceus captures in HOME‘s cloud Box
  • Trade on the GTS in HOME to fill your Pokédex

This works great…at first. But then you quickly realize:

  • You can only transfer 1-way from Go into HOME, not back
  • The Basic Box fills up rapidly between Go and Legends transfers
  • You‘re blocked from further transfers after hitting the 30 monster limit
  • GTS trades are limited to just 3 random trades per day

You either need to constantly juggle the 30 Pokémon in Basic via tedious manual transfers. Or just subscribe to Premium for proper storage and flexibility.

See the issue? The free Basic teases useful features before revealing harsh caps that really hinder actual gameplay. Don‘t get stuck in this situation yourself!

Is Pokémon HOME Premium Worth It for Completionists?

As a hardcore completionist myself aiming to literally "catch ‘em all" across decades of Pokémon games, I consider HOME Premium mandatory.

The unlimited cloud storage alone is indispensable if you want to maintain a comprehensive living Pokédex beyond just the latest titles.

And the ability to freely transfer back and forth between Pokémon Go, Switch games, Bank, and more means I can unify all my hard work into one place.

No need to start completely fresh each generation and lose all your legacy monsters!

Premium also removes the trade and transfer caps that otherwise seriously throttle progression. I can hunt down MissingNo edge cases on the GTS, rapidly expand my collection through trades, and transfer new additions in bulk.

All with the Judge providing instant insight into new Pokémon for competitive battling and breeding.

For me Premium is a dream toolbox that finally unlocks becoming a true Pokémon Master across ALL games, not just the latest releases.

If you share similar completionist tendencies, the Premium conveniences and unhindered collecting freedom are easily worth the price.

Now let‘s look at some supporting data on Pokémon‘s immense scale and revenue.

Pokémon Remains a Massive Worldwide Hit – The Numbers

To put the popularity of Pokémon HOME in context, it‘s worth looking at the sheer size of the overall Pokémon franchise. This gives a sense of just how many players Nintendo is catering to with apps like HOME.

According to the Pokémon Company, as of 2021 here are some of the mind-blowing franchise stats:

  • 1,240+ Pokémon exist as collectibles when including all regional forms and generations
  • Over 440 million Pokémon video games sold globally
  • Pokémon GO alone made $1 billion in 2020 revenue with 632 million downloads
  • The series had $13 billion total revenue as of 2021
  • An estimated 107 billion Pokémon cards have been printed since 1996!

This is one of the highest grossing media franchises in history next to juggernauts like Star Wars. And Pokémon HOME is the latest innovation to serve that massive loyal player base by connecting their decades of collecting.

See why GAME FREAK caters to hardcore completionists? For fans who have literally grown up with Pokémon across 25 years, Premium is an essential tool.

Okay, let‘s recap everything we covered today.

Key Takeaways – Should You Use Pokémon HOME Basic or Upgrade to Premium?

After reading this comprehensive guide on optimizing your Pokémon HOME experience, you should understand:

  • The free Basic plan provides solid utility like cloud storage and GTS trading on a budget

  • But Basic has serious limits on storage, trades, transfers that hinders true fans

  • Premium unlocks everything – more Boxes, unlimited trades, full connectivity across apps and games

  • Let your specific play style and goals guide your choice between Basic and Premium

  • Use tips like starting with Basic first and monitoring storage needs

  • Upgrade to Premium if you‘re a dedicated collector who wants unlimited cross-game access

  • With smart management, Basic can complement Switch gameplay for casual gaming

  • While Premium grants completionists the tools they need to "catch ‘em all"

I hope this guide gives you confidence choosing the best Pokémon HOME edition for your own needs. Personally, I find Premium to be an absolute must-have for devoted collectors. But more casual players may get by just fine with Basic.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat Pokémon and share collector tips. Time to get back to filling my National Dex across generations!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.