How to Upgrade Troops in Clash of Clans

The most common reason an attack strategy in Clash of Clans fails is that the troops you’re using are not leveled. While regular units will do fine for the game’s tutorial and some time afterward, baseline troops are woefully underprepared to take on more fortified castles. That’s why troop upgrades are essential in getting the most value out of your units and looting more resources from enemies.

How to Upgrade Troops in Clash of Clans

If you’ve just started the game and don’t know how to upgrade troops, we’re here to help out. In this article, we’ll explain how troop upgrades work and what you should prioritize.

How to Level Up Troops in Clash of Clans

In Clash of Clans, troops are leveled up by researching upgrades in the Laboratory. This building becomes available relatively early in the game, and you shouldn’t have a problem reaching that point by following the tutorial and placing down some essential resource gathering buildings.

Here’s how you can upgrade a troop in Clash of Clans:

  1. Reach Town Hall level 3.
  2. Tap on the “Shop” button.
  3. Select “Laboratory” from the list. Place the building on the map (inside your base).
  4. Tap on the Laboratory to display the available actions.
  5. Tap on the “Resource” button.
  6. Select the unit you want to level up. At level 1, the Laboratory can only upgrade the Barbarians, Archers, and Goblins once.
  7. Upgrade your Town Hall to get access to higher Laboratory levels for more upgrades.

In the beginning, players only have access to very basic units and spells, and upgrades won’t take much time. However, later Town Hall levels add Dark Elixir units, which require Dark Elixir to upgrade in the Laboratory. Upgrade times can last for days at a time when you add this particular component.

How to Level Up Troops Faster

Since the game limits you to having only one Laboratory at a time, later Town Hall levels can significantly stifle your troop upgrade progress. Time is one of the most precious resources in Clash of Clans, and with over 1,500 days’ worth of Laboratory upgrades, getting the most value out of troop upgrades is vital. There are a few ways to expedite research in the Laboratory and get better results.


You can pay Gems (premium currency) for any Laboratory upgrade to complete it instantly. Gem costs for upgrades are favorable compared to healing Heroes or a request for Clan Castle troops. However, this is a generally lackluster use of such a valuable resource that it’s not recommended for players. It’s also going to cost a lot in the long run if you rely on it.

Research Potions

A research potion speeds up research 24 times for an hour, effectively shaving off 23 hours from a single research task. Research Potions cost Gems or League Medals to purchase. They provide similar, if a little more, value to using Gems to complete the upgrade instantly at more extended periods. However, their value significantly increases for shorter upgrade times, allowing you to queue more items during a session. You can also get a daily deal that reduces Research Potion costs, which can be more profitable.

Book of Fighting

A Book of Fighting can instantly skip a troop research timer. Since a book costs a significant sum of Gems to purchase and only works for one upgrade, it’s only worthwhile to sink it into upgrades that last for more than a week.

Hammer of Fighting

Available only by spending League Medals in the League Shop, each Hammer can bypass a single troop upgrade resource cost and timer. They are precious at later stages when troop upgrades become almost prohibitively expensive and also last for more than two weeks at a time.

Never Stop Upgrading

Perhaps the best advice on leveling troops faster is not to let Laboratory sit idle. Since players can only ever have one Laboratory churning out upgrades, using the Laboratory is a bottleneck designed to slow down players’ progress. Even though there are more building upgrades to go through, the three to five builders available can produce better results and allow for more optimization.

When research times are lower, queue up longer research times during the night, or when you know you’ll be away for a while. Strategizing queues allows you to come back to finished research and work on shorter upgrades throughout the day.

Resource costs can also bottleneck upgrades. While it takes about 1534 days to complete all research tasks in the Laboratory (as of August 2021), the time needed to gather the necessary resource can be much longer. Invest in essential upgrades first to get access to better primary troops and loot more enemies’ resources.

A Full List of Upgrades in Clash of Clans

While the first Laboratory level only allows you to upgrade some of your starting troops one time, future levels allow for more varied upgrades for troops and spells. Overall, all troops can eventually be upgraded to their max level with a sufficiently upgraded Laboratory.

Here are the requirements for upgrading the Laboratory by level:

  • Level 1: Town Hall 3, takes one minute and 5000 Elixir
  • Level 2: Town Hall 4, takes one hour and 25 000 Elixir
  • Level 3: Town Hall 5, takes two hours and 75 000 Elixir
  • Level 4: Town Hall 6, takes four hours and 150 000 Elixir
  • Level 5: Town Hall 7, takes eight hours and 300 000 Elixir
  • Level 6: Town Hall 8, takes 16 hours and 600 000 Elixir
  • Level 7: Town Hall 9, takes one day and 1 200 000 Elixir
  • Level 8: Town Hall 10, takes two days and 2 500 000 Elixir
  • Level 9: Town Hall 11, takes four days and 5 000 000 Elixir
  • Level 10: Town Hall 12, takes six days and 8 000 000 Elixir
  • Level 11: Town Hall 13, takes nine days and 10 000 000 Elixir
  • Level 12: Town Hall 14, takes 12 days and 12 000 000 Elixir

All the troop upgrades requiring Elixir can be found in the table below. The level requirements are minimal, meaning that you can still perform the upgrade if your Laboratory is of a higher level.

And here’s the chart for troop upgrades that require Dark Elixir:

Additional FAQ

What are the best troops to upgrade in CoC?

If you’re using a specific troop to attack enemies regularly, it’s best to stick to upgrading that one. When your primary damage dealers are leveled up, other units will only add marginal damage. In the beginning, every damage point matters, and times are relatively minimal, so it’s best to upgrade units across the board as soon as possible.

Higher-level units don’t take long to produce but cost more Elixir to make, so you can launch the same number of higher-quality attacks in the same timespan provided you have the resources to fuel the campaign.

Additionally, Clash of Clans receives regular update patches that can shift the balance between troops. Keeping all troops relatively evenly leveled can allow you to switch gears more seamlessly after a significant change.

Upgrade Troops to Attack Better in Clash of Clans

In CoC, every little upgrade adds up over time. Don’t waste any time sending inefficient troops at your foes. Upgrade troops at the Laboratory, and you’ll get a task force prepared to handle any defenses in no time.

What is your strategy for upgrading troops in Clash of Clans? Let us know in the comment section below.

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