Fallout Shelter might not be the latest and greatest game in Bethesda’s hit franchise, but it has proved to have some serious staying power. Updates and new features have kept the game relevant for all these years. To help new players and returning veterans alike, we’ve put together a list of Fallout Shelter tips and tricks to maximize your vault’s chances of surviving the post-apocalyptic world.
This Fallout Shelter guide covers everything from ideal Vault layouts to resource and inventory management, so be sure to check out the full list!
Defend the first floor
The first item on our list of Fallout Shelter tips has to do with one of the most stressful parts of the early-game: raider attacks. These attackers break through the Vault door and start attacking your dwellers while stealing caps and delaying resource production. After making their way through the entrance corridor, they’ll move on to the first room on the ground floor.
If your first line dwellers are armed with just their fists, the room might as well be empty.
The best that can happen is that the raiders pass into the next room to wreak havoc on even more dwellers. The worst that can happen is that your dwellers die, and in the permadeath-enabled Survival mode they’re dead for good. Make sure that the first room is filled with well-armed dwellers.
If you only have a few weapons, try to move two of your armed dwellers into the entryway before the raiders enter. They should slow them down considerably and prevent much resource loss. Upgrading your Vault door will buy you even more time to get your defenders in place, so invest in that early.
Triple up rooms to maximize efficiency
One of the most important aspects of a well-organized shelter is room layout. It’s tempting to throw down single rooms as you need them, but do some planning ahead. If your shelter is filled with single rooms, each one will need to be manned by one or more survivor.
The Medbay and Science Lab can be left as single rooms until population 80 or more
Any time you build a new room, build two identical rooms next to it. They will combine into one large room that produces more than the single rooms put together. Not only that, but triple rooms require less power and are cheaper to upgrade than individual rooms. Leaving just one person in the room will still produce the goods, although it can get sketchy if there’s an emergency like a fire or RadRoach infestation.
For some rooms, like the Medbay and Science Lab, it’s not really necessary to boost production that much due to the 15 item cap. In those cases since rooms are fine, or double rooms if you’re an avid explorer.
Don’t increase your dweller count too early
Once you realize that rooms are unlocked by having more dwellers, it can be tempting to start recruiting tons of new Vault members — don’t do this.
Dweller count is important to progress in the game, but doing so too early will hamstring your efforts in the long run.
Each dweller requires food, water, and a weapon if you want them to be able to defend themselves. At the very least make sure you have all of your bases covered before allowing newbies from the wasteland into your Vault. Children are even worse, since they do nothing but consume resources until they become adults. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you the same thing.
Raiders are difficult enough to deal with, but at 60 dwellers you’ll have to contend with Deathclaw attacks. In Survival mode, that number is reduced to just 35 dwellers. You definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of a Deathclaw attack without the proper weapons.
Know your SPECIAL stats
Each dweller has a number of stats that influence their efficiency both in the Vault and while exploring the wasteland. Make sure you know what each special stat in Fallout Shelter does in order to get the most out of your dwellers.
Refer to the table below for the significance of each Fallout Shelter SPECIAL stat. Also note that although the in-game display maxes out at 10, stats above that given by outfits still have an effect in production, combat, and exploration.
|Stat||Effect in vault||Effect in wasteland||Effect in combat|
|Strength||Increases speed of power production in Power Plant and Nuclear Reactor||Increases chance of successfully opening lockers||Reduces damage taken|
|Perception||Increase speed of water production in Water Treatment and Water Purification rooms||Increases chance of finding special locations||Decreases the speed of the critical hit marker|
|Endurance||Increases speed of food and water production in Nuka-Cola Bottler||Decreases chance of random radiation bursts||Increases hit points gained upon level up|
|Charisma||Increases speed of reproduction and chance of attracting new dweller via Radio Studio||Improves results in encounters with civilized people||None|
|Intelligence||Increases speed of Stimpak and Radaway production in Medbay and Science Lab||Improves results in encounters with wounded people and chance of finding Stimpaks and Radaways||None|
|Agility||Increases speed of food production in Diner and Garden||Improves chance of avoiding damage when fleeing from strong enemies||Increases attack speed|
|Luck||Increases chance of rush success and additional caps rewards||Increases chance of finding items and quality of items found, as well as number of caps found||Increases chance of critical hits|
Increase Endurance stats early
This lesser-known Fallout Shelter tip has a huge influence on your dwellers’ ability to survive in the late-game. As mentioned above, the Endurance stat increases the amount of HP gained at each level up, and these increases are not retroactive.
If you increase a dweller’s Endurance stat at level one (and equip them with Endurance enhancing outfits), their final HP count will be significantly higher. As soon as you unlock the Fitness Room start grinding out those stat levels!
Put your pregnant dwellers to work
Having a baby is the highlight of many people’s lives, but in Fallout Shelter there’s no such thing as maternity leave. Pregnant dwellers are not able to defend themselves and will run for the hills when attackers come, but otherwise they work just as hard as other dwellers. Just keep them off the first floor and if you’re short on weapons consider removing them for the duration of the pregnancy.
There's no maternity leave in the post-apocalypse
Fallout Shelter pregnancies last three hours, and children take another three hours to become adults. Children don’t require any care and pregnant dwellers can get right back to work after delivery. If only childbearing were this simple in real life.
Use Mr. Handy to his fullest
The snarky robot Mr. Handy makes an appearance in Fallout Shelter, and he’s even more useful than in the PC games. He is unlocked via Mr. Handy boxes, which can either be unlocked through finishing objectives or purchased for just under a dollar. The empty box will appear in any storage spaces you have in your Vault.
Once acquired, Mr. Handy can be placed on any floor of your Vault to automatically collect resources, put out fires, and fight off attackers. They take damage just like dwellers, but cannot be healed. When they die they can be revived for 2000 caps, even in survival mode.
If Mr. Handy’s services are not needed in the Vault, you can send him out into the wasteland to collect caps. He won’t be able to collect any items, but he also won’t take any damage. Upon filling up his caps storage, he’ll return to the Vault automatically. Very handy indeed!
Use the clipboard to select dwellers for each room
This Fallout Shelter tip has to do with an often overlooked element on the game’s UI. When selecting a room, a small clipboard icon appears in the bottom left. This pulls up a list of dwellers in the room and allows you to quickly swap them out.
This might not seem like much of an improvement over simply dragging the dwellers around, but it allows you to quickly reorder the list by SPECIAL stats. Now you can make sure that dwellers with the highest strength are manning your Power Plants and so on. It’s also great for knowing which dwellers need stat increases in the Gym, Athletics Studio, etc.
Get the most out of your Nuka-Cola Quantum
Nuka-Cola Quantum was added as a premium currency in Fallout Shelter in update 1.6. It allows you to speed up a number of in-game elements and skip extra objectives beyond the first free daily skip. They can be purchased in the shop, but you can collect plenty by simply playing the game.
Nuka-Cola Quantum reduces wait times by up to 2 hours
The best use for Nuka-Cola Quantum depends on your specific situation. You can use it to speed up training to get dwellers back to work in a pinch or skip objectives if you want to try for more Lunchboxes. Our favorite use is speeding up travelers when moving to or returning from a quest. If you’re about to go to sleep and your explorers are still an hour out, pop a Nuka-Cola Quantum and send them back out to effectively gain 8 hours or so of uptime.
Regardless of what you use it for, remember that each Nuka-Cola Quantum reduces a maximum of 2 hours, so speeding up 2 hours and 5 minutes costs the same amount as 3 hours and 59 minutes. If you’re sitting at 6 hours and 5 minutes, wait a few minutes and save yourself a bottle.
Keep an eye out for the Mysterious Stranger
The Mysterious Stranger makes another appearance in Fallout Shelter, although it’s quite brief. He pops into your Vault at random times, and if you find him the game rewards you with a few hundred caps. You have to be quick though, because he only sticks around for about 5 seconds.
There is an easy way to find the Mysterious Stranger in Fallout Shelter, and it involves using sound. When he appears, a faint piano sound is made, so that’s your queue to scour your Vault for the trenchcoat-clad intruder. Don’t worry if you miss him, because he appears every few minutes.
That’s it for our list of Fallout Shelter tips and tricks! Got any more hot tips for your fellow Overseers? Let us know in the comments!