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Digging

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The Player punches trees and gets wood (click to view animation).

Digging, punching, or mining is one of the most fundamental activities in Minecraft, performed (by default) by holding the left mouse button while the cursor is over a block. Digging is used to create passages and tunnels, to clear away unwanted blocks, and is also the primary way of acquiring blocks for future placement or crafting.

Basics of digging/mining[edit]

Digging is accomplished simply by the "Attack" control (normally holding the left mouse button) while the cursor is over a block. If the player is within a range of about 4 meters of the target (the player's reach in a straight line is just under 4 meters/blocks; testing shows about 3.975. Diagonally the player can reach 2 and 13/16th blocks); the player will begin swinging his/her hand, making a repetitive "thump" noise as the player hits the block, and cracks will begin to appear. When the player is in range, the block will also be marked with a wireframe cube outline, showing the current target. After the cracks completely cover the block, it will break, and depending on the type of block and the tool being wielded, it may be harvested for resources.

Although many blocks can be harvested with bare hands, the harder ones require the use of a tool. In particular, to get resources from stone or metal-type blocks, the player will need to use a pickaxe. For harder blocks like iron ore or obsidian, not just any pickaxe will do; the player needs one made from sufficiently hard materials. The player can also use shovels and axes to speed up digging of dirt and wood-type blocks (respectively), although they are not required to get the resource drop. The downside is that tools have durability, and so they eventually wear out.

The player will continue to dig as long as the mouse button is held down, although there is a slight pause of 0.25 seconds between destroying one block and beginning on the one behind it. The player can move freely while digging, and the player can even dig while jumping or swimming. Although there is a speed penalty for the latter two, see below. This makes it easy to dig long tunnels or to clear away a large volume of material.

A potentially dangerous thing that many new players do is dig directly down. This can lead the player into falling into a cave without any light source, being killed by mobs, or falling into lava. For similar reasons, it is not recommended to dig up either, due to the fact that a monster or lava can fall onto the player. Another common mistake made by new players is to stand right next to the wall at which the player is digging. If there is a monster right behind it, it will be able to attack the player. Also, at lower levels, the player might dig into a pool of lava that could potentially kill them, but with proper precautions, this can be avoided.

The player can lose his/her digging progress if the target block changes while digging, so it is best to target the middle of a block's face. Progress is also reset whenever the mouse button is released. This can be used to the player's advantage because of a quirk in the handling of the "cooldown" between blocks: the 0.25 second cooldown is reset when the player releases the mouse. Thus, with proper timing the player can "click mine," increasing the player's overall digging throughput. The "thump" noise is helpful for gauging this: it plays exactly 5 times per second, starting as soon as the player clicks. For example, mining stone with an iron pickaxe takes 0.4 seconds, so there are two thumps plus a little extra time before the block breaks. It used to be possible to "switch mine" by switching targets right as the block broke to accomplish the same thing, but that no longer resets the cooldown. However, moving (walking/etc) while breaking does seem to reset the cooldown; tools enchanted with efficiency and a slight diagonal aim are the best way to use this.

Digging speed[edit]

The speed at which the player digs is controlled by two factors: The block the player is breaking, and the item the player is currently wielding. Every block has a hardness, which determines the base amount of time to break that block if the player hits it with his/her bare hands. The base time in seconds is the block's hardness multiplied by 1.5. The first adjustment to this is based on whether the player can harvest the block with current tool. If the player cannot, then the base time is multiplied by 3.33.

Assuming that the player can harvest the block, the next check is whether the player's tool helps speed digging for this block. By and large, pickaxes speed up (and are required for) mining, axes help chop wood, and shovels dig dirt/gravel faster.

If the tool helps, then it increases digging speed by a constant multiplier, given in the following table:

Material Nothing Wood Stone Iron Diamond Gold
Multiplier 1x 2x 4x 6x 8x 12x

Although swords do not count as "helping" to harvest a block, they perform 1.5 times better (regardless of material) than bare hands or other items on some blocks (see: Sword#Uses), although swords take double durability loss when harvesting blocks. All swords have a speed multiplier of 15 against cobwebs. Shears have a multiplier of 15 against cobwebs and leaves, and 5 against wool.

Lastly, digging can be slowed if the player is not on the ground. There is a 5x penalty (digging takes five times as long) if the player is not standing on the ground while digging. There is also a 5x penalty to digging while in water. If the player is swimming, (underwater and not walking on the bottom,) then the two combine for a whopping 25x penalty, making it very difficult to dig even with tools. However, if the player cannot harvest with the current tool then only the original 3.33x penalty applies, and none of the other adjustments are made.

Blocks by hardness[edit]

The following table shows the time it takes to break each type of block. Values with a red background indicate that it cannot be harvested by that quality of tool. If there is no tool that helps speed up mining the block, the five "tool" columns are left empty. Few blocks are harvested faster with shears or a sword. These speeds are listed in the last two columns, but only if it's different than "nothing".

Note that some blocks, don't drop anything even when they are mined with the proper tool; these are marked with a yellow background.

[edit values]

Block Hardness Tool Breaking time (seconds)
Hand Wooden Stone Iron Diamond Golden Shears Sword

Barrier

Bedrock

Command Block

End Portal

End Portal (block)

Portal

Lava
[note 1]
100

Water
[note 1]
100

Obsidian
50
250 125 62.5 41.667 9.375 20.833

Ender Chest
22.5
112.5 16.875 8.4375 5.625 4.2188 2.8125

Anvil
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Block of Coal
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Block of Diamond
5
25 12.5 6.25 1.25 0.9375 2.0833

Block of Emerald
5
25 12.5 6.25 1.25 0.9375 2.0833

Block of Iron
5
25 12.5 1.875 1.25 0.9375 2.0833

Block of Redstone
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Enchantment Table
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Iron Bars
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Iron Door
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Monster Spawner
5
25 3.75 1.875 1.25 0.9375 0.625

Cobweb
4 20 0.4 4

Dispenser
3.5
17.5 2.625 1.3125 0.875 0.6563 0.4375

Dropper
3.5
17.5 2.625 1.3125 0.875 0.6563 0.4375

Furnace
3.5
17.5 2.625 1.3125 0.875 0.6563 0.4375

Beacon
3 4.5

Block of Gold
3
15 7.5 3.75 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Coal Ore
3
15 2.25 1.125 0.75 0.5625 0.375

Dragon Egg
[note 2]
3 4.5

Diamond Ore
3
15 7.5 3.75 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Emerald Ore
3
15 7.5 3.75 0.75 0.5625 1.25

End Stone
3
15 2.25 1.125 0.75 0.5625 0.375

Gold Ore
3
15 7.5 3.75 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Hopper
3
15 2.25 1.125 0.75 0.5625 0.375

Iron Ore
3
15 7.5 1.125 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Lapis Lazuli Block
3
15 7.5 1.125 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Lapis Lazuli Ore
3
15 7.5 1.125 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Nether Quartz Ore
3
15 2.25 1.125 0.75 0.5625 0.375

Redstone Ore
3
15 7.5 3.75 0.75 0.5625 1.25

Wooden Trapdoor
3
4.5 2.25 1.125 0.75 0.5625 0.375

Wooden Door
3
4.5 2.25 1.125 0.75 0.5625 0.375

Chest
2.5
3.75 1.875 0.9375 0.625 0.4688 0.3125

Trapped Chest
2.5
3.75 1.875 0.9375 0.625 0.4688 0.3125

Crafting Table
2.5
3.75 1.875 0.9375 0.625 0.4688 0.3125

Brick Stairs
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Bricks
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Cauldron
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Cobblestone
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Cobblestone Stairs
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Cobblestone Wall
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Fence
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Fence Gate
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Jukebox
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Moss Stone
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Nether Brick
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Nether Brick Fence
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Nether Brick Stairs
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Stone Slab
2
10 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Wood
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Wood Planks
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Wooden Slabs
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Wooden Stairs
2
3 1.5 0.75 0.5 0.375 0.25

Andesite
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Bookshelf
1.5
2.25 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Dark Prismarine
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Diorite
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Granite
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Prismarine
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Stone
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Stone Brick
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Stone Brick Stairs
1.5
7.5 1.125 0.5625 0.375 0.2813 0.1875

Hardened Clay
1.25
6.25 0.9375 0.4688 0.3125 0.2344 0.1563

Stained Clay
1.25
6.25 0.9375 0.4688 0.3125 0.2344 0.1563

Prismarine Bricks
1.2
6 0.9 0.45 0.3 0.225 0.15

Jack o'Lantern
1
1.5 0.75 0.375 0.25 0.1875 0.125 1

Melon
1
1.5 0.75 0.375 0.25 0.1875 0.125 1

Mob head
1 1.5

Pumpkin
1
1.5 0.75 0.375 0.25 0.1875 0.125 1

Sign
1
1.5 0.75 0.375 0.25 0.1875 0.125

Block of Quartz
0.8
4 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.15 0.1

Note Block
0.8
1.2 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.15 0.1

Quartz Stairs
0.8
4 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.15 0.1

Red Sandstone
0.8
4 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.15 0.1

Sandstone
0.8
4 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.15 0.1

Sandstone Stairs
0.8
4 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.15 0.1

Wool
0.8 1.2 0.08

Monster Egg
0.75 1.125

Rails
0.7
1.05 0.525 0.2625 0.175 0.1312 0.0875

Clay
0.6
0.9 0.45 0.225 0.15 0.1125 0.075

Farmland
0.6
0.9 0.45 0.225 0.15 0.1125 0.075

Grass Block
0.6
0.9 0.45 0.225 0.15 0.1125 0.075

Gravel
0.6
0.9 0.45 0.225 0.15 0.1125 0.075

Mycelium
0.6
0.9 0.45 0.225 0.15 0.1125 0.075

Lily Pad
0.6 0.9

Sponge
0.6 0.9

Wet Sponge
0.6 0.9

Brewing Stand
0.5
2.5 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Button
0.5 0.75

Cake
0.5 0.75

Dirt
0.5
0.75 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Hay Bale
0.5 0.75

Ice
0.5
0.75 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Lever
0.5 0.75

Packed Ice
0.5
0.75 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Piston
0.5 0.75

Sand
0.5
0.75 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Soul Sand
0.5
0.75 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Stone Pressure Plate
0.5
2.5 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Weighted Pressure Plate
0.5
2.5 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Wooden Pressure Plate
0.5
0.75 0.375 0.1875 0.125 0.0938 0.0625

Cactus
0.4 0.6

Ladder
0.4 0.6

Netherrack
0.4
2 0.3 0.15 0.1 0.075 0.05

Glass
0.3 0.45

Glass Pane
0.3 0.45

Glowstone
0.3 0.45

Redstone Lamp
0.3 0.45

Sea Lantern
0.3 0.45

Stained Glass
0.3 0.45

Stained Glass Pane
0.3 0.45

Bed
0.2 0.3

Cocoa
0.2
0.3 0.15 0.075 0.05 0.0375 0.025 0.2

Daylight Sensor
0.2
0.3 0.15 0.075 0.05 0.0375 0.025

Huge Mushrooms
0.2
0.3 0.15 0.075 0.05 0.0375 0.025

Leaves
[note 3]
0.2 0.3 0.02 0.2

Snow
0.2
1 0.15 0.075 0.05 0.0375 0.025

Vines
0.2
0.3 0.15 0.075 0.05 0.0375 0.025 0.02 0.2

Carpet
0.1 0.15

Snow (cover)
0.1
0.5 0.075 0.0375 0.025 0.0188 0.0125

Carrots
0 0

Dead Bush
0 0

Fire
0 0

Flower Pot
0 0

Flowers
0 0

Grass
0 0

Melon Stem
0 0

Mushrooms
0 0

Nether Wart
0 0

Potatoes
0 0

Pumpkin Stem
0 0

Redstone Comparator
0 0

Redstone Repeater
0 0

Redstone Torch
0 0

Redstone Wire
0 0

Saplings
0 0

Sugar Cane
0 0

TNT
0 0

Torch
0 0

Tripwire
0 0

Tripwire Hook
0 0

Wheat
0 0
Block Hardness Tool Breaking time (seconds)
Hand Wooden Stone Iron Diamond Golden Shears Sword

Notes[edit]

  1. a b
    These blocks cannot be targeted (the block behind them is mined instead), so they cannot be broken, even though in code they have a finite hardness.
  2. The dragon egg can be mined directly only when there aren't any air blocks available for it to teleport to.
  3. Leaves only drop themselves when broken with shears, any other tool randomly drops saplings or apples


Best tools[edit]

Fastest tools to mine specific blocks:

Tool Material Blocks Notes

Axe
Plants
Cocoa


Jack o'Lantern


Pumpkin


Vines


Melon
Shears are required to collect vines.
Wood
Bookshelf


Chest


Crafting Table


Daylight Sensor


Fence


Fence Gate


Huge Mushrooms


Jukebox


Ladder


Note Block


Sign


Trapped Chest


Wood


Wooden Door


Wood Planks


Wooden Pressure Plate


Wooden Slabs


Wooden Stairs


Wooden Trapdoor

Pickaxe
Ice
Ice


Packed Ice
Must have Silk Touch enchantment to drop an item.
Metal I
Anvil


Block of Redstone


Brewing Stand


Cauldron


Iron Bars


Iron Door


Iron Trapdoor


Hopper


Weighted Pressure Plate
Pickaxe is required to collect a block.
Metal II
Block of Iron


Lapis Lazuli Block
Stone, iron, or diamond pickaxe is required to collect a block.
Metal III
Block of Diamond


Block of Emerald


Block of Gold
Iron or diamond pickaxe is required to collect a block.
Rail
Activator Rail


Detector Rail


Powered Rail


Rail
Rock I
Andesite


Block of Coal


Block of Quartz


Bricks


Coal Ore


Cobblestone


Cobblestone Wall


Dark Prismarine


Diorite


Dispenser


Dropper


Enchantment Table


End Stone


Ender Chest


Furnace


Granite


Hardened Clay


Monster Spawner


Moss Stone


Nether Brick


Nether Brick Fence


Nether Quartz Ore


Netherrack


Polished Andesite


Prismarine


Prismarine Bricks


Polished Diorite


Polished Granite


Red Sandstone


Red Sandstone Slab


Sandstone


Slabs
(non-wooden)

Stained Clay


Stairs
(non-wooden)

Stone


Stone Brick


Stone Pressure Plate
Pickaxe is required to collect a block.
Monster spawner cannot be collected, it will instead drop xp.
Rock II
Iron Ore


Lapis Lazuli Ore
Stone, iron or diamond pickaxe is required to collect a block.
Rock III
Diamond Ore


Emerald Ore


Gold Ore


Redstone Ore
Iron or diamond pickaxe is required to collect a block.
Rock IV
Obsidian
Diamond pickaxe is required to collect a block.

Shears
Leaves
Leaves
Shears are required to collect a block.
Leaves will drop their alternative items if any other tool is used.
Web
Cobweb
Shears or sword is required to collect string.
Silk Touch enchantment is required to collect cobweb.
Wool
Wool

Shovel
Ground
Clay


Dirt


Farmland


Grass Block


Gravel


Mycelium


Podzol


Red Sand


Sand


Soul Sand
Must have Silk Touch enchantment to drop grass block, mycelium or podzol and not get dirt as a result.
Snow
Snow


Snow (layer)
Shovel is required to collect snowballs from snow-type blocks.

Sword
Plants
Melon
Web
Cobweb
Shears or sword is required to collect string.
Any (all tools are equally efficient) Circuits
Button


Lever
Glass
Beacon


Glass


Glass Pane


Glowstone


Redstone Lamp


Sea Lantern


Stained Glass


Stained Glass Pane
Other
Bed


Cake


Carpet


Dragon Egg


Hay Bale


Ladder


Mob head


Monster Egg


Sponge


Wet Sponge
Dragon egg cannot be mined directly because hitting it causes it to teleport.
Piston
Piston


Sticky Piston
Plants
Cactus
Any (instantly breaks; doesn't damage tools) Circuits
Redstone Comparator


Redstone Repeater


Redstone Torch


Redstone Wire


Tripwire


Tripwire Hook
Destroying the tripwire while not holding shears will trigger a redstone pulse.
Other
Fire


Flower Pot


TNT


Torch


Slime Block
Plants
Carrots


Dead Bush


Fern


Flowers


Lily Pad


Melon Stem


Mushrooms


Nether Wart


Potatoes


Pumpkin Stem


Saplings


Sugar Cane


Tall Grass


Wheat
Dead bush, fern and tall grass must be mined with shears; or they will drop nothing.
None (unbreakable) Liquid
Lava


Water
The source block can be picked up with a bucket.
Other
Bedrock


Command Block


Barrier


End Portal


End Portal (block)


Nether Portal

Video[edit]

History[edit]

Beta
1.7.3 There was a bug where some wood items were not broken faster by axes.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre4 Efficiency enchantment added, which mines blocks faster.
Beta 1.9-pre6 The mining time of many blocks were made a lot faster, including Redstone Ore, stone brick, Nether Brick, iron bars, doors, Monster Spawners and obsidian.
Several block's tool weaknesses have been fixed, such as Crafting Tables now mining faster with an Axe and rails now mining faster with a Pickaxe.
Mined stairs of any materials will drop a stair block now instead of a block form of its material.
1.3.1 12w22a Mining ores (except Gold Ore and Iron Ore) rewards the player with Experience Orbs.
12w23a You can see the block breaking animation when other players break blocks.
1.4.6 12w50a The Efficiency enchantment no longer applies when mining blocks of the wrong type (ex: Efficiency pickaxes don't increase the mining speed of dirt). This is a consequence of the new rule "the mining speed of a block will only be increased when it is mined with the correct tool".
1.8 The proper tool now increases the breaking speed of a block even if it is not the correct grade.