Beginner Guide to Fallout Shelter: Manage Your Own Vault

Are you looking for the the best activity to kill the time while waiting for Fallout 4? That’s why we are here to help you learn the ins and outs of a little game called Fallout Shelter. Fallout Shelter is a game that is rather unique in that you can play it as hardcore or as casually as possible. This guide will seek to mimic that exact same character. Do you want to just learn the basics of making a great shelter and check in every now and then? This guide is for you. Do you want to min/max the perfect shelter and blaze your way down into the earth? I have just what you need! Let’s get started.


fallout shelter - Resources1

Resources are what your vault depends on to grow. Without an ample supply of all three types of resources, bad things will happen. Expanding too quickly will throttle the growth of your vault because you will not be able to produce enough resources for your dwellers, so make sure that all three are constantly above their respective requirement lines. If they’re green, you’re good. If they’re red, you need to make some immediate changes. A good indication of a well maintained vault is if you max out every time you collect resources. If you are needing to rush your production rooms just to stay afloat, you need to make changes. You can do this by increasing supply by having more dwellers working on the resource or improving the stats of the dwellers working on the resource. You can also decrease demand of the resource by reducing the amount of rooms in your vault (to reduce power consumption) or sending dwellers out into the wasteland (to reduce food & water consumption). The three resources are:

  • Food:
    This resource is produced by having dwellers work in rooms like the Diner, the Garden, or the Nuka-Cola Bottler. The rooms that produce it rely on the Agility stat. The higher the combined agility of the dwellers working in the rooms, the faster you will generate food. Food consumption is based on the amount of dwellers in your vault. If your food resource falls into the red, your dwellers will begin to lose health due to starvation.
  • Water:
    This resource is produced in the Water Treatment, Water Purification, and Nuka-Cola Bottler rooms. The rooms that produce water primarily rely on the Perception stat. The higher the combined perception of the dwellers working in the rooms, the faster you will generate water. Water consumption is also based on the amount of dwellers in your vault. If your water resource falls into the red, your dwellers will begin to lose health due to radiation sickness.
  • Power:
    This resource is produced in the Power Generator and the Nuclear Reactor rooms. The rooms that produce power rely on the Strength stat. The higher the combined Strength of the dwellers working in the rooms, the faster you will generate power. Power consumption is based on the number of rooms in your vault. It is the most important resource in the game and should be prioritized. If your power resource falls into the red, your rooms will stop functioning. Rooms farthest from your power rooms will lose power first.

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fallout shelter - stats1

S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats are what determine each dweller’s abilities. The higher their stat, the better they are at performing the task related to that stat. They also gain happiness if they are working in a room corresponding to their highest stat. Because each dweller can only work in one room, it is usually wise to prioritize one stat on each dweller. The priority of each stat is S > E > P = A > L > I >>> C

  • I:
    I stands for Intelligence. Intelligent dwellers are faster at producing stimpaks/radaways in the MedBay or the Science Lab. They also can help or heal people in the wastes. Intelligence is somewhat useful. The stimpaks/radaways produced help your explorers stay out longer but are not really a necessity.
  • E:
    E stands for Endurance. Dwellers with high endurance can be placed in storage rooms to increase the amount of stimpacks and radaways you can store, but are much more valuable exploring the wastes. Explorers with higher endurance can survive longer in the wastelands, allowing them to bring back better gear. Endurance also determines how much health is gained when a dweller levels up, which is valuable for all dwellers. Endurance is also the stat used for the Nuka-Cola bottling factory that is unlocked at 100 dwellers. The bottling factory is unique in that it is the only room that produces two resources- water and food.
  • S:
    S stands for Strength. Strength determines how well a dweller will perform when producing power. It also increases weapon damage and allows your dweller to pry open boxes in the wasteland. Because power determines how many rooms you can sustain, strength is the most important stat to have a lot of in your vault.
    P: P stands for Perception. Dwellers with high perception produce water faster, shoot more accurately, and are better at spotting things like abandoned buildings in the wastes. Perception is important but it is not as important as Strength or Endurance.
  • C:
    C stands for Charisma. Dwellers that have high Charisma are better at making sweet love in the living quarters, calling out for new dwellers in the radio room, and making friends in the wasteland. Charisma is literally a garbage stat. The difference it makes in breeding time is almost unnoticeable, and it is more efficient to breed dwellers than to use the radio room unless you’re looking for cosmetic features that aren’t currently in your dwellers gene pool. Ignore this stat entirely.
  • A:
    A stands for Agility. Dwellers with high Agility produce food faster, attack faster, and are better at running away from bad fights in the wasteland. Since food is a crucial resource, Agility is on par with perception when it comes to priority.
  • L:
    L stands for Luck. Lucky dwellers reduce the chance that something will go wrong when you rush a production room. It also increases the amount of caps gained when collecting from a production room and increases the rarity of loot the dweller will find in the wastelands. It’s best to have lucky dwellers work producing water because it the shortest cycle. Short cycles = more caps per hour. Luck is also good on explorers because it allows them to bring home better loot.


fallout shelter - Weapons-Outfits1

When exploring the wastes, your dweller has a chance to find several weapons or outfits. Immediately sell any weapons that do 1-2 damage because your dwellers already do that much barehanded. Otherwise, make sure every single dweller has a gun. The second amendment is even better after the world has ended. Prioritize men getting guns over women because pregnant women will run instead of fighting. Having a gun in every single dwellers hands will make random events like raiders, radroaches, and molerats much easier to deal with. Give your best guns to your explorers, though, as it will keep them alive longer in the wastelands.

Outfits increase the stats of your dwellers when worn. When you are first starting out, it will be useful to make sure every dweller is wearing something, even if it increases the stat of the room that they are working in by +1. As you move forward, however, managing outfits that increase multiple stats can get confusing. It may seem like outfits that give a bonus to multiple stats would be better, but your dwellers will most likely spend their lives working in a single room, thus wasting the extra stats. The exception is those who you send exploring, who can be wearing equipment that increase endurance/strength/luck. A good guideline is outfits that increase a single stat by +3. Outfits that give +3 to a single stat are relatively common and are much easier to use when organizing your dwellers.

The amount of weapons/outfits you can store is based on your number of storage rooms. However, outfits/weapons that are equipped don’t count as stored so storage should never be a problem. If you start to max out, sell weapons that don’t do 6-8 damage or higher or outfits that don’t boost a single stat higher than 3+. A good and easy goal to shoot for is to have all of your dwellers equipped with weapons that do 6-8 damage and wearing outfits that increase a single stat by at least +3.


fallout shelter - Incidents1

“Incidents” are basically whatever could go wrong in your vault. At the time of writing this guide there are no beneficial incidents that can occur. The strength of incidents scale with the amount of rooms you have built, so don’t expand too quickly. Incidents can occur randomly or after a failed attempt at rushing a room. Fortunately they can only occur when you’re playing and able to respond to them, so don’t worry about coming back to a burned down shelter. Any dwellers moved during an incident will return to where they were working automatically after the incident ends. This is good for when you need to send reinforcements, but a pain if you happened to be organizing your dwellers while the incident is getting resolved. Pregnant women will run away and hide in the living quarters. They will take no damage, but will also leave their post abandoned, so send reinforcements to take their place. Here are the various incidents and how to deal with them:

  • Radroaches:
    Huge mutated cockroaches burrow into your room and attack those inside. Radroach infestations are why it is important to arm all of your dwellers. The longer the incident goes on, the more radroaches will appear. The strength of the attack depends on the amount of rooms in your vault and the size of the room they attacked. Bigger rooms will mean more radroaches. Expand slowly!
  • Fire:
    The room catches on fire. Simple. The dwellers inside will automatically start putting it out. However, the longer the fire burns, the more damage it does to the dwellers inside. Also, if you do not respond to the fire immediately, it will spread to adjacent rooms. This is why it is important to have at least one dweller in each room in order to immediately suppress fire spread. This incident may occur after a failed rush attempt.
  • Molerats:
    Molerats burrow into the room instead of radroaches. Molerats come later in the game after you’ve reached a higher population. They only attack rooms that are in contact with dirt, so well designed vaults will have fewer molerat attacks. Molerats escalate in danger like fires and radroaches and scale based on room size and total rooms built. Arm your dwellers and take them out quickly!
  • Raiders:
    A group of armed raiders break down your vault door and attempt to loot your vault. They will rush to your resource production rooms and steal resources based on the type of room that they are in. Their weapons scale based on the amount of rooms you have built. Upgrading your vault door will decrease the amount of time it takes for them to break it down. You can also post dwellers in the door room as guards. I wouldn’t recommend this because 90% of the time they will be doing nothing. A good strategy is to arm dwellers in the room closest to the door with the best weapons you have and then send them to the door during an attack.
  • Deathclaws: Deathclaws will slaughter your entire vault. You think that puny 2 ton vault door will buy you time? Nope. Think that their huge claws would prevent them from operating an elevator? Doesn’t matter. Deathclaws are horrible monsters that will murder everything in their path from top to bottom of your vault. They are summoned randomly or by failing a call from the radio room. Fortunately they only attack when your vault has 60 dwellers, so make sure you stick with 59 until you’re ready! Before you hit 60 population, make sure all of your dwellers are well armed and are at a high level. A trick to unlock the Nuclear Reactor and prevent death claws is to hit 60 population and then immediately send someone to die in the wastelands and not recover their body. This way you can build nuclear reactors and better prepare for the game after 60 population.


fallout shelter - Rooms1

Rooms are the building blocks of your vault. They can be placed any way you like, but are very difficult to rearrange, so plan ahead. Placing three of the same room together will merge them into 1 big room which will produce resources more efficiently than three 1-wide rooms. For maximum efficiency each floor can contain two 3-wide rooms, one 2-wide room, and 2 elevators. This leads to two strategies:

fallout shelter room

The one on the left looks prettier but the design on the right protects from molerat attacks better since fewer rooms are in contact with dirt.

There are currently 20 different rooms that you can build:

  • Living quarters:
    Living quarters determine how many dwellers your vault can hold. The maximum number of dwellers is 200, so don’t try to build more living quarters after you’ve hit the cap. You can also send a male and female dweller here for them to breed, which you should be doing often. Expand quickly at first to about 50 and then immediately prune back to 20-30 in order to get the training rooms and not have to deal with all the horrible consequences of over expansion.
  • Elevator:
    This is the most straight-forward of the rooms. Elevators enable dwellers to move up and down between floors. Since you have to connect them together for them to work, it is usually best to have 2 straight lines of elevators running through your base.
  • Power Generator:
    The first power resource production room. It requires dwellers who have a high strength stat. I advise building two 3-wide rooms because power directly impacts how many rooms you can build.
    Diner: This is the first food resource production building. It is best staffed by dwellers with high Agility. Vaults with fewer dwellers don’t need as much food, so one room staffed by 1-2 dwellers with 10 Agility should be fine, but remember to leave room for expansion.
  • Water Treatment:
    This is the first water resource production building. It requires dwellers with a high Perception stat. Again, this facility is not as important as the power generator and can be staffed by 1-2 level 10 Perception dwellers for a low population. However, if you want caps quickly, staff it full with high luck dwellers and rush it constantly. Each successful rush nets you a nice sum of caps, and the water treatment is the best room to do it in.
  • Storage Room:
    The storage room increases the amount of weapons/outfits you can hold as well as the amount of simpaks/rad-aways. Dwellers with a high Endurance stat work best in this room. It does not need to be manned to function but maning it will increase the amount of simpaks/rad-aways you can hold, but NOT the amount of weapons/outfits. One 3-wide is usually enough unless you really want to store a lot of weapons/outfits since equipped weapons/outfits do not count towards storage.
  • Medbay:
    The medbay produces stimpaks and is best worked by dwellers with a high Intelligence. Stimpacks heal your dwellers and can be given to explorers before they go out into the wastelands. Stimpaks are great at keeping your dwellers alive during incidents.
  • Science Lab:
    This room produces Rad-aways and is also best worked by intelligent dwellers. Radaways remove radiation sickness caused by poorly treated water or exploring the wastes. The science lab is not as important as the medbay, but rad-aways are still very useful when given to those exploring the wastes.
  • Radio Studio:
    The radio studio requires dwellers with a high Charisma and attracts new dwellers (and deathclaws) to your vault. If you absolutely have to build this, put that one dweller that has high Charisma but nothing else and forget about it.
  • Training Rooms:
    (Weight Room/Athletics Room/Armory/Classroom/Fitness Room/Lounge/Game room) These rooms increase the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats of your dwellers. I highly recommend rushing to these rooms as soon as possible so that you can make those crappy dwellers into useful citizens! The first few levels take next to no time so make sure every one of your dwellers has 3 Endurance and 3 Luck. Then, put dwellers with high levels and stat boosting outfits to work while you train up all your low stat dwellers. Try to have as many training as possible. Don’t build the Lounge unless you really have to for aesthetic or completions reasons. It’s practically useless.
  • Nuclear Reactor:
    Your second power producing room requiring Strength. The Nuclear reactor is expensive but is worth it. Slowly replace your old power generators with these. Watch out because if you unlocked this, deathclaws are also on their way. Drop back down to 59 population.
  • Garden:
    Your second Food resource room that also requires Agility. Honestly, don’t build this. It’s expensive and does very little in terms of improving from the Diner. Wait till the Nuka-Cola Bottler.
    Water Purification. Your second Water resource production room. It scales with the Perception stat of those working inside. Again, don’t build this. It’s expensive and doesn’t improve much on the Water Treatment room. Wait till the Nuka-Cola Bottler.
  • Nuka-Cola Bottler: This is the final building you can unlock and it was definitely worth the wait. It’s different from the other Resource production facilities in that it requires dwellers with the Endurance stat. It also produces both Water and Food better than both the Garden and Water Purification. Get this. Get this. Get this. It’s expensive but so worth it because dwellers working in it are affectively working 2 jobs.

Each time you build a room, the cost of building another of the same type goes up. Elevators for example, which originally start off pretty cheap (150 caps), get phenomenally expensive later in the game (1325 caps). This is why you need to be as efficient as possible when you are building rooms or you will pay dearly. Literally.

While you’re digging you may come across a few rocks. There are 18 floors with rocks with ~100 rocks in total. Each level of depth increases the cost of destroying a rock by 25 caps up to 675 caps per rock. Destroying every single rock will cost you about 42,000 caps, so break only as you need.

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Tips and Tricks

Fallout Shelter Tips

Now that you know pretty much all the facts about fallout shelter, here are some tips and tricks to give you an edge. I’ve already included a bunch of tips in the Basics, but here are some more that didn’t quite fit in. ­­

On Dwellers

  • Dwellers are happiest doing work they’re good at. Put them in rooms that match their highest stat to increase their happiness.
  • Dwellers don’t like being irradiated or injured, use Stimpaks and Rad-aways on dwellers that need them. Adequate resources will allow them to heal naturally, but they will slowly decrease in happiness until then.
  • Dead dwellers do not consume resources but count towards total population and can be revived for a small fee. If you are experiencing shortages, send dwellers into the wastes or rush rooms so that they die. Remove their corpses if you need to cut back on population.
  • Naming your dwellers based on their profession is an easy way to organize
  • Have as many dwellers as you can afford in training rooms to boost their stats
  • Equip every dweller with a gun and incidents will be significantly easier
  • 10 is the highest any stat can go, so give strong outfits to weak dwellers and weak outfits to strong dwellers
  • The best way to make high HP dwellers is to max their endurance stat, and then send them into the wasteland to level up.

Fallout Shelter Breeding

On Breeding

  • Almost as a middle finger to Darwin, dwellers with good stats do not pass those stats down to their children. When you breed, select dwellers whose race and hair you prefer because those factors are pretty much the only things that get passed down.
  • Pregnant women can still work, so make sure you put everyone back to work after they are done breeding.
  • Do not breed too many dwellers too quickly unless you intend on killing them later. Rapid expansion will leave you open to strong attacks on your vault and resource scarcities.
  • You need to have the app open or your dwellers will not breed or give birth to a new child, but the child will develop in the womb while you are away.
  • Close relatives will not breed with each other
  • Breeding will max out the happiness of the mother and father
  • Charisma boosting outfits will decrease the amount of time it takes for your dwellers to breed
  • Pregnant women will not give birth if there is no room for the child. Make sure you have upgraded your living quarters enough
  • Make sure you spread your pregnant women out evenly in your vault, because they will run away during incidents leaving their post abandoned and unprotected

On Exploring

  • Always have someone in the wasteland. Since it is really the only way to get guns and outfits, you want as many as you can afford out exploring.
  • The best way to level up your dwellers is to send them exploring
  • Make sure that every single one of your explorers is carrying the max amount of stimpaks and radaways before they head out. The longer they are out there, the better loot they will find. The more stimpaks, the more likely they’ll be alive when you check back.
  • The longer a dweller is in the wasteland, the better loot they will find, but they will also encounter stronger, more dangerous, enemies that give more exp.
  • Check often. You won’t need to check very often on explorers with 20 stimpaks, but those with 5 or fewer should be recalled or watched carefully. A couple bad encounters is all it takes to lose a dweller.
  • Explorers do not consume water or food, so sending excess population exploring is a good strategy
  • Dwellers will take half the amount of time they have spent out in the wastes to return, they will also not encounter anything on the way back. This way, low HP dwellers don’t die on the return trip.
  • Mr Handy can be sent to explore. He will never take any damage and will only find caps up to a maximum of 5000.

Fallout Shelter Rush

On Rushing

  • Rushing gives you fast caps and resources, but each rush increases the likelihood of an incident happening instead.
  • Rushing resets the timer of the room, so try to rush just after you collected resources when the timer is the highest for best results
  • You can intentionally kill dwellers by rushing a room over and over until they die
  • Luck decreases the likelihood of an incident, so if you need to rush multiple times, It might be beneficial to outfit your dwellers with lucky clothes
  • You should not constantly be depending on rushing to sustain your Vault, but rushing to max storage for a buffer area is OK
  • Luck increases the amount of caps obtained from rushing.
  • Rushing the water treatment plant with high luck dwellers is the fastest way to make caps from rushing.
  • Rushing increases the happiness of the dwellers working inside

Fallout Shelter Building

On Building

  • Keep your resource production rooms together in order to reduce the impact of running out of power in your vault.
  • Power rooms use no power, so you can build more and leave them unmanned to increase your maximum amount of power.
  • 3-wide rooms are much better than 2-wide or 1-wide. Make sure you plan for expansion.
  • Making a room wider will increase the number of dwellers that can work there and therefore decrease the time it takes to produce resources, while upgrading a room will increase the amount of resources produced. Large, populated vaults, will want bigger rooms while small, skilled vaults will prefer upgraded rooms.
  • Mr Handy will petrol an entire floor collecting resources. To get the most value out of him, make sure that you put him on a floor that is entirely resources
  • Build organically but plan systematically. Have a plan for what you want to build and then build as you need to. For example: You might think that having a floor entirely for power producing rooms may be a good idea, but building them all at once will throttle your growth.
  • Bigger, more upgraded rooms will attract bigger, more dangerous incidents
  • Expand only when you need to!
  • Building a room with no other rooms above, below, or next to it will prevent the spread of incidents. If an incident breaks out in a room with no other rooms touching it, it won’t spread and will go away after a few seconds.
  • In order to rebuild your vault from scratch, you need to kill all of your dwellers and destroy every room. Make sure you never have to do this.
  • Surrounding your rooms with elevators will prevent molerat attacks, but elevators are very expensive so keep that in mind

On The Game

  • Do not pay for lunchboxes. You can get plenty of lunchboxes for free by completing quests. Almost everything that can be found in a lunchbox can be obtained in the game and your money is best spent elsewhere
  • If you feel it absolutely necessary to buy lunchboxes, they will have the most impact early in the game
  • Buying a Mr Handy is what you should do if you want to pay to support the Developers. A Mr Handy will automatically collect resources, fight off Incidents, and can be sent into the wastelands to gather caps danger-free and cannot be obtained without buying one.
  • Check in often, but don’t stay long. The game is designed for short, frequent sessions so collect everything, do what you want, and then leave before an incident.
  • If you want to skip ahead, go into your phones clock and set it forward a day. Though weird stuff sometimes happens when you “travel back in time”
  • You can reject one quest per day. Do so. Things like “Kill 5 deathclaws with your bare hands” are better off rejected for easier tasks.
  • Rooted/Jailbroken phones can take advantage of an in-app purchase hack that allows them to get lunchboxes and Mr Handies for free
  • You can play on PC by downloading a program called Bluestacks
  • Never give up. Even if you mess up badly, even if all your dwellers die and it will cost a fortune to revive them, it is almost always better to keep moving forward rather than starting over from scratch.
  • If you want a step by step walkthrough now that you’ve read the guide and know almost everything about fallout shelter, go here.
  • If you want specific details on each room, weapon, or outfit go here.

Worried about missing an amazing side quest in Fallout 4? Then this deal is for you: Use the coupon code FALL41 to get 10 USD off when picking up Killer Guides' Fallout 4 Guide. In this guide you’ll find all undocumented quests as well as proven builds, weapon modification tips, and building settlement strategies and much, much more! Click here to read a review from one of the most popular community sites for Fallout 4.

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