How do I use redstone in Minecraft?

Redstone is an amazing resource found in the Minecraft world that lets you create basic or complex contraptions. Create a hidden door to help protect your castle, or create a functioning calculator to help you with your homework. While some of these contraptions are incredibly difficult to build, we're here to help you get off to a good start with redstone!

Where to find redstone

Redstone ore blocks are found in the bottom 16 layers of the Overworld. Use either an iron or diamond pickaxe to mine the block.

Redstone in the wild!

Each block of redstone ore, when mined, will drop four or five pieces of redstone. If you're not into mining that deep, you can also get redstone from killing witches, trading with villagers, or looting chests found throughout the world. There is also 15 pieces of redstone in every jungle temple.

How redstone works

Redstone is used in plenty of recipes, but using it to create contraptions is where things really get fun. When you place redstone on the ground, it creates a line of redstone dust that can transmit power.

A line of redstone.

Redstone dust can turn 90 degrees.

Redstone turning the corner.

Redstone dust can climb one block at a time.

Redstone going up a block at a time.

You must attach a power source to the redstone in order to power it. Power can be transmitted up to 15 blocks away. The light in the redstone dust dims until the last piece becomes completely unpowered.

A line of redstone that powers out at 15 blocks.

Power carried by redstone will transmit to blocks adjacent to it.

The blocks adjacent to the powered block are also powered.

Some power sources also give power to other blocks. As you can see below, the blocks around the block the lever is attached to also receive power.

Get to know how power around levers works!

If one of the redstone lamps that are lit up were, say, a piston, it would be extended because it is receiving power.

A piston that is receiving power.

Common power sources

You don't necessarily need actual redstone to create a powered contraption. You can, for example, craft a lever, attach it directly to a piston, and switch it on. Redstone really comes into play when you need to link several small devices together to create a complex contraption. Here are a few sources of power that you'll use most when experimenting with redstone.

Redstone torchRedstone torch: Craft one of these from a stick and a single piece of redstone. These provide constant power.

ButtonButton: Buttons are great when you want to activate your redstone contraption for only a few seconds.

LeverLever: Place a lever in a redstone contraption when you want to be able to turn it on and off.

Pressure platePressure plate: Pressure plates can be used to trigger redstone contraptions. Try one of these with a door so that you can enter your home with ease when you approach.

Redstone blockRedstone block: Craft one of these from nine pieces of redstone. A redstone block will power the blocks around it.

Blocks not compatible with redstone

Pretty much every block in Minecraft will let you put redstone on it and will conduct power. A good general rule to follow is if you can't see through it, it works. There are, however, some exceptions:

  • Chests
  • Glass
  • Glowstone
  • Hoppers
  • Pistons
  • Slabs
  • Stairs

If you're building a contraption and can't figure out why your power isn't where it's supposed to be, ensure all the blocks you're using are compatible with redstone.

Tips and tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you build a great redstone contraption.

Extend your power

If you need to extend the range of your redstone power, you can use a redstone repeater.

A repeater extends your line of power.

This will carry the current another 15 blocks past the repeater.

Create a tower

You can move power up the chain using redstone torches.

Sometimes you need power on the upper floor! Creating a stack of blocks with redstone torches between lets you transfer power straight up. Hitting the lever at the bottom will cause the torches to all switch on or off, so plan accordingly.

Use a daylight sensor to create automatic lighting

Want your house to light up when night falls? All you need is a daylight sensor, some redstone, a redstone torch, and a redstone lamp.

A simple example of an automatic lighting system.

The torch is on by default, so when it receives power from another source, it turns off. When night falls, the power to the torch will stop, and the polarity will change — the torch will turn on again and the redstone lamp will light up.

Your redstone contraptions

Have you gone to great lengths to create a complex contraption? What was its use? Let us know in the comments section below!