Puzzle Brand Comparison – Ravensburger

This page is part of our Puzzle Brand Comparison. You can find the overview page here.

REVIEW DATE: 1/20/2015         PUZZLE TESTED: various

OUR RATING: 76 points, AA Grade

CATEGORIES: cartoon, fantasy, photographic landscapes, pets, painted landscapes, collage, ‘puzzle plus’ (What If?), vintage

CUT: grid cut, high variation                FINISH: matte, seamless

PIECE FIT:  fairly tight                               PIECE SIZE: normal

Ravensburger website: Euro and US            Jigsaw Junkie’s Ravensburger Coverage

SUMMARY: Ravensburger ranks highest in our brand quality assessment for good reason. They make quality puzzles through and through–from the outside of the box, to the goodies you’ll find inside, to the thickness and cut of their pieces, to the crisp ‘softclick’ fit, and their lovely image reproduction. They have a fresh and interesting puzzle catalog with unique and commissioned new images offered frequently. Long live Ravensburger!

1. BOX  — 11/10

How deluxe does the box looks and feel? Is it sturdy? Will it hold up over time?  How nicely does it arrange on the shelf?

Ravensburger has some of the best boxes in the puzzle industry. The boxes feel quite heavy, like a high-end German board game. The sharpness and color of the box image is perfect, and it has a nice matt/linen finish.

All the 1000 piece Ravensburger boxes are a standard  14 5/8″ x 10 3/4″ x 2 1/8″.  This makes shelving easy as the boxes are consistent.

Front:

The Ravensbuger name and piece size are easy to find. While the artist name is not on the front of this box, the series name “What If? No 9” and puzzle image name “Santa & Rudolph” are very visible. And the artist name, bio, and even photo are on the box bottom. I love the graphic design of this front, with the gold background, the red, gold and blue color scheme, and the ‘fun time’ words and fonts. It’s very compelling–and the cartoon image is awesome.

ravens_whatif_9_SantaAndRudolph_1000

Side:

All four sides of the Ravensburger box have the Ravensburger logo and a picture of the puzzle. The series logo and number is also shown on both a long and short side (see below), as well as the name of the puzzle “Santa & Rudolph”. I love having the series name and number because it makes for particularly attractive shelving of a series.  TThe artist name is not on the sides, but the series logo somewhat replaces it, and info on the artist is shown on the bottom of the box. The copyright year is on one side of the box (2014 in this case). (Ignore the cruddy shrink wrap — I did that when I re-shrinked it. It didn’t come that way!)

ravens_whatif_9_SantaAndRudolph_1000c

.  ravensburger_sideview_shelf

Back:

ravens_whatif_9_SantaAndRudolph_1000b

Ravensburger knows how to do the back of a puzzle box! So many brands have a blank bottom or some generic warranty info that goes on all their puzzles. This lovely box uses the bottom to tell us more about the puzzle series and puzzle image, show us yummy graphics, and have a bio and photo of the artist, Geoff Tristram. Yay!  I love knowing more about a puzzle image and artist. There are also ‘puzzle hints’ on the back, clues to the final image.

Note that some Ravensburger puzzles, particularly those not in a series, don’t have a specialized back like this, but instead use their standard multi-lingual back, shown below. But I’m grading based on this series box.

ravensburger_std_back

FINAL SCORE:

I gave a bonus point for this box because it makes you want to start solving the puzzle the minute you pick it up. Very fun design!

raven_box_section

2.  INSIDE THE BOX:  11/10

How deluxe are the internal goodies (such as posters or brochures)?  When you remove the pieces is there puzzle dust, pieces stuck together, hanging chads, and places where the image has begun to separate from the backs?

Ravensburger puzzles have excellent quality inside the box as well as outside.  The puzzle below was issued in fall of 2014 in the UK and was puzzle #11 in the “Best of British” series.  Inside we have 4 color inserts — a multi-page brochure of Ravenburger’s 2014 puzzle collection, a ‘guarantee’ page, a page that contains the puzzle image and description for separate reference when piecing together the puzzle, and a page about a different series, the “What If?” series. Lots of goodies!

ravensburger_box_inside-F1

Below is a photo of the puzzle reference page that comes inside the puzzle — very nice!  (click for closer view). It has info on the artist too.

ravensburger_box_inside-F2

As for the puzzle bag itself — the puzzle is in sturdy plastic with small holes to prevent the build-up of moisture. The pieces are completely separated, as you can see in the photo, with no hanging chads or need to rip pieces apart. The image top is firmly adhered to the piece with no lifting and no damage. There is very little puzzle dust. The piece backs are a nice blue color.

ravensburger_box_inside-F3

FINAL SCORE:

This box gets an extra bonus point for not only having a poster-like reference image, but having a mini-catalog and additional color series sheet as well.

ravensburger_chart

3. PIECE THICKNESS:  10/10

How thick are the pieces compared to other brands? How does a piece feel in your hand? How easily are pieces damaged or bent during assembly and separation?

We use Ravensburger as our ‘benchmark brand’ for good quality thickness in puzzles, so that should tell you something. The brand is widely accepted to have high-quality pieces, so we use it as our baseline. Below are photos of Ravensburger vs the other thickest brand I’ve found so far (Gibsons) and the thinnest I’ve tested (D-Toys).

gibson-1

D-Toys3

FINAL SCORE:

ravensburger-chart

4. PIECE SIZE AND SHAPE:  9/10

Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?

Ravensburger is a grid-cut puzzle–more or less straight rows and columns with all corners lining up. This is the standard for European puzzles and some puzzlers prefer it. Personally, I prefer more creative non-grid cuts like Springbok, House of Puzzles, Sunsout, and Bits and Pieces. However, within the field of grid-cut puzzles, Ravensburger has it’s usual amazing quality. The pieces have funky lines versus being exactly straight and there’s a good variety of piece shapes, not too many basic two-knob, two-hole. As you can see from the image below, each piece is unique.

ravens_BestOfBritish_Holiday_2x500_bCU

The piece size is a good, average puzzle piece size, not too small. In fact, we use Ravensburger as our baseline for piece size also.

comparison-1

FINAL SCORE:

ravensburger-chart

5. PIECE FIT:  10/10

Do pieces interlock well? Can it be confusing if a piece fits or not?  Can you move groups of pieces together? Does it look snug when it’s done?e?

The puzzle fit is excellent.  Ravensburger boxes tout a patented “Softclick Technology”, and there is a particularly satisfying feedback when you put a piece in place. Even when there are broad areas of similar color/pattern, it’s never confusing if a piece fits or not. You can feel that it fits (or doesn’t). When a group of pieces are assemble, they’re movable with care, though the fit is not as tight as some, and not tight enough to lift the puzzle without glue. The final picture has a seamless look.

FINAL SCORE:

ravensburger-fit

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION:  10/10

Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?. 

Ravensburger puzzles are excellent in this category. Their colors are bright. The finish on the puzzle top is a quality-feeling linen matt that eliminates glare, and the crispness of the image is perfect.

rav_ColinT_BizarreBookshop2_CU2

FINAL SCORE:

ravensburger-image

7. IMAGE VARIETY:  15/10

Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?

ravensburger-3

Above: “Kitchen Cupboard” by Colin Thompson 1000 pieces, “Best of British 10: Frog and Trumpet Pub” by Geoff Tristram 1000 pieces, “Tarot” by Ciro Marchetti 1000 pieces.

Ravensburger covers all popular puzzle categories. They carry photographic puzzles, children’s puzzles, Disney and other licensed brands, painted rural scenes, cartoon puzzles, vintage, fantasy, collage, and even 3D.  They release a great many new puzzles each year. And their images always feel fresh and not overused or too ‘same old same old’.

Specifically, I’m grading the Ravensburger UK puzzle catalog. The US Ravensburger (same company, different catalog) is, in my opinion, far inferior in images and offerings. For example, the US catalog doesn’t have ‘series’ or much in cartoon images or fantasy. But that’s easily solved in our global economy–I just get the UK puzzles!

Ravensburger scores extra points in this category for a number of things. First, unlike many lesser puzzle companies that just license existing artwork, Ravensburger commissions special exclusive art for some of their puzzles. In fact, I believe Geoff Tristam, who does their marvelous “Best of British” and “What If?” series, works exclusively for Ravensburger. They also carry some great puzzle artists that are (at least currently) exclusive to Ravensburger like Colin Thompson. And they also offer ‘puzzle plus’ ideas such as their wasgij-like series “What If?”–which is, in my opinion, even better than Jumbo’s Wasgijs. They also have offered spiral puzzles, have a ‘challenge’ series (Perplexing Puzzles), and other unusual concepts. They also have one of the top limited edition annual Christmas puzzle series on the market. In general, I love the way they do “series” because they’re more fun to collect that way.

FINAL SCORE:

ravensburger-catalog

SUMMARY: 76 points

Ravensburger ranks highest in our brand quality assessment for good reason. They make quality puzzles through and through–from the outside of the box, to the goodies you’ll find inside, to the thickness and cut of their pieces, to the crisp ‘softclick’ fit, and their lovely image reproduction. They have a fresh and interesting puzzle catalog with unique and commissioned new images offered frequently. Long live Ravensburger!

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD OUR RAVENSBURGER ASSESSMENT AS A PDF HERE

JJ

16 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison – Ravensburger

  1. Lisa Reagan says:

    I have many Ravensburgers. Tons of puzzle dust, gave us all bad coughs. Images are lovely, but pieces are so tiny.

  2. roland says:

    I placed an order on 12-2. Got zero confirmation of order being received. I sent an inquiry nearly two weeks later (tried calling but it was too late on east coast), but did not get reply. I went to competitor’s site, placed order, and had it shipped within two days. It arrived a couple days after that. Ravensburger finally sent a shipping confirmation after I made substitute order, still without any other word from the company. To make matters worse, tracking indicates it will not arrive until after Christmas. Customer support finally responded to my original inquiry after six days to say my order shipped. Further emails back and forth failed to get any satisfaction. They simply said this is busy time of year, and they cannot help it if my order will be late, saying I should have read the 10-14 days on the website (which I did, which is why I ordered so early). I recommend staying away from them.

    • What store did you order Ravensburger puzzles from? If you mean you ordered directly from the Ravensburger website, I have never done that. I always order from Amazon or an online puzzle store like Puzzle Warehouse or Jigsaw Jungle.

  3. Horse N. Buggy says:

    The only thing I disagree with here is your assessment of the box. Again, I bought my Ravensburger from Barnes and Noble. The box was smaller (I assume to save shelf space) than what you have encountered and what I’ve seen listed on Amazon. Most glaringly, there was no image insert in the smaller box. Unfortunately, the exterior of the box still had all that marketing nonsense on the front. With the front of the box being my ONLY full image of the puzzle, I was highly annoyed that it was obfuscated by marketing information. For this reason, I would encourage people to only buy Ravensburger puzzles when you know you will be getting a “full size” box. The smaller boxes make it more challenging to complete the puzzle since you’re guessing at parts of the image.

  4. Judy says:

    i know you don’t do large piece puzzles but does anyone know quality of 200-300 piece puzzles for seniors

  5. Linda How says:

    I agree with all your comments about the quality of Ravensburger puzzles, but I find one disappointing thing. When put together, the pieces have black edge lines. For me that ruins the final image.

    • Hi, Linda. I’m not sure what you mean. I’ve never seen any black edge lines. Do you have a link to an example photo somewhere? Or perhaps you can point out what you mean in one of the photos on this site?

  6. Paul says:

    You mention Ravensburger UK catalog and a US catalog…. Is it possible to have same appearing puzzle in each? How can you tell which is from what catalog? And you say the UK is much better…. I did my first Ravensburger puzzle 2 wks ago – borrowed from a friend who does mostly R puzzles. The one I did is Sam Timm, Winter Cardinals #191598. I was/am very disappointed. I checked out Sam Timm on Internet. I am very sure he did this as a painting and from what I see of it on the ‘net, it is very colorful and clear. The picture on the puzzle box is muddy, especially the church and village in the background on the hill in upper R, and the horse drawn sleigh with riders in the sleigh, the decorations on the house/trees, etc. And the puzzle is MUCH WORSE – very muddy, unclear, out of focus, etc. Is this typical for Ravensburger? I wrote them about this 10 days ago and have not heard anything from them. Thank you.

    Have you done any Liberty Puzzles? 1/4″ maple plywood…. https://www.libertypuzzles.com/. I would love to know what you think about them.

    • No, I wouldnt’ say that’s typical of a Ravensburger. You can search my site for Ravensburger reviews and see photos of all the puzzles I’ve done. They’re all clear, crisp, and bright. I haven’t done that puzzle you mention, but it sounds like an unusually bad one. I prefer Ravensburger UK’s images to Ravensburger US but the quality should be about the same between the two. Yes, the same image can be released by both.

      I haven’t tried liberty puzzles. Wooden puzzles are so expensive that I haven’t bought or done many.

  7. Paul Glanville says:

    Thank you very much. But again, I don’t understand how to find difference between UK catalog and US catalog. And how to buy puzzle from specific UK catalog.

    • The best way is to look at the UK vs the US website.
      https://www.ravensburger.com/uk/start/index.html
      https://www.ravensburger.com/us/start/index.html

      The UK line favors more series and has things like “The Best of British” puzzle series.

      As for where to find them, Puzzle Warehouse gets all the UK puzzles that we can, but sometimes Ravensburger has a licensing agreement with the agent or artist that does not allow them to sell to the US. It’s on a case by case basis. If we don’t carry the, you can find them on ebay or other portals, usually with higher shipping costs. Hope that helps.

  8. Rebecca Lynne says:

    I don’t understand the negative Ravensburger comments. I wonder if these people have done a lot of jigsaw puzzles.

    I only do RAVENSBURGER. No other brand. The ones I have done I bought at Barnes & Noble. The pieces fit together perfectly. The final results are beautiful.

    I have always looked @ the box for my reference. I don’t know what country or decade there was a picture of puzzle inside the box.

  9. Paul Glanville says:

    Thank you for above. I have done a “fair” number of puzzles. No where near the number as “aficiondos” probably. But now I am doing more. I didn’t say there was a picture in the box. When I was having such a hard time toward the end putting the puzzle together with what I considered blurry, muddy colors and out of focus parts of the picture, I searched the Internet to find a “picture” of the original Sam Timm – I am pretty sure it was a painting. The original is much different in my opinion from the picture on the Ravensburger box and incredibly different from the completed puzzle. Maybe it was an OLD OLD puzzle that was stored poorly or something. I have picked up a few other Ravensburgers and, as I mentioned, my friend does mostly Ravensburgers, so I will borrow another and try them more. I guess I should NOT have said anything until I tried more. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

  10. Teddy Paine says:

    Would you consider doing a review for the Italian brand Ricordi. They are not easy to find, particularly in Australia, so I have had some freighted from Italy. They specialise in ‘fine art’ which is a bit of a niche market & which I like. In addition, I find the quality of their product superior in many ways ie quality of box itself & its presentation, the pieces which look,feel & fit good when handling & offer variety of cut & don’t leave dust in the box. They also offer ‘a missing piece’ replacement service, very handy if you have bought 2ndhand..
    Hope you will consider doing a review of them.

  11. Robin says:

    Just finished a Ravensburger 1000 piece, Sunny Harbor. Beautiful picture, nice cut pieces, some dust (which I got out of the box at the very end by using the ‘sticky tape brush’ as I do not feel safe using a vacuum anywhere near a puzzle.) So next time it will be dust free. The main thing I didn’t like is how loose the pieces were. You could not pick up three to move around without them falling apart. Yes, you can pick up a corner of the puzzle at the very end, but that is holding together sheerly on tension via the knobs. Without tension, as in small clusters, they fall apart. A very big surprise was how thin the pieces were; thinner than Buffalo or Anatoli. Anatoli was loosest, R was next, and Buffalo turned out to be the snuggest (enough to pick up a 3-cluster). The piece by itself was sturdy and did feel good in the hand. So far, Buffalo is in the lead for me.

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  1. […] days, I only feel like doing puzzles from Ravensburger because they are really the best. A jigsaw professional junkie corroborates that too! I’ve had enough with jigsaw pieces that are a bit more flimsy, so they bend […]

  2. […] Puzzle Quality: 10/10 Working a Ravensburger is like driving a BMW. It just feels really solid and good. The pieces are sturdy and they interlock perfectly–tight but not too tight to undo them. There’s never any confusion about piece fit. The piece finish is non-glare and feels good in your hand. As you can see in the close-up below, there’s lots of piece shapes even though it’s a grid cut. You can see our full brand comparison here. […]