It’s difficult to find a good comparison of puzzle brands on the web. We hope you find this useful!
SUMMARY CHART (click for closer view):
Scroll down for links to each brand’s detail page.
HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY
LEVEL A — BEST QUALITY — (BRANDS I AM CONFIDENT BUYING ANYTIME)
Ravensbuger –– High quality thick and sturdy packaging and puzzle pieces. Standard grid type puzzle. Wide range of images.
Jumbo –– High quality thick and sturdy packaging and puzzle pieces. Standard grid type puzzle. Publishes JVH and Wasgij.
Falcon — High quality thick and sturdy packaging and puzzle pieces. Standard grid type puzzle. Tends to cozy UK images.
Heye — Good quality boxes. Standard grid type puzzle with a wide variety of shapes. Best cartoon puzzles.
Piatnik — Good quality with thick pieces and a snug fit. Standard grid cut. Fine art, cartoon, and photo collage puzzles.
Schmidt — High quality packaging and puzzle pieces. Quirky grid cut with lots of variety. Excellent fantasy puzzles.
Clementoni — Solid quality with thick pieces and a linen finish. Standard grid cut. Conventional images.
Anatolian — Solid quality with thick pieces and nice boxes. Standard grid cut. Conventional licensed images.
D-Toys (editions with “wide variety of shapes” sticker) –– Standard grid cut puzzle with six piece shapes. Offers unique cartoon, folk art (“classic tales”), and fine art puzzles.
Gibson — Lovely boxes, thick pieces with a waxy feel. Overall stellar quality. Grid cut pieces. Pieces can appear to fit where they do not.
House of Puzzles — Best unusual piece cut and images created for puzzling with lots of colors and textures.
WHSmith — Similar to Gibson, good boxes and sturdy puzzle pieces in a grid cut. Pieces can appear to fit where they do not.
Otter House – Nice smaller boxes, good overall quality on the pieces. Hard to get outside UK.
Cobble Hill — ‘Linen finish’ boxes and puzzle pieces have a nice feel. Pieces are thick. Grid cut but not 100% limited to grid.
Eurographics — Pieces are thick. Not quite grid cut with a wide variety of piece shapes. Large image selection. Some puzzle dust and glare.
Bits and Pieces — Thick pieces with a non-grid cut. Best shaped puzzles in the industry.
Buffalo Games — Standard grid cut. Quality sturdy boxes and puzzle pieces, nice but limited images.
Lafayette Puzzle Company — Grid cut puzzle with a seamless fit, sturdy and attractive boxes and pieces.
Pomegranate — Fine art puzzles with excellent quality.
Sunsout— Unattractive boxes but good puzzles. Thick pieces with a non-grid cut. Tight fit. Tons of images.
Springbok — Thick puzzle pieces, a super tight fit, unusual piece shapes and good colors. Images are so-so. Lots of photo puzzles.
Vermont Christmas Company — Fairly thick puzzle pieces, a semi-random cut with a good variety of shapes, overall nice quality and lots of unique Christmas and Halloween images.
White Mountain — Great image selection and regular releases. Larger pieces with a nice random cut. Pieces are on the thin side, with occasional image lift and some puzzle dust.
Puzzlelife — Puzzles come with a large poster and glue and are of good quality. Most reasonably priced of the Asian puzzle brands.
Yanoman — Thick pieces with a grid cut similar to Ravensburger. Excellent overall quality.
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LEVEL B — ACCEPTABLE QUALITY (BRANDS I WILL BUY ONLY IF I *LOVE* THE IMAGE)
Educa — Good overall quality, but they have many similarly shaped pieces, making puzzles with large areas of the same color or pattern a challenge.
Castorland – Pieces feel a bit thin and some of their puzzles (like the 1500 pieces) have very small pieces. But the 1000 piece puzzles have decent quality. Haven’t tried the larger sizes.
Trefl — Pieces are a bit on the small side and grid cut is very standard. Pieces have a good thickness and density. They specialize mainly in photographic landscapes and collages, with only a few offerings that are illustrated.
New York Puzzle Company — Nice boxes, thick pieces, and a creative non-grid cut. However, the looseness of the fit and high visibility of the piece cut when the puzzle is assembled is less than desirable. They have some great images that are worth these slight annoyances.
MasterPieces — Quality too variable. Some puzzles have thinner pieces than desirable. Good boxes and images. Non-grid cut.
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LEVEL C — BARGAIN / VALUE BRANDS
Ceaco — Pieces simply too thin. Warped out of box, some image lift, tons of puzzle dust.
D-Toys (editions with only two piece shapes) — Pieces are too thin and easily warped or bent. Most D-Toys puzzles have better quality and six piece shapes.Look for “wide variety of shapes” sticker for better quality.
King — Pieces are too thin and too similar in shape. Pieces appear to fit where they do not.
**Click here for our full Brand Comparison Sheet pdf**
1. BOX — 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?
2. INSIDE THE BOX — 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?
3. PIECE THICKNESS — 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?
4. PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?
5. PIECE FIT— 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?
6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?
7. IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?
**Click here for our full Brand Comparison Sheet pdf**
INDIVIDUAL BRAND DETAIL PAGES
See our detail pages for photos and detailed info on each brand.
Schmidt quality detail page (prior to 2015)
Schmidt “Premium Quality” detail page (**NEW – 2015 on)
White Mountain quality detail page (updated 7/30/2016)