Puzzle Brand Comparison

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.

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HIGH LEVEL SUMMARY

LEVEL A — BEST QUALITY — (BRANDS I AM CONFIDENT BUYING ANYTIME)

EURO

  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.

UK

  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.

CANADIAN

  Cobble Hill —  ‘Linen finish’ boxes and puzzle pieces have a nice feel. Pieces are thick. Random cut.

  Eurographics — Pieces are thick. Not quite grid cut with a wide variety of piece shapes. Large image selection. Some puzzle dust and glare.

U.S.

  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, Wysocki, Josephine Wall, Aimee Stewart and more

  eeboo — Standard grid cut. Quality sturdy boxes and puzzle pieces, modern folksy round tables images and more

  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.

Japan/Korea

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.

~ *** ~

LEVEL B — ACCEPTABLE QUALITY (BRANDS I WILL BUY ONLY IF I *LOVE* THE IMAGE)

EUROPE

  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.

U.S.

  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.

 

~ *** ~

LEVEL C — BARGAIN / VALUE BRANDS

U.S.

  Ceaco — Pieces simply too thin. Warped out of box, some image lift, tons of puzzle dust.

EURO

  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.

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COMPARISON CRITERIA

**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**

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 INDIVIDUAL BRAND DETAIL PAGES

See our detail pages for photos and detailed info on each brand.

Anatolian quality detail page

Bits and Pieces quality detail page

Buffalo Games quality detail page

Castorland quality detail page

Ceaco brand quality detail page

Clementoni brand quality detail page

Cobble Hill quality detail page

D-Toys (“Wide variety of shapes” sticker) brand quality detail page

D-Toys (2 piece shapes only) brand quality detail page

Educa brand quality detail page

Eurographics brand quality detail page

Falcon brand quality detail page

Gibson quality detail page

Heye quality detail page 

House of Puzzles quality detail page

Jumbo quality detail page

Lafayette Puzzle Company quality detail page

Master Pieces quality detail page

New York Puzzle Company quality detail page

Piatnik quality detail page

Pomegranate quality detail page

Puzzlelife quality detail page

Ravensburger quality detail page

Schmidt quality detail page  (prior to 2015)

Schmidt “Premium Quality” detail page (**NEW – 2015 on)

Springbok  quality detail page

Sunsout  quality detail page

Trefl quality detail page

Vermont Christmas Company quality detail page

Wasgij quality detail page 

White Mountain quality detail page (updated 7/30/2016)

Yanoman quality detail page

 

166 thoughts on “Puzzle Brand Comparison

Add yours

  1. I think you’re being too hard on ceaco. They have some of the most interesting images of them all. And their piece shapes are much more interesting than the brands that got your top rating. I won’t buy any puzzle that has boring piece shapes…like a lot of the European brands. But…that’s what I focus on…image and piece shape.

    So saying….the overall quality of Ceaco has gone down in recent years. I particularly liked the cork backed puzzles with custom shaped pieces and non-straight edges. But that haven’t made those for quite a while now.

    I very much enjoy your reviews. Thanks.

    1. Hi, Randy —

      Thanks for adding your point of view. Piece thinness is a real deal killer for me, and the puzzle I tried from Ceaco was way too thin and had pieces already bent right out of the box. But granted, it’s possible that was a bad one-off. I do like some of their images but I’m finding that good puzzle images tend to recycle around the industry and eventually someone other manufacturer will put it out. Still, if it works for you then buy it and be happy! That’s all the matters in the end. If you like the less standard shape of Caeco pieces, you’ll also like Springbok, Bits and Pieces, Sunsout, Master Pieces, and House of Puzzles.

      JJ

    2. I like thicker puzzle pieces since I have arthritis in my fingers and some of the thinner ones are difficult if not impossible to handle.

  2. Where would you put Piatnik in that list above ?

    Picked up a couple of the 1000 piece Ruyer boxes, and they seem more than decent, but not quite Heye 🙂

    1. Hi, Michael — Yeah, I should do a page for Paitnik. Like you, I like their Ruyer cartoon puzzles. I agree with your instinct. The quality is not as good as Ravensburger, Heye, or Gibson. Their pieces are a bit thinner and the fit feels a little loose to me. But they have nice boxes and generally, the quality is quite acceptable. The pieces are not so thin that it’s bothersome. I also like their Christmas cartoon puzzles. 🙂 They’re probably around Educa in terms of quality numbers.

      JJ

    1. I would very much appreciate a review on Dowdle puzzles…I love the folk art style. Also, what about the US brand, “Mega Puzzles”?

    2. Dowdle Folk Art puzzles are very high quality. I did the Yosemite 500 pc and the San Francisco 1000 pc. The packaging is the most deluxe I have seen – a very sturdy glossy coated box with hidden magnetic closure.

    3. Dowdle Puzzles are on sale today 10/1/15 through 10/6/15 for 20% off at JigsawJungle.com. And if you sign up for their newsletter you can get an additional 10% off your order. :0)

    4. I need to REVISE my comment…I got recently got another Dowdle puzzle – Lake Tahoe – and am very disappointed in the quality. Unlike the other two I did, the fit of the pieces is sloppy to the point where you can’t tell if a piece really fits, rough edges on pieces and pieces in the package that were not separated. This must be from a different manufacturer than the others I did because the quality is way different, and nowhere near the quality of, for example, a Ravensbuger puzzle.

    1. Are you familiar with Ensky, part of the Amada group from Japan? My sons enjoy anime, but I dislike poorly made puzzles, especially ones with thin pieces that are frustrating to put together. Thank you for your insightful and informative reviews.

  3. I notice Eurographics market an ‘MO’ puzzle. Can anyone tell me what ‘MO’ stands for? The containing box is evidently a different shape but is that all it is? – many thanks.

  4. I am totally psyched to see a blog about jigsaw puzzle brands. My husband and I have done about 93 puzzles since retiring 5 years ago. I have some favorites and some not so much. Keep up the good work!

  5. You only take TWO points off if a puzzle is missing pieces? Having a good box is nice, and having brochures in the box is also nice, but if I do a 1000 piece puzzle, and there’s a piece missing at the end, that’s almost unforgivable. So frustrating. And that’s only a two point penalty?

    I love the work you put in and the thoroughness of the reviews – I suggest re-evaluating that one penalty.

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