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. For puzzles that are simple, yet dignified, for people with cognitive loss from Alzheimer’s, stroke, head injury, or other condition, please see MindStart puzzles, which are designed by an occupational therapist!

  2. I buy Holdson puzzles. You have mentioned only ones made in Northern Hemisphere. I buy ones made in NZ because I live in New Zealand. They have been making puzzles since 1939 so are a very good puzzle company.

    1. I live in the US where it is nearly impossible to get Holdson puzzles without paying outrageous shipping fees. Unfortunately! But thanks for letting our readers know about the quality. I like their images.

  3. Thanks so much for this site! How about a review of sites like puzzleyou.com, that make custom puzzles from your own image?

    1. My family worked with Puzzle Warehouse to customize a puzzle from a picture of me skiing to the North Pole. They were all compliments of how much time the folks at Puzzle Warehouse spent to show them how different puzzle sizes would best transfer from the photo. The puzzle is pretty cool!

  4. Hi Jane
    I came across your website a while ago and it is fantastic, thank you for all the great work you do for us puzzle fans.
    I live in the UK and have came across a puzzle brand called STEP PUZZLE. I have never heard of them before but they do have a few nice images. I wondered if you have any idea on the quality of their puzzles?

    1. Hi Simon, I was just away to ask the same thing – was it through puzzleplanet (jigsawpuzzle) by any chance?! I thought they had some nive images too. I tried the Grafika puzzles from them a while ago which were ok so hopefully the Step puzzles will be similair. Jacqui

  5. Hi Jacqui
    Yes it was puzzleplanet I seen them on. Think I’ll give them a chance. I have also been looking at the Grafika puzzles as they also have some nice images but wasn’t sure what they were like but now you’ve said they were ok I will prob try them too. Simon

    1. Hi Simon, did you ever get round to trying the STEP Puzzles? Has anyone tried KS Games or Art Puzzle (not lonked with Pomegranate)? Jacqui

    2. Hi Jaqui
      Yes i did buy a step puzzle, i really wouldn’t recommend at all, the quality is very poor but on the flip side i have bought several ks games puzzles and they are fantastic. The boxes are really high quality, as are the pieces, they are a good size, thick and strong, no puzzle dust, hanging chads or joint pieces and they fit very nicely, they are very limited on choices but if there is any designs you like you will not be dissapointed

      Simon

    3. Hi Simon, thanks for this, I appreciate you getting back to me. I’m glad I didn’t chance it! Will try KS though. Jacqui

  6. Hi Jane,

    I understand what a “hanging chad” is when talking paper ballots or punch cards. Nevertheless, I am having some trouble visualizing what a “hanging chad” might entail with respect to jigsaw puzzles pieces. I can think of a number of possibilities, but none quite agree with my ballot based visual definition. As such, could you post an example picture to your informative web site?

  7. I wrote to Ravensburger US because the puzzle image was considerably less that the picture on the box – which really spoiled this particular image. They responded by sending me another puzzle of the type I like. – With not even a letter response with it!
    SunsOut can be contacted by email, and they are Great at responding, and will quickly send you a replacement if a puzzle has a piece missing. Very responsive, even chatty, replies.

  8. Thank you very much for this info. Glad I came. You provide a lot of info! 🙂
    By the way, have you ever tried Aquarius puzzles? I believe they have licensed characters, such as Harry Potter ones. What do you think about them? I couldn’t find Aquarius puzzle’s website too. I wonder if they are still around nowadays.

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