This page is part of our Puzzle Brand Comparison. You can find the overview page here.
Score: 59 out of 70 possible
The Bits and Pieces boxes are fairly weak, but the puzzles themselves are quite nice–sturdy pieces with good color, fit, and usual piece shapes. Their shaped puzzles are especially fun and challenging to put together. This is the best-ranking US brand and the best ranking maker of shaped puzzles we tested. As a bonus, they have a lovely catalogue that publishes regularly. You can sign up for it on their website.
1. BOX — 7/10
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?
Bits and Pieces boxes are smaller than brands like Ravensburger, Gibson, or Jumbo, and also square in shape. The box size is 9″ x 9″, which is an efficient size for shelving. The box design is unique per puzzle with a variety of colors. The box design is decent looking. I like that they have the name of the artist on the front and the puzzle image is large and clear.
On the down side, the boxes are very light-weight, particularly the bottom of the box, which is pieced together with tape at the four corners and very fragile.
Front: (from “Busy as a Beaver” by Jeffrey Severn)
The sides are identical on 3 edges, providing a photo of the image, the BNP logo, and the piece count. The final side has the name of the artist and puzzle and copyright info.
The back of the box is plain white.
On a shelf you can see a small image and the piece size, but not the name of the puzzle and the artist.
2. INSIDE THE BOX — 5/10
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?
There’s nothing inside the box except for the bag of puzzle pieces and a cardboard strip. The purpose of the cardboard strip seems to be to help the fragile box bottom not come apart as the puzzle bag moves around during shipment. See the close-up of the taped corner. The boxes ship that way from the factory. This ‘taped bottom’ seems to be common with US puzzles, and I’m not sure why. I would expect a sturdier box at the $18.99 price point.
The puzzle bag is thick, the pieces are well separated for the most part, and there’s minimal puzzle dust.
3. PIECE THICKNESS — 9/10
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?
The pieces feel sturdy and are close to Ravensburger in thickness, perhaps just slightly thinner and/or less dense. They feel good when you work a puzzle.
4. PIECE SIZE & SHAPE – 10/10
Are the pieces standard shapes? Special shapes? How much variety do they have? Are they large or small?
The pieces are unusual shapes and of a wide variety. This makes the puzzle more interesting and fun to work. I particularly enjoy the shaped border on their shaped puzzles as a welcome change up from the traditional rectangular puzzle. The image below is from “Little Ducklings” by Jack Williams.
The piece size varies, but is overall slightly larger than Ravensburger and Gibson.
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?
The pieces fit snugly and there isn’t any confusion about whether a piece goes in a specific location or not.
The pieces hold together well when you pick them up.
6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 9/10
Are the colors bright and vivid? Is the image sharp or feel like a bad Xerox? How is the finish/texture on the pieces?
The image reproduction is fairly colorful and sharp. The finish is slightly glossy. The image below is from “Zombie Mayhem”, a 2014 puzzle.
7. IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS – 9/10
Does the brand have a wide variety of fun images and good artists?
Above: Shaped puzzles — “Maple Sugaring” by Elisas Della-Piana, Polar Bear Cub by Mike Speiser, Santa’s Workshop by Margaret Cobane
Bits and Pieces specializes in shaped puzzles and Americana puzzles.
Their shaped puzzles are arguably the best in the industry. They produce quite a number of them, offering new shaped puzzles very few months. Among their popular artists for shaped puzzles are Jack Williams, Fred Szatkowski, Mike Speiser, Jeffrey Severn, Mary Thompson, Margaret Cobane, Russel Cobane, and Ruane Manning. They’ve ranked so highly in the category because of their shaped puzzles.
Their rectangular puzzles are not as competitive or interesting, though they do lots of them. Some of their Americana artists include Art Poulin, Bob Fair, Heronim, John Sloane, and Sandy Rusinko.