Puzzle Brand Comparison – Ceaco

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

SUMMARY:  41/70

Unfortunately, Ceaco has fallen into my ‘not recommended’ pile. The pieces are simply way too thin, there was some warping and image lift on pieces right out of the box, and far too much puzzle dust.  At $11.99 for a 1000 piece puzzle, this is definitely priced as a bargain brand. If you’re the type who does a puzzle once, then tosses it or gives it away, you may be fine with Ceaco’s quality. For those who consider the feel of a good puzzle one of its most important features, this brand is not for you.

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?

Ceaco boxes are small at 8″x8″.  This is the same size as Buffalo Games and some MasterPieces boxes, and considerably smaller than Sunsout (12″x12″) or White Mountain (12″x10″).  The size is not a problem, however.  The boxes are nice and sturdy and the box design is good.  There is no shrink wrap. One thing I really disliked about the box is that you open it by pulling a tab across the top (like cereal), which essentially leaves you with a damaged looking box.  I’d prefer the MasterPieces boxes which are similar in size and quality, but use clear tabs to close the lid.

Front:

Ceaco_front

 

Above: The front of the box has a nice design.

Back:

The back of the box

Ceaco_back

Above: The back of the box has the full image, which is good since the puzzle does not come with a poster inside and the front of the box doesn’t show the entire image.  You can see on the right side the ‘pull top’ box top (opened here).

Sides:

The sides of the box are fairly good. You get your choice of two detail image for shelving, but including the name of the puzzle and artist as well would be better.

Ceaco_sides

Above: Close-up of the ‘pull tab’ box top (opened)

 

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 2/10

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?

The only thing inside the box is the bag of puzzle pieces and a small slip of paper about Caeco. You can see in the shot of the empty box below, that there is considerable, large puzzle dust bits in the box. And that’s not to mention the stuff IN the puzzle piece bag.  Like White Mountain, Caeco puzzles have a ton of puzzle dust, requiring some separation of piece-from-dust before you even begin the puzzle. (And don’t make the mistake of dumping the bag of pieces onto your puzzle board!)

Ceaco_dust

 

Above: dust in the bottom of the empty Caeco box.

In addition to the puzzle dust, the pieces are very thin, and there was visible image lift (where the picture starts to lift off the back of the puzzle piece), and slight warping in pieces right out of the box.  See the images below.

ceaco_warp2 caeco_imagelift caeco_warpedoutofbox

 

Above: a piece warped right out of the box. 

3. PIECE THICKNESS — 2/10

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?

I found the Ceaco pieces to be unacceptably thin and light. There were the problems I noted above as a result of this thinness, and also just an overall fragile and unsatisfying feel to the puzzle while putting it together.  The close-up below show the Ceaco pieces compared to Ravensburger.

Ceaco-1

 

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 7/10

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

Ceaco pieces are average, closest in size to the Bits and Pieces example shown below.

comparison-1

 

The piece cut is good. It’s a non-standard grid pattern with a good variety of piece shapes.

ceaco_SantaAtTheNorthPole_550_CU1_SM

5. PIECE FIT– 6/10

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?

I didn’t have any confusion about whether or not a piece fit. There is a good interlock between pieces. However, because of the thinness of the pieces the end result doesn’t lay all that flat and snug and some ‘knobs’ raise up a bit.  You cannot lift the puzzle without it falling apart.

ceaco_SantaAtTheNorthPole_550b_SM

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 7/10

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

Based on this one puzzle I tested, I felt like the image reproduction was a bit dark and fuzzy compared to the image on the lid (see the comparison above).  For example, the sky and Santa’s coat are darker than on the lid and overall the image is less crisp.

ceaco_SantaAtTheNorthPole_550_CU2_SM

 

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 9/10

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

Ceaco has very good images from artists like Thomas Kinkade, Nene Thomas, Josephine Wall, Steve Skelton, and many others.  They offer quite a variety of scenic landscape paintings, fantasy, collage and other popular puzzle image types. For this reason, I find it a particular shame that the quality of their actual puzzle pieces is such that I don’t feel comfortable buying their puzzles.

See their website here.

SUMMARY: 41/70

Unfortunately, Ceaco has fallen into my ‘not recommended’ pile. The pieces are simply way too thin, there was some warping and image lift on pieces right out of the box, and far too much puzzle dust.  At $11.99 for a 1000 piece puzzle, this is definitely priced as a bargain brand. If you’re the type who does a puzzle once, then tosses it or gives it away, you may be fine with Ceaco’s quality. For those who consider the feel of a good puzzle one of its most important features, this brand is not for you.

10 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison – Ceaco

  1. Lisa Reagan says:

    Ceaco gets an A+ from us! Really love the ones of Italy & Venice. Colors are vibrant & sharp & printing is superb! Great shaped pieces snap together perfectly. Each peace fits in only one slot. If needed, Ceaco has full-sized resolution images on Ceaco.com. (Ravensburger puzzles were dirty – ugh & made us cough) – BUT
    we have NINETEEN Ceaco puzzles – with ZERO PUZZLE DUST. We love them! Go Ceaco!

  2. Lisa Reagan says:

    Sorry, we meant to give Ceaco a 100 score, as well as an A+.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I recently purchased “Asiatica -Tiene” by Ceaco because the image was beautiful. Unfortunately, I had to donate it without finishing due to the thinness of the pieces. I have arthritis in my fingers and they are impossible to handle. If you don’t have any issues with the agility of your fingers, Ceaco may work for you.

  4. jnsmld56 says:

    I unfortunately have to agree that Ceaco puzzles are off my list. I have a couple of them, but the last one I bought had too much puzzle dust, was very thin, with a lot of image lift, and didn’t look like it would hold up. I ended up donating it. My favorites are the Charles Wysocki cat ones from Buffalo. Love the website! Thanks for putting all this info together.

  5. Horse N. Buggy says:

    I’ve completed two Ceaco puzzles from their Magical World line. Both were great puzzles with gorgeous, vibrant images. They were each 750 piece puzzles. I am one of those people who only puts a puzzle together once. However, I gave the first puzzle to my sister’s family and was with them when they put it together (2nd time for that puzzle). There were no problems with the puzzle on that second round. And it was so gorgeous, I’m a little bit sad that I left it with them. I still have the second Ceaco puzzle together sitting on my loveseat. I can’t bring myself to tear it down. But I whole-heartedly agree with your assessment of the boxes. It is not a secure closure.

    • Thanks for your comment. Did you notice any issues with thin pieces, bending or image lift? As you can see from the photos, the one Ceaco I tried had real quality issues.

      • Horse N. Buggy says:

        The pieces were obviously thinner than Ravensburger, but not unacceptably so. I don’t recall any bending issues. I did have a problem with a bent piece on one of the puzzles I recently put together, but I don’t remember which one it was. And since I don’t glue my puzzles, a tiny bend isn’t going to annoy me as much as it would someone who does. The only image lift I’ve dealt with is on the Cobble Hill Nancy Drew puzzle I’m currently working on. I guess we need to try more than one puzzle to get a real feel for the quality.

  6. Robin Nelsen says:

    I actually found the unusual piece shape of the recent Ceaco puzzle I tried to be too frustrating, but I’ll allow that that might just be due to not being used to non-grid puzzles.

    However, the real deal-breaker was that I grabbed a Thomas Kinkade metallic. The image was too beautiful to pass up, but I very quickly found it extremely difficult to work due to the way the metallic coating reflected light. I tried various solutions with different light sources, how I oriented myself to work with the puzzle, etc., but nothing I tried made it possible to see the art on the pieces properly – it all reflected pale gold. I ended up donating it to someone with more patience.

  7. Jennifer says:

    My grandmother purchased a 4 puzzle set, Around The World. The second one we tried to put together was frustrating. Pieces that looked like they fit didn’t and others seemed to fit but then no other pieces would fit near it. We didn’t finish it. The puzzle we are trying now has actual wrinkles on the pieces. Very disappointed. Not to mention all problems already mentioned. We are a family who loves to do puzzles and always have puzzle out for anyone to work on. I hope Grandma doesn’t buy anymore of this brand.

  8. Patricia says:

    We ve worked over 20 puzzles by this brand and find the products to be inconsistent in quality. I just finished a beautiful garden scene with wonderful quality. You could pick it up without breaking apart. Just began one of their fairy tale puzzles and pieces lifting and mangled out of the box. Edges would not stay together and a piece is already missing. Back into the box. All Ceaco puzzles have tons of dust…have to blow it away while sorting.

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