Puzzle Brand Comparison — Cobble Hill

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

SUMMARY:  56/70

Cobble Hill is a quality Canadian puzzle brand with sturdy, well-designed boxes, decent puzzle piece thickness, a not-quite-standard-grid piece cut with good variety, and excellent image reproduction. They specialize in scenic landscape, wildlife, nostalgic, and collage puzzles. Their image selection is somewhat limited.  Recommended as a quality brand.

1. BOX  — 8/10

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?

Cobble Hill has traditional rectangular boxes similar in shape and size to Ravensburger and Jumbo. Their boxes are 10″ x 14″.  The boxes are sturdy, both top and bottom, with a lovely linen finish. They have a consistent, attractive packaging design with their cream and green borders.  Boxes are shrink wrapped.

Front:

The front of the box has a nice design that focuses on the puzzle image, piece count, and company logo. The name of the puzzle and artist are not mentioned on the front but are on the side, so this didn’t bother me. In some cases their puzzle image on the box lid is quite muted in color due to the ‘linen finish’ effect (see the example here and here). I find that an unfortunate design decision since bright colors are one of the things that attracts a consumer to a puzzle. So I dinged a point for that.

cobble_hill-3

 

Back:

The back of the box has a generic message about the company. It’s nicer than a blank back, but some specific info on the puzzle and/or artist or series would have been better. One point on the box dinged for that.

cobble_hill-2

 

Sides:

The sides of the box are very good. The name of the puzzle and artist, piece count, small puzzle image, and company logo are on all four sides giving you four options for shelving. Shelving the puzzle vertically with the logo on top looks nice on the shelf with a set of Cobble Hill puzzles.

cobble_hill-

 

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 8/10

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 box contains the puzzle pieces in a bag and a small insert sheet with information on the company–no other extras or goodies.  The photo below shows the puzzle pieces *after* I’d done the puzzle and rebagged it because I forgot to take a picture before I did the puzzle!  But the puzzle bag is sturdy and fairly standard.  There was minimal puzzle dust, pieces were well separated, and there was no image lift at all. The company name on the inside of the bottom of the box is a nice touch.

Cobble-Hill

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 good as you work the puzzle and have a pleasing thickness.  You can see in the comparison below that the pieces are almost as thick (but not fully) as Ravensburger. There was no damage to the pieces and it didn’t feel like it would be easy to damage them either, so the puzzle should hold up well over many assemblies..

CobbleHill

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 8/10

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

Cobble Hill pieces are of average size, closest to the Gibson pieces in the photo below.

comparison-1

The piece shape and cut is good. The cut is not as varied as brands like Bits and Pieces, Sunsout, Springbok or House of Puzzles. It’s a grid cut that’s a big off–that is, the ends of adjacent pieces don’t always line up exactly, as you can see in the yellow flower below. The pieces are mostly two knob, two-hole but have a lot of variety within that parameter.

CobbleHill_Bouca_CU3_SM

 

5. PIECE FIT– 7/10

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. The end result is fairly seamless, as you can see in the photo below. However, the fit isn’t tight like Springbok, Sunsout and some other brands.  You cannot lift the puzzle without it falling apart, so care must be used when moving sections of pieces.

CobbleHill_Bouca_CU4_SM

 

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?

Based on this one puzzle I tested, I rate this category quite highly. The colors were really lovely and the image was very crisp. Also, the pieces have a linen texture finish which prevents light glare and feels nice to handle.

CobbleHill_Boucat_SM

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 7/10

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

One place Cobble Hill disappoints me a bit is in image selection. I loved “Boucat”, the sample used for testing. But most of their images are either wildlife/scenic landscapes or collages. They have focused quite a bit on collages (teacups, buttons, donuts, rocks, etc). If you are a fan of collage puzzles, you’ll love these. Their scenic and nostalgia images are pretty much a dime a dozen compared to other brands–nothing special or unique about them. And they don’t have any particularly excellent artists in that category.  As a Canadian puzzle company, they do carry some Canadian artists and landscapes you won’t see elsewhere. They also do attractive children’s puzzles.

See their website here.

SUMMARY:  56/70

Cobble Hill is a quality Canadian puzzle brand with sturdy, well-designed boxes, decent puzzle piece thickness, a not-quite-standard-grid piece cut with good variety, and excellent image reproduction. They specialize in scenic landscape, wildlife, nostalgic, and collage puzzles. Their image selection is somewhat limited.  Recommended as a quality brand.

13 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison — Cobble Hill

  1. Horse N. Buggy says:

    I’m in the middle of completing a Coble Hill puzzle purchased from Barnes and Noble. I’d be curious to know if where you buy the puzzle makes a difference in the packaging or quality. The image on my Coble Hill puzzle is a collage of Nancy Drew mystery novels. It’s 1,000 pieces. I found it to be completely different quality than you describe here. The box is nicely done, but it’s small (I assume that B&N wants it to take up less shelf space). I use very weak reading glasses in regular life but for this puzzle I had to get a magnifying glass because the image on the box is so small. That strategy works, it just slows me down. There’s a TON of puzzle dust with this one – to the point where I’m blowing my nose constantly while working on the puzzle. The pieces are very oddly shaped, not grid like at all. In fact, if this puzzle didn’t have a white border around the edge, I don’t know that I would have been able to pull out all the edge pieces on the first sorting. I firmly believe that the only reason I’m continuing to work on this puzzle (because of the odd shaped pieces and how loosely they fit together) is because it’s a collage so it’s like I have thirty mini-puzzles which are ultimately solvable.

    • Thanks for your feedback on that puzzle. I have that one, but haven’t put it together yet. The box I have is their regular rectangular box size. Personally, I like odd shaped pieces (not grid cut) but it can take some getting used to if you are used to grid cut puzzles.

      • Horse N. Buggy says:

        Are there any brands that use oddly shaped pieces where the pieces really lock together tightly? I haven’t found one but I’m relatively new at this. Or, rather, I just picked it back up after having done a few puzzles in high school.

  2. Patsy says:

    Love your informative and fun posts. I too, am a puzzle junkie and have very specific likes and dislikes. I got the cobble hill teacups 1000 piece a few years ago, when I first started puzzling and it was just too hard for me. I gave up. I didn’t like the linen texture either because I wanted the colors to be more vibrant. I am much better now and dying to try the Mount Rushmore comic one. It looks like fun. Thanks again!

    • Hi, Patsy — thanks for your post. I’m glad you found us! Let us know what you think if you do Mount Rushmore.

  3. Kathleen says:

    The newer Eurographics puzzles have random shaped pieces and a fairly tight fit. Cobble Hill can be challenging because their pieces are REALLY ODDLY SHAPED. Sometimes it is difficult finding the edge pieces due to the strange shapes. P.S. If you order Cobble Hill online there is chance you will get a small box. I don’t like these because I agree that they are hard to see. If the box is small, a poster should be included which C.H. doesn’t. Hope this helps!!

    • Thanks for sharing your thought Kathleen! I’ve never gotten a small Cobble Hill box. Something to be aware of!

  4. Louise says:

    Just finished Verticalville by Springbok 1977. Wanted to know the difference between that and Cobblehill. Will give Cobblehill a try.

  5. PuzzleBum says:

    I recently bought a Cobble Hill 1000 piece puzzle and was disappointed to discover the quality wasn’t what it used to be. While the image finish was very good the cardboard was different from the nice blue board they used to use. There were many incomplete cuts which forced me to carefully rip apart the joined pieces. Rather than the back of the pieces bring nice and smooth like a Ravensberger the edges were raised along the cuts. The pieces had a lot of variety in size and shape which is great and offers more challenge but it was very easy to get wrong pieces joined together in areas where the color was the same. I compared this puzzle with an older Cobble Hill puzzle I had bought years ago. It was made in Canada , the piece shape was more conventional and the cardboard appeared more premium. Cobble Hill now makes their puzzles in the USA and as mentioned the quality is just not the same. I won’t be buying another. Too bad…. They have some really nice designs.

  6. PuzzleBum says:

    Update: I shared my feedback with Cobble Hill and received this reply:
    “We are addressing this issue with new machines that have recently been put in place for our 1000 piece puzzles. It won’t resolve any issues with existing inventory, but it does make a huge improvement moving forward. We use several different templates to cut our puzzles, so luckily the problem is not seen throughout our inventory, but on occasion, errors like this can happen. We apologize for the disappointment and recognize the importance of resolving this problem.”
    I appreciate that this company seems to take quality control seriously and listens to their customers and in light of that will give their puzzles another try.

  7. Janyne Stevens says:

    I am on my fifth CH puzzle now, getting ready to complete it tonight. I too am having problems with incomplete cuts, with the edges kind of rolled over on the back, rather than being flat. I also encountered several pieces where the image was peeling up at the edges on the Boucat puzzle. The last two puzzles were full of puzzle dust as well. I have only completed CH puzzles so far, but have purchased several other brands…Sunsout, White Mtn, and will try one of those next to gauge the difference. So glad I found this group of people!

  8. June Kemp says:

    I never thought I would be providing negative feedback on a Cobble Hill puzzle as I have loved them over the years. The latest one I bought is the Butterflies 1000 piece and I was very disappointed in the quality. The pieces are very small, thin and poorly cut. The die cut produced pieces that do not stay together and make it very difficult to move two connected pieces around. Taking the puzzle apart was very easy as the pieces were such a loose fit to start with. I was very thankful that I had not purchased the puzzle as a gift for someone else as I would have been embarrassed at the poor quality.

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