Puzzle Brand Comparison — Heye (Triangular boxes)

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

OVERALL RATING FOR HEYE (triangular boxed puzzles only):  68/70, tied for first place with Ravensburger

REVIEW DATE: 1/20/2015         PUZZLE TESTED: various

OUR RATING: 74 points, AA Grade

CATEGORIES: cartoon, fantasy, photographic landscapes, collage, modern art, cats

CUT: grid cut, high variation                FINISH: matte, fairly seamless

PIECE FIT:  average (not loose nor tight)                PIECE SIZE: normal

Heye website      Heye on Amazon US            Jigsaw Junkie’s Heye Coverage

SUMMARY: Heye has been one of my favorite puzzle brands for many years and I’m a long-time collector of their cartoon puzzles in triangular boxes. They hold up very well under our formal brand comparison criteria. The pieces are as thick as Ravensbuger, grid-cut, but with a wide variety of shapes so that there’s never confusion about where a piece goes. Their triangular boxes are outstanding and include a large poster with a mini-catalog on the back. Their catalog includes a variety of great images, many of which are specially commissioned. They are still best of breed in cartoon puzzles but offer a wide variety of image types now. The only cons are a somewhat looser tight than some other brands and a little puzzle dust.

1. BOX  — 12/10 ( triangular boxes only)

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?

Heye has two kinds of boxes. They still manufacture the traditional triangle box that is their trademark. However, they have started making more puzzles in rectangle boxes. This ranking is based on their triangular boxed puzzles.

The front of the box shows a close-up detail from the puzzle image along with the Heye logo, piece size, name of artist and name of puzzle.

Triangle Front:

HEY_29124_box

 

heye_1

Triangle box back:

The ‘back’ of the box shows the full puzzle image and also has the puzzle name, artist, Heye logo, and piece count.

heye_3

Triangle box top and bottom:

The box top has a colorful image of the puzzle, while the bottom has the artist’s name and the puzzle’s title and the date of manufacture. The colorful tops are ideal for shelving a puzzle with the top out.

heye_2 heye_4

The triangle boxes are unique in the industry and make for a lovely collection when stored top side out.  See image below:

Puzzle_Collection_Heye Puzzle_Collection_Heye2

Final Score: Heye gets super high marks for the triangular box. It contains all the information you’d want, and has a cool design. Bonus points for the special shape and having the artist’s name and puzzle name on the front (and back and everywhere else).

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_Box

 

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 10/10 (triangular boxes)

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 triangular boxes come with a large poster of the puzzle image which is wonderful as reference when you’re putting the puzzle together. It’s printed on heavy stock and stands up to a lot of handling. Heye triangle boxes are the only puzzles that come with a large poster like this.  Note that their rectangular boxes don’t come with a poster.

heye_3

The full poster:

heye_1

The back of the poster shows other Heye puzzles and acts as a mini catalogue:

heye_4

The puzzle pieces come in a sturdy bag with air holes to prevent moisture build up. There are no issues with pieces being stuck together, hanging chads, or image lift. Minimal puzzle dust.

heye_2

Final Score:  Heye puzzles have a little puzzle dust. It’s not a huge amount, but it is some so I deducted one point for that. Bonus point is earned for including the large poster with the mini catalog on the back!

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_BoxInside

4. PIECE THICKNESS — 10/10

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?

Heye produces a nice, thick, densely packed puzzle piece comparable to Ravensburger. There are never issues with bent pieces.

heye_2 Heye-1

Final Score:  Heye has no deductions in this category and gets a perfect 10.

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_Thickness

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE — 9/10

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

Heye pieces have traditionally been slightly smaller than Ravensburger, as you can see in the comparison below. But the last few years I’ve noticed they’ve gotten large and are now just about the same size as Ravensburger.  Either way, they don’t feel overly small or large.

comparison-1

Heye puzzles have a grid cut, but there’s a wide variety of shapes within that parameter, with lots of 3 or 1 knob pieces and slanted sides. The wide variety of shapes means there’s little confusion about whether a piece fits or not and it just makes for a more interesting puzzle.

Heye_Prades_FairyTales1500_CU4

Above: From “Fairy Tales” by Huge Prades

Final Score:  Heye loses 1 point for a standard grid cut but there’s no much else to complain about!

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_size

 

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?

Heye is not the tightest fitting puzzle out there. It’s not as tight a fit as Ravensburger, Jumbo, or Springbok. You can’t lift the puzzle without glue and moving assembled pieces requires care. But it’s not especially loose either. The pieces interlock well when you’re assembling. Once assembled, the puzzle fits together is a seamless way, so you can really see the picture instead of the piece cut. It’s also very clear if a piece goes somewhere or not, unlike brands where there’s a lot of trial and error.

Heye_MysticCircle_CU5web

Above: From “Mystic Circle” by Callligaro

Final Score:  Heye loses one point for being not as tight a fit as they might be but otherwise scores highly.

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_size

 

6. IMAGE REPRODUCTION — 10/10

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

Beautiful colors and sharp, high resolution are a hallmark of Heye puzzles. That’s a good thing, because their cartoon puzzles are filled with detail that would be hard to see otherwise! The image below is from Ruyer’s “Bunnytown”. See our review here.  As you can see, the fine lines are very crisp and the colors are perfect.

heye_Ruyer_Bunnytown_1000

Final Score:  Perfect marks in this category.  By the way, Heye does make puzzles with gold foil from time to time.

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_Repro

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS — 14/10

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

Heye became famous for cartoon puzzles. I would call them ‘best of breed’ for cartoon puzzles, even though other companies now give them a run for their money (JVH from Jumbo, and Geoff Tristram’s puzzles from Ravensburger, just to name a few). Still, for many years Heye had the very best cartoon puzzles by artists like Ryba, Loup, Degano, Crisp, Prades and Jabo. They still make very good cartoon puzzles every year, as well as re-releasing older ones under a “Cartoon Classics” label (in rectangular boxes).

In recent years, however, Heye has branched out. They do quite a few nice fantasy puzzles, photographic landscapes, collages, licensed images, and quite a bit of more abstract modern art.  They release puzzles once a year (announcing them in December) and have a good number of new images. They new Heyes are always a highlight of the year for me.

 

Heye-3-in-one

Above:  “Owl” by Chris Ortega, “I Love Paris” by Kitty McCall, “Carnival in Rio” by Hugo Prades

Final Score:  I’ve given Heye all kinds of  bonus points here, based on our standard form. I still consider them “best of breed” in cartoon puzzles. Most of their cartoon puzzles are specially commissioned and you won’t find them anywhere else. I typically would order 10 or more puzzles in their current catalog. And many of their great cartoon artists (Ryba, Loup, Prades) are not published by any other puzzle label.

JigsawJunkie_BC_HeyeTri_Images

You can review all their current puzzles on their website here.

SUMMARY: Heye has been one of my favorite puzzle brands for many years and I’m a long-time collector of their cartoon puzzles in triangular boxes. They hold up very well under our formal brand comparison criteria. The pieces are as thick as Ravensbuger, grid-cut, but with a wide variety of shapes so that there’s never confusion about where a piece goes. Their triangular boxes are outstanding and include a large poster with a mini-catalog on the back. Their catalog includes a variety of great images, many of which are specially commissioned. They are still best of breed in cartoon puzzles but offer a wide variety of image types now. The only cons are a somewhat looser tight than some other brands and a little puzzle dust.

Where to buy:  Heye has good worldwide distribution. You can find them on Amazon US and UK as well as places like puzzlewarehouse.com. To order the new ones hot-off-the-press try puzzle-offensive.de (a German online puzzle store).

DOWNLOAD OUR PDF OF HEYE BRAND COMPARISON HERE

JJ

4 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison — Heye (Triangular boxes)

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m working a 2000 piece Heye now. It is a Rosina Wachtmeister I’ve had for a few years (I got two at once and worked one already.) I’m having BIG problems with it being unclear if pieces fit or not. At least 10 I’ve figured out they didn’t fit only by fitting in other pieces around them. Very little puzzle dust, though. Don’t know if this is from another line so a different set of dies or what. The image is excellent! Just my two cents.

    • I’m guessing the image has a lot more large areas of a single color or pattern than their cartoon puzzles do! Let us know how it turns out.

    • Cadence Alvarez says:

      I’m also having similar problems with a Cris Ortega Heye, which is a real shame because the picture is wonderful. I’m repeatedly having to pick up pieces to look at them from behind, try fitting them multiple ways, and so on. At least once I had a pair of pieces that appeared to fit together two different ways! I’m really disappointed.

  2. Billsville Mike says:

    I like Heye too and consider them a top brand but I would have given them a slight deduction for being by far the most expensive brand on the market .. at least in the U.S. $46.99 for a 2000 piece, as found on puzzlewarehouse.com, is at least 50 percent more than competing premium cardboard brands of the same piece count. It’s worth noting that one can find their puzzles much more reasonably priced on European retail sites – at planet-puzzles.com they are priced at or even slightly less than Ravensburger. Either they have a very high markup on exports or an inefficient distribution network. It might also be that the triangular shaped boxes – which are becoming used less and less, I would guess due to customer feedback, as most people I know find them impractical – cost more to ship, as they certainly do individually. A great brand, but not a great value.

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