Puzzle Brand Comparison — Sunsout

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

SUMMARY:

Score:  56 out of 70 possible

The Sunsout boxes are their weak point, being oversized, not very sturdy, and having rather poor design. Fortunately, the puzzles themselves are thick, brightly colored, and with good image reproduction. They carry some fun American artists like Rebecca Barker and Susan Brabeau. They make both shaped puzzles and rectangular puzzles. Their shaped puzzles aren’t as good as Bits and Pieces, but they come in a good second and they do have a wide variety of them.

1. BOX  —6/10

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?

The Sunsout boxes are not one of their best features. They’re quite large at 12.5″ x 12.5″. Honestly, this is larger than is necessary and means you end up storing a lot of air on your shelves.  (The Bits and Pieces boxes, by comparison, which have similar piece sizes, are 9″ x 9″, Master Pieces and Buffalo Games are 8″x8″ and work just fine.)  Each puzzle box has a unique color, which makes the brand less uniform but can make for nice variety on a shelf when stored together. Unfortunately, the boxes are fairly lightweight and fragile, particularly the bottoms. The box design is also amateur in appearance compared to brands like Ravensburger and Gibson in terms of fonts, logos, and layout. Each puzzle has a different font on it, some of them quite childish.

Below: (from “Mommie Makes it Better” by Sunsan Brabeau)

sunsout_box1

 

Side of boxes — three sides are similar and 1 side has the barcode and copyright info. The photo of the puzzle is much smaller than it needs to be to fit on the side, meaning it’s difficult to see on the shelf.

sunsout_box3

Backs: The backs of the Sunsout boxes are blank white, missing an opportunity to tell the consumer more about the artist and image and making teh box less collectible.

sunsout_box2

 

2. INSIDE THE BOX  — 6/10

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 tiny piece of paper with general warranty/website into. Like Bits and Pieces, the bottom of the box is fragile and is actually taped at the corners instead of having a solid bottom.  This seems to be a cost saving measure but it’s rather cheap in feel.

sunsout-1

 

The puzzle bag is sturdy with no puzzle dust or unseparated pieces.

sunsout-2

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?

Fortunately, the quality of the puzzle itself is better than that of the box.  The pieces feel sturdy and, while a bit thinner than Ravensburger, are comparable to Bits and Pieces.  They feel very good when you work a puzzle.

sunsout-1 sunsout-2

4.  PIECE SIZE & SHAPE – 8/10

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

The piece shapes vary depending on whether the puzzle is shaped or rectangular.  Below is an example from “Mommie Makes It Better”, which is 500 pieces in an extra large size (EX Grip). In this case, the pieces are standard grid-pieces, but they do have some funky shapes.  They are all, however, 2-knob, 2-hole pieces.

Sunsout_MommyMakesItBetter_500L_CU2_SM

The puzzle below is a shaped puzzle, “Bunnies in the Garden” and it has a wider variety of piece shapes than the puzzle sample from a rectangular “EZ Grip” puzzle shown above.

Sunsout_BunnyGarden (1)

Size — the piece size for their regular (not extra large EZ Grip pieces) is similar to Bits and Pieces and slightly larger than Ravensburger.

comparison-1

5. PIECE FIT– 9/10

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 together well enough, and there isn’t any confusion about whether a piece goes in a specific location or not. The fit is not as seamless as Jumbo or Ravensburger due to some slight ‘hanging chads’ or rough corners where piece separation was not entirely smooth. You can see this in the image below. Not a big deal, but did bump the rating down a bit.

The pieces hold together well when you pick them up.

sunsout_fit

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?

The image reproduction is quite good, colorful and sharp.  This is important, particularly with ‘painterly’ images such as Susan Brabeau.  You can see this in the sample below from “Mommie Makes It Better”.

Sunsout_MommyMakesItBetter_500L_CU2_SM

7.  IMAGE VARIETY & ARTISTS – 8/10

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

Sunsout carries a wide variety of puzzles including shaped puzzles, animal-themed puzzles, country scenes and Americana.

Their shaped puzzles are not as good as Bits and Pieces. They can be over-crowded and a messy mix of photo and painted textures, which doesn’t present a cohesive, quality image. (See “Cardinal’s Public Bath” by Lori Shory as an example.) This is, of course, entirely subjective and others may find that sort of image appealing. I do have a few Sunsout shaped puzzles that I quite like, such as “Garden Bunnies” by Mary Thompson and Japanese Garden by T.C. Chui.

In their rectangular puzzles, they carry some fun artists such as Susan Brabeau, Rebecca Barker, Bob PettesJenny Newland, Kevin WalshMary Thompson, Jack Sorenson, Tom Wood, Terry Doughty, and Joseph Burgess.

They do not have any series.

 

18 responses to Puzzle Brand Comparison — Sunsout

  1. Kathleen says:

    I have had problems with variable quality in Sunsout puzzles. We are doing “Cottage Mill” right now and the pieces are quite thin, like Ceaco. We also had problems with blurred images on some like “Jumping for Joy”. Overall, I like this brand, but sometimes get a flukey cut with pieces that just abut each other rather than interlock.
    I think it depends on the manufacturer they use at different times. Seems like poor quality control!

    • Yes, I have seen some variability in the Sunsout quality, especially in piece thickness. But it seems like lately they’ve been pretty solid. Though I don’t do THAT many Sunsouts. Let me know what you think of the quality if you do a new one.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I just ordered some more Sunsout puzzles because they have lots of new ones, but haven’t done them as yet. Hope the quality is better! I have had some that were cut better than others with thicker pieces and crisp images. I think it’s worth the gamble since many of their images are beautiful. You just never know exactly what you will get quality-wise.

  3. brightonguy says:

    I just opened the box of their SunsOut Brown Sugar Puzzle 37465. First impressions are not that good. Having said that, I have only been doing Educa and Ravensburger puzzles and this is the first time I started working on a different brand. The shapes of pieces seemed to be rather odd, particularly around the borders. Some pieces which looked like a border piece is not actually a border piece so it will make it harder for me to complete.

    While the colour of the puzzle seemed bright on the box, it doesn’t feel that way on the individual pieces – but I will see how it looks when it is complete.

    On a side note, thanks a million for this amazing website.

  4. Kathleen says:

    We just finished “From Sea to Shining Sea” by Sunsout and the quality was excellent! The pieces were thick and sturdy and interlocked well. The image was crisp and clear. There was hardly any puzzle dust which I have often encountered with this brand. I like the odd shapes, but some are REALLY strange lately.

  5. Robin Nelsen says:

    I’m new to jigsaw puzzles (well, mostly. I used to do them as a kid, then just stopped one day and didn’t pick one up again for 20 years). So I’m not terribly well-versed in the details of puzzle quality.

    That said, I just picked up Sunsout’s 6,000 piece Balloon Glow, on no more basis than that it’s one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

    Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed with things within ten minutes of beginning to sort through it. Quite a lot of pieces are stuck together to the extent that it’s difficult to avoid damaging them, even while taking extreme care not to. Worse, I’ve come across a handful of pieces (five or six, so far), that are overly large. At first, I just took them to be part of Sunsout’s grid pattern. However, since there’s only a scant few, it seems less like part of the pattern and much more likely to be a cutting issue – especially after I looked more closely at the pieces in question. They each appear to be two conjoined pieces that the cutting process missed completely. Since I’ve also found no reference to Sunsout puzzles having these double-size pieces as a part of its brand, I’m all the more inclined to think it definitely was a cutting problem.

    I looked up a lot of reviews and have found that Sunsout puzzle quality is a common complaint. In all the sorting I’ve done, I think I probably have picked through most of the worst offenders. But for the price of the puzzle, and the time and effort investment of such a large one, this is just unacceptable. But I’ll put it together and I hope that the finished product is as beautiful as the original image.

    • Hi, Robin — Thanks for the info on the 6000 piece Balloon Glow. I’ve never done that puzzle, so I don’t have much feedback to compare it with, but I have never seen Sunsout pieces connected like that in the 1000 piece size. I have heard that very large puzzles, (like the 24000 piece kind!), have quality challenges due to the more difficult manufacturing process. I hope you enjoy working Balloon Glow and have a positive report for us at the end!
      Jane

  6. Kathleen says:

    We just finished “Summer Glow” by Sunsout and the quality was SIMPLY AWFUL!! Pieces were stuck together, tons of puzzle dust, some pieces had hanging chads, some were stuck together. Plus, they were the loosest fit I ever encountered in a Sunsout puzzle. I can’t even imagine doing one of this brand in 6000 pieces. Although I like many of their images, I am going to avoid Sunsout in the future!

    • I’ve never seen a Sunsout puzzle in that condition, and I’ve done a lot of them. If you ever see that again from any puzzle manufacturer, I’d recommend that you contact them and get a replacement. I haven’t needed to to that with Sunsout, so I can’t be sure, but most of them are good about replacing damaged products.

      Thank you for the congrats! 🙂

  7. Kathleen says:

    I meant to say “damaged” the second time. Some large pieces were actually bent in half since they had such a small area conjoining them! Congrats on your new job!!

  8. sandy says:

    i have assembled 6 sunsout puzzles and i think they are one of the best puzzle makers i mount all my puzzles in frames and auction them for charity as far as i am concerned the quality of the boxes is of no matter as long they stand up to postage i buy my jigsaws from puzzle portal in germany because they are less expensive to buy even including the postage from germany to uk

  9. Stephanie says:

    I am currently working the 1000 piece Eagle Light and am finding it very disappointing. There was a great deal of dust in the bag. The color in many places is rather muddy and hard to distinguish and colors actually seem different (darker) from what is depicted on the box. Several of the pieces were bent. I have found numerous pieces that seem to fit together when in fact they do not. In fact, I had one section of 5 pieces by 6 rows that I had to disassemble and reassemble because of this. I’m a puzzle junkie who completes 1000 piece puzzles in pretty short order, but I have found no pleasure in SunsOut and will not purchase this brand again.

  10. Abigail says:

    I’ve done a number of puzzles from sunsout.

    They do actually have series. 1 that I know of. The Noahs Ark set by Tob Dubois.

    As far as piece size goes. I’ve had a ton of variation. One puzzle had pieces that are very blocky and square and another that had a bit more variation with 3 sided 5 sided pieces both of which puzzles pieces held together well when lifted. Then another with tons of odd shaped pieces that didn’t hold together well at all.

    I can say that their customer service is great. I thought I was missing a piece and they immediately sent me a new puzzle. Then I found it under furniture and now have 2 of the same puzzle.

    Some pieces are stuck together and it’s a bit irksome.

    The boxes are definitely boring. I wish they had a small print of the image as it’s handier than checking the box.

  11. Jane Ilene says:

    Just finished 1500 piece Summer Pleasures. This is a new hobby and the previous two puzzles were from White Mountain and quality was great and the images were fun. This puzzle had un-separated pieces and many pieces that fit in the wrong places and slowed me down. I will avoid this brand in the future.

  12. Ellen says:

    I experienced wonderful customer service from Sunsout.

    Bought a Finchley Paper Arts puzzle. When it was delivered, to our surprise, the puzzle bag of pieces did not contain “Birds of a feather” but after a search of the internet we realized the bag of pieces was “Hummingbird and Butterfly Flight” also by Finchley Paper Arts.

    Sent an email and within 1/2 hour received a reply saying the die cutter had messed up a batch and they were sending out the proper puzzle immediately. Was very gratified to see such care taken of their customers!

  13. jkd22008 says:

    I just opened “Astrology” (art by Ciro Marchetti), which I have owned for a couple of years but never opened. I am disappointed by the amount of dust from these puzzle pieces. Once the puzzle is completed I will have to dump out the dust from the box.

    I agree with you that this is a very flimsy box bottom. I think I will have to reinforce it with tape at the corners/edges because otherwise it will not hold up.

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