Gorgeous Thomas Kinkade painting of Neverland as seen in “Peter Pan.” Many other animated Disney film-themed puzzles available. Features 750 pieces. Affordable.
Some Disney puzzles are pricier and more rare than others.
Premium cut, design, and construction. Affordable. Stunning artwork of Yoda, the ancient Jedi Master. Features 1,000 pieces. Many other Star Wars designs available.
Due to its limited color palette, this is a difficult puzzle.
Adorable artwork features a dog for every letter of the alphabet. Features 1,000 pieces. Alternate cat-themed puzzle available. Made with recycled materials. Challenging.
Not as easy to solve as you may think.
Collage of 20 vividly colored birds. Affordable. Features 1,054 pieces. No annoying puzzle dust. Made from recycled cardboard. Many alternate imaginative puzzles available.
A puzzle this complex is not for everyone.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to pass the time with family and friends while keeping your brain agile. But there’s more to choosing a jigsaw puzzle than just going with an approximate number of pieces or an interesting picture.
To find a jigsaw puzzle that’s both fun and challenging, there are several factors to consider, from the puzzle’s construction to the cut of the pieces. With so many jigsaw puzzles on the market, narrowing down the options can be, well, puzzling. How do you find the best jigsaw puzzle for your game nights?
If you’re not sure where to begin, BestReviews is here to help. We simplify purchasing decisions with our thorough research. For everything you need to know about buying jigsaw puzzles, just keep reading our shopping guide.
No one wants a jigsaw puzzle that’s going to fall apart with too much use. After all, it’s much more difficult to solve a puzzle when the picture is peeling off. Plus, it doesn’t look nearly as good when it’s finished.
A good jigsaw puzzle should be made of thick, high-quality puzzle board with the image firmly adhered to the surface. The pieces shouldn’t bend or break apart, except along the precut lines. If your jigsaw puzzle has tabs to fit the individual pieces together, the tabs should fit snugly into the next piece so you can move sections without the puzzle falling apart.
Construction quality is usually the same across a brand, so once you find a brand that you like, you can feel confident that the brand’s other puzzles will also be well made. A jigsaw puzzle should hold up to years of use.
There are several factors to consider when choosing your jigsaw puzzle’s degree of difficulty, including the number of pieces, the puzzle cut, and the image itself.
Number of pieces
The more pieces a jigsaw puzzle has, the more challenging it will be to solve. Jigsaw puzzles can have less than 10 pieces or more than 5,000, so there’s plenty of options for you to choose from.
If you’re choosing a jigsaw puzzle for a child, here are some general guidelines to follow in order to choose a puzzle that will pose a fun challenge:
Ages 2 to 3: Choose a jigsaw puzzle with 30 pieces or less.
Ages 4 to 5: Choose a jigsaw puzzle with 30 to 60 pieces.
Ages 6 to 7: Choose a jigsaw puzzle with 60 to 100 pieces.
Ages 8 to 10: Choose a jigsaw puzzle with 100 to 300 pieces.
Ages 10+: Choose a jigsaw puzzle with 300+ pieces.
Your child may be ready for more advanced puzzles sooner than the ages listed here, but this should give you some idea of where to begin.
As an adult, you can choose a jigsaw puzzle with as many pieces as you like. You may want to start out with a 500- or 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and then move up or down from there. Keep in mind that every time you double the number of puzzle pieces, you are quadrupling its difficulty.
Jigsaw puzzles come in two main types: ribbon cut and random cut.
Ribbon-cut jigsaw puzzles are the most common type. Ribbon-cut pieces are relatively square with gaps or tabs on each of the four sides. There are only a few puzzle piece shapes, and they fit together in a simple, grid-like pattern.
Random-cut jigsaw puzzles, as the name implies, are cut randomly, so the pieces can be any shape, including triangles and curved pieces. These puzzles are typically more challenging than ribbon-cut jigsaw puzzles, so they’re a good way to step up the difficulty if you find ribbon-cut puzzles too easy.
There are a few things you should consider to choose a jigsaw puzzle with the right image. First, you must decide if you want to work with a photograph or a painting. Photographs are usually easier because they provide clearer distinctions between the objects in the image. Paintings sometimes don’t have these clear outlines, so objects can appear to blend in with one another. This can make it more difficult to find the right pieces.
You also have to pay attention to the colors in the image. If it’s just variations of a single color, the puzzle is going to be much more difficult to solve than a jigsaw puzzle with a number of different colors. More colors mean more clues as to where the puzzle pieces are supposed to go.
Personal preference also plays a big part in image selection, of course. You’re more likely to keep working on a puzzle if you like the image and have fun seeing it come together. Most jigsaw puzzle manufacturers offer a wide variety of options, so you can choose the image that you like best.
The price of a jigsaw puzzle is largely dependent on the number of pieces. You can get a good-quality jigsaw puzzle with 100 pieces or less for between $5 and $10.
If you’re looking for a jigsaw puzzle that has between 100 and 1,000 pieces, you can expect to pay between $10 and $20, with most 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles costing around $15.
Jigsaw puzzles with over 1,000 pieces and specialty puzzles cost more than $20. Specialty jigsaw puzzles include wooden and hand-cut jigsaw puzzles.
Always start with the outside edges when solving a jigsaw puzzle. These pieces are easy to locate because they have one or two flat sides with no tabs or gaps.
Make sure that the jigsaw puzzle you choose shows the full picture on the front of the box, so you can visualize where each piece is supposed to go.
Sorting your puzzle pieces by color can help you more quickly locate the ones you need.
Consider working on a piece of cardboard so that you can move your jigsaw puzzle from place to place if need be.
Work on small sections at a time, rather than trying to solve the whole jigsaw puzzle at once.
If you have a puzzle piece that you’re struggling to fit, make sure you rotate it and try all four sides.
Don’t force the puzzle pieces together. Most jigsaw puzzles are designed so that the pieces fit together easily. If you have a puzzle piece that refuses to go in, it’s probably not the right piece for that spot.
Q. What is the best type of jigsaw puzzle for seniors?
A. Seniors should look for a jigsaw puzzle that has larger pieces that are easier to see and pick up. There are some jigsaw puzzles designed specially for seniors that have extra-large pieces but still pose a significant challenge to an adult.
Q. What do I do if I lose some of the puzzle pieces?
A. A few jigsaw puzzle manufacturers offer a replacement piece service, so you can buy replacements of any pieces that you’ve lost. However, not all companies do this, so the best policy is to keep good track of your puzzle pieces. Store a jigsaw puzzle’s pieces in a plastic bag or in the box if you’re afraid of losing them.
Q. What’s the best way to solve a jigsaw puzzle?
A. Everyone has different strategies, but most people begin by solving the edges of a jigsaw puzzle. Then, sort the remaining puzzle pieces by color, and work on the easiest parts of the image first. Next, work outward to try to connect a solved section to either the frame or another section.
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