Best LEGO Ideas Sets

Updated August 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
16 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
155 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best LEGO Ideas sets

LEGO Ideas sets are one of the brand’s most popular and creative series. However, the Ideas series is not the most easily defined. That’s because the offerings in the Ideas line are all about pushing the limits of imagination and concocting buildable sets, both big and small, that have yet to be made.

Here is how it works: LEGO fans submit their original LEGO creations to an online platform where others can view them. A posted idea that receives exceptionally high positive feedback from viewers is reviewed by the LEGO team for production consideration. Each year, several of these ideas are put on the market.

User-created LEGO Ideas sets are rich with inspiration, nostalgia, and individuality. In this guide, we explore some highlights of the LEGO Ideas line, what you can expect when shopping for LEGO Ideas sets, and how you too might submit your own idea and potentially have it produced by the company.

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LEGO Ideas was originally conceived in 2008 as LEGO CUUSOO, and it was initially based in Japan. It was replaced by LEGO Ideas in 2014 and has gained massive popularity over the years.

Key considerations

How LEGO Ideas works

As mentioned, LEGO fans can submit their ideas to the LEGO website in the hope that it will eventually become an official LEGO product. Submission requires a complete build as well as a written description.

Submitted projects must receive 100 votes in the first 60 days in order to continue to the next phase. Otherwise, the proposal is shut down. After that, ideas have one year to obtain 1,000 votes, six months after that to hit 5,000 votes, and six more months to reach the final 10,000-vote threshold.

Once the 10K limit is reached, a LEGO jury will evaluate the proposal and make a decision.

Limits and restrictions

Though initially there were no limits on ideas, certain standards have been established over the years. No adult-themed content is allowed, including displays involving modern weapons. Religious and political themes are also off-limits. Since 2016, submitted projects cannot exceed 3,000 pieces (though one exception was made for a stunningly detailed grand piano set). Submission cannot include any new molds or pieces.

While many successful ideas involve characters and scenes from popular film and TV series, LEGO forbids submissions that overlap with properties they currently produce as well as properties licensed by competing toymakers.

Target audience

Most LEGO Ideas sets cater to the toymaker’s primary demographic: children ages 6 to 11 years old. Several projects that have reached the coveted 10,000-vote threshold have been rejected because the content was geared toward older users.

While LEGO Ideas content is kid-friendly, not all sets are simple enough to be completed by a younger child. Some options are more involved and better-suited for teens and adults. The number of pieces included in a set loosely corresponds to the recommended age of the builder. Most Ideas sets contain between 500 and 1,000 pieces, but those over 1,000 pieces are typically best for experienced builders.

Themes

LEGO Ideas sets comprise a wide range of themes. Here are some of the more common ones.

Pop culture: Successful LEGO Ideas submissions include scenes from movies, TV shows, and video games. This includes sets about Back to the Future, Minecraft, Friends, The Flintstones, Ghostbusters, WALL-E, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, and The Beatles.

Space: A fair number of LEGO Ideas involve science and technology. These sets cater to all ages, fostering a sense of exploration while educating builders. Among the selections are the Apollo Saturn V, Curiosity Rover, and a Women of NASA set.

LEGO Ideas was originally conceived in 2008 as LEGO CUUSOO, and it was initially based in Japan. It was replaced by LEGO Ideas in 2014 and has gained massive popularity over the years.

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Features

Exclusive minifigs

Minifigures, or minifigs, are LEGO’s beloved articulated characters. Each is made up of separate pieces: legs, torso, head, and often a head topper. Most LEGO Ideas sets include minifigs exclusive to that set, meaning you cannot buy them in another set. While some minifigs are more general, representing a profession, others are modeled after iconic pop culture characters.

Display

While some LEGO Ideas sets contain interactive elements, such as characters and items you can reposition and play around with, most are designed to be kept on display. Some sets come with a stand or plaque. Displaying an assembled LEGO Ideas set is a fun way to show off your interests, personality, and building skills at home.

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DID YOU KNOW?
The first LEGO set released under the user-created process was the Shinkai 6500 Submarine, though this was only released in Japan. The first international release was the LEGO Hayabusa exploration spacecraft.
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Accessories

LEGO Disney: Pirates of the Caribbean Silent Mary
LEGO partners with Disney to offer a variety of sets inspired by their animated and live-action movies. We’re fans of this large and detailed ship from Pirates of the Caribbean. With it, you get eight minifigs as well as accessories and moveable parts.

LEGO Creators: 3-in-1 Deep Sea Creatures
Another popular LEGO series is the Creator line, which caters to young kids. We recommend this inexpensive build that makes a shark, squid, or an angler fish — it also comes with a friendly crab!

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Santorum
Marvel has a LEGO partnership featuring a line of superhero-themed sets. We love this interactive scene inspired by Doctor Strange.

LEGO Ideas set prices

Inexpensive: For under $75, you’ll find small LEGO Ideas sets with varied themes. Most cost a minimum of $50.

Mid-range: Most LEGO Ideas sets cost between $75 and $150 and offer a variety of themes and options for both younger and older builders.

Expensive: The most elaborate LEGO Ideas sets cost a minimum of $150 and typically involve complex builds that require patience.

If you don’t see a LEGO Ideas set you want right now, don’t forget to check what has been approved and will eventually be coming out.

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Tips

  • Availability varies. LEGO regularly retires sets, and that includes LEGO Ideas models. The window in which models are available varies from less than a year to a few years. If you like a model, get it before it retires.
  • Stay organized. Before building a set, clear some space so you can sort pieces without fear of losing them. Closely follow instructions, and be sure to take breaks during longer builds.
  • Use online instructions. While physical instructions may be easier for some, we suggest trying to follow along online. You can use a tablet or laptop to zoom in as needed.
  • Get to know the builders. Those who hit the 10K club are interviewed by LEGO, with questions and answers posted online. They make for quick reads and can offer insight, appreciation, and inspiration.
lego ideas set3
Members of the LEGO VIP club can earn points as they purchase sets, and they can use the points to acquire new products. They also receive discounts and early access to new builds.

FAQ

Q. How can I submit my creation to LEGO Ideas?

A. To propose a LEGO Ideas set, you must join the online LEGO community. There, you can browse ideas, participate in contests and activities, and submit your suggestions. It’s important to carefully read the guidelines and adhere to them closely. The process of reaching the 10,000-vote threshold can take well over a year, but if you don’t follow the parameters, your popular idea won’t make it past the judges.

Q. How can I support proposed ideas that I want to buy and build in the future?

A. As part of the LEGO community, you can search proposed ideas and endorse them by clicking the “support” button on each page. You’ll find a detailed description as well as photos, and you’ll have a chance to leave private feedback. Favorite products can be saved so you can regularly check back for updates, including official LEGO comments on the status of the pieces. The voting period may last over a year, and it may take one or two more years for the product to be manufactured and released.

Q. How can I buy LEGO sets that have been retired or discontinued?

A. LEGO regularly retires sets from all series at the end of the year to allow for new sets to be manufactured and sold. A retired set is no longer manufactured by LEGO, and the remaining products are sold on the LEGO website until they run out. However, other retailers may still have the item in stock. Some secondary markets may sell the products, too. Depending on the popularity or rarity of a set, the price may be significantly higher than it once was.

On occasion, popular LEGO Ideas sets may be re-released by LEGO. The Apollo Saturn V and Ship in a Bottle sets both were released again after retirement due to their initial success.

 

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