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Updated September 2022
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Buying guide for best lego sets

Ever since LEGO burst onto the scene in the U.S. in the 1960s, they have been a hugely popular brand of children's toy.

The brightly colored building blocks certainly have a number of adult enthusiasts, too!

If you’ve shopped around at all, you’ve likely noticed that there are a huge range of LEGO sets available. You can build everything from princess castles to the Death Star to whatever your imagination dictates.

In fact, you can find so many different LEGO sets that choosing the best one can feel a bit like a mind-boggling conundrum.

If you're struggling to decide which LEGO set is best, either for yourself or a giftee, you've come to the right place.

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Many LEGO sets are available for a limited time – especially those tied in with movies or events. If you see one you like, bear in mind that it may not be available forever. Some LEGO sets become “collectibles” and have a high resale value.

The benefits of playing with LEGO

Not only are LEGO fun to play with, they offer a range of educational benefits for kids. Let's examine some of the benefits of playing with LEGO:

  • Playing with LEGO promotes fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

  • Kids can gain problem solving and mathematical thinking skills from building LEGO creations.

  • LEGO pieces stimulate the imagination. You can craft just about anything with them.

  • Children learn how to follow instructions and the importance of completing steps in the correct order.

  • Playing LEGO with others can help develop teamwork and communication skills, as children need to be able to explain problems and potential solutions.

  • The sense of accomplishment a child gets from completing a LEGO project can help build self-esteem.

LEGO set themes

There are many "themes" in the LEGO world. Here are some of the most popular themes available.

Classic LEGO theme

These sets consist of assorted bricks for general use.

Architect LEGO theme

These sets focus on buildings and landmarks.

Duplo LEGO theme

Made by LEGO, Duplos are larger bricks for younger children.

Star Wars LEGO theme

This hugely popular LEGO theme features many different Star Wars-themed sets.

Friends LEGO theme

These sets are character-driven and focus on friendship.

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Did you know?
Licensed LEGO sets – Star Wars, Ghostbusters, LEGO Batman, and so on – often cost slightly more per brick than non-licensed LEGO sets.

City LEGO theme

These LEGO sets focus on aspects of city life.

Technics LEGO theme

These are advanced LEGO sets that feature moving parts.

Boost LEGO theme

These sets are for creating and coding real moving robots with motors.

Creator LEGO sets

These unique LEGO sets are designed to build a specific item or items.

Disney Princess LEGO sets

These are LEGO sets featuring a range of Disney Princess characters and settings.

Ideas LEGO sets

These are community-created and supported sets with the true LEGO enthusiast in mind.

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Did you know?
Playing with LEGO bricks helps children learn how to persevere when things don't go right the first time.

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a LEGO set

The following questions focus on the person who will be playing with the LEGO set. The answers to these questions may help you decide which set is best.

Question one: what is the builder interested in?

With all the different LEGO themes available, it's worth asking yourself where the builder’s interests lie before you make your purchase.

For instance, if you're buying LEGO for someone who loves Star Wars, you can find a large number of LEGO sets in the Star Wars range.

Question two: does the builder prefer following instructions or using her imagination?

Some people prefer a LEGO set with a strict set of instructions to follow, whereas others like to build whatever strikes their fancy.

LEGO Classic sets contain a variety of bricks that can be used in different ways – perfect for the builder who prefers to follow her imagination.

The majority of LEGO sets have instructions to follow. However, in many cases, the pieces could still be used to make other things, particularly if the builder already has a large LEGO collection.

Question three: would the builder prefer a long-term or short-term project?

Some builders love a challenging LEGO set that takes days or even weeks to construct. Others would prefer to be done within 30 minutes to an hour.

Often, you can get an idea of how long the set would take to build by looking at the number of pieces included. Basic sets might contain a few hundred pieces, which an older or more skilled LEGO builder could probably finish in 20 to 30 minutes.

The largest LEGO sets of all contain more than 7,000 pieces; even a skilled builder would need more than 24 hours to complete one of these mammoth sets.

LEGO prices

How much do LEGO sets cost? The answer to that question varies depending on several factors, including the number of pieces in the set, the theme, and the complexity of the set.

  • Small LEGO sets with less than 100 pieces start at about $5 to $10.

  • Medium LEGO sets with 200 to 500 pieces cost roughly $25 to $75.

  • Large LEGO sets with 500 to 1,000 pieces usually cost $60 to $150,

  • Extra-large LEGO sets with 1,000 pieces are often priced between $100 and $500. Rare or collectible LEGO sets that have been discontinued can sometimes command several thousand dollars.


  • While you can find many excellent LEGO sets where the builder follows instructions to construct something specific, most kids love to invent their own LEGO creations, too. A Classic or Creator LEGO set probably wouldn’t go amiss, especially for a child just starting his LEGO collection.

  • If you have multiple LEGO sets at home, it's best to store them separately if possible. Otherwise, the pieces get mixed together, and it is very hard to find the right bricks when trying to construct each set.

  • Kids love LEGO, but many adults collect them, too. You might be surprised to know it's a better investment than gold.

  • You can buy LEGO bricks individually, but LEGO sets generally offer a better value for your investment.

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Many LEGO sets have an upper age limit, but this is just a suggestion as to what age a child might feel she’s too old for a particular set. The truth is, people of all ages can enjoy building with LEGO bricks. The age guidelines on the box can be helpful, but they are only suggestions.


Q. What age group are LEGO sets suitable for?
Different LEGO sets are suitable for different age groups. At the lower end, Duplo sets are suitable for children as young as 18 months. Most children move on to regular-size LEGO bricks at around age five, but it’s still wise to choose more basic sets at this age. (For instance, LEGO sets with a Juniors theme are good for five-year-olds.)

Some sets are quite complex and would be too tricky for younger LEGO fans to complete without adult help. Check the specs of the LEGO set you're considering, and look at the recommended age range.

Q. Do LEGO sets come with minifigures?
Minifigures, also known as LEGO people, are popular with many kids – especially those who like to play with their creations once built. Many LEGO sets include minifigures in the box, but not all do. If the inclusion of minifigures is important to you, check the product specs before buying.

Q. What if I need individual parts to create something particular? Or what if I lose a part?
Even if you buy a LEGO set, you may choose to take it apart and construct something else with it. And yes, there's the chance that you could lose some vital bricks over time. The good news is, you can buy bricks individually from the Pick a Brick section of LEGO's official website.

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