The 10 Best 3D Puzzles

Updated January 13, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best 3D Puzzles
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We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Looking for an activity for your family on those rainy indoor days that doesn't involve vegging in front of the TV or sitting hunched over a smartphone? Take your problem solving skills into a new dimension with one of these 3D puzzles. They produce stunning models that will give you a great sense of accomplishment once completed, and make great decorations, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best 3d puzzle on Amazon.

10. Dfunlife Crystal Piano

Made of clear, high quality plastic, the Dfunlife Crystal Piano has an elegant look that is perfect for displaying on a desk or shelf. The uniquely-shaped pieces fit together well and stay together without the need for glue, so you can take it apart when needed.
  • realistic grand piano shape
  • good choice for beginners
  • pieces tend to scratch quite easily
Brand YJ MoYu
Model pending
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Bepuzzled Crystal Bambi

The Bepuzzled Crystal Bambi is whimsical and iconic in nature. Its 36 translucent pieces make it a fun challenge for both the serious young puzzler and long-time Disney fans. Unfortunately, some of the pieces need to be glued together or it may fall apart.
  • nice decoration for a kid's room
  • doesn't take up much space
  • shouldn't be moved once built
Brand Bepuzzled
Model 30988
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Ravensburger Eiffel Tower

The Ravensburger Eiffel Tower is a good introduction into 3D puzzles, as it isn't terribly difficult. It delivers easy-click technology with strong interlocking pieces that come together to create this well-known landmark, complete with bright LED lights.
  • seems stable once built
  • 5 illumination color choices
  • base material is poor quality
Brand Ravensburger
Model 12579
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Wrebbit Neuschwanstein Castle

Build you very own iconic structure with the Wrebbit Neuschwanstein Castle. It stands at an impressive 22 inches when fully assembled and features all the same exquisite details you find on the real castle. It is great for those who love a serious challenge.
  • ideal for lovers of german heritage
  • looks beautiful once fully assembled
  • directions are mostly in french
Model W3D-2005
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. 4D Cityscape NYC Skyline

The 4D Cityscape NYC Skyline includes 120 plastic buildings that show the city as it appeared as far back as 1812, but it also features newer structures, like the Freedom Tower and the World Trade Center, giving it an evolving, living history kind of feel.
  • the streets glow in the dark
  • includes history of the city poster
  • some buildings are hard to identify
Brand 4D Cityscape
Model CTY-4D101
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. WAYCOM Crystal Castle

Just because the lights go out, doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying your hard work. The WAYCOM Crystal Castle sits on a multicolored, flashing LED base and even plays music, so after the kids finish assembling it, they can use it as a nightlight.
  • 100-percent non-toxic
  • can be assembled in just a few hours
  • can't be lit without playing music
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Ravensburger 3D Earth Puzzleball

Teach your child about world geography while improving their problem solving skills and teaching them the satisfaction of finishing a job, with the Ravensburger 3D Earth Puzzleball. Once assembled, it creates a solid, smooth rotating globe.
  • metal display base
  • fits together snugly
  • pieces have helpful hints on them
Brand Ravensburger
Model 12427
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Monkey Pod

The Monkey Pod is unlike traditional 3D puzzles and works more like a game. It has 40 different challenges that can take the shape of animals and buildings, making it perfect for developing spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.
  • makes a great brain teaser
  • lots of replay value
  • includes a storage box
Brand Monkey Pod Games
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. PEScience Dark Knight

Designed for older teenagers and adults, the PEScience Dark Knight starts off as a set of precut, flat steel sheets, which you then painstakingly assemble into a model that you'll be proud to show off in your living room or bedroom.
  • precision laser cut pieces
  • doesn't require any tools
  • incredibly lifelike detail
Brand PEScience
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Wrebbit Taj Mahal

Create your very own world wonder with the Wrebbit Taj Mahal. It has 950 tight-fitting pieces that recreate an incredibly detailed representation of one of the most historic Indian structures, so you, too, can experience building a masterpiece from scratch.
  • designed for serious puzzlers
  • sections are assembled independently
  • free lost piece replacements
Model W3D-2001
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Rising to the Challenge: Choosing a 3D Puzzle

Puzzles have been popular for hundreds of years in one form or another, with early examples of entertaining mental challenges found among ancient civilizations including the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Chinese, and Greeks, to name but a few. The jigsaw puzzle as it is recognized in its modern form was first created in 1760 by a British man named John Spilsbury. These puzzles gained in popularity during the 19th century, and remain a favorite activity for millions of people of all ages.

Jigsaw puzzles can vary in degree of difficulty from a simplicity suitable for toddlers to a complexity that challenges even the sharpest adult's intellect and patience. Many depict easily identifiable images, such as the rendering of a map, the reproduction of a work of art, or a print of a photograph; others add to the challenge by featuring less clearly-identified graphics or patterns. What all jigsaw puzzles have in common, though, is that they are two-dimensional.

Three-dimensional puzzles, on the other hand, spread out laterally and vertically, adding a whole new level of complexity to the construction process, but also adding excitement and opportunity a flat puzzle could never muster. For while at best a 2D jigsaw puzzle can faithfully recreate an image of another object, a 3D puzzle can create a physical verisimilitude of almost anything, from a city to a statue to a solar system.

As with standard puzzles, choosing the "right" 3D puzzle first means knowing for whom you are making the purchase and weighing their interests and abilities. (Yes, consider yourself in that manner if shopping for yourself.)

A few things to keep in mind: a puzzle that's too easy is only a bit more enjoyable than a puzzle that's too challenging, which is to say very little fun at all. And even an age- and ability-appropriate puzzle that's subject matter is of no interest to its recipient is likewise a poor choice.

When choosing a 3D puzzle, first consider the age, mental acuity, and attention-span of the person or people likely to work on it. This thought process alone will greatly narrow the scope of your search. Next consider the interests of said individuals. Many three-dimensional puzzles see their users creating famous buildings, landmarks, or whole cities, while others involve non-representational objects and instead challenge the builder to complete a cube, sphere, or other shape using the included pieces with care and precision.

Finally, consider whether you or the puzzle's intended audience prefer something that can be readily deconstructed for repeat enjoyment (or simply to be put away) or prefer a set that, once assembled, will essentially become a piece of art. Many 3D puzzles do not lend themselves to repeat use but do make wonderful decorations once completed, so don't overlook the aesthetics of a finished set when considering the purchase.

3D Puzzles As Classroom Accessories

The same parts of the brain that are stimulated by the challenges of assembling a 3D puzzle are those that are necessary for success in the all-important STEM fields. And a successful career in a STEM-related profession -- for reference, the acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics -- begins with a purpose-driven education, which is these days often referred to as STEAM learning. (Just add the word Arts into the base acronym.)

Unlike a two-dimensional puzzle that can, with enough time spent, be completed largely using a trial-and-error approach, a 3D puzzle allows little room for a basic process of elimination. Instead, it requires a clear conceptualization of the goal (the finished puzzle, in other words) and a deliberate step-by-step approach, with progress depending on the successful completion of each previous aspect. Many will quickly recognize a parallel there: the Scientific Method.

Not only can a great puzzle serve as a teaching tool in and of itself, but one can also be used as a component handy for exploring a wider subject matter. A student will obtain a much more complete grasp of world geography by physically assembling a 3D globe puzzle, for example, than by simply looking at a map. The same is true for studying planets and stars, parts of the anatomy, and so forth.

The right 3D puzzle will not only challenge the young mind on an individual level, but can also be used to help foster one of the greatest challenges an educator faces: proper fostering of collaborative work. Completing a puzzle in a group is often a greater challenge than simply working on the project alone, but it builds skills that are invaluable later on, both in one's professional and personal life.

The 3D Puzzle As Mental Exercise

Dozens of studies have confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that the best way to stave off the degradation of mental sharpness and memory that often come with old age is to never stop challenging the brain. So too is keeping the mind challenged important during the recuperation after a surgery or during an illness regardless of age; a lack of intellectual stimulation must be avoided at any age.

Myriad activities can foster the type of cerebral challenge that helps keep a mind limber, but few activities can keep both mind and body engaged at once like a puzzle can. A 3D puzzle is an ideal activity for a person with limited mobility as caused by age or infirmity, for it requires minimal strength yet nonetheless engages the body. They do require a degree of dexterity to complete, but a dearth in this area can usually be overcome through simple patience and dedication.

Precisely because a three-dimensional puzzle requires a greater degree fine motor control, these puzzles can also serve as great tools for physical rehabilitation following an accident or sickness that limits one's ability to properly control his or her hands. The best way to recover full control of and strength in the fingers, hands, and arms is to use these body parts frequently.

While initially working on an ostensibly complicated puzzle might be challenging and frustrating for many people, the improvement they can bring in terms of intellectual resilience and physical dexterity more than warrant persistence. If you plan to give a 3D puzzle as a gift with one of these purposes in mind, be ready for initial hesitance. (And keep in mind that a shared puzzle making experience is always an option.)

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Last updated on January 13, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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