The 10 Best Jigsaw Puzzles

Updated April 30, 2018 by Johnny Woodard

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Not just for rainy days, jigsaw puzzles are both challenging and entertaining. Plus, they are now being recognized for their ability to enhance your quality of life and, perhaps, reduce the likelihood of memory loss. The sets we have selected vary in complexity and design, so you're certain to find an option the entire family can enjoy. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best jigsaw puzzle on Amazon.

10. Melissa and Doug Solar System

Designed with children in mind, the Melissa and Doug Solar System contains 48 massive pieces that are meant to be assembled on the floor. This model is challenging enough to keep a beginner's interest without becoming overwhelming.
  • pieces are easy to clean
  • promotes hand-eye coordination
  • won't stand up to careless use
Brand Melissa & Doug
Model 413
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Ravensburger Paradise Sunset

Create memories with family and friends putting together the Ravensburger Paradise Sunset, which makes use of grained paper that ensures a glare-free picture. When fully pieced together, it is quite large at an impressive 109 inches by 75.5 inches.
  • reputable manufacturer
  • comprised of 18000 pieces
  • not all pieces line up perfectly
Brand Ravensburger
Model 17824
Weight 18.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. White Mountain Television History

The White Mountain Television History is a lighter, pop-culture themed alternative to the more serious models on this list. Featuring an array of popular and beloved small screen faces, including Johnny Carson, Spock, and Superman, this 1,000-piece set has wide appeal.
  • extra large pieces
  • humorous images
  • won't challenge advanced puzzlers
Brand White Mountain Puzzles
Model 270
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Educa World Map

The Educa World Map is a wonderful choice for cartography and geography buffs. It's also great to work on with youngsters, and can serve as a teaching tool, so they can learn about geography as they take on this intricate assembly.
  • replace-a-piece code on the box
  • long completion time
  • guide image is too small
Brand Educa
Model 14827
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Ravensburger World Map

The high-quality historic illustration printed on the Ravensburger World Map is full of intricate details in a variety of shades and colors. This representation of an old world map of circa 1665, has Spanish, English, and Latin script on it.
  • looks authentic when finished
  • mentally challenging
  • durable pieces never bend
Brand Ravensburger
Model 17054
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Artifact Tyukanov Flying Bottle

The Artifact Tyukanov Flying Bottle features sturdy wooden pieces that are cut into numerous novel shapes. The thicker elements challenge hand-eye coordination during assembly. Rated for ages 12 and up, this makes an excellent choice for the young and old alike.
  • can be completed in under 2 hours
  • appeals to fans of surrealist art
  • made in the united states
Brand Artifact Puzzles
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Tenyo Disney Art

Liven up your space with the unique Tenyo Disney Art, which can be framed and placed in a window to create the effect of beautiful stained glass. It's the perfect gift for Disney buffs, as it includes a number of their most famous characters.
  • pieces are very solid
  • stays together even if lifted up
  • medium level difficulty
Brand Tenyo
Model DS-1000-764
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Educa Wildlife

Designed for the serious puzzlist who is looking for the challenge of a lifetime, the 33,600 piece Educa Wildlife is large enough to be a full wall display when finished, at 225 inches by 62 inches. It is made to be attacked in sections, one pack at a time.
  • pieces divided between ten packs
  • fits together well
  • comes in box with wheels
Brand Educa
Model 16066.0
Weight 35.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Artifact Puzzles Migration of Knowledge

If you are tired of flimsy cardboard elements that are easily damaged, then you'll appreciate the Artifact Puzzles Migration of Knowledge. It is made with thick, laser-cut wooden pieces that won't fray and warp, no matter how many times you put them together.
  • made in the united states
  • packaged in a pine wood box
  • whimsical pieces
Brand Artifact Puzzles
Model pending
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Educa Borras Life

Made for the true puzzle aficionado, the Educa Borras Life is a feast for your eyes, with thousands of images spread out across 24,000 pieces, many of which are hidden. If you seek a challenge that demands time and dedication, this is the one for you.
  • vivid colors and details
  • free replacement of any piece
  • no dust on the edges
Brand John N. Hansen
Model 13434
Weight 25.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

What Makes One Jigsaw Puzzle More Challenging Than Another?

The most obvious way to make a jigsaw puzzle more challenging is by cutting the pieces smaller. Imagine, if you will, a toddler's jigsaw, the pieces of which are meant to look gigantic. If those giant pieces had been cut 100 times smaller, then the puzzle as a whole would theoretically be considered 100 times more difficult to reassemble. In addition, a puzzle is considered more challenging if the overall picture is vastly made up of either one color, or a very crowded mix of similar objects.

The more identically-shaped pieces a puzzle features, the more trial and error it'll take to match those pieces with an appropriate mate. Manufacturers may throw in a curve ball by featuring several oblong, or even rectangular pieces. These straight-edge pieces will eventually fit into the puzzle, but they can't be locked in until a corresponding section is 99 percent complete.

If you're an enthusiast, perhaps you'd like to try a puzzle that is nothing more than a solid white rectangle (all shape and no shades). Or perhaps you'd like to try a puzzle with extra throwaway pieces; maybe a puzzle that's custom-made to confuse the eyes. Perhaps you'd like to try a puzzle that can only be solved by connecting the pieces vertically. Or perhaps you'd like to solve the world's largest jigsaw puzzle, which includes 551,232 pieces, and a border that runs 76 feet wide.

Jigsaw 101: A Beginner's Guide to Solving Any Puzzle

Every jigsaw puzzle is built around a basic frame, and this is a great place to start for any beginner. You can usually separate the puzzle's frame pieces by eyeing up their straightened edges. Beyond that, you've got four corner pieces (assuming the puzzle is in the shape of a quadrilateral), each of which is constructed with a right angle. The direction of each angle should tell you the corner in which each of these pieces belongs. Once you've settled that, you can begin to connect interlocking pieces until you've created a wraparound border.

You'll be able to identify where certain pieces should fit based on matching the colors of those pieces against the picture on the front of the puzzle's box. Certain puzzle boxes have been measured to scale, which means you can complete the puzzle, piece-by-piece, by using the box as a surface (almost like a paint by number). Keep an eye out for any pieces that are uniquely shaped. You can usually spot a corresponding piece for these without a lot of trouble.

Next, you'll want to start sorting similar pieces into piles (This'll allow you to work on specific sections of the puzzle, one-by-one). Do you notice any distinctive objects in the puzzle? How about any letters, or numbers? If you can spot these, you'll have a good idea of where to place any of the corresponding pieces.

As you start to interlock several pieces, you can place them in the puzzle's frame according to where they should fit. This way you'll have fewer pieces on the outside of the puzzle, and a clearer image of what you're still missing within. Going forward, the remainder of the puzzle should come down to a process of elimination. Mix and match those final pieces until your puzzle is complete.

A Brief History of The Jigsaw Puzzle

Early jigsaw puzzles, which were known as dissections, were originally used to teach geography in 18th-century England. These puzzles usually featured a map of either a country or a continent, with wooden pieces cut to represent the borders of each land.

The pieces of these wooden dissections were individually cut by a fretsaw. Both the jigsaw and the jigsaw puzzle were already in existence at this point, but manufacturers largely shunned the jigsaw method because it demanded creating puzzles out of cardboard, which was considered low-grade.

Cardboard jigsaw puzzles began to catch on during The Great Depression in America, as people with meager incomes came to appreciate the low cost, and manufacturers came to appreciate the inexpensive production.

Jigsaw puzzles became even more popular throughout World War II, with devotees competing to see who could solve a complicated puzzle the quickest. Soon after, large companies started to use jigsaw puzzles as a promotional tool. These puzzles, which were often given away for free, featured images of the company's logo (either that or some similar form of advertisement).

Today, there are traditional jigsaw puzzles, which still appeal to purists, and then there are progressive jigsaw puzzles (e.g., three-dimensional puzzles or puzzles that are built around an optical illusion, etc.), which are appealing as a result of their difficulty level. By and large, jigsaw puzzles remain in production because they represent a simple and entertaining way to distract oneself, or develop sharper problem-solving skills.

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Last updated on April 30, 2018 by Johnny Woodard

Johnny Woodard fled the sweltering South and a career in journalism to pursue comedy and edit a popular comedy/sports website in Los Angeles.

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