The 10 Best Legos For Adults

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This wiki has been updated 37 times since it was first published in May of 2015. These Lego sets for adults are enjoyable and challenging to build, and result in a lasting decorative item or a fun toy for you and your kids to play with long after the construction is complete. Collectors, comic book fans, and the young at heart will find their perfect matches in our comprehensive selection for grownups who want to challenge their dexterity and ignite their imaginations. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Star Wars Sandcrawler

2. Hogwarts Castle

3. SHIELD Helicarrier

Editor's Notes

October 22, 2020:

With a company that releases dozens - if not hundreds - of new kits each year, there is always another brick world for you to build. We've updated the list with five new toys, including one of the most exciting 2020 releases: the International Space Station, a nostalgia-stoking set for anyone who played with the company's space cruisers and astronauts in the 1980s.

The Upside Down also captures some of the magic of an 80s' childhood and is loaded with details from the hit show Stranger Things. It isn't too challenging - perfect for Lego dabblers. You'll find a much greater challenge (and lots more magic) with Hogwarts Castle, a massive build that won The Toy Association's Toy of the Year Awards in 2019.

We've also added the Ideas Tree House, another expert-level toy, and Central Perk Cafe, an easier build. Both receive excellent marks from reviewers. We also updated several of the listings, including those for the Technic Porsche 911, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, and the Star Wars Sandcrawler.

We've removed the United States Capitol Building, which has been discontinued, and The White House, which has been upgraded to a much larger design. While both are still available, there are many higher-ranking toys that don't bring to mind political turmoil.

We've also taken the Eiffel Tower off the list because it was an awkward, unconvincing facsimile of the elegant real-life landmark. The Star Wars TIE fighter was removed because many people felt the construction was too repetitive, and the Architecture Studio is gone because its conceptual nature and bland coloring had limited appeal.

Finally - we've added a new Special Honors listing for an exclusive kit that is only available directly through Lego.

March 30, 2019:

Removed the Big Ben set because of complaints that it was too, well, big. It dominates whatever room it's in, limiting the amount of space you have for other display sets or decorations. Given that it's something of a niche model to start with, we felt that many people's tastes would be better served by some of the other options on the list. Dedicated Anglophiles are still encouraged to purchase it, however.

Star Wars, on the other hand, is an evergreen crowd-pleaser, which is why the Sandcrawler crawled its way to the top spot. It's more functional than some of the others listed here, as playing with it is as satisfying as looking at it. Of course, if you're hoping to keep your hobby separated from your children, you might want to go with something less kid-friendly, like the Eiffel Tower or Capitol Building. That said, if they do take an interest in those kits, it will provide you with an opportunity to encourage their education (or to just foist your political beliefs onto their impressionable young minds).

Special Honors

Monkie Kid’s Team Secret HQ You can battle the Bull Clones with this 1,959-piece set, a cool boat hideout that opens up to reveal an extensive play area. It's currently only available directly on the Lego website, which carries a variety of exclusive sets. Most of them eventually end up for sale at other major online retailers, but for a while, you can only find them at Lego's online or brick-and-mortar stores.

4. The Upside Down

5. Ship in a Bottle

6. Ideas Tree House

7. Central Perk Cafe

8. Technic Porsche 911

9. Ninjago Temple of Airjitzu

10. International Space Station

What Makes A Lego Set For Adults?

With a little imagination and a lot of Legos, the possibilities were endless.

Starting in 1958, the hollow-based plastic brick with top studs became known as the Lego Brick. Since then, the simple form has been inspiring generations of builders to create to their fullest potential. With the addition of the standard smiling minifigure in 1978, Legos became a plastic representation of human possibility. With a little imagination and a lot of Legos, the possibilities were endless. The first Lego space set became available in 1979. This was the first themed set; available with special features and bricks that were unattainable elsewhere.

The birth of these themed Legos would lead them to the throne of the toy industry, and it was licensed theme sets that saved Lego from bankruptcy in the 1990s. The birth rate was declining, video games were on the rise, and children were simply not playing with toys that did not provide instant satisfaction. The amount of time it took to build an unknown Lego set was not worth the investment to many children.

Alongside a series of management innovations, the Lego name was made permanent by creating more familiar licensed sets. The set which brought Lego back from the brink was Star Wars; and it utilized a specific principle to do so: engagement with loyal Lego users. Lego use is trans-generational, and by catering to children and adults alike, it was a short trip to the top of the marketplace.

As such, the only things that truly make a specific Lego set for adults is the complexity of the set and the likelihood that an adult will be properly engaged through playing with it. While many adults choose to play with only challenging Lego sets; others will buy sets simply because they enjoy the theme, regardless of the skill level involved in the undertaking.

Why Are Legos Amazing for Adults And Children Alike?

Lego did not become the largest toy manufacturer in the world by chance. They create what are quite possibly the most universal toys on the market. Most people out of infancy have the ability to stack two Lego bricks together, and the result is usually a creative impulse that can, conveniently enough, only be solved through acquiring more Legos.

Legos are the combination of a puzzle, construction set, sculpture, and toy, and are equally stimulating for children and adults alike.

Unlike many other toys, Legos have the ability to appeal to nearly all age groups, and a single Lego set can be fun to put together with the whole family. Legos are the combination of a puzzle, construction set, sculpture, and toy, and are equally stimulating for children and adults alike.

Lego sets also offer a way for adults to learn through experience. Studies have shown, using Lego sets as an example, that the faculties of the mind learn better through example. As such, having someone showing you how to create an object using Legos can stimulate creativity in your own brain.

Particularly with Lego sets, these manipulative tasks were easier to follow when first done by someone else, rather than simply reading instruction booklets. This is beneficial for the brains of both children and adults, developing new ways of learning and quicker ways of processing instruction.

Using Lego bricks also supports fine-tuned motor functions, hand-eye coordination, and creativity, and it allows children and adults alike the opportunity to lose themselves in their own imaginations. This playtime is critically important, as we know that a lack of play can lead to developmental issues and have very negative effects on proper brain development.

What Is The Largest Benefit to Legos For Adults?

Outside the realm of creative play, Legos offer adults a more practical benefit through a concept known as Lego Serious Play. LSP was developed in part by Kjeld Kirk Kristiensen, the owner of Lego. It involves a set of activities combining metaphorical modeling, building with Lego, and peer group discussions to explore complex issues. It is designed as an innovative process to enhance ingenuity and business performance on the whole. Research shows that this specific form of hands-on, fully engaged learning produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world at large, as well as possible solutions to business problems. The results seem to play into the power of the metaphor.

Through metaphors, the personal feeling associated with the problem is removed, allowing all involved to see the bigger picture.

The creators of LSP believe that metaphors provide radically different ways of understanding things. Through metaphors, the personal feeling associated with the problem is removed, allowing all involved to see the bigger picture. By reaching solutions through their expanded metaphors, companies are able to overcome their own problems in an effective yet playful way; hence the name serious play.

LSP borrows and adapts concepts of constructivism, and may have an important role to play in supporting multi-sensory approaches to reflecting on learning, either along with, or instead of, basic writing. The structure of Lego Serious Play allows participants the freedom of exploring and expanding on new ideas without the fear of being wrong or looking stupid. After all, they are simply playing with Legos.

Shilo Urban
Last updated by Shilo Urban

Shilo lives for adventures in far-away lands and reads books like it’s going out of style (which it is). Dogs are her co-pilots. She’s traveled to 60 countries and has lived in Austin (where she received a BA from the University of Texas), Maine, Paris, Seattle, New Zealand, Los Angeles, and now—Fort Worth. Before becoming a freelance writer over a decade ago, she had more than three dozen jobs, including high school teacher, record label manager, tour guide, and farmhand for endangered livestock breeds. She speaks fluent French and horribly mangled Spanish, which she is working every day to improve. Shilo geeks out over history and culture, and her areas of expertise include travel, art and design, music, pets, food, crafts, toys, and home furnishings. Current obsessions: Gobekli Tepe, tassels, and fresh lemonade.

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