The 10 Best Puzzles For Adults

Updated May 17, 2017 by Melissa Harr

10 Best Puzzles For Adults
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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. It's not just kids who could use a regular break from TVs, video games, computers, and smartphones. These puzzles for adults offer an alternative to staring at screens that’s challenging, relaxing, and even good for the brain. Our selection includes a variety of eclectic designs, so you’re sure to find one to pique your interest. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best puzzle for adults on Amazon.

10. SunsOut Eagle Eye

Shake up your routine with the SunsOut Eagle Eye, which not only shows lively pictures of eagles but is also shaped like one. From artist Lori Schory, it’s a 1,000-piece model that goes together smoothly and makes a fun conversation item if you choose to hang it.
  • eco-friendly soy-based ink
  • excellent for nature lovers
  • colors a little dark and muddied
Brand SunsOut
Model pending
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Ravensburger 3D The Earth

Brush up on your geography with the Ravensburger 3D The Earth. After you place all of the uniquely curved pieces together, you’ll have a solid and smooth globe that actually rotates on the handy included metal display stand.
  • no glue necessary
  • wonderful family activity
  • numbering makes it too easy
Brand Ravensburger
Model 12427
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Aquarius Pink Floyd Back Art

Fans of the famous “Wish You Were Here” group will love the Aquarius Pink Floyd Back Art, which is great for anyone who’d like a moderate challenge. Best of all, the company uses high-quality printing, so the finished product has no distortion or loss of color.
  • good choice for framing
  • makes an excellent gift
  • somewhat racy imagery for some
Brand Aquarius
Model 65160
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. MasterPieces Noah's Ark

If you're a religious parent looking for a new twist on game night with your family, you'll appreciate the MasterPieces Noah's Ark. Along with a depiction by artist William Hallmark of this famous biblical story, the image features a verse from Genesis.
  • lovely glossy finish
  • bright and clear printing
  • no complete reference photo
Brand MasterPieces
Model 30840
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Wrebbit 3D Hogwarts Great Hall

Even grown-up Harry Potter enthusiasts will get hours of enjoyment from the Wrebbit 3D Hogwarts Great Hall, an 850-piece model that you won’t want to break apart once it’s finished. And since it’s made from sturdy materials, you won’t have to.
  • nontoxic polyethylene foam
  • over a foot tall once assembled
  • pricier than most flat puzzles
Model W3D-2014
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Buffalo Games Starry Night

Admirers of the Post-Impressionist master Van Gogh will truly enjoy recreating his iconic artwork in the Buffalo Games Starry Night. To make it, an artist took thousands of tiny photos and blended them together, crafting a photomosaic that’s both beautiful and engaging.
  • well-cut and sturdy
  • reference poster included
  • more challenging than fun
Brand Buffalo Games
Model 10545
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Educa Antique World Map

The Educa Antique World Map is a great collector's item for lovers of all things vintage. The company offers a free lost piece service and even includes glue that's specifically made to hold your masterpiece together without creating unsightly seams.
  • interlocks nicely
  • crisply printed details
  • not very large once completed
Brand Educa
Model 15159
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Ravensburger Road Trip USA

The Ravensburger Road Trip USA is filled with classic images of this great country, including iconic vintage ads, vehicles, and TV personalities. There is incredible attention to detail in each picture, which makes for hours of fun as you watch the design come to life.
  • smooth surface when finished
  • low amount of dust in bag
  • extra-thick cardboard
Brand Ravensburger
Model 19212
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. White Mountain Puzzles The 1990s

The White Mountain Puzzles The 1990s will take you back to the great decade of plaid shirts, No Doubt, Michael Jordan, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so it's the perfect gift for a true, self-proclaimed '90s kid. Plus, it's made of durable blue chipboard.
  • large pieces for easy handling
  • designed by artist jim mellett
  • 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
Brand White Mountain Puzzles
Model 959
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

1. Buffalo Games Cinque Terre

The Buffalo Games Cinque Terre features its namesake's breathtaking, rugged coastal region on the Italian Riviera in stunning and vibrant colors. But beware — at 2,000 pieces, this beautiful puzzle is something of a beast to put together.
  • made from recycled materials
  • comes with helpful poster
  • provides hours of challenging fun
Brand Buffalo Games
Model 2034
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Several Tips For Putting Together a Jigsaw Puzzle

When working on a jigsaw puzzle, the most logical place to begin is around the border. A puzzle's border features pieces with straight edges, and its four corner pieces all have right angles. The color and direction of every corner piece should tell you where that piece belongs.

Once you've constructed the framework, you can begin to move inward, while also connecting individual pieces that fit somewhere in between. You should be able to identify where certain pieces belong based on matching the colors of those pieces against the picture on the puzzle's box. Certain puzzle boxes have been designed to scale, which means you can complete the puzzle, piece-by-piece, by using the box much like a paint by number. Keep an eye out for any pieces that are uniquely shaped, as it's much easier to locate a companion piece for these.

As you're sifting through pieces, you'll want to sort similar-looking pieces into separate piles (This will allow you to work on consolidated sections of the puzzle, one-by-one). Do you notice any distinctive objects in the puzzle? How about any letters, numbers, or other characters? If you can spot these, you'll have a good idea of where to place any of the corresponding pieces.

Once you've interlocked a few pieces, you can place them in the puzzle's frame according to where they should fit. This way you'll have fewer pieces outside of the puzzle and a clearer sense of what's still missing within. Down the stretch, the remaining pieces should make sense based on a process of elimination. Mix and match those final tiles and even the most intricate puzzle will be complete.

When, Where, & Why a Puzzle Makes Great Sense

Everybody knows that a puzzle seems custom-made for a rainy day, but a puzzle can also be used as a healthy distraction, a mid-day diversion, or a pleasant way to end each night. A puzzle is superb for keeping both children and adults entertained, and it can be completed in almost any setting, whether it be on an outdoor porch or an indoor couch.

Puzzles don't only pass the time, they exercise the brain. By definition, any puzzle is meant to test a person's problem-solving skills. Children can use puzzles to learn about shapes and spatial relations, for example, whereas adults can use puzzles to sharpen their focus, logic, and analytical skills.

Jigsaw puzzles are a lot like crossword puzzles in that they can be designed with several layers of complexity. Most newspapers make their crossword puzzles more difficult as the week progresses, with certain publications, including The New York Times, publishing an expert-level puzzle every Sunday. Jigsaw puzzles are similar in that you can purchase them based on the number of pieces, the size of those pieces, the size of the puzzle, or the intricacy of the design.

In a culture that is essentially dominated by smartphones, social media, and several other weak diversions, the puzzle remains a simple way to disconnect and decompress, while simultaneously dedicating your mind to making connections, almost all of which will help you to clarify the big picture.

A Brief History of The Puzzle

Early 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 out 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 puzzles began to catch on during The Great Depression in America, as people with suffering incomes came to appreciate a puzzle's affordable cost, and manufacturers came to appreciate the inexpensive means of production.

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

Today, there are traditional jigsaw puzzles and there are progressive jigsaw puzzles (e.g., 3-D puzzles, puzzles with oddly-shaped pieces, digital puzzles, or puzzles that are built around an optical illusion, etc.) The world's largest jigsaw puzzle comprises 551,232 pieces, and it runs 76 feet wide. By and large, most puzzles remain in production because they represent a simple and entertaining way to occupy one's mind.

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Last updated on May 17, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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