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Which jigsaw puzzle is best?

Jigsaw puzzles are not only great fun but also a great way to improve your memory, concentration, attention to detail and ability to solve all kinds of problems. The best jigsaw puzzles are the ones that challenge hobbyists and are worth framing when they’re done.

Jigsaw puzzles should be fun, challenging and feature an image you like. If you’re a Disney fan, you may enjoy the Ceaco Disney Collection – Peter Pan Jigsaw Puzzle, which features the Thomas Kinkaide painting of Neverland from the movie.

What to know before you buy a jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw puzzle types

The three basic ways to shop for jigsaw puzzles are by piece count, theme and artist.

Piece count: Jigsaw puzzles for small kids are the easiest to solve and often have 30-60 pieces. Puzzles with 500 or 750 pieces are quite common, and the biggest puzzles have up to 5,000 pieces. 

Theme: Some people like to do puzzles with favorite themes, like animals, nature, landscapes, travel and illustrations. Some puzzles have licensed characters, like Peanuts, Star Wars and Peppa Pig.

Artist: Those with an appreciation of the fine arts often choose jigsaw puzzles of paintings or photographs by famous artists, like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night,’ Michelangelo’s ‘Sistine Chapel Ceiling,’ Norman Rockwell’s ‘Saturday Evening Post’ covers, Salvador Dali’s famous ‘Melting Clock’ and many others.

What to look for in a quality jigsaw puzzle

Construction quality

Most jigsaw puzzles are made of cardboard, but some of the more expensive ones are made from hand-cut wood. If you want to solve the puzzle more than once, you will want your puzzle to stand up to repeated use. Look for pieces made of thick, high-quality backing materials with the images firmly fixed to the cardboard base.   

Puzzle pieces with tabs should fit snugly together so you can move sections without pieces bending, breaking or falling apart. The cuts should be sharp, with no tears.


Beginners should look for puzzles with bright colors and clear color separation. As puzzle solvers become more adept, they will look for puzzles with more subtle shadings of colors and shapes. 

Degree of difficulty

Three factors figure into how difficult a jigsaw will be to solve: the number of pieces, the level of detail and the number of colors. Whichever level you start at, in time you will be seeking out more challenging puzzles that are harder to solve.

The number of pieces in the puzzle:

  • Ages 2-6 should choose a jigsaw puzzle with 30-100 pieces.
  • Ages 7-10 should choose a jigsaw puzzle with 100-200 pieces.
  • Adults and kids over 10 will have more fun with puzzles that have 300 pieces or more.

How much detail there is in the image: Puzzles of photographs are easier to solve than puzzles of paintings because they have clearer distinctions between the objects in the image. 

How many colors there are in the image: Contrary to what you might imagine, puzzles with fewer colors are harder to solve than those with many different colors.

How much you can expect to spend on a jigsaw puzzle

Jigsaw puzzles with fewer pieces typically cost less than those with more. Good quality jigsaw puzzles with 100 or fewer pieces are $10 or less. Puzzles with up to 1,000 pieces cost $10-$20. Jigsaw puzzles with more than 1,000 pieces, licensed puzzles and specialty puzzles start at $20.

Jigsaw puzzle FAQ

What is the best way to start solving a jigsaw puzzle?

A. After organizing the puzzle pieces loosely by color, the best puzzle solvers start with the corners and the edges and work their way to the center. 

How can I avoid losing pieces?

A. If your puzzle came in a sturdy box, use that. Otherwise, store your pieces in a plastic bag with a lockable zipper. Some companies offer replacement services for lost or damaged pieces.

What’s the best jigsaw puzzle to buy?

Top jigsaw puzzle 

Ceaco Thomas Kinkade - The Disney Collection - Peter Pan Jigsaw Puzzle

Ceaco Thomas Kinkade – The Disney Collection – Peter Pan Jigsaw Puzzle

What you need to know: This gorgeous 18-by-24-inch painting of Neverland is the one seen in the movie ‘Peter Pan.’

What you’ll love: This puzzle has 750 pieces that combine the warmth and detail of a Thomas Kinkade painting with characters from one of your favorite Disney films. This is one of a line of jigsaw puzzles with Disney film themes that include ‘Cars,’ ‘Lion King,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and others. This item is also available in a four puzzle multipack.

What you should consider: Disney-licensed puzzles are pricier than most others, and some designs are rare.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top jigsaw puzzle for the money

Buffalo Games Star Wars Fine Art Collection Yoda Jigsaw Puzzle

Buffalo Games Star Wars Fine Art Collection Yoda Jigsaw Puzzle

What you need to know: Buffalo Games jigsaw puzzles use a trademark “Perfect Snap” technology that ensures a tight interlocking fit between pieces.

What you’ll love: This 1,000 piece puzzle is 26 by 20 inches and comes with an accompanying poster. This affordable puzzle features premium cut, design and construction and is manufactured from 100% recycled cardboard.

What you should consider: Because this puzzle has fewer colors than most, it is a difficult puzzle to solve. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Areaware Gradient Jigsaw Puzzle

Areaware Gradient Jigsaw Puzzle

What you need to know: If you want to stump a puzzle enthusiast, this 20-by-28-inch monster jigsaw puzzle is a real challenge.

What you’ll love: The two colors in this puzzle shift very gradually from one to the next, making this a puzzle with subtle characteristics. This puzzle has a fine finish of glossy art paper laid on top of sturdy chipboard. This gradient puzzle is available in pink and yellow, blue and green, red and gold, a very challenging black and white, plus five other color combinations. It comes in 100, 500 and 1,000 piece versions.  

What you should consider: Many find this puzzle difficult to solve.

Where to buy: Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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