Best Adult Jigsaw Puzzles for 2021: Get Jiggy With It
Jigsaw puzzles are currently enjoying something of a renaissance. There are plenty of 500 to 1000-piece puzzles that will challenge even the most proficient puzzle junkie. Testing your critical thinking skills as well as assisting with hand to eye coordination and visual perception, a good old-fashioned puzzle can actively lower stress levels. In this nerdy little buyer’s guide, we take a look at the 12 highest-ranking, best jigsaw puzzles for adults currently doing the rounds.
- Best for the Entire Family: Chafin Dreamy Positano 1000-Piece Puzzle For Adults
- Best Overall: Blue Kazoo Moon 1000-Piece Round Puzzle For Adults
- Best Space-Themed: BetterCo. Milky Way 1000-Piece Puzzle For Adults
- Best Meditative: LRRH Rainbow Palette 1000-Piece Round Puzzle For Adults
- Best for Those Short on Time: Springbok Local Treasure 1000-Piece Puzzle For Adults
- Best for Experts: BetterCo. Gradient 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults
- Best History-Themed: InGooood Age of Discovery 1000-Piece Wooden Puzzle For Adults
- Best for Beginners: Novopus Great View in Havana Cuba 500-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults
- Best Cryptic: Ravensburger Krypt Gold 631-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults
- Best Surprisingly Difficult: Galison Andy Warhol Selfies 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults
- Best Circular: Bgraamiens Flowing Rainbow Lines 1000-Piece Round Puzzle For Adults
- Best for Intermediates: Chafin Planets in Space 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults
The Best Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults
This 1000-piece puzzle from Chafin is our best choice for adult puzzles. The popular jigsaw puzzle depicts a high-definition, relaxing image of the Italian Amalfi coast. Chafin Dreamy Positano 1000-Piece Puzzle For Adults features high-grade, nontoxic paper-based material, a 1:1 poster for visual reference, and letter notation on the back for optional completion assistance.
The Dreamy Positano jigsaw puzzle measures 27.56 x 19.69 inches (70 x 50 cm).
Chafin offers free missing piece support and free returns.
For more interesting products like this one, check out our list of the best solo board games on the market right now.
This beautiful, circular 1000-piece puzzle from Blue Kazoo is easily one of the best quality puzzles for adults. Blue Kazoo Moon 1000-Piece Round Puzzle For Adults features crisp and vibrant imagery from the highest-resolution images ever taken of the Moon, premium puzzle board construction, 2-millimeter thick board, precision-cut snug fit pieces, and minimal puzzle dust. Collect the other puzzles from this series – Earth and Sun.
Mad Hatter Puzzle Review reported, “Overall, this puzzle gets a perfect 10/10 from me. The artistic arrangement made approaching this puzzle methodical and fun. The pieces are sturdy, thick, and light, and easy to look upon even with bright lighting. The pieces lock together very well, making assembling and moving in parts easy.”
Moon jigsaw puzzle measures 26.5 inches in diameter (67.31 cm).
Blue Kazoo offers free returns.
Make sure to browse our list of the best-selling chess sets to find more amazing items like this.
This complex, heavily detailed 1000-piece puzzle from BetterCo. features a vibrant shot of the Milky Way Galaxy as seen from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. The challenging BetterCo. Milky Way 1000-Piece Puzzle For Adults comprises high-grade recycled paper pieces and unique, precision cut shapes.
One customer review starts off, “Honestly, I consider myself to be a puzzle enthusiast, and this set of puzzles is easily the best I have ever encountered. Not only are the pictures vibrant, colorful, and clear, but the puzzle itself holds itself together amazingly. […] Just buy them. I promise you won’t regret it. (Just make sure you’re up for the challenge because these are a *doozy*).”
It measures 27.56 x 19.69 inches (70 x 50.13 cm).
BetterCo. offers missing piece support and free returns.
This ultra-challenging 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle for adults from LRRH features a rare, circular profile, recycled cardboard construction, precision-cut pieces, and letter notation on the back for optional assistance.
LRRH Rainbow Palette 1000-Piece Round Puzzle For Adults measures 26.57 inches in diameter (67.48 cm) and is among one of the most uplifting, fun puzzles for adults out there today.
LRRH offers missing piece support and free returns.
For some entertainment you can share with friends, check out these top trivia board games as well.
This 1000-piece puzzle from Springbok features lithograph-laminated recycled fiberboard, extremely unique precision-cut shapes, super thick 75-point board, eco-friendly soy-based ink, is made in the USA, and has snap technology that keeps the pieces clasped together.
Springbok Local Treasure 1000-Piece Puzzle For Adults measures 30 x 24 inches (76.2 x 60.96 cm).
Springbok offers missing piece support.
This 1000-piece puzzle from BetterCo. is one of the most difficult jigsaw puzzles available thanks to the pieces’ barely distinguishable pieces. Complex BetterCo. Gradient 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults features high-quality recycled paper and unique precision cut shapes.
Gradient measures 27.5 x 19.68 inches (70 x 50 cm).
BetterCo. offers missing piece support and free returns.
This 1000-piece puzzle from InGooood Pure Wood Puzzles features high-quality basswood and letter notation on the back for optional completion assistance. The maker has a reputation for producing some of today’s best wooden jigsaw puzzles for adults.
InGooood Age of Discovery 1000-Piece Wooden Puzzle For Adults also features gallery-grade printing and is a part of the designer’s Collector’s Series. It measures 19.68 x 29.52 inches (50 x 75 cm).
InGooood offers free missing piece support and free returns.
Find more beautiful entertainment items in our buying guide to the most popular two-player board games.
This 500-piece puzzle from Novopus features 2-millimeter wooden board construction, high-definition photo imagery of a vintage Cuban scene, and letter notation on the back.
Novopus Great View in Havana Cuba 500-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults measures 20.5 x 15 inches (52.07 x 38.1 cm).
Novopus offers a free replacement of the entire puzzle in the case of missing pieces and free returns.
Don’t let the piece count fool you, Ravensburger’s Krypt series of puzzles are some of the most complex, hint-free puzzles available today. Ravensburger Krypt Gold 631-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults features a single color – glare-free gold, perfectly-fitting, entirely unique piece cuts, and mega-satisfying Softclick technology.
The puzzle maker is well known for producing some of the best quality puzzles for adults and children alike.
It measures 27 x 20 inches (68.58 x 50.8 cm).
Ravensburger offers missing piece support.
For more smart entertainment you can bring with you, check out these handy travel chess sets.
This 1000-piece, funny jigsaw puzzle from Galison features a collage of polaroid selfies by the daddy of pop art himself, Andy Warhol. Galison Andy Warhol Selfies 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults is made of thick, sturdy chipboard, boasting a high-definition, vibrant reproduction, a small poster for visual reference, and flawless fit cut.
One buyer reported, “At first glance of the box cover, it seems like it would be easy because there are so many different faces to help find the pieces. But all the images actually repeat at least two or three times throughout the puzzle, with slightly different shifts on the pieces, so you get tricked very often… It took us about a month to complete it, working through it on and off each day.”
It measures 20 x 27 inches (50.8 x 68.58 cm).
This 1000-piece brain teaser jigsaw puzzle from Bgraamiens features has to be one of the coolest puzzles on the list. It boasts a circular profile, premium recyclable blue chipboard construction, a high-def puzzle poster for visual reference, and an assistive letter partition on the backside.
One buyer writes, “The pieces are very colorful, high quality, very sturdy, and hold together perfectly.[…] I completed this puzzle, and restarted it immediately! I just didn’t want it to end. It’s a good challenge all the way through.”
Bgraamiens Flowing Rainbow Lines 1000-Piece Round Puzzle For Adults measures 24 inches in diameter (60.96 cm).
Bgraamiens offers missing piece support and free returns.
If you love intelligent entertainment, here are some family board games you might also like.
This 1000-piece space-based jigsaw puzzle from Chafin is an excellent moderate option. It features high-quality, vibrant imagery, precision-cut pieces, a poster for visual reference, and an assistive letter partition on the backside.
Chafin Planets in Space 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle For Adults measures 27.56 x 19.69 inches (70 x 50 cm).
Chafin offers missing piece support and free returns.
Why You Should Trust Us
First, we’re puzzle nerds. The main contributor to this article owns just over a dozen 500 to 1500-piece puzzles - and that’s not including the puzzles she’s solved and then donated to her local library. She’s a big dork and a bigger puzzle fan.
Second, our credibility and trustworthiness are the most important tenets to the Gear Hungry crew. We want to be your ever-reliable, thorough resource when it comes to buying guidance. You’ll see that we’ve included a “Sources” section at the very bottom of this buying guide. Those are sources that we utilized in our research, and they are the most neutral, informed authorities we found in the course of our research for this piece.
Who This is For
Anyone with a hankering for solving jigsaw puzzles! Our list is specifically geared towards adults, but puzzle nuts of any age that enjoy piecing together moderate- to expert-level puzzles will find a litany of exceptional options here.
Just take note - not all puzzles are equal in difficulty. For example, the Krypt Gold puzzle by Ravensburg is just over 600 pieces (the 2nd smallest puzzle on our list!), but numerous puzzle pros and hundreds of buyer reviews claim that it is one of today’s most difficult and time-intensive jigsaws.
How We Picked
We used a combination of personal taste and, honestly, algorithms! We first created a long list of (mostly) 1000-piece puzzles that we found visually attractive and knew came from reputable manufacturers,
We then applied a search algorithm on that hand-picked list. This function enabled us to zero-in on the puzzles that (1) met a certain threshold in customer review count and (2) consistently received the highest ratings from puzzle pros and verified buyers.
All of this work was done so that we could present you with nothing but the best, highest-quality, verifiably customer-endorsed jigsaw puzzles available.
Benefits of Puzzle Solving
Solving puzzles has a myriad of positive effects. Puzzles are a great way to keep the mind healthy and active as they require thought, concentration, problem-solving, and patience.
An active mind can positively reduce both stress and fatigue levels, and the effects are hugely beneficial. Jigsaws inspire on-going education and enhance already existing skills that might often go untapped in adulthood. Skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, organization, spatial awareness, and concentration.
Puzzles can be particularly relaxing and meditative; some studies have even linked puzzle effects to reduced anxiety and depression in subjects.
Jigsaw puzzles also offer great participant dexterity. Any of the puzzles in this buyer’s guide are solvable solo or with the company. Jigsaw puzzles provide an opportunity for families and friends to collaborate and work together.
Puzzle-Solving Tips and Tricks
- Initial Considerations - below are considerations that one ought to take before starting any puzzle.
- Workspace - Select a space to solve that accommodates the size, shape, and amount of time required by the puzzle. For those of you with the real estate to spare, there are even puzzle tables with hidden sorting drawers available on Amazon.
- Portability - If you would like to work on your puzzle in more than one location, or if you intend to solve it over several sessions, consider investing in a puzzle mat or portfolio-style travel case. Puzzle mats allow one to roll the puzzle up for easy storage and transport while preserving its state of completion. Many puzzle mats and cases come complete with portable sorting boxes, which will keep your sorted pieces organized and ready for relocation.
- Preservation - Want to put your puzzle on display after solving it? You’re not alone; there are numerous puzzle-specific adhesives and sealants available. Some require little to no time to apply, whereas others require a thorough application to each puzzle piece's interlocking edge.
(See the FAQ section below to learn more about keeping and displaying your finished piece.)
- Sort, Then Solve - Sort the puzzle pieces into categories according to their predominant features. For instance, I typically have one pile exclusively reserved for the edge pieces. Then I have a pile for pieces that either feature a similar pattern or the same color.
I find that four to six categories are sufficient for a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. However, for more challenging puzzles – like the single-color Krypt Series from Ravensburger, for instance – you may only be able to sort edge pieces from inner pieces.
Sorting the pieces upfront may seem daunting, but the time it saves in the long-run — and the flow state presorting allows you to tap into once you begin solving the puzzle — more than justify the marginal time spent early on.
- Focus on Sections - Tackle small sections at a time rather than trying to deal with the puzzle as a whole. Breaking it down into sections optimizes one’s ability to zone-in. It might also make tracking progress and maintaining interest more accessible.
- Take a Break - As with any prolonged activity requiring deep concentration, take regular breaks. Doing so helps mitigate boredom, frustration, and inclinations to give up. Puzzles are meant to be fun and challenging, so make the solving process one that you enjoy. It’s just a puzzle, dude; chill out.
Puzzles for Adults FAQ
Q: What kind of puzzles are there?
A: Puzzles for adults come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Jigsaw puzzles for adults cover a litany of subject matter, complexity, shapes, cut styles, and methods. While you can get anywhere from 250 up to 32000-piece jigsaw puzzles, there are lots of adult-specific, fun, engaging, and challenging puzzles within the 1000 to 2000-piece range.
There are also 3D puzzles for adults. While these are not technically jigsaw puzzles, and their piece count is significantly lower than most jigsaw puzzles, 3D puzzle piece shapes and configurations are largely the same as their 2D counterparts'.
Q: How can I store and transport my unfinished puzzle?
A: If your jigsaw puzzle is still very much a work in progress and you want to either store or transport it safely, you need first to ensure that it is on a sturdy, moveable base. You can purchase a purpose-specific design like a roll-up puzzle mat or portfolio-like puzzle board, or even a large, low-walled container.
Q: How can I seal my finished puzzle and hang it on the wall?
A: There are a few options for preserving your puzzle: adhesives, overcoat epoxies, and clear contact paper (my preference).
- Clear Contact Paper Method - I recommend this medium because it’s fume-free, fast, and inexpensive.
- Cut a sheet of transparent contact paper that is slightly larger than your puzzle.
- Line the sheet up over the puzzle, and beginning with one corner, gradually, slowly unpeel the contact backing. As you unpeel the backing, adhere it to the puzzle surface by lightly gliding your finger over the paper. Avoid using too much pressure, as this will make it difficult to detach the contact paper from the puzzle in the case of an application mistake.
- Once you’ve laid all of the contact paper down, trim the excess away.
- For a final finish, either go over the surface with a rolling pin several times or do yourself one better by slowly running a blow dryer on medium heat over the puzzle.
- Overcoat Epoxy Method
- If you haven’t already built your puzzle on a sturdy, single-use backing, do so now. Slide the backing (I recommend using a sheet of cardstock posterboard) between the puzzle and the work surface. If necessary, trim the backing to size.
- Take a rolling pin or similar contrivance and roll it over the puzzle's surface to ensure that the puzzle is level from tip to toe.
- Apply a layer of puzzle epoxy to the entire surface of your jigsaw puzzle. Follow the epoxy maker’s drying time directions before framing the finished piece.
- Frame It - After completing one of the above methods, pop your puzzle into a frame of your choice and hang that puppy up.
Q: What are puzzles made of?
A: For the most part, modern-day jigsaw puzzles feature high-quality recyclable cardboard or chipboard. Other, less common materials include solid wood, particleboard, resin, and terse foam.
The printed puzzle is then precision cut (usually with a laser) to create the snap-in-place pieces. Many of the manufacturers we reviewed in our guide today also use chipboard, making the pieces thicker, easier to handle, and giving them that gratifying snap-action feel.
Q: How long does it take to put a 1000-piece puzzle together?
A: This depends on the complexity of the puzzle’s design. Some 1000-piece puzzles, like Springbok’s Groovy Records, take as little as 4 to 8 hours to complete. Others, like the 631-piece Ravensburger Krypt Gold puzzle, can take up to several days of total time to solve.
Q: Do puzzles help with anxiety?
A: Yes. And there’s a lot of science to back this claim up. According to a comprehensive article by the Huffington Post, “Jigsaw puzzles provide a challenge that gives…goal-seeking behavior an outlet. With each puzzle piece found, the puzzler gets a little hit of dopamine, which soothes the brain, and this reward then climaxes with the puzzle's completion.”
These little hits of dopamine are especially helpful in times of extraneous crises, like the pandemic. During the initial shelter-in-place phase, puzzle companies around the world sold out of product at rates never before experienced. People needed something screen-free to engage with, something that required a lot of focus and offered a predictable outcome within their immediate control. Medical professional Michael Vilensky states, “With a puzzle, with enough time and effort, we can control the outcome, know it will end, and experience a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s finished.”
Immersion in jigsaw puzzle solving has been shown to mitigate the depression-inclined default mode network in the brain, too. The activity also lowers participant heart rates, blood pressures, and evokes meditative senses of peacefulness.
Q: What is the best way to start a 1000-piece puzzle?
A: After you’ve found your workspace, sorted your pieces into edges and other categories, you can start building. Begin with the puzzle’s edge pieces and build the border first. This method is useful in visualizing the scale of the puzzle and the approximate area of each section.
Then move on to one of the segregated categories and focus on locating where it belongs relative to the border. If the puzzle contains high-contrast, detailed sections, begin with those collections first. Leave the low detail/plain pieces for later, as they’re harder to place without some development for context.
For further reading, take a look at How to do a Jigsaw Puzzle Like A Pro.