The 10 Best Puzzles of 2021

Challenge your brain while having fun

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Puzzles are a fantastic way to spend the day, especially when you find yourself spending more time inside than normal. They’re fun, screen-free, and they can slowly work to strengthen your mind—depending on the difficulty of the puzzle, you may not even notice how hard your brain is working! 

Studies have shown that regularly doing puzzles can improve an individual’s memory, as well as overall cognitive health in adults. Children can also benefit from including puzzles in their playtime, through improved spatial transformation skills. With a variety of difficulty levels and styles to choose from, there’s a puzzle out there for everyone. 

Here are the best puzzles on the market.

Our Top Picks
A 500-piece puzzle that doubles as artwork and an intermediate-challenge, it's double-sided for versatility.
The affordable pick still works your mind and gives you the practice you need as you put together the 1,000 pieces.
Fans of Van Gogh's artwork will appreciate this puzzle, designed as 'Starry Night' and made of recycled cardboard.
Those that are ready for advanced puzzles will enjoy this 1000-piece option that can be put together alone or with family.
Ideal for those who need a change from the classic jigsaw design, the 3D puzzle depicts one of Germany's most treasured landmarks.
Designed specifically as an option for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s, the pieces are easy to grasp and remember.
Upgrade family game night with this 500-piece pick that's sure to become a collectible in years to come.
Harry Potter-lovers will enjoy this series-inspired puzzle that depicts iconic scenes and is made up of 1,000 pieces.
A portable pick that goes wherever you do, the waterproof puzzle is tightly sealed in a bag that won’t spill or lose pieces.
Upgrade playtime with this option, designed as the United States map so kids can have fun while learning geography.

Best Overall for Adults: Galison Gray Malin The Beach Two-Sided Puzzle

Gray Malin The Beach Two-sided Puzzle

Gray Malin is known for his beautiful aerial photography, but you don’t have to purchase a print to feature it in your home! This 500-piece, double-sided jigsaw puzzle includes Malin’s picture of snorkelers exploring an ocean reef on one side and sunbathers enjoying a sandy beach on the other. The pieces are crafted with a matte finish on one side and a glossy finish on the other, ensuring a stunning image no matter which side you choose to showcase.

When you choose this puzzle, you’re getting an intermediate-challenge, as well as a piece of art for your home. 

Best Budget: Buffalo Games Yard Sale Jigsaw Puzzle

Buffalo Games Yard Sale Jigsaw Puzzle

Puzzles don’t have to be a financial investment. Especially when you’re new to the hobby, you can opt for cheaper puzzles that still challenge your mind and give you the practice you need, no matter what level you’re at. 

This yard sale puzzle from Buffalo Games is 1,000 pieces and made from premium quality materials, including 100% recycled paperboard. Its colorful image provides a challenge, giving you the opportunity to show off your skills as you match pieces to create a variety of yard sale knickknacks. 

Best Intermediate: Toynk Starry Sky 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

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Craft Van Gogh’s famous masterpiece in your own home with this 1,000-piece puzzle. Made from high-quality, recycled cardboard, this puzzle is bend-resistant and ready to be conquered, whether it takes you one session or a few.

Full of blues, browns, and yellows, it may take some patience to navigate each aspect of “Starry Night,” but accomplishing this puzzle will give you the confidence you need to tackle even harder projects! 

Best Advanced: Bgraamiens Blooming Color Puzzle

Bgraamiens Blooming Color Puzzle

If you’re ready to show off your puzzle skills with an advanced challenge, the Blooming Color puzzle from Bgraamiens is a perfect choice. The 1,000 puzzle pieces create a colorful, intricate wheel, with petals containing at least two different colors. The color combination in each petal is different from the others, making every piece a challenge.

Made from sturdy chipboard and recycled paper, this puzzle isn’t a flimsy, one-time challenge. You can take this out for anything, from family fun nights to cozy afternoons by yourself. It’s a beautiful, timeless project. 

Best 3D: CubicFun 3D Neuschwanstein Castle Puzzle

CubicFun 3D Neuschwanstein Castle Puzzle

Spice up your puzzle cabinet with this 3D Neuschwanstein Castle puzzle. This realistic depiction of one of Germany’s most treasured landmarks can come together in about four hours. With foldable pieces that require precision and patience as you carefully cut them out, this puzzle is perfect for those who need a change from the classic jigsaw design.

When you’re finished, you’ll have a stunning replica to display in your home, or to take apart so you can put it back together again! 

Best Extra-Large: Relish Burano Island Puzzle

Relish Burano Island Puzzle

Everyone in your life benefits from puzzle practice, including older loved ones who may have trouble with their memory. This puzzle of Burano Island was designed specifically as an option for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s, providing 63 large pieces that are easier to grasp and remember with repeated use.

The pieces are crafted from high-quality cardboard, making them easy to clean and use over and over again. With the right balance of challenge and engagement, this puzzle makes a fantastic gift for your older loved ones, whether you’re there to complete it with them or you’re sending it from afar.

Best for the Whole Family: New York Puzzle Company New Yorker Cat Walk Puzzle

New York Puzzle Company New Yorker Cat Walk Puzzle

The New York Puzzle Company has a variety of fun puzzles, with their New Yorker artwork being one of the more popular options. This 500-piece “New Yorker Cat Walk” puzzle is recommended for ages 8 and up, with sturdy, made-in-the-USA pieces that will last you through many family game nights.

The colorful New Yorker cover is a fun and engaging image that your entire family will love, with plenty of other New Yorker options that could easily become a family collectible. 

Best Series: New York Puzzle Company Harry Potter Sirius Takes Flight Puzzle

New York Puzzle Company Harry Potter Sirius Takes Flight Puzzle

If you’re looking for a puzzle series to complete, whether just for yourself or for a group of family and friends, the “Harry Potter” puzzle series from The New York Puzzle Company is a fantastic choice. Each puzzle is 1,000 pieces and depicts a popular image from JK Rowling’s famous novels.

Recommended for ages 7 and up, this is a fun series to complete as a family, collecting new puzzles all as you complete each scene. 

Best Portable: CM Originals The Clearly Impossible Puzzle

CM Originals The Clearly Impossible Puzzle

Puzzles aren’t just for living rooms! The Clearly Impossible Puzzle is the perfect addition to any on-the-go day of fun. Whether you’re taking a camping trip or just looking for a puzzle that you can toss in a backpack, this waterproof, 500-piece puzzle is tightly sealed in a bag that won’t spill and lose pieces like boxes may.

It’s a challenge, with clear pieces that make it hard to distinguish the front from the back—it may drive you crazy, but that’s part of the fun

Best for Kids: Mudpuppy Map of the United States of America Puzzle

Mudpuppy Map

Adding puzzles into your child’s playtime is not only fun, but it assists in their brain’s development. This map of the United States puzzle from Mudpuppy is ideal for kids ages 5 and up, giving them the ability to practice their puzzle skills while also learning the 50 states at the same time. Colorful artwork makes this 70-piece puzzle a great screen-free playtime option—it actually won an Oppenheim Gold Best Toy Award.

The sturdy storage box ensures that your family can use the puzzle for years to come. 

Final Verdict

The best puzzle for you largely depends on your skillset and how long you want to spend working on a puzzle. But no matter where you fall on this spectrum, the double-sided Gray Malin Puzzle gives everyone a fun, engaging project to work on, with two images in one piece! It’s a great choice for groups or individuals, with stunning artwork that you’ll never grow tired of completing. As Gray Malin prints continue to fill homes, this puzzle is sure to be an excellent conversation starter as well! The New York Puzzle Company’s “New Yorker” cover puzzle is also a fantastic option, especially for individuals who make puzzles a family activity. It’s challenging, yet possible, for both adults and children.

What to Look for in a Puzzle

Piece Count

One of the main things you’ll need to know about the puzzle of your choice is how many pieces it has. While this does not necessarily impact the difficulty of the puzzle—a 500-piece puzzle could be far more difficult than a 1,000-piece puzzle depending on the picture—it’s crucial to understand what you’re signing up for. 

Degree of Difficulty

When you go to buy a puzzle, the box should indicate how difficult it is to finish. This is often determined by the colors shown in the picture—if you have an image of the ocean with all blues and greens, it may be harder to complete than an image with more color diversity. 

Durability

You want to purchase puzzles that will stand the test of time. Choosing a puzzle with durable pieces ensures that you can keep it for years without pieces breaking.  

Why Trust Verywell Mind

As a previous fitness coach, long-time wellness enthusiast, and current health editor, Lily Moe understands the importance of taking time for your mental health, through activities like meditation, puzzles, and long walks in the fresh air. She’s also relied heavily on The New York Puzzle Company for Christmas gifts every year! Most importantly, Lily always looks for research and first-hand reviews when it comes to deciding on a product. 

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2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fissler P, Küster OC, Laptinskaya D, Loy LS, von Arnim CAF, Kolassa I-T. Jigsaw puzzling taps multiple cognitive abilities and is a potential protective factor for cognitive agingFront Aging Neurosci. 2018;10:299. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2018.00299

  2. Levine SC, Ratliff KR, Huttenlocher J, Cannon J. Early puzzle play: A predictor of preschoolers’ spatial transformation skillDevelopmental Psychology. 2012;48(2):530-542. doi:10.1037/a0025913