The 7 Best Puzzle Subscription Boxes of 2020

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Our Top Picks

Puzzles used to be the perfect activity to save for a rainy day, but now that COVID-19 has turned 2020 into the year of staying home, social distancing, and isolating from friends and family, pretty much every day is a rainy day at this point. 

Making matters worse, you’ve already done every puzzle in your house. Twice. Okay, three times. (Hey, it was a long spring!) Now the stores are sold out of new offerings, and if you have to piece together the intricate details of Queen Elsa’s face with your kids One. More. Time. you’re going to lose your sanity.

The solution? A puzzle subscription box! Sign up for a membership, get a brand-new boredom-buster delivered to your doorstep every month, and dive into the peaceful oblivion of a 1,000-piece jigsaw or mind-bending puzzle cube. No repeats, no combing through your neighbor’s cast-offs with missing pieces, and no online shopping required. These are our 7 favorite puzzle subscription boxes of 2020.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Buffalo Games' Monthly Puzzle Subscription

Buffalo Games

 Buffalo Games

Buffalo Games has been in the puzzling business since 1986, so they know how to keep the whole family entertained. And, with a monthly subscription customizable to your family’s unique puzzle skills, you will never have to risk being bored again.

There are three different tiers of Buffalo Games’ subscription: 300- to 500-piece puzzles, 750- to 1,000-piece puzzles, and 2,000-piece puzzles. Their puzzles are printed on thick, durable graphic boards, and the company is licensed to reproduce some of your favorite images, whether it’s a watercolor landscape by your favorite artist or a dizzying assortment of Coca-Cola bottles.

Unlike a lot of other subscription boxes, this membership isn’t available on a month-to-month basis—you have to commit to either six or 12 months upfront. The cheapest option, featuring 300- to 500-piece puzzles, costs $78.00 for a six-month subscription; the 2,000-piece subscription is $96 for six months. When you break it all down, though, the puzzles cost between $13 and $16 a piece, a total steal considering how expensive it can be to buy individual puzzles. 

Shipping is included and members receive an email at the start of every month allowing them to choose between three puzzle options, so you’ll always get a puzzle you actually want to work on. This is one of the best ways to get high-quality puzzles on a regular—and affordable—basis.

Best Budget: Puzzle Warehouse Puzzle of the Month Club

Puzzle Warehouse

 Puzzle Warehouse

Puzzle Warehouse is a well-established online retailer of jigsaw puzzles from all over the country, so you know they have a great selection. And, with their Puzzle of the Month Club, you can take advantage of all the hard work they’ve done collecting the coolest puzzles around.

You pick the challenge level—300-, 500-, or 1,000-piece—and Puzzle Warehouse will send you a new puzzle every month. They promise that none of the puzzles are too “niche” for the average puzzler. In other words, there are no fluffy unicorn or anime puzzles sent out, but they also give you several ways to swap out that month’s selection if you’re not into it. 

A standard membership is $19.99 per month and gives you access to over 500 puzzles across 24 brands. You also can choose the premium membership for $24.99 per month and access even more. The low cost is enough for us to choose this subscription as our budget pick. Nonetheless, Puzzle Warehouse sweetens the deal even more—as a member, you get free shipping on any puzzle you order from their site when you bundle it with your monthly club shipment, regardless of how much you spend.

Best for Cubers: Puzzlcrate

Puzzlcrate

 Puzzlcrate

Not into jigsaws but still like to give the ol’ noggin a good workout from time to time? Then you might be a “cuber,”—someone who likes handheld puzzles like Rubik’s Cubes. If this is you, Puzzlcrate has got you covered.

When you sign up for a Puzzlcrate subscription, you’ll receive a new twisty puzzle to obsess over every month. How many twisty puzzles can there possibly be out there, you wonder? Trust us. There are lots.

The inventory page on Puzzlcrate is loaded with handheld puzzles in all different shapes and sizes, promising to stretch the limits of your brain in totally different ways. You might not know what a dodecahedron is now, but you will if you sign up for Puzzlcrate.

Subscriptions to Puzzlcrate start at $29.99 per month and include shipping costs. You always get one twisty puzzle and one description card in each box. However, your first box also includes a few fun puzzle-themed gifts like cube lube, which we’re assuming loosens up any tough-to-manipulate puzzles and makes them easier to twist and turn.

Best for Borrowing: Completing the Puzzle

Completing the Puzzle

 Completing the Puzzle

OK, let’s get real. What are you supposed to do with all these puzzles once they’ve been assembled and taken apart again? Just store them in your house like some kind of puzzle hoarder? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question when thinking about starting a puzzle habit, we have the answer—it’s called Completing the Puzzle, and it works like a magical puzzle library.

When you sign up for a membership to this family-owned online business, they send you a puzzle in your chosen challenge level—beginner, intermediate, and expert. You put the puzzle together, send it back with a prepaid shipping label when you’re done, and then Completing the Puzzle sends you another puzzle. Just like that!

You can take as long as you need to with your puzzle, meaning you can spend two months working on it or two weeks. Yup, it’s unlimited puzzles, for those of you that are super speedy.

What we love about the service offered with this subscription is that it’s sustainable and reduces waste, and there are a lot of features built-in for your peace of mind. The staff thoroughly checks every puzzle for missing pieces, but will assist you ASAP if you find yours is missing one.

If you lose a piece, the first time, the fee is waived. After that, there’s a $5 fee. And because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, every puzzle is quarantined and then sanitized with a UV light before being sent out to a new member.

If this sounds like the lending library of your puzzling dreams, subscriptions start at $19 per month for beginner level puzzles, which contain less than 300 pieces. Shipping is free, and there’s even a puzzle buyback option if you want to receive a little extra credit on your account.

Best for Masters: The Thinker Box

Kubiya Games

 Kubiya Games

Can you complete a Rubik’s Cube in five minutes flat? Solve marble mazes with ease? Laugh in the face of 2,000-piece puzzles? If so, we have a subscription for you, courtesy of the puzzle masterminds at Kubiya Games, Brooklyn-based makers of wooden mechanical puzzles, brain games, and escape room puzzles.

There are varying levels of subscriptions to Kubiya Games’ puzzle boxes, but The Thinker Box is for “masters,” meaning this isn’t your grandpa’s old wooden puzzle box. These puzzles are level four or five (out of five) challenges made for the most committed of puzzlers, chosen from Kubiya Games’ most popular wooden mechanical puzzles.

Each box comes with one or two mechanical puzzles—think mazes, locks, and cubes—along with a mini keychain puzzle, step-by-step solutions, and a sticker.  No matter the challenge level, each subscription box is $36 per month, including shipping. You don’t have to commit upfront, and you can cancel or change your plan at any time. Honestly, good luck!

Best for Families: Puzzle Culture

Puzzle Culture

 Puzzle Culture

For families who take their puzzling really, really seriously, Puzzle Culture understands you. They know you don’t just want a puzzle; you want a whole experience. Or maybe you just want a way to keep your kids busy when they inevitably lose interest but the grownups are still going strong. Either way, Puzzle Culture has what you want.

Instead of monthly, a Puzzle Culture subscription is sent quarterly, allowing staff to curate a box around seasons and holidays. For example, the fall 2020 box has a skeleton theme.

Along with a 1,000-piece puzzle, each box comes with three to five puzzle-themed gifts—tees, pins, trinkets, household items, and more—all matched to either the artwork of the puzzle or to the unique interests of puzzle-lovers. You’ll also get a challenge card, which Puzzle Culture says offers a “different way to approach piecing together your puzzle.”

A quarterly subscription is $34.99 plus $10 shipping per box. The 12-month prepay option is $124.99 plus shipping, so you’ll actually be charged an additional $40 upfront for each one of the quarterly boxes to be sent. The 12-month prepay plan does promise some extra goodies in each box, so it might be worth the initial investment if you’re OK with making the year-long commitment.

Best for Beginners: MicroPuzzles

MicroPuzzles

 MicroPuzzles

Whether you’re shopping for a kid or a beginner puzzler, a MicroPuzzles subscription box is a great way to help someone dip their toes into the wide world of puzzling. MicroPuzzles’ specialty is eye-catching mini puzzles that can be done in just an hour or two, making an impact on your coffee table but not on your time or budget.

When you sign up, MicroPuzzles will send you two mini puzzles of 150-pieces each, packaged in a cute and convenient test tube for easy storage. Once completed, the puzzles are 4 x 6 inches in size and feature bright, colorful, kid-friendly designs.

The designs are usually themed, and are also exclusive to MicroPuzzles. In fact, they can’t be found anywhere else, so you’re getting unique artwork inside each of those test tubes. 

A monthly subscription starts at $22, with shipping included. MicroPuzzles isn’t overly specific, but they do say they occasionally toss in extra puzzle goodies and accessories from time-to-time, making this a solid choice for the occasional puzzler or puzzle-loving kid in your life.

How We Chose the Best Puzzle Subscription Boxes

We looked for subscription boxes that not only offer different challenge levels to members—like beginner, intermediate, and expert—but also give you a lot of options when it comes to the artwork or themes featured. These boxes mix up their selections frequently and, in some cases, allow you to swap out that month’s puzzle for one that better suits your preferences.

Likewise, puzzles aren’t as inexpensive as many people expect them to be. A high-quality, 1,000-piece puzzle can cost at least $20 in a store or online, so a puzzle subscription box should offer you decent savings along with their vast selection. Whether it’s through other shop discounts, prepay options, or the inclusion of additional goodies, these seven boxes all maximize your puzzling expenses when you sign up.

What Are Puzzle Subscription Boxes?

A puzzle subscription box will automatically send one or two new puzzles to your doorstep without you having to rely on available stock in stores or online. The only exception to “brand new” on this list is the puzzle lending subscription, Completing the Puzzle. But, recycling used puzzles is part of the business plan.

In some cases, you may also receive puzzle-themed gifts, goodies, and accessories. For instance, Puzzlcrate might send you the cube lube or Puzzle Culture will include themed gifts.

Why Should I Buy a Subscription?

With most subscription boxes, a membership gets you some kind of discount on the products included—and this is true for puzzle subscription boxes, too. Take the subscription from Buffalo Games as an example.

A new 2,000-piece Buffalo Games puzzle bought online could cost between $20 and $30 plus shipping. If you subscribe to their 2,000-piece puzzle box, though, each puzzle will only cost you $16. That’s a savings that could really add up over time if you’re a serious puzzler.

It’s also worth noting that many puzzle subscription boxes send out new or exclusive puzzles to their members. This means you might get puzzles not found anywhere else.

How Often Will I Get a Puzzle?

Most puzzle subscription boxes are monthly. So, you’ll get one or two puzzles every 30 days depending on the shipment schedule of the company you choose.

Some subscriptions, though, are only delivered quarterly, while the lending subscription available through Completing the Puzzle is unlimited. So, you can get as many per month as you want, as long as you keep sending them back.

How Expensive Are Subscription Boxes?

Prices vary, but most are between $20 and $30, allowing for some difference in challenge levels. For instance, 1,000-piece subscription usually costs more than a 300-piece one.

Some of the more challenging subscriptions, like the cubes and mechanical puzzles, cost closer to $40. Likewise, boxes that come with additional gifts cost more than ones that simply send puzzles.

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