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When buying a jigsaw puzzle for yourself or for somebody else, always consider the quality if it’s worth the price.

You can tell if the jigsaw puzzle is good by checking the quality of the materials used, design, cut, shape, size, thickness, weight, image glare, number of pieces, and level of difficulty. The trick to easily notice each of these is to have a keen eye and a sensitive hand once you have personally handled the item.

Here are key things to know if a jigsaw puzzle is good:

  • Materials
  • Design
  • Cut
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Thickness
  • Weight
  • Image glare
  • Number of pieces
  • Level of difficulty

How can you tell if a jigsaw puzzle is good?

There are criteria to look for when choosing a jigsaw puzzle. In this article, I will be discussing each point for you to notice yourself.

Let’s start!

1. Materials

We all know that most jigsaw puzzles we can find in the market are made up of paper or cardboard however, there are some rare and special jigsaw puzzles that can be made up of wood, acrylics, and rubber.

A jigsaw puzzle is of good quality whatever materials it is made up of by checking its resiliency to folding, minor fall, and pressure. These tests can only be done if you personally held a piece of it in your hand. Feel its texture, try folding it a little, and let it fall to see if it resists.

2. Design

Jigsaw puzzle designs are all from the artists’ inspirations. It may be from a cartoon character, place, old and modern arts, and so much more.

The designs may be minimalist or extravagant. It doesn’t matter whichever it is, what matters most is how it’s placement and how it’s drawn on the canvas.

You may check this by observing how the image is properly printed on the jigsaw puzzle. Determine if the image is suitable for any age, check for eye-appealing vibes on it, and look into the alignment and orientation of the image.

Do a 5-second look test among all the puzzles you can see, and the first image you’ll notice is the one with the highest quality. This technique is the best solution whenever you come up with many choices to choose from. Not only it’s easy to do, but it’s also effective.

Jigsaw puzzle made up of acrylic plastic.

3. Cut

As the name of the game implies, jigsaw puzzles are called as such because these are puzzles cut by jigsaw. I have an article regarding that if you’re interested to know more about it. Here’s the link: https://puzzlingcut.com/how-is-jigsaw-puzzle-cut-using-the-die-cutting-process/

Going back.

A good quality jigsaw puzzle cut should have a unique feel on it if you’ve fit it correctly. The feel should be an exact fit where small spaces and excess trimmings are not an issue. The interlocking should be easy and have a “click” on it. These cuts can only be achieved if used with a sharp die.

4. Shape

Jigsaw puzzle shapes are unique but we can group them by ribbon shape and irregular shape. The shape varies depending on the die that will be used, the type of material, and the complexity of the puzzle itself.

The quality of the shapes of jigsaw puzzles goes hand-in-hand with the quality of its cut. If a dull die was used in the process, it will automatically affect the cut and its shape. Note that its shape doesn’t have any standard form, so comparing each piece of it is unnecessary.

Example of an exact fitting jigsaw puzzle.

5. Size

Quotes such as, “beauty come in all sizes” and “no size fits all” surprisingly match on what to look for in a good jigsaw puzzle.

Jigsaw puzzle sizes may be small, regular, large, or huge. The size is good enough if it matches appropriately with the age of the puzzler who’s going to play with it.

Small and regular-sized puzzles are good for any adults to play with, while large-sized puzzles are good for small children to practice their dexterity. Huge puzzles, on the other hand, are good for any age if played by groups.

6. Thickness

You’ll know if it’s of good quality one if the thickness is appropriate with the materials used.

Jigsaw puzzle thickness will be your basis on its resilience to folding. The thicker the material used, the more sturdy the pieces are. The cut is also crisp and the fit has a “click” feeling to it if you match them.

The large-sized jigsaw puzzle can be played with babies and small children.

7. Weight

This characteristic of a jigsaw puzzle is related to the thickness and the materials used. The thicker the material used, the heavier it gets however, it shouldn’t be too heavy to increase your biceps while playing. Just kidding!

The ideal weight of each jigsaw puzzle piece should be more or less 2 grams. This is heavy enough for cardboard or paper-like material to not be easily flown away by light air. Also, it is easy to handle while playing for a long period of time.

8. Image glare

This is by far, one of the most important things to look for when checking for a good jigsaw puzzle.

Image glare is the result of light reflection on jigsaw puzzle pieces. This light reflection can cause discomfort in your eyes and will lessen your ability to notice details for each piece while playing. Though it can’t extremely harm your eyes, it can affect the quality of the puzzling experience.

*Notice the absence of light reflection or “image glare” on each jigsaw puzzle piece.

9. Number of pieces

This one can only be check for when you’ve already finished playing.

Ideally, there should be a complete number of pieces when purchasing one however, because of the process in manufacturing, there will be times that there will be missing pieces, and it’s normal.

The missing pieces should be around 1-3 pieces only if it’s a thousand-piece puzzle. These losses usually happen in the packaging area of the factory which is normal. Having more than 1-3 missing pieces is not good because it’ll affect not only your puzzling experience but also your satisfaction in completing one.

10. Level of difficulty

Lastly, the level of difficulty of your puzzle should be assessed as well.

The level of difficulty goes well with how many pieces are there, what shapes are present, and what image is printed on it. The relationship of these three is interdependent to one another based on my own experience of playing a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Notice that time spent on completing one is our measurement of how hard the puzzle is. The more pieces are there, the more differences in image contrast there will be, the more shape variation you’ll need to match, the more challenging it will get.


Try to use this checklist below to help you identify if which puzzles are good or not. To know if it’s good enough, there should be 6 or more yes.

1. Are the materials used can resist folding, minor fall, and pressure?  
2. Does the image and design passed the 5-second look test?  
3. Does the cut smooth?  
4. Is the shape goes well with its cut?  
5. Does the size appropriate for its intended player?  
6. Is the thickness appropriate with the material used?  
7. Is the weight appropriate with the material used?  
8. Is image glare absent?  
9. Is there less than 3 missing pieces only?  
10. Does the time spent playing on it reasonable for the number of pieces, image, and shape of it?  

Enjoy choosing!

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