Of all the habits I picked up during the pandemic—cooking more, taking up arts and crafts, and the like—puzzling is still a consistent favorite. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle isn’t only a phenomenal way to cut down your screen time, it’s also an incredibly relaxing and meditative activity. When I’m yearning for some self-care, working on a jigsaw puzzle is like treating my anxious, over-thinking brain to an all-expenses-paid vacation. They’re also fun to do with friends or a partner—and make for a great, intimate date night at home. My latest puzzle obsession? Wooden puzzles.
Despite the fact that most of the jigsaw puzzles we see on shelves today are made of paperboard, wooden puzzles were actually the first puzzles to be invented. They're said to date back to the 1760s, when a London map maker, John Spilsbury, pasted a map onto a thin piece of wood and cut it up using a saw—Anne Williams, a jigsaw puzzle historian and author of The Jigsaw Puzzle: Piecing Together a History, told CBS News. Today, wooden puzzles are a common staple in the kids toy aisle—but there are plenty of options designed for adults that feature modern updates and stunning imagery that make them a blast to put together.
Best wooden puzzles at a glance:
Best wooden puzzle for all skill-levels: Natiti Wooden Cat Puzzle ($24)
Best landscape puzzle: Unidragon Nature Mountain Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle ($24)
Best artsy puzzle: Puzzle Up ‘The Kiss’ Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle ($39)
Best brain twisting puzzle: Torched Mind Bending Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle ($80)
Best abstract puzzle: Untitled By Paul Klee Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle ($57)
Best floral puzzle: The Puzzly Company Flowers in a Vase Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle ($13)
Best space puzzle: Puzzle Up The Earth Puzzle ($79)
Best colorful puzzle: Zen Chalet Yin Yang Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle ($35)
Why wooden jigsaw puzzles are worth it
Made using super precise cuts, wooden puzzles have uniquely shaped pieces that make them (in my humble opinion) more intricate than paperboard puzzles—which also means they can be more challenging. That’s nothing to worry about, though, because you’ll often find the same puzzle offered in multiple sizes ranging from 50 pieces to 200+. Another thing you’ll notice is that wooden puzzles are way more durable than the thin, paperboard varieties we’re used to seeing. The thick, wooden pieces satisfyingly click into place, and don’t bend or fray over time like its cardboard counterparts. Convinced? Here’s what you should look for while shopping for wooden puzzles.
What to look for when shopping for wooden puzzles
Mind the size and number of pieces
Because no one wants to be halfway through a puzzle before realizing it’s way too big for their space, always check the dimensions of the assembled puzzle before adding it to your cart. Just like non-wooden puzzles, the less pieces you have, the less time it’ll take to complete, and vice versa. Another key piece of advice (ha!), the more intricate the pieces, the more fun you can expect to have while piecing your puzzle together—so look out for a good mix of shapes.
Pay attention to the print quality
Though it can sometimes be hard to gauge when shopping online, your puzzle’s print quality matters, otherwise the image could fade or get scuffed over time. The more clear the puzzle looks online, the more likely it will follow suit in person. To help make your search easy, we rounded up the best wooden puzzles for adults you can find online right now.
Best for all skill levels
Look closely, and you’ll find that nearly all of the pieces in this colorful, cat-shaped puzzle are laser-cut into adorably tiny cat, fish, and tree shapes! Despite its smaller size, this cat puzzle is a fun and engaging entry to wooden puzzles, making it a great choice for anyone, regardless of skill-level. According to a reviewer, the thicker wood pieces are easy to pick up, and have smooth edges that snap together with ease—for a pawsitively purrfect puzzle experience.
Dimensions: 9.8” x 8.3”
Best landscape puzzle
Originally $30, now $24
This wooden puzzle has over 500 5-star ratings on Amazon, earning it a near-perfect 4.8-star rating. The laser-cut pieces are full of smooth curves and organic shapes—and come together to depict an idyllic mountain scene that’s so rich with color, you’ll be tempted to hang the finished product on your wall for all your guests to enjoy. What’s more, it comes in small, medium, and “king” sizes, so there’s an option for everyone. We think the medium size makes for a solid challenge with friends and family, or a fun day (or two) project when done solo.
Dimensions:12.2” x 9”
Best artsy puzzle
Originally $44, now $39
Art lovers will be thrilled to have this wooden puzzle rendition of Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ strewn about their table. It’s made using high-tech lasers that deliver one-of-a-kind pieces, and boasts a super high quality print you’ll want to add to your own personal gallery wall. And the cool part is, Puzzle Up even includes sticky tape in your order so you can seal your puzzle from behind and post it on your wall. It comes in small, medium, and large (the larger the puzzle, the more difficult) sizes.
Dimensions: 30 cm
Best brain-twisting puzzle
If you crave a serious challenge, this Mind Bending Wooden Puzzle is bound to deliver. The puzzle is composed of laser-cut geometric shapes that might seem straightforward at first glance, but in reality, are notoriously tough to put together. Plus, the wooden puzzle boards are all durably constructed and hand-stained by the Torched team, ensuring that it’ll stand the test of time.
Dimensions:11.3″ x 11.3”
Best abstract puzzle
This colorful wooden puzzle turns the iconic work of abstract artist Paul Klee, into a fun (and challenging) brain game. Available in 250-, 500-, 750-, or 1,000-piece difficulties, the pieces in this stunning multicolored puzzle are laser-cut into curvy, irregular shapes that makes it unlike any other jigsaw puzzle you’ve done before. And when you’re done, you’ll have a beautiful work of art you’ll want to keep on permanent display in your home.
Dimensions: 9.4″ x 13.4″
Best floral puzzle
This 70-piece wooden puzzle by UK brand, Puzzly, makes for the perfect mid-day mental health break. Not only is the floral still-life image beautiful to look at, but the pieces are all precisely cut into quirky, recognizable shapes like birds, trees, butterflies, and yes, flowers too. And if you love the design but want more of a challenge, you can always select the brand’s whopping 500-piece option, too.
Best space puzzle
Originally $88, now $79
For a challenge that’s truly out of this world—you’re going to want to snag this Earth Puzzle by Puzzle Up. The science-y puzzle gives you a super high definition look at the planet earth, and is full of quirky surprises. Among its laser-cut, wavy pieces, you’ll find some very on-brand shapes, like astronauts, stars, rocket ships, satellites, and more. Plus, it comes in three sizes and difficulties, giving you the freedom to choose your own adventure.
Pieces: 455 pieces
Dimensions: 50 cm
Best colorful puzzle
Want to get lost in a mesmerizing patterns and colors? Meet Zen Chalet’s Yin Yang Wooden Puzzle. With 200 uniquely shaped laser-cut pieces, this deceptively complex puzzle pretty much demands your full attention, making it a great way to unplug and quiet a racing mind. The basswood pieces have a sturdy and smooth feel that clicks tightly into place. And according to Amazon shoppers, the rainbow-bright colors are just as vivid in person (and don’t fade over time!).
Dimensions: 11.2″ x 11.2″
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