6 Puzzle Quality Factors to Look for in a Jigsaw

When you’re buying a jigsaw puzzle, high quality may be a factor you’re considering before adding it to your cart. But how can you determine the difference between a premium puzzle versus a “cheap” puzzle? The best quality jigsaw puzzles have a few elements that make them stand out from the rest. 

What to Look for in a High Quality Jigsaw Puzzle

Keep these six components in mind while you're shopping for your next puzzle. 

1. The image 

Working on a puzzle with pictures that utilize a high-resolution image will significantly increase the quality of the puzzle. A low-resolution image on a puzzle will make the picture appear grainy or distorted. A high-res image, on the other hand, provides more detail and clarity, turning a completed puzzle into the work of art you’ll want to frame and hang. 🖼️

Here at Blue Kazoo, we choose images puzzles are meant to be made for - hence why we are selective about what makes it to the production stage. If the image can’t meet our standard, it doesn’t get made. 

Not in the mood for picture puzzles? Try one of our solid color jigsaws

2. The adhesive 

The glue used during puzzle production is an important factor to keep in mind when puzzle shopping. In addition to the pictures of puzzles being of high quality, the adhesive used to attach the image to the cardboard needs to be too. 

A lower-cost puzzle will typically use everyday paper glue to adhere the image, while higher-quality adhesives are used for puzzles with bigger price points. The difference between the two comes down to the amount of water content used in the adhesive, which can either prevent the puzzle from bending and warping or not. Puzzles are meant to be used and fitted together. A puzzle with a lower-quality adhesive containing more water content may cause the image to lift from the cardboard or easily tear. 🧩

3. The cardboard 

Puzzle cardboard (also called chipboard) comes in a variety of qualities and thicknesses. Lower-quality puzzles are usually produced with thin cardboard and can easily retain moisture, making them soft and pliable. High-quality puzzles, however, use thicker cardboard, making the pieces stiffer and easier to fit together. 

In recent months, we’ve completely upgraded our materials and moved to a premium, more sustainable blackboard. Our new paper stock is made up of recycled FSC-Certified material and is sustainably sourced. Additionally, our puzzle thickness is 2mm (a whopping 80-point chipboard), making the pieces extra sturdy. It’s also really cool to look at. 😎

Don’t believe us? Refer to this picture of puzzle pieces to get a peek for yourself. 👇

4. The print

The method used to print the puzzles is a critical component when it comes to the quality of jigsaw puzzles. A puzzle may have the best quality image possible, but if the ink used is subpar, it can lead to a picture that easily fades or smudges from use. 

In addition to upgrading to the blackboard, we’ve made our inks more environmentally friendly. Now, our puzzles, boxes, and posters are all printed using plant-based inks and are fully biodegradable. 🌿

5. The cut 

After the image is printed and glued to the cardboard, the result is essentially a poster of the puzzle design. To turn it into a jigsaw puzzle, it must be cut (kind of like a cookie cutter) and separated into individual pieces.

The knife and the pressure used to cut the image can make or break the overall quality of the puzzle. A sharp knife is a must to ensure pieces are cut smoothly and effectively. If the knife is dull, though, the result is a puzzle with torn or fuzzy pieces that more or less remain joined when packaging. 🔪

6. The packaging 

Many may not take into account the box that the puzzle comes in, but we certainly do at Blue Kazoo. We believe puzzles are meant to be shown off, and we designed a box to do just that. Along with our earlier-mentioned upgrades, we’ve also made improvements to our boxes. 

Previously, our boxes were wrapped in cellophane, which we’ve replaced with biodegradable stickers to keep the box closed until it gets home. We’ve also swapped the inner plastic bag for a reusable, compostable paper bag. That means no more puzzle pieces spilling out when you open the box and no more plastic garbage. 🚫

How is a jigsaw puzzle made? Check out our blog on the puzzle-making process. 

Buying Used Jigsaws

Acquiring pre-loved puzzles is a great way to spread the joy of jigsaws. Keep in mind that there is a chance that used puzzles do not have all the pieces, or may not be in perfect condition from transportation and multiple uses. 

Not sure what to do with puzzles that are missing pieces? Here are 8 creative ways to utilize your puzzles.