LEGOs have been around for about 100 years now, so we all grew up in a LEGO world. With their fun designs and pop culture-themed builds, it’s easy to see why so many adults still love to build and play with the iconic toy.
Out of this list, we’ve chosen the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V Model Rocket as our top choice for most people. This set is challenging, but not overwhelming, moderately priced relative to other advanced LEGO build sets and based on one of the most important examples of engineering success. For the die-hard Star Wars fan, we’ve chosen the newly released LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon Expert Building Kit and Starship Model as our top pick. And our choice for the adult builder’s best budget option is the LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle Expert Building Set.
Related Post: Best LEGO Technic Sets
Our Top Picks for Best LEGO Sets for Adults
|LEGO Ideas NASA Saturn V Rocket
|LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon
|LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle
Best Overall – LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V Rocket
LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V
The final product includes a lot of intricate details and additional figurines, all at a moderate price.
This is one of the most popular sets aimed at the advanced LEGO builder. The end result is a sleek LEGO version of the iconic NASA Saturn V rocket that brought the first humans to the moon. The final product includes a lot of intricate details and additional figurines, all at a moderate price.
With just under 2,000 pieces, the LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V Model Rocket is a bit smaller than some of the expert models, while still including a lot of interesting detail, a challenging build, and a sleek and attractive finished product. The set comes with removable rocket stages, mini-figures of the Lunar Lander and splashdown sections, and astronaut figurines. It has everything you need to relive your astronaut dreams.
We also love that the finished product is something you (or your kids if you have them) could play with, or that you would be proud to display as a NASA and space-travel fan. It’s also a great way to learn more about the Saturn V rocket: this was a huge leap in engineering and was accomplished in a really short time given the challenge. So, if you’re looking for a building challenge that harkens back to the age of early space exploration and pushing technological boundaries, this is the set for you!
Best for Die-Hard Star Wars Fans – LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon
LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon
With over 7,500 pieces, you have a chance to live out some of your Star Wars dreams by building this intricate and large-scale piece.
This is the largest LEGO Millennium Falcon ever created. With over 7,500 pieces, you’ll have a chance to live out some of your Star Wars dreams building this intricate and large-scale piece.
LEGOs and Star Wars have long been close allies. I’m thinking of not only the building sets but the LEGO Star Wars cartoons. If you’re an adult LEGO Star Wars fan looking to create a large-scale, intricate piece, look no further than the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon Model. This is the latest and largest of the Millenium Falcon building sets from LEGO, and definitely a must-have for the die-hard fan.
Coming in at a final size of 8 inches high, 33 inches long, and 22 inches wide, this is satisfyingly large. To really bring the final piece to life, it comes with two full sets of figurines, including characters from the original 3 movies: Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and C-3PO; and the latest 3 movies: Older Han Solo, Rey, and Finn. The finished ship includes a lot of other fun details like a seating area, engine room, moveable boarding ramp, and hull panels to name just a few. If you have the budget and are looking for a real challenge, this is quickly becoming a new favorite for LEGO and Star Wars enthusiasts.
Best Budget Option – LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle
LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle
At just under 1,000 pieces, this is a great option if you’re looking to spend a little less money and time for a building challenge.
This advanced building set lets you build a ship in a bottle. Like the other advanced lego sets reviewed here, LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle Expert Building Set has a lot of interesting and fun details – like a captain’s quarters, cannons, mast, crow’s nest, sails and flag, and a display stand with a nameplate – and it is challenging to build. But this set comes with a smaller price tag and a final product that also fits in a smaller space.
This set is definitely one of the more interesting to display as a finished product, bridging the gap between the old practice of building ships in bottles and the new fun of legos. Judging by its popularity on Amazon, this is a set that many adults have turned to when looking for a fun and unique LEGO building option that won’t break the bank.
Best for Family and Creativity – LEGO Tree House
LEGO Ideas Tree House Building Kit
Made with eco-friendly pieces, includes three sets of leaves for different seasons, multiple play-houses, and a family of figurines.
This unique and highly detailed LEGO treehouse building kit is made with eco-friendly pieces, includes three sets of leaves for different seasons, multiple play-houses, and a family of figurines. You can also add-on a LED light kit for realistic nighttime play and fun.
The LEGO Ideas Tree House Building Kit is not themed based on popular culture like so many other sets aimed at adults. But it definitely plays into our childhood nostalgia for climbing and playing in trees, building LEGO sets, and role-play. With just over 3,000 pieces, it is a great option for the advanced builder. As a finished product, it is large enough (14” high) to provide a ton of opportunity for parents and children to play together.
We love that this piece uses plant-based pieces that are more eco-friendly than your traditional LEGO pieces but still can be integrated with your existing sets. The interchangeable summer and fall leaves are a fun touch, allowing you to match your treehouse to the seasons.
The add-on LED lighting is a cool addition that can turn the finished product into a display at night. If you’re a parent who wants a building challenge that will also be a fun and educational toy to use with your children, we highly recommend this treehouse building kit.
Best for Architecture Enthusiasts – LEGO Creator Expert Taj Mahal
LEGO Creator Taj Mahal
Intricate replica of the Taj Mahal – updated version to the previously limited-edition model.
This intricate replica of the Taj Mahal is an update to the previously limited edition model and is perfect for the architecture enthusiast looking to re-create one of the world’s greatest buildings.
LEGO has a number of interesting and very elegant architecture replicas available. Our favorite is the LEGO Creator Expert Taj Mahal Building Kit and Architecture Model because it includes many of the rich and unique details found in the original building. The set is a large, complex build that will satisfy even the most demanding LEGO enthusiast. The final building is large, measuring 20 inches by 20 inches, and 16 inches tall, so it’s definitely one that needs a bit of space!
If you like the idea of architectural replicas but don’t have the time or space for this ultimate challenge, we encourage you to look for other building replicas from LEGO. While we love the beautiful and ambitious Taj Mahal, we also love the LEGO Architecture Empire State Building, which is a bit smaller and less complex than the Taj Mahal but still results in an interesting and display-worthy piece.
Best LEGO Technic – Technic Bugatti Chiron Race Car
LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron
A large race car replica that can also function as a toy.
If you are looking to build a model race car, look no further than the Bugatti Chiron Technic set. This is designed in partnership with Bugatti and includes iconic features and details that make this set really stand out.
For race car enthusiasts, it doesn’t get better than this LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron Race Car. This LEGO Technic set includes details such as an active rear wing, 8-speed gearbox with paddle gear shift, W16 engine, steering wheel, suspension, and spoked rims. While it is not one of the models that can be driven with an app, the moving parts and realistic details still make it a fun and challenging set.
With over 3,500 pieces, this set is designed for the advanced LEGO builder. The final size is 22 inches long, 9 inches wide, and 5 inches tall, so it’s a large replica that can function as a toy or that could be displayed. And if Bugatti isn’t your thing, like so many other of Technic sets, LEGO has a wide range of car and race car options, including another really popular model, James Bond’s classic Aston Martin DB5 from the movie Goldfinger, as just one other example.
Best Re-Creation Kit – LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle Building Kit
LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle
Includes figures of Dementors, the Chamber of Secrets, Aragog, the Basilisk, and more.
This set won a Toy of the Year award in 2019, and for Harry Potter fans, this is the ultimate building set. It is packed with architectural details and also includes figures of Dementors, the Chamber of Secrets, Aragog, the Basilisk, and more to bring it to life.
Harry Potter is now as much for adults as it was originally for children, and as so many of us also grew up with LEGOs, the LEGO Hary Potter Hogwarts Castle Building Kit is a match made in heaven. The large and sleek set includes a complete set of Harry Potter characters, including the founders of the Harry Potter Houses themselves: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff Salazar Slytherin, and Rowena Ravenclaw. Combined with the other detail figures, this set really brings the wizarding world to life.
And because the world of Harry Potter is so rich, there are a lot of LEGO add-on options you can buy to complete your Harry Potter model world. Two of our favorite add-on build sets are Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts Express Train, but there are so many more out there and the possibilities are really almost endless when it comes to creating a Harry Potter LEGO world!
Best for Pop Culture Enthusiasts – LEGO Stranger Things The Upside Down Building Kit
LEGO Stranger Things
The clever design brings to life Stranger Things’ real world and Upside Down.
This set is a 2020 Toy of the Year award winner, and it’s easy to see why. The clever design allows the final set to be displayed the right way up or with the Upside Down on top. The set includes all of the key characters and several fun details from the popular show.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adult, but that still speaks to your childhood nostalgia and a love of modern pop culture, look no further than the LEGO Stranger Things The Upside Down Building Kit. This relatively new set is already really popular. It includes 8 Stranger Things characters including Eleven, Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, Dustin Henderson, Will Byers, Joyce Byers, Chief Jim Hopper, and the Demogorgon. The clever design brings to life both the real world and the Upside Down in a single build. You can even buy an add-on lighting kit to really bring the set to life.
While the Stranger Things build kit is quickly becoming a favorite, there are other pop-culture sets out there. Our notable mention for this category is the LEGO Ideas Friends Central Perk Building Kit, which is a LEGO model of the famous coffee house from the show Friends. The Friends set is also really popular and is a good choice if you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly and less complex than the Stranger Things build.
What to Consider When Buying an Adult LEGO Set
A lot of the more advanced lego sets are very large when they are completed and, not surprisingly, they contain a lot of pieces. So you’ll need to have enough space to build the set, including space for the pieces and the design.
In most cases, the build will likely take several days at least (depending of course how much time you are actually spending on it per day), so having a spot to keep all of the pieces organized and away from you sensitive feet, children, or pets, is an important consideration.
The more complex sets start on the more expensive end of a typical child’s lego set and go up and up from there. Some of the special edition collectors sets are hitting 4 figures. So the price is no small piece of selecting a LEGO set for yourself or another adult friend.
Many of the premium builds are available in step-down models that are less complex and thus less expensive. A great example is the LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon, if the price is just too steep (or the size of the finished space ship is bigger than your building space), LEGO makes some less expensive – and less intricate – Millenium Falcon sets that might work better.
This is true of most sets – if you are priced out of your first choice, look around in the same category (Star Wars, architecture, cars, etc.), chances are there is a smaller and less complex set that will still be a fun and interesting build and is more budget-friendly.
Size of each Piece
While these sets all rely on traditional LEGO bricks, many also use a lot of specialty pieces to achieve some of the more intricate and detailed design looks.
These special pieces can be very small in some cases, and if you have any concerns with small children or pets, or your own dexterity or vision (I am getting a headache thinking about some of the small items), you may want to take that into account when selecting your next LEGO building challenge.
What do you WANT to Build?
This may seem obvious, but just like with children, we recommend that you pick something you like!
It might be tempting to just pick the hardest set or the one that has the most wow factor for others. But these sets take a lot of time to put together and often are very expensive, so make sure that the end product is fun for you (or the recipient if buying a gift)!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best types of LEGO sets for adults?
We recommend that adults look for LEGO sets that are designated as “advanced” or “expert.” These sets typically have more pieces than those aimed at a younger audience and offer a greater building challenge in terms of detail and intricacy. Some of the types of sets to look for are technic (usually vehicles of some kind), architecture, and building kits (especially expert building kits).
How do I know if it’s a good set?
Good question! There may actually be more options out there for adults than children at this point, and knowing what to buy is a bit overwhelming. This article is a good place to start, as we’ve sorted through a lot of reviews to find the most popular and interesting sets. But, as is so often the case with our children’s reviews: start with your interests, and see what you can find!
Then check the reviews, your budget, and your physical space. It’s rare for LEGO sets to be poorly rated, so the most important things are the level of complexity you want to tackle, and your budget.
How much should I expect to spend?
We haven’t included specific prices since they often change on Amazon or other online sellers. But you should expect to spend at least $70 for an “expert” level LEGO set that will present a challenge and interesting subject for an adult.
And if you are really an enthusiast, have tons of space, and love to build large LEGO models, you can spend $1,000 or more on expert and special edition sets.
Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API