Everyone has heard of them. They lay around in millions of homes, sitting in the corner, under the bed, in the cat’s litter box.
And yet, when it comes to choosing the best magnetic tiles set for a kid, people are baffled. Which one to choose from so many options?
You’ve come to a perfect place to find out! Here’s a rundown of 7 top picks with in-depth reviews, pros and cons, and features that single them out. Or, if you’re not looking to buy a set, hop on below to read expert answers to some frequently asked questions!
Long story short: for most people, the best option is the Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set. It’s a big enough set for kids to create fantastic things, and the tiles really are some of the best around.
|Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set
|Tegu 42 Piece Magnetic Wooden Blocks
|Cossy 120 Piece Set
Related post: Picasso Tiles vs Magna Tiles
Best Magnetic Building Toys Reviewed
1. Best Overall — Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set
Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set
This set contains 100 durable and strong pieces in four different shapes for hours of building fun.
Magna Tiles is the original magnetic tiles brand. The reason most other tiles look like these is that they are based on them. As such, Magna Tiles are still the brand leader and the most recognized name.
If you’re looking for a starter set, the Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set is a great option. The one hundred tiles are split between four different shapes. There are squares, right-angle triangles, equilateral triangles, and extra tall isosceles triangles. This is an excellent mix for building anything from houses to rockets.
The balance of the shapes is also well thought out. The set is predominantly square, which is the most straightforward base shape for constructing, with some triangles mixed in. And considering the creative mind of a child, the possibilities are endless.
These tiles click together easily and are pleasingly strong. The magnets in one square tile can hold the weight of around five others. This makes them among the strongest you can find.
The construction of the tiles is one of the big selling points of Magna Tiles. They are double sealed with metal rivets. This means you don’t have to worry about them getting broken easily. In fact, users have used them for years without a single piece breaking up.
Magna Tiles are compatible with most other magnet tiles, so you have the option of mixing and matching to suit your needs and budget. A good option is to get a base set from Manga Tiles for the strength of the magnets and then expand your collection with some of the more budget options. That way, you get the best of both worlds.
2. Best Unique Magnetic Tiles — Tegu 42 Piece Magnetic Wooden Blocks
Tegu 42 Piece Magnetic Wooden Blocks
These beautiful wooden bricks have hidden magnets inside, which transform the classic wooden block.
Does your kid prefer blocks to tiles? Tegu blocks are a charming alternative to magnetic tiles.
They are designed to look and feel like classic wooden blocks, but they have magnets hidden inside in tactical locations. The Tegu, 42 Piece Magnetic Wooden Blocks set, is a great starter set. It’s big enough to create interesting and challenging structures.
The pack comes with a mix of large and small blocks in a wide variety of shapes. Most of them lend themselves well to architectural creations — think planks, columns, and cubes.
The thing you do need to be aware of with these blocks is that the magnets aren’t the same as those in other magnetic tiles. The poles on the magnets are separated. That means that you can use the blocks to attract each other or repel.
As a result, I think these blocks are better suited to slightly OLDER kids.
The fact that they are a little more challenging to construct is a real plus point for older kids. It will keep them interested and give them a great chance to learn more about how magnets work.
3. Budget Option — Cossy 120 Piece Set
Cossy 120 Piece Set
These budget-priced magnetic tiles are easy to mistake for much more expensive alternatives.
This Cossy 120 Piece Set is an excellent option for those who find Magna Tiles appealing but don’t want to pay the price they ask. Side by side, the two tiles have a lot of similarities, even though the price is significantly different.
The strength of the Cossy tiles may actually be even BETTER than Magna Tiles. One square can hold five or six other squares, which is quite impressive. This strength is due to the fact that the magnets in these tiles are quite large.
The tiles are sealed using both sonic sealing methods and metal rivets. Similar to the method that Magna Tile uses so on that front, they are just as safe. The only real difference is the strength of the plastic faces of the tiles. The Cossy tiles are a little more prone to getting cosmetic scratches.
This particular set is great because it comes with a great selection of pieces.
There are two wheelbases that can be hooked together to form a train, several parapets, windows, and arches, as well as a pair of L-shaped pieces.
The range is great. They clearly did have a specific use in mind for a lot of the pieces, though. For instance, you only get two of the L-shaped pieces as they are intended to be used to build a train cab.
These tiles are a great alternative to Magna Tiles and are honestly almost as good. If you just want great tiles and don’t care about the brand name, these are a fantastic option.
4. Expand Your Collection — Playmags 100-Piece Set
Playmags 100-Piece Set
This competitively priced set is a great option to add an existing set to give more options.
This Playmags 100-Piece Set is a really nice set. If you already have a bunch of magnetic tiles, then this is a great option to mix in. The 100 pieces do work as a standalone set, but not all of the 100 pieces are magnetic tiles, so it’s not quite as big of a set as it sounds.
It has a good selection of standard squares and triangles, but it also comes with some extras in the form of click-ins. These are pieces that fit inside the magnetic window tiles. There is a set of letter tiles and some fancy window pieces to choose from.
Another nice feature of this set is the idea book. It’s the kind of thing that can help inspire kids to create new things and can bring a fresh burst of life to an existing set.
Playmags have a bit of a reputation for having weaker magnets than other brands. However, they have recently upgraded their magnets, so the new seats are much more in line with the market leaders. One Playmags square tile can hold up four others, which is comparatively good.
They are durable double-sealed tiles which is reassuring if you are worried about breakages. So, all in all, they are a great option to have.
5. Start a New Collection — Magformers Smart Set 144 Pieces
Magformers Smart Set 144 Pieces
These geometric cutout shapes come in bright colors and allow you to create complex shapes.
So, cards on the table, we’re a Magformers household.
If you don’t already have any magnetic tiles, I think these are a great option. The Magformers Smart Set 144 Pieces contains enough pieces to create tons of fantastic and exciting creations!
The set has a mix of squares, triangles, pentagons, and hexagons. With these pieces, you can make some amazing geometric 3D shapes. The cutout shape allows you to easily create these awesome mathematical creations.
As well as the geometric shapes, you also get 16 accessories such as two pairs of wheels so that your kids can build vehicles as well. Take a look at the video below showing 6 different ways to play! A model booklet comes included, but you can also download it here.
Starting with 2D figures, kids can start simple and work their way up until they can create more complex 3D structures.
The blocks are made of durable food-grade ABS and are “CPSIA “certified. The magnets are nickel plated to enhance overall durability. The blocks come without sharp edges which makes them safe.
The magnet does make them really strong, and the tiles stick together really well. So, creating larger structures isn’t an issue. Another handy feature is a storage bag for carrying the pieces.
Now to the downside, because there always is one (at least).
These magnetic tiles are NOT compatible with any other brands. They use a different style of magnet, so you can’t mix and match. Except with any other Magformers set (of which there are literally dozens).
Also, the magnet does make them really strong, allowing you to create massive structures. I grabbed one square to see how many others it could hold, I ran out before it lost the connection, so I can only tell you that it’s more than 12!
So if you don’t mind that the only magnetic tiles you’ll have in your home are this brand, then this is a great option. Since they have lots of different themed sets, personally, I don’t think it’s a big sacrifice.
6. Learn Numbers and Letters — Picasso 136 Piece Magnetic Clip-In Set
Picasso 136 Piece Magnetic Clip-In Set
This set contains 66 magnetic window frames and a wide variety of clip-in pieces, including numbers, letters, and LED lights.
The Picasso 136 piece Magnetic Clip-In Set is an excellent option for adding some extra utility and excitement to an existing collection of magnetic tiles. They are compatible with most other standard magnetic tiles, which makes this a really versatile set.
The window pieces can be used as standard magnetic tiles, or you could use them on your fridge or a filing cabinet to create some very cool displays.
With the click-ins, you get one of each letter of the alphabet, capital on one side, lower case on the other, the numbers 0-9, 14 mathematical symbols, 16 clear filled ones, and 2 with LEDs. The handicraft pieces are a great option to allow your kids to get more creative.
Also, the material is non-toxic and BPA free. The set has been tested to ensure safety in all aspects. Picasso uses a special lattice design to reinforce the pieces and make them more durable.
There are also two truck bases that can be joined together. With this wide range of pieces, you can get kids practicing their letters and numbers in a new and fun way.
7. Learn Primary Colors — MAGBLOCK Magnetic Blocks 70-Piece
MAGBLOCK Magnetic Blocks 70-Piece
This budget-priced set comes with a mix of shapes, cutouts, and excellent durability.
The Magblock Magnetic STEM Toy Set is another great option for those who are turned off by the price of the big brand names.
This 70-piece set comes with all the necessary shapes along with a small number of decorative pieces like window frames, doors, and fences. The pieces are designed to improve color and shape recognition, as well as creativity. Plus, the colors are bright and vivid and the blocks can retain the original colors for years.
Quite simply, these tiles are thoughtfully designed with a lot of attention to detail. The magnets used here are larger in size which makes them stronger and prevents collapsing.
The pieces themselves are made from ABS and come with a smooth surface with round edges to prevent any chance of scratches. Even the plastic injection ports are hidden under the surface to prevent any damage to the soft skin of a kid.
Magblock also mentions that they have used an ultrasonic welding process and added rivets on the edges to prevent the magnets from falling out. In fact, users mentioned kids having walked over the blocks regularly while playing without causing any damage to the pieces.
Moreover, being CPSIA and ASTM certified, it meets American toy safety standards. Admittedly, in terms of overall quality, this set punches well above its price category.
8. Best for Young Crafters — Magna-Qubix Building Blocks 85-Piece
Magna-Qubix Building Blocks 85-Piece
This great-looking building set comes with a mix of geometric shapes, that are ideal for 3D modeling.
If you want your kid to develop 3D building ideas, check out this set of building blocks from Magna-Qubix. It’s a great option for developing basic engineering skills and concepts of spatial reasoning in a fun way.
The box contains 85 Magna-Qubix pieces in five primary colors. There are cubes, pyramids, and 3 types of prisms in the building blocks. All the pieces contain high-quality neodymium magnets that join together with a satisfying “click”. That makes them perfect for little hands trying to find the right sense of balance.
Another plus of the set is that all the pieces are made from food-grade ABS plastic that is free of BPA, phthalates, and latex. The blocks are press sealed for better durability.
Also, being translucent and brightly colored they look awesome. Hands down, these are one of the best-looking magnetic building blocks on the market. If you’re searching for gifts, this is one toy that any kid will definitely love.
The other big advantage of the set is that it is open-ended. That makes sure that there are no limits on your child’s creative talents.
Additionally, if you already have a Magna tile collection, this set can be used to supplement that. However, these pieces are smaller than the traditional Magna tiles.
Now some users might find the relatively smaller size a con. But in reality, that makes the set compact and easy to carry around. In short, a highly recommended building set from our end!
What to Consider When Buying Magnetic Tiles
A great feature of many magnet tiles sets is that they are compatible with each other. This means that you can mix and match sets without any problems.
For instance, you can integrate Magna Tiles, Picasso Tiles, and Playmags and create something extraordinary with no problem. As long as the magnet tile you’re looking at has two rectangular magnets on each 3inch side, it will work with most other types of magnet tile.
The one key exception to this is Magformers.
Magformers have a different style of magnet. They only use one single cylindrical magnet on each side. This makes them really stable in large structures, but it also means they don’t mix with other magnet tiles.
The other exception is probably a little more expected, and that is the Tegu blocks. These wooden blocks have a different style of magnet in them, so they don’t work well with more traditional magnetic tiles.
Most magnet tiles are pretty durable. However, there are two areas where you can notice a difference between brands.
Firstly, some brands have metal rivets as well as glued/sonically sealed edges. This just adds an extra layer of security in terms of keeping the magnets out of reach.
Secondly is the surface of the tiles. Some of the less expensive options can be more prone to cosmetic scratching. This doesn’t affect the way the tiles work. It just affects the appearance of the surface of the tiles.
For most kids, this won’t really be an issue, but it is something to be aware of if your child is quite particular about the way their toys look and feel.
The strength of the magnets will determine the height of the structures you can easily build with them.
In most cases, the strength of the magnets is related to their size. So the tiles with larger magnets tend to be slightly stronger. This is one of the advantages of choosing one of the more expensive brands. It’s often easier to create impressive structures with them.
Some sets come with more than just tiles in there. They may have wheelbases or more stylized pieces like windows.
In some sets, you get a storage bag to help you keep your tiles together. I’m mentioning these options, mainly because they may not be the biggest reason to choose one set over another.
You can easily find small sets from many different brands that have these specialist pieces in them. So you don’t need to feel cornered into buying one set just because it’s the only one with pretty windows.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are magnetic tiles safe?
Magnetic tiles are a great toy, and they really are very safe. None of the magnets are strong enough that a finger can get trapped when the tiles click together.
Some styles do have more pointed edges, but for kids over the age of three, this really isn’t a concern. If you do want rounded tiles, you might want to look at Magformers as they have a more rounded shape with no sharp corners to be found.
The only possible risk from magnetic tiles is if a tile breaks and the magnets come loose. If a child swallows more than one magnet, it can be dangerous. That said, these tiles are very durable, and breakages are exceedingly rare.
How many magnetic tiles do you need?
With magnetic tiles, more is always better. The more tiles your kids have, the more exciting the structures they can build.
A good-sized starter set that is big enough to avoid frustration is around 100 pieces. You can get smaller sets which can be an excellent way to test the waters. But, to really let kids get the most out of them, you need a more extensive collection.
Are my electronics safe around magnetic tiles?
Modern electronics are not as susceptible to magnets as older-style TVs and monitors. Also, the magnets in these tiles aren’t that strong, so most of your electronics should be absolutely fine around them.
That said, you might want to discourage your kids from building a computer case out of magnetic tiles.
The worst that could happen is for you to bury a credit card or keycard under a pile of magnetic tiles. It might stop working. But this is still quite unlikely to happen as the magnets in the tiles are strong enough to be of concern.
Last update on 2023-10-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API