Magnet tiles have been insanely popular over the last decade, and for good reasons.
But, with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know which to pick. Two of the market leaders are Magna Tiles and Magformers.
The main difference between Magna Tiles and Magformers is the magnet design – Magna Tiles use 3 or 4 magnets along each edge, whereas Magformers use a single circular magnet in each tile. Magformers is the only magnetic tile designed this way, and because of this, they are not compatibility with other brands.
I’m going to give you a rundown of the differences and, hopefully, help you decide which you want to go for.
Related post: Picasso Tiles vs Magna Tiles
Magformers vs MagnaTiles – Key Points
|Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set
|Magformers Challenger Set – 112 Pieces
In terms of price, there isn’t a lot of difference between Magformers vs Magna Tiles.
At full retail price, both types of magnet tile are pretty similar in cost per tile. You can expect to pay a little over $1 per tile in the box at full price.
The difference, though, comes at the sale prices. Retailers of Magna Tiles sign an agreement not to advertise them below a specific price. Bummer!
As a result, they aren’t often on sale, and if they are, you might not know about them. On the other hand, Magformers can be found on sale with a reasonable frequency, so you can often get them at a lower price.
The tiles from both companies are of a similar size. The base length is around 3 inches long.
In the Magformers set, the geometric shapes all have sides the same length, so you can easily match any tile to another. Magna tiles have some irregular triangles, with longer sides, but most tiles are about 3 inches along each edge.
Magformers do have an XL set that has pieces that are about 50% bigger. These can be a good option for younger kids, but they aren’t compatible with other sets.
In a standard Magna Tiles set, you’ll get four shapes. There are squares, equilateral triangles, right-angled triangles, and isosceles triangles. The tiles are solid pieces and are made from translucent colored plastic. Because they are translucent, the colors tend to look a little pale.
One big plus for Magna Tiles is that the bottoms on the shapes are flat. This means your children can stand them up on their base when building.
In a standard Magnaformers set, you get squares, equilateral triangles, and pentagons. The tiles are cut out shapes. So the brightly colored plastic forms the frame of the shape with a hole in the middle.
This lattice style of shape is a bonus for younger children and for providing access to creating more complex shapes. You can also get starting sets that contain curved pieces. This is a nice option to have and opens up more creative avenues for kids to explore.
In fact, both sets are incredibly versatile and can be combined with other playsets to your heart’s content. Check out the awesome Magna LEGO idea in the video below!
Magna Tiles have either two or three magnets on each side. The magnets are rectangular and closely spaced. This makes it easy to click the tiles together. The magnets are a good strength and click together no matter how you arrange them.
The magnets on Magformers are different from any other brand around.
But before you assume anything, let me tell you that it is both its strength and a weakness. The circular design makes for very strong structures, especially as your creations get taller. However, because there is only a single circular magnet on each side, Magformers are not compatible with any of the other brands of magnet tile.
The strength of the magnets is pretty even; there isn’t a great deal of difference to be found in terms of pure strength. If you golf one tile and add more hanging below, you can hold around five before the magnet gives up. This is true for both types.
In terms of construction, there are a couple of differences. Magna Tiles are sealed in two different ways. They are sonic sealed, which is a method for creating a seamless join between plastic pieces. They also have metal rivets. Magformers are only sonically sealed.
That said, we have both of these types of tile at home, and my boys are NOT gentle with them. However, we’ve not seen any significant damage to any.
Some of the Magna Tiles have some light cosmetic scratches to the faces, but that’s about it. In terms of durability, there is very little to worry about in either case, in my opinion.
Storage of both these tiles is pretty easy. They stack together quite easily. With the Magnaformers, you may find that you occasionally need to flip a tile to add it to a stack once they get to a certain size.
Magna Tiles are the original magnet tiles.
This means that many of the other types are imitations of the design. As a result, you can almost always mix and match the sets with no problem at all. Other popular brands like Playmags and Picasso tiles are compatible with Magna Tiles.
Magformers have a unique magnet style and design and, as such, don’t mix with other sets. In fact, there are even some types of Magformers that don’t mix together. For example, the XL tiles don’t work with the standard ones.
Different Packs Available
Both Magna Tiles and Magformers have a wide variety of pack sizes and themes to choose from.
They both offer house, car, and educationally themed packs. You can also choose tiles of specific shapes or smaller packs.
So there really isn’t a big difference between the two when it comes to choice. You’ll have plenty of options whether you choose Magformers or Magna Tiles.
Both sets are of great quality and will offer hours of entertainment. In terms of quality, they are pretty even.
If your choice is between the two, there are two criteria to consider. Firstly, do you have any other types of tile you want to mix in? If so, then Magna Tiles is the choice.
Are you hoping to catch a sale price? In that case, Magformers is the better bet. If, however, you want more options, why not check out our article on the best magnetic building tiles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the magnetic tiles attach to a refrigerator?
They do stick to the fridge really well. Your kids can even build 3D structures on the fridge. It’s a great opportunity for them to explore the strength of the magnets and the engineering principles that underpin stable structures.
Why are Magna Tiles so expensive?
Magna Tiles are the original magnetics tile. This means that, in some respects, you’re paying for the brand name.
They are still a great quality product that is very durable and will likely never need to be replaced. When you buy a toy like that, you can expect to pay a premium. After all, all your kids can play with it, and when they outgrow them, you can pass them onto family, friends, or charity stores.
How many magnetic tiles do you need?
A small starter set of around 30 tiles is a good way to dip your toes in.
However, if your kids are ambitious builders, then you’ll want the bigger sets. 60-100 pieces is a good number. It’s an amount that lets kids get creative and not be frustrated by a lack of pieces.