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.
- Best Magnetic Building Toys Reviewed
- Best Overall – Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set
- Best For A Different Experience – Tegu 42 Piece Magnetic Wooden Blocks
- Budget Option – Cossy 120 Piece Set
- Expand an Existing Collection – Playmags 100-Piece Set
- Start A New Collection – Magformers Challenger Set 112 Pieces
- Best for Numbers and Letters – Picasso 136 piece Magnetic Clip-in Set
- Best for Primary Colors – Tytan Magnetic Learning Tiles Building Set
- What to Consider When Buying Magnetic Tiles
- Frequently Asked Questions
Related post: Picasso Tiles vs Magna Tiles
Best Magnetic Building Toys Reviewed
Best Overall – Magna Tiles 100-Piece Set
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 the others mixed in, offering a good range of possibilities.
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.
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.
Best For A Different Experience – Tegu 42 Piece Magnetic Wooden Blocks
Your kid prefers 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.
Budget Option – Cossy 120 Piece Set
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, while 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 they the magnets in these tiles are quite large.
The tiles are sealed using both sonic sealing methods and metal rivet. 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 which can be hooked together to form a train, several parapets, window, and arches, as well as a pair of L-shaped pieces. The range is great; although they did clearly have a specific use in mind for a lot of the pieces, 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.
Expand an Existing Collection – Playmags 100-Piece Set
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 tiles 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.
Start A New Collection – Magformers Challenger Set 112 Pieces
So, cards on the table, we’re a Magformers household.
If you don’t already have any magnetic tiles, then I think that these are a great option. The Magformers Challenger Set 112 Pieces contains enough pieces to create some 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 a pair of wheels so that your kids can build vehicles as well.
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. But that 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.
Best for Numbers and Letters – Picasso 136 piece Magnetic Clip-in Set
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 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. There are also two truck bases that can be joined together. With this wide range of pieces, you can get kids practising their letters and numbers in a new and fun way.
Best for Primary Colors – Tytan Magnetic Learning Tiles Building Set
The Tytan Magnetic Learning Tiles Building Set With 100 Pieces is another great option for those who are turned off by the price of the big brand names.
This 100 piece set is a good mixture of pieces. It has a large number of building tiles along with a small number of decorative ones such as castle battlements. There is also a single-vehicle base along with shapes designed to allow you to make a train engine on it.
The magnets are a little weaker than other options, and there are no sizeable square base tiles. So you may find that your kids end up creating more expansive buildings rather than tall ones. The colors are bright and are a real plus point.
Another handy feature is that this set comes with a carry bag. That way, you can use it to keep all the pieces together for easy storage.
The set doesn’t offer anything you can find in other options, but it is a good solid option that fills the gap between the sets that are 100% geometric shapes and the ones that have large numbers of decorative pieces.
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 2021-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API