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20 of the Most Challenging Jigsaw Puzzles You Can Buy

Experts say that challenging puzzles activate new parts of your brain to help you solve them. Here are some of the most demanding jigsaw puzzles around.

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Puzzles rd.com, via amazon.com (3), Via Uncommongoods.com

Hard puzzles to show off your brain power

Jigsaw puzzles provide an entertaining way to keep your brain engaged, similar to board games, word puzzles, and other brain games. But if you’re a regular puzzle solver, you may need to amp up the complexity to keep yourself challenged. “When someone becomes an inveterate solver of a puzzle, they need more complexity or challenge because the expertise gained renders the basic puzzle uninteresting,” says Marcel Danesi, a professor of semiotics and anthropology at the University of Toronto’s Victoria College and author of The Total Brain Workout: 450 Puzzles to Sharpen Your Mind, Improve Your Memory, and Keep Your Brain Fit. “There is no more difficult puzzle, just more complex.” Scroll on for hard puzzles that demand everything you’ve got.

White Hell Jigsaw Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Beverly Micro Pure White Hell Jigsaw Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 13 to 15 years

Tiny pieces and a pure white image? It’s no wonder the word “hell” is in the name of this tricky 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Like exercising, doing jigsaw puzzles is difficult but rewarding—and health-promoting. “Jigsaw puzzles prolong life expectancy,” Danesi says. And you may need that extra time to solve this one. For more brain challenges, try some of these logic puzzles.

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Amsterdam PuzzleVia Amazon.com

Educa Amsterdam Puzzle

Number of pieces: 3,000

For ages: 14 years and older

The pop of red in the middle of this 3,000-piece puzzle will be easy to get together. The rest of this black-and-white puzzle? Not so much.

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3d Wood Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Sharp Brain Zone 3D Wooden Brain Teaser Puzzle

Number of pieces: 54

For ages: 6 to 12 years

It may look easy, but this complex, Tetris-like version adds a new challenge for puzzle lovers used to working in two dimensions. “3D puzzles and Rubik’s cubes are truly challenging as they are, with no need to add additional complexity,” Danesi says. Check out these brainteasers to help train your mind.

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Lines Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Bgraamiens The Lines Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 6 years and older

Research shows that older adults fare better with black-and-white puzzles than younger adults—but it probably won’t give them too much of an advantage with this 1,000-piece monster that’s a simple scribble of black lines on white.

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Bgraamiens Puzzle-Flowing Rainbow Linesvia amazon.com

Bgraamiens Flowing Rainbow Lines Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 12 years and older

While this puzzle is definitely a challenge to complete, it’s worth it just to see the beautiful design. It’s full of breathtaking colorful lines that create a 3D effect, making it a little different than your average 1,000-piece puzzle. For practice, see if you can solve the hardest puzzle ever.

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Color Challenge Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Buffalo Games Color Challenge Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 14 years and older

The color gradients—and the 1,000 pieces—make this puzzle particularly hard to complete. While some research has shown that boys have stronger visual and spatial skills, a recent study found that girls were actually much faster at completing jigsaw puzzles, in part because they were better at strategizing how to complete the puzzle.

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Round Blooming Color Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Bgraamiens Blooming Color Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 8 years and older

If you start your jigsaw puzzling at the corners, you’re in trouble with this 1,000-piece puzzle. The round shape and intricate colors could leave you puzzling for a while—though that may be a good thing. Researchers believe that long-term puzzling could boost your cognition skills as you age.

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Round Indian Feather Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Bgraamiens Indian Feather Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 13 years and older

The round shape and repetitive pattern of this 1,000-piece puzzle could make it hard for you to puzzle out where each piece goes. If you’re looking for another challenge, see if you can solve Einstein’s riddle.

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3d Castle Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Wrebbit 3D King Arthur’s Camelot Puzzle

Number of pieces: 865

For ages: 14 years and older

It takes 865 pieces (and a lot of patience) to puzzle together this dramatic 3D castle. Online how-to videos can help you through the tricky parts, or you can simply try, try again.

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Milky Way Puzzle Via Amazon.com

BetterCo. Milky Way Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 12 years and older

Learn a little about colors while you try to assemble a work of modern art with this 1,000-piece puzzle. Test a different part of your brain with these printable sudoku puzzles.

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Bookshelf Dam Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Moruska Bookshelf Dam Wooden Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 15 years and older

This hard puzzle is supposed to resemble a bookshelf—or is it a dam? When you finally complete it, it can serve as a beautiful piece of surrealist art to add to your home or office.

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Retro Tie Dye Heart by Spyglass Puzzlesvia walmart.com

Spyglass Puzzles Retro Tie-Dye Heart

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 13 years and older

If you enjoy puzzles that seem nearly impossible, this one is for you. The round shape makes it all the more unique.

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Twisted 3d Color Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Bgraamiens Twisted 3D Colorful Squares Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 12 years and older

A puzzle and an optical illusion all in one. All the twisting, colorful lines rotate around the center creating a 3D image.

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Micro Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Beverly 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 12 years and older

A puzzle of puzzle pieces? Yes, this one is just as challenging as it looks. But imagine how accomplished you’ll feel when you finally nail it in the end, just as you do when you complete a crossword puzzle.

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Candy Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Ingooood Crazy Candy Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 6 years and older

Can you find your favorite candy in this puzzle? With all of the colors and different types of sweet treats, there will never be a dull moment.

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Gradient Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Areaware Small Gradient Puzzle

Number of pieces: 100

For ages: 6 years and older

While this puzzle is only 100 pieces, it’s certainly not easy. The gradient makes it all the more challenging. You may even find yourself in more of a meditative state while working on the puzzle, even though your brain is still exercising.

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3d Color Ball PuzzleVia Uncommongoods.com

540 Colors 3D Puzzle

Number of pieces: 540

For ages: 10 years and older

A spherical puzzle is daunting in itself, but this one is even more of a challenge because of the blended colors. The work is worth it for a beautiful piece of decor. It even comes with a stand, so you can display it for all to see. Get a sneak peek at what happens inside your brain when you’re solving a puzzle.

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Infinite Galaxy PuzzleVia Uncommongoods.com

Infinite Galaxy Puzzle

Number of pieces: 236

For adults

The sheer beauty of this puzzle will make you forget how difficult it really is. If you are fascinated by space, you’ll love that this hard puzzle is based on a photo from the Hubble Space Telescope. What makes it extra cool is that it doesn’t have a fixed shape or edges, so the possibilities are endless.

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Black And White Tree Puzzlevia amazon.com

Bgraamiens Puzzle-Forest in Black and White

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 12 years and older

The black-and-white coloring on this puzzle already makes it feel daunting, but the tiny branches and straight lines brings the challenge to a whole new level. At least you already know the end result will be gorgeous.

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Pencil Puzzle Via Amazon.com

Pencil Collage Puzzle

Number of pieces: 1,000

For ages: 8 years and older

This collection of pencils was created by artist Maureen Rupprecht, who glued hundreds of pencils into a frame. And now there’s a puzzle of her artwork, so you can challenge yourself too. Then, once you’ve placed the final piece on these hard puzzles, take family night up a notch with these strategy board games.

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Sources:

Emma Taubenfeld
Emma Taubenfeld is an assistant editor for Reader’s Digest who focuses on digital lifestyle topics such as memes, social media captions, pick-up lines, and cute pets. When she’s not working, you can find Emma reading corny young adult novels, creating carefully curated playlists, and figuring out how to spice up boxed mac and cheese.