The Best Lego Sets for Kids and Adults in 2021
Creating structures and imaginary worlds with Lego building bricks can be fun at every age. An abbreviation of two Danish words, “leg” and “godt,” the Lego name is a creation of Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen that translates to “play well.” This intention has flourished since the Lego Group’s invention of small bricks with interlocking studs in 1958, and the brightly colored bricks inspire kids and adults to do exactly that.
When combined in Lego sets, the bricks and pieces can create a range of specific projects, like a space rocket, townhouse, or construction vehicle. Whether you’re looking for a small project for a child or a large project that can take days for an adult to complete, there are a variety of Lego sets available for any age group, price, or interest. Read on to discover some of the best Lego sets by category.
- BEST OVERALL: LEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box 10698
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: LEGO Creator 3in1 Townhouse Toy Store 31105
- BEST FOR AGES 3–5: LEGO DUPLO Steam Train 10874
- BEST FOR AGES 5–7: LEGO City Ice-Cream Truck 60253
- BEST FOR AGES 7–9: LEGO City Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control 60228
- BEST FOR KIDS 12 AND UP: LEGO Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator 42100
- BEST ARCHITECTURE: LEGO Architecture Collection: The White House 21054
- BEST STAR WARS: LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon 75257
- BEST FOR MARVEL FANS: LEGO Marvel Avengers Iron Man Hall of Armor 76125
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Lego Set
When shopping for a Lego set, there are a number of things to think about, such as project theme, age appropriateness, and number of pieces. Since Lego sets can be used as both toys and collector’s items, it’s helpful to determine the objective of your selection. No matter the set you buy, there is the added flexibility to combine sets, because the traditional Lego brick still fits together with any piece manufactured since 1958.
Children and adults are attracted to Lego sets for different reasons. Younger children tend to play with the bricks in a less structured way, while older kids and adults may focus on building techniques and the accuracy of the finished project.
Adult Lego enthusiasts may buy sets with the intention to collect and display the completed project as a design element in their homes. Some of the best Lego sets can increase in value over time, making them a good investment.
For children and adults, the act of assembling Lego bricks can provide a relaxing experience that may help relieve anxiety and stress. In the United States, behavior therapists and teachers use Lego sets as a tool to calm hyperactive children and promote cooperative learning. When children construct a set with other kids, they strengthen their collaboration abilities and develop more effective communication skills.
Some sets are used for group activities through after-school programs and interactive Lego fan-run communities that include building clubs and informational websites.
While there are kids and adults at every age who look forward to the challenge of constructing intricate Lego sets, the building complexity of each set is evaluated and assigned to a certain age group. The recommended age group is printed on the packaging, so it’s easy to identify the best Lego set that is age appropriate.
Age recommendations are especially important when selecting Lego sets for toddlers who are too young to play with the small parts that could be a choking hazard. Starting at age 2, children can play with chunkier sets called Duplo that are designed to help toddlers with fine motor skills and imaginative play. The sets with the iconic smaller bricks are recommended for kids who are over 5 years old.
Completed Project Size
The size of the completed project can be a big factor when shopping for a Lego set. While a Lego project can be built and then taken apart when it’s done, many Lego enthusiasts plan to display the finished project. Some adults and children combine Lego sets to create little worlds that can include realistic towns from one type of set and imaginative worlds with creatures and vehicles from other various sets.
The chosen size of the completed set and collection of sets can be determined by the amount of space available to devote to the hobby. It’s important to look at the completed set size when shopping. Many Lego sets with hundreds of pieces range in size from inches to a little more than a foot in mass. Sets that include thousands of pieces can be as big as 40 inches wide or 27 inches tall. Sets of this size are perfect for the minifigure characters that are just four bricks tall, but it can be more challenging to find space in your home for those larger sizes.
Number of Pieces
A Lego set’s level of difficulty and completion time depends on the number of pieces. Lego sets with more parts can take many hours or days to assemble.
Beginner sets with larger bricks for toddlers have about 16 or more pieces. Standard-size brick sets for beginners typically have about 100 pieces, so it shouldn’t take young builders long to put them together. Most Lego sets for older children have a range of 100 to 1,000 bricks. The complexity of sets amps up when the number hits more than 1,000 bricks, and the largest sets exceed 7,000 pieces.
Over the years, the size of Lego sets has continued to grow. The number of bricks in a set has increased by an average of 1.9 percent annually, while the largest sets are increasing an average of 5 percent each year.
Adding to the challenge, the Lego sets that have a lot of pieces include non–brick pieces. These can include baseplates, wedges, slopes, tiles, windows, doors, wheels, fences, and decorated parts. Good organization is an important component in keeping track of the types of pieces and successfully completing one of the larger projects.
Fixed vs. Moving Parts
Some Lego sets combine fixed and movable parts. The fixed parts include the standard bricks and accessories like base plates and windows. The movable parts are made up of pieces like axles, gears, and connector pegs.
Adding to the movement features are motorization. There are two types of motors: the pull-back and Powered Up. Some Lego sets offer Powered Up as a tech platform that supports sensors and smart motors to rev up your set for speed, sound, and lights. A wireless Bluetooth connection via a free app allows for remote control operation.
Lego offers a multitude of themes based on age, purpose, and interest. For kids, the themes include pirates, space, dinosaurs, superheroes, houses, castles, and more. For teens and adults who are interested in constructing collectibles, there are modular houses, cars, buildings, and seasonal sets. There are sets inspired by well-known films and produced because fans have voted for them, themed sets with power functions to make vehicles move, and a series of Lego sets that brings iconic buildings from around the world to life.
Lego Group also produces licensed theme sets such as Batman, Spider-Man, DC Universe, Marvel, Disney, Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Minecraft, Ninjago, and Star Wars.
Lego knows that some builders crave creative freedom instead of following instructions. While some builders may use structured sets to build their own new forms, others prefer to use sets designed for free-form creativity. For these builders, Lego offers sets that let builders decide what creations they want to make. There is a starter set for the youngest builders that comes with a storage case filled with plain bricks, decorated bricks, numbered bricks, a buildable wagon base that has turning wheels, two windows, a dog, and a boy figure.
For builders ages 4 to 99 years old, there is a set with 1,500 pieces that includes bricks in 33 colors. It also includes a green baseplate along with windows, eyes, and wheels for creating structures, figures, and vehicles.
No matter the set used, constructing the plastic bricks into a completed form encourages children to problem solve, think creatively, follow directions, and persevere. The process also aids in developing spatial awareness, fine motor skills, and coordination.
The widespread interest in Lego sets bridges generations, making them fun for every age. Used as an education tool, a make-believe toy, or a serious hobby, Lego sets foster ingenuity in all age groups and are versatile in their use and in their finished forms.
The versatility and durability of Lego sets stands out among other toys, especially since the bricks and accessories can last for decades and are interchangeable from one set to another. With each addition of more bricks and sets, the amount of building opportunities expands, and creativity abounds.
Our Top Picks
Lego sets can make the perfect gift. When shopping for a Lego set, keep in mind the recipient’s age, set size, number of pieces, power capability, and the theme to ensure all your requirements are met. Here are some of the best Lego sets available on the market.
This brick box is a good introduction for first-time builders, and it’s ideal for supplementing other Lego sets. The plastic storage box is packed with 790 pieces that are compatible with all Lego construction sets. That’s why the Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box is recommended for ages 4 to 99.
Included in the set are building ideas for a house or scooter, but you are free to unleash your imagination. In the box, you’ll find 33 different-colored bricks, eight types of windows and doors, two green baseplates, and six tires and wheel rims. One baseplate measures 6 inches by 6 inches, and the other is 4 inches by 2 inches.
The budget-friendly Lego Creator 3-in-1 Townhouse Toy Store is a lot of value for the money. Kids can choose their adventure with three building options that include a townhouse, toy store, cake shop, and flower shop. Adding to the fun are realistic accessories such as a working rocket ride, cakes, two minifigures, a bird, and flowers.
For hours of fun and pretend play, children ages 8 and up can assemble a townhouse with a street-level toy store and an upstairs apartment. Then they can rebuild it into a cake shop with an outside seating area or reassemble it into a flower shop with a skylight. The largest building in the Lego set is the townhouse toy store, which measures 7 inches by 5 inches by 3 inches.
Your preschooler can build a steam train while developing communication skills, fine motor skills, and cognitive skills. The push-and-go motor moves the train along the tracks. An optional app has additional activities and allows children to operate the train with a remote control.
The Lego Duplo Steam Train set for ages 2 to 5 has a locomotive driver, squirrel and child figures, refueling can, suitcase, bread, and a spade. To assemble the locomotive, passenger carriage, train station, coal tipper, and tree, the set contains 59 pieces. Among the pieces are 16 individual tracks and five action bricks that make the train sound the horn, turn on the lights, refuel, change direction, or stop. The steam train with attached passenger carriage measures 3 inches by 11 inches by 2 inches, and the train station is 5 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches. Batteries are required, but they’re not included.
The Lego City Ice-Cream Truck set provides rich details to ignite the imagination of little ones ages 5 to 7. They can build the truck and serve ice cream to customers.
The 200-piece set comes with an ice cream seller, skateboarder, and a dog figure along with accessories such as ice cream cones, skateboard, helmet, and money.
Directions are included for constructing the colorful truck that measures 4 inches by 5 inches by 2 inches. You also can use the Digital Instructions Plus available through the Lego Life app. The digital instructions allow novice builders to zoom in and rotate the model to aid them with assembly.
Aspiring astronauts will find the building blocks necessary to build their way to a space mission in the Lego City Deep Space Rocket and Launch Control set. With the 837-piece set, they can construct a customizable multistage rocket with a cockpit, booster, and payload storage modules. A monorail system with two cars has access to multiple stops along the track.
The launch control tower is the heart of the space center, where two scientists and a launch director prepare the ground crew technician and two astronauts for liftoff. Additional items include a rover with an articulated grappling arm, telescope with folding solar panels, magnifying glass, and robot figure.
This Lego set is recommended for kids ages 7 to 9. The standing rocket measurements are approximately 16 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches, and the monorail track is about 3 inches by 14 inches by 18 inches.
Builders ages 12 and up learn about the elements of engineering as they construct the authentic 4,108-piece Lego Technic Liebherr Excavator. The functional, high-tech construction toy is run by three XL motors, four L motors, and two Bluetooth-controlled smart hubs. It’s also operated with the Lego Technic Control+ app.
Hours of immersive play are provided with realistic features and motorization. Kids can engage sound effects, rotate the excavator, move the boom and bucket, and drive the machine forward and backward. With a smart device, they can record driving distances and power usage. The impressive excavator model requires batteries (not included) and measures 15 inches by 25 inches by 10 inches.
This Lego set is an accurate replica of the White House for builders ages 18 and older interested in history, design, and architecture—or for those who just want to immerse themselves in a creative project. While assembling the 1,483-piece set, builders re-create the president’s Executive Residence and the colonnades that connect the East and West Wings along with the Rose Garden and Jacqueline Kennedy Garden.
Builders can divide the model into three sections for closer examination. The completed model is 4 inches by 18 inches by 7 inches.
Over the years, the Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon has remained a perennial favorite. The model is based on the Corellian freighter from the movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Lego design allows access inside the freighter and features a cockpit that opens. The interior is filled with details such as a cargo area with two containers, navigation computer with rotating chair, couch, Dejarik hologame table, galley, bunk, hidden smuggling compartment, and a hyperdrive with repair tools. The freighter is ready for battle with rotating top- and bottom-gun turrets, two spring-loaded shooters, and a lowering ramp.
The set includes seven character figures, so kids can act out Star Wars adventures with Finn, Chewbacca, C-3PO, Lando Calrissian, Boolio, R2-D2, and D-O. It is recommended for ages 9 and up and the starship measures 5 inches by 17 inches by 12 inches.
Builders construct Tony Stark’s Iron Man Hall of Armor using the 524 pieces in the set. The Lego set has a rotating podium with two posable robotic arms and detachable modules that are designed for combining and stacking in a variety of ways. Some of the modules are the lab, kitchen, and various storage units. The six Marvel Universe minifigures include Iron Man MK 1, Iron Man MK 5, Iron Man MK 41, Iron Man MK 50, and two Outriders.
The Lego Marvel Avengers Iron Man Hall of Armor is recommended for builders ages 7 and up. When the Iron Man Lab is completed with modules in standard formation, it measures more than 5 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches. The Igor Suit is about 3 inches by 1 inch by 3 inches.
FAQs About Lego Sets
The popularity of Lego sets endures because they are a quality product that captivates builders of all ages. Since the Lego Group continues to introduce new sets and institute new technology, you may have more questions. The following popular questions and answers may help.
Q. Why is Lego so expensive?
Lego sets can be expensive because the company manufactures a higher-quality product than its competitors and pays licensing fees for brands such as Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel.
Q. Which Lego set has the most pieces?
The largest Lego sets include Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon, Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle, and the Taj Mahal. The Millennium Falcon set has the most pieces at 7,541.
Q. Does Lego come with extra pieces?
Sometimes Lego sets have extra pieces; this may happen because the pieces aren’t counted. Instead, the pieces are automatically weighed and packaged. If you need an extra piece for a set, each piece has a unique number to make replacing pieces easier.
Q. How do you store Lego?
Lego pieces are stored in a variety of ways. For example, you can keep them in boxes, cubes, containers, or bins. Some Lego builders keep pieces in carts and chests with drawers.