Which calming puzzles are best?

A jigsaw puzzle is a fun way to spend the afternoon, and many people choose to do them as a meditative practice to relax the mind and reduce stress. The best calming puzzles aren’t too challenging and they shouldn’t feature any designs that are too vibrant or disorderly. 

Some calming puzzles portray soothing landscapes while others feature classic works of art. The Pomegranate Charley Harper Rocky Mountains Jigsaw Puzzle is the top pick because it features soft colors and artwork from a famous American painter. 

What to know before you buy a calming puzzle

Benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles

Doing a jigsaw puzzle is a quiet activity that allows you to turn off your brain and focus on something simple and satisfying. In fact, studies have shown that doing these puzzles can improve cognition and might even help prevent mental decline caused by aging. Working on a puzzle with family members can also have additional benefits, as there is tons of research that connects family bonding time with increased feelings of well-being. Unlike board games, which are inherently competitive, jigsaw puzzles encourage cooperation and teamwork by the sharing of a common goal. 

Calming puzzle tips

  • Consider working on a calming puzzle at the beginning and end of your day. This schedule will put you in a relaxed mindset before the day begins and help you feel calm and accomplished before going to bed. 
  • Keep an eye on your posture while working on a puzzle. Hunching over a table or work surface while working on a jigsaw puzzle can cause discomfort in your neck and back.
  • Most jigsaw puzzle hobbyists suggest starting from the outside edges when working on a puzzle. The edge pieces can be easily recognized by their flat sides. 
  • You can also start by organizing all of your puzzle pieces by color. This will make certain pieces easier to find later on. 
  • If you start to feel yourself getting frustrated while working on a puzzle, take a break and come back to it later. The point of doing a calming puzzle is to reduce stress and enjoy yourself. 

What to look for in a quality calming puzzle


Tibetan Buddhist Mandala: 1,000 Piece Puzzle

When choosing a calming puzzle, look for an image that you’re going to enjoy piecing together. Many jigsaw puzzles depict famous landscapes or works of art, and you can even find puzzles that depict Buddhist mandalas, resulting in a particularly meditative experience. However, keep in mind that the complexity of the image could impact the difficulty of the puzzle. Images with huge swathes of a single color, for instance, could be challenging to complete. 

Piece count

Jumbo Floor Puzzle for Kids

Most jigsaw puzzles contain around 500-1500 pieces. For the most part, a puzzle with a lot of pieces is going to take longer to complete. You can also find calming puzzles for children that are 100 pieces or less. 


As any jigsaw enthusiast will tell you, it’s important to choose puzzles that are manufactured by reputable brands. Companies like Ravensburger, Pomegranate and Galison have a long history of producing quality puzzles with precisely cut pieces and intricate designs. Avoid brands with obscure names and listings that lack detailed product information.


High-quality puzzles are constructed from thick cardboard that won’t bend or fall apart with repeated use. The image should be firmly stuck to the surface of each puzzle piece and not ever peel along the edges. Each piece will also be precisely cut so that they fit firmly together with very little effort. 

How much you can expect to spend on a calming puzzle

The cost of a calming puzzle will usually depend on the piece count and the manufacturer. Most people interested in buying a relaxing puzzle can expect to spend around $15-$40 for a puzzle with 500-1,500 pieces. 

Calming puzzle FAQ

What should I do if my puzzle is missing pieces? 

A. Check to see if the manufacturer has a policy for sending out replacement pieces. If the puzzle came missing pieces in the box, the puzzle may send you an entirely new puzzle or issue a refund. 

What was the first jigsaw puzzle? 

A. The first jigsaw puzzles were thought to be made in the 1700s. These early puzzles were made from wood and usually depicted maps. 

What’s the best calming puzzle to buy?

Top calming puzzle

Pomegranate Charley Harper Rocky Mountains 1000-Piece Puzzle

Pomegranate Charley Harper Rocky Mountains 1000-Piece Puzzle

What you need to know: This colorful 1,000-piece puzzle depicts a stylized nature scene painted by American artist Charley Harper. 

What you’ll love: Pomegranate is known for producing high-quality jigsaw puzzles, and this one has muted colors and a simple design to promote relaxation. The artwork depicts a stylized beaver and several birds. 

What you should consider: Some people may not enjoy the artwork of Charley Harper. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top calming puzzle for the money

Galison Artichoke Floral Plant 500-Piece Puzzle

Galison Artichoke Floral Plant 500-Piece Puzzle

What you need to know: This affordable jigsaw puzzle depicts a harvest of artichokes, tomatoes, herbs and purple flowers. 

What you’ll love: The pieces are thick and sturdy, and the colors of the vegetables stand out against the black background. The image is by famous food photographer Sarah Phillips, and most 500-piece puzzles, like this one, can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. 

What you should consider: The puzzle is manufactured in China, a fact that some users didn’t like. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Blue Kazoo Rainbow Gradient 1000-Piece Puzzle

Blue Kazoo Rainbow Gradient 1000-Piece Puzzle

What you need to know: This 1,000-piece puzzle has a unique gradient design that may be soothing for some puzzle hobbyists. 

What you’ll love: The vibrant gradient design depicts all of the colors of the rainbow blending into each other, providing a soothing visual experience for the user. The puzzle pieces are durable and fit firmly together. 

What you should consider: While some people may find the gradient design relaxing, others may find this puzzle to be too difficult. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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