Best Lego Sets for the Child Within (2021 Reviews and Guide)

Does one ever really outgrow LEGOs? More than just a toy, this creative hobby seems to hit the right note with all ages. We decided to try out the best LEGO sets out there and help you find one that you will love. Let’s get into it, brick by brick!

The Best LEGO Sets for 2021: A Brief Overview

LEGO Colosseum

One of the Best Big LEGO Sets

  • Suitable for collaborative assembly
  • Great for architecture aficionados
  • Solid build, easy to move around
  • Well-organized packaging
star
10

$549.99

Read Review

LEGO R2-D2

One of the Best Star Wars LEGO Sets of All Time

  • Authentic Technic features
  • Hidden tools and compartments
  • Recommended for ages 18+
  • Lots of mechanical parts
star
9.6

$199.99

Read Review

LEGO Hogwarts Castle

One of the Best LEGO Castle Sets

  • Unique new parts
  • Micro-scale model
  • Variety of figures and props
  • Special edition of microfigures
star
9.9

$399.99

Read Review

LEGO Coding Express

One of the Best LEGO Sets for Kids

  • DUPLO Push & Go motor
  • Teaches basic programming concepts
  • Works well with other DUPLO sets
  • Encourages cognitive development
star
9.5

$209.95

Read Review

LEGO Passenger Airplane

Ranked one of the Best LEGO City Sets

  • Available digital building guide
  • Unique pieces for free-building
  • Complementary with other City-themed sets
  • Great present for elementary school children
star
9.4

$99.99

Read Review

LEGO Heartlake City Grand Hotel

Among the Best LEGO Friends Sets

  • Nicely designed mini dolls
  • Seasonal accessories
  • Stunning architectural structure
  • Lovely and cozy rooms
star
9.3

$99.99

Read Review

LEGO NINJAGO City Gardens

One of the Best LEGO Building Sets

  • Collaborative and family-friendly
  • Collectible Wu Legacy Minifigure
  • Removable sections for easier play action
  • Comes with a surprise fan-made poster
star
9.7

$299.99

Read Review

LEGO Infinity Gauntlet

Among the Best LEGO Marvel Sets

  • Display stand and plaque
  • As many as 153 gold brick pieces
  • Adjustable fingers
  • Easy and quick to build
star
9.2

$69.99

Read Review

LEGO The Joker

One of the Best Small LEGO Sets

  • Collectible Brick Sketches portrait
  • A solid range of bricks for face shaping
  • Cool decoration for a kid’s room
  • Built-in hanging hook
star
9.1

$16.99

Read Review

LEGO Bugatti Chiron

One of the Best LEGO Technics Sets

  • Highly realistic
  • Comes with its own podcast
  • Includes a color collector booklet
  • Well-organized and systematic building kit
star
9.8

$349.99

Read Review

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Top LEGO Set Reviews

No better way to decide which set fits you best than to try them all out — and, boy, did we have fun doing it! Read on to find out more.

LEGO Colosseum Review

star
10

One of the Best Big LEGO Sets

  • Ages: 18+
  • Theme: Creator Expert
  • Pieces: 9,036

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Colosseum. But if you are an architecture and history aficionado with a good eye for detail, you will gladly tackle one of the best LEGO sets of all time — the LEGO Colosseum from the Creator Expert series. We were awestruck right at the unboxing. The set comes in a large stylish black box with four numbered boxes inside it. Each box contains pieces of a separate section of the build so you would know which part you are building.

Another feature worth mentioning is the instruction manual filled with interesting historical trivia, which really puts you in the right mindset for replicating the colossal world wonder. The LEGO Colosseum has just over 9,000 pieces, so it’s probably one of the most complex architecture LEGOs sets. Even though the list of top 10 biggest LEGO sets includes a set with more pieces (World Map with 11,695 pieces), it is an Art set, with most of the parts being used for dot-work. That’s why most people still consider the Colosseum the biggest build set LEGO ever made.

The set doesn’t include stickers, but in our humble opinion, the model certainly does justice to the intricacy of the actual facade without them. Even though most reviewers consider the Colosseum one of the top LEGO sets, some do find the building process slightly repetitive since many steps and pieces are identical. You might want to stretch the project over several days or invite some friends to join in on the fun.


Pros

  • + Suitable for collaborative assembly
  • + Great for architecture aficionados
  • + Solid build, easy to move around
  • + Well-organized packaging

Cons

  • Building can become repetitive

LEGO R2-D2 Review

star
9.6

One of the Best Star Wars LEGO Sets of All Time

  • Ages: 18+
  • Theme: Star Wars/Technic
  • Pieces: 2,314

Star Wars LEGO fans have waited for almost a decade to see the updated version of everyone’s favorite droid. Undoubtedly one of the top LEGO Star Wars sets in the collection, this amazing upgrade introduces several authentic features and a smoother, cleaner look. Our first challenge was the assembly of the Technic internal mechanisms. A significant shift from the 2012 motionless model, Artoo’s become more faithful to its movie counterpart with a retractable third leg, rotating head, and extendable front hatches.

There are many reasons why LEGO R2D2 is one of the best-rated LEGO sets in 2021. This includes the hidden compartments with small props such as Artoo’s periscope and Luke’s lightsaber, and the mid-leg pop-out mechanism that works just like in the movies! A very nice final touch was the stand and the plaque with an R2D2 minifigure, as well as a token for collectors — a brick with the Lucasfilm logo celebrating its 50th anniversary.

While it’s clearly among the best LEGO sets for adults, we advise you to skip this set if you’re an inexperienced builder, as the Technic bits tend to get tricky, and even some advanced LEGO fans found the building process confusing.


Pros

  • + Authentic Technic features
  • + Hidden tools and compartments
  • + Recommended for ages 18+
  • + Lots of mechanical parts

Cons

  • May be difficult for novice builders

LEGO Hogwarts Castle Review

star
9.9

One of the Best LEGO Castle Sets

  • Ages: 16+
  • Theme: Harry Potter/Castle
  • Pieces: 6,020

This charming and immersive LEGO set practically convinced us that magic really does exist. The abundance of details, props, and figures effectively brings the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to life. One reason why LEGO Hogwarts Castle is one of the best Harry Potter LEGO sets is that we are following Harry’s footsteps throughout the building process, from the Black Lake to other iconic locations such as the Gryffindor common room or the chamber of secrets.

We were blown away by the overall decor taking every single detail into account. Some of the things that made this one of the best-selling LEGO sets around include the stained glass windows, the Whomping Willow, and the figures of the legendary school founders. While it’s not the most complicated LEGO set on this list, it does feature Technic parts in addition to bricks and a slightly overwhelming quantity of stickers. Some buyers feel the set could do with less stickers, but that doesn’t diminish the overall positive impressions.


Pros

  • + Unique new parts
  • + Micro-scale model
  • + Variety of figures and props
  • + Special edition of microfigures

Cons

  • It could include less stickers

LEGO Coding Express Review

star
9.5

One of the Best LEGO Sets for Kids

  • Ages: 2–5
  • Theme: DUPLO
  • Pieces: 234

What if we told you it’s possible to teach your toddler coding fundamentals? The LEGO Coding Express is a fun way for preschoolers to develop problem-solving and collaboration skills while being introduced to the most wanted discipline of our time. As one of the best LEGO DUPLO sets currently on the market, Coding Express combines the train theme with coding-related open-ended activities, and it can be controlled via a specially designed app.

The star features within the set are the train with a Push & Go motor, a set of tracks, and colored oval-shaped bricks that dictate the train’s actions based on the command assigned to that particular color.

A great advantage of DUPLO kids building LEGOs are the large building blocks, which are easier for your child to handle and not so easy to swallow, unlike regular LEGO bricks. This makes Coding Express one of the best LEGO sets to buy if you have young children. A very important factor to consider when buying this set is knowing the interests of your children. If you think they will quickly lose interest in the LEGO Coding Express, maybe choose a different set that is more suitable.


Pros

  • + DUPLO Push & Go motor
  • + Teaches basic programming concepts
  • + Works well with other DUPLO sets
  • + Encourages cognitive development

Cons

  • It may not be interesting to every child

LEGO Passenger Airplane Review

star
9.4

Ranked one of the Best LEGO City Sets

  • Ages: 6+
  • Theme: City
  • Pieces: 669

Fly away into the unknown with this neat LEGO set from the City series. We can’t think of a better way to keep a six-year-old amused for hours on end. The set features an airplane model and typical airport terminal objects — the air traffic control tower and the cargo trolley. You will also find the recognizable red convertible of Poppy Star, a celebrity of the City theme, also included within the eight minifigs of the set.

Just about every LEGO City sets review will tell you that this set perfectly suits the needs of school children as they don’t care about potential faults, but some buyers think this set needs more props to make up for the lack of detail. Even so, we believe this minor downside can be compensated by combining the set with other similar City kits.


Pros

  • + Available digital building guide
  • + Unique pieces for free-building
  • + Complementary with other City-themed sets
  • + Great present for elementary school children

Cons

  • It could include more accessories

LEGO Heartlake City Grand Hotel Review

star
9.3

Among the Best LEGO Friends Sets

  • Ages: 8+
  • Theme: Friends
  • Pieces: 1,308

After testing some of the more complex sets on this list, building and managing the LEGO Heartlake City Grand Hotel came as a nice, relaxing break. If you are looking for an extraordinary gift, this is one of the best LEGO sets to invest in. The Friends saga is set at the three-story Grand Hotel, which certainly lives up to its name. Our personal favorite details are the revolving door, the luxurious penthouse with a jacuzzi, and the grand piano lobby with a small golden frog on the fireplace.

In an attempt to allow for even more immersive play, LEGO included autumn and winter foliage and props you can use to decorate the hotel and imitate the changing seasons. While Heartlake City Grand Hotel might not be among the best LEGO sets for an 8-year-old boy as it lacks props which would make it more appealing to boys, it will typically amaze a girl of the same age. So if you want to put a smile on your daughter’s face, look no further!


Pros

  • + Nicely designed mini dolls
  • + Seasonal accessories
  • + Stunning architectural structure
  • + Lovely and cozy rooms

Cons

  • It could include more accessories for boys

LEGO NINJAGO City Gardens Review

star
9.7

One of the Best LEGO Building Sets

  • Ages: 14+
  • Theme: NINJAGO/City
  • Pieces: 5,685

The LEGO NINJAGO released one of its best LEGO sets ever, as the multi-faceted NINJAGO City Gardens set is bound to win you over. Although the set is intended for teenagers and adolescents, many children will find it equally amusing. The tower consists of five tiers, and we loved how each of them could be lifted off. The set also comes with 19 minifigs of our beloved ninjas.

With LEGO NINJAGO City Garden, even the instruction books are full of surprises — you get a special decoder sheet for deciphering NINJAGO language while building. It really deserves to be ranked among the top ten LEGO sets of the year. Some buyers suggest that it lacks mobility and that it isn’t as accessible as the other two sets in the series. However, the complexity and versatility of the model, as well as the overall nostalgia it evokes in true fans totally make up for this.


Pros

  • + Collaborative and family-friendly
  • + Collectible Wu Legacy Minifigure
  • + Removable sections for easier play action
  • + Comes with a surprise fan-made poster

Cons

  • It could be more interactive

LEGO Infinity Gauntlet Review

star
9.2

Among the Best LEGO Marvel Sets

  • Ages: 18+
  • Theme: Marvel
  • Pieces: 590

Enter the most dangerous weapon of the entire Marvel universe — the LEGO edition. While you can’t really erase half the world population with it, the LEGO Infinity Gauntlet is definitely fun to assemble and goof around with. The Infinity Gauntlet surely counts as one of the best LEGO ideas of 2021, especially in terms of the attractive golden bricks that are not usually found in standard kits.

The set comes in three bags, each containing pieces for one larger part: the stand, the base, and the forearms section of the gauntlet. Once you’ve completed this swift but entertaining process, you can put your fancy creation on display — and finely adjust the movable fingers. Most of the best adult LEGO sets are intended primarily for display, i.e., they are more about aesthetics than play, but we were more than slightly disappointed at the realization that you can’t put your hand in it and have your Thanos moment.


Pros

  • + Display stand and plaque
  • + As many as 153 gold brick pieces
  • + Adjustable fingers
  • + Easy and quick to build

Cons

  • Can’t put it over your hand (or use it as a weapon of mass destruction)

LEGO The Joker Review

star
9.1

One of the Best Small LEGO Sets

  • Ages: 8+
  • Theme: Batman/DC/Brick Sketches
  • Pieces: 170

Are you up for a less petrifying, brick portrait of your favorite villain? The LEGO Joker set is the perfect piece to put on display or hang on your wall.  The set is a part of the Brick Sketches series representing 3D replicas of iconic movie and cartoon characters. The sketches are built upon a 12 x 16 base and shaped by adding layers of bricks according to the instruction booklet.

What makes this one of the best LEGO Batman sets of the year? Well, probably the fact that this building technique managed to perfectly illustrate the Joker’s cunning gaze and evil grin. You can almost feel his eyes following you around the room. While most buyers are really happy with the set, they argue that it is slightly overpriced. However, compared to the Batman brick sketch from the same series, The Joker seems to have a more reasonable price due to the piece count and spot-on design.


Pros

  • + Collectible Brick Sketches portrait
  • + A solid range of bricks for face shaping
  • + Cool decoration for a kid’s room
  • + Built-in hanging hook

Cons

  • Lacks versatility

LEGO Bugatti Chiron Review

star
9.8

One of the Best LEGO Technics Sets

  • Ages: 16+
  • Theme: Technic
  • Pieces: 3,599

We saved his majesty, the LEGO Bugatti Chiron, for last. This particular model and its stunning color palette true to the original vehicle is a real sensation among LEGO Technic lovers, explaining why this is one of the most popular LEGO sets of all time. We couldn’t take our eyes off the elegant box design, inside which are five numbered boxes containing 13 numbered bags. This is definitely the most challenging LEGO set on the list due to a large number of Technic pieces, although it has only four mechanical features.

The greatest innovation is the featuring podcast in 9 episodes which guides you through the stages of the building process. It’s a series of interviews with the real Bugatti Chiron design team and the LEGO design team that created the set in question. The LEGO Bugatti Chiron is one of the best LEGO Technic sets in our book. However, the complexity of this model could scare potential buyers away. We can assure you though — the effort and patience needed to build this model yield amazing results.


Pros

  • + Highly realistic
  • + Comes with its own podcast
  • + Includes a color collector booklet
  • + Well-organized and systematic building kit

Cons

  • Possibly too complex for a wider target population

 

How to Pick the Best LEGO Set
— Buyer’s Guide —

The LEGO Group never ceases to outdo itself — its revenue went up 46% only in the first half of 2021. According to toy industry statistics, LEGO is the number one toy manufacturer worldwide, and it’s really no wonder.  If you’re feeling unsure about which of the above top-rated LEGO sets is your match, answer the following questions from our buyer’s guide and learn how true LEGO connoisseurs pick the perfect set.

What’s Your Age? 

Whether you are buying a gift for a toddler, for yourself, or another adult really makes all the difference, since age helps narrow down the choice among so many great LEGO sets. LEGO’s got you covered though, because each set features an age recommendation on the package. Some LEGO series even tend to target specific age groups.

What Are You Into? 

Your interests play a key role. LEGO’s legendary series offer a wide range of themes, and there is something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular series.

LEGO Architecture

Some of the best LEGO building sets most certainly belong to this series, as you can find a highly versatile collection of realistic displayable models of contemporary architectural wonders.

LEGO DOTS

LEGO DOTS is a collection for creative and artsy children and gives them the opportunity to express their own style. Whether it’s a funky bracelet or a crafty accessory for your desk, let your creativity run wild and dot away!

LEGO DUPLO

This is a very special series of the best LEGO sets for kids up to the age of 5. The average DUPLO piece is eight times bigger than a standard LEGO brick, which prevents choking hazards in small children.

LEGO Technic

If you are into complex models with technical functions, you will love this advanced series featuring pieces such as wheels, connectors, and plastic rods to put your model into motion.

LEGO City

Build your city from the ground up with popular LEGO sets from this series, such as the police and fire station, airport, and hospital sets, and combine them with other themes to watch the city grow.

LEGO Friends 

A saga about five friends and their fun adventures, perfect for letting your imagination roam free.

LEGO Creator 3-in-1

Intended for younger builders, this series offers a broad selection of the best LEGO Creator sets, including three action models. Best part? The models are rebuildable, so your child will have infinite building and experimenting possibilities.

LEGO Creator Expert

A highly demanding but equally rewarding series if you’re a hardcore LEGO fan with a flair for complex collectibles.

LEGO Ideas

And now for something completely different — LEGO Ideas features an amazing choice of attractive buildable models, such as the Fender Stratocaster, the Ship in a Bottle, or the Typewriter.

LEGO NINJAGO

Awesome LEGO sets that are all the rage in the LEGO world. Dive into the world of fierce ninjas and challenge your friends to an epic battle! While we only reviewed one of the best LEGO NINJAGO sets here, we definitely recommend giving others a try as well.

LEGO Brick Sketches

A fun series of collectible 3D portraits made entirely out of bricks. Proud of your brick portrait? You can even hang it on a wall for everyone to admire! There is also a variety of amazing LEGO sets from popular franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, Disney — no, literally, you name it. Chances are LEGO’s already released a perfect themed set for you.  Finally, if you are unfazed by this selection and want your hands completely untied, LEGO has a Classic set collection with some of the most popular LEGO sets ever made.

What’s Your Perfect Set Size? 

LEGO sets are divided into small (under 1,000 pieces), medium (1,000–2,000 pieces) and large (over 2,000 pieces).  Less complicated LEGO sets of 50–150 pieces are what you might want to start with as a warming-up LEGO hobbyist. Bear in mind that more pieces means more effort, so gradually build your way up to bigger projects. In case you are feeling more ambitious, check out sets containing up to a thousand pieces. Finally, if you are intrigued by the likes of the LEGO Colosseum, try your hand at some of the top ten biggest LEGO sets counting several thousands of pieces.

What’s Your Budget? 

Even though overall consumer spending declined $1,127.3 billion in March 2020, the pandemic didn’t completely eliminate our desire to occasionally treat ourselves or our loved ones. The price of LEGO sets depends on the total piece count (among other things), so you should aim for sets with the cheapest cost per piece. To calculate this value, divide the price of the set by the total number of pieces.

Curiously, some LEGO set reviews suggest that smaller LEGO sets usually have a higher cost per piece than larger ones, but other statistics reveal that anything under $0.14 per piece is a good bargain for a LEGO set. The LEGO website price ranges include sets under $25, up to $100, and more exclusive ones costing several hundreds of dollars.

Do You Prefer Whole Sets or Individual Pieces?

The final ace in LEGO’s sleeve is the possibility of buying individual parts and practically creating best-value LEGO sets. The Online LEGO Shop offers two services, depending on the number of pieces you want to buy —  Bricks & Pieces and Pick-A-Brick. Bricks & Pieces is helpful if you are missing or want to replace certain pieces, and it’s mostly used for smaller orders.

Pick-A-Brick is available in LEGO retail stores in the form of a wall display where you can pick out the coolest LEGO in a cup and often even get the best price on LEGO sets you create yourself. This is especially convenient if you are one of the 56% of online shoppers who still prefer to buy in brick-and-mortar stores, but you can also do everything online if you so prefer.

Additional Advice on the House 

When browsing the LEGO website shop, pay attention to the tags of the best-selling products such as “Exclusives” or “Hard to find’ to get the picture of the popularity and availability of the set.  Moreover, the customer reviews are truthful and highly informative, so make sure to read through them before buying. You can also help yourself with a variety of blogs and YouTube channels with detailed reviews of the best new LEGO sets.

FAQ

What are the best LEGO sets to buy in 2021?

Regardless of your budget and what you are looking for, LEGO definitely put out a great choice this year. If you are aiming for a complex architectural challenge, your best bets are the LEGO Colosseum and the LEGO Hogwarts Castle. Alternatively, if you are more on the technical side, the best LEGO sets for you are the LEGO R2D2 and LEGO Bugatti Chiron. Finally, if you’re looking for family or children LEGO sets, we propose the LEGO Heartlake City Hotel or the LEGO NINJAGO City Gardens.

What is the hardest LEGO set to build?

The medal definitely goes to LEGO Bugatti Chiron from the Technic series. As you’ve probably gathered from our reviews, the Technic sets pose the greatest challenge even for experienced LEGO builders, but the attention to detail and satisfying mechanical features of the finished model make it worth your while.

What is the rarest LEGO set ever?

One of the best LEGO spaceships — or should we say THE best one — considered to be the most valuable set is the LEGO Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon. The first edition of this galactic gem was once sold for a jaw-dropping $15,000. Yes, you read it right. When it comes to LEGO figures, the ultimate rare minifig is the Solid 18k White Gold R2-D2 which became available precisely with the release of the UCS Millenium Falcon in 2017.

What LEGO sets are retiring in 2021?

Although the list is very long and non-exhaustive, let’s take a look at some of the top-selling LEGO sets you should grab before they are pulled from the market.

As far as premium Technic sets are concerned, the one set you should really get as quickly as possible is the aforementioned absolutely majestic Bugatti Chiron. Another soon-to-be-gone set is the remote-operated Liebherr R 9800 Excavator — certainly worth checking out.

The best LEGO architecture sets to be withdrawn are the replicas of famous monumental buildings, such as the Empire State Building and Burj Khalifa.

Meanwhile, the Creator Expert series are removing their James Bond Aston Martin DB5 and London Bus LEGO sets, among others.

LEGO NINJAGO already pulled two sets in July — the Ninja Tuner Car and Empire Temple of Madness, and more sets are to retire at the end of the year.

The Friends and City series will definitely see the largest number of retired sets.

What is the cheapest LEGO set in the world? 

If you sort LEGO sets on their website shop according to price from lowest to highest, you will see that you can purchase some of the cutest mini LEGO sets, such as the Animal Free Builds — Make It Yours set for between $2–$4! The cheapest set from our list is The Joker Brick Sketch, costing just under $17.

The Bottom Line

This year was really a game-changer when it comes to the best LEGO sets, and we hope our review helped you decide which one you’d like to add to your collection. LEGO keeps reminding us that this is a hobby we’re never too old to pursue, and this is probably where the magic behind its success lies.

As a translator with a degree in English language and literature, Tamara’s work requires a lot of research, problem-solving, and creativity. Her lifelong objective is to master as many languages as she possibly can — she is fluent in four and is currently learning a fifth language. As a person with a restless and curious mind, she finds the written word is the best way of clearing and expressing one’s thoughts, so she invests a lot of effort and love in her writing. She recharges her batteries by spending time with her dog, reading a good book, finding new music, or traveling.

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