Top 14 Best Puzzle Boxes of 2020: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
In the maze of tabletop and video games and virtual reality, the fun and art of solving puzzles are becoming a lost leisure activity. Where puzzles used to bring kids and adults on the same board, the latest games we play on the screen have become more individualistic in nature.
Talking about puzzles, there’s a particular kind known as puzzle boxes. They have been around for 200 years and were first made by the Japanese. Growing in popularity since the past few decades, they challenge our cognitive faculties and help us to sharpen our problem-solving skills.
Puzzle boxes are not only great to solve, but also to look at. Made from different types of wood, they often flaunt intricate woodwork, patterns, or images. Thus, they serve as ornament or jewelry boxes as well.
If you are intrigued and your interest is sufficiently piqued, then this article will lead you to the best puzzle box. With different ranges of difficulty and patterns, it’s hard to choose the one that would be right for you. But if you know the basic criteria, your buying decision will be a better one. Read on!
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What Is A Puzzle Box And The Benefits Of Playing It
When you have to open a six-sided box by solving a puzzle, you have a puzzle box in your hands. It can only be opened when you apply specific moves and mechanisms in a particular sequence. They look quite simple from the outside and resemble a jewelry box.
If you think playing with a puzzle box is a waste of time or leisure activity, you may be off the mark. There are many benefits of playing with a puzzle box. Let’s take a look at these benefits.
Anything that teases your brain is bound to improve your memory. Solving puzzles involve remembering shapes, colors, patterns, etc. This strengthens the ability to enhance short-term memory. In addition, our mental ability to think fast is also improved.
Improves Problem-Solving Abilities
Solving puzzles is basically identifying a problem and looking for a solution. In fact, you try to look for several alternate solutions. This helps to hone our problem-solving skills. In life, everyone needs such skills as they help to predict errors and consequences.
Playing with puzzle boxes certainly exercises the brain muscles. This makes this organ sharper as a result. Research has revealed that playing with puzzles daily can increase IQ by as much as 4 points in adults.
Prevents Alzheimer’s And Other Memory-Loss Diseases
Exercise is the most appropriate way to keep fit. That goes for our brain too. Using the grey matter by playing with puzzle boxes is a mental exercise. Regular puzzle-solving can keep diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia at bay or delay their onset. It facilitates the growth of new nerve cells and reduces brain damage.
Improves Work Productivity
When we play with puzzle boxes, we pay close attention and focus on minute details. The eyes and the brain are trained to do a better job when meticulous attention is needed at work. Those who regularly solve mystery boxes are more likely to have greater concentration and focus.
A great way to rest your brain and bust the stress is to tinker with a secret box. When you make your brain work on solving puzzles, it releases the feel-good compound called dopamine. It boosts your mood, helps you to think positive, and banishes all your stress. The ideal way to relax and be happy!
Top 14 Best Puzzle Box Reviews
1. aGreatLife Money Maze Puzzle Box
Put some challenges along with some fun in unwrapping gift money!
This Money Maze puzzle box is a great way to start young kids develop their sense of space, logic, and imagination. Along with that, they will learn to have increased concentration and will be off any kind of handheld device. Solving this puzzle will improve their motor skills and patience.
The product comes in a cube of size 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet. It’s battery-operated and is available in two colors, including cool blue. Made with non-toxic material, it makes a perfect gift for children and adults too.
To get to the inner compartment, locate the slide bar on the upper panel and place the ball on it. When you have positioned the ball, you must push the sliding panel across. A circular opening will be revealed. Place the gift money in the bank and close the lid.
Besides developing a host of important skills, this money puzzle box is also a source of entertainment. You’ll enjoy watching the kids as they try to get to the heart of the puzzle box.
The level of difficulty is just enough to keep you going without making you give up!
2. Bits and Pieces - Stash Your Cash - Secret Puzzle Box Brainteaser
Good news for adults who constantly look for some kind of brainteasers!
This exquisite box is made of pinewood with a luxurious walnut stain finish. It measures 5-7/8-inch by 2.5-inch by 2-5/8-inch. It functions both as a keepsake and an excellent money box to store your precious coins. It’s definitely a puzzle box anyone would like.
There’s a slit on each side of the box. Slide in your notes and coins and tease yourself to get to the wooden compartment hidden inside. It will develop your sense of creating alternative solutions to problems. Besides, for people who lack patience, this is the finest tool to inculcate a higher level of tolerance.
Although solutions to unlocking this mystery box are enclosed, try to open it without looking at them. Because when you do open it, you’ll feel that much more satisfied.
You can also use this product to put small gifts and money for your loved ones. This takes the boring out of the usually wrapped gifts. With its classic style, it makes a great ornament for your coffee table or desktop. You can even use this to challenge your guests and make a memorable evening.
These cool puzzle boxes will keep you occupied for some time and will also encourage young children to have a go at it.
3. BSIRI Secret Puzzle Box For Adults
Get double the fun in solving this mystery box and getting a reward of money when you open it!
Made from 100% natural wood, this is one of the most interesting puzzle gifts you can give to anyone. Besides, the intricate designs on the box have been done in great detail, making it a coveted ornamental piece for your desk or bookshelf.
You can hold a competition among your friends' circle with this mystery box. Whoever opens it can win the money inside. However, keep in mind that it’s no mean feat to arrive at the secret compartment hidden in the interior of this box!
Besides money, you can also keep small, valuable trinkets inside so that only you have access to them. With its double lock, it’s not an easy puzzle to solve!
Although this product comes with instructions to open it, it’s more fun if you attempt to get to the compartment inside without any help. It’s suitable for all ages except for children under 3 years old.
When you’re scratching your head over the perfect gift, consider this best puzzle box instead of the usual ones. It is sure to relieve the recipient from boredom! It will exercise the brain muscles and reward the user with the gift of patience, memory, and money!
4. 4Thought Products Puzzle Pod
Time to tease the brain of both the giver and the receiver!
The puzzle pod is for those who are into a bit of mystery and unlocking codes. It lets you design your own treasure hunt and the level of difficulty is also in your hands.
Use any five-letter words to create clues to opening this puzzle gift. This code can be reset as many times as you want. How long you want to play this game is also up to you. Leave little hints every day for the receiver to unlock the pod and get the reward!
Present it on any occasion like graduation, birthday, anniversary, or Christmas. It’s the right gift to make yours and the receiver’s brain work. By creating levels and clues for unlocking each level, this game can be the ultimate engaging and intriguing mystery.
Use it to store your coins if you don’t want to give it away. However, if you give it to someone, it becomes an interactive game between the two of you. Make sure you create easy codes if you’re gifting this to a child. The excitement of reaching the bottle shouldn’t be marred by codes too hard to crack.
With the easy to read and clear instructions, you can easily figure out how to reset the code every time.
5. Bits and Pieces - The Secret Enigma Gift Box
There’s immense beauty in simplicity and that’s what this secret box is cut out to be.
This is another example of how a puzzle box can retain its simplicity and yet manages to tease the brain. Flex your brain muscles because you’re in for one mystery ride!
Nothing is as sweet as solving a trick box and reveal the gift inside. This box will give you ample opportunities to work that grey matter. In the process, you’ll become smarter as your brain cells will work to improve your memory. Coupled with that, you’ll get a lesson in patience and perseverance.
Measuring 2.5-inch by 5-3/4-inch by 2-3/4-inch, this product is suitable for anyone who is above 13 years of age. When you’re done solving the puzzle, you can display it on a shelf or on your desk. It makes for an impressive piece of decoration with its smooth handcrafted rosewood construction.
Place it as a conversation starter and have your guests try to open this mystery box. It will definitely lighten up the evening spent with friends. There won’t be a single moment of boredom.
The instructions for unlocking this box is enclosed. But perhaps, you can tease yourself to open it without reading the leaflet. After all, half the fun is gone when you don’t try to open it using your own instinct.
6. Koyosegi Puzzle Box 2 Sun - 7 Step
Bring a piece of traditional Japan into your living room or as a gift for your loved ones!
Designed on the original style of Yosegi pattern, this secret box reflects the origin of such boxes in the Hakone region of Japan. The main attraction of the Yosegi pattern is that depending on how the tiles are placed, the pattern changes.
It feels special to handle such a pretty secret box as it’s been handcrafted using the same age-old techniques dating back to the Edo period. Sourced directly from the makers in Japan, it’s truly a unique gift that is well-deserved. Users have praised this product for its fine craftsmanship.
With a size of 2.4-inch by 1.9-inch by 1.5-inch, it’s a thing of wonder and beauty. You can keep a small gift or money inside and present it to someone. It’s a source of lifelong learning on new situations and discoveries.
The level of difficulty is perfect. It teases you for a while until you manage to open it. Once you have solved it, it’s easy to remember the sequence. Take a very close look to spot all the joints. The slides move effortlessly, giving you a smooth experience.
With only 7 steps, you can unlock this trick box. Use this as an engaging game at any party!
7. UGears Mechanical Models 3-D Wooden Puzzle
A truly fun way to learn the basics of logic and motion mechanics with the involvement of the whole family!
This is a secret box that needs to be assembled. Its gears are movable and hide the interior secret compartment. The plywood lid and sides have intricate carvings and are very inviting.
The carved top panel of the box has the key embedded in it. With the key, you can unlock the lid with a clockwise turn. However, this is just the beginning of unraveling the mystery. The real game starts when you have to set the gears in motion.
Before you open the lid, you must unlock the mechanism that will get the mechanics moving. You can do this with a counter-clockwise turn of the key. This will let you lift the top part.
After crossing the levels, you will find the secret compartment. It can it in small jewelry, trinkets, or folded notes.
There are 354 components in this puzzle box. On average, it will take 4-5 hours to assemble this product. This is a great way to engage adults and children together in pursuit of the hidden chamber.
It can bring the whole family together as it’s intriguing and fascinating. The design of this box has been based on real-life engineering mechanisms.
8. Secret Lock Box Wood Brain Teaser Puzzle
A surprise inside a mystery box is all it takes to get the brain cells ticking!
Sporting a rustic look, this mystery box measures 5-1/8-inch by 3-inch on the outside. To figure out what you can put in the inside compartment, you should be aware of its measurements – 3-3/8-inch by 2-1/8-inch by 2-1/8-inch.
Make it more personalized by having the name of the recipient, a message, or important dates laser-engraved on the lid. It looks quite simple from the outside by looks are deceiving.
It has 5 sliding panels on each side, making it a bit more difficult than other puzzle boxes for sale. All the 5 keys need to positioned in the exact way to enable you to open the box lid. With no joints, it’s simple to move the sliding bits.
Be careful when handling as the box is made of soft wood and you could leave scratched with your nail on it. Since it rates low on the difficulty level, you could gift this to someone who has never played with this before.
It’s a secret box that keeps you engaged without giving you any frustrations. Many users have put a ring for their fiancé inside this box. Thus, you can turn this simple box into something that’s more memorable.
9. ROKR 3D Wooden Puzzle-Model Building Kits
A 3D wooden mystery box smells like it has the deepest secrets hidden in its depth!
This plywood box has been designed to kick the engineering instincts of both children and adults. With an original and wood carving design, you can either keep it for yourself or give it as a birthday or Christmas gift. This will keep you engaged for 2 to 6 hours. Keep it away from a wet place.
The smart puzzle box will encourage children to unlock their cognitive potential. It has been made using laser cutting technology to ensure all the parts fit together perfectly. With precise slots, you can be assured of a smooth assembly of the box.
For adults, it could work as a gift box with a ring or a small trinket hidden inside. The wrapping would definitely be more interesting than the hidden gift! Make sure whatever you put in it fits the measurement – 240-millimeter by 330-millimeter by 40-millimeter.
Enclosed you will find detailed instructions in English and easy to follow diagrams. At the front part is a knob that is turned to open the box with the password. You can choose any 3-digit password between 000 and 999. Once the password has been set during the assembling process, it can’t be changed.
10. 4 Sun 10 Steps Japanese Puzzle Box
Solving a Japanese puzzle is the ultimate challenge in the world of mystery boxes!
For those looking for a more advanced level of difficulty, here’s the chance to take up a harder challenge. Put on your thinking cap and show your friends and family what you can do! Only one combination will lead you to what lies at the heart of it.
Remember to slide one or more panels of the box to get started. At the same time, you must move the corresponding panels on the opposite side of the trick box. Each part that moves partly allows the same panel on the opposite side to be moved too.
Keep making different moves until you reach the top panel and open the box!
With ten steps, you can unlock the secret that lies within this superbly crafted piece of art. It’s just not a box to challenge you, but it also adorns your shelf or center table in the living room. In fact, it makes a great gift for those who appreciate the works of master craftsmen.
Designed on the traditional Japanese style, this box comes in the dimensions 4.75-inch by 3.1-inch by 2-inch. This small-sized wonder can train your brain to assess and solve problems, develop patience, and improve your short-term memory.
11. DC-Beautifu Impossible Dovetail Box Mini 3D Brain Teaser
A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Make this mystery box into a memorable gift for friends and family.
This is an attractive puzzle box made from high-quality natural wood. It has none of that odd smell that other wooden products sometimes have. On top, it’s non-toxic and therefore safe for people of all ages. It’s also anti-corrosion and resistant to oil.
Painted with eco-friendly water-based bright colors, it’s something that anyone would like to own. Small enough to be portable – 3-inch by 3-inch by 2-inch - it can distract your mind when you’re bored. The smooth finish makes it nice and easy to handle.
The challenge is doable although it may take a few attempts before you solve it. There are no instructions included to open this secret box. You have to knock one corner of the box to open it. For closing it, you must knock the same corner.
There’s a hollowed-out portion in the box interior where you might conceal a small gift or coins or folded notes. The recipient will be super happy to receive a puzzle that needs to be solved to get the gift inside.
When you don’t know how to bring the family together over something interesting, this is a sure-shot formula.
12. Bits and Pieces – Secret Gift Box Brainteaser Puzzle
An elegant way to hide a secret within the depths of the most beautiful puzzle box.
Gift this trick box to yourself or your discerning friends who won’t be able to take their eyes away from it. It’s a great hiding place with a lock and key to keep your tiny valuables safe.
From the outside, the box looks like an arrangement of different sizes of books. The gilt letters of the name of the books and their authors lend a distinguished look to this product. If you’re keeping it for yourself, this will perfectly blend in with other books in your library.
Once you manage to open the box, you will find a brass key in a compartment. This key will lead you to the opening of the box lid. Inside, the portion for hiding your treasures is richly lined with red felt. It gives you all the feel of royalty and well-hidden secrets.
It measures 7” long, 5” wide, and 3-3/4” tall. Made from the wood of walnut, it’s more than just one of the best puzzle boxes. It’s a sophisticated piece of art that will add to the opulence of any room.
The package includes the solutions. All in all, it will exercise your brain and help you to use your cognitive skills to its full potential.
13. Gift Adult ATM Puzzles Wooden Gift Boxes
These wooden puzzle boxes are the right blend of endless entertainment along with education in life skills.
Anything that’s hidden naturally raises our curiosity. We try to get to the bottom of the mystery. You’ll get plenty of kicks with this wooden trick box that can hide notes and other small trinkets in its interior.
You must figure out the accurate sequence that will lead you to the reward inside. Play along with your family and friends for complete entertainment. This money holder puzzle is great for gifts on occasions like birthdays, graduation, or Christmas.
Made from 100% natural wood with uniquely crafted design details, this secret box can be a part of your home décor. Place it on a low table at the center of your living room as the main attraction.
It’s a tool to increase your IQ as you exercise your brain cells. Moreover, it can get rid of hours of boredom. More importantly, playing with this box can boost your memory and keep you away from memory-loss diseases.
The level of difficulty is on a scale of 1 to 5. It’s suitable for anyone over 6 years old. In a convenient size, it measures 8-inch by 4-inch by 1-inch.
If you’re looking for a non-traditional gift, then this is the one!
14. Bits and Pieces - Japanese Secret Puzzle Box Brainteaser
Silas Marner would have coveted owning this trick box!
To keep all your savings safe from prying eyes and hands, this Japanese puzzle box is the right solution.
Using the slit on the side of the box, slide in your notes and coins and challenge yourself to open it. Exercise the grey matter you have been gifted with and sharpen your detective skills.
Not just a brain teaser, this beautifully crafted pinewood box has a walnut stain, giving it a deep rich finish. It can serve as a conversation piece and you could also place it on your desk or any shelf. It adds elegance and hints at your fine taste in all good things.
This secret box measures 5-7/8-inch by 2-1/8-inch by 3-1/8-inch. Put any small valuable item or money inside and gift it to someone you cherish. The game doesn’t end with solving the puzzle. It’s definitely a permanent keepsake.
With the solutions to the mystery box included, you could take less time to solve it. However, as a favor to yourself, try to open it without referring to the solution.
To add oomph to any party, gather around some friends and family members and watch as everyone tries to get to the heart of the mystery box.
Puzzle Box Buying Guide for Beginners
Buying a puzzle box may not be as easy as it sounds. There are a few considerations you should factor before deciding to buy one. Read on to discover what these factors are.
Degree Of Difficulty
Puzzle boxes can be categorized as per the degree of difficulty in solving them. A rating of one refers to the easiest type of puzzle that can be solved and the solution memorized. At the other end of the spectrum is a rating of 10. This denotes the most difficult level and the solution of this can’t be memorized.
It depends on you whether you want a beginner secret box to solve or challenge yourself with more difficult ones. Keep in mind that if you’re not used to solving puzzles regularly, then start with an easy one. However, it shouldn’t be so easy that you don’t feel any challenges at all.
On the other hand, getting one puzzle that is too high on the difficulty level will be demotivating. Chances are you’ll not attempt to solve it at all.
Puzzle boxes are traditionally Japanese but are also known as Chinese or Oriental mystery boxes. These are typically wooden and have a secret opening. You can choose to hide a gift or a message inside these for the user to open and discover.
Other types include German ones that excel in precision. You have to take this type of puzzle box apart and find a hidden compartment. Often, these are used as a money puzzle box.
Age Of The User
Another factor to consider before you spend on a trick box is the age of the user. If you’re buying one for a child, it should be engaging and encouraging them to solve it. Thus, their brain gets teased without frustrating them.
For adults, you can choose a slightly more difficult to open mystery box. It should intrigue them enough to want to open it. But as with kids, it shouldn’t be so difficult that it leaves the user tired and frustrated.
How much experience the user has with a puzzle box should also come into play when choosing one. If the user is a “one-time” player, then easier puzzles should be chosen. Such boxes can also be put on the coffee table or anywhere as an ornament. Put-together or take-apart ones are good examples.
For those who collect puzzle boxes, they are on the lookout for rare ones. They would like to possess mystery boxes that score very high on the difficulty level. If you choose a put-together sort of box for them, they would be happy with the challenge.
Tips To Use A Puzzle Box
Opening a puzzle box may take anywhere between 4 and 60 steps, or even more. Once you have one in your hands, you’ll be puzzled for sure. But there a few tricks and tips you can adopt to arrive at the solution. Read below to discover the secret to unlocking a secret box!
1. Assess Difficulty Level
The Japanese mystery boxes come in various styles and designs. They usually hide a compartment in the interior and that’s where you want to go. There won’t be any drawers involved. It’s only the exterior parts that need sliding to lead you to the compartment.
Sometimes instructions to unlock the box is enclosed. You could check that out to get a hang on the box construction. Or, if you already know what kind of a Chinese box you want, you could opt for one that opens in about ten steps.
2. Patience Is Key
It might take you a few hours to a few days to unlock a Japanese trick box. It will try your patience but it’s totally worth a lesson in upping your tolerance level. You might have to do a long series of unlocking motions, maybe as many as 100. So, you should be mentally prepared to be patient.
3. Slide It!
To begin solving the puzzle box, check out the side panels and see if any of these slides. Start with inspecting the shorter sides of the box. These boxes usually start to unravel the mystery through one of the outer side panels.
4. Slide And Move
You need to alternate the sliding and moving mechanisms until you complete the puzzle. When you’re pushing one of the panels to the right, for example, you must try to slide another panel in another direction parallelly. Different combinations of movements will lead you to the secret compartment.
Tips To Take Care Of A Puzzle Box
There are very few original artisans let who can make traditional Japanese puzzle boxes. If you own one, you should also take care of it properly. Here some tips on how to take care of your mystery box.
1. Don’t Apply Force
It’s recommended not to apply force to unlock the next step in a trick box. If you have chanced upon the right piece, it will move easily. If it looks like it will move but it doesn’t, then you might have to make another move before it does.
2. Opening And Closing
If you can’t start the puzzle from one side, attempt to find the opening sequence on the other side of the box. There will be only one way in most boxes where the panel will slide in.
For closing the box, follow the same sequence in reverse order.
3. Keep Away From Kids
To take good care of your secret box, you should keep it from the reach of very young children. There may be small parts of the box that could pose choking hazards. Moreover, if it’s one that involves disassembling, parts could get lost and it would ruin your puzzle box.
4. Changes In Weather
If you live in climates that experience a fair amount of both heat and cold, your puzzle box would be affected by these conditions. As they are made from wood, parts of it will expand or contract according to humidity, heat, or cold. Hence, some parts of wooden puzzle boxes could become stiff and difficult to budge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How Difficult Is It To Open A Puzzle Box?
Answer: While puzzle boxes for adults may require a higher number of steps to open, the ones meant for kids won’t usually have more than 4 steps. The higher the number of steps, the more difficult it is to open the secret box. 4, 7, 10, 14, and 21 are the usual number of steps.
However, these steps can go high – as many as 100 or so. This is more so for the puzzle boxes that are larger in size.
2. What’s The First Step To Opening A Puzzle Box?
Answer: The first step to open a puzzle box is to look at it closely to assess its difficulty level. Usually, one of the outer panels can be slid to lead the way to reveal the secret compartment.
The trick is to make alternate sliding movements when you have managed to slide one of the outer panels. Repeating these movements in different combinations will lead to solving the puzzle.
3. How Are Japanese Puzzle Boxes Unique?
Answer: There are two aspects that make the Japanese puzzle boxes unique. Firstly, they have been designed in a way that requires some effort to solve. Making certain motions will unlock the puzzle box.
Secondly, the handcrafted and artistic work makes them the best puzzle box models. The wooden boxes contain geometric and mosaic patterns on the top lid. These works are unique and set them apart.
4. Why Should I Solve A Puzzle Box?
Answer: Solving a puzzle box has several advantages. It hones your problem-solving skills and forces you to use your brain cells. This exercises your mental faculty and thus helps to improve your memory.
Playing puzzle boxes will delay diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. You will develop the tendency to predict errors and strategize accordingly. These skills help you both at the workplace and on a personal level.
5. Is There Any Specific Caution When Using A Puzzle Box?
Answer: The first thing to remember is that Japanese puzzle boxes are made of wood. Hence, this material will change as per the changes in weather conditions. Some parts may become stiffer. The first rule to caring for your puzzle box is to never apply force to open any panel.
Besides, it’s a good idea to keep a puzzle box away from very small children. Also, do keep in mind that the box will close in exactly the reverse sequence of opening it. Try not to make any wrong moves so that it may spoil any panel and damage the mystery box.
Next time you consider a gift for yourself or your children, why not give a trick box a shot! There are so many advantages to playing with the best puzzle boxes. Whoever you gift it to will thank you later for the hours of intrigue and the joy of unlocking one.
The great part is that you can put it on your desktop, coffee table, or bookshelf as a memento or an ornament. It will always remind you of the challenge you faced in solving it and the triumph you had.
This article is based on deep research and user reviews so that you have only the top ones on your shopping list. We wanted you to have a less puzzling time when looking for one. We hope you take a decision that comforts you after having gone through this post!