BRICK BY BRICK
Kids and adults alike are passionate fans of Lego building sets, which are available in a seemingly endless variety of themes, from Lego City to Star Wars. Many popular sets cost $50 or more, but for Lego fans on tighter budgets, Cheapism.com has constructed a list of the best cheap Lego sets. They are highly rated in online reviews and run the gamut from child's plaything to hobbyist's showpiece.
LEGO CITY FUN AT THE BEACH PEOPLE PACK
Best for Minifigures
Est. Price: $32 | Buy it on Amazon
- 15 nicely detailed minifigures, plus animals such as a dog, lobster, and dolphin and buildable accessories such as a volleyball net, ice cream stand, and windsurfing board.
- Builders can mix and match the minifigures' legs, torsos, heads, and hair/hats.
- Augments other Lego City sets but also stands on its own.
- Equal appeal for kids who will play with the pieces and adults looking to add to their collections.
- High cost per piece, although that's expected for minifigures (as opposed to bricks).
- No baseplate to tie all the pieces together in a beach scene.
Takeaway: Minifigures make Lego sets come to life. While some sets comes with a couple of minifigures, you can populate an entire beachside town with this diverse set of Lego folks. The set includes several "minibuilds," as well.
LEGO ARCHITECTURE THE EIFFEL TOWER
Best Cheap Lego Architecture Set
Est. Price: $35 | Buy it from Walmart
- Fun and easy to build in about an hour, reviewers say, with clear instructions.
- Appeals to adults as well as children 12 and older.
- Finished tower makes a nice display piece.
- Some sections of the build feel a little flimsy, reviewers say; pieces may occasionally pop out.
- Price per piece is a little high.
Takeaway: Lego Architecture sets are very popular, and the iconic Eiffel Tower is one of the best, especially at this price. Adults and kids alike enjoy building and displaying this model.
LEGO MINECRAFT THE NETHER RAILWAY
Best Cheap Video Game-Themed Set
Est. Price: $24 | Buy it from Target
- Very good value for a Minecraft set.
- Easy for kids 8 and older to build.
- Parents reviewing the set report that their children love playing with the finished railway.
- Track can be arranged in different configurations.
- Cart doesn't run across the tracks as smoothly as some buyers would like, although most reviewers say it works fine.
Takeaway: Lego Minecraft sets are a big hit among young fans of the video game. This set is affordable and fun for kids, who can reconfigure the railway track in several ways.
MEGA CONSTRUX HALO WARZONE WASP STRIKE
Lego Alternative for Video Game Fans
Est. Price: $40 | Buy it from Target
- Lots of moving parts help make this Halo set fun to play with.
- Easy enough for young builders 8 and older to put together.
- Buyers appreciate the incredible detail of the model and minifigures.
- Well-designed and sturdy.
- Good value considering the number of pieces and quality of the set.
- Instructions are a little more confusing than those of a typical Lego set, according to reviewers.
Takeaway: Halo is still one of the most popular video games around, and this Warzone Wasp Strike building set indisputably looks cool. The included minifigures even have interchangeable armor.
LEGO DUPLO ALL-IN-ONE-BOX-OF-FUN
Best for Preschoolers Price: $24 | Buy it from Target
- Suitable for very young children, but older kids also enjoy playing with this set, according to reviews.
- Nice variety of pieces for creative play.
- Included storage box with room for more blocks.
- No girl figure included; only a boy.
Takeaway: You're almost never too young to start building, and Lego's Duplo sets cater to the youngest engineers. This starter set is designed for preschoolers, with blocks that are easy to hold and fit together.
MEGA BLOKS BIG BUILDING BAG (CLASSIC)
Lego Alternative for Preschoolers
Est. Price: $15 | Buy it on Amazon
- Large blocks are easy for kids 1 to 5 to pick up and hold.
- Very low price for a set of 80 blocks this size.
- Easy to clean in the sink.
- Comes in convenient storage bag.
- In reviews, parents report that their kids play with the blocks for hours.
- Sometimes the blocks don't click together as tightly as reviewers would like.
Takeaway: There are plenty of good non-Lego building blocks to be found, and this Mega Bloks set is one of the best. It's cheap, but reviews indicate that the blocks are well-made and appeal to toddlers and preschoolers alike.
LEGO CLASSIC MEDIUM CREATIVE BRICK BOX
Best Cheap Lego Bricks
Est. Price: $28 | Buy it from Walmart
- 484-piece assortment of classic Lego bricks, wheels, and other pieces.
- Low price per piece of less than 6 cents.
- Instructions for making several critters and vehicles.
- Includes a storage box large enough to store lots of extra pieces.
- Keeps kids busy, parents say in reviews.
- Instruction book doesn't include all the models displayed on the box.
Takeaway: There are hundreds of themed Lego sets from which to choose, but for the most creative play, a basic set of bricks is the way to go. This collection includes a wide variety of colorful blocks that can be used to make anything from cars to castles.
LEGO STAR WARS FIRST ORDER HEAVY SCOUT WALKER
Best Cheap Star Wars-Themed Set
Est. Price: $35 | Buy it on Amazon
- Fun to play with and pretty straightforward to build.
- Large for the price, with more than 500 pieces.
- Reviewers admire the design, particularly the legs.
- Inspired by the latest Star Wars film, "The Last Jedi."
- Some reviewers consider the build a little tedious and repetitive.
- Wheels are visible and detract from the illusion that the legs are moving.
Takeaway: Star Wars-themed Lego sets are a perennial favorite among fans of the building sets and the movie franchise, but most of them lie outside our $40 budget. This set is relatively inexpensive, and detailed but still easy enough for most kids 9 to 14 to build.
LEGO STAR WARS Y-WING STARFIGHTER
Star Wars-Themed Set Worth a Splurge
Est. Price: $48 | Buy it from Target
- Larger than expected for the price, with 691 pieces.
- Fun to build and play with, reviewers say.
- Functional bomb-dropping feature and rotating guns.
- Five minifigures, including Admiral Raddus and Moroff, both exclusive to this set.
- Makes an impressive display piece, with accurate details from the "Rogue One" film.
- Suitable for adults as well as kids 8 to 14 years old.
- Some buyers question the value for the money.
- Same pilot minifigure as the U-Wing set.
Takeaway: If you're willing to go just a little beyond our $40 budget, this Y-Wing Starfighter set is sure to put a smile on the face of a Star Wars or Lego fan, with exclusive minifigures, lots of detail, and functional weapons for maximum playability.