From wooden blocks to Lego, building blocks have been one of the most popular children’s toys for hundreds of years. Such toys help kids develop math and engineering skills and key STEM abilities like spatial reasoning, problem solving and creative thinking skills.
Magnetic tiles expand on the classic building blocks concept by exponentially increasing the number of things you can do with them. From building large structures, vehicles and fantasy creatures to designing stained glass windows and explaining math concepts, the possibilities are infinite!
Magna Tiles and Picasso Tiles are two of the most popular brands for magnetic tile. Magna Tiles is the original version and significantly more expensive than Picasso Tiles, leading many to wonder if they are worth the extra cost. This Magna Tiles Vs Picasso Tiles review will clearly set out the differences and similarities between the two brands, to help you decide which option is best for you.
PicassoTiles 152pcs Clear Magnetic Tiles Set
What Are Magnetic Tiles – Picasso And Magna
Simply put, magnetic tiles are plastic tiles with magnets along each edge. These magnets allow the tiles to be attached along parallel, perpendicular and even diagonal lines. That means you can make tan-gram-like 2D designs, or build all kinds of 3D structures.
Picasso Tiles Vs Magna Tiles
Magna Tiles are the OG version of magnetic building tiles and were first released in 1997. Since then, the options on the market have proliferated, as has the variety of tile sets within each brand. However, Picasso Tiles has stood out as one of the most popular rivals, with many arguing that they are just as good as Magna Tiles and some saying their magnets are even stronger.
What Is Included?
Both brands have a wide variety of sets you can purchase. Most people recommend that you start with the basic sets of 100 pieces or so. These tend to include all the basic geometric shapes you need to build complex structures: large squares, small squares, equilateral triangles and two kinds of isosceles triangles.
Other sets include a wider variety of different shapes, such as L-shape tiles and ones with curved edges. Still other sets include fun extras, such as vehicle bases, car tracks, mirrors, windows, figures and more.
What Are The Benefits Of Magnetic Tiles?
Magnetic tiles are one of the best toys you can buy for your kids. Here are just a few of their many benefits.
These plastic tiles foster skills in engineering, spatial reasoning, math and problem solving.
Fine Motor Skills
Not only are magnetic blocks a fantastic STEM toy, but they are great for developing fine motor skills too. As your child maneuvers the various shapes into position, they will improve their hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
Magnetic tile toys are very open-ended, as the colorful shapes can be combined in endless different ways. This is fantastic for fostering imagination and creativity. You will be amazed at what your kids come up with!
Similarities And Differences
Overall, Magna Tiles and Picasso Tiles are very similar. However, there are a few key differences.
When it comes to basic features, Picasso Tiles and Magna Tiles are practically identical. The only real visual difference is that in Magna Tiles, the reinforcing lines crisscross through the middle and are a little more noticeable, whereas Picasso Tiles have a slightly cleaner look.
Comparing equivalent shapes, Picasso Tiles and Magna Tiles are the same size. Picasso Tiles may be a hair’s breadth thicker – if you stack the tiles, a 24-piece stack of Picasso Tiles is the same height as a 25-piece stack of Magna Tiles. Because of this, Picasso Tiles are ever-so-slightly heavier than Magna Tiles, though the difference is barely noticeable.
Cost is one of the few areas where there is significant difference between Picasso Tiles vs Magna Tiles. Although price varies a lot due to the wide range of sets for each brand and frequent sales, Magna Tiles cost on average double the price of Picasso Tiles.
Getting a set of Magna Tiles for $1 per tile is considered a great deal, whereas 50c per tile is standard for Picasso Tiles.
For such a difference in price, one would expect a difference in quality. And there is one – because Magna Tiles are sealed with metal rivets rather than only adhesive, they are much more durable. Picasso Tiles do not break easily, but there is a higher likelihood of them popping open and the small magnets coming out. Picasso Tiles also tend to get surface scratches more easily.
The main difference between Magna Tiles and Picasso Tiles is that the metal rivets are used to seal Magna Tiles. For that reason, Magna Tiles are safer than Picasso Tiles because the magnets inside are less likely to become choking hazards. That said, Picasso Tiles are still very durable and magnets popping out is a rare phenomenon. If your children are older than 3, it should not be much of a concern. To find the best STEM toys for 4 year olds, click here.
The design of Picasso Tiles vs Magna Tiles is virtually identical. Visually, you won’t be able to tell the difference unless you come close. Both brands have multiple sets on offer that include different shapes and colors and fun extras such as vehicles, mirrors and glow-in-the-dark pieces. But their basic starter sets both include all the geometric shapes you need to build complex structures.
Despite the various opinions circulating online, there is little difference in magnet strength between these two different brands. Picasso Tiles have slightly stronger magnets, but the difference is miniscule. When you consider the slight weight and size difference, the stronger magnetism basically cancels out.
Picasso Tiles are compatible with Magna Tiles. You can absolutely buy sets from both magnetic tile brands and use them together.
Both brands are also compatible with other magnetic building tiles such as Cossy Kids and Playmags.
Choosing The Best Magnetic Tiles For Me
When it comes to choosing between Magna Tiles vs Picasso Tiles, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.
Deciding which product is best for you depends on a few different factors:
- Child’s age: Depending on your child’s age, Magna Tiles’ edge in safety may or may not be significant. If your kids are younger than 3, the extra cost may be worth the peace of mind.
- Budget: If you have no budget constraints, you should probably go for Magna Tiles as they are slightly better quality. But if you are looking for value for money, Picasso Tiles are the way to go. The quality differential between the two is not large enough to justify the difference in price, unless your kids are under 3.
- Extras: The 100-piece sets between the two brands are almost identical. They both include large squares, small squares, isosceles triangles and equilateral triangle pieces. However, both brands have various additional sets.
Looking After Your Magnetic Tiles
You don’t need to do anything special to take care of your magnetic building blocks. The main thing to remember is simply to put them away after use and encourage your kids not to step on them or throw them around. Luckily, their magnetism makes them super easy to clean up and store neatly!
The best way to wash your magnetic building tiles is simply to wipe them with a damp cloth.
Safety With Magnetic Tiles
The biggest safety concern with magnetic tile toys is the small magnets popping out and being swallowed or choked on.
If multiple magnets are swallowed, they will attract each other. They can therefore cause pinching in the intestine, which can cut off blood supply, potentially resulting in serious injury such as tissue death or punctures in the intestinal wall. If you suspect your child has swallowed multiple magnets, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Besides choking and swallowing, some parents worry about exposing their children to toxic chemicals via plastic toys. Luckily, both Picasso Tiles and Magna Tiles are BPA-free and made from non-toxic materials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Picasso Tiles are not quite as good as Magna Tiles, but they are very close. The only area in which they don’t score as highly is durability. Magna Tiles are sealed with metal rivets, so they do not break easily. They also seem less likely to develop visible scratches. But besides that, Picasso Tiles are equal in quality and may even have slightly stronger magnets.
Picasso and Magna Tiles are interchangeable. This makes Picasso Tiles compatible with Magna, as well as with a number of other brands like Cossy Kids and Playmags. That means you can combine the sets and use them together to build any shapes or structures you want. The only reason to keep them separate would be to keep Picasso Tiles away from younger children if you are worried about tiles breaking.
The best brand of magnetic tiles is Magna Tiles. These are the original brand and still the most durable and safest option out there. They also have good magnetic strength and a wide range of fun sets. Trust us, after buying one set, you will definitely want to expand your collection with more tiles! Nevertheless, Picasso Tiles are also a fantastic brand – durable, high quality and with strong magnets.
Magna Tiles are better than other brands. They are more durable, sturdy and safer than most other brands of magnetic building blocks. Picasso Tiles are not as durable or safe due to being held together with adhesive only rather than metal rivets. Nevertheless, their quality and durability is ahead of most other brands.
The safest magnetic tiles are Magna Tiles. This is thanks to their being sealed with metal rivets, which makes the tiles virtually impossible to pop open and expose the magnets. The tiles also have reinforcing lines that make them very hard to crack or break. Magna are also made from non-toxic materials and have rounded corners so they won’t scratch little hands.
For our final words, we just want to reiterate that both these STEM toys are superb products. When choosing between Magna Tiles Vs Picasso Tiles, it may come down to your children’s ages and your budget. Picasso Tiles are a cheaper alternative and they are not quite as safe as Magna Tiles. That said, experiences of them breaking are very rare. If you have kids under 3 and/or an unlimited budget, you should buy Magna Tiles. If your kids are a little older and you want something affordable, Picasso Tiles are your best bet.