Introduction: Comparitive Study of Studded Construction Bricks

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Having kids is a good excuse to buy yourself a bunch of neat toys. When I was a kid, I didn't have near as many Legos as my sons do, so now I get to play with them, too.

Over the years, we've bought mostly Legos because of their quality and variety and number of kits. We have a few Megablocks from Canada, my son is a big fan of Pirates of the Caribbean and MegaBlocks got the contract to make constuction kits for the franchise. A few years ago we spotted some Kids Connection bricks at Wal-Mart, they were extremely cheap and in a neat storage case, so we snatched them up. I've recently discovered another company, Best-Lock out of England.

Legos are to found everywhere. Kids Connection is a brand owned by Wal-Mart, so they're exclusive, but they look a lot like MegaBlocks, so I bet MegaBlocks makes them for Wal-Mart and several other retailers. Mega-Blocks are found everywhere. Toys'R'Us has Best-Lock on their shelves and on their portal.

I'm sure there are a dozen different companies that copy Legos or come into their own, these are just the name brands that I've come into contact with.

I just found out that K'NEX also makes good quality bricks that are compatible with Legos, but we don't have any K'NEX bricks, just the sticks and connectors. (thanks westfw!)

Step 1: Lego My Construction Brick!

Picture of Lego My Construction Brick!

Legos are the tops. They make all sorts of neat shapes and sizes and custom bricks. They are the standard other companies are measured by.

They are made of relatively dense plastic and very opaque. They usually have very little flash on their pieces. The denser plastic also makes for better adhesion. If the bricks make a sharp click when they stick together, they're going to be harder to seperate. (Thanks for the reminder, LilPunk32!) Legos almost always click, and some times require the use of the Lego Brick Seperator tool. The tool comes in handy when dealing with flat plates that require leverage.

You can order all sorts of bricks on-line at through their "Pick-A-Brick" program. You can also order any piece from any set over the phone, but it'll cost ya, they have to ship them from their headquarters in Denmark.

Step 2: Best-Lock

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My second favorite is Best-Lock. They are from a company in England, imported into the USA. They are virtually identical to Legos in opacity and density. However, they do show a good bit of flash where the sprue was cut or pulled off.

They click perfectly with Legos and make a perfect substitute. They are also significantly cheaper, but they don't have as much of a variety of specialized bricks as Lego. I had to use a knife to take a misplaced plate off my son's pirate ship last night, so they stick as well as Lego bricks.

They lack the support ribs that the Legos have. That shouldn't be a problem, unless you're going to make a piece of furniture out of them.

Step 3: MegaBlocks

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MegaBlocks are my next favorite. They are based in Canada. They have a large variety of kits and specialized pieces, but I don't know if they have anything like the "Pick-A-Brick" program Lego has.

Their pieces are made of a lighter density plastic than Lego or Best-Lock bricks, so they don't click like Lego bricks and they are easy to come apart. They are noticeably paler in tone and less opaque than Lego or Best-Lock bricks. They also show some flash from the sprue. They have a raised edge on one of the studs where the sprue was attached. They have "MegaBlocks" written in raised lettering on one of the studs.

Step 4: Kids Connection Storebrand

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Kids Connection is a store brand of toys owned by Wal-mart. I've seen similar toys in other discount chains, so I assume they have common manufacturers and just label them differently for each chain.

The plastic is identical in density and opacity to the MegaBlocks, as well as adherance, they "thud" more than "click" and come apart easily. The bricks are so soft, you can actually squeeze the larger ones with your fingers. The bricks also have a raised edge on the stud where the sprue was attached, just like MegaBlocks. They just don't have any identifying marks. I assume they are made by MegaBlocks for the different chains, but don't hold me to that.

Step 5: All Together Now

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All four brands have sharp edges and snap to each other nicely. The MegaBlocks and Kids Connection are easily distinguished by their paler shades and lighter plastic and lower opacity.

If you need cheap basic shaped bricks but don't care about their color or opacity, any of the four will do. If you need a higher density brick, that will stick together, I would go with Lego or Best-Lock.


MichaelM295 (author)2015-11-11

I have used K'nex bricks. They are pretty terrible, and do not stick together very well at all. I found them to be a pain. Sad, since the traditional rods and connectors of K'nex have always worked amazingly, and made up one of my favourite building toys. Once they added bricks, it kinda went downhill. Meanwhile, I remember BTR: Built to Rule sets, and the bricks of those weren't bad at all, and were great in their own right. Kreo is mainly good for only Kreon minifigures of famous Transformers characters.

StuartC12 (author)2015-11-04

Thanks for this thorough comparison! I have had good luck with MegaBloks and Kre-O, but in the end I have found that nothing really compares to LEGO in terms of the consistently snug fit. The competitors are getting better all of the time, though! I will have to check out the K'Nex bricks.

I would love to hear your thoughts on some of these LEGO alternatives.

JmsDwh (author)2014-09-08

When I was growing up, Tyco used to make building bricks to compete with Lego.
Their plates were half of the height of the bricks, different than the
standard 1/3 height that everyone else uses. Other than that, they were
interchangeable, but you would run into issues with height it you used
them together. At the time it drove me crazy that they didn't conform to
the standard, but now I wish that variety still existed.

Jack Corsair (author)2013-07-01

thank you sir for the awesome field work! I have recently pulled min back out (I got a boy on the way currently) and was wanting to get back into the toys of my youth. then I walked through Toys R Us and was amazed at the three Isles of Legos and off brands.

legofan1995 (author)2010-07-06


theexpert (author)legofan19952011-07-05

stop playing with legos and learn to spell not trying to be mean but i cant understand your comment

0spore1 (author)theexpert2012-09-30

It says
Lego is the best in my opinion because megablocks don't stick together and I've never heard or the others, LOL

papercrafter408 (author)2012-08-19

hmm... mega blocks... KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!

thematthatter (author)2008-05-08

i always wondered if the sets were compatable reminds me of that family guy episode where peter wanted legos but Lois bought him mega blocks and they werent the same thing

theexpert (author)thematthatter2011-07-05

i love that episode its so funny

firesketch (author)thematthatter2008-08-31

That sounds like such a great episode :/ Lol : D

jaxen90 (author)2011-04-03

Legos are by far the best building brick on the market. Everything else is just a cheap knock off in my opnion. If i ever get a box at a garage sale or thrift store I toss any and all megablocks I find mixed in right away. They are worthless junk. Btw wittzo, ever hear of brickwars? Its pretty much 40k with legos. But more room for creativity and fun. I've never actually played but it looks like a blast!

theexpert (author)2010-07-21

id like to point out that mega blocks are much easyer to break and there people look stupied plus they will melt if buried in a pile long enough

Robot Lover (author)2010-03-04

A few years ago when i played with legos i always complained when i saw a mega block in the bucket. Probably because when you stack a mega block and a lego they don't stay, so if you tipped the stack over then the mega block would fall over.

C0mPuterHaCkErKiD (author)2009-10-22

Very good instructables 5 stars, but ive used lego to make like the guns and stuff but i found lately using lego tecnic for it because there packs with hydrolics for good and cool things to do with them atm im trying to make a semi auto hand gun with em so do a reveiw on lego technics would be good (:

Gage987 (author)2009-10-02

wonderful bravo five stars

ftking_83702 (author)2009-09-23

I just came across this instructable. Wanted to mention-yes there are many other brick systems out there. Historically, there were Tyco Blocks, Tandem Bricks, and Cuboville Blocks. My personal favorite were the ELGO blocks, ;) All were more or less compatable with the LEGO components. Sometimes these other systems are good for alternate colors or details. (Note the rounded edges on the KNEX bricks). I attended BrickFest in Portland 2 years ago and eveyone was talking about the one row of nonLEGO blocks in a building structure. Fun!
Thanks for the instructable!

An Villain (author)2009-08-24

dont forget knex bricks.

munchman (author)2008-09-14

Unlike most of the other instructables. This doesn't show you how to make or build anything. However, I actually found this to be wonderfully well written and informative. I enjoyed reading this (as much as a person can when reading a comparison of lego style bricks). Good Job!

maker12 (author)2008-06-11

this is more of a slide show or foum topic! From the "Submit an Instructable" page: What is an Instructable? An Instructable is a step-by-step guide showing how you made or did something. What makes a great Instructable? Start by sharing what you're passionate about. Well taken photos for each step will make it easier to follow. Make sure it's complete and not missing any steps. Use the spell checker. What's acceptable to post? Just about anything that's complete, well documented and you are the author of. If you haven't documented your project, share it as a slideshow or video. Please refrain from posting illegal or illicit content.

maker12 (author)maker122008-06-11

it is good anyway! ;p

westfw (author)2007-12-31

We got some "k'nex Bricks" for Christmas; they're lego-compatible but feature special holes and connectors so that lego and k'nex can be used together to build things. I'll have to compare them to lego base on some of your ideas. (while perhaps not quite an instructable, I found this both interesting and useful...)

00beever (author)westfw2008-02-09

lego to knex converter bricks sound intense!

wittzo (author)westfw2007-12-31

My son got some K'Nex a few months ago, but there weren't any bricks in it, it was all sticks and elbows and stuff. It did come with several really thick idea books. He spent days building every last one of them.

westfw (author)wittzo2007-12-31

I think the k'nex bricks are a special set.

maker12 (author)westfw2008-02-07


maker12 (author)2008-02-07

WTF? watch how it,s made!

lilpunk1302 (author)2007-12-31

Personally, I'm just gonna stick to my lego's, but good instructible anyways, + from me. Although, you forgot to mention the sticking power of each one, I;ve noticed that legos stay together when attached, and I mean like REALLY stay together, MEga blocks tend to come apart quite easily. Also, what does the flash of the sprew have to do with anything?

wittzo (author)lilpunk13022007-12-31

Legos probably stick together better because of their denser plastic. Cleaner flash just makes the brick look cleaner. I paint wargaming miniatures and build a lot of plastic models, too, so I just notice flash. I'm also used to reading reviews of miniatures and they always mention the amount of flash. I'll amend my review about the sticking power. I know what you're talking about, sometimes I have to take a knife to separate some pieces, even though I have a Lego tool. I had to use a knife last night to take a plate off of some Best-Lock bricks, they're that good.

Vertigo666 (author)wittzo2008-01-01

Flash is ridiculously anoying. You play 40K?

wittzo (author)Vertigo6662008-01-01

Yeah, I've mostly been collecting 40K miniatures since '89 and got spanked a lot on the battlefield. I've got the "new" 4th edition rules, but I haven't played them yet. I have more than 3000 points (3rd edition) of Dark Angels (painted) and about the same in Orks (unpainted). I still have some Marines and Orks from '89 still on the sprue!

wittzo (author)wittzo2008-01-14

I just redid my points with the new Dark Angels codex and built some stuff I had in the closet. I now have about 4990 pts of Dark Angels and I still have some characters in the blisters and more vehicles I want to build....

Vertigo666 (author)wittzo2008-01-14

Fear the wrath of the Deathwing!

Vertigo666 (author)wittzo2008-01-01

That's impressive. You could still use them, though, in Apocalypse battles. I've got around 2000 pts of Armoured Company.

jdege (author)2008-01-14

Nothing about Fischer Technik?

wittzo (author)jdege2008-01-14

I had never heard of them before I did this review, I was just covering the bricks I had mixed in with my Legos. If I didn't have a brick to take a pic of, I didn't review it.

ELVISWMD (author)2007-12-31

About a month ago I went through my son's Lego collection and threw out the megaBlocks. My experience has been that the non Lego brand don't fit with the Legos very well. You can stick a Megablock on top of a lego but you cannot stick a Lego on top of a megablock. SO it though you can use the building sets together, the interchangeability is frustratingly limited. So don't count on using the two together to build a bigger castle.

wittzo (author)ELVISWMD2007-12-31

What I don't like is the colors don't match when you mix MegaBlocks with Legos, except for black and a few other colors for some reason. The MegaBlocks are so light, they practically glow, so if you can't find a Lego brick to add to a piece you're working on and use a MegaBlock, it sticks out like a sore thumb. That's what got my attention when got the idea to write this. I had a tub with a thousand Legos in it and the one MegaBlock was right there. It was a pale yellow brick in the middle of some sunshine yellow Legos.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-31

This is not really an Instructable, it just shows the types of bricks that have been made.. But still, good idea of showing this and telling about how 4 types or bricks that have been made are different.

wittzo (author)GorillazMiko2007-12-31

I knoooow, but I was digging through my Lego boxes and noticed just how different the Lego clones were from the real deal. I'm happy that Best-Lock is just like Lego, except for that dimple on one of the studs..

jkm (author)2007-12-31

@ GorrilazMiko: this instructs how to save money! V useful. Wouldn't even have thought about trying non-original "Lego". Save a few $ on staple bricks. Bigger castles.

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