Comparitive Study of Studded Construction Bricks

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Introduction: Comparitive Study of Studded Construction Bricks

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 amazon.com 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!

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 lego.com 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

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

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

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

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.

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    41 Discussions

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

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

    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

    2 replies

    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!

    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

    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.

    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 (:

    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!

    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!

    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.