Magnetic tiles are awesome:
- they keep kids entertained for hours
- they encourage both solitary play AND group play
- they are a STEM toy
I have tried many brands and can help you decide. When I first started trying out different brands, I had the goal in mind that I wanted to find the "perfect" magnetic tile. Now I realize that there is no perfect brand because everyone has different preferences.
Magnetic tiles are all basically ABS plastic that has been welded or riveted (or both) around magnets. Most of the sets sold on Amazon conform with all applicable toy standards (contact the seller/company for a double confirmation).
Appearance-wise, there are two types; smooth and concave.
I like the completely smooth ones but many people like the concave ones because they minimize scratching. The lattice work varies among brands.
Here are some of my brand recommendations for each type. I consider all of these brands as competitively priced. Their magnetic strength is also similar.
Smooth surface magnetic tile brand recommendations:
Playmags: This brand has the strongest magnetic power of all the brands that I have tested. The company has good customer service and the tiles have a 1-year warranty.
ShapeMags Magnetic Stick N Stack: This brand is one of my favorites because it has so many different sets, especially super cool add-on sets like long tunnel peices and hexi-gates. They also have recently released sets with Power+ magnets, which are supposed to be super strong, making them strong competition with Playmags (I have not tried any of their new sets yet so cannot confirm). It is also one of my favorites because every tile is 100% life-time guaranteed. They have replaced several of my pieces.
Concave surface magnetic tile brand recommendations:
Magnesia Tiles: This newer brand is unique because it come with play figures. My kids love this brand. The company has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Brain Power MagTiles: This newer brand is cool because while it only sells a 65-piece set, this set includes four large squares...so if you buy two sets, then you have 130 pieces, of which 8 are large squares, all for about $70 total. This is a very competitely priced brand! It has a 100% money-back guarantee.
Some things to note:
- In my experience, the car pieces break easily.
- Plastic clickins/stilemags are not used by my kids very much.
- The "less is more motto" does not work with magnetic tiles and kids. You're gonna want MORE...at least 60 tiles per kid.
- Some brands have been around for awhile and have good company stability (like Playmags, Picasso, ShapeMags...). But there are a lot of brands that are fairly new so the company could possibly go out of business. You'll want to keep that in mind if you want a company that offers guarantees. For instance, two brands that I bought (MagnoMagic and My Little Architect) seem to have gone out of business because they are no longer available from Amazon.
- No matter what set you get, I must implore you to get the tunnel add-on set from ShapeMags. Those pieces are hands-down the best for inspiring creativity and getting your kids to play magnetic tiles even longer. ;)
- I haven't tested MagnaTiles, nor do I intend on recommending this company to readers because they are super expensive and have only a 30-day satisfaction guarantee (which only applies to sets bought directly from their website).
I hope this post has helped you. Happy Magnetic Tile Shopping!!!