15 of the Best Lego Sets for Adults – August 2018
Did you play with Legos when you were a kid? Do you still play with them today, or wish that you did? Well, we’ve got good news for you. If you haven’t checked out Lego sets since you were a kid, you might be pleased to know they just aren’t for children anymore. There are now tons of Lego sets created specifically for teenage or adult audiences, sets designed with thousands of pieces and elaborate instruction sets. These aren’t the one or two-hundred piece sets of yesteryear, they’re incredibly challenging, with long manuals and tons of pieces. Some of these sets are incredibly difficult to build without the focus and attention that comes with adulthood, while others include pneumatic components and other moving parts that are challenging to children to create and enable. Some sets are themed to suit adult tastes, like interests in automobiles or advanced architecture.
However, even with all these new and exciting sets, it’s not always easy to find a Lego set that suits you. Some of us want something professional-looking, to work on at night after a hard day of work. Others of us are still kids at heart and want to recreate those exciting days of youth when we were building our first sets, or we might be looking for something that we can build and complete with our own kids. Whatever you’re looking for in a Lego set, we think we’ve found some of the best ones on the market right now. Be warned, though, that these sets aren’t for the faint of heart or wallet. These extravagant Lego sets for adults don’t come at discount prices. Let’s take a look at fifteen of the best Lego sets for adults.
(Note that the prices on these sets do change over time; the prices listed were accurate as of August 2018 but may go up or down with demand or with price changes from Lego.)
Lego's Architecture line started in 2008, with a focus on perfecting and recreating famous buildings and monuments around the world, for recreation at home. Since its creation, Lego has created 32 full-size Architecture sets, along with 10 special edition sets for companies and campuses around the world. The original sets were sold in limited quantities and focused on minimalist design and artwork, using less than 100 pieces in total throughout the set and displayed in places like The Lego Store in New York City. Since then, they've expanded both the availability and the complexity of each set. One such example: Lego's United States Capitol Building, which focuses on accurately recreating to-scale the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., and uses over 1,000 pieces in total.
Lego fans will be ecstatic to know the set measures over 6" high and 17" wide, making it great for display while not being too large to find a place to build and assemble in your house. The Lego set comes with standard Lego instructions, with one particular improvement: this set also includes a booklet containing information about the historical facts, design, and architecture of this specific building, making it a great set for Lego-enthusiasts, puzzle lovers, and history buffs. The set is incredibly accurate, earning high marks from Lego fans for its focus on accurately recreating and sculpting such an interesting and historical building. The set includes the Capitol's neoclassical facade, dome, colonnades, north and south wings, steps and lawns. What's even cooler: if you remove the dome, you can gain access to the rotunda inside the Capitol, featuring columns, eight statue elements, and even a tiled floor.
If you're a collector looking to grab as many of the architecture sets as you can, you'll be pleased to know the scale of the Capitol building matches the scale used for other Washington D.C. sets created within the Architecture sub-series, including specifically the Lincoln Memorial, making it a great choice for fans of politics or United States history specifically. The set weighs a little under four pounds in total, and the sheer number of pieces makes it a poor fit for children looking to build the set on their own. However, we think this set is great for puzzle collectors and history fans alike, and would make a great bonding experience with your kids, so long as they're willing to play with a building instead of a spaceship set. If you're looking for a complex set that is a perfect match between "responsible adult" options and the fun of playing with Legos, you'll have to check out the Capitol Building set from the Architecture line. It's one of our favorites.
- Great for puzzle-lovers and history nerds alike
- Over 1,000 pieces keeps it complex
- Might not keep your kids' interest
- Expensive set
Just as with Lego's Architecture set outlined above, the Creator Expert kits are a series of Lego sets that sets their sights on recreating cars and other real-world items inside of a Lego universe, complete with the same amount of care, quality, and technical specification we've seen from other Lego sets. If you're more of a car enthusiast than a history nerd, you'll want to check out Lego's line of vehicles within their Creator Expert series. There are plenty of choices here to choose from, but one of our favorites just so happens to match a classic Italian sports car, the Ferrari F40. This is a set designed to catch your eye and hold it, especially if you're a fan of European vehicles. Lego's built car sets before, but none of them have been quite as well-built or cleanly-constructed as what you'll find in the Creator Expert Ferrari F40 kit. Let's take a look.
The F40 set is, in many ways, similar to what is included with the Architecture. The entire design of the car is well-executed, with the replica of the F40 being as accurate as a Lego set can be. Despite the relatively small-size—the set measures in at 3" tall, 10" long, and 5" wide when built, weighing in at about 3 pounds or so—Lego has done everything in their power to build a set that accurately and faithfully recreates the F40. The set features a rear spoiler, body-work including the standard Ferrari logo, pop-up headlights, air intakes along the side of the vehicle, and a rear hatch complete with vents that opens to reveal the classic twin-turbocharged, 90 degree V8 engine known around the world for powering Ferrari's legendary limited-run coupe. The vehicle build even has doors that can be opened, crafted door handles to match the original, a steering wheel, and two internal seats. The front of the model is protected by a clear windshield piece, and both an actionable hood and spinning tires make the car feel all the more real. Even with that small size, the car is built with over 1,100 pieces, an impressive number that is sure to keep multitudes of car lovers busy for hours and hours building.
The F40 is more of a collectors set than an actual toy to play with, making it ideal for adults to destress and decompress with Lego sets after a difficult day at the office. Unlike the Capitol Building set, Ferrari's F40 probably isn't so much a learning experience to share with your children, though if you're looking to teach your children about the history of non-American sports cars, it's an excellent entry and might interest the race car lover in your life. We really love the F40 set from Lego; it's small, but complex enough to keep you busy for hours and hours. It doesn't come at a cheap price, but if you can afford to drop a pretty penny on Lego sets, this is a fine one to add to your collection—or to gift to the gearhead in your life.
- Tons of actionable pieces
- More than 1,100 pieces
- This is the closest you'll ever come to owning an F40
- This type of replicant doesn't come cheap
- Can't actually drive it
Lego's Technic line is a series we haven't mentioned in this list up to now, but it's worth taking note of if you're seriously into pneumatics and building what amount to movable puzzles. In addition to the standard Lego pieces that you expect from the block company, their Technic line—originally called Technical sets when it was created in 1977 before being renamed in 1984—utilizes a series of interconnecting plastic rods and parts to build vehicles and other movable machines that are really fun—and challenging—to create. If you've ever used a Mindstorms Robotic series, you'll know what the Technic line is similar to, without the additional programming involved in robotics. This Mercedes-Benz Arocs set is one of the coolest kits we've ever seen: it features modular cylinders, valves, gears, and pumps, along with an engine and a power box to power the on-board crane that can reach up to 57cm in the air. Seriously, this thing is cool—and at more than $300, it isn't cheap either. But the entire kit includes over 2,700 pieces, making it one of the largest and highest-detailed kids on our list. If you're looking for something to experiment with, this Mercedes-Benz set will keep you challenged for weeks as you assemble and build a movable pneumatic structure.
- Incredible modular design
- Over 2,700 pieces
- Expensive, as usual
- Not as real-world detailed as the other sets
As we mentioned up top, using Lego sets to connect with your kids as you build and assemble sets and series can be a ton of fun for both you and them. One major problem with our sets so far: some kids might just not be interested in cars or architecture. It's only natural for children to grow into their own interests as they age, so if you want to try connecting with something almost every child loves at some point, you should try some of our Lego Star Wars sets we've collected within this list. The first of our three entries involves one of the most notable, important ships from the entire franchise: the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo's classic light freighter was recreated when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, and this particular set includes figures for Han, Chewie, Rey, Finn, and everyone's favorite droid, BB-8, plus a couple other characters you might remember from a fun scene within the film. The set's a bit pricey at over $200, but with over 1,300 pieces, it'll keep you busy for hours to come. Bonus: if you can find it for a reasonable price online (read: under $1,000), the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon was a limited-run item from a few years ago that was massive and came with over 5,000 pieces. It's neat, but for the price, you're better off with the cheaper model.
- It's the Millennium Falcon
- 1,300 pieces is a great size
- Not as cool as the Ultimate Collector's edition
- Comes with the "Old Han" figure
Another great entry in the Lego Star Wars series, the Death Star set promises to be just as much an exercise in nostalgia as in patience and puzzle-solving. Constructing the 16"x16" round orb of doom will take plenty of weeks, with over 4,000 pieces to construct and assemble as you build not just the outer shell protecting an entire planet-destroying laser, but also the interior, complete with plenty of Lego figurines and small details familiar to the star Wars super-fans inside of all of us. With over 23 mini-figures, a control-room for the laser, hangar bay with a movable launch rack, and even a detachable TIE Fighter for Lord Vader, the Death Star set is one of our favorite Star Wars sets ever constructed. It's no secret when it comes to Lego kits, it's the little details that count, and the Death Star is full of hidden easter eggs that'll leave even the most dedicated fans of George Lucas' space opera series giddy with glee. As you can imagine, something with so much intricacies and detail won't come cheap: those 4,000 pieces will run you a cool $499, one of the more expensive sets still in production from Lego. It might sound expensive, but for the Star Wars fan in your life, this is a must-have gift.
- Over 4,000 pieces of Star Wars fun
- Plenty of hidden references inside the set
- $500 isn't cheap for a set
- Might be a bit too-complicated to solve with the kids
Our mid-range kit, for those looking for some additional complexity over the Millennium Falcon while also enjoying a set from the original trilogy of films, Lego's star Wars TIE Fighter set is a relatively-expensive kit, coming in at $199 for about 1,700 pieces. It's not exactly a deal, but for those fans of the evil Empire, the TIE Fighter will bring back dozens of memories of watching Empire Strikes Back on lazy Sunday afternoons—and it'll look great on your shelf, too. This is an incredibly detailed set, something we've come to love and appreciate about the time Lego puts into building their sets. And while it might not be 4,000 pieces like what you get with the Death Star set, 1,700 pieces is the perfect number to hold your attention for weeks at a time while not absorbing your entire life into one brick-themed nightmare. The TIE Fighter comes with an included stand, along with a beautiful card to go along with your display. It's the perfect size for a project to build with your kid, so long as they remember that the Collector's series of Lego sets, of which this falls into, aren't typically meant to be played with—they're just too fragile.
- An Ultimate Collector's edition that doesn't cost $5000
- A good compromise between pieces and detail
- $199 is still pricey
- Only includes one mini-figure
Let's escape out of space and back onto Earth, where we'll take a look at a couple categories we've already seen, but thrown together for good measure: expensive sports car models and the Lego Technic series. That's right—we're back with the Technic line to take a look at the Porsche 911 GT3 RS model, one of our favorite vehicle models ever put together by the company best known for bricks. If you thought the Ferrari model listed above was gorgeous, the Technic Porsche takes the cake and devours it too. This thing is complete with an adjustable rear spoiler, fully-functioning headlights and taillights, suspension springs underneath the vehicle, fully-customized rims, and even detailed brake calipers. The gearbox works, complete with a movable steering wheel, gearshift paddles, detailed seating, a glove compartment, and a unique serial number. And, of course, as if we even have to mention it, the hood and doors both open, revealing a suitcase in the front and the engine in the rear of the vehicle. Yeah, this thing is gorgeous, and a total collector's item, as you'd expect for more than $300. But with 2,700 pieces, the piece-to-price ratio is pretty decent here, and you even get a full-color collector's book detailing the history of both the Lego Technic series and the Porsche GT line, so your three Benjamin's go a long way on this one. It's a hobbyist product, to be sure, but so are all of these Lego products, and this Porsche model is one of our absolute favorites.
- Compact and detailed
- Included collector's book
- Expensive, as usual
- No windshield for the car
The Internet was delighted when the Lego Creator line debuted the classic Volkswagen T1 Camper van a few years ago, and it's still one of the most fun and most unique Lego sets we've seen on the market. Though the first series has been unfortunately been discontinued by Lego—as is the standard for most unique Creator products—you can still find these classic '70s busses for the low price of $149 if you look in the right places online, a great price for this 1,300 piece set. The second-series set, meanwhile, is an even cheaper $119, though it comes in a slightly-reworked box design. We've linked to the cheaper second-generation model, but the first is also available on Amazon. The interior of this bus is what makes it so special—with a fully-detailed interior, complete with table, seats, steering wheel, and even a gear shift knob. Both the back and the side doors can open, so you can see the interior in all its glory. Overall, just like with some of the Star Wars sets on this list, this Volkswagen camper van just makes us nostalgic and reminiscent for a bygone period of time. Groovy.
- Fun and creative design
- Not too expensive compared to other sets
- First-series discontinued
- Not actually driveable
We'd be lying if we said this was our first pick for our favorite Batman-related set, but unfortunately, a large number of Lego Batman sets were discontinued before the release of this year's smash animated comedy "The LEGO Batman Movie." Thankfully, a number of movie-branded sets replaced them, and while most of them were aimed at children, we think the Batcave Break-In set is the perfect kit for parents and kids to build together. With over 1,000 pieces, it's a bit of a challenge for younger children to tackle on their own, but if they're big fans of the animated film, they'll love the task of recreating one of the scenes from the movie—and you'll love building it with them. With plenty of minifigures, accessories, and play-styles, this is one of our best picks for a set that balances complexity with play, making sure that even after the set is built, your child can still play around and recreate the adventures of Will Arnett's Batman right in your own house. If you're a fan of this Batman set, there are a ton of other Lego Batman sets that are guaranteed to create the same amount of fun and enjoyment in your child's eyes—and you'll have fun watching them learn how to build it right on their own.
- A perfect set for kids and adults together
- Not too pricy for over 1,000 pieces
- Not great for adults on their own
- Lots of easy-to-lose parts
Lego's Ninjago series has exploded in popularity over the last few years among tweens. After showing a pilot episode in 2011 and releasing some popular sets throughout the year, a companion Lego Ninjago series began airing regularly on Cartoon Network in 2012, and the entire line of Ninjago products exploded with popularity. Since then, there's been nearly a hundred different Ninjago products of varying size and age group status, as well as graphic novel adaptations, several video game adaptations, battle toys outside of the Lego line, and an upcoming feature-length theatrical film feature voice actors like Dave Franco and Jackie Chan. Needless to say, Ninjago has blown up in popular culture—and if you have a son or daughter around the right age, you've probably heard of the products. If you're looking to take advantage of the popularity of the series for something to do with your kid, our favorite Ninjago kit is the Temple of Airjitzu. At over $300, it isn't cheap, but it also has just over 2,000 pieces in the set, along with twelve minifigures. It's not just a great Lego set to build—it's a great playset for your kid, too.
- Great for Ninjago fans
- 2000 pieces for $200
- Still pretty pricey
- Not great for adult-only fans
This one certainly isn't for the faint of heart, but for fantasy geeks or lovers of J.R.R. Tolkien (or the films based on his work), Lego's Lord of the Rings series has some seriously awesome constructions available for design, and our favorite is the Tower of Orthanc set. This tower will be immediately recognizable to any Tolkien fan who's read the books and seen the movies—it's featured heavily throughout the series, and is an important part of Middle Earth's lore. The price isn't cheap—at around $250, you're dropping some serious cash for the ability to build a pretty cool set. But at 2,300 pieces, six detailed floor designs within the tower itself, a light bright included within the piece, five minifigures, and a tower measure over 2 feet tall, we think this is one of the coolest sets you can buy for your inner nerd, or for someone who simply loves the movies or book series. Lord of the Rings is a series of novels and movies that will never fade from popularity; both are so well-constructed, they'll only grow in popularity throughout the next few decades as more and more people embrace fantasy works. So why not grab a piece of Ring lore, and build the Tower of Orthanc.
- Over 2,000 pieces
- Six full floors of design
- Almost $300
- Discontinued—the price will only go up
We've covered classic architecture builds, amazing sports car models, extravagant toy sets, and so much more throughout this list—but what if you're looking for something with a bit more simplistic, but still realistic, feel, the Lego Creator 10th Anniversary Assembly Square set is one of our absolute favorites, with a complicated build that involves over 4,000 pieces to complete a full city block, buzzing with as much life and excitement as you'd see anywhere else. The Assembly Square set might not be as realistic as the Capitol Building, but it is an expert build—filled with eight minifigures, glossy floor panels, and accessories you won't see in any other set, including mini pretzels, telephones, a baby carriage, a small chihuahua, and beautiful storefront signs. When complete, the set is large enough to stand over a foot tall, a foot wide, and nearly 10" in depth. It might not be as creative or interesting as something like Lego Batman's Arkham Asylum set, but for the right builder, Assembly Square is an intense, expert-only design that will keep you busy building for months on end.
- Anniversary Collector's Set
- Over 4,000 pieces
- Not quite as fun as "Batman"
- Expensive set
One of the things we love about the Lego Creator Tower Bridge set is how it combines historical and real-world locations with the fun and excitement that comes with a Lego set. It isn't cheap, but the Tower Bridge set, similar to the Assembly Square set above, feels great when you're building it. When it comes to these Creator Expert sets, 4,000 pieces or more seems to be a great balance between scale and complexity, and the Tower Bridge set is no exception. With almost 4,300 pieces, including four vehicles and a completely working drawbridge, this is one of our favorite sets yet. The final set is gigantic, measuring over 40 inches long from start to finish. Needless to say, it might be a bit difficult to find space for this bridge among your collection once you're complete. One note for those looking for something to do with the kids: these Expert sets don't come with numbered bags, since part of the challenge of Lego sets is building it into a gigantic, puzzle-like kit. But if you can get over the hump of working without numbered bags, you'll really enjoy assembling Tower Bridge. We'd love to see Lego branch out and do some additional work on London-themed sets, to build a miniature Lego London. Get on it, Lego!
- Definitely a challenging kit
- One of the longest finished products we've seen
- No numbered bags
- Packaging is large
One more themed set before we finish up our list, and what would we be without mentioning one of the newest Lego sets out, celebrating the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Men Tell No Tales. While previous Pirates sets have focused on the set pieces from their respective movies, Lego's flagship (pun intended) set for this year's release is one of the best we've seen yet. Silent Mary is the name of one of the newest ships from the film, and Lego have gone above and beyond in recreating this destructible, decaying set. The entire piece comes with eight minifigures, two ghost sharks (as seen prominently in the trailers for the film), and a rowboat used in the film by Jack Sparrow and his two new friends, Henry and Carina. From the cannons to the three masts of the ship, it's an excellent build, measuring in at 26 inches long and 18 inches high, and including nearly 2,300 pieces for fun building excitement. We're big fans of the appearances of masts and the wrecked sales, so if you're a Pirates fan—or you love ships—you're sure to have fun building this massive set.
- Brand new Pirates ships
- Eight minifigures and two ghost sharks
- A bit flimsy
- On the pricey side
We'd be silly to actually recommend you run out and buy the Lego Architecture Taj Mahal set if you're looking for something to do in your spare time; the nearly $1700 asking price basically prices most out of the market entirely But if you have that to drop on a Lego kit, and you want to go all out, the Taj Mahal set is not just a limited-run series, it also features almost 6,000 pieces in the box. Sure, that isn't a great price-to-piece ratio if you're looking at products like the first two on our list, but the Lego Taj Mahal is one of the most magnificent sets we've ever laid eyes on. The set is huge, measuring at over 20 inches wide and 16 inches tall, and weighing fourteen pounds inside the box. Taj Mahal is the largest set ever designed and sold by Lego, and we think some Lego fans are willing to drop the money to get access to such a limited-run set. But for everyone else, you're better off buying a cheaper, smaller set—especially since you could probably use this kind of cash to plan an actual trip to the Taj Mahal in India.
- Limited edition
- Biggest Lego set ever sold on the market
- Ludicrously expensive
- Sometimes hard to buy online