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Cheap Lego Buying Guide
When it comes to both the promise and the price of Legos, the sky is the limit. Each glossy block holds the potential for boundless creativity and staggering feats of engineering.
Lego is in a class of its own, so for most consumers, cheaper competitor brands are not an option. Lego sets are also rarely on sale, so cheap Legos can be hard to come by. Discounts and promotions typically fall during the holiday season, making it a good time for serious collectors (or their parents) to stock up. During the rest of the year, and when it comes to popular collections such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, budget-conscious builders should focus on value over price. Take into account things like the number of bricks and other pieces in a Lego set, the number and rarity of included minifigures, and the number of possible builds the set offers.
Keeping all that in mind, we zeroed in on cheap Legos high in function and reasonable in price. Luke's Landspeeder from the Star Wars collection (starting at $25) is a Lego iteration of a popular Star Wars vehicle. Its star-studded cast of Lego minifigure characters gives it broad appeal. Serious hobbyists will want to display the rare Obi-Wan Kenobi and C-3PO minifigures, while children will love acting out classic movie scenes with their favorite characters.
The Power Boat Transporter from the Lego City collection (starting at $34) offers a lot of variety for a relatively small, cheap Lego set. With a boat that really floats and a tractor-trailer rig that begs to be steered along homemade highways, little drivers can journey across land and sea. Collectors will find that the pieces mesh well with a number of other sets, and the blocks can easily be reconfigured or repurposed toward custom builds.
Two other good cheap Lego sets have a narrower focus. Hagrid's Hut from Lego's Harry Potter collection (starting at $40) has many specialty parts and accessories that might not adapt well to free building, but the set should please anyone who's into Harry Potter. It's the only one that features the characters of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley together in their Gryffindor uniforms. Those minifigures, along with the hut's meticulous finishes, propel these cheap Legos to a spot on our list. Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter from the Lego Star Wars collection (starting at $40) gives collectors a hard-to-find Mace Windu minifigure (known to moviegoers as the character played by Samuel L. Jackson) and offers young pretenders their choice of four battle stations to operate. Collectors posting reviews seem a little underwhelmed by the Starfighter itself, saying it's nothing new, but parents report that these cheap Legos clock a lot of playtime.
Aside from traditional cheap Legos, we found two low-cost Lego games that caught our attention. Minotaurus (starting at $22) is easy to play and easy to explain to others, according to reviews. Players must navigate their way through a maze to the center before they cross the path of the mythical Minotaur. The game introduces grade-schoolers to the concept of strategy and can easily be tailored to different ages and abilities. In the Lego game Magikus (starting at $8), players scramble to collect all the ingredients needed to make a magic potion. Like Minotaurus, Magikus has a strategic element and can be modified depending on who is playing.
The Lego Creationary game (starting at $35), on the other hand, doesn't live up to expectations. It's basically Pictionary with Legos, but non-specific picture cards and minimal instructions leave players confused. The lack of a timing element means the game can drag on, trying the patience of many children, and reviewers say it doesn't come with enough Lego blocks.
Before choosing any cheap Legos, think about function: Will this be a child's plaything or a hobbyist's showpiece? Some sets are more interactive, while others are best for display. Our favorite cheap Legos have characteristics that appeal to both collectors and kids in search of a fun toy. Do the Lego lovers in your life prefer to construct by the book or build their own designs? If the answer is the latter, it can be cheaper to buy blocks in lots -- either new ones through the Lego store or website or used ones through a venue such as eBay or Craigslist. Is the Lego owner attached to a particular theme, such as Lego City, or will any engaging set do? Read on for a breakdown of other key things to consider when choosing cheap Legos and to see exactly how our recommendations stack up.
Best Cheap Legos
Star Wars fans on a budget will appreciate the play experience and minifigure lineup of this set. The per-piece price of 15 cents is relatively high, but the set comes with five Star Wars minifigures, including young Luke Skywalker, R2D2, and the hard-to-find C-3PO and Obi-Wan Kenobi, plus a security droid. For ages 7 to 12.Read more »
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Power Boat Transporter
The Power Boat Transporter from the Lego City series is a top choice for children who prize fun over collectability. Its 254 pieces build a boat-toting trailer rig and a sporty speedboat that really floats, opening up more possibilities for play. Users like the level of detail and the accessories, as well as the fact that the trailer accommodates other Lego watercraft. For ages 5 to 12.Read more »
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Good Cheap Legos
Harry Potter followers get a lot of bang for their buck (or should we say Galleon?) with this six-minifigure, 442-piece play set. Online reviews enthuse about the level of detail. Pleased reviewers point out that the set comes with Harry, Hermione, and Ron minifigures, something that can't be said of either (pricier) Hogwarts castle kit. For ages 7 to 14.Read more »
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Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter
New to the Lego Star Wars family as of November 2011, this 309-piece kit builds a well-reviewed starfighter, along with a Separatist speeder and two Single Trooper Aerial Platforms (STAPs). Minifigures include Mace Windu and several droids. The set satisfies collectors looking to pick up the Mace Windu character and offers children plenty to play with. For ages 7 to 12.Read more »
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This Pictionary-style game challenges players to use Legos to replicate illustrations of everything from a parachute to a dinosaur to the Sydney Opera House. While most agree the idea has merit, reviewers grouse that the game doesn't come with enough pieces. Other disappointments include ambiguous directions and the game's tendency to outlast the patience of young players. For ages 7 and up.Read more »
Lego Basic Bricks Deluxe Review
Hagrid's Hut Review
Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter Review
Luke's Landspeeder Review
Power Boat Transporter Review
Good cheap wine sounds like an oxymoron but we found five reds and five whites to enjoy this holiday season -- and year-round.
Give the gift of a holiday basket filled with low-cost items the recipient will enjoy. We have suggestions for shopping online or creating your own.