Last updated: August 14, 2021

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Do you like puzzles, do you want to exercise your mind by solving one while having fun? Well, with a Rubik's cube you can do both activities anywhere, anytime, as these puzzles test both your mental abilities and your hand coordination.

It's hard to meet someone who doesn't know how to play with this interesting cube, or worse, who has never seen one, that's because the Rubik's cube is known as the most successful toy in history, for this reason there are so many versions and brands sold in the market and in this buying guide we will help you to buy the best one.

To bring you this buying guide we analyse both the most preferred features in this type of products, as well as the best buying habits, this way we inform you about what details to look for in your products, how much you should pay for them and where you can find them more easily.




Summary

  • A Rubik's cube is a toy or puzzle whose original version consists of a cube, and each of its 6 faces has a different colour represented by nine stickers placed on moving pieces. The object of the game is to mess up the pieces and then return them to their original locations.
  • Although the original Rubik's cube is still marketed, there are a large number of brands selling variations of the original model, with the classic 6-sided cube with 9 stickers per side known as "3x3" being the most widely marketed. They can vary in spinning mechanisms, colours, number of sides and more.
  • The most important thing when buying this toy is that you feel comfortable with it, choose a size that fits your hands, that you feel comfortable with its spinning mechanism and that it pleases you visually. It is important that you buy a resistant cube, as you will be putting its integrity to the test with every turn you make.

The best Rubik's cube: Our picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about Rubik's cubes

To help you learn a little more about this toy, we'll tell you a little about it to impart a bit of general culture and fun facts, as well as the different variations you'll find and which toy shops and websites have the best models, as well as the prices they can be priced at.

Rubik's cube is a good way to exercise your mind while having fun (Photo: meisjedevos / pixabay.com)

What is a Rubik's cube and what are its advantages?

The Rubik's cube is a puzzle created in 1974 by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian sculptor who originally created this toy to teach his students about three-dimensional figures. He did not realise that he had created a puzzle until he tried to return the pieces to their original places.

Erno patented and marketed this toy as the "magic cube" in 1980, becoming one of the icons of the 1980s where it reached its peak of popularity. Even today, the Rubik's cube is the best-selling three-dimensional puzzle and when his patent expired in 2000, many brands marketed their own version.

In its original version, also called "3x3 cube", each of its 6 sides is made up of a different colour: blue, yellow, green, red, orange and white. On each side there are 9 decals located on movable pieces, the aim of the puzzle is to displace the pieces and relocate them to their respective side and colour.

Advantages
  • Lots of variations and models
  • Portable
  • Some models are customisable
  • Exercises psychomotor functions
  • Fun
  • Easy to learn
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for young children
  • Can be frustrating
  • Cheaper models are easily damaged

Sticker cubes and solid-coloured cubes - what to look out for?

You have to accept the fact that Rubik's cubes are really nice to look at and maybe it is because they were created by a sculptor, in any case these cubes come in different aesthetic presentations differentiated by the way they present the colours, the most common ones are the ones with stickers and the solid coloured ones.

Cubes with decals. In these cubes, each movable piece has a decal on top representing a colour, pattern or part of a drawing. Their advantage is their high level of personalisation as you can replace their decals with different ones, their disadvantage is that with time and use the decals lose colour or peel off.

Solid colour cubes. These are cubes whose pieces are presented in solid-coloured plastic. They have the advantage that the colours resist scratches, discolouration and total loss of colour due to use, but they are much less customisable than the decals. Some prefer them because they have no gaps between the decals.

Decals Solid colour
Form of presentation Decals stuck on squares Coloured plastics
Durability Low, decals can fall off High, colours resist scratches and do not peel off
Customisation Easy, decals can be changed Difficult, plastics must be painted

The level of difficulty of a cube will depend on the number of movable pieces it has. (Photo: congerdesign /pixabay.com)

Buying criteria

As you may already know, there is a lot of variety in Rubik's cubes, such as the number of sides, their turning mechanisms and many other things. No matter if you are buying your Rubik's cube for fun or if you will use it to break records and compete with others, we will show you the factors you should consider when buying a Rubik's cube.

Difficulty

The difficulty of a cube depends on the number of movable pieces in a cube. With each additional movable piece, both the number of possible combinations and the number of moves required to solve them increases. This is one of the first things to consider before going out to buy a Rubik's cube.

Easy level: The easiest difficulty is the 2x2 due to its simplicity and speed of solution, so it is recommended for those looking for simple challenges, gifts for parents who need a little distraction in the office as well as for the youngest members of the family. They are usually small cubes so they are very portable.

Standard to intermediate level: The most commercially available level of difficulty is the standard level, also known as the 3x3 Rubik's cube. It is the cube that you commonly see in toy stores so you will have no difficulty in finding it. The intermediate level is made up of the 4x4 and 5x5 cubes and they are also quite commercially available.

Difficult level: The most difficult levels of difficulty are comprised of models that can be considered exaggerated, ranging from 6x6 to 11x11. Although there are much larger and more complicated models, even exceeding 17x17. These are intended for dedicated hobbyists and cube collectors.

Turning speed

The spinning speed of a Rubik's cube refers to both the speed at which the cube spins and the sensation it gives when spinning. If you are not solving cubes to break records you can choose the one you like the feel of, if you are solving cubes competitively you need to pay a little more attention.

Smooth: These are the Rubik's cubes that rotate more slowly, they are called smooth because they are very easy to rotate and give a pleasant sensation when doing so, so they are the best option for those who only want to solve their puzzle during their free time, or those who are not interested in using them competitively.

Fast: Fast cubes are recommended for those who are looking for a good speed to cut time during competitions and challenges. These cubes spin with minimal effort, but require precision and nimble hands, so they may not be the best choice for those who are new to Rubik's cubes.

Size and weight

Rubik's cube sizes are usually standardised, so you will find uniform sizes regardless of brand. Even so, there are companies that launch different models that can be used to make cubes more comfortable for children, in the case of the small ones, or more extravagant in the case of the big ones.

The weight of a cube is usually linked to both its aesthetic finish and its size. Although the weight is not something that is noticeable to the naked eye, it is still a factor when it comes to handling, as some people may feel more comfortable using a heavy bucket for better grip or a light one for quick movement.

(Photo: Pexels / Pixabay.com)

Additional features

Aesthetic finish: As explained above, the most common finishes are decals and solid-coloured plastic parts, but there are other finishes that cover the faces of the cubes, such as greyscale, mirror or photo finishes. These do not affect their speed but do affect their aesthetics and durability.

Alternative shapes: There are alternative shapes of Rubik's cube which deviate from the classic shape and adopt very extravagant figures, such as pyramids, rectangles and there is even a dodecahedron-shaped one known as "The Megaminx". These are very different shapes from the original Rubik's cube and add an extra level of difficulty.

Tension adjustable: A tension adjustable cube is a cube that you can modify its tension to make it easier to manoeuvre, or to service its spinning mechanisms. Keep in mind that too loose a tension can result in damage to your cube, such as bent corners or pieces coming loose.

Corner cutting: This is a technique that allows the player to turn one side of the cube without the need for the other pieces to be fully aligned, which helps to cut down on the time needed to solve it. This technique can destroy some cubes so it is good to find out if the cube you want can handle it.

(Featured Image Source: Alvaro Reyes / unsplash.com)

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