The 8 Best Puzzle Books For Adults

As a self-proclaimed adult puzzle fanatic, I can tell you that tackling a tough crossword is a satisfying way to spend your afternoon, regardless of your age. Whether your puzzle of choice is a cryptogram, kakuro, word search, or brain teaser, the best puzzle books for adults will keep you hooked for hours.

That said, not all puzzle books are alike. Although it may not seem like it, puzzle-making is an art (if you don't believe me, just read about how much work goes into a single crossword). The craft is so nuanced, in fact, that computers can't do it — at least not very well. It takes a human mind to put together something that's both challenging and entertaining.

So, how can you tell if a puzzle book is worth your time? One of the best ways is to simply read the online reviews. This will give you a better sense of a book's quality, challenge level, and scope. Since doing puzzles is one of my favorite past-times, I spent some time scrolling through Amazon and reading reviews to find the best puzzle books for adults. (I even bought one for myself for "research.") Below, I've made a list of the winners. They're sorted by category, so you can quickly find the types you like best.

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The Best Variety Book

What's great about it: This cool brain teaser collection is one of the best assorted puzzle books out there — which I can vouch for because I actually purchased it myself. It offers an excellent variety of puzzle types, including riddles, word games, numbers, and trivia. Most of them are fairly challenging, though not to the point where you can't complete them. Best of all, they're broken down into cognitive function categories, including long-term memory, working memory, executive functioning, attention to detail, multitasking, and processing speed.

One reviewer wrote: "Love this book - obviously since I gave it 5 stars. I've purchased other books that are suppose to be "brain" games, puzzles, etc., only to be so disappointed once they arrive and find out that they are nothing but word search puzzles or some such. This is definitely worth the money. A variety of quizzes that I've never seen before. You will be in for lots of fun, and you don't have to be a word freak or such to enjoy this book. I just ordered the sequel and cannot wait for it to arrive."


The Best For Crosswords

What's great about it: With more than 500 reviews on Amazon and a 4.4-star rating, this popular crossword puzzle book for adults features over 80 puzzles. All of them are in large, easy-to-read print so you don't have to squint to make out the clues. The puzzles get harder as you move through the book, allowing you to get a handle on the craft first before delving into the really challenging stuff. Best of all, it's spiral-bound, so it will stay open to the page you're on.

One reviewer wrote: "This book is just great, the puzzles are fun and not too difficult for me. The spiral binding makes it so easy to have it lay flat, and I couldn’t manage without the large print. All in all, I’m really enjoying it."


The Best For Sudoku

What's great about it: With more than 1,000 creations to solve, this is one of the best puzzle books for sudoku lovers out there. Not only are all of the puzzles well-crafted and easy to read, but they also come in a wide range of skill levels, too. Beginners and advanced sudoku-lovers alike can enjoy the workbook, which features 330 puzzles that are considered "easy," 342 labeled "medium," and 330 dubbed "hard."

One reviewer wrote: "Sudoku is my favorite puzzle game. And this book is exactly what I want. It has over 1000 games. The quality is good , clear printed. Highly recommended it."


The Best For Word Searches

What's great about it: If you love hunting for random words amidst a jumble of assorted letters, it doesn't get better than this comprehensive book of word searches. The large-print catalogue, which offers 100 individual puzzles, is clear and easy-to-read, with a wide range of difficulty levels. What's more, each puzzle provides more than 25 clues to help you if you get stuck.

One reviewer wrote: "I love the layout of the pages in this book, the pop of color on the edges really is visually appealing. The best part of this book is the plethora of themed word searches - flipped mine open and found a dozen (or more) that I was immediately drawn to (I started with Broadway musicals!). The chosen words appeal to a variety of generations and skill levels. 5 stars!"


The Best For Logic Puzzles

What's great about it: For folks who love serious brain teasers, this Puzzle Baron logic games book will both challenge and entertain you. With 200 grid-based logic puzzles in total, the compilation varies in difficulty, depending on which exercise you're tackling. Each one offers a brief backstory, along with a list of clues that will allow you to use your deductive reasoning skills to come up with the right answer.

One reviewer wrote: "These are great puzzles to keep you occupied on the airplane! I was really happy with the quality of the paperback cover too! I normally buy these types of things at the news stand in the airport and they fall apart. I am betting I will actually get to work all of the puzzles in this book before it falls apart."


The Best For Kakuro

What's great about it: Similarly to the sudoku selection above, this kakuro puzzle book has a range of games that go from from easy to hard, to accommodate all skill levels. There are 100 of each difficulty level — easy, medium, and hard — with two puzzles per page in an easy-to-read layout. It also has a reference guide with full number combinations.

One reviewer wrote: "Nice variety. Easy ones for days that I feel brain dead and hard ones for when I get [too] full of myself."


The Best For Cryptograms

What's great about it: Cryptogram fans will adore this giant book of large-print puzzles for adults. The puzzles, which involve substituting letters for other letters to crack a unique code, range in difficulty levels, so you can easily find the right one to match your skills or mood. It features 200 separate puzzles in easy-to-read formatting.

One reviewer wrote: "I'm an avid crossword puzzler and do the cryptoquiz in my local paper each day. I'm a little snobby when it come to puzzle books. This one is just fun. While they're a challenge, they aren't super hard. Many have a lot of 2 and 3 letter words, which can be tricky. I also liked that the author had 'hints' in the back. I didn't need them a lot but for the few puzzles I did, they helped. The large print is great."


The Best For Mystery Puzzles

What's great about it: Work on your sleuthing skills with this fun collection of brain games that challenge you to solve mysteries. Some are verbal mysteries while others are visual. In both cases, you get to act like a detective on a crime show, putting together the clues to crack the case.

One reviewer wrote: "Really enjoy the puzzles in this book. Crime related with a nice variety of different puzzles. Great gift idea for thinkers."