How long do Jigsaw Puzzles take?


How long do Puzzles take? How about Speed Puzzling?! How long does a 500 or 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle take? I personally think too long! That’s probably why I spent over 20 years at Gibsons in jigsaw product development, asking artists to avoid painting too much sky!

 Find out how long a 500 & 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle takes below … 

Stopwatch jigsaw puzzle

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How long does a 500 piece puzzle take if you are the USA Jigsaw National champion?

At the 2022 USA Jigsaw Nationals,Yvonne Feucht from Burbank, Calilfornia won in 54 mins and 41 secs!
The next event is set for March 22-24, 2024 in San Diego, CA to align with the World Jigsaw Championship schedule.

2022 USA Jigsaw Nationals

How long does a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle take if you are the UK jigsaw puzzle champion?

At the 2020 British Puzzle Championship, Sarah Mills completed the Gibsons ‘London Calling’ 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in 1 hour 40 minutes. That’s an average of one piece every six seconds and in the Guinness Book of Records!

In 2023, Sarah won again for the ninth year running but she is getting slower 🙂
She completed the ‘Ha’Penny Bridge’ Gibsons puzzle in 1 hour, 52 mins. I remember helping to develop this puzzle during my time at Gibsons – a very nice puzzle by a talented new artist.

British Jigsaw Championship 2023 - Sarah Mills
Granny Jigsaw puzzle stopwatch

How long to solve an all white jigsaw puzzle?

This is what Daron calculated here on the Mathematics website. However, it was based on a completely blank, white jigsaw puzzle and doing it logically – starting in one corner instead of the edge pieces first.

How long should it take to complete a jigsaw puzzle?

I will write more about this in the future in more detail, but 10 factors below.

  1. Number of pieces – does a 1000 piece jigsaw actually take twice as long as a 500 piece puzzle?
  2. Puzzle piece shape – do they all look the same and can be easily misplaced?
  3. Puzzle cut – are pieces cut randomly, in a grid, or even have no edges pieces at all!
  4. Colour variation – is half the puzzle made of blue sky with no clouds?
  5. Style & detail – painted or photographic? Broad repeating brush strokes or identifiable, sharp, unique detail?
  6. Jigsaw puzzle accessories – do you have a board and sorting trays to help?
  7. Are you using the picture? Some companies supply a separate picture; others have it on the box. Some puzzlers don’t even use the picture!
  8. Technique – do you sort out the jigsaw into separate areas first?
  9. Male or Female – now that’s an interesting one! Will you be surprised at the research results?
  10. The Jigsaw Puzzler – what levels of skill & experience do you have?

Doubling the number of puzzle pieces = twice as long?

Some say it is as simple as doubling the number of pieces doubles the time taken. This isn’t actually true, as edge pieces are the easiest to place, and there are relatively more edge pieces in a 500 piece puzzle than in a 1000 piece puzzle.

Some say doubling the number of pieces is not double the difficulty but four times. The reasoning is that if you look for an individual piece, you must look for it amongst all the remaining pieces in the box.

500 vs 1000 piece puzzle

So, for a 500 piece puzzle, to find the 11th piece, you have to search through 490 pieces compared to 990 pieces in a 1000 piece puzzle.

A 500 piece puzzle is more than double the difficulty of a 1000 piece puzzle, but not quite four times as hard.

The main reasons why it is not four times as hard is the use of colour & visual recognition as factors that can divide a larger puzzle into smaller sections. Grouping the blue pieces of a sky could make that section a separate (although tough!) 300 piece puzzle within a 1000 piece puzzle.

Einstein doing a jigsaw puzzle

Could you be the 1000 piece Jigsaw Puzzle World Champion?

(… sorry you officially can’t!)

The next World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship was held in Valladolid, Spain
on 20-24 Sept 2023.

The individual championship uses a 500pc puzzle, not a 1000 piece puzzle.
So sorry, you can’t actually be the 1000 piece world champion!

However, you can be a 1000 piece pairs champion.
The winning pair of Gisela Arranz Toro & Alejandro Clemente León from Spain
took 1 hour, 32 minutes and 18 secs for a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

The first World Jigsaw Puzzle Championship took place in Valladolid, Spain, on 28–29 September 2019. Team Siberia (Russia) completed a 5000 piece jigsaw with a time of 4 hours 11 minutes 17 seconds.

The 2023 British Jigsaw championship took place on 25th June at Newmarket.
Sarah Mills was champion again for the ninth year running. 

world champion jigsaw puzzler

How long does a 500 piece puzzle take for the World Champion?

In Sept 2023, Alejandro Clemente León from Barcelona won the 500 piece championship again
in a slightly slower time this year of  37 minutes and 59 secs.

What is the average time to complete a 1000 piece puzzle?

There have been no official research (none that I could find anyway), but looking at puzzlers’ answers from Quora, Reddit, Mumsnet and Facebook, the results are actually quite clear. The time to do a jigsaw puzzle really depends on you!

The ‘average person’ would take between 2 and 8 hours to complete a 500 piece puzzle
and between 5 hours and 15 hours for a 1000 piece puzzle.

… but who is Mr or Ms Average? Who doesn’t stop puzzling to make a cup of tea or reply to a phone message?
Different puzzles completed by the same person have hugely varying times according to the ten factors of difficulty.

Is the average 1000 piece puzzler quicker at puzzles than the average 500 piece puzzler?
Probably, so comparing times with different puzzles is not very scientific.

The UK champion’s average time for a 1000 piece puzzle is 2 hours.

So … if the average person did the average puzzle, it would likely take 4 hours for a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle,
9 hours for a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

Speed Puzzling

What is speed puzzling? was created by Jonathon Cluff in Jan 2020.
It involves puzzlers competing in person but also online – great timing as Covid was just about to turn the world upside down.
There are currently speed puzzlers in the USA, Canada, and the UK, and it is expanding to more countries.

Find out the current fastest Speed Puzzlers here.
Sarah Schuler was fastest in 2023 for a 1000 piece Cobble Hill puzzle in 1:41:17
In 2024, it is currently Andrea Pang in 1:55:29. I’m sure she won’t be the fastest for long! 


So … how long does it take to do a jigsaw puzzle?

It would depend on ten factors, including the number of puzzle pieces, the type of image and who you are!

How long does it take to do a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle?
A 500 piece jigsaw puzzle could take less than 35 minutes, but only if you are the world champion!

If you have a world champion partner, you could do a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in just over an hour.

How long does a jigsaw puzzle take for the average person with an average puzzle?
(and who drinks the average number of cups of tea or coffee!)

How long does a 300 piece puzzle take?  – 1 to 2 hours

How long does a 500 piece puzzle take?  – 3 to 5 hours

How long does a 1000 piece puzzle take? – 8 to 10 hours

How long does a 2000 piece puzzle take?  – 16 to 24 hours

How long does a 5000 piece puzzle take?  – 48 to 72 hours


The real answer – it should take you as long as you want it to.
Enjoy the journey as well as the destination!

Have you ever done a wooden jigsaw puzzle?
They are a completely new experience with their fantastic intricate shapes and ‘whimsies’.

If you liked this article, find out my thoughts on the most interesting jigsaw puzzle for adults, a perfect puzzle for Grandad, how to become a jigsaw puzzle artist, and a visit to a Jigsaw Festival!


Geoff Lee