Cobi vs LEGO®: Which one is better?

Cobi vs LEGO®: Which one is better?

For those who've never tried alt bricks it's normal to not know what to expect, even with established brands like Cobi.

In this article, we are going to compare Cobi vs LEGO® in diverse matters such as quality, themes, prices and value. By the end, you'll be able to answer the big question: Is Cobi as good as LEGO®?

Cobi vs LEGO®: Overview

Cobi LEGO®
Quality 10/10 10/10
Themes Military and historical vehicles, licensed European cars

All themes (except for military) for all ages

Price Affordable for big sets Expensive
Value/collectability Moderate High
Minifigures Yes Yes
Aftermarket support Excellent Excellent
Strong points
  • Military sets
  • Original licensed themes
  • EU quality control
  • Only printed pieces (no stickers)
  • Realism
  • Wide variety of themes and collections
  • Premium brand
  • Playability
Weak points
  • Catalog limited to military and licensed/historical vehicles
  • Price for smaller sets
  • Not as famous as LEGO®
  • No military sets
  • Uses stickers
  • Price for bigger sets

Cobi is a well-known and reputable alt brick brand from Poland. They've been around since 1987, and they produce their own pieces in the EU.

LEGO® doesn't need much introduction considering it's the biggest toy company in the world. Long story short, it's a premium brand, and 2032 will be its 100 year anniversary.

Having said that, Cobi has managed to find its place in the building blocks industry, which is dominated by LEGO®. It's specialized in very popular themes that the Danish brand does not work on, such as the military, and other historical vehicles and licensed European cars. In addition, Cobi competes very well on price with LEGO®, attracting many new customers every year.



We all know first-hand the quality of LEGO®, and it has not disappointed in all these decades, which for many justifies its high price. The Danish brand uses a very powerful software package that makes its bricks fit together precisely. LEGO® also invests continuosly in R&D. They have factories in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico, and China.

Cobi, for its part, is the largest European building block manufacturer (excluding LEGO®), with a factory in Mielec (Poland), and sells its products all over the world. They quality of their bricks is excellent, many of their fans even put them above LEGO®.

We have stocked and built many Cobi sets and we found that it is very difficult to differentiate it from LEGO®. If you are an expert, you will notice that the pieces fit together more tightly than those of LEGO®, contributing to the stability of the models, although they are also somewhat more difficult to disassemble.

A clear advantage of Cobi over LEGO® is that Cobi doesn't use stickers. Its pieces are always pad printed.

In terms of packaging, Cobi boxes have a unique design that makes them easy to spot. Cobi's logo is a smiling sun, and their aim is to make children radiant with happiness. 

Cobi sets' instructions are very clear and precise, so in this sense too, there is nothing to miss.


For many fans, minifigs are the main attraction when buying a set. Thankfully, both Cobi and LEGO® include them with many of their sets.

That said, Cobi minifigures are very different from those of LEGO®. It is clear thay they have purposedly tried to get away from copying the design, in order to avoid being considered LEGO knock-offs. This is something that many other LEGO® alternative brands have done not so well. LEGO® minifigs are just too good!

The Cobi minifig faces have somewhat more of a 3D feature, and most of them are military characters. Cobi minifigures are 100% compatible with LEGO®, but they don't have spaces for studs on the butt, so they don't always sit as nicely.


LEGO® has the largest variety of themes on the market, and offers building experiences for all tastes and ages. Their Star Wars, Disney, or Harry Potter licenses are well-known, but also their modular lines like Lego City, collections designed for AFOLs such as Architecture or Icons, or those for the little ones like Duplo.

On the other side, Cobi has been able to take advantage of the gap left by LEGO®, and specialize in military sets. They have been doing it for many years, so they have a very extensive catalog of tanks, planes and helicopters within their historical collections from the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War.

In addition, many military models are licensed by well-known manufacturers as Boeing, Sikorsky, or Northrop Grumman.

Cobi also has a great line of European cars licensed by Maserati, Citroën, Opel, Skoda, or Lancia, both large (1:12 scale) and smaller in its Youngtimer Collection. Cobi's catalog also includes other historical vehicles like the Titanic and NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Another significant difference between LEGO® and Cobi is that the Danish company focuses more on the playability of the sets, while Cobi is more faithful to the realism of the models it reproduces.

Price and value

One of alt bricks greatest advantages is that, in general, they are more affordable than LEGO®.

However, to compare LEGO® vs Cobi it's important to chose similar sets: similar number of pieces, licensed or not licensed, and type of build (technic, standard, for small kids, etc.).

We did the numbers ourselves, comparing large sets and smaller sets, and here is what we found out:

  • Larger sets in LEGO® cost around 10 cents a piece, while in Cobi the price drops to 7 cents a piece. Here is an example: 
    • LEGO®'s Back to the Future set has 1.872 pieces, and costs €200.
    • Cobi's Citroën Traction Avant, with it's 1,900 pieces costs €130.
    • Both are licensed sets.
  • Smaller sets in Cobi are more expensive than LEGO®'s. For example:
    • LEGO's Pagani Utopia has 249 pieces, and includes a minifig. It costs 10 cents per piece.
    • Cobi's Barkas B1000, with 157 pieces, no minifig, costs 12 cents a piece.
    • As said before, Cobi's pad printed pieces increase the cost of the sets, and this is specially noticeable in smaller sets.

Another important consideration for value is each sets collectability. LEGO® sets and pieces tend to either hold their value over time or increase in value when the set is retired. There's a whole industry based around buying sets and holding them to resell once their retired.

Cobi sets, being less popular overall, don't have the same value over time. You may be able to sell your sets second hand, but don't expect to get more than you paid initially, even if the set is retired.

LEGO® vs Cobi: The verdict

Regardless of how collectable they are, the quality of Cobi bricks is as good as LEGO®'s. The biggest difference lies in the themes, and, in a second plane, the prices.

As for which one is better, it will depend on what you're looking for. If you want the best experience for the money, Cobi is better since for the same investment you get larger sets. It's also the only way to enjoy military sets, with a huge catalog to choose from.

But if you are a collector or someone looking for thematic variety, it is clear that LEGO offers many more options. They're more expensive, but each set is consistently great, and it should hold its value if you want to sell it in the future.

If you're still on the fence, check out the Cobi models we have in our catalog to see if any of them catch your fancy!

Frequently asked questions

Are Cobi blocks compatible with LEGO®?

Absolutely. Cobi uses the standard brick size, which is what LEGO® standardized at the time. Technic parts are also compatible.

Does Cobi sell licensed sets?

Yes, Cobi sells original and licensed sets. It is a legit alt brick brand with no copycat sets.

Does Cobi copy LEGO® sets?

No, Cobi is a 100% original European brand that strictly complies with image and brand rights. Even Cobi minifigures are entirely unique from LEGO® minifigs.

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1 comment

En mi opinión emular la calidad Lego es muy difícil.Lo que me gusta de Cobi es que hay vehiculos blindados y todo el tema militar que Lego no hace.Las minifiguras de Cobi no me gustan nada.

Jordi Marco Villarrubia

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