An introduction to LEGO® alternative brands and alt bricks

An introduction to LEGO® alternative brands and alt bricks

Most people are familiar with LEGO® from their childhood, but nowadays there are plenty of alternative brick building brands that offer a fantastic building experience.

Ready to explore the world of alt bricks and LEGO® alternatives? You've come to just the right place.

What are alt bricks?

Alt bricks, or alternative bricks, is a catch-all term for any brick building brand that isn't LEGO®. We are well past the days of copycat knockoffs, with many reputable companies supplying unique or fully licensed sets.

Most of these brands use LEGO® compatible pieces, but this is perfectly legal as the relevant patent expired back in 1978. Judges around the world have repeatedly ruled that the interlocking studs are functional in design, and therefore not subject to trademark protection.

As a result, the landscape of legitimate alt brick LEGO® alternative companies has exploded in recent years, particularly after the shutdown of notorious copyright infringer Lepin.

Best LEGO® alternative brands

Here at Latericius we only stock original or licensed sets from reputable alt brick brands. Here's a quick overview of the the best alt brick brands and LEGO® alternatives you can buy today.

CaDA

Alt brick cada logo
  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Excellent
  • Most popular sets: Cars

CaDA was established in 2016, and it's the closest to a true LEGO® rival as there is. The company manufactures its own bricks, and it only releases original and licensed sets.

While best known for its excellent car sets, the company has also recently expanded into buildings and other subject matter.

In 2020 the company launched the CaDA Master Series, which works with well-known MOCers to turn their designs into licensed products. This process is far less strenuous than LEGO® Ideas submissions, quickly winning over many serious MOCers.

Check out some of our most popular CaDA products to learn more about what the brand has to offer.

Mould King

Mould King Lego alternative

  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Excellent
  • Most popular sets: Cars, buildings, spaceships

Mould King is a larger alt brick brand that stepped in to fill the gap after the shutdown of Lepin. It uses excellent quality bricks, but not all of its designs are licensed.

In the past, the company has also stolen designs from MOCers, although it has gotten away from this practice in recent years. Newer designs are typically licensed from the designers.

With that out of the way, this company sells sets that easily give LEGO® a run for its money, both in terms of design and the quality of the bricks. These include cars, buildings, robots, flowers, and just about anything you can think of.

Pantasy

Pantasy Logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Excellent
  • Most popular sets: Pop culture characters

Pantasy is a relatively new alt brick brand, but it has really impressed us with its original, licensed designs from popular IP like Astro Boy, The Little Prince, and others.

Founded just a few years ago in August 2020, the brand has a relatively limited catalog compared to bigger brands like Mould King, but each set features a spectacular design, often with notable extras like lighting kits.

Mork

Mork Lego alternative logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Very good
  • Most popular sets: Buildings, cars

Mork, sometimes called xMork, is a lesser-known alt brick brand, and it's another that has taken great steps toward becoming a more legitimate contender on the scene.

The company features both original designs and licensed builds from popular MOCers around the world. These are mostly buildings, but they range from modern coffee shops and modular city restaurants to rural wineries and more. See our collection of Mork sets.

Sluban

Sluban Logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Very good
  • Most popular sets: Military, cars

Sluban was in hot water a few years back for selling minifigures that were too similar to LEGO®, but today the brand is more legitimate than ever. It now uses a newer minifigure design that is definitely unique, with a bit more of a Playmobile style.

The alt brick brand is still focused on smaller sets, mostly for military and car themes, but it has also branched out into small shops, boats, and licensed sets for things like Garfield.

Sluban sets tend to be a bit hit or miss, but they're very affordable and worth a look. Check out our handpicked selection here.

Cobi

Cobi Logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Excellent
  • Most popular sets: Military 

Cobi is unique in our list in that it's actually based in Poland rather than China. The company has been in business since 1987, with a different style of minifigure with a more 3D face design.

LEGO® notably doesn't make any military sets, but Cobi has no such qualms. The vast majority of sets made by the company are for modern military equipment, including tanks, airplanes, boats, and more.

Many of these sets are officially licensed, either by manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing or popular IP like Top Gun or Company of Heroes 3.

Check out our collection of Cobi sets to learn more.

MEGA

Mega logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: Yes
  • Brick quality: Very good
  • Most popular sets: Pokemon, Barbie, Game of Thrones

MEGA Brands is owned by Mattel, so there's some serious weight behind it. Blocks and moulds are very high quality, and most sets are durable and made for play.

However, the brand does tend to focus on more kid-friendly sets. Most sets are smaller, and many use very few interlocking pieces.

MEGA Construx is the exception, with more sets designed for older kids and adult builders. They have some excellent licenses, including Pokemon, Halo, and Barbie.

The MEGA Construx Black Series has more TV and video game franchises like Game of Thrones and Call of Duty, but they can be more difficult to find.

Nanoblock

Nanoblock logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: No
  • Brick quality: Excellent
  • Most popular sets: Pokemon, anime, buildings 

Nanoblock is a sub-brand of the Japanese company Kawada, and you may have seen its tiny block sets pop up in stores in the past decade.

Nanoblock pieces are far smaller than LEGO®, and use a rail-based mechanism for interlocking rather than tubes. The pieces are so small that we recommend using tweezers to assemble them.

There is no shortage of licensed sets coming out of this alt brick brand, including very popular anime series like Pokemon, Naruto, and others. The company also makes interesting architectural models, as well as a few other themes.

LOZ

LOZ logo

  • Compatible with LEGO®: No
  • Brick quality: Very good
  • Most popular sets: Buildings, characters 

LOZ is another brand that uses smaller bricks, and they are somewhere between Nanoblocks and LEGO® pieces in size. However, design-wise they are much more similar to LEGO®, with a wide variety of pieces and builds available.

In fact, the catalog of LOZ sets is absolutely enormous, and it can be difficult to know which sets are worth buying. In the past, some sets were simply smaller versions of LEGO® or MOC builds, but thankfully those days are long gone.

Although you can find LOZ sets overseas, the brand seems to focus on a Chinese audience, with themes for popular IP in China and holidays like the Chinese New Year.

Still, LOZ building sets are far cheaper than LEGO® and even many other alt brick brands, mostly due to the diminutive size of the pieces.

Smaller brands

There are a number of smaller brands, many of which rebox and resell China-exclusive sets to a Western audience. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since they wouldn't otherwise be available, and the companies typically handle aftermarket service for missing pieces.

Here is a short list of smaller alt brick brands we've tested and recommend:

  • Nifeliz
  • JMBricklayer

Frequently asked questions

Here are a few common questions about alt brick sets and brands to help clear up any confusion for anyone new to the hobby.

Are alt brick sets legal?

Yes, alt brick sets are legal, provided they respect copyright law. Standard bricks are not protected by patents or copyright, but some elements, such as the iconic LEGO® minifigure, are protected by copyright and cannot be legally replicated.

Are alt brick sets good quality?

It depends on the manufacturer of the bricks, but nowadays the quality of bricks from alt brick brands very nearly matches that of the Danish giant. They all feature great clutch and finishes, although the most common failing is in slight moulding variations.

Do alt brick brands provide replacement pieces?

This depends on the brand, but many alt brick brands do provide replacement pieces free of charge for missing or damaged pieces. In other cases, the place you bought the set, such as Latericius, can often provide aftermarket service.

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Disclaimer: LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

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