If LEPIN is a completely new brand to you, then boy oh boy, do we have a lot to tell you about this company today! If you've been following the brand for a while, then you'll know that they have been embroiled in a lengthy LEPIN vs LEGO debate since they started business - resulting in a raid on their factory in 2019 because of their copyright infringement of LEGO.
And whilst that doesn't sound like we're getting off to a good start today, things have been turning around for LEPIN lately, as more and more customers look for cheaper LEGO alternatives, so, if you want to hear everything there is to know about LEPIN, stick around for today's post!
Before we dive into today's post, we have to make one thing very clear: all the information we're providing you with today about LEPIN was found on the internet and we're just compiling it into one article.
Information about the brand is scarce, largely due to the raid on their business back in 2019. Following this, on the 1st May 2019, the company announced that they had ceased trading. As of June 2022 (when we're writing this) LEPIN can be purchased from LEPINLAND.com, which has been selling the products since 2015, according to their website, and continues to get new stock today.
Although it's worth noting that there are plenty of websites online that sell LEPIN products - how legitimate they are (including LEPINLAND.com too, we've never purchased from there so we can't verify them ourselves) is something you'll need to decide for yourself.
Why are we telling you all this? Because LEPIN is perhaps the most controversial construction toy brand out there - and for good reason. When they first started out in 2015 in China, they had a vision to create a construction toy for children and adults alike using bricks that could be used for play and display. Sounds awfully familiar, right? And that's because it is - what they created was, in the view of many (including LEGO themselves), a direct rip off of LEGO products.
Picture from Lepin 02036 Not Lego City Truck Set Review
To many, they look the same, are constructed in the same way, and have very similar themes. The only difference? The price. LEPIN undercut LEGO by selling their cheaper products for less money, meaning many people flocked to LEPIN as a way of saving money.
Then came the 2019 controversy, and now LEPIN is seemingly back. So if you've ever asked yourself 'Can I still buy LEPIN?' the answer is yes, you can. Whether that's morally right or not, though, only you can decide...
But we're not here to lecture you about right and wrong today. We're just here to examine LEPIN and determine if they're worth buying or not... So let's start by looking at the bricks themselves.
When you do a quick comparison of LEPIN vs LEGO, you'll notice at first glance that the bricks are remarkably similar. They fit together in the same way, they're available in similar sizes, and they have all the same colors, etc.
Dig a little deeper, though, and you'll notice that LEGO has a clear advantage over LEPIN in the quality of the bricks themselves. They feel more durable, and, well, less cheap. LEPIN is only able to undercut LEGO on prices because they use less durable materials, meaning you spend less money, but the bricks aren't as good.
It would be unfair to LEPIN to say that their bricks don't get the job done, though. Fitting them together might be a little clunky, and they might not feel as good as LEGO does, but they still fit together and create a model at the end of it. The bricks just aren't quite as streamlined as LEGO, or as high-quality.
Picture from Lepin 02036 Not Lego City Truck Set Review
Speaking of quality, let's look at the finished products themselves. Because once everything is together, it becomes even harder to notice differences between LEGO and LEPIN.
The finished sets - especially those that have the same theme - look almost identical, and even the most avid LEGO fan might struggle to tell the difference between a LEGO and LEPIN set. So if you're using the products for display purposes alone, then really you wouldn't be able to notice a difference once you'd actually built the set.
The problems come when you want to play with the set, though. Why? Because LEPIN sets are less durable, you'll notice that by playing with the sets, things will break more easily. And that means you'll have to put the bricks back together more often, which means more wear and tear, until eventually LEPIN's cheaper quality bricks won't fit together properly.
So if it's for display only, you probably won't be able to tell the difference between LEGO and LEPIN, but for play, LEGO will clearly be the better choice.
This is probably the trickiest section for us to write because in terms of the price you pay, LEPIN wins every time. But value is more than that, right? It's not just how many dollars you depart with - it's about whether it was worth departing with them to begin with. And honestly? We just don't think it is.
You might pay less, but the product you're buying is of a lower quality, and not only that, it doesn't add anything to the bricks. It's not like LEPIN offers something new or innovative with the sets they release, they just release a lower quality, cheaper version of LEGO sets.
If you're looking to save a quick buck, then sure, it might be worth it to you. But for us, the lower quality product doesn't feel like good value for money in the same way that LEGO does.
That's not to say that LEGO gets their prices right every time. Sometimes they're extortionately overpriced - but at least the quality is guaranteed.
It won't come as a surprise to you that LEPIN's most popular products are their LEPIN Star Wars range, which, unsurprisingly, carries most of the same sets as LEGO Star Wars, only for a cheaper price, meaning collectors who want to save money flock to LEPIN to create a display LEPIN Star Wars piece that looks just like LEGO's.
Other ranges that LEPIN has created include:
- Creator Model
Seemingly all of their products are quite popular, but they're themes all toe the line very closely to LEGO...
LEPIN also releases minifigures with some of their sets, and yet again, they look just like LEGO's. Take their Friends collection, for example. It's immediately obvious that each minifigure is supposed to be Rachel, Chandler, Monica, etc., but again, they don't have quite the same quality as LEGO's minifigures. They look very similar to LEGO's minifigures in their Central Perk set, and they carry the same accessories, but they don't feel the same quality.
This seems to be a running theme throughout today's post, right? The look is something LEPIN gets right every time, but it's the quality of the products that show the biggest differences between LEGO and LEPIN.
Pros Of LEPIN
Before we decide whether or not we think LEPIN is worth buying, let's examine their pros and cons, starting, as always, with the good bits:
- Create sets with popular themes (LEPIN Star Wars, LEPIN City, etc)
- The price is usually much cheaper than LEGO's
- If using for display, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference
Cons Of LEPIN
- Is it morally right to buy from a company who is actively ripping off another? Only you can decide that...
- Poorer quality bricks
- Poorer quality minifigures
- Ill-suited for play
- No clear, guaranteed safe place to buy them online
- May face customs fees if buying from the US as they're based in China
- Typically get building instructions via PDF - no physical book
- They don't box their products in the same high-quality way as LEGO
- Rarely release stickers with their sets
- There's no innovation whatsoever with their sets and products
It's been clear where this has been going since the start of our LEPIN review post, right? In our view, LEPIN isn't worth buying. They release sets that might look the same as LEGO, but they don't have LEGO's quality, and even if the price is lower, it still doesn't feel like good value for money. If you're looking to save money and don't mind about quality, then sure, you could buy LEPIN. We'd just be cautious about where you buy from, as there are many sites selling their products, and we don't know how reputable they all are.
How About Something A Little Less Controversial?
If today's post has left you feeling a little icky, then why not try something a little less controversial if you're looking for a LEGO alternative? Here at Funwhole, we offer unique building kits with lights already included, so you get something a little different from either LEGO or LEPIN, since you can build your set and then enjoy them on display, day or night.
We believe your hard work should be rewarded with a light display that really brings your set to life, so if you think that sounds good, why not head to our products page now and see what we have to offer? We have a feeling you're going to love it!