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I'm trying to find certain bricks online, and of course, came across BrickLink. But it's so darn hard to use it; search is absolutely useless, and I can't figure out how to use the catalog for the life of me. Are there any good alternatives out there?

(I've skimmed through and BrickOwl, but haven't had time to really investigate -- can anyone vouch for them?)

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It took me a lil while to figure out but once I did, I love bricklink. I couldn't live without it to be honest. Invest the time to figure it out, it'll be worth it if you need various parts & pieces as much as I do. – user3660 Apr 24 '14 at 23:03

3 Answers 3

BrickLink is by far the best place to buy LEGO. It is also very easy to use. Once you get how it works, you will never look back. There are several very helpful videos on YouTube showing you how to use BrickLink most efficiently. Here is one:

I have also put together a detailed written guide on how to use BrickLink here:

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Thanks, BrickBlogger. But I would argue that if you need a written guide and/or video tutorial, then it's most likely not easy to use. (Maybe instead of "easy to use," I should say "intuitive".) – Gabe Apr 24 '14 at 21:06
Also: BrickLink 2.0 is in the works and I suspect (ok, hope) it will be more intuitive. – gev Apr 25 '14 at 20:53
Good point. I can appreciate that. In my experience BL was easy to use from the beginning; I could find and buy the parts I wanted. However the site is quite robust and there are ways to take advantage of advanced functions. There are whole books written about how to use eBay, so BL is no different in this regard. The video and the guide are just ways to shorten the learning curve for new users. – TheBrickBlogger Apr 26 '14 at 17:11
I'm amused that your response to "bricklink is hard to use" is a flat contradiction. – Mσᶎ Apr 27 '14 at 23:13
BrickBlogger: I think eBay -- though not the prettiest of sites -- is easy to use in that if I'm looking for a "16GB iPad Mini with 3G", I can type that into the searchbar and I'll find relevant results. On BL, if I want to find a 2x2 yellow block, how do I go about looking for that? I wish I can just type that into the search bar, but it's not that easy. With eBay, it's easy to get started, but will take time to get to Pro status; with BL, it seems like it'll take a while just to get started... – Gabe Apr 28 '14 at 17:10

I just did a search on all three sites for "2x2 yellow brick."

Peeron returned 50 results in a wall-of-text format with no images and I really didn't want to sift through it. But I did and none of them was a standard 2x2 yellow brick.

BrickLink returned 16 results, all with individual images of specific items, none of which was a plain yellow 2x2 (but almost all of them were 2x2 bricks colored yellow or green).

BrickOwl returned 58 results, most of which would make sense to someone who had no idea what Legos are, but none of which were a standard 2x2 yellow brick. More than half of them had a generic white 2x4 "this product is a Lego brick" image, which meant I had to read the description of each item to discover if it was what I was looking for.

So out of those three websites, BrickLink was the one that most-quickly informed me that I was using imprecise (but pretty good) search terms and Peeron was the one that most-quickly made me feel that I never want to look at that website ever again. BrickOwl made me feel like I was searching eBay for a replacement screw to the door panel on a 2003 Saturn Ion with the grey door panels instead of the standard black ones, and I know the original screw was a phillips head but I need a hex-head screw. I had to actually click on 47 results before realizing that "grey" isn't the correct color name and I needed to look up what Saturn called "grey" in 2003 (it's "Storm Gray," btw).

The problem with wanting a simple search function in the Lego catalog is that the catalog is so huge and the terminology so ambiguous (to the uninitiated) that a simple search query isn't likely to give you what you want unless you ARE familiar with the terminology or already know the part number you're looking for.

Conclusion: as complicated as BrickLink appears to the new user, it is the best-kept database of the three. There are images for (I'm very sure) every item, and the catalog is broken into very easy-to-understand categories. The website is difficult to navigate and the forum is absolutely useless, but if all you want to do is buy bricks, BrickLink is it.

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I think BrickOwl is the best alternative to Bricklink, I placed an order there and it worked as well as on Bricklink. The fact that many sellers on BL also sell on BO. There are only two things that BO can't compete with BL: inventory, and a bit higher price.

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Thanks, Tien. Just checking -- do you personally prefer BO over BL? Or are you just saying it's a decent alternative? – Gabe Jun 5 '14 at 17:42
@Gabe Let's say, if I want to buy some pieces I'd check BO first, then BL (of course I know the chance I found them on BO is less than BL :)). – Tien Do Jun 6 '14 at 4:24
FYI, I've been adding some custom items to sell on BO and found some issues with it although those are seller's issue: inventory management is hard and far less intuitive than website interface, help document is incomplete, and support is poor. – Tien Do Sep 9 '14 at 9:46

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