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Finding the Best Magic Sets

Updated on November 14, 2010

Now you see it, now you don’t. Abracadabra! Though we know we are being fooled, magic tricks still capture the imagination of children and the children living inside of adults. Even though we ask, “how did he do it?” we often really don’t want to know the answer. Magic tricks and the associated performance art have a rich tradition going back for more than a century, and further back if one looks at earlier traditions of conjuring. Many children and adults desire, however, to explore the other side of the curtain and do magic themselves. This requires them to obtain the effects and props necessary to complete the tricks. Many purchase magic sets for themselves or their children as a way of expediting this process.

But with the huge variety of magic trick sets out there, how does one make the right choice? There are a number of questions you can ask yourself, about your own interests or your child’s, to more closely determine what kind of magic set you’re interested in purchasing. This article will describe the various types of sets available, who may be interested in them, their pros and cons, and some suggestions on where to find and buy them.

A Magic Trick Set Should Match Your Interests

Let’s assume for a moment that you are interested in purchasing a set for yourself. First you need to ask yourself: what kind of magic do I like? If you don’t have any specific preference, then any set will do, as you’ll be interested in sampling out the variety of routines and effects available, only then narrowing down your specialty. Or perhaps you are interested in card magic, coin magic, rope magic, close up magic, impromptu magic, or one of the many other varieties of magic. There are sets dedicated to just these small fields, so if you’d like to specialize in one, make sure you find a corresponding set.

Similarly, if you are interested in purchasing a magic tricks set for a child, think about what kind of magic he or she might be interested in. If you can’t think of anything specific, this is fine, as there are many general sets for children available on the market. Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, you can then decide what kind of collection you will purchase.

The Full Set: Props & Effects

One of the more popular options available is a full set of magic tricks, containing dozens of tricks with the required props and instructions for performing them. Some sets come with accessories, like magic wands, hats, and miniature performing stands. A child may enjoy more of the latter accessories, while an adult may be more concerned with the tricks themselves, but both pieces are fun for everyone. The size of the magic sets themselves can vary: some come with twenty or more tricks, while other larger sets can come with 100 tricks and up. Some may even come with a DVD to help the performer learn his or her craft.

The pros of this type of set are that it comes with preselected, preworked tricks that are sure to please any crowd, and the sets are usually nicely put together and well-balanced. They are usually easy to perform and can introduce the beginner to many different types of tricks. On the con side, the sets are usually rather expensive, depending on the size and quality. In addition, because the tricks come in a preformed set, there is usually less skill development possible because the effects may rely on gimmicky props. This is not necessarily true, of course, but is on the average. Someone who is serious about magic may find that what is included is rather limited, and one may find oneself relying on gimmicked props than on sleight-of-hand, misdirection, or presentation.


Magic trick books are the traditional way that people learned magic. The variety of magic books ranges from single, stand-alone volumes to books which include DVDs or props. The subject matter can range from basic introductions to a wide variety of tricks to advanced tomes on narrow topics. The advantages of these books are many: they usually provide a lot of value (hundreds of tricks for a cheaper price than a set). Also, because the books usually only require normal, non-gimmicked props, the learner may be able to learn serious skill development – they will not need to rely on props to do an effect but can give impromptu performances.

On the other hand, many people find it hard to learn from books. Being able to work with a prop may help the beginner perform at first. In addition, learning fancy sleight-of-hand may be counterproductive for a beginner, as he or she might need to learn the basics of misdirection and presentation first.


DVDs are a good middle ground between a full blown magic set and a book. While DVDs usually offer fewer tricks than other options, they are usually still a good value. Some DVDs also come with books and props as well. Furthermore, not only can someone learn the fundamentals of magical performance without the crutch of props, they also get to actually see the tricks being performed by a competent magician. Seeing is believing, as they say, and in this case seeing is learning. Learning presentation and misdirection is key, and it is not possible to see this in a book or a magic trick set as you might in a video. DVDs may be a good middle ground for those have a hard time learning from books but may want more grounded, fundamental magic lessons.

Where to Buy a Magic Set

Some department stores and major retailers carry magic sets. While they are probably the most convenient, they also carry the smallest variety of sets, and you may not get the greatest deal. The next best option is an online retailer, like Amazon. They carry more of variety, and you may get a better price as well. The best options, however, are dedicate magic stores, both brick & mortar and online. They offer the best selection of sets, including more specialized ones, though they may be more expensive. However, though they may be expensive, you can be assured of their quality.

An Example Magic Set


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      Sic em on a chicken 6 years ago

      Needs more magic