Well made wooden toys are durable and worth the investment as they will last through generations of children. Sadly, over the past few years, some big brand names have taken tried and tested designs and mass-produced them using inferior quality wood and cheap manufacturing processes. Yes, they look great. Yes, they look the same as the originals, but they break and do not have the longevity of a well made wooden toys. They are very cheap to buy and suit many peoples buy and discard mentality.
So if you ask me are that type of mass-produced wooden toy better, I will shout no and keep shouting no until you either promise to stop buying them or run from the room frightened.
So how do you recognise a better wooden toy from a cheap disposable one. Many highly coloured wooden toys with thick coats of paint are hiding poor quality wood or even worse MDF (medium density fibre board) which if the paint chips off, and it will, gives off formaldehyde gas . The glue used in MDF is usually urea formaldehyde (UF).
Is an MDF made toy a better wooden toy? Nope.
Many doll houses are made primarily from MDF so when that price looks to good to be true. It probably is. If you can see the grain of the wood, the fine lines that run along the wood, then it is real wood and not MDF. Look at how thick the wood is. Cheaper wooden toys will often have the absolute minimum thickness that the manufacturer can get away with but of course that thickness won't withstand your little people when they apply their particular brand of play.
Does thin flimsy wood make a wooden toy better? Nope.
How are the corners of the toy joined is there movement in the joints. Have they been glued properly with child safe glue? It should say it on the box. If screws have been used is the wood strong enough to hold them in. MDF will let the screws go and thin wood wont have enough depth to be able to tighten them.
Are wooden toys better? Yes if you stay away from mass-produced, mass marketed, supermarket toys (and anything sold on site where the owner spends any time in space in a questionable shaped rocket). A better question would be... are Well Made Wooden Toys Better? The answer to that is a very simple YES.