Hot glue guns make it easier to complete a variety of crafts and DIY jobs, but there are nuances to these handy tools that make them suitable for a variety of projects. Use this Best Glue Guns guide to choose the best glue gun for your craft and DIY needs.
Versatile glue guns come in handy for everything from kid-friendly crafts and decorative seasonal items to fabric-based interior design pieces like headboards, lampshades and seamless pillowcases. Around the house, hot glue guns can also help plug nail holes, add traction to the back of carpets, and do many other projects. While many types of glue take time (sometimes hours) to bond, hot glue guns spray a molten adhesive that bonds as it cools - often in less than a minute - so crafts and DIY projects go much faster.
We've tested the top glue guns on the market to help you choose the right one for your home repair and crafting needs. Whether you're buying your first glue gun or ready to upgrade to a higher-end model, read on to learn how to review these tools and find out why we've selected the models below as the best choices for most crafters and DIY hobbyists. Each of the top choices below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and a thorough review of the products.
1. Best overall: Gorilla Dual Temperature Mini Hot Glue Gun Kit
2. Value for money: Elmer's Craft Bond High Temperature Mini Hot Glue Gun
3. Best Multipurpose: Chandler Tool Hot Glue Gun Kit High Temperature Industrial
4. Best Wireless: WORKPRO Wireless Hot Glue Gun
5. Best Low Temperature: AdTech Ultra Low Temperature Cooling Tool
6. Best Heavy Duty: Surebonder PRO2-220 220 Watt Adjustable Hot Glue Gun
7. Best for Woodworking: Ryobi Glue Gun P305 with Charger and Battery
All glue guns can dispense molten glue, but depending on the processes and repairs you deal with most often, one model may be better suited for your use than another. Evaluating features such as the actual temperature of the unit and the amount of glue dispensed will help you make the right choice.
There are low-temperature and high-temperature hot glue guns, each with its usefulness.
Low temperature: The low temperature glue gun heats the glue to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. While the tip of the glue gun is still hot, it is safer to use and less likely to cause accidental burns than a high-temperature tool. Designed for low-temperature glue sticks, the low-temperature glue gun has a silicone base that melts easily at lower temperatures. This glue gun is suitable for light projects such as making paper chains and scrapbooks. It is also the tool of choice for kid-friendly crafts, but children must still be supervised by an adult when using any glue gun.
High temperature: Reaching temperatures of about 380 degrees Fahrenheit, high-temperature glue guns can melt many different types of glue sticks, including those with thermoplastic compounds, polymers and acrylic components that create strong bonds on plastic, wood and even metal. On the downside, super-hot glue is more likely to burn or blister skin if touched while still very hot. For this reason, high-temperature glue guns are ideal for bonding materials such as metal, rock, wood and plastic together and should only be used by adults.
When it comes to glue guns, power and heat go hand in hand. Higher wattage means a hotter glue gun, faster heating and the ability to hold heat longer. Low-temperature glue guns are typically rated at 10 to 20 watts. High-temperature guns start at 20 watts and can go up to 100 watts or more. For projects requiring large amounts of glue, such as making heavy wreaths from pine cones, using a high-temperature gun with 60 watts or more will reduce downtime. Such a wreath can be made with a low-temperature gun, but it may take a minute or more for the gun to heat up again between pine cone installations.
Most glue guns have a single temperature, but a few have adjustable controls that allow you to switch between high and low temperatures as needed. For a variety of crafts and DIY projects, the best choice may be an adjustable temperature gun.
Glue guns are available in full size or mini size, with the size related to the type of glue stick the tool can be used with. Mini guns use a thin 0.27-inch diameter glue stick, while full-size guns use a larger 0.44-inch diameter glue stick. The full size gun emits a larger amount of hot glue per squeeze, while the mini gun emits a smaller amount of hot glue, making it ideal for wrapping gifts and creating delicate crafts, such as Christmas decorations.
Most glue guns don't have a lot of fancy features; they are very simple in design. But there are a few extra features that can make glue guns safer and easier to use.
On/Off Switch: Most glue guns are on by default when plugged in, but some have an on/off switch that allows you to turn the gun off when plugged in.
Stand: Many guns have a tripod that flips down to balance the tool when you set it down, but some have a separate stand that the gun can rest on. Others have an upright design that stands on its base.
Tips with sleeves: The safest glue guns come with heat-resistant sleeves that cover most metal dispensing tips, thus reducing the risk of burning your fingers.
For years, the only glue gun on the market had to be plugged into a wall outlet, but newer glue guns are cordless models that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or disposable butane gas cartridges. Cordless models can reach places where there is no outlet, such as gluing loose shingles to a garden shed. A single butane gas cylinder or fully charged 18-volt battery can power the glue gun for about 2 to 3 hours.
We have tested a variety of highly rated glue guns and found the following models to be the best on the market. One is likely to be suitable for your crafts and DIY projects.
The Gorilla Dual Temperature Mini Hot Glue Gun weighs only 12 ounces and features an ergonomic trigger for easy handling. The carefully designed nozzle allows for precise placement of hot glue, and because it has two heat settings, it can accommodate both low and high temperature glue sticks. In fact, the Gorilla is offered as a kit that includes a pack of 30 glue sticks.
In our testing, we found the mini glue gun to be comfortable to hold, the nozzle doesn't leak or drip glue when placed upright, and the built-in holder holds the tool firmly in place when not in use. We also appreciated the impressive 45-second heating time. Keep in mind, however, that the tool is very small, so large hands may feel uncomfortable.
Elmer's Craft Bond glue gun may be small and inexpensive, but it offers a big safety advantage. With its insulated nozzle and emergency auto shut-off feature, the gun is perfect for use around children.
We were skeptical at first because of the gun's small overall size and small trigger, but we found the slightly curved handle fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. It is a high-temperature glue gun with only 10 watts of power, so it takes a few minutes to reach a high melting point. Once ready to go, it should be perfectly adequate for most craft and home repair adhesives.
Those looking for a versatile and powerful glue gun for a variety of crafts and home repairs should check out the Chandler Tool Hot Glue Gun. With 60 watts of heating power, the glue gun can melt a variety of full-size glue sticks. It has a unique drip-free tip designed to reduce annoying strings of excess glue that can stick to surfaces when the gun is set down.
In addition to the stand, there is a built-in base that holds the tool securely in an upright position - a feature we found to be a standout, as models with a downward-flipping stand are easy to drop. We found this full-size glue gun comfortable to hold, especially for people with larger hands. We also appreciated the safety features of its well-insulated sleeve tip. The plastic body does feel a bit flimsy and less durable, though.
A cordless glue gun can be a real convenience in areas that are out of reach for wired models, and the WORKPRO cordless hot glue gun is a quality choice. It is equipped with a 2600 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery that works continuously wirelessly for 30 minutes and a total of 110 minutes when fully charged.
The glue gun takes 2 minutes to warm up and 2 hours to fully charge using the USB cable. The mini cordless glue gun also has advanced safety features, including an automatic shut-off after 15 minutes of inactivity and a separate LED indicator that shows the glue gun's battery level and operating status.
We found this high-temperature mini glue gun comfortable to use, thanks to a trigger that accommodates the index and middle finger; most mini models only have room for the index finger. the LED indicator shows when the gun is on and ready to dispense, it has plenty of power, and the cordless flexibility allows glue to be applied almost anywhere.
Designed for delicate tasks, the AdTech Ultra Low Temperature Glue Gun's low temperature makes it a great choice for introducing kids to crafts. It runs 75 degrees cooler than standard glue guns on a single setting, and it's insulated so it's cool to the touch, even when open. The tool is lightweight and compact, making it perfect for small hands.
The AdTech glue gun is a simple tool that performs as described. It only has 10 watts of power, so it took a few minutes to heat up in our tests. While the AdTech Glue Gun is only suitable for simple craft tasks, it is a great addition to schools, camps, or other places where young crafters can use it safely under supervision.
The Surebonder Pro2 is designed for high volume and heavy duty applications. It has 220 watts of power and an adjustable temperature knob that ranges from 220 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. The tool heats up in less than 5 minutes and features a toggle switch near the base of the handle that illuminates red to indicate when it is on. the Surebonder Pro2 also has a rubber tip to reduce the risk of burns and automatically shuts off after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Definitely not for casual crafting, this sturdy glue gun is best suited for serious DIY projects and repairs, such as fixing house siding and installing tiles or skirting boards. We love being able to adjust the temperature, and we appreciate the removable stand that keeps the tool sturdy (there's an optional stand that can be mounted near the nozzle if desired). It comes with a durable storage box and an extra nozzle.
While any full-size glue stick can be used in this tool, Surebonder produces industrial-strength sticks designed to provide a heavy-duty bond, and the manufacturer recommends using only its sticks or similar heavy-duty formulations for best results. Overall, we were impressed with the Surebonder Pro2, but it is expensive and best suited for professional or heavy-duty use.
Woodworking projects such as skirting board installation or building custom frames that require gluing pieces of wood together may be smoother and faster with the Ryobi glue gun. This full-size, high-temperature glue gun with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery produces as much heat as a 100-watt corded glue gun, enough to melt many types of glue sticks for effective use in wood in the shop as well as in the craft room. It is designed to stand upright on its base and includes a battery charger.
In testing, we found the Ryobi to be a powerful tool that heats up in seconds, but the battery makes it bulky and heavy to use. While this model is expensive, those who already own any Ryobi ONE+ cordless tool may want to purchase the Ryobi One+ glue gun separately for a lower price and use the interchangeable 18V batteries of the other tools.
We recommend the Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Hot Glue Gun Kit or the Chandler Tool Hot Glue Gun Kit for most of your glue gun needs.The Gorilla Dual Temp Mini Glue Gun's ability to operate in both high and low temperature modes makes it ideal for heavy and delicate craft or repair tasks. Craftsmen who prefer the flexibility of working cordless should consider using a WORKPRO cordless hot glue gun.
We evaluated glue guns based on their safety features, heating time and ergonomics. We checked to make sure that the heating time matched the instructions in the user manual. Then we
used all guns for a variety of tasks to determine their comfort of operation and ease of use.
We checked all safety features and documented how long it took for the unit to cool down after it was turned off. Please note that the tests did not take into account the adhesive itself, although the adhesive's bonding performance varies by brand.
If you still want to learn more about choosing and using a hot glue gun, read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these handy tools for making and performing DIY repairs.
If you need to glue hard substrates, such as wood, metal and thick cardboard, use a high-temperature glue gun and hot melt glue stick.
A wattage of 10 or more will meet most of your crafting or repair adhesive needs.
The glue gun should be set to the proper temperature to melt the glue stick it is designed to use. High temperature glue sticks melt between 375 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit and low temperature glue sticks melt between 200 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The wattage of the glue gun will determine how quickly the tool will reach melting temperature.
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