A rugged tool that heats up quickly to provide industrial-strength power. Has 200 to 400 degree Fahrenheit temperature control.
A set of extra specialty nozzles are available, but you have to purchase it separately.
Stands out for its palm-trigger design that is comfortable and easy to use. Built to last.
It's more expensive than the Surebonder but it has less power and doesn't heat up as effectively.
Heats up and is ready to use within 3 to 5 minutes. Boasts a sleek handle and plenty of power for a fraction of the price of others we tested.
The plastic casing is a bit flimsy compared to more costly models, but this doesn't affect its reliable performance.
Can produce a steady flow of melted glue thanks to its dual heaters. Has extension and spreader nozzles that are easy to use.
The trigger feels slightly tight and requires a stronger grip than others on our list.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
If you’re an avid crafter, you probably already know how handy it is to have a glue gun around the house. But even if you only scrapbook occasionally, a glue gun can be a very smart investment because it can be used for a variety of applications. The trick, though, is finding the right glue gun for your needs.
Because there are so many glue guns to choose from, shopping for one can be difficult. You have to figure out the right size, nozzle design, temperature range, and other features. Sorting through all the options can quickly get overwhelming, particularly if you’re not sure what to look for in a good glue gun.
BestReviews is here to help. We take care of the comprehensive product research so you don’t have to. In the market for a glue gun? Our shopping guide has you covered with plenty of handy tips for finding the best model for your DIY projects.
There are several reasons why a glue gun can be such a great addition to your toolbox.
Compared to other household and crafting tools, a glue gun usually has a pretty affordable price tag. Even higher-end models are less expensive than many other tools. And considering how versatile a glue gun is, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.
A glue gun isn’t just for crafting projects. You can use a glue gun to do a wide variety of repairs and other projects around the house.
Once you get the hang of it, using a glue gun is easy. With some models, the operation is as simple as pulling the trigger to dispense the glue.
The glue dispensed by a glue gun offers an extremely strong hold, which lasts for quite some time. It bonds almost instantly with the surfaces that it’s applied to and cools pretty quickly, too.
Don’t touch the glue that’s dispensed from a glue gun until it has cooled. It takes approximately a minute for the glue to cool completely.
A glue gun can be used in a wide range of household projects. Crafting is the most common use for a glue gun. From scrapbooking to wreath-making to embellishing a picture frame, you’re only limited by your imagination with a glue gun.
If you’re not the best tailor, a glue gun can help you make quick sewing fixes to your wardrobe. You can use it to secure a loose button or fix the hem on your pants before you head out the door. A glue gun can also help you make costumes for Halloween or a school play. You can even use it to reupholster furniture in a hurry.
It’s a good idea to have a bowl of ice water at your workstation when using a glue gun. If you accidentally burn yourself, you can immediately dip your finger in the water to treat the burn.
The first decision to make when shopping for a glue gun is its operation temperature. There are low- and high-temperature glue guns, and while both options can be effective, one may be a better choice than the other depending on how you plan to use your tool.
Low-temperature glue guns heat to approximately 250°F, so they work best for materials that may be vulnerable to heat. If you regularly make crafts with fabric, lace, or ribbon, this type of glue gun is the ideal option.
High-temperature glue guns heat to approximately 380°F and work well for projects that require stronger bonds. If you are working with paper, leather, wood, plastic, or other heavy materials, this type of glue gun is your best bet.
Dual-temperature glue guns allow you to choose between low and high temperatures depending on your project. The drawback to using a dual-temperature glue gun is that you can’t switch between low- and high-temperature glue sticks in the middle of using the tool, so you’ll have to do all the gluing at one temperature before switching to the other.
Glue guns are available in a couple of different sizes, but the best option usually depends on the type of projects that you’re working on.
A large glue gun works well for projects that require a lot of glue, such as woodworking or packaging. A medium glue gun is a good multipurpose option that can work for a wide variety of projects. A small glue gun is ideal for detail-oriented projects, such as putting miniatures together or embellishing an item with rhinestones.
A glue gun’s nozzle is designed to be proportionate to the size of the overall gun. However, some models feature interchangeable tips, which allow you to swap out the nozzle based on the project. This can be a very convenient feature if you plan to use your glue gun for a wide range of projects around the house.
Corded vs. cordless
Glue guns are available in corded, cordless, and hybrid models.
Corded glue guns must be plugged into an outlet for operation. You never have to worry about waiting for them to be charged for use, but you’re limited in how freely you can move with the glue gun.
Cordless glue guns feature a charging base that must be plugged in to charge the internal battery. These glue guns can run out of power as you’re using them, though, so you may need to wait for the gun to recharge before you can finish your project. But a cordless glue gun allows you to move freely with the gun as you’re working.
Hybrid cordless-corded glue guns must be plugged in while they’re heating up, but you can detach the cord once the gun reaches the proper temperature.
Manual vs. trigger
Some glue guns have a manual feed, which requires you to push the glue stick through the gun with your thumb as you work. Others feature a trigger feed, so once you put the glue stick in the gun, you simply pull the trigger to move the stick through the gun.
For convenience, it helps to choose a glue gun with a kickstand. This allows you to prop the glue gun up while you’re working, so you don’t have to worry about getting hot glue on your table, countertop, or other work surface.
Instead of a kickstand, some models offer a cradle that you can rest the glue gun in to keep hot glue from leaking on your work area.
The prices for glue guns vary based on the temperature range and other features, but you can typically expect to spend between $10 and $185.
A single-temperature glue gun with one nozzle and no kickstand or base usually ranges from $10 to $30. A dual-temperature glue gun with one to two nozzles and a kickstand or base generally costs between $30 and $70. A dual-temperature glue gun with two or more nozzles and a kickstand or base typically runs between $70 and $185.
If you’re using your glue gun on a surface that it doesn’t stick well to, roughening up the surface a bit with sandpaper can often help it adhere better.
If you’re new to using a glue gun, it’s a good idea to invest in silicone finger protectors to keep from getting burned.
Cover your work surface with a silicone baking mat or a piece of parchment paper to catch any glue leaks that might occur when you’re using the glue gun.
For the best results, give your glue gun at least five minutes to heat up before you begin using it. You’ll have a much harder time getting the glue out if it’s not hot enough.
Don’t hold your glue gun too far away from the object that you’re applying the glue to, or you may wind up with long strings of glue that you have to clean up. Get the nozzle of the glue gun as close to the surface as possible before dispensing the glue.
Q. What size glue sticks should I use in my glue gun?
A. It’s best to choose a glue stick size based on the project that you’re working on. For most projects, 1/2-inch or 12-mm glue sticks work well. If you’re working on a project that requires dispensing a larger volume of glue, 5/8-inch or 15-mm glue sticks are a good option.
Q. What’s the best cord length for a corded glue gun?
A. The longer a glue gun’s cord, the more maneuverability you’ll have. For most users, a cord that’s at least seven feet long allows you to move around comfortably when you’re using the glue gun.
Q. Is a glue gun safe for children to use?
A. A glue gun can get extremely hot, so it’s very easy for small children to burn themselves. Never let your children near a glue gun unless they’re supervised. If you want to allow your kids to handle a glue gun with supervision, it’s best to start with a low-temperature model until they’re comfortable using the glue gun. In general, though, we don’t recommended that children under the age of 12 use a glue gun unsupervised.
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