If you're a crafter, DIYer, or contractor, you may frequently use a glue gun. As it's such a versatile tool, it's important to have the right glue gun to keep up with your creativity.
While simple glue guns can handle basic projects, there are others with a variety of features, including multiple nozzle attachments and temperature settings. Some glue guns are even packaged as deluxe sets and include a variety of glue sticks. Above all else, when choosing a glue gun, make sure it has all the features you need for projects of all sizes.
To find a glue gun for your next arts and crafts project, read our definitive buying guide. Our favorite is Surebonder's Adjustable-Temperature Professional Heavy-Duty Hot Glue Gun, which can handle DIY and home improvement projects of any size.
Considerations when choosing glue guns
Glue gun size
Small: These are good for projects that require fine detail, like gluing rhinestones or embellishments. Small glue guns are often used by children, as their triggers are easy for little hands to manipulate.
Medium: Medium glue guns are excellent multipurpose guns well-suited for hobbyists and crafters. They often feature interchangeable nozzles to transition between simple, lightweight materials or heavier woodworking crafts.
Large: These are often used for home improvement and interior design projects. They require a lot of glue, which can get costly depending on the size of your project. Large glue guns are used by serious crafters, florists, and contractors.
If you're doing paper or fabric projects, opt for a low-temperature glue gun that heats to 250ºF. To glue heavier materials like wood, vinyl, or leather, opt for a high-temperature glue gun that reaches up to 400ºF. Dual-temperature glue guns offer the best of both worlds, though you're unable to switch between temperatures while actively gluing.
Simple glue guns have a single nozzle, where advanced models feature multiple nozzle options. If you work with a variety of materials, interchangeable nozzles are worth considering, especially if you want to change how much glue is dispensed. With that said, it's considered a premium feature, so expect to pay more for it. Some nozzles need to be purchased separately.
Manual vs. trigger
Trigger glue guns are easy to use with one hand, since the glue is fed through the gun with each trigger pull. These get the job done quickly and allow you to work with your free hand at the same time.
Manual trigger guns require one hand to push down on the glue while the other pulls the trigger to dispense it. These tend to be a bit cumbersome, especially if you need to hold onto the project while you work.
Corded vs. cordless
Corded glue guns are plugged into an outlet, while cordless models rely on rechargeable batteries or a charging base. Corded glue guns sometimes have a short wire which limits your mobility. Cordless models eliminate this obstacle, but if they run out of battery before your project is completed, you have to wait while it recharges.
Some glue guns are equipped with kickstands to hold them upright between gluing. They usually consist of a wire or plastic base which folds or tucks away while you work. If your glue gun doesn't have a kickstand, you have to lay it on its side, which can get messy. It may also be dangerous since the hot nozzle is faceup instead of facedown.
Simple glue guns cost around $10, but you can spend as much as $200 on an industrial-strength gun. For everyday DIY projects, middle-of-the-road guns with useful features like different nozzles and advanced temperature settings cost between $30 and $70.
Q. I have small hands. Does that mean I can only use smaller glue guns?
A. Not necessarily. There are larger glue guns with triggers to fit up to four fingers, which may be more comfortable for you to manipulate as you can use your whole hand.
Q. What safety features do glue guns have?
A. Some glue guns have an automatic shut-off when they're idle. This is an excellent feature not only for saving power, but to avoid a fire hazard in the event you forget to turn off the gun.
Glue guns we recommend
Best of the best: Surebonder's Adjustable-Temperature Professional Heavy-Duty Hot Glue Gun
Our take: Unparalleled quality and durability. Ergonomic trigger style is easy on hands during time-consuming projects.
What we like: Can handle heavy use with industrial strength and heat settings. Great for savvy DIYers who need a next-level glue gun.
What we dislike: Extra nozzles are sold separately. Hefty price tag.
Best bang for your buck: Ad-Tech Pro's 200 Industrial Hot Glue Gun
Our take: Well-rounded heavy-duty model with consistent performance. Modest price, but definitely a value buy.
What we like: Trigger accommodates four fingers for advanced comfort. Interchangeable nozzles are convenient for those who want choices between projects.
What we dislike: Heating time takes a bit longer than expected. Some clogging difficulties.
Choice 3: Stanley's Glue-Pro DualMelt Glue Gun
Our take: Has dual heaters if you need consistent glue output for large DIY projects.
What we like: Steady glue flow and two nozzle options. Useful for contractors as well, especially for wood projects and home repairs.
What we dislike: Trigger is challenging to compress, so it can be a bit hard on hands after a while.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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