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Glue gun 101

Not all glue guns are created equal. Here's how to choose one for your needs.

I have a little glue gun that I use when I’m feeling crafty or need to fix something. But, it doesn’t work on everything. The gun you choose depends on how you’re using it because different jobs require different temperatures. Low-temperature guns will adhere but not destroy delicate material such as lace, ribbon, and floral foam. A high-temperature gun provides a tougher bond for heavier material such as metal, wood, and plastics.

Brad Kamins is the hardware sales manager for Surebonder. He says the gun’s wattage is another consideration, especially when you’re working on larger projects that need a lot of glue to get the job done.

"The key to wattage is the amount of power the heater’s getting, and that determines the amount of glue output you will get per time period. So, a mini glue gun that’s about 10 watts, you can probably get a few ounces of glue out before the thing really starts to get hard to squeeze," he says. "My 100-watt glue gun, I can squeeze that thing and probably get 4-5 times the amount of glue without it becoming hard.

Not all glue sticks are the same, either.

"If you want to do corrugated carton sealing and you want to close that box and have it set and ready to go within 10-15 seconds, I would use our packaging glue," says Kamins. "If I’m looking to do a craft project and I don’t want to have the glue showing on the other side, I would use a clear glue. If I’m looking to put trim up in my house and I want it to stay there for years and years to come, I’m going to use the one-minute or three-minute glue to make that bond last."

Kamins says the working time is from when the glue comes out of the tip, to when it starts setting up. Three minutes is the maximum time right now, but they’re hoping to eventually expand hot glue working times up to 10 minutes in the future.

Learn more about choosing the right glue gun for your projects

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