Whether you’re making crafts, joining woodwork or doing minor DIY repairs, a glue gun can be a very handy tool to have around the house. It's often the best way to quickly and firmly and quickly bond items, which is why for many people, a corded or cordless hot glue gun is an essential part of their toolbox.
These days there are so many glue guns available. Some use rechargeable batteries, others work at low temperatures. Before you buy, it’s important to understand why you’re buying and what glue gun is best for you. That’s where this handy little buying guide comes in! We'll also show you 10 of the best options available from Amazon, Argos, Halfords and eBay from reliable brands like Ryobi, Stanley and Bosch.
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You know a couple of the advantages of glue guns, but with so many available, knowing which one to pick can be tricky. Our buying guide will explain the different varieties of glue gun and the features you can find in them so you can work out what combination you should look for.
Glue sticks are available in low melt and hot melt versions. Glue guns will specify which type of glue they can use, so all you need to do is decide which is better for you and then choose the right style of glue gun. That said, some of the latest models can actually change between the two, so you can have the best of both!
Hot melt glue guns are the more common variant and are best suited for bonding porous materials such as cardboard and wood. They take longer to get to temperature, but the major benefit is that a hotter glue stays liquid for longer. This means that you’ll have more time to manipulate the items you want to bond before the glue sets.
Hot melt glue guns usually should not use low-temperature glue sticks. Although not a huge problem, the higher temperatures can make a low temp glue too runny to use.
That said, you could go for a type of glue gun that has a switch to change temperatures from hot to cool. They’re very useful if you think that you’ll want to use both types of glue, or if you’re going to be crafting with a variety of materials.
Low-temperature or cool glue guns will only work with low melt glue sticks. A hot melt glue stick will not melt properly in these guns.
Low melt glue sticks are mixed with natural wax, so they can be used at lower temperatures. They are generally safer and have less risk of causing burns. If you want a glue gun for children to use, choose a low-temperature glue gun and supervise them at all times.
The final decision to make relates to how portable you want your glue gun to be. Like almost every DIY or power tool nowadays, you'll have the option of either a corded or a battery-powered cordless option. They both have their advantages depending on where you plan on using them, which we'll get into below.
With the leaps and bounds in battery technology, more and more portable glue guns are available these days. Cordless varieties are very useful if you want to be mobile and use your glue gun in places with hard-to-reach (or non-existent) power sockets.
Get a cordless, battery-powered hot glue gun if you only need to use it occasionally for things like short-term work or spot repairs in different places in the house. It’s useful to have a glue gun you can just pick up and use wherever and then put it back in the same spot to charge for next time.
Of course, a cordless appliance will run out of juice at some point, so you'll need to keep on top of charging it between uses. You might even want to invest in spare batteries so you always have one ready to go.
Corded glue guns are a better choice if you know you are going to be using the gun frequently and in the same location. For example, for crafting or woodworking projects in your workshop. You won’t want to be waiting for a battery to recharge so you can work, so a glue gun you can just plug in is a better choice.
An alternative option is a corded glue gun that can also be unplugged from its cable after it has heated up. If you need to glue something far from the wall socket, these guns will give you just a few minutes of portability before the gun needs to be plugged in again to reheat.
Glue sticks are available in pretty much any DIY, craft shop or stationers; some are even coloured or mixed with glitter for crafting. A glue stick will work in any glue gun so long as the stick size is right for the gun and it is temperature suitable, as we know.
However, some specialist hot glue guns will only work with a particular type of glue stick – usually ones made exclusively by the gun manufacturer – which are a lot harder to come by.
The most common UK glue stick sizes are 7 and 11 mm in diameter. To keep life simple, we recommend you buy a glue gun that takes one of these sizes. You may also want to check whether the gun you're buying online comes with any glue sticks included, otherwise, you'll want to make sure you add a few to your cart.
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PKP Glue Gun｜PKP 18 E
Precision Bonding in an Excellent Frame
50W Hot Glue Gun
Stable Temperature and Quality Performance
Handy and Convenient Glueing Freedom
30W Hot Glue Gun
Safe and Suitable for Crafting and Bonding
Professional Glue Gun｜AK2921
Hardworking Sticking Power
930 Dual Temp Hot Glue Gun
A Solid All-Rounder for a Variety of Home Tasks
Cool Melt Glue Gun
Perfect for Crafty Kids
Dual Melt Mini Glue Gun｜STA0GR15
Affordable Practicality From Stanley
Hot Melt Glue Gun｜1747637
Fast Reliable Sticking Power
Cordless Glue Gun｜R18GLU-0
Great for Heavy-Duty Mobile Work
This Bosch glue gun is one of the best available right now for an all-purpose bonding device that's suitable for both large and small-scale jobs. The extra-long nozzle allows you to carefully and accurately apply hot glue to a variety of surfaces, and it's super at getting into tight corners and other areas.
The nozzle also comes with a silicone sleeve to provide protection and an internal stand keeps it upright when not in use. This is an exceptionally well-made glue gun at a price that won't break the bank, making it a clear winner for us.
Perhaps the best feature of the Voyaux hot melt glue gun is that it's built with an internal temperature regulator that keeps the glue at an optimal heat for use. The sturdy construction also means that the gun itself will withstand any bumps and scrapes and keep working for a long time.
Although the price is low, this is a well-manufactured glue gun that provides everything you'll need if you're looking for reliability and performance. Another plus is that it comes in a sturdy case to keep it – and the 30 included glue sticks – safe, neat and tidy.
The Bosch Gluepen is one of the most popular choices on the market and it's easy to see why. It easily fits in your grip, and as the name suggests, can be handled just like a pen.
It's really convenient too, as it charges from a USB and the battery will give you about 30 minutes of use. Plus, despite the small size, it charges up fast and is ready to go within two minutes. This is an excellent choice for precision work around the house, whether for detailed crafting or small-area repairs.
The Topelek 30W Hot Glue Gun is a high-temp gun that's made to be safe. The end nozzle comes with an extra-thick silicone guard to protect against burns and there are heatproof finger covers to wear while using in the package too.
The gun heats up in about 3 minutes and uses thick 11 mm high-melt sticks to provide excellent coverage and sticking power. The inner rubber sleeve is built to prevent leaks and the stand is reinforced to keep the gun upright. It also comes with a two-year guarantee for peace of mind.
The Sealy Professional Use glue gun uses the larger 11 mm high melt glue sticks for bonding that needs a bit extra. It heats up in less than 5 minutes and has a soft contoured grip for ease of use, as well as a detachable metal stand that easily clips to magnets inside to hold it steady when not in use.
While not strictly a cordless glue gun, after the Sealy reaches full temperature, it can be detached from its power cable and used for a couple of minutes glueing. This gun gives you the flexibility of a cordless coupled with the reliability of a mains powered variety.
The Dremel company is synonymous with rotary drills but recently has branched out into other tools for professionals and consumers. This 930 dual temp hot glue gun is perfect for a variety of home crafting and fixing jobs, as it can switch between high and low temperatures as needed.
As it's nice and lightweight and has an ergonomic grip, it's comfortable to use for prolonged periods too. This is a good, simple choice when you need a glue gun that can handle a lot of different jobs.
The Stick It! Cool Melt Glue Gun is a low-temperature slim glue gun made for safe crafting. The smooth flow action produces a steady stream of glue so you can attach card and foam easily.
The gun is fast heating and has a comfortable grip, and the low temperature means kids can use it to make things like gift cards and poster displays with ease. You'll have to make sure you order some glue sticks along with this product, as the price above does not include any.
This Stanley brand glue gun, like many of their products, is tough, durable and practical. This mini hot glue gun is ready to use in 60 seconds and can handle both low and high melt 7 mm glue sticks, 24 of which come included with the above price.
The handy size means it can be stored easily and pulled out for a whole range of different jobs, and it comes with a stable inbuilt stand to rest between work. This is another excellent choice if you need something light and quick and don't want to spend too much.
The Loctite company has a reputation for producing high-quality adhesives and this hot glue gun is no exception. Faster than a lot of guns on the market, this gun is ready to use within 2 minutes. It works at high temperatures to produce a steady stream of glue that will bond a variety of surfaces.
This is a well-made, high-performance no-frills option that is suitable for many bonding jobs. However, the high temperature means it is not suitable for materials such as soft plastics, which in worth bearing in mind.
This is certainly not the cheapest glue gun on our list, but it is one of the toughest and most practical. This professional-level hot glue gun takes the larger 11 mm glue sticks and is ready to use within 3 minutes of switching on.
The high-capacity battery will give you 4 hours of work time between charges, and the entire thing is built with a tough casing meaning it can easily survive bumps and scrapes. If you need to invest in a glue gun that can give you high-performance on a portable level, then the Ryobi is the right choice for you.
PVA and other glues are easy to get hold of and often very cheap, however, investing a little more upfront in a glue gun will save you lots of time and effort in the long run.
Hot glue guns are useful when you want a strong bond that can be applied easily and sets quickly – unlike PVA glues, hot glue sets in minutes, not hours. Hot glue is also very handy for things like making an instant watertight seal for spot repairs.
Plus, while wood glues will eventually go hard have to be thrown away, unused glue sticks will last (almost) forever. Hot glues are also friendlier to the environment than epoxy resins and superglues.
Any tool handled carelessly or incorrectly can cause painful and sometimes permanent injury, and a glue gun is no exception. With that in mind, please take a minute to read this safety advice for the next time you or a loved one uses your new glue gun.
Glue guns are an extremely useful bit of kit to have around the house, whether you're into woodworking, jewellery making or upcycling furniture. Here are some other tools and pieces of equipment we recommend to help you with your projects.
As we've stressed throughout this article, there is no single hot glue gun that's going to be perfect for everyone. We all have different needs and reasons why we might want to buy a hot glue gun.
What's important is to think about how you'll be using it, and make the right choice from there. Remember to follow our safety advice and always be careful when using your glue gun. We hope this guide has helped you make the right choice and achieve years of happy glueing!
Author: Nick Harling
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