The Best Hot Glue Guns for DIYers
If you're tired of messy glue from squeeze bottles that takes forever to dry, consider a hot glue gun. They're easy to use and the glue dries fast.
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Buying a Hot Glue Gun
Whether you’re an occasional crafter or a frequent DIYer, you’ll benefit from having a hot glue gun handy. These handheld tools employ a heating element to liquefy hard glue sticks, creating an adhesive that’s easy to apply and dries quickly. Plus, the narrow tips make it easier to maintain precise control of where the glue goes, unlike squeeze bottles.
We’ve used hot glue guns for a wide range of projects, from small crafts like school dioramas to DIY work around the house, including cabinetry projects.
Although all hot glue guns share the same basic concept, there are a few things to consider when choosing the best one for you:
- Power source: Cordless hot glue guns are more convenient than corded, although their limited runtime could be an issue on larger projects. Corded guns limit your mobility, but if you’re working on a workbench or tabletop the entire time (say, when crafting), this shouldn’t be a problem.
- Heating time: All hot glue guns need some time to heat up, from around 30 seconds to several minutes. Longer heat times can be inconvenient if you use your hot glue gun a lot.
- Temperature options: While most hot glue guns offer a single heat setting, some come with “high” and “low” options. High heat is good for tasks that require the glue to stay malleable longer, while low settings are better if you want the glue to set immediately. Low heat is also good for delicate materials that would otherwise melt, such as Styrofoam.
- Size: The size will indicate the diameter of glue sticks it can accept, from 1/4- to 5/8-inch. Make sure the sticks you buy fit the hot glue gun you choose.
- Glue type: If you want to use a specific type of glue, like low-temperature or high-temperature, make sure your gun can heat those sticks properly. I’m a huge fan of this glue type selector provided by Glue Guns Direct, which makes it easy to choose which type of glue is best for your application.
Best Heavy-Duty Hot Glue Gun
If you need your glue gun for large projects or on busy job sites, you’ll appreciate the heavy-duty construction and high output of the DeWalt Rapid Heat Dual Temperature Hot Glue Gun. Its ceramic heating element readies glue in about 60 seconds, and it puts out an impressive 2.5 to 3.3 pounds/hour!
We’re big fans of the high and low-temperature options. It’s essential for working with Styrofoam that would otherwise be damaged by glue heated on a high setting.
Best Hot Glue Gun for Maximum Precision
The narrow shape of this Dremel Cordless Glue Pen allows complete control of the tool, and the small precision tip is perfect for detail work. The USB charging capability makes it convenient practically anywhere, eliminating the hassle of dealing with a power cord. It heats up in just 15 seconds. The auto-shutoff powers it off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
Best Extra-Small Hot Glue Gun
The six-inch Genesis Lithium-Ion Cordless Hot Glue Gun works for those preferring a glue gun they can easily carry in a pocket or small toolbox. Though not practical for large projects or anything requiring a significant amount of glue, it’s extremely convenient for small, quick tasks.
Best Cordless Hot Glue Gun
It’s not cheap, but the light weight of the Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Compact Hot Glue Gun Kit makes it worth the investment. It can process 100 mini-glue sticks per charge, making it useful for large projects.
The external base actually charges it when not in use, so it doesn’t need a large battery pack. The ergonomic handle gives you maximum control, and the base features an integrated drip tray, ensuring your workspace stays glue-free. For the price, I do wish it included more than three glue sticks, though!
Best Cordless Hot Glue Gun Value
Though this hot glue gun costs less than other cordless options, the Workpro Cordless Hot Glue Gun offers helpful features, like a large trigger and two-minute preheating time. It’s also powerful enough to provide 25 minutes of continuous gluing. It shuts down after five minutes of inactivity.
Several Amazon customer reviews cited its sturdy feel and impressive battery run time. This kit includes 20 glue sticks.
Best Glue Hot Gun for Carpentry
The AdTech Industrial Strength Hot Glue Gun melts up to 3-1/2-lbs. of glue per hour. That makes it well-suited for carpentry tasks like filling knot and nail holes, or a temporary clamp easily pulled apart later. Thick wire stands provide a sturdy, safe base when not in use.
At 1.6 pounds, it’s heavier than most hot glue guns. But the rugged construction and impressive output are plusses, and the extra-long, ergonomic handle makes it comfortable to grip for extended periods.
Best Glue Hot Gun for Kids
The low-temperature AdTech Ultra Low-Temp Hot Glue Gun is perfect for kids, because it’s easy for them to hold and use and safer than a full-sized high-temp model. At less than $6 (!), it could be a great choice if you’re buying for several kids. Note: The low-temp operation means the glue sets relatively quickly so there’s not a lot of time for adjustments.
Best Industrial Hot Glue Gun
Compatible with extra-large, eight-inch 3M Hot Melt Adhesive sticks, the 3M Hot Melt Applicator LT works well for high-volume, industrial projects on a range of materials.
The large palm trigger ensures comfortable operation. You can customize it with other 3M accessories, like different sized tips, for a wide range of tasks. We love 3M’s orange color, making their products easy to spot in a cluttered work area.