Best Cordless Glue Gun – A Guide to Selecting a Portable Hot Glue Gun
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When crafting, having a good glue or adhesive can mean the difference between sitting back and looking at your workpiece with a sense of rightfully earned satisfaction or being extremely frustrated by things constantly falling off of it. Most avid crafters use hot glue guns or similar adhesive devices to get the bits and pieces of their projects to stick together, but do they always work? Not all glue guns are created equal, and this is why we have created a short guide detailing what makes a good glue gun, what they can be used for, and how to use them effectively.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Cordless Hot Glue Gun?
- 2 Different Types of Cordless Hot Glue Guns
- 3 Best Cordless Glue Gun on the Market
- 4 How to Use a Hot Glue Gun
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Cordless Hot Glue Gun?
A cordless hot glue gun is an essential part of any crafter’s tool kit. Whether you are a professional or a beginner, these devices have the potential to make your life significantly less stressful. A cordless hot glue gun is essentially a device that holds, melts, and dispenses hot glue on command. These devices are shaped (as the name suggests) like a gun, which holds a solid stick of glue inside it parallel to the body of the device.
These glue sticks consist of different compounds and adhesive qualities for different applications, they can be used on plastic, metal, fabric, glass, and many other materials – another reason why they are so popular! However, glue guns were not always as reliable as they are today. In fact, early hot glue guns needed to be plugged into a power source and would often get clogged up with glue residue, which would then seep into the internal mechanisms, making the device inoperable.
Fortunately, as technology progressed and certain mechanisms became cheaper to produce and more readily available to manufacturers, we now have hot glue guns that are far more reliable, robust, and cordless!
What exactly would you use a hot glue gun for though? Well, the possibilities are endless, and you would be reading for quite a while if we attempted to list them all for you, but primarily a cordless hot glue gun can be used to create things like miniature furniture, repair broken soles of shoes, repair children’s toys, adhere stickers and badges to cars or clothing, and even to create plastic jewelry!
There are lots of other scenarios in which you will find a hot glue gun to be indispensable, and you might even find yourself asking how on earth you have managed to live without one for so long once you have one. So, now that you know how these guns work and what they can be used for, you might feel that you could probably get by with a wired hot glue gun, but you might be surprised at how annoying and inconvenient this variant of glue gun can be.
This being said, we have prepared some pros and cons for you to look at between wired hot glue guns and cordless hot glue guns so that you can decide for yourself.
Cordless Hot Glue Gun
The term cordless hot glue gun refers to any hot glue gun that does not need to be plugged into a power outlet. These guns may use disposable batteries, rechargeable power cells, or multiple interchangeable power cells that are also rechargeable.
- Increased mobility
- Can be used without a power source
- Mobile use
- Easier to store
- No risk of power cord failing
- Unlimited range of motion
- Battery life is limited
- Batteries constantly have to be purchased
- Bad for the environment (batteries are not recyclable)
- Takes a while to heat up
- One must choose between low- and high-voltage units
Corded/Wired Hot Glue Gun
A corded or wired glue gun refers to any glue gun that needs to be plugged into a power outlet for the duration it is operated. This is the original type of hot glue gun, and it varies in size and power output depending on your needs and/or application.
- Constant power supply
- Consistent supply of heat
- Heats up quickly
- Most units have similar voltage outputs
- No need to purchase batteries (better for the environment)
- Limited range of motion
- Not as easy to store
- The cord can become damaged/worn
- Cannot be used without a grounded power supply
- Some require the use of power adaptors
- Easy to forget they are plugged in (potential hazard)
Different Types of Cordless Hot Glue Guns
As we mentioned previously, there are different types of cordless hot glue guns available. These guns typically differ in voltage, the manner in which they charge up, and the type of power cell they use to operate. Let’s have a look at some of the cordless hot glue guns you could encounter while you’re in the market for one.
Rechargeable Power Cell
Some cordless glue guns use rechargeable power cells that function as their power source. These power sources can be static (inside the device) or removable. Regardless, they are rechargeable and allow the device to store power while in an idle state, only dissipating the energy when the trigger is pulled or heating up the glue stick once the device has been turned on.
The power source also functions to maintain the optimum operating temperature while the gun is being used. This means that the glue stick will not harden suddenly after the initial heat-up process.
As mentioned above, these power cells are either removable or a permanent fixture of the device’s internals. This means that some cordless glue guns need to be plugged into a charging station once their power cells have been depleted.
Ones with removable power cells might have multiple power cells that can be swapped out and used once one has been depleted and needs to be recharged. These power cells are far better for the environment compared to disposable power cells, and they also dissipate power much more conservatively and last far longer.
Rechargeable power cells also hold their charge a lot longer than disposable batteries. This can further be extended depending on the quality of the glue gun you purchase, as some are fitted with monitor usage and charge times to optimize power output.
Disposable Power Cells (Regular Batteries)
Although cordless glue guns that use this type of power source are a lot cheaper, they might end up costing you more money in the long run. Disposable power cells are commonly known as penlight batteries. which are inserted into the body of the glue gun and will last as long as they possess said charge.
This is a lot more convenient than waiting for your glue gun to charge up or forgetting to charge your removable power cells, although it can be a bit of a headache if you don’t have any batteries lying around or simply don’t have the right type of battery for the glue gun in question.
Another possibility you avoid entirely when purchasing a glue gun that uses disposable power cells is that you don’t even have to consider the state or maintenance of your power cells as they will inevitably end up in the bin. Therefore, things like checking for corrosion or power retention are not factors that will affect you, although there can be a few downsides to using a gun that has this type of power source.
Hot glue guns that use disposable power cells are often less robust and more prone to breaking in one way or another. These batteries also deplete rather quickly compared to rechargeable ones, which means that you will likely be making trips to the store more often unless you buy them in bulk.
There is a way around this problem though. These days, there are rechargeable penlight (and other batteries) batteries that will hold a charge a lot longer and dissipate power a lot slower than the disposable ones.
This is probably worth looking into if you are considering purchasing this type of hot glue gun.
Best Cordless Glue Gun on the Market
Now that you know how glue guns can be used and how they can be powered, which one should you choose? Well, we have reviewed three cordless hot glue guns that offer the best performance and value for money so you can decide what the best cordless glue gun is for your application.
Best Performance: RYOBI ONE+ Cordless Hot Glue Gun
Ryobi has always been one of those companies that make everything. However, it is also one of the few companies that makes everything rather well. The Ryobi One+ is no different in this regard as it offers peak performance at a reasonable price. In fact, it is arguably the best cordless glue gun on the market at the moment.
The Ryobi hot glue gun has one of the best battery lives on the market with its 4Ah battery, lasting for up to four hours on a single charge at maximum output. The quality and aesthetic of its design do seem to scream “robust” and “ready for anything”, and unlike most products on the market today, the Ryobi hot glue gun is not all-show and no-go.
- Large trigger fits two fingers, allowing for maximum control
- Useful LED indicator light lets you know when the tool is on or off
- Long run time with a comfortable, ergonomic grip
Although sold with only one tip size, the Ryobi will manage most glue sticks of basically any diameter and allow for seamless, uninterrupted application on the surface of your choosing. This being said, you won’t be left wanting any more power of consistency if you choose to buy this wonderful little unit. You might be eager to get your hands on this glue gun, probably seeing yourself tear the box open and getting your hands dirty with your latest project, but it might not be that simple.
Although the unit is reasonably priced and offers peak performance and battery life, it does not come with a charger or battery pack. This is disappointing, but if you do choose to go with this unit, you are presented with the opportunity to furnish yourself with more than one power cell, allowing you to use one while the other once charges. This will result in a total of eight hours of gluing time.
The One+ does come packaged with three glue sticks as a small consolation prize for the lack of battery and charger, and it only weighs around 55 lbs, so you won’t be taking that many breaks when pulling long hours on your next project.
- Reasonably priced
- Long battery life
- Good ergonomics
- LED indicator
- Brand-specific design
- Only compatible with parts in the same product range
- Not sold with batteries
- Not sold with a charger
Best Overall: MONVICT Hot Glue Gun
Do you have some kitchen cabinets that need to be repaired? Do your kids have an art project that they told you about the night before it’s due? Did your shoe just break, and you don’t have time to head out and get it repaired?
Well, the Monvict cordless rechargeable hot glue gun has your back in all of these situations. The team over at Monvict has designed this glue gun with the intention that it is ready for any task you would like to throw at it. In fact, it comes equipped with two power modes to ensure that you are covered regardless of the size of the job.
- Patented built-in standing base to keep your glue gun upright
- Dual-power glue gun allows you to switch between power settings
- Full-sized, safe to use, and easy and comfortable to work with
Their patented design allows you to switch seamlessly between 80- and 120-watt output in just seconds, and if you’re in a rush, its power cells don’t even need to be fully charged in order to operate! If you still aren’t impressed, this cordless rechargeable hot glue gun only takes between two to three minutes to heat up, and once heated the Monvict will conserve this heat for quite a while, allowing you to turn the heating element off and save on battery power while you work.
Although the grip on this gun is not rubberized like the Ryobi, it is still quite comfortable, offering you hours of extended use without having the feeling that your forearm might collapse at any moment. Safety also seems to be at the forefront of the Monvict formula as the plastic it is made of is both pressure- and heat-resistant, with a glue tip made of high-grade ceramic to ensure no unintended burns while minimizing spillage. To sweeten the deal, the Monvict also comes with some rubberized protectors for your fingers and a 12-month warranty in the case of factory defects or unforeseen device faults.
In our opinion, this might be the most aesthetically pleasing cordless rechargeable hot glue gun, and it is certainly the best overall buy.
- 12-month warranty
- Comes with 12 free glue sticks
- Has two power settings
- Good ergonomic grip
- Easy to use
- Heat protected
- Not as precise as other models
- Long charging time
- Discharges quickly at high voltage
- No rubberized grip
Best Value: SUREBONDER Cordless Hot Glue Gun
They say that the best things in life are free, and while the Surebonder might not be free, it is pretty cheap for the quality and versatility provided by this battery-operated hot glue gun. It does seem that efficiency is the name of the game for the team that was tasked with designing this nifty little device, as it can be seen at every turn including its compact, ergonomically friendly, and easy-to-store design.
It does stretch the term cordless a bit though. Where most of the units we have covered thus far can go for up to 20 minutes without the need for a charge, the Surebonder seems to only be able to go for around (a staggering) three minutes between charges.
- Reaches high temperatures for optimal bonding with surfaces
- Includes a heating base and mini glue pad
- Use indefinitely with cord or for up to 3 minutes without cord
Although this is a tad disappointing, once you see what the team at Surebonder were going for, it becomes a bit easier to understand. This unit can be used as a wired unit or as a wireless unit for a short amount of time, making the wireless function seem like it was a bit of an afterthought, however quite a useful one in retrospect.
Efficiency aside, it is quite an effective tool that even features an insulated nozzle and fins that prevent the glue from scalding your hands if it works its way back up the tube. Although it is efficient in the way it works, you will find yourself using it in its wired state most of the time as it does take some time to charge up completely.
This being said, although it technically qualifies as a battery-operated hot glue gun, the cordless feature does seem a bit “gimmicky”, especially since there are better performing cordless hot glue guns in the same price range. This being said, the Surebonder might be exactly what you are looking for, especially if you are a weekend warrior who only occasionally needs their battery-operated hot glue gun to be portable.
The Surebonder does offer supreme value for money and although it could be improved in some areas of its design, it is sure to get the job done.
- Easy to store
- Heats up quickly
- Comes with a drip stand/charging port
- Can be used as a wired or wireless device
- Short cool-down time
- Can adhere to virtually any surface
- Cordless mode only last 3 minutes
- Does not have rubberized grips
- Takes a long time to charge
- Battery and charger are sometimes sold separately
How to Use a Hot Glue Gun
Knowing the capabilities and applications of a portable hot glue gun is half the battle, knowing how to use one effectively is the other. Below is a short tutorial detailing how to use a hot glue gun. This helps if you’re new to this device or if you’re simply looking for some helpful tips and tricks.
Load Your Hot Glue Gun
Since these devices are made by different manufacturers and there is no baseline for production aside from basic safety protocols, it is always best to consult your owner’s manual regarding the best way to load your glue sticks into the device.
A portable hot glue gun is typically straightforward to prepare Usually, there are a few sticks provided to you from the manufacturer and you just pop one in the glue stick holder, but some hot glue guns do have locking mechanisms and safety guards that you will have to remove before operating.
Inspect Your Hot Glue Gun
Despite its simplicity, there is quite a bit that could go wrong with these devices if you don’t do some basic checks. Before operating, always ensure that the nozzle is clear of any obstructions before you turn on the heating element.
If hot glue is not allowed to flow freely once pressure has been applied to the other end of the glue stick, you might find that the glue travels back up along the tube, meaning that you could find yourself being scalded by hot glue and your entire gun could be gooped up. Avoid this by giving your device the proper inspection on both ends, as this will also allow you to identify any potential factory defects.
Turn on Your Hot Glue Gun
This is the good part. Insert your battery (if needed) and turn your glue gun on. Ensure that the tip of the gun is facing downward and that you have it pointed away from any of your extremities when you do so. Check that the device is holding its charge and is heating up in the manufacturer’s said amount of time, and more importantly, sufficiently enough to melt your glue stick.
Remember that a larger, more powerful gun will heat up a lot quicker, so don’t be too disappointed if your smaller gun takes a little longer to get started.
Once sufficiently heated, give the trigger a pull to ensure that it dispenses the glue adequately before you try it on your workpiece. If something appears wrong, power down your hot glue gun and consult your manual before checking for any obstructions.
Using Your Portable Hot Glue Gun
Now for the moment you have been waiting for. When you first use the device on your workpiece, ensure that your piece is flat and that the tip of your gun is facing down when you use it. The glue does require a bit of help from gravity as its consistency can vary, so always ensure that your workpiece is flat and that your gun and glue stick are vertical.
Start out with a light squeeze on the trigger until you get a feel for the relationship between the trigger pressure and the amount of glue coming out of the gun. This should go without saying, but it’s a good idea to lay down some cloth or a small piece of foil on your workbench so that your surfaces aren’t caked in glue when the gun is resting, although some glue guns are sold with holders that eliminate the need for one of these.
Let the Glue Work
Once you have applied your glue, allow it to set in. The type of glue stick you get with these devices is typically general-purpose, but they have pretty good adhesive properties, which means that they should work adequately on a number of surfaces.
Once your glue has been applied, it should dry relatively quickly and you will soon be able to move on to the next part of your project. If you are interested in glue with higher tensile strength, you should consult the manufacturer’s website as to which compounds their glue sticks are available in, and more importantly, which ones your device has been graded to be used with.
If you want to remove any hot glue, we have a separate tutorial on how to remove hot glue.
Now that you know what cordless hot glue guns are, what they can be used for, what some of the best ones on the market are, and even how to use one, it’s time for you to go out and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to always inspect your device before use, always read your manufacturer’s instructions, and most importantly, always put your safety first!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a Hot Glue Gun Kill You?
Hot glue guns don’t really have the ability to cause any lasting damage. The glue sticks they dispense, while hot, will not really cause anything aside from a mild burn and discomfort. Most glue sticks are also non-toxic, but this does not mean you should go around eating them. Glue guns are rated for a certain amount of heat and pressure though, so you should consider sticking within the manufacturer’s recommended parameters.
Is Dried Hot Glue Toxic to Humans?
Typically, not at all. These sticks are harmless and do not cause nausea or any other kinds of discomfort if they are touched when dried or if their fumes are unintentionally inhaled whilst melting. However, we do not suggest that anyone purposefully ingests or inhales hot glue under any circumstances, regardless of toxicity.
Is a Hot Glue Gun Hot Enough to Start a Fire?
Despite there being little regulation surrounding these devices, there is virtually no chance of one starting fire due to it being too hot. Most (if not all) hot glue guns are equipped with fuses and regulators to prevent the heating element from exceeding a certain temperature. A glue gun will stop working if the regulator and/or fuse have been broken.