Workshop glue guns compared

Surebonder PRO2-100 100-Watt High Temperature Industrial Glue Gun
YouTube Review:
Ryobi (60 Watt) Cordless Glue Gun
YouTube Review:
PAM FastenMaster HB220 220 Watt Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun
YouTube Review:

The glue guns I’m talking about here are the Surebonder Pro2-100, which runs around $30. The Ryobi Cordless Glue Gun, which is also around $30. And the FastenMaster HB220 adjustable glue gun, which I got for $80.

But let’s start with my original 14 watt craft glue gun just to clarify what I’m looking for. What I dislike about these is that they take forever to heat up, they’re always falling over or sliding off the table, and the glue sets up so fast that you barely have time to bond things together. You also can’t leave it plugged in, since there’s no switch, so you’re always wrangling this cord.

As a baseline, let’s say the time to heat for this is 3 minutes.

Now let’s compare that to the Surebonder Pro-2 100. It’s a bigger design that takes a bigger half-inch glue stick. The bulk is useful for preventing the cord weight from dragging it off your table and the integrated stand actually keeps it upright.

Because it’s a high-temp, 100-watt design, your glue gets much, much hotter, which gives you considerably longer work time before the glue sets. It also allows you to use stronger, high-temp glues that can give you a stronger bond.

You also get a power switch in the handle. So in theory you could leave this plugged in on your workbench and just grab it and switch it on when you need it. But for me, without an obvious indicator light, I’m worried I’ll accidentally leave this on.

One thing that surprised me with this is that the time-to-heat isn’t much better than my little glue gun — just under 3 minutes. It has way more power, but it also has to heat a larger element, so it kinda evens out. In fact none of these glue guns really make much of a dent in this number.

One other feature I want to point out is the tip. This is a silicone covered replaceable tip. The silicone helps to prevent you from getting burned from it, though the glue coming out of here will still burn you good.

What’s cool though is that you can swap out these tips with different types you can buy. So it you want a wide, flat bead, or a skinny one, you can shape it using these.

After the Surebonder I got the Ryobi. This one runs at 60 watts, which is still plenty hot. It also uses the same half-inch sticks as the Surebonder.

It runs off a rechargeable 18v Ryobi battery, and if you don’t already have one and a charger, you’ll need to get them to use this or look for an adapter to use the batteries you have. Surebonder actually sells an adapter for converting 20v Dewalt batteries.

Now, because of this design, there’s no cord to tug this off a table and the battery itself works as great stand. There’s an illuminated power switch so you know when it’s turned on. And if you ever left it on by mistake, the battery will run down in a few hours, for better or for worse.

You get the nice long work time of a high temp gun. And the nozzles are the same, swappable, silicone tipped kind found on the Surebonder.

The time-to-heat on this is around the same 3 minutes. But for me, psychologically it feels a lot shorter because I can grab it, pop in a battery, switch it on, and by the time I walk back over to what I need to glue up, it’s on its way. I can cut out the whole part where I’m fumbling with a cord looking for where to plug in.

The main downside to this is the limited run time. If you’re gluing up a lot of stuff, or you just need one running and ready to go across the day, this might not be the best option. But for me, when I just need to hit something with a few quick blobs of hot glue, this is what I reach for.

Finally, just to know what a professional class glue gun could give me, I dropped around $80 on this PAM FastenMaster HB220. This beast is a 220 watt glue gun. It comes in a nice case, with a spare nozzle, a place for glue sticks, and a little screwdriver that allows you to adjust the temperature. This is great when you have a lot of the same things to glue up and you want to dial in the amount of time it takes to glue to set.

You get an illuminated power switch, and this nice wide stand that keeps it upright. Time to heat is around a minute and a half — half the time of the other glue guns.

You also get an adjustment screw here in the back that lets you adjust the travel of the trigger, or essentially how much glue is dispensed with each squeeze. Again, great for repetitive work.

This thing is badass, and I love the case, but it’s way more glue gun than I need and the extras on this are really geared towards repetitive jobsite work — not my rinky-dink workshop.


Shorty Shrimp says:

i just use a zippo :T

James Amos says:

Awesome review

malexxran says:

All suck compared to the Elimadent hot glue gun, works on makita, dewalt, ryobi “I think” batteries

Fred Zyda says:

All the professionals I know who use hot glue guns get the 3M versions. They’re super robust and heat up really fast. They’re also more expensive than any of the glue guns you’ve reviewed thus far… They’re also rated by how many pounds of glue they can melt per hour. They’re no joke.

5argeTech / says:

The Arrow GT80 is good too!

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