The best super glue

From bestreviews.com
By
Michael Pollick
BestReviews

While acetone is considered the best solvent for super glues, a nontoxic mixture of lemon juice and olive oil may work on sensitive skin.

The act of gluing two things together was once a time-consuming and often messy process. Generous amounts of an adhesive had to be applied, then clamped into place until the glue finally cured and formed a decent bond. This all changed with the introduction of cyanoacrylate, heavily marketed as “super glue.” A few drops of this strong adhesive was all most projects required, and the bonding time was reduced to seconds. Super glues also allow porous and non-porous materials to form strong bonds.

While the brand name Super Glue is trademarked, many adhesive makers produce their own versions of cyanoacrylate adhesive. Some products are in a thick gel form for easier application, while others are still one-drop wonders like the original.

If you are searching for an effective super glue for uses ranging from repairs to model building, read our consumer guide below. We have compared dozens of super glue (cyanoacrylate) adhesives on the market and have created a short list of promising contenders. Topping our list is Gorilla 20-Gram 2-Pack Super Glue Gel, a thicker gel formula from a widely recognized name in the adhesives industry.

Considerations when choosing super glues

Bonding and curing time

One feature of super glues that is both a blessing and a curse for users is instantaneous bonding. Unlike slow-drying wood glues or white schoolhouse glues, super glues form a solid bond as soon as the two surfaces make contact. On the plus side, this means most projects will not require clamping in place or a long wait before use.

The down side to such fast-bonding action is that components cannot not be repositioned easily, if at all. Once the super glue has dried, the bond is often stronger than the material itself. Forceful separation can result in permanent damage.

For this reason, many super glue manufacturers offer products with different bonding and curing times. When considering a specific brand of super glue, it’s best to look for information about bonding and curing times on the packaging or product description. A slower bond time could give users a chance to reposition a piece before it is locked in permanently.

Liquid or gel formula

The original formulation for cyanoacrylate adhesive created a very watery end product. The adhesive was applied to the project drop by drop. While this still formed a powerfully strong bond, it was also difficult to control and often caused other accidental bonds, such as skin-to-skin or project-to-table. Some modern super glues are still very thin, and must be applied carefully on horizontal projects.

To address the application issue, many manufacturers have created a thicker formula with a gel-like consistency. The bonding time is a little slower, which allows users to apply the product precisely where it is needed. Pieces can also be adjusted for a few seconds after application as well. Gel super glues are especially useful for projects with vertical orientations, because they will resist the effects of gravity and remain in place longer as they cure.

Applications

A super glue designed for general use should form a strong bond with a variety of materials, both porous and nonporous. While traditional glues sometimes have difficulty bonding porous items such as cardboard to nonporous items such as stainless steel, many super glues will handle the job well. This is not a universal truth, however. It’s best to consult the package information before using any super glue on surfaces that may be problematic.

There are super glues available that address specific bonding needs, however. Some brands form a waterproof seal, which is ideal for repairing boats, pool toys and other objects exposed to the elements. Smooth, nonporous materials such as glass or plastic can be difficult to bond with standard super glues, so some manufacturers offer a formula specifically designed for those materials.

Price

Because most repairs require a minimal amount of product, most super glue manufacturers offer small package sizes, often less than an ounce. When sold in bulk or multipacks, the cost of each tube is generally less than $1. Larger single containers of a name brand super glue can cost anywhere between $3 and $5, with specialized formulas costing a bit more.

FAQ

Q. What should I do if I get super glue in my hair?

A. While the standard answer for super glue removal is acetone (the main ingredient in nail polish remover), some shampoos and conditioners will weaken the glue’s bond enough to remove it with a detangling comb or brush.

Q. I want to use super glue to connect smooth plastic parts. Is there anything I can do to make the glue stick better?

A. Some super glues do have difficulty gluing nonporous materials to porous materials. You may want to lightly sand the surface of the plastic parts to form a stronger bond. You may also want to use elastic bands or clamps to hold the pieces in place until they have fully cured.

Super glues we recommend

Best of the best: Gorilla 20-Gram 2-Pack Super Glue Gel

Our take: The thicker gel formula is ideal for projects with vertical orientation and when mechanical clamping would be problematic.

What we like: Gel formula reduces mess and over-application. Cap has anticlogging feature. Bonds in less than 45 seconds. Works on porous and nonporous materials.

What we dislike: Some users report slow curing time. Contents can solidify in the bottle.

Best bang for your buck: Super Glue, Clear

Our take: The original Super Glue is still a good choice for nonporous materials, and we like its affordable price point in bulk.

What we like: Strong bond on nonporous surfaces. Cures/bonds in less than 30 seconds. Cap provides precise application. Can be sanded or painted.

What we dislike: Remaining product can dry out quickly. Package is challenging to open.

Choice 3: Professional-Grade Cyanoacrylate (CA) "Super Glue" by Glue Masters

Our take: Hobbyists and crafters will especially appreciate this commercial-grade super glue, especially on models and woodworking projects.

What we like: Thicker gel formula for precise application. Cures in 45 seconds. Industrial-strength results, good for repair work. Generous two-ounce supply per bottle.

What we dislike: On the expensive side. Does not perform well with certain combinations of materials (porous/nonporous)

Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.