We spent hours looking at options for hot glue guns, scouring user reviews, and researching features and functionalities of glue gun models, and we believe the that the BSTPower Professional offers the most features for the money in a hot melt glue gun and is our Best Overall choice, with the Stanley Bostitch Glueshott coming in at the top for Best on a Budget.
Table of Contents
What Features are Important
A hot melt glue gun is a hand-held tool that takes solid glue sticks through a feed, melts them, and then through a trigger, the user can apply the melted glue to areas for adhesion and repair. There is a heating element inside of the glue gun that melts the solid glue stick, and then it is dispensed through a cone shaped tip.
While crafting is the likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of using a glue gun, they are used for industrial application, and it is the temperature that defines how you use this tool. There are high temperature and low-temperature glue guns. A good general rule for guidance is to use a low-temperature hot melt glue gun when you are working with children or delicate materials. Glue sticks on a low-temperature gun melt at around 250 degrees Fahrenheit and a those on a high-temperature glue gun melt at approximately 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Both can pose a dangerous situation to delicate skin, so using caution and supervising their use is highly recommended. There are also dual temperature glue guns which allow you to alternate between the melting temperatures of low and high.Those tend to be priced at a higher cost point because of their flexibility.
When researching what to look for in a hot melt glue gun and how to use them, we found that there is a standard called the 5-second rule regarding the amount of glue you can lay down in five seconds using a standard size glue gun. This is about a 4-inch line. That amount or length will stay hot and pliable for five seconds so that you can adhere your pieces together. Anything beyond that 4-inch length will start to cool and therefore harden back to its cooled state – making adhesion nearly impossible. How does this translate into your hot glue gun purchase? Well if you are working with projects that need more than the 4-inch line, you will want to make sure that you are shopping for a high-temperature glue gun.
Aside from the temperature varietal, you can choose a hot melt glue gun that is a trigger feed or a manual feed.
The size of a glue gun can range from mini versions to full sized versions with one or two other size options in between. The size of the hot melt glue gun also determines the width and material of the glue or adhesive sticks that are available to you for use. Most hot melt glue guns are powered via an electrical cord into an outlet, but there are options for battery powered models as well.
How We Selected
We decided that the power we were looking for in a glue gun had to come from a power cord, so those were the models that we exclusively looked at. We also decided that we wanted a glue gun with dual temperature options since we were not interested in having to purchase two different products for varying projects.
How We Reviewed
The glue guns that we looked at did not have on and off switches, but simply remained “on” whenever they were plugged in. When we selected the brand and models to review, we assumed (incorrectly) that they would vary. So that was one factor that they all scored a big “no” on across the board. We looked at the time to heat up for each hot melt glue gun since they would not be remaining in the “on.” setting, and we may need to plan our session timing accordingly. Most of them were below five minutes, but some were much faster than others. Some of the models we looked at did not indicate anything regarding the time that they needed to be fully warmed up. Next, we looked at the wattage but found that with the dual temperature, they varied. Some testers went through each glue gun with a wattage meter and found that the guns didn’t come close to what the packaging or manufacturer specs identified.
The type of handle used for glue dispersion was next on our list. We liked the trigger handle best for better control on the glue being applied to our materials.
Time Required to Heat
We looked at the time that each glue gun would need to heat up to “ready” for two reasons, if you need to do quick repairs or don’t want to leave your glue gun plugged in (and no one should do that) then you do not want to wait around for it to reach full temperature.
|Hot Glue Gun Model||Time to Heat Up|
|Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit||Not identified|
|Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature Full-Size Glue Gun||5 minutes|
|Adhesive Technologies AdTech Two Temp Hot Glue Gun||Not identified|
|BSTPower Professional Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun||3-5 minutes|
|Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt Temperature Glue Gun||60 seconds|
Wattage measures the electrical power in each glue gun. This is relevant for you electrical bill, and also indicates the power that each hot glue gun will yield when in use.
|Hot Glue Gun Model||Wattage|
|Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit||60 – 100 watts|
|Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature Full-Size Glue Gun||60 watts|
|Adhesive Technologies AdTech Two Temp Hot Glue Gun||40 watts|
|BSTPower Professional Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun||100 watts|
|Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt Temperature Glue Gun||80 watts|
The handle type let us know if we had a trigger or manual feed. Once we began to review these models, we learned that the trigger type is far more common and allows you to use your glue gun in a more precise manner. It is the style we recommend in any model that you choose.
|Hot Glue Gun Model||Trigger or Manual Feed|
|Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit||Trigger|
|Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature Full Size Glue Gun||Trigger|
|Adhesive Technologies AdTech Two Temp Hot Glue Gun||Trigger|
|BSTPower Professional Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun||Trigger|
|Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt Temperature Glue Gun||Trigger|
All the models had to have a reliable safety stand. Even with this safety stand, we recommend that you use a pad underneath the glue dispenser tip for additional protection from drips.
|Hot Glue Gun Model||Safety Stand|
|Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit||yes|
|Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature Full-Size Glue Gun||Yes|
|Adhesive Technologies AdTech Two Temp Hot Glue Gun||yes|
|BSTPower Professional Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun||Removable metal kick stand|
|Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt Temperature Glue Gun||Fold out style|
Glue Stick Size
You do not want to choose a glue gun model that takes an unusual glue stick size. You will have a tough time using it consistently, and find glue sticks when you need to reorder. Additionally, a smaller glue stick means you will run out of adhesive quicker and be unable to apply the amount necessary if you want a larger line.
|Hot Glue Gun Model||Glue Stick Size|
|Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit||7/16 inch|
|Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature Full-Size Glue Gun||7/16 inch|
|Adhesive Technologies AdTech Two Temp Hot Glue Gun||.5 inch|
|BSTPower Professional Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun||7/16 inch|
|Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt Temperature Glue Gun||7/16 inch|
Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit
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The Meltox Dual Watt Hot Melt Glue Gun is designed for both crafters and more experienced users. It has a dual wattage button that allows you to easily move between low and high temperatures, with the low being a 60-watt option and the high being 100 watts. This particular kit was one that we liked because it came with a dozen glue sticks, and an e-book on how to use
Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature Full Size Glue Gun
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The Surebonder DT-280F Dual Temperature is a full-size standard hot melt glue gun that offers 60 watts and 120-volt power. It uses 7/16” sized glue sticks and comes with an 8-foot cord. The Surebonder also offers their no drip tip which is a feature exclusive to their product. This glue gun offers a switch indicator to go between high and low temperatures. It also includes two stands, one built onto the glue gun that flips down, and a second stand which is included and you can rest the hot glue gun on it for a second layer of protection from falling over and preventing any glue from getting on to material or surfaces that you did not intend for. A few reviews indicated that the glue gun was not built very well and had instances of both leaking glue and causing electrical issues, so that gave us a lot of pause for concern. Other users found it to be a reliable glue gun that met their needs. It also does seem to drip, despite it having a no drip feature.
Adhesive Technologies AdTech Two Temp Hot Glue Gun
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The Adhesive Technologies AdTech model glue gun came in at 40 watts of power but did offer two temperatures for gluing. The product description indicates that there is a “removable cord” so many users purchased this with the thought that they would have a lot of flexibility when using it. As it turns out, there is not a removable cord, and not only were they disappointed, but they felt that returning it was more of a hassle than just dealing with the product that they were shipped. The point that Adhesive Technologies was trying to make was that the glue gun stayed hot for up to five minutes after being unplugged, and could be used in this way as a cordless model. We disagree and for that reason do not endorse this hot melt glue gun. There are other models that you can spend your money on and get what you are promised.
BSTPower Professional Adjustable Temperature Glue Gun
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BSTPower Glue Gun not only offers an adjustable temperature range of 212 through 428 degrees Fahrenheit but also has one of the highest wattages offered on the glue guns that we reviewed, coming in at 100 watts. These are some of the reasons it was chosen as our Best Overall hot melt glue gun. The BSTPower model offers a warm up time of three to five minutes and an indicator light that alerts you to when your hot melt glue gun has reached the temperature that you have set it at. The glue sticks required are a standard 7/16 inch. We liked that this model includes an anti-overheating ceramic PTC thermistor. There is an anti-drip feature with a built-in leak proof valve and an insulated tip that keeps the glue dispensed at a steady temperature and rate. The power cord measures in at 5.5 feet long. Additionally, BSTPower offers a 100% money back guarantee and lifetime warranty on this product.
Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt High/Low Temperature Glue Gun (GR25)
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The Stanley Bostitch Glueshott Dual Melt glue gun might have been overlooked by our team had it not been for a resident tester who has used this glue gun in her own home for years – and has been very pleased with it. Luckily we did look into it, because it was chosen as our Best on a Budget pick. The quick heat up time of 60 seconds is fantastic for when you need a quick fix, and the high and low switch is easily visible for adjusting to your needs. This model was similar toother glue guns that we reviewed because it has a built-in stand that flips up when not in use. And the 80 watts of power was on the higher end of all the models. One of the negative reviews for this product was that it did not include an on and off switch, but we found that most of the glue guns do not include that in their design.
What We Liked
We liked the trigger handle and multi temperature feature on the hot melt glue guns. We also liked that the BSTPower Glue Gun model had an actual way of changing temperatures for a range of degrees, not just one or the other.
We liked that the Surebonder Glue Gun came with not only a built-in kick stand type of rest, but also a platform stands to rest the hot glue gun on while it was not in use. All the hot melt glue guns that we researched had a stand, which is something you need for safety reasons. Additionally, keeping a glue gun upright as it is both hot and cooling down, will prevent the dispenser tip from becoming clogged.
What We Didn’t Like
We didn’t like how the guns did not come with an on and off switch but were just plug in ready. We think that this is a safety feature we would look for in our next batch of reviews.
We did not like how the wattage was not guaranteed on all products. User reviews indicated some frustration with this on all products.
We did not like how the hot glue gun can drip when not in use but still plugged in. You should always place a heat resistant pad underneath a glue gun when plugged in, and as it cools down. Even when a manufacturer says that their product is no drip, it will leak glue despite their claims.
A few tips and tricks for managing molten glue:
- If hot glue gets onto your clothes or fabric that it wasn’t intended for, let it solidify before trying to clean the affected area. Soft and hot glue will spread into the fibers and will become nearly impossible to remove entirely. A hard blob of glue will be easier to peel off. You can speed up this process by putting the fabric into the freezer which will allow the hardened glue to crack easily. Launder the material immediately after to remove any residual glue.
- If you get hot glue on your skin, immediately put it under cold water or press ice against the area. Do not try to remove right away because you will inadvertently pull of skin, creating a bigger problem for yourself. Seek medical attention for further treatment.
- If the hot glue gets into human hair, or onto a pet’s fur, coconut or baby oil – or even olive oil, heated up with a hair dryer will soften the glue and make removal easier. Using a fine-tooth comb may help to speed up the removal process. After you have removed most of the glue, proceed with shampoo to remove any residue of the glue and oil.
Glue guns can provide countless crafting options and home repair functionalities, as well as larger industrial products. With all the models, you need to use caution regarding skin burns and the hot glue going where you didn’t intend for it to go.