Hot Melt Glue guns are made out of plastic and metal. The internal machinery of the glue gun is encased in metal to insulate and contain the heat generated while the outer shell is encased in plastic for durability and grip.
Before jumping into the intricate details such as the important factors for picking the right hot melt glue gun, you first need to understand the working of a Hot Melt Glue Gun.
How Does a Hot Melt Glue Gun Work?
The actual glue element of the hot glue gun is a cylindrical refill. This refill is made out of a wider range of polymers, wax, acetates and resins.
The heating element of the gun is placed inside the machine chamber of the gun. It has 2 openings. One for the glue tube to come in and the other for the hot melt glue to come out.
When the cylindrical adhesive element is placed on the heating side of the gun and the feed is given, the material starts to melt at a controlled rate. At the tip of the gun, it starts to pour out and you will be placing it wherever or whatever you need it to get fixed.
Types of Hot Melt Glue Gun
Hot Glue come in different shapes, sizes, features and functionalities. Depending on these factors, the classification of hot melt glue guns is done as following:
1. Type of Feed
Depending on the type of how the feed of the gluing element is passed on, a hot melt glue gun can be either of the following two types.
a) Manual/Push Feed:
A Manual Feed or Push Feed gun’s principle of operation is simple. You first slit the adhesive material refill onto one end of the gun. Once the heating element starts to warm and heat up, you press the feed from behind as glue will start coming out from the other tip end of the gun.
b) Trigger Feed
Another type, true to its name this type of glue guns have a certain trigger on them. After you have placed the adhesive element on one side of the gun, you will have a small trigger available to pull with your finger. The moment you pull the trigger, melting of the adhesive takes place inside and hot glue will pour out of the tip of the gun. Perfect for small time crafts or repairs.
2. Corded and Cordless
Hot melt glue guns are either corded or cordless. Corded guns are usually heavy duty. They are of industrial grade and come with a great length of cord. These guns could handle large volumes of glue and high temperature of melting. Require high levels of caution .
Cordless models of glue guns on the contrary, are much more easier and flexible to use than a corded melt glue gun.
Cordless models use either batteries or charging type. Go for charging type as batteries may run out soon and it may be difficult to handle when you are in the middle of some project or work.
Often Small in size, they can be used for general household crafts and fixes. This brings us to the next type of difference.
3. Industrial vs Mini Hot Glue Guns
a) Industrial Hot Glue Guns:
These are bulky, heavy duty and are mostly corded in nature. These types of glue guns require huge power and could melt large volumes of glue material. Used for fixing industrial purposes and adhesives for manufacturing of goods. Naturally, the required glue sticks and machinery used is much more expensive than a regular glue gun.
b) Mini Glue Gun:
Cordless and small entities, these are what people find in households. They are compact, light in weight, do not consume a lot of power of adhesive sticks and are perfect for fixing up small household repairs and items. Downside for these types is that they are not so ideal to fix up bigger items such as upholstery or wood furniture etc.,
4. Heating Capacity of the gun
This is another major important factor of a glue gun is the amount of heat it needs to operate. Depending on these factors, they are classified into the following 3 types.
a) High-Temperature Hot Glue Guns:
Designed and developed for sticking bigger, harder and tougher materials such as wood, metal and other tougher fibers. The heating element in these guns operate at a high temperature of about 380 degrees Centigrade.
b) Low-Temperature Hot Glue Guns:
Designed for minor household repairs and kid project based usage, these guns are meant to stick light materials such as soft and hard fabrics, plastics, cardboard and paper mache. Heating element for such devices has a typical temperature of about 250 degrees centigrade.
c) Dual Temperature Hot Glue Guns:
Made for professional DIY crafting projects and similar activities, they can also be used for any sorts of household repairs too. The heating element of such guns have variable temperature settings. It can be high or low depending on one’s usage and needs.
Important Factors To Be Considered Before Picking A Glue Gun:
Now that you have successfully picked the type of the glue gun that you are going to buy, you now have to look at what are the important features you need. These requirements are need particular. Let us look at a few of the important features to be considered.
1. Size Of The Gun
Household and kid friendly craft guns are often small in nature. Just about 4 or 5 inches in length. They even come in colourful shapes too.
While that holds and stays, you need a little bigger gun if you are doing something more than basic paper mache. Big guns, ( few inches bigger, not heavy duty) are perfect for fixing and repairing purposes around the house. Also for some serious DIY projects too
2. Temperature Settings and Adjustments
If you are buying a glue gun for your kid’s science or any other craft based project, then you need a small glue gun with no temperature settings.
But if you are buying a gun for household use and a few other contemporary usages, then you need a gun that has temperature setting within it. This will help you switch between the temperature and amount of hot glue needed to fix items of difference. For instance, the glue required for sticking together paper or cardboard based items is lower in heat than the temperature needed for fixing together two wood blocks. Again, clothes need a lower temperature while ficing.
Dual temperature regulation glue guns are perfect for either of the use. Buy once for every type of usage as they have a wide range of temperature selection.
3. Tip/Nozzle Of The Glue:
The nozzle of the glue gun is as important as any other part of the glue gun. It will give you an idea of the expenditure of the glue onto the the project at hand. Smaller and narrow nozzle tip give out a slow and concise outflow of the glue. Good for DIY projects by offering dexterity for the miniscule detailed work.
Wide nozzles give out large discharges of glue. Good for fixing large stuff.
Also, you need to know that these nozzles are not just about the width of discharge, but they also come in different shapes too. They could either be round, star shaped or flat. May sound childish but they are made for the exact same purpose. To entice kids.
4. Warm Up Time
Another important factor, warm up time, as the name suggests, is the time required by a glue gun heating element to warm up. Only after this can you place the adhesive cartridge in the gun and start using it.
Lower the warm up time, better quality of the device and faster the usage you get. Typical warm up time of many such glue guns is between 3-5 minutes but this changes from gun to gun depending on the type, size, power consumption, heating element, company and usage.
It is important that you take good care while using the glue gun.Using a Glue Gun is literally playing with heat and fire. Never let a kid use a hot glue gun without adult supervision.
Make sure you are wearing appropriate glove wear while handling a hot glue gun.
Look for safety options in the gun. Most good quality guns come with a warning LED present in the gun which will light up, to warn you whenever the heating element has exceeded a certain limit and tends to be overheating. In such cases, you need to switch off the device and let it cool down.
Make sure that the hot glue comes with a glue gun stand. If not, go buy one. These stands let you place the gun safe and secure when not in use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Low or Cold Melt guns employ lower temperature to melt the adhesive cartridge than a typical hot melt glue gun. They are more safe and secure than their counterparts due to their safer temperatures and operation. These types of guns are ideal for using in making small DIY arts or crafts for kids.
Absolutely, One can use a glue gun on all of them but be really careful while using it. For fabric and plastic make sure there is no too much heat or you may end up burning the cloth due to the high temperature of the glue.
For wood and metal, you can employ as much as volume you want because metal and wood can resist any burning.
The capacity of an adhesive or a glue is compared in strength vs the volume of the glue used. Generally, cyanoacrylates have the most strongest bonding with the host materials. They are resistant to any and most of the chemicals, heat or water. Hence they are defacto the strongest.
When it comes to allowing kids to use a glue gun, never let any of the kids below the age of 10 or so to use a glue gun. Always make sure that you or any other adult is supervising the kid while they use the device. Also, do not let them use heavy duty glue guns. Kids are ok to use small sized craft glue guns.