The Best Glues for Ceramic Repairs of 2022

When repairing a favorite vase, mug, or other ceramic object, the right adhesive can make all the difference.

By Emily Blackwood and Debbie Wolfe | Updated Dec 17, 2021 10:00 AM

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The Best Glue For Ceramic

Photo: Debbie Wolfe

Breaking a ceramic household item is frustrating, but most can be repaired—so long as you have all the pieces and a high-quality adhesive. The best glue for ceramic can not only rescue small shattered and broken objects, but it can even fix ceramic tiles and countertops. If you own or work with ceramics often, it’s wise to have a specialty glue on hand. We tested a variety of super glues and epoxies on some of the most common ceramics used in the home including stoneware, porcelain, and earthenware to determine their ease of application, drying times, and cured finish color. Use this guide to the best glues going to find the product you’ll want to keep in your tool kit or utility drawer.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Gorilla Super Glue with Brush & Nozzle Applicator
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Krazy Glue Home & Office Super Glue, Brush Applicator
  3. BEST EPOXY: J-B Weld ClearWeld 5 Minute Set Epoxy
  4. BEST CERAMIC GLUE FILLER: J-B Weld MinuteWeld Instant-Setting Epoxy
  5. BEST WATERPROOF: Gorilla Waterproof Polyurethane Glue
  6. BEST FOOD SAFE: Elmer’s E1012 China and Glass Cement
  7. HONORABLE MENTION: Pratley Quickset White Epoxy
The Best Glue For Ceramic

Photo: Debbie Wolfe

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Glue for Ceramic Repairs

Before our reviews of the best types of glue for ceramics, let’s go over some specifics. Everything from formulation to applicator to drying time can affect how well the adhesive will repair a ceramic piece. Read on to learn what should be considered before purchasing a new ceramic glue.

Glue Type

There are all types of glue, but the most common types for ceramic repair are super glue and epoxy.

  • Super glue uses cyanide-derived cyanoacrylate to create a strong bond. This convenience product dries in seconds and, unlike epoxy, requires no mixing. It’s great for lightweight ceramics and creating bonds in a thin space, such as putting a broken rim of a planter back together.
  • Epoxies include a hardener and a resin that, when mixed, provide a strong bond that’s ideal for ceramics. While a little extra effort is required to prepare, and drying times are longer, epoxy is more durable than super glue, so it’s the better choice for fixing items that get a lot of handling. Epoxies can also be used as fillers due to their viscosity. They effectively fill in dents, scratches, cracks, holes, or joints and can be sanded and painted to camouflage the repair.

Applicator and Container Shape

Many super glues have a small applicator tip to deposit the adhesive on the exact spot to be repaired. Some products have a nozzle for more precise application. Other glues come with a brush to allow more control over how thick or thin the product goes on.

The shape of the container can also be an important factor in ease of use if it’s basically an extension of the applicator. Certain container designs are also less likely to cause dripping. Avoid containers that drip, which wastes product and increases the risk of glue coming in contact with the skin, causing irritation.

Drying Time and Opacity

Every adhesive, no matter the type, has a different drying time, which will usually be printed somewhere on the label. Generally, epoxies take about 30 seconds to 5 minutes to set and up to several hours to cure. Quick-setting adhesives like super glue—which typically dries in seconds—don’t give much adjustment time; it’s best to do a dry fit first before adding the adhesive to ensure you position the pieces correctly.

Drying opacity is another aspect to keep in mind. Most glues will dry to a transparent finish so that the product won’t show on the ceramic. However, some change color as they dry. If using the glue as a filler, make sure to choose one that will match the color of the ceramic piece.

Food Safety

What makes many ceramic adhesives so strong is their chemical composition. Unfortunately, these chemicals are often not “food-safe,” meaning they should not be used on dishes, cups, or other items used for food and drinks. Most super glues contain cyanoacrylate. The chemical can cause skin irritation and minor stomach upset if ingested. Although the chemical is minimally toxic in small amounts, the FDA does not recommend it for use on any object that comes in direct contact with food or drinks.

If the ceramic piece being repaired is used to serve or display food, look for an FDA approval stamp on the product label. That certification is the only way to know for sure that the glue is food-safe. An FDA stamp is not important for items that won’t be around food.

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant

Many but not all adhesives for ceramics are either waterproof or water resistant. If your ceramic item is regularly exposed to liquids or kept in a typically moist environment, it’s wise to use a waterproof glue. Epoxies may be waterproof, while super glues are more likely to be water resistant. A water-resistant glue should hold up fine to hand-washing, and some can even survive a dishwasher. Read labels or online product information to determine if a glue is water resistant or waterproof.

Accessories

As with most crafting products, ceramic glues may come with accessories that may be useful for repairs. Typically, these are tools that assist in application, such as a scraper, spatula, or an attachment that allows for better control of the flow of glue. Some adhesives come with multiple tops, syringes, and nozzles so you can brush on the glue or squeeze it out.

When working with super glues and epoxies, it’s a good idea to do your repairs over a tarp or sheet to protect the surface below. These aren’t usually available with adhesives, however.

Our Top Picks

Armed with an understanding of the best type of ceramic glue that will be most beneficial for your repairs, consider the following hands-on reviews. Although all the glues we tested will repair broken ceramics, we found that some are easier to use and have faster drying times than others. Keep reading and you’re likely to find the right glue for your projects.

Best Overall

The Best Glue For Ceramic Option: Gorilla Super Glue with Brush_Nozzle Applicator
Photo: amazon.com

With a unique formulation that includes rubber particles to increase bond strength and impact resistance, Gorilla Super Glue is the best product we tested for general ceramic repairs. It can also be used on plastic, metal, stone, fabric, paper, and rubber, among other materials, and it dries in less than 45 seconds. It dries clear to help make repairs undetectable.

Beyond the glue itself, two applicators are included to fine-tune usage to suit the project: a fine-bristle brush for smaller, thin cracks and a precision-tip nozzle for quick, accurate dispensing. Practice makes perfect when using the applicators, however. In our tests, it took several tries with the tip applicator to get the glue flowing at the ideal rate. The brush applicator is easy to use, but the viscosity of the gel made it tricky to get the right amount of adhesive on the brush without making a mess.

This super glue is not FDA approved or water resistant. It has a strong odor that dissipates after drying, but it should be applied in a well-ventilated area.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time:10–45 seconds
  • Finish: Clear
  • Applicator: Nozzle and brush

Pros

  • Gel formula is easy to see upon dispensing
  • Two applicator options included
  • Bonds almost immediately

Cons

  • Nozzle applicator takes practice
  • Rim of container gets messy when using brush
  • Very strong odor when wet

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Glue For Ceramic Option: Krazy Glue Home_Office Super Glue_Brush Applicator
Photo: amazon.com

For a fast, strong bond at a budget-friendly price, consider Krazy Glue Home & Office Super Glue. It provides an instant bond on ceramics as well as metal, vinyl, plastic, and wood. The included brush applicator is easy to control and gives excellent coverage, even in tight spaces. The well-designed no-clog bottle keeps the glue fresh and the brush bristles from sticking together.

When putting Krazy Glue through its paces, we found it to create a very strong bond with just a small amount of product. But while the brush does make application easy, the glue itself is clear and thin, so it’s a bit hard to see. Plus, because it dries so quickly, we suggest doing a dry run: Practice replacing the broken pieces together so you’ll know just where to place them after adding the glue.

This low-priced household staple is sold in a pack of two. It is not water resistant or FDA approved for food safety.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time: 30 seconds
  • Finish: Clear
  • Applicator: Brush

Pros

  • Sets super fast
  • A little goes a long way
  • Brush applicator easy to use
  • Very durable bond

Cons

  • Sets almost too fast
  • Thin formula difficult to see when applying

Best Epoxy

The Best Glue For Ceramic Option: J-B Weld ClearWeld 5 Minute Set Epoxy
Photo: amazon.com

J-B Weld ClearWeld 5-Minute Set Epoxy is a multipurpose adhesive that provides strong, durable, and clear bonds on everything from ceramic and glass to wood and plastic. It has a psi (pound-force per square inch) of 3,900, which creates a significantly stronger bond compared to most glues, which range between 500 and 2,000 psi.

The epoxy comes with a mixing tray, a stir stick, and a syringe for convenient preparation and a craft stick for application. Though quick-setting for an epoxy—it dries in 5 minutes and cures in an hour—we found it essential to clamp or hold items together as it sets. The benefit of this set time is it allows for adjustments, if needed. This epoxy is not FDA approved or waterproof.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time: 5 minutes
  • Finish: Clear
  • Applicator: Wood craft stick

Pros

  • Easy to mix what you need
  • High tensile strength
  • Extremely durable bond

Cons

  • Clamping or holding items necessary
  • Tray and wood craft stick is only usable once

Best Ceramic Glue Filler

The Best Glue For Ceramic Option: J-B Weld MinuteWeld Instant-Setting Epoxy
Photo: amazon.com

More than a mere adhesive, this two-part epoxy quickly fills cracks and crevices in ceramics quite well. With a strength of 2,300 psi, the heavy-duty epoxy is extremely strong; it’s also versatile, working on tile, fiberglass, plastic, PVC, wood, and concrete as well as ceramics.

J-B Weld MinuteWeld Instant-Setting Epoxy sets in under a minute and takes about an hour to cure. The epoxy includes a syringe, mixing tray, and stir stick to make preparing the formula easy. This adhesive is not FDA approved or waterproof.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time: 1 minute
  • Finish: Clear
  • Applicator: Wood craft stick

Pros

  • Easy to mix
  • High tensile strength
  • Extremely durable bond

Cons

  • Tray and wood craft stick only usable once

Best Waterproof

The Best Glue For Ceramic Option: Gorilla Waterproof Polyurethane Glue
Photo: amazon.com

Gorilla Waterproof Polyurethane Glue won’t break down when exposed to water, making it an ideal choice for a ceramic vase or planter, as well as items that spend time outdoors, exposed to the elements. This water-activated polyurethane-formulated glue expands three times into the material to form a strong bond that’s durable and long-lasting.

This glue is versatile, working well on wood, metal, foam, glass, stone, and concrete in addition to ceramics. It’s not FDA approved, however, so it should never be used on items that come into contact with food.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time: 2 to 3 hours
  • Finish: Tan
  • Applicator: Nozzle

Pros

  • Waterproof and won’t break down when exposed to outdoor elements
  • Expands three times into materials for a strong bond
  • Bond holds through hot and cold temperatures

Cons

  • Large bottle is cumbersome
  • Large applicator tip makes control flow of glue difficult
  • Takes 2 hours to set

Best Food-Safe

The Best Glues for Ceramic Option: Elmer’s E1012 China and Glass Cement
Photo: amazon.com

Don’t cry over spilled milk or broken dishware! Elmer’s E1012 China and Glass Cement glue is FDA approved—a fine choice for safely fixing a favorite mug, plate, or other item that comes in contact with food and drinks. The Elmer’s brand is well known for nontoxic adhesives that are often used in schools, workshops, and offices.

The glue sets in about a minute, offering time to adjust if needed, and requires up to 3 days to cure fully. Once cured, the adhesive is dishwasher safe. Our tests deemed Elmer’s E1012 China and Glass Cement’s glue to produce a strong bond once cured. The only caveat: It can be tricky to control the flow of adhesive from the applicator tube. For that reason, it wouldn’t be our first choice for a job requiring absolute precision.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time: 1 minute
  • Finish: Clear
  • Applicator: Tube

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Nontoxic and food-safe
  • Works on nonporous surfaces such as glass

Cons

  • Hard to control glue flow

Honorable Mention

The Best Glue For Ceramic Option: Pratley Quickset White Epoxy
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for a strong adhesive that works fast may wish to consider Pratley Quickset White Epoxy. It can be used to bond pieces together and also fill holes, cracks, and gaps. A good choice for rough, rigid, and painted surfaces, it is often used to repair decorative ceramics, yet its high strength makes it a top choice for sinks as well as stone, concrete, glass, fiberglass, and metal.

Pratley Quickset is the rare epoxy that comes premixed, which is definitely a convenience. Its tube applicator makes it easy to squeeze the product onto the surfaces that require repair. It dries in 15 minutes, and, while the epoxy is white and will show, it can be painted to disguise the repair. It is not waterproof or FDA approved.

Product Specs

  • Bonding time: 15 minutes
  • Finish: White
  • Applicator: Tube

Pros

  • Comes ready-mixed
  • Easy-to-squeeze tube
  • Very durable
  • Fills in gaps

Cons

  • Strong lingering odor
  • Need to clean excess immediately before it sets
  • Not recommended for nonwhite ceramics

Our Verdict

For most minor home repairs of small ceramics and other items, we recommend both Gorilla Super Glue and Krazy Glue Home & Office Super Glue. Both products set nearly instantly, produce a durable bond, and are easy to apply. Additionally, both products are economically priced and will fix most broken ceramic items around the house.

How We Tested the Best Ceramic Glues

We tested these adhesives based on three rubrics: bonding time, applicator type, and the color of the product when dried. All glues tested indicated their suitability for three different types of ceramic: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.

We held each ceramic piece in place by hand or clamp for the bonding time recommended by the manufacturer; in general, we found the bond set faster than the manufacturer’s claim. Most of the glues only came with one type of applicator, except for the Gorilla Super Glue, which had a brush and nozzle applicator.

Tips for Using Glue for Ceramic Repairs

While many crafters rely on a great glue gun, a high-quality epoxy or super glue is often a staple for numerous projects—especially if working with ceramics. These adhesives are also handy for around-the-house repairs, such as putting together a shattered flowerpot or repairing a decorative porcelain statuette. Consider these tips to obtain great results when using glue on ceramics:

  • Clean the ceramic pieces fully and allow them to dry completely before applying the adhesive.
  • If using epoxy, apply it within 3 minutes of mixing it to avoid it drying.
  • Hold pieces of the ceramic together until they are firm and stable.
  • Use tweezers to help hold smaller pieces in place.

FAQs 

You now know what it takes to choose and properly use the best glue for ceramics yet may still want more information. Read on for answers to some of the most common questions about selecting and applying epoxy and super glue.

Q. Can you glue ceramic cookware?

Yes, but only if the glue is FDA approved.

Q. Is Gorilla Glue good for ceramic repairs?

Yes. Gorilla Super Glue is the brand’s most recommended product for ceramic repair.

Q. How do you glue ceramics back together?

Apply epoxy or glue to the edge of the broken pieces and then hold them together until they are secure. Let dry for the time indicated on the package before use.