The Best Glues for Plastic
Get stuck the right way with quality glues formulated for plastics.
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- BEST OVERALLPratley Powda Bond AdhesiveCheck Latest Price
- RUNNER-UPGorilla Super GlueCheck Latest Price
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCKLoctite Epoxy Five-Minute Instant MixCheck Latest Price
One formula definitely does not fit all when it comes to glues for your DIY projects. Adhesives are chemically designed to work with certain material. Wood glue, for example, is great for carpentry but won’t be effective on metal. Even Super Glue—possibly your default option for just about anything—has its limits, as cyanoacrylate, which is its active ingredient, doesn’t adhere well to smooth surfaces.
Trickier still, gluing plastic depends largely on the target material. A glue that works well bonding plastic to plastic may be a poor choice to adhere plastic to metal or wood. Most DIYers maintain a collection of adhesives to get the job done right the first time. So don’t get stuck using the wrong product. Read on to better understand the properties of the glues on the market and why the choices below rate as the best for all your plastic bonding needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Pratley Powda Bond Adhesive
- RUNNER-UP: Gorilla Super Glue
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Loctite Epoxy Five-Minute Instant Mix
- BEST FOR PLASTIC TO PLASTIC: Testor Corp Cement Glue
- BEST FOR PLASTIC TO RUBBER: Gorilla Super Glue With Brush and Nozzle Applicator
- BEST FOR PLASTIC TO METAL: J-B Weld 8272 MarineWeld Marine Epoxy
- BEST FOR PLASTIC TO WOOD: Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy
- BEST FOR ABS PLASTIC: Plastruct Plastic Weld
Types of Glue for Plastic
Strong glues designed for plastic come in several different types, including cyanoacrylate (Super Glue), model cement, epoxy, and multi-purpose.
While some adhesives rely on evaporation to form a bond between two objects, cyanoacrylate (commonly known as Super Glue) uses anionic polymerization to form a chemical bond when it comes in contact with hydroxyl ions in water.
This essentially means that Super Glue only requires water to bond to a substance. Since almost any surface has at least some moisture on it from humidity in the air, Super Glue can form a strong bond between virtually all surfaces. The one exception is hard, smooth plastics; for optimum results in projects like automotive body repairs, use sandpaper to scuff smooth plastic before applying Super Glue. Also, keep in mind that cyanoacrylate can discolor or degrade acrylics, so it wouldn’t be ideal for gluing plexiglass windows for example
Model cement relies on solvents like butanone, toluene, or dichloromethane (DCM) to melt plastic on application and a filler, such as polystyrene, to then weld the plastics together. This method of joining material types makes model cement only effective on plastic. It cannot be used with metal, wood, ceramic, stone, or concrete. As the name implies, this adhesive is commonly used for joining plastic components while building models; it’s also used to connect ABS pipe together and in plumbing with PVC pipe.
Epoxy normally comes in two tubes with separate or connected plungers, depending on the brand. One tube is filled with a resin, the other with a hardener. When the two are pushed out of the tubes onto a surface and combine, they create a very strong, durable, and water-resistant adhesive. Epoxies are best for metal, ceramics, rubber, wood, and certain plastics.
While some epoxies form an incredibly strong bond in only five minutes, others can require more than two hours of clamping, 12 hours of drying time, and one to two days until they are fully cured. When used properly, epoxies are extremely versatile and can be seen in many industries, including electronics, medical devices, and aerospace; DIYers rely on waterproof epoxies for boat and dock repairs.
Multi-purpose glues—including carpenter’s glue, white glue, school glue, and wood glue—are intended for porous material like wood, paper, cloth, pottery, and non-structural wood bonds. They aren’t effective for non-porous material like plastic and metal because polyvinyl acetate (PVA), the active ingredient, relies on evaporation and a porous surface to form a bond between two objects. Though great for everyday use, multi-purpose glues may require clamping in place for up to an hour so water can evaporate from the glue, leaving the polyvinyl acetate behind to form a bond. Full curing takes between 18-24 hours.
Tips for Buying the Best Glue for Plastic
When shopping for a glue that works well with plastic, first consider the target material. Manufacturer recommendations on the label will indicate the surfaces a glue is appropriate for and provide clear instructions on how best to use the glue. For the best results, follow manufacturer recommendations.
Also, keep in mind, that the scope of the project should dictate the quality of glue that you use. In general, as a glue increases in strength and becomes more specialized for specific uses, its quality and price both increase. This doesn’t mean that simple repairs, like gluing a broken lawn chair back together, should use low-quality glue, but it does mean that complex projects that cost a good deal of time and money. Bonding PVC pipe in a newly finished bathroom, for instance, deserves high-quality glue.
Keep these three points in mind when evaluating and using any glue for plastics:
- Determine the material you will be working with to ensure proper selection.
- Follow manufacturer recommendations for the best results.
- Always strive to use a reliable glue for long-lasting results. When working on expensive items, such as fixing a computer or building a basement bar, invest in a higher-quality adhesive instead of reaching for that multi-purpose white glue you might have on hand.
Our Top Picks
The top-rated products below were chosen for quality, price, and customer satisfaction to help you find the best glue for all your plastic projects.
1. BEST OVERALL: Pratley Powda Bond Adhesive
The Pratley Powda Bond Adhesive uses a combination of filling powder, which is a wood aggregate, and heavy-duty cyanoacrylate, or Super Glue, to form a powerful bond that can be sanded, filed, drilled, tapped, and painted without losing its structural integrity. It bonds to plastics, including ABS, PVC, and polystyrene, as well as resin, fiberglass, metals, rubber, ceramic, and concrete glass within one minute of all liquid being absorbed.
The included filling powder is used for repairing holes or gaps between objects, as when a piece of the object is missing. The combination of glue and powder is placed into the hole or carefully applied in a gap to create a solid adhesive bond that also fills the gap or hole. The powder comes in black or white but can be mixed for a metallic gray appearance. As filler, this adhesive can be used on automotive parts, electrical switches, remotes, tools, pool pump valves, and many other applications. If you don’t need the powder for filling, the heavy-duty cyanoacrylate works as a powerful adhesive on its own.
2. RUNNER-UP: Gorilla Super Glue
One of the best glue options for common DIY projects, like minor repairs to appliances or for sealing small holes in the garden hose, Gorilla Super Glue uses rubber particles to create an impact-resistant bond that is incredibly strong. It reacts with water molecules to create a chemical bond effective for joining rubber, leather, metal, wood, paper, ceramic, and plastic (except polyethylene or polypropylene), though smooth surfaces should be sanded for the best result.
Gorilla Super Glue bonds within one minute of application for light handling, but after five minutes the pieces will no longer be repositionable—so make sure that both surfaces are right where they should be. The full cure time is 24 hours.
3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Loctite Epoxy Five-Minute Instant Mix
Loctite Epoxy Five-Minute Instant Mix works on metal, glass, ceramic, wood, many rigid plastics, china, tile, fiberglass, concrete, and stone. This value adhesive performs as well as higher-priced products for a wide range of projects, such as gap bonding, surface repairs, and laminating. It’s easy to use, thanks to a self-mixing syringe and the push of a single, connected plunger to combine resin and hardener before application.
Once mixed, resin and hardener set within five minutes, so be sure to apply it immediately. The result is a high-strength bond that is weather-, water-, and solvent-resistant. After 24 hours to fully cure, the epoxy can be painted and sanded without losing tensile strength.
4. BEST FOR PLASTIC TO PLASTIC: Testor Corp Cement Glue
Nothing beats a quality model cement for joining ABS plastic or polystyrene plastic, and Testor Corp’s Cement Gluemakes the job even easier, thanks to multiple precision tips that ensure accurate application. Toluene melts the plastic on application and polystyrene welds plastic objects together once the toluene reaction ends. It sets within a minute of application but begins reacting on contact: Be sure to place pieces correctly to avoid visibly melted plastic around the glued area. Note: Always use in a well-ventilated area due to the cement’s strong chemical smell.
5. BEST FOR PLASTIC TO RUBBER: Gorilla Super Glue With Brush and Nozzle Applicator
Rubber is challenging to glue because it flexes, which tends to break the bonds formed by adhesive. Gorilla Super Glue With Brush and Nozzle Applicator solves that problem thanks to rubber particles within the cyanoacrylate adhesive for increased impact resistance, durability, and flexibility.
The Super Glue also works with most plastics, leather, metal, wood, paper, and ceramic. Plus, a well-designed brush and nozzle allow for easy, exact application. Before applying, ensure that both surfaces are prepared according to project requirements and that they are properly aligned. The glue provides a strong bond within one minute of application and once set, objects cannot be adjusted.
6. BEST FOR PLASTIC TO METAL: J-B Weld 8272 MarineWeld Marine Epoxy
Ahoy! Waterproof J-B Weld 8272 MarineWeld Marine Epoxy can was designed for repairing boats, fixing dock pieces, or fastening metal hardware at the marina. It is heat resistant up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and has a tensile strength of 5,020 PSI, which means that it would require 5,020 pounds of force to pull apart two objects fastened using this glue. It can be used with aluminum, fiberglass, metal, plastic, composite, and wood. It’s a two-tube epoxy that comes ready to mix at a ratio of 1:1.
The epoxy takes between four to six hours to set. This gives you a long period of adjustment, to ensure that the adhesive and material are set just right, but it’s best to clamp pieces in place once you have a perfect position. The complete cure time is between 16-24 hours, and once cured, it can be tapped, filed, sanded, molded, and drilled.
7. BEST FOR PLASTIC TO WOOD: Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy
Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy is useful for gap-filling, repairing exterior siding, or gluing plastic, wood, metal, ceramics, brick, stone, concrete, glass, and foam. It comes in a dual-syringe form that uses a combined plunger to push the resin and hardener out through the same point. Once mixed, the epoxy sets in five minutes, allowing you time to ensure proper placement before permanent adhesion. The epoxy is water-resistant (though not waterproof) so it can hold up fairly well when used on outdoor items. It takes 24 hours to fully cure to a completely clear, spotless finish.
8. BEST FOR ABS PLASTIC: Plastruct Plastic Weld
Apply this plastic cement with the included brush and permanently bond ABS to butyrate, styrene, acrylic, plexiglass, and most other types of plastic. It acts by melting the surface of the target material and using polystyrene to polymerize the two objects into a new, bonded structure with nearly the same strength as the original material. Plastruct’s plastic cement is perfect for models, minor repairs, plastic automotive part repairs, and many other applications. Caution: The fumes from this plastic cement are flammable and hazardous to your lungs, so only use in a well-ventilated area with a respirator.
FAQs About Your New Plastic Glue
For best results, it’s wise to fully understand how to properly use glues designed for bonding plastic. Find answers to some of the most common questions about these adhesives below:
Q. What is the difference between plastic glue and Super Glue?
Plastic glue is a broader category of glues that Super Glue (cyanoacrylate) belongs to because of its ability to bond with some plastics. Epoxies, model cement, and multi-purpose glue (polyvinyl acetate) could also be considered plastic glue.
Q. Does Gorilla Glue work on plastic?
According to the manufacturer, Gorilla Glue can work well with many types of plastics, but it’s not recommended for use with polypropylene or polyethylene plastics, or with rubber that has a high oil or plasticizer content. The company does make specific products for these types of material, however.
Q. What should I do if I get plastic glue on my hands?
If you get plastic glue on your hands, soak them in warm water and massage the skin to try to remove the glue. If this fails, apply acetone (nail polish remover) to remove the glue, making sure to wash well after use and apply lotion, as acetone is drying to skin.
Q. Is plastic glue safe for children’s toys?
Most glues have some degree of toxicity, so not a great choice for building or repairing things that children play with, due to their tendency to suck or chew on the toys. The effects can range from a mild stomach ache to poisoning, even after the glue has dried, as little bits can come off during typical use. Some glue manufacturers offer non-toxic formulas that do not pose the same risk.