The Best Super Glue for Household Repairs
Don’t get stuck with an inferior glue just when your project is coming together.
A handy tube of super glue can quickly turn complicated home repairs into quick fixes—if you have the right product. From the simple solution for a chipped tile to sealing your leaky garden hose, the best super glue can ensure that the job is done correctly and will hold firmly. Important, since few things are as frustrating as having to redo your own repair because you initially used a subpar product.
Super glue really is the DIYer’s dream tool—right up there with duct tape—thanks to a chemical composition that quickly creates strong, long-lasting bonds capable of withstanding significant shock and impact forces. Though most are designed for all-purpose use, different types of super glue have different characteristics that make them more or less suitable for certain projects. Here, get the 411 on super glue formulas, applications, bonding times, and more—and find out why the following products made our top five list.
- BEST ALL AROUND: Gorilla Super Glue Gel
- BEST FOR CERAMICS: Krazy Glue Maximum Bond Super Glue
- BEST FOR METAL: Loctite Ultra Gel Control Super Glue
- BEST PRECISION: Gorilla Micro Precise Super Glue
- BEST VALUE: Super Glue 15187
Key Shopping Considerations
The difference between a “super glue” and other types of glue is the chemical formula that its adhesion relies on. For example, white glues rely on water evaporation to allow the polyvinyl acetate latex to form a bond between the crevices it has seeped into. Super glue works using a process called anionic polymerization, which takes place when its main ingredient, cyanoacrylate (C5H5NO2), comes in contact with hydroxyl ions in water.
Put simply, super glue only requires water to bond. Given that nearly any surface will have water molecules from the humidity in the air, super glue bonds to almost any surface within a short period of time. So read ingredient labels: If the product you’re looking at does not contain cyanoacrylate, it’s not a super glue and will likely not work the way you want it to.
Super glue’s exceptional bond relies on a chemical reaction between cyanoacrylate and water. This process creates a strong, mesh structure that hardens to bond objects together. However, different types of super glue are designed for very different surfaces. Some formulas produce a gel-like substance ideal for surfaces such as wood that may require a longer bonding time. Other formulas have a liquid texture to bond well with smooth, metal surfaces. Read packaging information to identify the type of surface a super glue is intended for.
A project such as replacing loose bathroom tiles may require a broad application of super glue and call for a large enough tube of at least five grams. You’ll find two types of applicators on tubes of this size: the classic style, with a tip that can be either cut or pierced for desired flow, or a brush applicator that allows you to quickly and effectively stroke glue to a large surface area before bonding can occur.
If, however, you need to fix a tiny chip on a favorite mug, you don’t want to risk globs of glue dripping onto the item, the floor, or any other unintended surface. For such a project, select a precision tip applicator or a pen applicator. The precision tip applicator features ridged grips on the bottle and an extended tip designed for small, hard-to-reach areas. The pen applicator works similarly to a ballpoint pen: Roll the tip across a surface and glue is released only to the area that the pen tip touches. These precision applicators help ensure neat, clean results. But no matter what kind of applicator you choose, don’t stress if you make a mess. A little acetone-based nail polish remover can help remove excess super glue from all manner of surfaces, including your fingers!
Most super glue products have a fairly short bonding time of 10 to 45 seconds. While this generally allows you to speed through a project, it doesn’t offer the luxury of dawdling—you’ve got to get those surfaces together quickly. Short bonding times can be an asset if you’re working in an area that’s difficult to reach, as they let you avoid holding an uncomfortable position any longer than needed. Longer bonding times of a minute or two may make it necessary for you to hold pieces of your project together long enough for adhesion; release too early and you’ll have to glue again. Read packaging info to get a handle on super glue bonding times. Note that gel products, by design, tend to take longer to bond because they’re normally used on porous surfaces that require a longer bonding time.
Different super glue products may include project-specific features, so read labels fully. For instance, some super glues are suited to use outdoors. Others can be painted or sanded. Some may boast an anti-clog cap to keep the glue from drying out in the tube. Packaging may also indicate the color that the glue takes on when it is dry.
Our Top Picks
1. BEST OVERALL: Gorilla Super Glue Gel
Ever popular Gorilla Super Glue Gel works well on a wide variety of surfaces, including metal, wood, ceramic, stone, and even brick. The gel formula is specially designed for porous surfaces and for use on vertical surfaces where a liquid glue would run, creating a mess. With an impressive bonding time of 10 to 30 seconds without clamping, this super glue is an excellent option for almost any project.
2. BEST FOR CERAMICS: Krazy Glue Maximum Bond Super Glue
Designed to bond porous surfaces, Krazy Glue Maximum Bond Super Glue has an ultra-thick formula that seeps into the crevices of ceramic and porcelain—bathroom floor tiles, for example, or a chipped kitchen sink. Though its two-minute bonding time is slower than other super glues, the results are highly resistant to impact and temperature changes. The extended applicator tip lets you apply the glue in hard-to-reach places and helps control the amount of glue for increased precision.
3. BEST FOR METAL: Loctite Ultra Gel Control Super Glue
The inclusion of rubber nanoparticles gives Loctite Ultra Gel Control Super Glue amazing bonding properties, especially for adhering metals together. The glue forms an ultra-strong bond and also increases resistance to water, shock, vibration, chemicals, and impact, making it the ideal for metal surfaces and outdoor use. While it comes with a slightly longer bonding period of one minute and fully cures within 24 hours, once dry, it’s nearly invisible and can easily be sanded and painted so that it essentially disappears.
4. BEST PRECISION: Gorilla Micro Precise Super Glue
Small, intricate projects call for the fastidious application of Gorilla Micro Precise Super Glue. The no-mess applicator boasts ridged rubber grips on either side for secure, non-slip handling in precision situations. The fast-setting formula bonds to plastic, wood, metal, ceramic, and more in 45 seconds and is highly resistant to impact.
5. BEST VALUE: Super Glue 15187
This pack of a dozen two-gram, single-use tubes from the original Super Glue company lets you bond wood, ceramic, metal, plastic, and many other surfaces. Each single-use tube is intended for one quick fix requiring a small amount of glue, such as fixing a loose screwdriver handle. Just apply where needed and toss the tube when done. While this isn’t the strongest or most versatile super glue on the market, its short dry time of 10 to 30 seconds, bargain price, and overall effectiveness make it a handy product to stash in a utility drawer or toolbox.