Best Wood Glue of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

Best wood glue – Woodworking and carpentry are two of the oldest skills in the world that you can use to make many different items, ranging from musical instruments to boats to furniture.

One essential element of proper woodworking is having the right tools for the job.

While there are traditional choices like saws, hammers, and screws, many products also call for the use of the best wood glue for the job.

Many features make good glue, and there are many knockoff options out there.

To help you identify which glue to purchase, our buying guide breaks down the right features and identifies five of the best options currently on the market.

Best Wood Glue Reviews

best wood glue

Gorilla Wood Glue

Gorilla is one of the most well-known glue brands, and this particular wood glue is a yellow PVA that you can use indoors and outdoors without difficulty.

It passed ANSI/HPVA Type II water-resistance standard and meant for carpentry, general woodworking, and hobby products.

Each container holds approximately eight ounces of fluid and has full dimensions of 7 x 5 x 5 inches.

Gorilla Glue Highlights

One of the main highlights of the Gorilla Wood Glue is its versatility and slow drying time.

Like a traditional PVA or PVC, this glue requires 24 hours to cure fully but begins to set in 30 minutes, which allows hobbyists to make adjustments as needed after already applying the glue to their project.

The cap also controls the stream of adhesive and makes it easy to place the glue under challenging corners or small gaps between pieces of wood.

It also dries in a natural color, and you can use it on hardwood, softwood, and basic wood composites without difficulty.

The Good

We enjoyed the sheer versatility of the Gorilla Wood Glue more than anything else.

This formula works well for indoor projects like spice racks and outdoor options like birdhouses.

We also love the required short clamping time of 30 minutes, plus the fact that the glue does not damage the skin or cause irritation.

Another great thing about the Gorilla Wood Glue is that it is easy to stain wood that still has some of the Gorilla glue residue left behind.

  • Versatile
  • Sets quickly
  • No skin irritation
  • Versatile
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy to correct mistakes
  • Natural bond line

The Bad

One downside to the Gorilla Wood Glue is its runniness.

PVA, in general, is supposed to have a formula that is partly water, but this adhesive was more liquid than putty and ran rivulets down our projects.

Thus, it is important to keep some materials on hand to clean up the excess before staining.

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max

Elmer’s is another popular choice for glue around the world, and this imported formula is a nontoxic option designed to be stainable and easy to clean up with water.

The adhesive does not produce any fumes and is a traditional yellow PVA which bonds stronger than the wood itself.

It requires at least 25 to 30 minutes of clamping to be effective and takes a full 24 hours to cure.

Each container holds approximately 16 ounces and has full dimensions of 2.5 x 4.3 x 10 inches.

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max Highlights

Elmer’s has been producing carpenter’s glue for over 60 years, and it is noticeable in the E7310 Wood Glue Max.

This option resists heat, mold, and mildew better than other options on the market and is slightly water-resistant.

It is easy to clean up if you accidentally spill it and has a control tip, which allows you to reach into difficult spaces like corners or even spirals on wooden dowels.

Plus, this glue is easy to clean up and does not require acetone if you make a mistake.

The Good

The Elmer’s E7310 Wood Glue Max is a simple adhesive which does not irritate the skin.

It is easy to control and make adjustments, especially since it requires at least 24 hours to cure properly.

The bonds created are flexible and durable, and the dried glue does not crack or fracture when exposed to pressure or heat.

The seal itself is stronger than the wood, so the actual board will break before the glue does.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry about any biological matter, such as the eponymous mold, feasting on the glue.

  • Does not irritate the skin
  • Bonds stronger than wood
  • Easy to correct mistakes
  • Slow drying
  • Does not crack

The Bad

One potential downside of the Elmer’s E7310 Wood Glue Max is its low water resistance.

This adhesive is not waterproof by any means and can be eroded by the rain, especially if it has not been given enough time to dry.

Also, while the wood glue is marketed as easy to stain, the residue left behind by the adhesive can still result in a spotty finish that is noticeable.

We would not recommend this carpenter’s wood glue when completing outdoor projects since we worry it would not hold. It is great for indoor use, though!

  • Not water resistant
  • Not for outdoor use

Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue

 

The Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue is another classic yellow PVA which is slow drying and great for a broad range of products.

It requires 20 to 30 minutes of clamping time to form a full bond and cures in 24 hours.

The Titebond III formula is durable and seeps deep into the fibers of wood to create a seal that is stronger than the wooden boards themselves.

The cap has a control tip so that you can better manage how much adhesive you use and spread.

This wood glue is available in a container of approximately 16 ounces and has full dimensions of 7.6 x 22.8 x 7.6 inches.

Titebond III Wood Glue Highlights

As a traditional yellow PVA, there are a couple of standard highlights about the Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue worthy of mentioning.

In particular, the formula is easy to clean up with water and is highly viscous, making it easy to apply in tight corners or around the rounded surfaces of a project.

Plus, the wood itself needs little preparation to accept the glue.

The Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue is nontoxic when not swallowed and does not irritate or burn the skin.

Additionally, this glue can be sanded and stained without affecting the final appearance of a project.

The Good

We like that the Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue leaves behind little residue once in use and accepts stains and finishes without becoming splotchy.

We also love that it works on hardwood, softwood, and the composites typically found in hardware stores.

It’s even water-resistant to a certain extent, so you can use it for outdoor projects.

  • Easy to use
  • For indoor and outdoor use
  • Viscous
  • Easy to clean
  • Nontoxic
  • Does not irritate
  • Can be stained

The Bad

Like some other yellow PVAs, a potential problem with the Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue is that the formula is incredibly runny.

While it is easy to clean up, it can still be frustrating to have the glue drip across a project and leave behind residue.

Gorilla Clear Glue

The Gorilla Clear Glue is a modified silane hybrid adhesive that you can use indoors and outdoors.

It is not a traditional wood glue but you can use it on hardwood, softwood, and composites without difficulty.

It is one of the only options on our list that dries clear without difficulty.

Each container has a small tip to control the flow and holds approximately 5.75 ounces.

The full dimensions of the container are 1.6 x 1.6 x 6.8 inches.

Gorilla Clear Glue Highlights

The Gorilla Clear Glue is strong and versatile, plus it dries with a crystal clear finish and is non-foaming for better use.

It is incredibly water-resistant, making it great for indoor and outdoor products.

Also, since it does not need to seep into the fibers of a material to be effective, you can use this glue on plastics, metals, and glass, and even glue foam to wood.

The Good

The Gorilla Clear Glue is easy to use and remains an excellent choice for hobby projects, plus it works on a broad range of materials and has a short curing time.

Clamping is still required, so you have to wait for a shorter period to continue your project after gluing the pieces together.

Plus, the finish is clear, and it leaves behind a little residue.

You can also stain or finish the Gorilla Clear Glue as you see fit.

  • Water-resistant
  • Clear finish
  • Suitable for many materials
  • Control tip
  • Non-foaming
  • Rapid drying

The Bad

There are a couple of potential negatives to this product.

One is that since it does not penetrate the fibers of wood, the bonds it forms are brittle and prone to breaking under pressure.

It is also a skin and eye irritant and would be toxic if swallowed, plus it has a strong odor, so you might need to wear a mask when using it.

  • Strong odor
  • Brittle bonds
  • Skin irritating

Weldbond Universal Space Adhesive Glue

The Weldbond is a clear polyurethane adhesive designed for use on wood and other materials like foam, styrofoam, metal, plastic, and ceramics.

It is rapid drying and leaves behind a smooth, clear finish that you can stain without difficulty.

Each container holds approximately 14 ounces and has full dimensions of 8.1 x 3.1 x 2 inches.

Weldbond Highlights

The Weldbond Universal Space Adhesive Glue is not a traditional wood glue, which can be beneficial for hobbyists.

It works well on hardwood, softwood, and composites and does not require a damp surface to form a complete seal.

It can be used during crafts to attach other materials to wood and is water-resistant, making it great for indoor and outdoor projects.

The Weldbond Universal Space Adhesive Glue is weatherproof and dustproof.

It also hardens rapidly and doesn’t require clamping to get pieces to set and cure properly.

The Good

We appreciate that Weldbond Universal Space Adhesive Glue can glue other materials to wood and has a rapid drying time.

We also love that the finish is clear and can be stained, and the glue itself is easy to control and does not run.

Plus, it is impervious to petroleum, oil, salt, grease, molds, alkalis, and weak acids.

You can even mix it with water and apply as a sealant to damaged wood or wood starting to crack or decay from the rigors of weather and time.

Another thing we like about the Weldbond Universal Space Adhesive Glue is that you can use it on indoor and outdoor projects and will repel water and other irritants.

  • Versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Water-resistant
  • Mold resistant
  • Can be used as a sealant
  • Rapid drying
  • Clear finish

The Bad

One major issue with the Weldbond Universal Space Adhesive Glue is one of its advantages, which is it dries fast.

As such, it leaves behind residue which is difficult to remove from wood without acetone.

It can also irritate the skin and eyes, is toxic if swallowed, and forms brittle bonds.

That is because the adhesive does not penetrate the fibers; instead, it sits on the surface of the material.

Unlike traditional wood glue, it is not stronger than the wood itself and will most likely crack and break when exposed to pressure.

  • Brittle bonds
  • Skin irritant
  • Hard to remove residue

Wood Glue Buyer’s Guide

Although wood glue sounds like it would be simple, there are actually many different factors you need to consider when trying to find the right product.

These include what you would like the glue to do, and which type of adhesive would work best in your situation.

Wood glue will also vary in durability, toxicity, flexibility, and waterproofness.

Type of Adhesive

Here are some of the most popular types of adhesive that you’ll find in the market:

PVA

One of the first and most popular types of glue is PVA or Polyvinyl Acetate, a rubbery synthetic polymer that is nontoxic on the skin but can cause poisoning when ingested.

It is highly water-soluble and creates a flexible, permanent bond.

You can use it in a broad range of products and comes in different forms: white and yellow.

White PVA is for indoor use, while a yellow PVA is for the outdoors and is typically called carpenter’s glue.

PVA is not always waterproof or water-resistant, so it is important to read the label before making a final decision.

There are several pros and cons to using a PVA.

In particular, this form of wood glue is durable and permanent, so it does not need to be applied again. 

It can, however, leave behind a residue and does not accept wood stain.

Trying to stain wood glued together with PVA will result in a patchy, undesirable finish.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a durable synthetic plastic resin, which is a primary ingredient in wood glue, paint, and floor finishes.

It is designed to create flexible bonds and works well when you need to join wood grains end to end, such as when attaching pieces of molding.

As a wood glue, you need moisture to activate it and expose it to air for it to set properly.

It does not dry out wood fibers and actually works well in humid conditions, making it a great choice when handling exterior projects.

The downside is that polyurethane is considered a highly toxic chemical, so you will need to act with care when using it.

You should work in a well-ventilated area. In addition, wear proper protection like gloves so that the glue does not come into contact with your skin.

Also, you won’t be able to remove excess glue with water; you need to use alcohol instead.

Lastly, polyurethane does accept wood stain.

Cyanoacrylate

Cyanoacrylate is used as temporary wood glue and not meant for long-term projects.

It is a quick-drying acrylic resin and often called crazy or super glue.

The bonds made by this adhesive are hard and rigid, and the glue itself does not penetrate the fibers of the wood.

Instead, it sits on the surface and is primarily used for reinforcement or to fill in cracks with sawdust.

Cyanoacrylate is one of the only wood glue products which you cannot use on dry boards; you need to dampen the surface before using it.

This glue bonds instantly at wood temperature and is strong enough to tear the skin, so you must wear protective gloves and a mask when handling it.

The best way to remove cyanoacrylate wood glue is with a small amount of acetone or nail polish remover.

Cyanoacrylate is not often used for woodworking and should be considered a temporary fix while you find a long-term solution.

Also, it has a short shelf life and is only viable one month after opening the tube.

Lastly, since the bonds it creates are hard and brittle, the glue will shatter if your project is dropped or hit.

Hide or Boiled Collagen

Hide glue is not often seen but is excellent because of the leeway it grants woodworkers when handling complex projects.

It is made from boiled animal collagen and comes as a liquid or a solid crystal.

Hide glue is a soft, all-natural choice when doing traditional or antique woodworking.

It dries slowly and creates a flexible bond that is ideal for joints, and it is normal to use hide glue when repairing guitars and other stringed instruments.

The nature of the collagen means the glue also does not damage the finish or polish applied to wood once construction is complete.

It can be difficult to find hide glue, though. Many users often need to go to specialty hobby shops to find the glue in its liquid or crystal form.

Epoxy

The final type of wood glue is epoxy, which is one of the most popular choices because it does not have a thin, liquid texture.

Instead, it is thick like putty and consists of two separate parts: a resin and a hardener.

Epoxy also cures slowly but is highly durable and water-resistant, which is why it is a favorite of many experienced woodworkers.

It is the type of wood glue you might see when building boats.

Epoxy is also considered nontoxic but is highly irritating; thus, it is best to wear protective gloves and goggles to avoid skin rashes and even burns.

It should be applied to clean, dry surfaces that have been buffed and wiped down.

Wood clamps are also required to hold the two pieces in place since this style of glue needs to cure for several hours to achieve the best results.

Wood Glue Durability

After examining the different types of wood glue available, it is easy to see that they have varying levels of durability.

Cyanoacrylate is by far the weakest because it creates brittle bonds that do not withstand the rigors of daily life.

Epoxy and PVA, on the other hand, are incredibly durable and suitable for a broad range of woodworking projects.

Durability will also be related to whether or not the specific glue product is suitable for an indoor or outdoor project.

Since most wood glue products penetrate the fibers of boards, many of them are not water-resistant and need to be covered or protected by another material.

If you are trying to complete a piece that will sit outside, such as a birdhouse and chicken coop, you need to choose an adhesive that will withstand the elements.

If you seek water resistance, polyurethane or epoxy are the best choices.

PVAs, particularly the yellow glue type, are waterproof, but not all of them.

It’s important to read the instructions and factual information on the back of any adhesive you choose for a project.

Glue Flexibility

The flexibility of a glue refers to the strength of the bond an adhesive creates once it starts to harden or cure.

Some adhesives create brittle bonds that are loosely held together, so these are easy to break and can be eroded over time by outside forces like the wind and rain.

When it comes to woodworking, it is better to choose a flexible glue that will be long-lasting.

These types of glue often seep into the fibers of the wood and can withstand force and pressure.

Epoxy, polyurethane, and PVA are good examples of flexible glue that remain stable despite repeated use.

Super glue is the least flexible and most brittle, which is why it is best for short term fixes.

High flexibility, though, comes with a downside, especially if you made a mistake.

Thus, when woodworking, it’s important to have a contingency plan.

In other words, how are you going to remove the glue from wood if you accidentally apply it in the wrong place?

How to Remove the Glue

Most wood adhesives require the use of a chemical called acetone, which is a colorless, flammable organic compound with a distinct smell.

Many people know acetone best as a nail polish remover.

Water is not effective at removing the majority of wood glue products because adhesives utilize water as a primary ingredient.

Toxicity

Many woodworkers choose to examine glue’s toxicity before making a selection because the level of toxicity will affect how you need to handle an adhesive.

Some options like PVA are safe unless you swallow it, while others, like epoxy, need to be handled with gloves and goggles because they are irritating.

Lastly, some glue types, like cyanoacrylate, can tear the skin and cause permanent damage, requiring more care and protective gear when using it.

Wood Glue FAQs

Does Wood Glue Really Work?

Modern wood glue products are some of the strongest adhesives on the market today and are designed to be more powerful than wood and can create a tight seal that lasts for many years.

On the other hand, some glue products are for specific situations only, such as either for indoor or outdoor use.

Is Wood Glue Stronger Than Screws?

This is a common question and one which has an answer that often surprises people.

When tested, wood glue holds items together better than screws because the adhesive covers a larger area and does not twist and fragment the wood like the metal of a screw.

Also, wood glue can usually handle far more weight, which is up to 150 pounds, than screws without difficulty.

Additionally, when the wood does eventually break under pressure, it does not break at the glue, but it fractures at a separate point, and the glue remains intact.

Wood glue is, in essence, even more powerful than the wood itself.

How Do You Attach Wood to Wood Without Nails?

The simplest way to attach wood to wood without nails is through the use of glue.

While there are numerous types of joiners, glue is easy to apply and is suitable for many situations.

To glue wood together correctly, make sure you have the type appropriate for your situation, and then, apply a small amount to the surface of one of the boards.

Depending on the type of glue you use, you might need to use clamps to continue to press the boards together.

Most types of glue will be attached permanently after 24 hours.

Is Wood Glue Stronger Than Epoxy?

Wood glue is stronger than epoxy when it comes to holding together boards and planks.

Although both types can seep into the fibers of wood, wood glue is stronger once dry.

The issue with epoxy is that it rapidly becomes brittle, so it is easy to break and will most likely snap if your project is dropped or handled too roughly.

How Well Does Wood Glue Hold?

Wood glue works well when applied properly, and it can penetrate deep into the fibers of boards and planks to create a strong bond.

When you use the glue, make sure to follow all of the instructions and keep a tight hold of the two pieces of wood.

Some types are effective indoors and outdoors, and can even resist rain, but make sure you have the right type.

Best Wood Glue Review

Once you have the best wood glue, you can complete a variety of jobs.

You can use glue in numerous projects, including the creation of raised garden beds, some types of wooden fencing, and when repairing crown molding in homes.

Out of all of the options we reviewed, the best one for us is the Gorilla Wood Glue.

This choice permeates the fibers of all types of wood to create a tight bond that cannot be broken by pressure.

It is also resistant to water and does not crack or decay over time.

An excellent second choice for individuals who want to glue other materials to wood is the Gorilla Clear Glue because it is relatively easy to wipe away and only causes minimal skin irritation.

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