Superglue: Types of superglue

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This article, Superglue, was last updated on 18 July 2011 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.

Man mending decorative ceramics with superglue

Superglue can be used to stick ceramics as long as they won't be immersed in water

Superglues to avoid

None of the superglues in our tests failed to stick objects together, but to avoid one that is likely to dry up in its container after a single use, see our full test results.

As well as revealing superglues that won't stand the test of time, our tests showed big differences when it comes to how easy they were to apply.

Bottle, tube or pen – which format is best?

Superglues come in a few different formats and their container plays a big part in how easy they are to use.

Metal tubes were among the trickiest to use in our tests – many come with a large opening which is great if you've got a big job to do, but you may find that the glue oozes out too fast if you only need a small amount. This can make using a tube of glue a messy job.

If you've got a very fiddly or delicate job to do, look out for a bottle with a long nozzle and a small opening as this will help you apply superglue in hard-to-reach areas.

Quite a few of the plastic bottles we tested had squeezy sides and this allows you to control the amount of glue dispensed. Others have a small brush – like a nail varnish bottle - which can also make reaching into nooks and crannies easier.

Superglue pens generally have small, shorter nozzles and squeezy sides and work in a similar way to a Tipp-ex correction pen. The pens we tested impressed our experts and didn't create a mess.

It's worth remembering that superglues aren't suitable for use on objects that come into contact with water, so shouldn't be used to mend a vase or jug, for example.

Cheap superglues

You can pay anything from £1 to more than £5 for an everyday superglue, but our tests show that it isn't performance that you're paying for – it's convenience.

The cheapest superglues come in basic metal tubes, whereas the most expensive products we tested come in bottles and pens that are easier to control and give more precision when applying superglue.

If you're using superglue for mending delicate items then you may want to spend a little more to avoid turning it into a very messy job.

However if you've got a big job with a large surface area to glue, then a cheaper brand, in a less elaborate container, is probably sufficient – choose one of our Best Buy superglues to make sure it doesn't dry up in the container.

Slow-drying superglues

Our tests showed big differences in drying times – some of our Best Buy superglues were slow to dry. If you're using a very slow-drying glue it's best to leave objects overnight to ensure that the glue has completely set.

However, if spilt, slow-drying glues are generally easier to wipe up, as a fast-drying glue would have already started to set. Plus, glues that are slower-setting give you a little leeway when positioning objects together, as you have some time to make adjustments before the glues sets fast.

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