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Gorilla Glue vs Super Glue: Which One’s Best?

super glue vs gorilla glue

Designed for the same purpose, Gorilla Glue and Super Glue use different compounds to try and form an unbreakable adhesive bond between two materials. The exact origins of glue are unknown, but dye was mixed with a bonding material to ensure cave paintings better adhered to rock walls, so the concept has existed since around 40,000 BC.

Great strides have been made in glue development in the past 200 years. Rubber-based glues were first used in the mid-1800s and synthetic adhesives in the 1930s before Super Glue was invented in 1958.

Gorilla Glue, which uses polyurethane rather than the cyanoacrylate adhesive used in Super Glue. Although they both serve the same aim and purpose, they are quite different in their ingredients and their potential uses. Read on to find out when to use Gorilla Glue or Super Glue, and which is better for the task at hand.

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Overview of Super Glue

Super Glue is a type of fast-acting, strong adhesive. It is designed to work on virtually any surface, although there are some limitations, and in a wide variety of conditions. The adhesive was actually invented in 1942 by Harry Coover, but this initial design was only used in the installation and fixing of gun sights and it wasn’t until 1958 when Loctite started selling their Super Glue brand did the fast-bonding glue make it to the commercial market.

Super_glue-commons wikimedia
Image Credit: Omegatron, Commons Wikimedia

How Strong Is Super Glue?

A German manufacturing company holds the world record for producing a Super Glue capable of holding a 17-tonne truck 1 meter off the ground for one hour, although this glue is not commercially available as it was made especially for the record attempt. Loctite’s Super Glue holds the world record for holding a five-ton car off the ground using just nine drops of glue. This glue is available in stores and online. It should certainly be strong enough to hold the handle on your mug.

What Will It Glue?

Super Glue not only works quickly and forms a strong bond, but it will work on a good range of materials including metal, stone, ceramic, rubber, and more. While it is the most widely sold of these glues and is used around the home for a variety of purposes, Super Glue is not effective at sticking smooth surfaces like glass, and it will not work as well on porous surfaces like wood.

How Quickly Does It Work?

Super Glue sets within a matter of minutes. This means that within ten minutes it has formed a strong bond, and for most jobs, this is enough. However, the glue does not fully set for up to 24 hours, and it can take longer on damp or porous surfaces. If you need a quick bonding action and are unable to hold the workpieces together or clamp them, Super Glue could be your best option.

What Conditions Will Super Glue Work In?

Super Glue is moisture resistant, but this is some way short of being waterproof. It works best on dry materials. It may work on a damp surface but will take longer to cure, and the bond may not be as strong as it would be on a surface that was dry, to begin with. Super Glue works at temperatures between 10°C and 82°C so if you need an adhesive that works at more extreme temperatures, you will have to look elsewhere.

Techniques for the Best Performance

Try and follow these techniques for the best performance from Super Glue:

  • Clean the surface, getting rid of dust and debris.
  • Wipe the workpiece with a cloth to dry away moisture.
  • Use only one or two drops of glue for small to medium jobs.
  • Hold the pieces together for around 30 seconds.

Pros
  • Colorless glue suitable for ornamental fixes
  • Bonds quickly, usually in less than a minute
  • Can be used on vertical surfaces
  • Very strong
Cons
  • The quick sticking formula makes it difficult to adjust
  • Not great for gluing wood
  • Strong, noxious smell

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Overview of Gorilla Glue

A variant of Gorilla Glue has been used in Indonesia for decades, at least, to repair furniture and stick wood together. However, it was first introduced in the USA in 1991. Although the company now makes a host of adhesives and tapes, it is the polyurethane-based adhesive that the company remains best-known for and that we are looking at here.

It is favored in woodwork and furniture projects because it works well on porous materials. It dries a natural color. While Super Glue is described as being moisture resistant, Gorilla Glue is one of the best water-resistant adhesives on the market. It does take longer to set, so may require the use of clamps, and it does not serve as wide a range of purposes as Super Glue.

Gorilla Super Glue Gel

How Strong Is Gorilla Glue?

While it is possible to measure the weight that Super Glue will hold in tons, Gorilla Glue has a much more modest weight limit. It will hold up to approximately 30 pounds in weight. However, it is commonly used in woodworking and furniture projects; works in a wider range of conditions; and is not required to hold such excessive weights.

What Will It Glue?

Gorilla Glue is not a multipurpose adhesive. Its main purpose is to stick furniture and wood. Therefore, while it will work on some other materials, it should only really be used on porous materials like wood.

How Quickly Does It Work?

It takes approximately 20 minutes for the workpieces to start to stick, a few hours to bond, and 24 hours to fully cure. In most cases, this means using clamps and other woodworking tools to help ensure that the pieces are kept firmly together and to ensure the best possible bond between the two surfaces.

What Conditions Will Gorilla Glue Work In?

Gorilla Glue will work in more extreme temperatures than Super Glue because it does not need to form as strong a bond. Gorilla Glue will work at temperatures as low as -40°C and as high as 93°C. It is waterproof, although you should ensure a dry surface if you want the best possible initial adhesive results.

Gorilla Glue Techniques for the Best Performance

Following similar techniques to those used with Super Glue will ensure a stronger bond:

  • Clean the surface to remove dust, sawdust, and debris.
  • Dry the surface.
  • Apply a thin layer of the glue. Gorilla Glue expands up to three times, so you don’t need much.
  • Clamp the workpieces together, if possible.
  • Leave for 20 minutes.

Pros
  • Effective on porous surfaces
  • Works in extreme temperatures
  • Dries a natural color
  • Inexpensive
  • Waterproof
Cons
  • Not great on plastic
  • Takes longer to bond than Super Glue

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What Surfaces Are You Gluing?

Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

Gorilla Glue and Super Glue serve different purposes and are used for different jobs. Specifically, Gorilla Glue is used for gluing wood and furniture together, usually to make repairs but also as an additional means of fixing two or more sections of a woodworking project together. Super Glue, on the other hand, does not work as well on wood or other porous surfaces because it is unable to form a quick bond. Super Glue will work on plastic, ceramics, and is usually ideal for small repair jobs around the house and other fixes.

Curing Time

Super Glue is usually preferred over other bonding methods because it takes very little time to form a bond and stick two surfaces or materials together. It takes ten minutes for the glue to start to stick, although it does a full 24 hours for it to cure completely. Gorilla Glue takes longer to start to stick, typically 20 minutes, which means that the surfaces will need clamping while it sets. Gorilla Glue also takes around 24 hours to fully cure.

Operating Temperature

Some glues lose their bond and their adhesiveness when they reach certain temperatures. Gorilla Glue may not hold as much weight, but it does operate at much higher and lower temperatures than Super Glue. Super Glue works between 10°C and 82°C while Gorilla Glue will work at temperatures as low as -40°C and as high as 93°C.

Does It Need To Be Waterproof?

Gorilla Glue is considered waterproof, which means that it should hold, once cured, even in the wet. Super Glue is rated as being moisture resistant, which means that it should retain its adhesive properties when damp or moist, but it may lose integrity if it gets too wet.

Weight Resistance

When it comes down to it, the strength of the glue is one of the most important factors. You won’t want to use any glue that is incapable of holding the kind of weight that will be applied to it. This includes the weight of the workpiece applied to it, but also any additional weight.

If you hang a hook using Super Glue, for example, it isn’t just the weight of the hook that you have to consider but also the weight of whatever is hung from the hook. This shouldn’t matter with Super Glue, because half a dozen drops of the adhesive can hold several tonnes and a single or two drops should be enough for any home project. Gorilla Glue will hold up to 30 pounds, which should be more than enough for most furniture repairs, but you may want to take additional care if fixing the leg of a chair, for example.

When to Use Super Glue
  • For quick bonding
  • On plastic
  • For freehand fixes
  • For maximum weight resistance
When to Use Gorilla Glue
  • At extreme temperatures
  • On wood
  • When clamps are available
  • To hold wood furniture together

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Conclusion

Super Glue and Gorilla Glue, along with Krazy Glue, are the most popular quick adhesives on the market. They all have their own ideal uses and while they are similar, Gorilla Glue is more of a furniture or wood adhesive, having been made from polyurethane, while Super Glue is an all-rounder that works better on plastics, ceramics, and to fix broken objects around the home. It is made from cyanoacrylate, bonds quickly, and will take an incredible weight, typically way beyond anything you would need from a home adhesive.

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