For almost my entire life, I’ve only known just ‘hot glue.’ I didn’t know until quite recently that hot glue came in both high and low temperature types.
Even female members of my family who had been into crafting didn’t know about the types of hot glue when I asked them.
So I thought it would be worthwhile, since nobody except hardcore crafters and modelers know, to go over the basics of both high and low temperature hot glue guns.
High Temperature Glue Guns
Normal hot glue guns, even the low temperature variety, are quite hot. When we think of ‘hot glue guns’, we’re more than likely referring to the high-temperature kind.
This is the type that you’ll find in most big box stores and what you’ll most likely get if you ask somebody to borrow a ‘hot glue gun.’
A high temperature glue gun is arguably the most common type. And they can get up to 380 degrees Fahrenheit!
Industrial hot glue guns (yes there are such things) can get even hotter – check it out here. Yes, that is a $1,000 glue gun!
High temp glue guns are best for wood and tough plastic. Many RC models don’t recommend using high temp glue guns on foam planes due to the foam melting.
I’ve never had a problem though.
If you’re careful not to rest the actual tip of the glue gun on the foam, you’ll be fine. I also like that high temp hot glue guns heat up faster, flow glue more smoothly, and produce a stronger bond.
Low Temperature Glue Guns
Low temp glue guns run between 170 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll probably avoid third degree burns at this temperature, but they’re a real possibility when working with high temp glue guns if you’re not careful.
Make sure to purchase low temperature glue otherwise you won’t be able to melt the regular kind.
Low temp glue guns aren’t my favorite because they don’t flow glue as smoothly as high temp glue guns do. Plus, it takes a lot longer for the low temp kind to heat up.
Pneumatic Glue Guns – For the Curious
If you’re not just looking to put FPV airplanes together, but you also want to use your hot glue gun for repairing items around the house, such as siding, floorboards, or heavy plastic items, you’ll want to use a really high-power glue gun.
These guns aren’t sold in most big-box or craft stores, and you’ll have to special order them online. They can heat upwards of 400 degrees Fahrenheit and are operated pneumatically, so you won’t have to squeeze the trigger to shove the glue stick through.
Here’s an example model, the Grizzly H8175 Professiona Length Pneumatic Glue Gun. But it’s probably way too much for your needs as an RC FPV modeler.
Adjustable Temperature Glue Guns
If you only want to have one glue gun, but use it for projects requiring both high and low-heat gluing, then you might want to consider getting an adjustable temperature gun.
Personally, I’ve been less than satisfied with adjustable temperature glue guns. I’ve had the selector switch stop working on one, and the other had the trigger fail. It’s a real pain pushing the glue stick through the gun manually when you’re trying to do a neat job.
I would stay away from the cheap glue guns that you can buy at the big box stores or at a local craft store like Hobby Lobby. Read reviews and pick one that won’t fall apart after just a few uses.
I would also tend to go straight to a garden-variety high temp gun, skipping the low-temp and adjustable types because I don’t think they’re worth the hassle.
Here’s a couple highly ranked glue guns that you might want to consider instead of the junky stuff at the local craft store:
Over to You
What’s been your experience with hot glue guns? Do you prefer high temp / low temp / adjustable?