Last Updated on May 18, 2020
Every brand of super adhesive makes bold claims about holding things fast, but which one actually comes closest? If you’re looking for just one glue to buy for fast home fixes, you’ll want to know which of the major fast-acting glues to use.
Before we get into what separates the three different kinds, we’ll start with what binds them all together, which is their main active ingredient. All three use cyanoacrylate as a primary binding substance. If you poke around more for a comparative look at the three, you might see talk of CA glues versus non-CA glues. These are all CA glues, and the difference is in how they’re thinned for application. Of the three, Gorilla has the highest average percentage of CA in each tube.
There are a lot of subtle performance differences among the three, but the big one is which one forms the best bonds between surfaces. That’s where knowing that the three have the same active ingredients but different thinners comes in handy. Based on testing, Krazy tends to form weaker bonds with most testing surfaces than the other two.
Comparative testing between different brands of Super Glue and Gorilla Glue, however, turns up mixed results. For single-material bonds – metal on metal or plastic on plastic – Super Glue forms stronger bonds than Gorilla Glue. When applied, Gorilla Glue expands to fill in between materials, forming a much stronger bond. If you’re gluing two different materials together, especially if they have rough surfaces, Gorilla Glue forms better bonds. Super Glue is better for fixing coffee cups; Gorilla Glue is better for gluing two pieces of wood together.
All three kinds of glue promise to act quickly, forming bonds almost instantly. In practice, however, all three take about a day to cure fully. If you’re looking for a glue that starts forming those bonds the fastest, it’s Gorilla Glue. If you’re clamping your materials together, that means less time in clamps and less time till you can start to gingerly move things around. Super Glue came pretty close, and Krazy Glue was pretty close to Super Glue. All three of these products use the same basic adhering agent, and, despite their differences, are pretty similar.
We’re not talking about which one is better for the environment. We’re talking about which glue is easier to apply in extreme temperatures and which one is most water-resistant. Gorilla Glue wins both. It’s got a wider temperature range than both Krazy Glue and Super Glue, and is actually rated as waterproof. The other two are merely rated water-resistant.
All three are relatively easy to apply, but Gorilla Glue foams up. You’ll need to take care with how much you use, or else you’ll have a giant mess to clean up. It’s also harder to clean up because it’s still as adhesive as the other two. Plus, the original brand is tan rather than the clear of Super Glue or Krazy Glue. It’s a mess that’s much more noticeable. We give our nod here to Krazy Glue, which dries up and turns to powder after a couple of days exposed to air and sun.
We’d be remiss here if we didn’t address the matter of using Super Glue to shut deep wounds, and also discuss which is harder to get off, since you’ll undoubtedly spill a little on your fingers. We don’t recommend sealing wounds with glue since cyanoacrylate is bad for you if ingested. As for the second, unless you’re okay with dousing your body parts with acetone and other solvents, Gorilla Glue is the hardest to remove from skin.
Based on the per-gram price, Super Glue costs the least. Krazy Glue is a little more expensive, and Gorilla Glue is more expensive than the other two. Based on all our other criteria, Super Glue not only wins based on per-gram price, but it’s also the best value. But in reality, since we’re talking about less than 10 bucks for a small bottle of glue for all three, that’s a lesser consideration.
All these glues use the same basic adhering agent to form bonds, so the difference between all of them is going to be in degrees. There wasn’t any clear winner, because the one that’s better depends on what you need it for.
Super Glue was better forming bonds between two pieces of the same material, which makes it better for fixing coffee cups, one of the biggest jobs people use this kind of glue for. It’s also a little more affordable.
Gorilla Glue does a better job on two different kinds of materials with rough connections. It’s better for something like wood. It forms slightly faster bonds, works in a greater range of temperatures and levels of humidity, and is rated as waterproof. It’s also a nightmare to clean up.
Cleanup of excess is the only area that Krazy Glue was superior in, mostly because excess glue exposed to air and sunlight turns brittle and is easily flaked away.
Header image credit: Image credit: Andrew Gustar, Flickr
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!