Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big wood glue test 2022. Here we present all the wood glues we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best wood glue for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a wood glue.




Summary

  • Wood glue is used to glue two surfaces of wood or other materials together. When buying wood glue, you should consider the stress group.
  • Wood glues are divided into load groups according to DIN / EN 204. Starting with D1 (water soluble) and ending with D4 (waterproof and heat resistant).
  • Wood glues of group D1 and D2 can only be used indoors, while glues of group D3 and D4 are also suitable for outdoors.

The Best Wood Glue: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should deal with before you buy a wood glue

What types of wood glue are there?

There is a wide variety of wood glues, which differ according to their properties, preparations and compositions. Some of the most important wood glues are mentioned and briefly described in the following table.

Type Description
Glutin glue (hot glue) Glutin glue is a natural glue cooked from animal waste. The main ingredient is glutin, a protein compound similar to that used in the production of gelatine.
Casein glue Casein glue is a natural glue that is both waterproof and very heat resistant. This glue is made from casein, the protein part of milk, and calium hydroxide, also known as slaked lime.
Polyurethane glue (PUR glue) PUR glues are more than just wood glues. Due to their properties, it is possible to glue almost any adhesive material with them.
Polyvinyl acetate glue (PVAC), (white glue) White glue is a dispersion glue that is free of all formaldehydes. The main component of PVAC glue is polyvinyl acetate, which is both a binder and an adhesive in this product.

Hotmelt, casein glue, white glue and PUR glue are probably the best known glues. Besides these, there are other glues that consist of synthetic resins, formaldehydes, polyester resins and hardeners. Each glue is best suited for a specific field of activity. For example, RF glue, which consists of liquid glue and hardener, is ideal for glider construction.

How much does wood glue cost?

The price of wood glue varies only slightly, despite its many properties and manufacturing variants.

Type Price
Glutin glue from approx. 6 euros
Casein glue from approx. 10 euros
PUR glue from approx. 10 euros
PVAC glue from approx. 5 euros

The glue has no upper limits in terms of price and quantity. The cheapest PVAC glues are available for as little as five euros. You can buy the cheapest glutin glue for six euros. You can buy the cheapest PUR glue and the cheapest casein glue for ten euros.

What can I use wood glue for?

First and foremost, wood glue should only be used for gluing wooden products. However, modern wood glues, such as PUR glue, can also be used to glue other materials, such as chests of drawers.

As the name suggests, wood glue is primarily used to glue wood products. (Picture source: 123rf.com / Sergey Kovtunenko)

Which wood glue group do I need?

Wood glues are divided into four different groups. The decisive factors are Minimum shear strength values, i.e. the resistance that a solid offers to tangential shear forces, and the behaviour towards heat and moisture. A detailed overview can be found in the purchase criteria under the item "Stress group".

Decision: What types of wood glues are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four types of wood glue:

  • D1 Wood glue
  • D2 Wood glue
  • D3 Wood glue
  • D4 Wood glue

Due to the different modes of action and uses, a particular wood glue is best suited for you. The different compositions and adhesives result in different advantages and disadvantages for each of these types. In the following section, we would like to introduce you to the individual wood glues and briefly explain the differences so that you can decide which glue is best suited for your purposes.

In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of the individual types of wood glue are clearly compared. Wood glues are divided into the four stress groups D1, D2, D3 and D4. This subdivision was defined by the German Institute for Standardisation. DIN EN 204 is a classification system for thermoplastic wood adhesives for non-load-bearing applications. The following applies: The larger the number after the letter, the higher the minimum shear strength value. This value of the standard describes how well the wood glue is protected against moisture, i.e. how high the water resistance of the wood glue is.

How does a D1 wood glue work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The D1 wood glue should only be placed in the dry area in order to be able to ensure optimum adhesive properties of the glue. Therefore, the wood moisture content of the glued areas in the room should always be below 15 percent. For these reasons, D1 wood glue should not be used outdoors, as it could quickly detach from the contact surface and thus the ideal gluing conditions cannot be met.

Advantages
  • Well suited for most gluing jobs
  • Very affordable
Disadvantages
  • Can only be placed in dry areas
  • Can only be used indoors

How does a D2 wood glue work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The D2 wood glue is perfect for various gluing jobs indoors. In contrast to a D1 wood glue, this glue can withstand short-term water contact. Even exposure to condensation does not pose a problem. However, despite good adhesive properties, the contact surface must not exceed a wood moisture content of 18 percent.

Advantages
  • Splash-proof
  • Relatively inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Wood moisture must not exceed 18 per cent
  • Can only be used indoors

How does D3 wood glue work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

D3 wood glue can be used both indoors and outdoors. Indoors, the glue can withstand short-term exposure to water without any problems. However, the humidity should not be too high so that the glue does not come loose. The wood glue is not weather-resistant and should therefore not be exposed to constant water contact.

Advantages
  • Can be used in high humidity
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
Disadvantages
  • Only suitable for short exposure to water
  • Relatively expensive

How does a D4 wood glue work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

D4 wood glue is particularly well suited for gluing work in outdoor areas. Indoors, it is mainly placed near draining water and condensation. Outdoors, it is popular because of its weather-resistant properties and excellent surface protection.

Advantages
  • Can be placed directly in wet areas
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for all indoor gluing work
  • Very Expensive

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate wood glues

Before you buy a wood glue, however, you should take a closer look at the properties and criteria of wood glue. Wood glues come with a wide variety of properties such as drying time, colour after drying or odour. The drying time varies between five and 20 minutes, depending on the product. The colour after drying is transparent or white. Dyes make the glue individual. The smell depends on the chemicals used in the wood glue. In our eyes, these properties are irrelevant for a purchase, as the wood glue still delivers its result. Therefore, the following criteria arise that should have an influence on the purchase:

  • Stress group
  • Indoor use
  • Outdoor use
  • Solvent free
  • Minimum pressing times

Stress group

The stress group is an identification of glues according to DIN / EN 204 or, in an outdated form, according to DIN 68602. This results in four groups D1, D2, D3 and D4 according to DIN / EN 204 or B1, B2, B3 and B4 according to DIN 68602.

Stress group Interior Exterior
D1 Wood moisture max. 15%, dry area only no
D2 Occasional brief exposure to water, wood moisture max. 18% no
D3 Frequent exposure to water e.g. bathroom or kitchen yes, but without weathering
D4 Frequent and also prolonged exposure to water yes, also with direct weathering

Application indoors

The application indoors also depends on the assigned stress groups. In practice, glues from all groups can be used indoors. The water resistance of the glue plays a decisive role indoors (see table above). Glue of stress group D1 can only be used for wood with a moisture content of less than 15 percent. Group D2 glue can withstand light splashes of water, whereby the moisture content of the wood should be less than 18 percent. Group D3 glues can withstand high humidity and frequent splashes of water. Glue from stress group D4 can withstand prolonged exposure to water without the glue joint coming loose.

Application outdoors

In addition to water resistance, weather resistance and heat resistance also play a decisive role outdoors. As in the interior, the application in the exterior is determined by the stress groups. We can see from the table that the wood glues of groups D1 and D2 are not applicable for outdoor use. Wood glues of the stress groups D3 and D4 are suitable for outdoor use. However, glues from group D3 should be used in a protected area, while glues from group D4 can withstand any weather, provided you have treated the wood with the appropriate surface protection.

Free from solvents

The use of solvents in glues serves the purpose of curing, i.e. the adhesive effect through the evaporation of the solvent additives (including: contact adhesives, dispersion adhesives, hot-melt adhesives, pressure-sensitive adhesives and paste). Synthetically produced synthetic resin glues in particular use binding agents and solvents for the adhesive effect.

They are therefore toxic and, depending on the amount of solvent, very harmful to health. Some PUR and PVAC glues belong to this group. Natural resin glues are without these solvents. They are made from animal (bones, skin, ...) or from vegetable (wheat, potato and corn starch) products. Glutin glue and casein glue are classified here.

Minimum pressing time

The minimum pressing time indicates the minimum time a glue joint must be pressed together at a room temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. What is being glued is decisive for the pressing time. For example, less pressure must be applied to a wood glue joint than to a glue joint of HPL panels. The pressing time decreases when the room temperature increases.

Facts worth knowing about wood glue

How does wood glue stick?

The actual adhesive of the wood glue depends on the type of glue. Let's take polyvinyl acetate (PVAC for short) as an example. PVAC glue contains bipolar sites in its molecular structure that preferentially bond with the polar sites of the wood's cellulose. The bond between wood glue and wood fibres only works optimally when pressure is applied to the gluing point.

Can wood glue be dissolved?

The aim of wood glue is to create a permanent adhesive bond between the pieces of wood. Depending on which wood glue was used, it is also possible to dissolve the glued joint. Slow heating dissolves the glue joint when using hot glue. Slight moistening will dissolve glued joints that have been glued with water-soluble glue. A weaker adhesive bond can be dissolved with vinegar or alcohol.

Image source: pixabay.com / Counselling

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