A good wood glue is not only extremely strong but also manageable and simple to work with. It should be forgiving enough to let you properly position your surfaces without binding too quickly, and any unwanted residue should come off relatively easily. The most disappointing products are those that appear to create a firm bond but then dry and leave you right where you began, with loose pieces coated in an ugly, brittle layer. To avoid those results, view our picks below, which offer outstanding strength and are optimal for different projects.
1. Gorilla Wood Glue
This glue comes out on top when considering versatility, ease of use, and cost. Gorilla is a relative newcomer to the glue game, but it has developed a reliable wood glue that surpasses many others in adhesive strength. The water-based PVA formula has a slightly thick consistency that makes it easy to control and spread, and it bonds very well to hardwoods, softwoods, and wood composites. You may have used other Gorilla products that expand as they cure, but this glue maintains a tight line. It’s also odorless and dries fast and nearly clear, which makes it ideal for projects you want to finish in less than a day.
2. Elmer’s Wood Glue
This is an economical and effective option from another reputable glue maker. You can pick up a gallon of the stuff for a fraction of the cost of some other wood glues, and it will last you a long time. Designed for carpentry, this glue is great to keep at hand to use for household repairs or other DIY projects. Unlike our top pick, it isn’t water-resistant, but it will produce long-lasting seals for softwoods and hardwoods kept indoors. Once it’s fully dry, you can easily sand, stain, and paint it, as the formula contains wood fibers. Like Gorilla glue, it dries close to transparent for a pleasing finish.
3. Glue Masters Thin Instant Glue
This superglue is your solution to accidental fractures that need immediate attention. It is designed as a general-purpose adhesive but works exceedingly well in wood-on-wood applications, whether you need to mend a broken model ship or repair a sign. It flows easily and is ideal for covering small areas; the bottle is fitted with a slim nozzle to ensure maximum precision. As its name suggests, it dries almost instantly, setting in about 15 seconds. We like the thin-viscosity version the best, as it has the best flow, but this glue is available in medium and thick versions as well.
4. J-B Weld Wood Adhesive
If you need to fill annoying gaps in wood surfaces, we recommend this epoxy, which can be used indoors and outdoors. You get two tubs of different materials that have to be mixed together to form a puttylike paste. Tacky but having relatively low viscosity for an epoxy filler, this glue is easy to distribute and can be applied to patch up split or rotten wood, mend hardwood floors and cracks in woodwork, or reinforce joints that have loosened over time. It sets slowly, drying in 24 hours to a solid and durable state—hard enough to tolerate sanding. We recommend using clamps to hold your handiwork together until the paste is dry.
5. Titebond Ultimate Wood Glue
Serious woodworkers favor this outdoor-friendly option for its astounding performance. It is industry knowledge that the glue from this trusted adhesives company is stronger than wood itself, able to bind joints that are then tough to break. Less viscous than Gorilla’s product, it can run over your surfaces and is a little more difficult to control, but it’s easier to get broad coverage. Its most notable advantage may be its relatively long open time, which allows you to make adjustments at a relaxed pace. Cleanup is a breeze, with residue coming off with a quick wipe of water, though this glue is highly water resistant once fully dried. Note that this glue dries a light brown, but the shade will match most wood surfaces.