When something breaks at home, work, or school, you need the right tools for the job to fix it properly. Epoxy and Super Glue are both strong, durable adhesives, but they’re definitely not interchangeable. Learning the difference will help you choose the best glue for your project.
When it comes to epoxy vs Super Glue, you need to consider things like user-friendliness, safety, convenience, and other factors when determining the best glue for your project. They’re made from different chemicals, so Super Glue won’t always do the job, and epoxy won’t always be easy in a pinch.
Let’s dig into the difference between epoxy and Super Glue and talk about when you’d want to use each product.
What is Epoxy?
Epoxy is great for so many projects, and you might have already tried your hand with a few of them like our great guide for epoxy tumblers. It’s a strong chemical with some great properties for crafting.
Epoxy glue is a chemical compound called polyepoxide. It is a combination of two substances: resin and a hardener. To use epoxy, these substances must be mixed together in fixed ratios. The resin is an adhesive gel-like substance, that when mixed with the hardener, creates a very strong glue.
Since epoxy needs to be mixed, it can be a little more difficult to use than Super Glue, but we can’t count it out for its incredible bonding properties.
Characteristics of Epoxy
We love epoxy for projects like tumblers because of some great characteristics that make it ideal, like:
- Heat and chemical resistant
- Won’t shrink while drying
You’ll often see epoxy being used by professionals in an industrial setting, but that doesn’t mean it’s off-limits for crafters. Use good chemical safety practices, like working in a well-ventilated area with gloves and eye protection.
When should I use Epoxy?
Is epoxy right for every situation? Now that you know a little bit about this chemical adhesive, you might be wondering when you should use epoxy.
Epoxy glue is incredibly strong, which is often our first priority when gluing things together. Epoxy is also completely waterproof. As a matter of fact, it can even harden while completely submerged underwater, which is why epoxy is used so often in industrial settings. It is a permanent fix.
You should use epoxy when you don’t ever plan on un-attaching your glue later. Unlike Super Glue, which you can learn how to remove in our article on how to dissolve Super Glue from plastic, epoxy is much more difficult to take off.
Epoxy is perfect for making glitter tumblers, which are endlessly popular and infinitely customizable. Being waterproof means you can wash them, and you won’t have to worry about eroding the adhesive.
Limitations of epoxy
Obviously, even though epoxy is great, it isn’t a miracle product. Let’s talk about the limitations of epoxy.
Epoxy glue, for one, is most suitable for professional users and those who have experience mixing chemicals properly. Mixing epoxy requires an understanding of the chemicals, especially since it is an industrial product. It is also much more time-consuming than Super Glue.
What materials can I glue with epoxy?
Loctite, a popular adhesive brand, has an informative article on the subject, and you can check it out here if you’d like to go more in-depth. Here is a simple, comprehensive list of materials that you can glue with epoxy.
If your material isn’t on this list, chances are, epoxy will still glue it together! Ask a hardware store employee for help if you have a very specific project in mind.
Let’s get into Super Glue next and talk about its properties and uses. Then, we’ll decide which is right for your project and get into some frequently asked questions about Super Glue vs epoxy.
What is Super Glue?
Super Glue goes by a lot of names: Gorilla Glue, Krazy Glue, and even Super Glue itself is a brand name! But, what is Super Glue?
Super Glue is made from a chemical called cyanoacrylate, a single substance that hardens into acrylic plastic when it comes into contact with air and moisture. It dries clear and can be applied with precision, making it great for details and simple work around the house. It goes by many brand names.
Super Glue is great for gluing lots of different things together like wood or plastic. But is it right for every job?
When should I use Super Glue?
Super Glue is perfect for daily, household use. It does not require any complicated mixing of ingredients. It also dries quickly, although you may need to clamp the items together so it holds in place.
Use Super Glue for both fixes and projects. You can fix most broken items with a little bit of Super Glue. You can also use Super Glue in model-building projects or jewelry-making. Super Glue is great in polymer clay jewelry and polymer clay earring projects.
Characteristics of Super Glue
We like to reach for Super Glue for these reasons:
- Easy to use
Super Glue is great for most purposes, but it has a few important drawbacks.
Limitations of Super Glue
Super Glue is not flexible, and it only dries under certain conditions. It needs air and moisture, so if your Super Glue isn’t setting up, dab the surface with a damp paper towel. It does not retain the strength and reliability that epoxy does. Over time, it may wear and break down on projects.
The fact that Super Glue is liquid is a hazard, as well. The glue can drip onto the user’s hands and cause skin damage if you are not careful or wearing gloves.
What materials can I glue with Super Glue?
Here’s a short, but fairly comprehensive list of the materials you can glue with Super Glue.
- Some plastics
Super Glue isn’t going to bond or hold nearly as well as epoxy, but you’ll choose it for being a little more discreet on items since it dries clearer and is less noticeable. The precision application will help, too, but that’s not the only difference between epoxy and Super Glue.
Difference between epoxy and Super Glue
Just because one glue is stronger than the other doesn’t mean Super Glue is wrong for you. With a little attention to their characteristics, each substance is a great tool in your kit for crafting and projects.
The difference between epoxy and Super Glue is that epoxy, as an industrial product, creates a stronger hold, is more waterproof than Super Glue, and will create a permanent bond. Super Glue is best for everyday, casual use, and can be much handier to keep around the house since you don’t need to mix.
Here are some frequently asked questions about epoxy vs Super Glue.
Can Super Glue be used for industrial purposes?
Super Glue is not strong enough to hold more heavy-duty projects together. If you’re working in an industrial setting, stick to epoxy.
How do I get Super Glue off my skin?
If you can, immediately run it under water. You can also try rubbing acetone (nail polish remover) on hardened Super Glue to remove it from the skin. Be very careful when trying this method.
How do I get epoxy off my skin?
Again, if you can, immediately run it under water. If the epoxy has dried to your skin, you can try rubbing vinegar or acetone to attempt to remove it.
How long can I store glue?
Epoxy glue will last for around two years when kept in cool conditions. Super Glue must be stored with the cap on tightly in a cool place. If kept sealed well, it can last a couple of months after it’s been opened.
Epoxy vs Super Glue – Final Thoughts
Epoxy vs Super Glue is a debate that a lot of people tend to consider when they begin a crafting project, and the answer all comes down to this: how much hold do you need?
The precision of Super Glue lends itself well to delicate work, like jewelry-making. Epoxy holds up to washing, so it’s great for those glitter tumblers and other projects that will get a lot of heavy use.
It all comes down to how you will use the adhesive. Let us know in the comments how you like to use these different, wonderful glues!
Final Thoughts on the Epoxy vs Super Glue Debate
At the end of the day, the decision is completely up to you. Whether you prefer to sacrifice the extremely reliable strength for better ease of use, it’s your call.
Or, if water resistance is an important aspect to your work, maybe a little mixing and testing won’t seem like much of a hassle. Plus, even though the strength of an adhesive is very important, you don’t want to get something that could potentially harm you.
This article has only pointed out the many differences and uses of the two types of glue. Hopefully, this information will guide you when you’re buying the right adhesive for your next job.