What Are The 6 Most Common Types Of Adhesives In 2024?

Have you been using the same glue for all the projects around the house? If you are, STOP!

Several different types of glue are specifically designed to be used on specific surfaces. You may ask what are the 6 most common types of adhesives? Here is all you need to know!

If you are working with wood, then contact adhesive will be the right choice. They have strong bonding and provide permanent adhesion that will not budge once dry. 

And if you are looking for an adhesive for your child’s craft project then, white glue or super glue will suffice. 

Here, we have discussed 6 common types of adhesives as well as the different varieties of adhesives available in the market. 

If you have questions about whether a particular type of adhesive is the right choice or not, this detailed guide will provide you with all the necessary information so that you can make the right choice.

A Quick Look At The Variety Of Adhesives Available In The Market

Adhesives Based On Their IngredientsAdhesives Based On Their Chemical CompositionAdhesives Based On Their Load-Bearing CapabilityAdhesives Based On Their Physical FormAdhesives Based On Their Structure
Natural AdhesiveEpoxy AdhesiveStructural AdhesivePaste Hot Melt Adhesive
Synthetic AdhesivePolyurethane AdhesiveNon-Structural AdhesiveLiquidReactive Hot melt Adhesive
Polyimide AdhesiveSemi-Structural Adhesive FilmThermosetting Adhesive
PelletsPressure Sensitive Adhesive
Contact Adhesive

What Are The 6 Most Common Types Of Adhesives?

6 Most Common Types Of Adhesives

Adhesives have a long list of different varieties; they can differ based on how they were made or their chemical composition, and even their physical form. 

Here we have discussed the 6 most common types of adhesives in the market and their best uses.

1. Hot Melt

  • Hot melt adhesives are generally referred to as glue adhesives.
  • They are thermoplastic polymer adhesives and stay in a solid state at room temperature.
  • They liquefy when they are heated and the temperature rises above their softening point.

Best use: 

  1. Hot melt adhesives have multipurpose usage as they can be used to glue different types of material together. 
  2. They provide great adherence to cardboard, different types of metal surfaces, glass, plastic, wood as well as leather.


  1. For regular purposes like a class project, you can use EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate).
  2. For bigger projects with plastics that are difficult to with, Polyolefin is the right choice.

2. Contact Adhesive

  • Contact adhesives are rubber-based adhesives and are also known as contact-cement.
  • A contact adhesive can be prepared from both natural as well as synthetic rubbers.
  • They differ from removable adhesives, which can be removed from the surface once dry. 
  • Contact adhesives provide permanent bonding once they make contact with the surface. 
  • Pro Tip: Apply contact adhesives on both surfaces and give the adhesive time to dry a bit before you push the two surfaces together.

Best use: 

  1. The most common use of contact adhesives is in the woodworking industry.
  2. Contact adhesives hold strong and can easily stick wood surfaces together.


  1. Natural rubber and polychloroprene (Neoprene) are commonly used contact adhesives. 

3. Pressure Sensitive Adhesive

  • Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSA) are the most commonly observed adhesives.
  • They are very thin and are made of flexible materials and come with either a single or even a double-sided coating.
  • They easily stick to a variety of surfaces when applied to descent pressure, given that you have cleaned the surfaces and the surface is dry.
  • They differ from other varieties of adhesives as they do not necessitate any kind of solvent, water, or even heat to activate them.
  • The only thing that will affect the adhesion is the amount of pressure you apply.

Best use: 

  1. Pressure-sensitive adhesives have multipurpose usage across many industries and they can be used for temporary as well permanent applications.
  2. You can use pressure-sensitive adhesives to bond a variety of materials and surfaces like paper, glass, as well as wood.
  3. The most common use of pressure-sensitive adhesive is in the labeling of food and beverages, stickers, graphic displays, etc.


  1. Pressure-sensitive adhesive comes in two varieties- permanent application or temporary and removable application.
  2. Some examples of pressure-sensitive adhesives are foil tape and safety labels.

4. White Glue or Wood Adhesives

  • Polyvinyl Acetate adhesive is commonly known as white glue, wood glue, or all-purpose adhesive. 
  • If you have worked on a school project or made some crafts, then you should be familiar with white glue.
  • The glue generally comes out as white but once it dries out, it becomes clear.
  • They are flexible and could be used on a variety of materials like cardboard, paper, wood, and cloth.

Best use: 

  1. White glue is mostly used in furniture making and carpentry.
  2. They are used in combination with a fastener. Fasteners hold the material surfaces together while the white glue cures and holds strong.
  3. An additional screw is also used to keep the product together while the glue provides sturdiness and strength.


  1. Think Elmers Glue is one of the most common white glues in the market. It provides great adhesion with wood, cardboard, and just about anything else. It is very easy to use and can be cleaned up without any difficulty.

5. Super Glue

  • Super Glues bind by reacting with moisture in the air and on the surfaces of the objects to which they are bonded.
  • Super glues bond very rapidly once they come in contact with a surface and should be used with care.
  • The curing speed of duper glues is generally within seconds and is affected by the material they are used on and the surrounding environment.
  • The bond will cure faster in warm and humid environments as compared to cold environments.

Best use: 

  1. Super glue is commonly used to repair broken crockery or toys among other things.
  2. If you have a broken vase or coffee mug handle, you can use super glue to repair them and make them look brand new.


  1. Infinity Bond and Permabond are two well-known brands of cyanoacrylate glue.
  2. Cyanoacrylate glues are available from Permabond in three viscosity tiers: low, medium, and high.

6. Epoxy Adhesives

  • An epoxy adhesive is a type of thermosetting adhesive consisting of a resin or epoxy polymer and a hardener.
  • It is used to bond various surfaces with a strong, durable, and resilient bond that can withstand tremendous stress and environmental conditions.

Best use: 

  1. Epoxy adhesives adhere well to a variety of substrates and may be used to bond metals, wood, glass, and many other polymers. 
  2. Curing shrinkage is quite minimal. 
  3. Cured epoxy resin has a strong and stiff cross-linked chemical structure that is ideal for structural bonding.


  1. DGEBA epoxy resin is one of the commonly used adhesives. It is compatible with a large variety of catalysts.

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Ingredients

types of adhesive based on their ingredients

Depending on your application’s needs, a synthetic or a natural adhesive will be best for you.

1. Natural Adhesives

  • Natural adhesives are derived from naturally occurring materials such as vegetable starches and animal products.
  • These organic materials become the powerful natural adhesives on which we all rely when we mix them with additives and resins.

2. Synthetic Adhesives 

  • Synthetic adhesives are composed of prepolymers or polymers derived from petrochemical raw materials.
  • To disseminate and saturate the surface of the wood, adhesives must be poured in liquid form.
  • The adhesive industry has worked diligently to create synthetic adhesives that surpass natural glues.

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Chemical Composition

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Chemical Composition

1. Epoxy Adhesives

  • These adhesives are resistant to extreme heat as well as provide strong solvent resistance. 
  • Since they are structural adhesives, they can easily bond to many different types of surfaces.

2. Polyurethane Adhesives 

  • These adhesives are mostly used in construction work where durability, permanent elasticity, and high strength are of utmost importance. 
  • One peculiar feature of Polyurethane adhesives that sets them apart from Epoxy adhesives is that they require moisture to properly set in. 
  • This feature makes them suitable for projects where other adhesives fail to perform.
  • Another feature that makes them special is that they can be painted over to get an ideal finish. 
  • High durability and flexibility make them ideal to be used in any weather.

3. Polyimide Adhesives 

  • These adhesives have a composition of one-part synthetic polymers, which are usually solvent-based. 
  • They are famous for their high strength, thermal resistance as well as high chemical resistance. 

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Load-Bearing Capability 

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Load-Bearing Capability 

Adhesive load-bearing capability is basically how the adhesive can hold different surfaces with each other. 

1. Structural Adhesives 

  • These adhesives come in different forms such as pastes, liquids, and films. 
  • They are very durable and are used below their glass transition temperature.

2. Non-Structural Adhesives 

  • These adhesives are generally used for lightweight applications. 
  • They are very budget-friendly but can’t be used for heavy construction work. 

3. Semi-Structural Adhesives 

  • These adhesives are also used for lightweight construction work. 
  • They offer great durability and strength and can be used in place of structural or non-structural adhesives.

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Physical Form

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Physical Form

The physical nature of the adhesive has a direct implication on its application. Some of the different physical forms of adhesives are as follows:

1. Paste 

  • Paste-based adhesives often offer high viscosity, which makes them a tad bit difficult to generously spread during the curing period. 
  • They are often used for gap-filling projects and a certain tool like a caulking gun is used to evenly spread them out on the surface.

2. Liquid

  • Liquid-based adhesives are the most common type of adhesives in the market. They are generally very easy to control and spread on the surface. 
  • However, they are also prone to leaking while they are still curing. 
  • They might also take longer to cure as compared to other adhesives, however, you can apply them in thin and even layers to help them dry quicker.

3. Film 

  • Film-based adhesives can be bought in rolls or you can also find custom-sized pre-cut shapes. 
  • This makes the application process less messy and a lot easier. 
  • They are also available in different widths or thicknesses, ranging from 2 mm to 8 mm.

4. Pellets 

  • Pellets-based adhesives are generally made from hot-melt adhesives. 
  • They typically necessitate the use of a hot-melt gun or any other melting device. 
  • The application process can be a little messy however the adhesion is often sturdy and reliable.

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Structure

Types Of Adhesives Based On Their Structure

1. Hot Melt 

  • These adhesives transform from solid to liquid when heat is applied to them. 
  • They can easily spread to cover entire surfaces evenly before they start to harden again. 
  • They are well-received by several industries because they are highly eco-friendly, safe to use, and have a long shelf life. 

2. Reactive Hot Melt 

  • These adhesives have a special feature, they generate certain chemical bonds once they’re solidified. 
  • This feature distinguishes reactive hot melt adhesives from non-reactive hot melt adhesives.
  • Thus, they offer a much stronger, durable adhesion along with high resistance to temperature, moisture, and chemical extremes.

3. Thermosetting 

  • These adhesives come in two-part forms. You can achieve your desired level of setting time by adjusting the amount of resin and hardener you mix. 
  • One important feature of thermosetting adhesives is their pot life. The pot life means the amount of time a two-part adhesive requires to effectively bond after they are mixed. 

4. Pressure Sensitive 

  • These adhesives generally do not require a lot of pressure to deform and therefore, these can be used on wet surfaces as well. 
  • They are pretty durable for everyday light-load tasks. They are available in the form of tapes or labels.

5. Contact 

  • These adhesives are used to bind to both two surfaces with each other. 
  • Once the solvent completely evaporates, the two surfaces come in direct contact with each other. 

What To Consider When Choosing An Adhesive?

What To Consider When Choosing An Adhesive?

You must choose the best glue for your particular demands because current adhesives are extremely specialized. Here are seven considerations to consider as you search for the best option.

1. Type Of Substrate 

  • What type of surface is being used for the application of the adhesive? 
  • For different materials like metal, stainless steel, glass, wood, aluminum, cloth, etc., different adhesives are more appropriate. 

2. The Surface 

  • What surface qualities must be considered that may influence adhesion? Is the surface smooth or rough? Is it fairly flexible or very rigid to work with? Whether coated or uncoated? 

3. Surface Energy 

  • Surface energy can vary substantially depending on the material they are used upon. 
  • In general, for good bonding, a stronger adhesive is required the lower the surface energy.

4. Adhesive Functionality 

  • What do users expect from the glue and the finished product? Is the predicted life limited to a single usage, a year, or even longer? 

5. Environment And Surroundings

  • What components are likely to interfere with or spoil the adhesive? Will the product be utilized indoors or for an outdoor project? Will the adhesive be subjected to excessive heat or humidity or cold? Is storage or recycling an issue?

6. Possible Exposures 

  • Will the adhesive need to deal with impurities or components, similar to environmental circumstances but more specifically, such as water, dust, grease, heavy chemicals, cleaning products, etc.? 

7. Application Method 

  • How will the glue be applied – by hand or through an automated production process?
  • You need to make sure whether it is safe to use by hand and if not, what equipment you would require to apply the adhesive evenly and in adequate amounts.

FAQs: Types Of Adhesives

Types Of Adhesives

1. What Are The Most Common Adhesives Used In Repair Work?

Epoxy adhesives may attach to a wide range of materials and are the most extensively used structural glue due to their high strength, resilience to heavy chemicals, and ability to resist creep under prolonged load.

2. What Is Considered A Structural Adhesive?

When an adhesive “hardens” or cures, it transforms into a substance that can keep two or more substrates together while withstanding the pressures involved throughout the product. It is commonly referred to as a “load-bearing” adhesive.

3. What Is the Difference Between Glue And Adhesive?

Adhesives are synthetic, whereas glues are obtained from natural sources (plant and animal byproducts). However, in common parlance, the two terms are nearly equivalent. Manufacturers and consumers alike use them interchangeably.

4. What Are The Two Basic Types Of Adhesives?

The thermoplastics and thermosets subgroups of polymers are employed in synthetic adhesives. Thermoplastics have robust, long-lasting adhesion at room temperature, and they may be heated to soften them for application without degrading them.

5. What Is The Best Type Of Adhesive?

Contact cement is a great adhesive for nonporous surfaces, but it can connect practically anything. It forms a lasting relationship. Strong binds on wood, metal, glass, plastic, and other materials.

6. What Are The Three Major Factors To Consider When Choosing Adhesives?

The qualities of the glue, substrate adhesion, and functionality are the important factors to be considered. Heat or moisture exposure, either prior or afterward the application is also an important factor.

7. Where Should Adhesives Be Stored?

One of the adequate locations to keep glue is in a cabinet, where it will stay dry and safe from temperature fluctuations. Remember that moisture activates glues.

8. Is Adhesive Flammable?

The majority of model glues, rubber cement, and industrial-strength adhesives are combustible and are not permitted in carry-on or checked luggage. Some super glues and other home glues are non-flammable and hence permitted in carry-on luggage.

9. What Happens To Adhesive At High Temperature?

Because its chemistry is only intended to cure at ambient temperatures, general-purpose adhesives do not operate well at high temperatures; as service temperature rises, they will lose their strength and be unable to retain the adhesive connection.

So, Which Glue Is The Right One For Your Needs?

So, Which Glue Is The Right One For Your Needs?

Now, that you know what are the various types of adhesives, you should have a fair idea about which adhesive is the right one for your particular needs. 

Each adhesive has a unique set of properties and is prepared to meet specific demands. 

However, if you are looking for the glue to keep at home for small projects and easy fixing of broken items then, hot glue would be enough.

So, go ahead and get yourself one and be ready for any DIY project needs of the future!

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