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Common Questions and Answers About Hot Glue Sticks

This is a very common question about hot glue sticks and the answer is start with the glue gun. Glue guns will only take one size of hot glue stick so you need to be sure to match them correctly. The most common size of hot glue stick is 1/2" for most applications. Craft glue sticks are 5/16" (sometimes called mini hot glue sticks). 

3M has very specific and unique hot glue stick sizes and we have a very handy guide to help select the right 3M glue stick. Still have questions? Contact us to get help choosing the right hot glue stick size.

Low temperature hot glue sticks typically have a melting point between 250-300 degrees F. These sticks require a low temperature or variable temperature glue gun to dispense correctly. Hight temperature hot glue sticks need to be dispensed between 350-400F and must be run through a high temperature or variable temperature hot glue gun. Trying to run a high temperature hot glue stick through a low temperature hot glue gun (or visa versa) can cause serious damage to your glue gun and make it so the glue stick does perform properly. 

There are a lot of different brands and formulations of hot glue sticks and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. has created a great filtering system so you can narrow down by what you're bonding, application, special features, etc. You can also contact one of our adhesive experts for a personalized recommendation or check out our unique hot glue stick finder as well.

The short answer is, it depends. Hot glue sticks can create a bond strong enough for a huge range of applications and substrates but they are not considered "structural adhesives". The closest thing to a structural bond with an adhesive that performs and dispenses like hot melt would be PUR adhesives.

3M has the most unique (and sometimes difficult to understand) glue stick sizing. We have a great hot glue stick sizing guide which includes information on sizing all of the 3M glue sticks. Otherwise, below is a quick reference to which 3M glue stick size goes with each 3M glue gun.

  • 3M Polygun AE - uses any standard 1/2" glue stick
  • 3M Polygun TC - uses only HIGH TEMP TC (5/8" X 2") sized glue sticks
  • 3M Polygun LT - uses only LOW TEMP TC (5/8" X 2") sized glue sticks
  • 3M Polygun TC with Quadrack - uses only HIGH TEMP Q (5/8" X 10" Ribbed) glue sticks
  • 3M Polygun LT with Quadrack - uses only LOW TEMP Q (5/8" X 10" Ribbed) glue sticks
  • 3M Polygun EC - uses any temperature Q (5/8" X 10" Ribbed) glue stick
  • 3M Polygun PG II - uses any HIGH TEMP PG (1" X 3") glue stick
  • 3M Polygun PG II LT - uses any LOW TEMP PG (1" X 3") glue stick

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