Review By Dean Bielanowski  ColdHeat Website - http://www.coldheat.com


ColdHeat Cordless Glue Gun
 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

Bookmark and Share

Those of us that delve into crafts other than of the woodworking kind will probably be very familiar with hot melt glue guns. Many woodworkers also may be familiar with them and use them often. Hot melt glue has a wide variety of useful applications in many settings, far too numerous to mention. Hot melt glue is a fairly strong and very fast setting adhesive, and it's just as useful for many woodworking tasks as it is for paper, and other crafts.

Hot melt glue guns have been around for many years, but all of them have been of the corded variety. Only recently have cordless models emerged on the market. One such cordless glue gun that has just come to market is the ColdHeat 'Freestyle' Cordless Glue Gun - from the same company that produces many popular soldering iron products.

We couldn't resist the temptation to grab one and try it out. Who doesn't love a cordless tool for versatility and mobility right?

The ColdHeat Cordless Glue Gun
I'll start by saying that my most common use for hot melt glue in the workshop is for temporary attachment of templates to lumber for routing purposes. Hot melt glue can be removed much easier than other glues once it has dried, making it suitable for such tasks. Other examples of use in the workshop might include temporary attachment of draw fronts for positioning before permanently screwing them together, bonding items for working on the lathe, or making mockup models or temporary jigs for sawing applications. The list could be endless. And once you have one of these glue guns, you will find more and more uses for it all the time.

It is important to use a good quality glue stick however. You can even buy glue sticks made for specific purposes, although these are generally a little harder to source than your standard 'clear' craft glue sticks that come with many guns.

With that out of the way, let's now look at the ColdHeat product itself.
Firstly, as mentioned above, it is a cordless glue gun. Yep, no cords restricting your movement and no need to bring the work close to an electrical outlet or mess around with extension cords. Cordless provides freedom to take the glue gun to the work. It is powered by a removable NiCad battery which attaches to the base of the glue gun's handle (as shown in the images). The battery takes around 2-3 hours to fully charge from a depleted state, and estimated battery life is around 30 minutes of continuous use (i.e. if you were actively using the glue gun for 30 continuous minutes). In 'normal' use, where you might use it here and there and not continuously, this might translate into 1.5 - 2 hours of use.

Supplied with the gun is a compatible charger for the battery. There are wired/pinned versions for several different countries/regions available (North America, Australia/NZ, Africa, Europe), depending on your power supply. As I am in Australia, and the tool was developed and is sold in the USA, I thought I might be out of luck, but no, a compatible battery pack is available for Aussies (and other countries) too. Check with ColdHeat direct to see if they have a compatible power pack for your country if you are outside the USA or Australia. There is actually a list of international resellers on their website.

The power pack plugs into the charging caddy, in which the cordless battery attaches to. On the front of the caddy is a small green light. During charging, it will illuminate and flash pulses of green light (looks kind of cool!) until the battery is fully charged, where the light will then turn a solid green to indicate a fully charged battery. Once fully charged, the battery is ready for use.

It takes roughly 2 minutes for the glue gun to reach operational temperature when powering up from a cold start. This time is greatly reduced if you have been using the gun (within say the last 30 minutes) and it is still somewhat warm at the tip. This is faster than my corded Bostik glue gun which takes about twice that long (4-5 minutes) before it can be used from a cold start.

On the side of the glue gun body is the power switch. There are two settings. Both turn the glue gun on, but each setting also controls a small lamp at the front of the tool just under the nozzle to illuminate the immediate work area where you wish to apply glue. It's not powerful enough to light up a room, but it will allow you to see where you are gluing that much better. One setting provides a brighter illumination than the other. It's a neat option to include the light, and it does come in handy, particularly in poorly lit areas.

The nozzle itself is fairly standard in shape and design, and it features a rubber protective cover to help prevent the user burning their fingers if they accidentally touch it. The nozzle can get extremely hot with these glue guns so care must be taken. Also up front is a moveable  metal stand assembly with rubber foot. When extended out, you can safely stand the glue gun upright and it will be well balanced when not directly in use. This also ensures the hot nozzle tip does not contact any surface, preventing surface damage or more serious risks.

The ColdHeat glue gun utilizes "mini" glue sticks 0.28 - 0.3 inches or 7.2 - 7.5mm in diameter. These are readily available from many hardware and craft stores, so sourcing extra glue sticks shouldn't cause any problem. ColdHeat supply a handful of sticks with the product to get you going. Depending on how much you use the glue gun, this collection of sticks could last quite a while, and the good thing is that hot melt glue sticks don't really "go off" or have an expiry date, so you can store them for a long time without having to worry about them going bad.

Naturally, as the nozzle end of the glue gun heats up to high temperature, it melts the solid glue stick at the tip to a liquid form, then using the glue gun trigger it forces the liquid glue out of the nozzle and onto whatever surface you are applying it too. As the glue is expelled from the nozzle and cools down, it starts to return to its solid state. This can happen quite quickly, anywhere from 15-30 seconds depending on glue temperature and environmental conditions, so you have to work fast to attach whatever you are attaching to it each fairly quickly. The upside is that there is little downtime waiting for glue to dry, plus, because the glue returns to a solid state again, it can be easily removed by scraping it off if needed. This is why it is great for template work in woodworking. It will not affect the surface when it comes to finishing later on either (although you may want to lightly sand the surface to remove any "stickiness" left behind from the glue). The glue dries clear as well, making it suitable for more permanent fixing applications too.

The trigger itself is comfortable to use, and their is a rubberized grip on the rear of the handle for added comfort and slip resistance, although the glue gun is so light their is probably no need for slip resistance. On top of the unit is a clear plastic viewing window which allows you to check how much of the current glue stick has been advanced toward to the nozzle. Once advanced beyond where you can no longer see it, simply insert the next glue stick into the rear opening and advance it forward to touch the back end of the glue stick already in the gun for an uninterrupted glue supply. While at the back end of the gun you will notice two LED lamps. The first amber lamp will illuminate to indicate the gun is in power save mode. If you happen to leave the gun on and don't use it for a specified amount of time (around 8 minutes), the glue gun enters Power Save mode where the heating element automatically shuts down to preserve and extend battery life. The work light still remains illuminated (it uses very little power in the overall scheme of things) but glue will not flow easily again until the heating element once kicks back to life. To do this, you simply pick up or move the gun and it will kick back in. The circuit board within the handle manages all these cool functions and indications.
The red LED light indicates low battery levels, or a depleted battery level. It will appear as a solid light if battery level is low, and when battery level is very low it will begin flashing, indicating to the user that the gun should be turned off and the battery recharged. Both are useful inclusions to show current glue gun state and battery levels.

The glue gun comes with a small printed instruction sheet to get you going. It's all pretty easy to use and operate, so you shouldn't have any problems should you decide to grab one for yourself.

Overall
After testing the ColdHeat Cordless Glue Gun in the shop for the last 4 weeks or so, I must say I am quite pleased with its performance. It works as well as any corded glue gun, in some cases, even better, and its ease of portability is great, plus there are no cords to fumble around with or get in the way. If there is one recommendation I would make, and this is for those who tens to use the glue gun quite a lot in their shop, I would suggest investing in a second battery. I believe ColdHeat will soon make additional battery packs available for sale. Having a second battery on hand will eliminate any down time as you can be using one battery while the other is on charge. If you only use the gun occasionally, then the supplied battery pack will probably be sufficient, as you might only need to add a couple dabs of glue here or there, or in a single workshop session.

Corded glue guns are relatively inexpensive, but you can pay quite a bit for a good quality unit. I was surprised that the ColdHeat version, being cordless and perhaps costing more to manufacture (including battery, power pack and extra electronics etc), retails at only US$29.95 as an introductory price (regular price will be US$39.95). At the special introductory price, the glue gun is very enticing indeed. It's worth it for the fact that it is cordless alone. 

I'll expect we will see more cordless glue guns coming onto the market in the near future, but ColdHeat have produced a nice little unit here that is well worth considering if you want to ditch the cord on your current hot melt glue gun.

For more information, or to contact ColdHeat direct (for availability/compatibility in your country etc), their website can be found at www.coldheat.com

 

ColdHeat Cordless
Glue Gun Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior written permission prohibited


Battery in charging caddy, with power pack shown.


Battery connected to glue gun. Large ergonomic squeeze trigger makes using the glue gun comfortable.


Front project light intensity setting switch - high (left), low (right).


The business end of the tool, Note the project light below the glue nozzle, as well as the flip out stand.


The glue gun uses "mini" glue
sticks (up to .3 inches or 7.5mm
in diameter).


The handy clear viewing window up top allows you to check how much of the glue stick remains.


Two LED lamps at the rear of the head of the gun indicate Power Save mode (amber) and Low Battery warning (red).


Applying hot melt glue to a strip of MDF to make a temporary shop jig for a woodworking application.


The hot melt glue gun is an ideal crafting tool too.


 

Information contained on this page is copyrighted to onlinetoolreviews.com.
Reproduction in any form prohibited with express prior written permission.
International copyright law protects reproduction of this content. Copyright 2003-2012

Visit Rockler.com - Woodworking Superstore!