Ryobi recently sent out a press release detailing their new compact glue gun. This mini glue gun uses a separate base with an 18V One+ battery to power it. When the glue gun is ready you can remove it from the base and use it cordlessly for up to 5 minutes.
Since the glue gun has a precision tip and uses 5/16″ diameter mini glue sticks, Ryobi is touting it for hobby, crafting, and small repair projects. Furthermore, it can only apply one and a half glue sticks before needing to be returned to the base.
Ryobi claims the base heats the glue gun up to 365°F (175°C) in 3 minutes. Away from the base, the glue gun will last for 5 minutes or approximately 1.5 glue sticks.
The base accepts any Ryobi 18V battery and has a built-in drip tray to catch any glue that oozes from the tip of the glue gun. The LED on the base lights when the switch is turned on and the LED on the body of the glue gun indicates when it is connected properly to the base.
The Ryobi P306 18V compact glue gun comes with the compact glue gun, heating base, and three mini glue sticks. It is due to be released in December 2020 for $25.
ETA: December 2020
See Also: Ryobi P305 Cordless Glue Gun
Anybody who uses a mini glue gun probably uses a stand. In my experience, even if the glue gun has a built-in wire stand, the glue gun is usually so light and the cord so stiff that you can’t keep the glue gun upright. So, having a base for a cordless mini glue gun makes a lot of sense. And if that base can power the mini glue gun, all the better.
I have already have the Ryobi cordless glue gun and the Black and Decker cordless glue gun. I’m not even sure the B&D glue gun is made any more, but in my experience it is a superior tool: it’s lighter, more ergonomic, and heats up faster. In fact it has been stolen by my daughter because she uses a glue gun much more than I do and prefers the B&D.
It’s not that the Ryobi glue gun is bad, it’s just more awkward to use. That’s one of the reasons I’m excited about this new compact glue gun: its compact size. For just about every task I use a glue gun, I only need a squeeze to tack things together. The 1.5 mini glue stick and 5 minute limit are not going to constrain my most of my usage.
All that said, the big question in my mind is how does this work? I have three theories (note this was before we got more evidence from the manual, but I thought it was an interesting thought experiment):
- There is a 18650 cell in the handle of the glue gun that gets charged by the base. The real work of heating the gun up to temperature is done by the 18V battery. The 18650 cell just has to keep the tip at temperature.
- Instead of a lithium-ion battery there is a super capacitor in the handle of the glue gun — see the BluCave cordless screwdriver post.
- The glue gun has enough thermal mass to stay hot enough for 5 minutes or 1.5 glue sticks.
Let’s look at the clues that we have:
Interestingly Ryobi uses the word charging and not heating up: “…and reaches a temperature of 365°F after only 3 minutes of charging.” This would imply that the base is charging something. You don’t generally use the word charging to mean heating to temperature.
The glue gun heats up to 365°F. Low temperature glue sticks require about 250°F to melt and high temperature glue sticks require 400°C. It is obviously not going to work for high temperature glue sticks. So why heat the glue gun up to 365°F? Is it because you need to give it enough thermal energy to last 5 minutes or 1.5 glue sticks without any other source of heat?
I really should have been tipped off by the use of “heating base” in the list of what is included, but after finding and reading the manual, it looks like Ryobi’s marketing copy writers might have taken some liberties with the word “charging.” According to the manual:
NOTE: The glue gun will be required to return to the base
for reheating when you feel resistance from the trigger
This statement heavily implies that it works like option 3. where there is no electrical power storage mechanism, only thermal storage.
Another interesting thought I had was that none of the photos Ryobi provides shows any electrical contacts for the glue gun to “charge”. It would be really cool if there were none and the gun was powered inductively.
You can bet that I’ll be picking one of these Ryobi compact glue guns as soon as they come out so I can play with it and figure out exactly how it works.
Ryobi also has the ‘Ryobi 18V precision rotary tool PRT100B ‘ coming out. Not cordless, but much more compact than the current rotary tool. The motor appears to be located in the wand, with only a power cord running back to the 18v battery.
A new 5 inch polisher (PBF100) – is supposedly slated for release too. They keep adding tools for the DIY market – sort of reminds me of what Sears used to do in their heydays – with new Craftsman power tools aimed at homeowners.
It looks great. A glue gun is definitely a tool the pro-grade 18v & 20v cordless power tool brands should have in their lineup.
I have the full-size Ryobi already. I use it quite a bit – and I really like that it’s cordless. So many times I just want a quick shot of glue for something and it would be a pain to run a cord. Plus I like being able to reliably set it down without the cord in the way, or having to manipulate the cord around obstacles.
The one thought I had though was:
“Couldn’t they have made it so you can use it while attached to the base?”
I realize many would still pull it out, but that would reduce concerns about runtime and heat retention. Maybe that would make the larger gun redundant. It’s clear Ryobi didn’t want that – the trigger is covered and the drip tray is in the way
If they (Milwaukee, Dewalt or dare I say Bosch) could do a pro-grade cordless tool that could flow enough hot melt for templating – something to compete with say the 3M guns – then they would have something
looks interesting, solid price point. major concerns about usability as you discussed, if the whole thing heats up that just sounds unpleasant.
would only buy if I saw some impartial reviews that think it works okay.
I like the thought of this. $25 is not too much of a gamble to compliment the larger glue gun. The original Ryobi glue gun is the reason I even have Ryobi tools and it’s been a great tool for me.
I like the concept, though I feel they could have gone one step further and added a charger/120V capability to it. I would gladly pay another $20-$30 for the dual functionality, especially with the empty space they probably have in that enclosure.
I bet they dismissed that since you could probably buy a second corded one for another $20-30.
This looks remarkably like the reciprocation of the deal/licensing with Surebonder.
That tell-tale precision tip looks like a recoloured Surebonder. And Surebonder makes cordless glue guns that use the Ryobi One and One+ batteries.
They also make adapters for Milwaukee, Makita, and DeWALT 18/20 Volt batteries to be used on the Ryobi glue gun, but Surebonder glue guns are pretty badass as they are. I can’t see what took Ryobi this long to make this happen. Though it could easily be just “Oh wait, we have that thing… with Surebonder… Oops… Forgot about that, let’s bring a Ryobi out with Surebonder tech… we might as well!”
Unfortunately this one is one of the small sized ones. Useful, sure, but if you’re going to make use of the Surebonder partnership, go for their big stuff, it’s awesome. I can’t see anything wrong with Ryobi going whole hog with this. It’s a great idea for them to make use of the Surebonder partnership.
looks incredibly useful, and the mounting base looks great.
It is extremely likely that it is thermal mass, that explains the short time limit. if there was a 18650 battery in the handle, it would have to discharge at roughly 20C to be discharged in 5 minutes, that’s near the limit of 18650 tech a the moment. However, it shouldn’t take anywhere that much wattage to stay at temp.
If looked at the other way, a 2000mah 18650 battery has 7.4 watt hours (2 times 3.7 volts nominal) Heating elements on glue guns are in the 20 watt range, so at full power a single battery would run the gun for about 22 minutes. That doesn’t fit the 5 minute rating either. Its within the realm of working though, but that battery better be easy replaceable because normal life-cycle would be 22 minutes times 400 charges = 8,800 minutes of runtime (about 150 hours) before battery would need replacing.
That gun is certainly thermal mass powered. I have used the thermal mass of a regular gluegun to make it cordless for some automotive work. A regular gun can easily do a half stick, and sometimes a full stick of hot glue after being unplugged.
It would certainly be possible to make it able to stay at temp with single battery, but cell death would be decently quick, so it would need to be replacable. Why not use a regular cell holder, just size it for 18650 instead of AA batteries so end user can replace? It would be around $5 for a single decent 18650 battery, and for medium use, need a replacement probably once every 6 months.
Koko The Talking Ape
I could be wrong, but I believe inductive connections are fairly inefficient. Not good if a battery is powering it.
Come to that, if you’re going to have a base, why not make it corded? Wall current is already AC, so it might power an inductive coil as is.
And I suppose the tool itself could have some really good insulation around the hot parts, so they retain heat well. Maybe aerogel?
Inductive NiMH and NiCD batteries are intolerably inefficient, as the original inductive coil systems always were. Often around… Don’t quote me, but I think it was around 20% of the energy produced actually was retained by the early batteries? But since the Qi standard took over inductive charging on the small scale, Lithium Polymer inductive batteries charge closer to the 80-90% storage rate. Lithium-Ion is CAPABLE of similar inductive charging rates, but the most efficient so far have been Lithium-Polymer Inductive cells.
Then again… Those same cells have similar direct-charging energy loss to heat production. The last I checked, admittedly several months back, the most efficient batteries PERIOD are Nano-Carbon Graphine Batteries. They’re only a few microns in size, but can power circuits that recharge the battery when the surface they’re on is flexed. Everything bigger than that seems to have some energy loss, even as low as 0.1% in some cases. Batteries are not the most efficient entities to start with.
So I would whole-heartedly agree with you, Koko. If this is an inductive system running off just the Ryobi One+ battery? They should have a hybrid port for faster charging, and heating.
Sorry… I tend to Nerd Out on some of the more sciencey topics… Probably could have said things better, but… You asked a fun question, and I thank you for indulging my Nerd side! 😀
Koko The Talking Ape
” Lithium Polymer inductive batteries charge closer to the 80-90% storage rate.” So the batteries are charged to 80-90% full? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s not an efficiency rate. That’s just how full the batteries get. (And that’s also different than the efficiency of the batteries themselves.)
I’m suggesting induction ITSELF is inefficient (not the battery). It wastes energy transferring those angry pixies (been watching AvE) through the air. When you are charging a battery inductively (as with the Qi system), that’s okay, because you have unlimited electricity coming from the wall. But here, where you are moving angry pixies OUT OF the very limited battery to the tool, it might not be so great.
My apologies, Koko… I mean, of the Energy that goes INTO the induction coils, each of those percentages are the amount of energy that actually get stored, versus converted to heat, or other wastes.
Early Induction was INSANELY wasteful, only getting about 20% of the energy being emitted INTO the charging of the batteries. The rest was either heat, or just… radio waves going in different directions from the antenna.
Fast forward to going from the NiCD and NiMH induction batteries that WERE only 20% efficient, to the Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer batteries that are closer to 80-90% efficient, and it’s a big step.
But, absolutely, induction from a battery alone would be a big waste.
I like the no-cord aspect of this. When working on projects, I always have problems keeping cords under control, out of the way, away from things that are mid-assembly, etc. I also dislike running cords to my work tables that are islands.
Making it hybrid would be OK, but corded only and I wouldn’t even look at it.
I’m shocked there isn’t an M12 glue gun yet. I would buy that in a heartbeat!
IIRC from looking into it a while ago, someone was selling glue guns hacked together to run on M12 on the eBay, but an actual factory engineered solution would be great.
…Strange… I thought they DID make a Glue Gun… Then I realized I’m an idiot, and I was thinking of their Soldering Iron in that line…
Forgive me. I’m a DeWALT guy… I am not 100% up on everything Milwaukee does. But I think Milwaukee would make a good hot glue gun. If they can make a soldering iron, I think a lower energy glue gun would be pretty simple for them.
I am as shocked as you are that they don’t already make one themselves.
Not into how it works- More into DOES it work.
The mini glue gun looks to be useful, and a pretty good value for the price, plus it apparently won’t wear out over time or need to have a battery cell replaced.
I’d like to see Ryobi make a cordless marshmallow gun or something along those lines to give the Nerf stuff a run for their money. Probably won’t ever happen though, due to the risk or someone putting their eye out and the subsequent lawsuits.
This is interesting, but it seems like it would have a wider application if the base didn’t need a battery (AC adapter option). I feel like tools that require a base mostly stay stationary…
This would be great for ad hoc hobby work. Doing a project at the kitchen or dining room table, for example. Or somewhere that a cord running across a floor to a table would be inconvenient or dangerous. The base makes it nice and stable, too.
I’ll probably buy one JUST BECAUSE lol. I already have the big one and like it a lot. I had to use a plug in one last week and it did not work as well.
Ordered one from the Depot and it arrived today. Used it a little bit to re-hang some Ring sensors where the command strips were being annoying, and it worked quite well. The gun itself is surprisingly light. There are contacts on the bottom of the gun that match onto contacts on the base, but it just sits right on there, no like “drop it in place” or push into contact or similar if that makes sense. I can throw it at the base and it’ll sit fine and make contact, which is good to see.
There’s a switch on the base, with corresponding red LED to let you know the base is on, then the gun itself has an additional red LED to tell you it is “linked” with the base. The gun heated up quickly the first time I turned it on, probably less than a minute to get it to usable temp, and then it flowed glue just fine for a couple minutes while I did each sensor, then put it back on the base while I took down the next one, etc. Worked just fine for that usage. The glue sticks are the regular smaller size, so my bulk pack of craft sticks from hobby lobby fit just fine, it takes about one of those or 3/4 of one of the 3 ryobi-supplied sticks to get the glue started, just something to be aware of, grab two sticks if it’s your first go.
Overall I like the size and convenience. I could see how a power-brick-hybrid option would be cool, I could leave the base plugged in, turn it on when I need heat, and then carry the gun around for short spurts to do whatever I need. Kind of negates a bit the need for the battery, since the gun itself is not meant to stay with the base anyway. But I can see how it’s nice to not have a cord coming up on the table or similar either. A power-brick cord would be thinner than a 120V cord like the Surebonder CL-195F uses. Maybe there’s something too where surebonder has the corded version, so they let ryobi do a cordless version, that way they’re not competing with a hybrid or similar.
It is difficult to find a quality glue stick that is 4 by 5/16! Can anyone recommend a glue stick that fits the Ryobi compact 18 volt Glue Gun?
I purchased ryobi mini , glue sticks provided with gun work great . Good luck finding replacements. I purchased diff brands 5/16 recommended by Home Depot employee still same issue sticks to thin trigger won’t feed them in to gun . Home Depot told me glue gun must be defective. They replaced it . Same thing glue sticks the come with glue work great ! All other 5/16 .28 &.31 glue sticks won’t work. Wish ryobi sold replacement RYOBI glue sticks . Should be a 1 handed tool . Need 2 hands one to pull trigger other to feed (push ) glue stick I believe NOT SAFE . Ryobi for that reason I wouldn’t advise