Whether you’re reattaching a broken piece of window trim, gluing together a large woodworking project, or assembling a wood-based craft, you’re going to need a glue that's suited to the job. Wood glue works by soaking into the fibers of the wood, which helps form a strong bond between the pieces being glued together. It can be used alone, which is common in smaller repair tasks, or to supplementnails, brads, or screws in larger projects. It generally takes longer to dry than other glue types, so you’ll probably need a set of wood clamps to hold the pieces you're gluing together during the drying process.
When choosing a wood glue, you should also think about how you’re going to be using it. If you’re tackling precision jobs or fine furniture repair, you probably want something that has a finer tip, and a bottle that will be easy to hold in your hand as you use it. You could always squeeze it onto another surface and use a toothpick or something similar to spread it in place, but that can get messy quickly.
The final look and appearance of your workpiece is another factor to keep in mind. If you’ll be sanding and staining the wood after gluing, make sure that the glue is designed for that use, otherwise you may end up with a discolored final product.
You should also take drying time into account when selecting a wood glue. While some options have relatively short drying times, others can take up to 24 hours to fully cure, which might not be convenient or practical for your project. This is especially true for unique workpieces that cannot be easily clamped, and would need a fast-drying solution. Make sure to carefully read the instructions before purchasing to ensure that you fully understand the complete drying process of the glue.
As a former residential and commercial carpenter, I've used nearly every type of wood glue there is, and kept this experience in mind when selecting the options for this list. I made sure to only include options that I’ve used personally, and brands that have proven themselves to be of high-quality over the years. Since I know that there are a wide variety of wood glue applications and uses, I did my best to include a range of glue types, so regardless of your situation, you should find a glue that fits your needs.