Imagine the plastic grip-bar coming loose from your suitcase, or the handle that lets you pop open your microwave breaking off. They’re small components of a much bigger object, but not having that feature might completely hinder your ability to use it. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Be it because of poor quality, a manufacturing defect, or too much wear and tear, even the sturdiest of hard plastic might break off, and we’d be faced with the decision of either discarding an entire suitcase, microwave or whatever other damaged plastic homeware, appliance or accessory we have on our hands, or attempting to fix it to increase its longevity.
Epoxies, of course, immediately pop into mind for the latter, more cost-effective course of action, but it’s important to remember that not all epoxies work effectively with plastics, whether hard or soft. Any old epoxy adhesive or putty isn’t going to cut it when you’re attempting to reattach a broken plastic toy or the cracked plastic housing of an appliance – but we’ve got you covered. Here are our picks for the best epoxy for plastic.
J-B Weld 50132 PlasticWeld Quick-Setting Epoxy Syringe
Compatible with most plastics – and we’re using the term here to generalize materials like PVC, vinyl, ABS plastic and fiberglass – this epoxy adhesive also works brilliantly with metals, ceramics and more, a 2-component formula with a 1:1 mixing ratio. With an incredible strain-resistant tensile strength of 4,400 PSI, this epoxy sets in just 5 minutes and cures in an hour to a translucent, tough solid, slightly yellow in color. Because of the short setting time, you also won’t be needing a clamp to hold the components you’re attaching or repairing together in place.
Because of the syringe dispensing system, you don’t have to worry about measuring out the right ratios of resin and hardener – pushing down the plunger dispenses equal amounts of both, allowing you to mix the two together to activate the adhesive’s curing process, minimizing mess and the need for a bunch of tools. A quick twist-on cap also lets you reseal the tube, so you won’t have to worry about the rest of the adhesive you haven’t used drying up.
Remember that the reaction between resin and hardener generates heat – mixing the components in a container like a plastic cup may actually melt the receptacle. Be sure to pick a mixing container capable of withstanding the heat.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
J-B Weld 50112 ClearWeld Quick-Setting Epoxy Syringe
If appearance is a concern and you don’t want yellowy or off-color residue showing where you’ve applied epoxy – or at least wish to ensure the signs of repair having been done are subtle if you’re not able to wipe off the excess in time – this is a great option to go for. The two-component epoxy sets and cures into a clear rigid plastic-like solid, taking about 5 minutes to set and an hour to cure completely. This is a very handy replacement for quick-fix repairs and maintenance around the home, whether you are fixing up a toy your children have manhandled one too many times, patching together an ornament that took a tumble from a bit of a height, or reattaching the handle that was coming off your travel-case, a tensile strength of 4,400 PSI ensuring your repairs will stay put.
This item also uses the syringe system of our top-pick, so you don’t have to worry about measurements – the syringe dispenses equal parts resin and hardener, and all that’s left for you to do is mix it all together to activate the chemical reaction that will harden the adhesive, and apply it evenly and efficiently where it’s needed. The adhesive is well suited for use with most plastics, composites, fiberglass, ABS plastic, PVC, as well as for automotive repairs, ceramic and more. A twist-on cap tightly closes up the unused epoxy for future use, without any risk of drying out.
Permatex 84115 PermaPoxy 5-Minute Plastic Welder Epoxy
Compatible with most plastics, composites, PVC, fiberglass etc., as well as other materials like wood, ceramic and metal, this powerful adhesive has a tensile strength of 3,500 PSI, setting in about 4-5 minutes at room temperature, fixturing in 9 to 10 minutes. Though this will not work with polyethylene or polypropylene plastics, it does bond effectively and efficiently to most hard and soft plastics, boasting powerful chemical and temperature resistance (the epoxy can resist temperatures within the range of -60°F to 250°F). Offering great longevity, this is the epoxy for the job if you need to reseal a crack in an ABS bumper, glue back a fallen car mirror, and more. The epoxy comes with a syringe dispenser, so pushing a plunger dispenses equal parts resin and hardener, while a detachable mixing implement attached to the syringe can be removed and used to safely combine the two components to activate the curing process. Separate ceiling caps let you close up the tube after use, so you can use the rest of the epoxy when you next need it.
Loctite Epoxy Plastic Bonder
An acrylic formula dispensed through double syringes, to push out equal ratios of resin and hardener without having to bother about measuring out the components, the epoxy hardens into a rigid, non-shrinking adhesive solid of tensile strength 3,450 PSI. This epoxy works not only with plastics, composites, PVC and so on, but is also compatible with materials like Nylon, Mylar and metals like stainless steel. Though not compatible with non-stick materials like polypropylene and polyethylene plastics, this quick-curing epoxy is suitable for handling within about half an hour of application, chemically resistant to water, most solvents and shop fluids. The epoxy also works best when applied within a temperature range between 40°F and 70°F; the high impact resistant adhesive can be sanded, shaved or drilled after it has cured, into a light yellow or cream colored thermoset solid.
- Permatex: https://www.permatex.com/
- Loctite: http://www.loctiteproducts.com/
- Wikipedia: http://www.loctiteproducts.com/p/epxy_plstc_s/overview/Loctite-Epoxy-Plastic-Bonder.htm
- How Stuff Works: http://science.howstuffworks.com/plastic4.htm