The adhesive seal between membranes and their housing has a vital role to play in any membrane application, as it ensures the product and feed streams do not mix and that pressure can be maintained. In many applications, the adhesive seal is a major source of membrane module failure and can dictate the operational life of a module. Hence, understanding adhesives in membrane systems is fundamental in ensuring both separation performance and durability; however, this field has been widely overlooked in the literature. This paper attempts to rectify this by discussing in depth adhesive theory and factors that will maximize the adhesion strength, relative to membrane technology. Also highlighted are specific membrane factors that lead to adhesive failure, important when designing a module. The performance of different adhesives is then presented, based on their ability to adhere to different substrates and their resistance to environmental factors. They are discussed and compared relative to the wide range of polymeric and inorganic membrane systems that are currently commercialized or under research. The conclusion raises the possibility of future research in membrane adhesives, as membrane specific developments in the adhesion field have the potential to increase the durability and environmental resistance of membrane modules.