Heat guns are one of the best-kept secrets in an avid DIYer's toolbox. Similar to a hair dryer, these handy tools use a fan to draw in air, which is then pushed through a heating element and through a nozzle to create superheated air.
Remove product labels or old bumper stickers, peel off paint, heat shrink plastic, soften power glue and apply vehicle decals. You can even use the best heat gun options to bend plastic pipes, thaw frozen pipes or loosen solder joints. As with any tool, quality often determines the outcome, so be sure to choose a well-made product as shown below.
Best Overall: ENERTWIST 1500W Heat Gun
Best Budget: PORTER-CABLE Heat Gun PC1500HG
Best Industrial: SeekOne Heat Gun
Best Wireless: Milwaukee 2688-20 Wireless Heat Gun
Best Mini: Safeway LDK Mini Heat Gun
Best Dual Temperature: Genesis GHG1500A Dual Temperature Heat Gun
Best Accessory: Xpeoo Heat Gun Kit
There are four different types of heat guns: electric, gas, industrial, and infrared. But no matter which type of heat gun you use, it's important to know that these tools can be dangerous if used improperly or carelessly. Although heat guns do not use an open flame, they are capable of producing temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Use extreme caution when using a heat gun to avoid burning yourself or damaging the materials you are using.
Electric heat guns can be wired or cordless, small or large, and even vary in temperature range and fan speed. Electric heat guns are the most popular type of heat gun and are usually the most cost-effective. Because of its popularity, manufacturers have focused more attention on developing electric heat gun technology in recent years, and gas heat guns have slowly become history.
Gas heat guns use butane or propane gas instead of a heating element. These gas heat guns are not as popular as electric models for several reasons. The first is that they tend to be more expensive. Second, you need to keep buying and filling gas tanks to use the gun, which is much more convenient than plugging in or charging a purely electric model. Professionals in the plumbing or electrical field may use gas heat guns if their work keeps them away from accessible electrical outlets or to avoid the safety hazard of running extension cords, but outside of the professional industry, gas heat guns have lost much of their popularity in the DIY market.
The only differences between industrial heat guns and electric and gas models are their rugged construction, higher heat levels and higher fan settings. Professionals use industrial heat guns for heavy-duty work in large retail factories, packaging plants and automotive repair. Because they are designed for industrial work, these tools do not allow for the fine-tuning of temperature and fan control needed for smaller, more precise projects.
Infrared guns are relatively new on the market. As the name implies, they use infrared heat and tend to run on the cheaper side of the heat gun. They produce a maximum temperature of 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than adequate for many home projects.
Factors to consider when choosing the best heat gun
Heat guns are not lightweight heating devices like hair dryers, so you need to make sure you know what to look for when choosing a heat gun. Consider temperature settings, temperature control, fan speed, nozzles and a variety of accessories to find the best heat gun for your next project.
The temperature range of your heat gun determines the type of work you can perform with it. Heat guns with a maximum temperature of approximately 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit and a minimum temperature of approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit will benefit from heavy-duty work such as paint stripping and ductwork for added versatility.
DIY enthusiasts looking to complete everyday household projects such as heat-shrinking plastic or softening floor tile adhesives may be satisfied with a heat gun that has a narrower temperature range (between 392 degrees F and 752 degrees F).
The basic heat gun operates at a single temperature - the gun automatically heats to its maximum temperature, and the only way to adjust the heat level is to move the gun closer or further away from the target object. Dual-temperature heat guns have two temperature settings, while more advanced models may have up to three settings, allowing you to choose between high, medium and low heat as needed.
Variable temperature heat guns have a dial for selecting the temperature between the minimum and maximum of their range. Some newer models have electronic displays that allow you to set the exact temperature you need and adjust it gradually. For the most accurate heat settings, choose a heat gun with detailed temperature and fan controls.
Fan speed determines the surface area that the heat gun will affect. Lower fan speeds are best for precise projects, such as loosening solder joints or removing labels, while higher fan speeds allow for better heat distribution over the entire area.
When you move the heat gun away from the target object at a low fan speed, the surface area increases, but the temperature decreases. A powerful fan can increase the surface area without significantly lowering the temperature, allowing a larger area to be heated at once. This setting is useful for larger projects, such as paint stripping or defrosting ducts.
Heat guns come with a variety of accessories and nozzle options designed to provide more accurate temperature control and direct heat flow more efficiently. They can also be equipped with nozzle safety guards to help keep you safe during use.
Popular heat gun accessories include a dead man's switch that shuts off power when pressure is removed, a thermal breaker that shuts off the heat gun if it overheats, a hook for storing tools, and a surface stand that lets you use it to safely hold the gun during work pauses. The surface stand also offers a hands-free alternative for projects that require two hands, but you need to take extra care to ensure the heat gun is stable and away from potentially flammable objects.
Popular heat gun nozzles include reducer or cone nozzles that concentrate heat to a specific area, scoop reflector nozzles that wrap around the pipe to evenly heat the entire circumference of the pipe, flat nozzles for wide horizontal line applications and glass protector nozzles for removing paint from windows while preventing direct heat to the glass.
There are other options available for more specialized uses, but these are the most popular additions to the regular heat gun.
In addition to the plethora of heat gun nozzle and accessory options, some models offer additional built-in features.
We've chosen our top list of heat guns based on price, popularity, customer approval and use. Any one of these high-quality models is sure to become the tool of choice for your next home project.
Work with one hand while holding or supporting the target material with the other hand with this compact, versatile heat gun. If two hands are needed to support the material, simply place the heat gun on the non-slip base to free up both hands for use. It comes with a 12.5 amp motor and a built-in overload protection system to prevent the heat gun from overheating.
Control the temperature with a variable temperature dial and choose between nine temperature settings ranging from 140 to 932 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, utilize the three-speed fan setting for further control. The corded product comes with four nozzles and four scouring tools to help with DIY refurbishment projects.
PORTER-CABLE's heat gun comes with a 6-foot cord for maximum maneuverability and an integrated hands-free stand for projects that require two hands. A variable temperature control dial on the side of the gun regulates heat from 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 1,150 degrees Fahrenheit.
While this is not the widest temperature range, it is more than adequate for household and even some industrial tasks, such as paint stripping. The high and low fan settings control airflow through the heat gun, and the integrated hooks are perfect for storage.
SeekOne's heavy-duty heat gun is the perfect tool for a variety of serious projects, as it has a temperature range of 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 1,202 degrees Fahrenheit.
The gun comes with four nozzles for a variety of applications and features a heat mode and a cool mode for safer storage when you're done using it. You can adjust the temperature using the control knob on the back of the gun. The heat gun has two fan speed settings, marked low and high, and a 5.25-foot cord for added freedom of movement during use.
Built for compact space and efficiency, the Milwaukee Electric Cordless Heat Gun is only 6.4 inches long. It is powered by an XC 5.0 battery and can heat more than 40 connections on a single charge.
There is no built-in temperature control, but it can reach a moderate operating temperature of 875 degrees Fahrenheit within seven seconds of pressing the trigger. Designed for tight spaces where there is little or no workspace or adequate light, this model has built-in LEDs for increased visibility.
Maneuverability and control are highly sought-after features, especially when it comes to power tools, as users often work in tight spaces or need incredible control to avoid damaging the materials they are working with. This mini hot air gun is 8.7 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. It has a 4.9-foot power cord and weighs just 0.68 pounds, making it perfect for handling sensitive electronics, repairing cell phones or removing paint from tight corners and edges of a room.
The heat gun can be set to one of two temperature settings. The low setting ranges from 392 degrees Fahrenheit to 482 degrees Fahrenheit, while the high setting ranges from 572 degrees Fahrenheit to 662 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat gun also has a built-in stainless steel stand and a nozzle safety guard, but the movement is limited by the power cord.
Variable temperature control is great for handling a range of different projects, but the dual-temperature hot air gun is equally effective at thawing frozen pipes or drains, quickly drying epoxy or cement, and removing adhesives such as seams and putty. This heat gun even comes with four nozzles, including two deflector nozzles, an air reduction nozzle for concentrated heat, and a reflector nozzle for faster thawing.
Use the simple 3-position switch to turn off the heat gun or set it between 572 degrees F and 1,000 degrees F. The powerful 12.5 amp motor helps thaw pipes, drains, freezers and radiators, and effectively removes caulking and putty as well as stripping paint. It weighs only 2 pounds and has a textured handle that helps prevent the tool from slipping out of the user's hand. However, like all corded tools, this electric heat gun is limited by the length of the power cord or extension cord it is connected to.
Select low speed, marked 1 on the trigger, for a heat range of 122 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, or high speed, marked 2 on the trigger, for a heat range of 122 to 1220 degrees Fahrenheit. When finished working, simply turn the switch to the center to turn off the heat gun. During use, heat can be further controlled by turning the variable temperature dial located on the back of the tool.
When a project requires two hands to support the material, this heat gun can be placed on a flat base for hands-free support. It also comes with five nozzles and five scraper tools to help remove paint, caulk and other sticky materials. Users only need to look at the digital thermometer on the side of the heat gun to know the current temperature.
Get a complete kit with multiple accessories and paint and grout removal tools and a protective sleeve with an ENERTWIST heat gun, but if you don't want a full kit, then the PORTER-CABLE heat gun is a great option.
Over 30 different heat gun products were considered for selection, and only through extensive research into each was it possible to put together a list of the best heat guns. The most important factors considered include temperature control, heat gun type, temperature range, fan speed settings, and any nozzles or accessories that can enhance the versatility of the tool.
Products with built-in safety features (such as nozzle safety guards) or advanced features (such as built-in memory settings) will usually stand out from the competition as long as the other important factors are relatively stable. Premium heat gun kits that come bundled with multiple nozzles, accessories and carrying cases also receive high marks.
Heat guns are dangerous power tools that can easily peel off wallpaper or burn your skin and hair, so it's important to always dress appropriately and wear personal protective equipment. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants and open-toed shoes are recommended, as well as safety gloves, safety glasses and face shields to help avoid breathing in chemicals while working.
You should also make sure to work in a well-ventilated space, as the chemical odor from peeling paint or melting glue from wallpaper can be harmful if inhaled. It can also cause eye irritation, so protective glasses or goggles are a good choice.
To avoid damaging the material or burning anything, start the heat gun away from the target material and then slowly bring it closer until it can melt the glue, loosen the paint or heat shrink the plastic.
Check out some of the most frequently asked questions below for more information about using a corded or portable heat gun.
Even a mini heat gun can reach much higher temperatures than a hair dryer. Typically, hair dryers reach a maximum temperature of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, while many electric, gas and cordless heat guns reach a minimum temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plastics can be welded with a heat gun. These tools are typically used to weld high-density polyethylene and polypropylene plastics, which are difficult to bond effectively.
The exact length of time a heat gun can be turned on varies from product to product. However, it is not recommended to use the heat gun continuously for more than 15 to 20 minutes before allowing the heat gun to cool.
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