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Heat guns are not the specialized tools that some people might think they are.
They actually come in very handy for a lot of projects – shrink wrapping, paint stripping, embossing, or softening adhesives, just to name a few. You might be asking yourself,
Do I need a heat gun?
Well, it doesn’t matter if you’re a casual DIYer, a handyman, or a contractor, the answer is yes. They make a lot of jobs that would normally be very tedious a lot easier to cope with.
There are some high-quality hot air guns available that cover a wide range of prices and can tackle a number of jobs. We rounded up a few of our favorites.
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In a Rush?
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Heat Gun with Reviews
Here's a list of the best heat guns on the market today:
1. DEWALT D26960K Heat Gun
Not so Good
The DeWalt D26960K with LCD Display is a favorite. The LCD screen gives you a current temperature readout and allows you to adjust the temperature in 50 degree increments. Some jobs will require more precise temperatures and there are guns that will adjust in 10 degree increments, but this will work fine for most household jobs. It comes with 12 accessories, which is one thing that makes it a favorite. No need to go out and buy additional nozzles.
The automatic overload protection means that if it overheats, it will automatically shut itself off to avoid any other problems. It has a built in ring so you can easily hang it when it’s ready to store. The kickstand support gives it stability when you’re putting it down on it’s back to use it hands free, but be careful as this leave the heating element sticking straight up in the air. It’s ergonomic and lightweight so it’s easy to hold and control.
It costs a little more than some of the other options on our list, but you need to consider what you’re getting. You get a cone nozzle, fishtail nozzle, scraping tool, carrying case, and more. It’s definitely worth the investment if you plan on using it for multiple jobs.
Because it does come with so many accessories, this hot air gun is best suited for someone who is going to use it often and for a lot of jobs. It’s best for DIYers and light construction work, but it probably isn’t the best choice for heavy duty industrial jobs that require adjustable airflow.
2. Porter-Cable PC1500HG Heat Gun
Not so Good
The Porter-Cable PC1500HG has high and low fan speeds that help control the amount of air flow. This heat gun can get anywhere from 120 degrees F to 1100 degrees F. Temperature and fan speed are controlled by separate dials, which gives you a lot of control. It only weighs about two pounds so it’s light and easy to hold onto and control.
The integrated stand leaves a lot to be desired. To use it, you just turn the gun so the back side is on the ground. It balances on the back end and a little ridge on the bottom of the back side of the handle. While this is a way to use both hands on your material and put the heat gun down when working on a different part of your project, it’s also a very easy way to get burned. The hot nozzle is really just sticking up in the air. Please exercise caution when using the integrated stand.
The price might seem a little high considering you’re only getting the hot air gun – no accessories like extra nozzles are included. But when you consider everything else this gun offers – high wattage, wide range of temperatures, and two fan speed to control airflow – you can see why it’s our best value.
This model is suited for doing work around the house, like paint stripping, sealing windows, or softening adhesives. It can be used by professional contractors for smaller jobs, too, like shrink wrapping or paint removal. However, it does not really have the power or durability to be used on larger construction of industrial jobs for long stretches of time.
3. Wagner HT1000 Heat Gun
Not so Good
The Wagner HT1000 is a 1200 watt hot air gun that comes with two temperature settings, 750 and 1000 degrees F. There’s a simple switch on the handle to go back and forth between the two. The fan has two speeds which provides a little more control over the air flow. The temperature range of this heat gun allows it to do a lot of household jobs: stripping paint, bending plastic pipe, loosening rusted bolts, or shrink wrapping.
It comes with a hook that you can install onto the wall so you’ll have somewhere to hang it during work pauses or for storage. It does not come with a stand so there’s no way to use it hands free or an easy way to put it down when taking breaks while working.
This is the best budget product on our list. It’s has a small temperature range so it won’t be useful for every job, but it has adjustable airflow and it’s really durable so it should last a long time. It comes with a limited two year warrantee, so any problems that you might have should be easily addressed.
This is a perfect option for crafters, DIYers, or handymen. It’s not suited for larger construction or industrial jobs. If you’re looking for a hot air gun to use professionally, this is not the one for you. But if you want something to use every now and then around the house, this is a great, affordable choice.
4. Master Appliance Master HG Series Heat Gun
- INDUSTRIAL QUALITY: with powerful high speed universal motor, heavy duty rugged die-cast aluminum housing and attached, rubber-base back for hands-free use
- EASILY REPLACEABLE ELEMENTS: reinforced mica-insulated ceramic heating elements and motor brushes can be replaced easily for user-friendly maintenance
- VERSATILE PERFORMANCE: The Master Heat Gun is designed to last in the most demanding of work environments, ideal for stripping paint, activating adhesives, bending plastics, thawing frozen pipes,...
- 6 ft, 3-wire grounded cordset made with flexible, oil and sunlight resistant rubber jacket
- HIGH TEMPERATURE AND POWER RATINGS: up to 1000-Degree Fahrenheit/540-Degree Celsius at 17400-Watts. Assembled in the USA using foreign and domestic parts
Not so Good
There are a lot of really great features on the Master Appliance Master HG Series Heat Gun.
While this heat gun can certainly be used for small home projects, it’s also durable and powerful enough to be used on professional jobs that will require it to work consistently and for long periods of time.
It weighs around three pounds and is the heaviest heat gun on our list, but it’s also the only one that can take on large industrial work so it makes sense that it’s a bit heavier. It’s stand it much better than the ones available on other models. The other models on this list are all used hands free by placing the heat gun balanced on it’s back end and handle with the heating elements sticking straight up in the air. This one has an actual stand that you can position so you can work at any angle.
5. Hitachi RH650V Heat Gun
Not so Good
This model has a lot of ways you can control its settings. The LCD display lets you choose from five different speeds and temperatures ranging from 120 degrees F to 1200 degrees F in 20 degree increments. You can get pretty precise with this one. It has an ergonomic handle so it’s comfortable to work with. It comes with five accessories – a glass protector nozzle, hook nozzle, concentrator nozzle, hand held scraper, and a case.
This is a high quality, durable hot air gun that can do a lot of jobs. The LCD display helps keep it accurate and consistent and the amount of control you have over the settings is really impressive.
This gun costs a little more than some of the others on this list, but you get a lot for the price including the accessories and all the control features.
If you are planning on using your heat gun for a lot of jobs, for example, shrinking tubing or plastic wrap, this is a great option as it provides the widest range in temperature control as well as the airflow, it’s also a really good option for construction or industrial jobs.
6. Black & Decker HG1300 Heat Gun
Not so Good
This is a basic but reliable model. It comes with two temperature settings, 750 and 1000 degrees F. It has a built in stand that folds out to give it stability for hands free use or when cooling it down.
Black and Decker is a trusted brand known for their durable tools and this hot air gun is no exception. It’s strong and durable and will last a long time.
The price on this is low, but it’s just a little more expensive than some of the other options even though it doesn’t come with any accessories. But the brand has a great reputation, so it’s worth the investment.
This is a really basic model. It would actually make a really good starter heat gun for someone who has never owned one before and isn’t sure if they need one. Add accessories as needed and you’ll see, this gun is perfect for a range of small jobs at home.
7. Genesis GHG1500A Heat Gun
- 1500/750 Watt Heat Gun with Powerful 12.5 Amp Motor
- High and Low Temperature Settings for Versatility
- Deflector Nozzles Protect Glass and Other Surfaces
- Reflector Nozzle Speeds Thawing of Pipes. 3-position rocker type switch for high temperature, off and low temperature
- Includes: (2) Deflector Nozzles, (1) Reflector Nozzle and (1) Air Reduction Nozzle
Not so Good
This Genesis GHG1500A has two temperature settings – 572 and 1000 degrees F, which is a nice range and covers a lot of jobs. It has variable output, 750 of 1500 watts as well as two fan settings so you have more control over the amount of air flow. It comes with several nozzles so it’s ready to perform a variety of jobs right out of the box.
This is another option where the integrated stand is not too safe. Like in previous models, you basically just set it down on it’s back end with the hot nozzle in the air and then leave it. It will work well enough, but it’s not really ideal. Again, please use extra caution when using it this way.
As far as price goes, this model is an absolute steal and the best bargain on our list. It costs as much as some of the less expensive models on this list, but also comes with a reflector nozzle, two deflector nozzles, and an air reduction nozzle. This makes it a lot more versatile and you’ll get more use of it without paying more money.
This is a great choice for someone who wants to do multiple small jobs around the house. The nozzles give you more options, but this isn’t a tool that would be able to keep up with larger, heavier jobs at a construction site. This one also isn’t going to last a very long time, either. It’s a good choice for a starter heat gun. Buy it and see how often you really use it before investing in a better model.
8. Drill Master 96289 Heat Gun
Not so Good
This model has two temperature settings, 572 degrees and 1112 degrees. It gets pretty hot and can handle some serious jobs. It has a three way switch and is lightweight yet durable. It’s coil design helps it heat up really fast.
The quality is hit or miss. Some users rave about getting such a great tool for such a low price, but some have complained that it doesn’t work for very long.
It is one of the most inexpensive options on our list, which is what you would expect for a heat gun like this with minimal features.
Still, if you’re looking for something just to use every once in awhile around the house, this is a great option. Or maybe you’re tackling a one time job and you don’t anticipate needed a heat gun after you finish it, this is probably the best one to choose.
It has a lot less features than the others listed here, but if you’re looking for something that will only get light use, this might be the one for you.
What to look for in a Heat Gun
Now that we’ve shown you some of the best heat guns out there, you’re probably asking yourself, What do I need to know to buy a one for myself? Well, don’t worry! Our buying guide will tell you exactly what to look for.
One thing to remember is that all heat guns essentially do the same job. They pull air in and over a heating element and then force it out through a nozzle. The differences between each model will be in what kind of jobs they can do and how much control the user has.
So, the first thing you need to do is identify what you’ll be using it for. Maybe you’re doing a specific job, like stripping paint or soldering pipes, or maybe you want a one that can do a variety of different things.
Types of Heat Guns
- Electric – These are the most popular kind of models on the market. In fact, all of the ones on our list are electric ones. They will typically have a cord, but cordless options are also available. Electric heat guns can produce a lot of heat, very quickly. They’re used for all kinds of jobs – crafting, small household tasks, and large industrial ones. Power, size, and features differ for each manufacturer, but there are a wide range of options available.
- Gas Powered – The major plus with these is that they’re more portable than a corded electric version. They usually use a butane filled fuel cell or cartridge with an electric ignition. They also vary in size, power, and temperature capabilities. These can be used anywhere and come in a variety of sizes, but are a great portable option for large construction projects without access to electricity.
- Industrial – These are bigger and more powerful than your typical heat gun and much more expensive. They’re made for tougher industrial or construction jobs and can have a lot of additionals features. For large industrial or professional projects, an industrial model is a great choice.
Temperature Control and Air Flow
Temperature control is important because it will determine the kinds of jobs you can do with it. Generally, the more you pay for a heat gun, the wider the range of temperatures it will have. The wider the temperature range, the more materials it will be able to work with. Even the most basic models will have at least two settings; more expensive ones can range between temperatures around 150 degrees to over 1000 degrees F.
Fan speeds are important, too. The more control you have over the fan speed, the more you’ll be able to control the airflow. Bigger jobs will require a higher flow of air. Just like with temperature, the less you pay for your air gun, the less control you’ll have. Air flow doesn’t exactly change the temperature of the air, but it does determine how much air is coming out of the nozzle.
It’s important to use the correct temperature and airflow for the job you’re doing and the material you’re working with. If the temperature or air flow is too low, it won’t work effectively. If they’re too high, you could melt or burn the material. If you’re planning to use it on a variety of things, you need a heat gun that gives you a lot of control over the temperature and airflow.
Here are some common uses for heat guns along with the temperature needed to complete them:
- Shrinking plastic film – 392 – 572 degrees F
- Strippning paint – 932 degress F
- Bending plastic pipes – 392 – 572 degrees F
- Drying paint – 86 – 282 degrees F
- Softening Adhesives – 572 – 752 degrees F
- Drying damp wood – 212 – 392 degrees F
- Welding plastic – 626 to 752 degrees F
Once it has pulled air in and heated it, it forces it out of the nozzle. Depending on what job you’re doing, different nozzles can be used to make the air more or less concentrated. All hot air guns will come with a standard nozzle, but a variety of nozzles are available so you can change it depending on the kind of work you’re doing. Some nozzles have very specific jobs. Common nozzle shapes are:
- Reflector Nozzle – used for soldering pipes
- Cone or Reducer Nozzles – concentrates and focuses heat for precise control
- Flat or Fishtail Nozzles – spread heat over a wide area
- Glass Protector Nozzle – protect windows from direct heat when stripping frames
- Scraper – strips paint
Having the right nozzle for the job is essential. Some heat guns come with all the nozzles you’ll need while some will require you to buy them separately.
A Note about Safety
When you’re using a tool that can melt plastic and solder pipes, safety is really important. When using your new heat gun, please keep the follow safety tips in mind:
- Protect your eyes by using safety goggles.
- Wear heavy duty shoes.
- Make sure your hot air gun is light enough for you to hold and maneuver it properly.
- Never leave the it unattended when hot or plugged in.
- When working with plastics, work in an area with good ventilation.
- Always keep it away from children and pets.
- Allow it to cool completely before you put it away.
- Attach nozzles before turning the gun on. Nozzles shouldn’t be attached after the hot air gun is already hot.
- Always place it on the stand during work pauses, when two hands are needed for the job, and to allow the gun to cool before putting it away.
- Buy a model with a “dead man” switch, which switches the power off when pressure is removed. That way, if you drop it or lose your grip, it will automatically turn off.
- Make sure it has a thermal cut out that will turn it off if it gets overheated.
- Use appropriate extension cords (10 amp or greater) when needed.
- Keep inlet grills clear to avoid overheating and possibly fire.
- Don’t place nozzle directly on any surface as it can block air flow, which will overheat the gun and possibly lead to fire.
- Stay away from flammable materials.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close by.
Having a hot air gun at home or on the job site can save you a lot of time and aggravation. They can help with a lot of jobs, from peeling paint to soldering pipes. Before you choose one, it’s important to figure out what you’re going to use it for. That way, you can make sure you get one that has enough heat, air flow, and accessories to get the job done.
Heat guns are not the specialized tool that some people assume they are. They’re actually a very versatile tool that can help you with all kinds of jobs. We hope this list and buying guide helps you find the one that’s right for you.
If you need something hotter with a flame, take a look some of the best butane torches on the market.