Heat guns are simply designed hand tools with a variety of practical uses. The heating element warms the air, which is blown at variable temperatures and speeds to complete a wide range of projects. They're used to strip paint, loosen rusted nuts and bolts, thaw pipes, dry out wood and mold plastic.
They are easy to operate but have different attachments and features for every type of project. For its easy push-button controls and LCD display, the best heat gun is the Makita Variable Temperature Heat Gun Kit.
Simple household projects such as stripping paint or thawing pipes don’t require as powerful or durable a heat gun. Basic heat guns that are used occasionally are ideal for home projects.
Professionals, such as contractors or auto mechanics, may use their heat gun every day. They need a more expensive professional-grade heat gun. Many manufacturers will not honor the warranty if you use a lower-priced heat gun every day for hours at a time like a professional.
Most heat guns are corded so that you can use the gun continuously. This ensures full power so your projects are completed on time.
Cordless heat guns are convenient if you have projects that require challenging spaces to reach or are beyond the length of a cord. Most cordless heat gun batteries hold a charge for less than an hour. If you need a longer charge, you will likely have to purchase a second battery.
In general, heat guns are safe when used properly according to the owner’s manual. They should always be kept away from flammable liquids, including lead-based paints that can release toxic fumes. Gloves are recommended to protect your hands. Many heat guns come with a stand that keeps the gun out of reach while it cools down.
Most air guns come with one or two nozzle attachments, which help direct air in a more precise manner. Some guns have accessory kits that include many nozzles for different tasks. Most manufacturers sell nozzles separately.
Some heat guns have an LCD or LED display. These displays have an easy-to-read measurement of temperature and airflow that gives the user the safety and confidence of using the gun properly.
Most heat guns have several temperature settings. Some have preset increments built in as you need higher temperatures. Premium guns have variable temperatures that can be adjusted to an exact measurement for the job at hand.
A thermal turnoff or cutoff feature automatically shuts down the gun when its internal temperature reaches a preset limit. This is both a safety feature and a way to prolong the gun's longevity.
Heat guns are priced between $10-$150, with most all-purpose guns for general household use $30 to $50.
A. Hair dryers have a mechanism similar to that of heat guns but are designed solely for drying hair. Hair dryers heat up only to 150 degrees and spread air evenly. Heat guns can hit over 1,000 degrees and blow concentrated air. Hair dryers would not be hot enough for many of the industrial uses of heat guns, and heat guns would severely damage your skin if used like a hair dryer.
A. Heat guns are durable but still require proper care. Always let the gun cool down before handling it. If you work in a dusty area, use compressed air to blow away any dust that may have entered the gun chamber. Never use water near the heating mechanism. And when the gun isn’t being used, store it in a cool, dry place. Some heat guns come with a protective carrying case.
What you need to know: This heat gun has an LCD display and push-button temperature control for easy operation.
What you’ll love: With four attachments, it can be used for a variety of projects. It weighs only 2 pounds but reaches temperatures from 122 to 1,202 degrees. A slide switch controls airflow.
What you should consider: The cord is only 6 feet long.
What you need to know: This affordable heat gun is lightweight and well suited for stripping paint, thawing pipes and shaping plastic.
What you’ll love: Easy to maneuver, it has a three-position comfortable grip and built-in stand for easy cooling. It has 750- and 1,000-degree settings. The corded design provides continuous running time.
What you should consider: The on/off switch can be challenging to operate in tight spaces.
What you need to know: This 20-volt cordless heat gun is convenient and versatile, with two nozzle attachments.
What you’ll love: It runs up to 42 minutes on a charge and heats up to 990 degrees. It has a lock-on and lock-off button for manual and hands-free use. With an LED light built in, it makes dark work spaces brighter.
What you should consider: Longer projects may require more than one battery.
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.