Features push-button temperature control and LCD screen reading for precision when working on a variety of projects. Temperature is measured in 50-degree increments between 122 and 1,202 degrees. Lightweight and compact model weighing only 2 pounds. Includes 4 different attachments.
The cord is rather short at only 6 feet.
Lower temperature works well for shrink-wrapping and shaping plastic. Kickstand rest and hanging attachment are appreciated. A long-lived design. It delivers the impressive performance levels demanded by professional users.
Power cord is somewhat stiff, making it harder to move gun around in tight spots.
Generates 1,500 watts on the highest setting. Nozzle attachments are better quality than expected in this price range. Precise directional nozzle is a big help with tasks from paint removal to shaping plastic.
Its lifespan can be fairly short, but for occasional tasks, users are happy with this unit.
Offers high and low temperatures so that users can customize their choice for each project. Compact design fits comfortably in the hand. Also provides the option to put up the stand for hands-free application. Concentrated nozzle helps for precise aim.
Lacks speed, so may not the best choice for more extreme projects.
Heats up to 990 degrees F. Can run up to 42 minutes on a single battery charge. Easy to use with a lock-on and lock-off trigger for manual and hands-free operation. Equipped with an LED light for use in low-light settings. Comes with 2 nozzle attachments and is compatible with many attachments from other brands.
May need multiple batteries for large projects.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
A heat gun is a relatively uncomplicated yet very effective tool with a surprisingly wide variety of uses from stripping paint to thawing pipes to repairing a vehicle’s bodywork. However, the sheer number of different heat guns available can make it difficult to choose the right one for your needs.
You need to consider the heat output, air speed, nozzles, controls, and several other features in order to choose the model that will work best for your projects.
A heat gun is not unlike a hair dryer, yet it’s much more powerful. Most heat guns are a similar shape. Inside, there’s an electric motor that blows air across a heating element. These two components define the kind of performance you can expect from a heat gun.
You probably have a specific task in mind if you’re thinking about getting a heat gun. Your choice could well be based on your previous experience using one. However, it’s worth thinking about all the potential uses of this tool so you can maximize the usefulness of your choice.
Small, handheld models that are a simple tube shape, often called embossing heat guns, have low output but are invaluable for a number of craft projects. They can also be used for various paint and mixed-media effects.
Larger models with variable heat delivery can also be used by artists and craftspeople, but these offer greater versatility. Common uses include the following:
Many of these things are well within the scope of the average DIY enthusiast, while others require specialist knowledge. Each makes different demands on a heat gun, which explains why there’s so much choice.
Consider the following features when choosing a heat gun.
This is of major importance. Small devices often only need to work within a narrow temperature band and may do no more than reach a fixed temperature of a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit. General-purpose heat guns offer a wide range — from as little as 150°F to over 1,000°F. Others can be more function-specific and, while powerful, deliver a smaller operating range. It’s not always about having the greatest flexibility. Sometimes it’s more significant to have the correct heat for the task you’re undertaking.
This can be an equally important feature, particularly if you need a specific temperature. Some basic heat guns offer high and low options, and quite a few tools have a number of presets via an easy-to-use dial. High-end models provide push-button settings and digital readouts.
This can be an important factor, too. Too little won’t get heat to the appropriate areas, and too much might damage whatever you’re working on. Many heat guns provide two settings.
These are often provided with the heat gun. They range from fan-shaped designs for stripping paint to curved shields for shrinking tubing. You might also get scrapers or other accessories. When you’re choosing between two very similar heat guns, each nozzle potentially adds to the product's worth.
This can be as long as ten feet, but most are shorter. If you need to use an extension cord, make sure it’s of sufficient gauge to handle the demands of the tool. Cordless heat guns overcome this problem, but at the time of writing there were only a few available, and they are very expensive.
This valuable feature on some models ensures your gun won’t overheat, which can damage internal components and wear the element unnecessarily. A safety cut-out can extend the life of your tool.
This very useful item prevents your heat gun from coming into contact with — and damaging — your work surface. Some are designed to point the nozzle vertically so you can use both hands on your work (when sleeving cables, for example).
Most handles are made of hard plastic. If you’re likely to be using your heat gun for long periods, a rubberized grip is more comfortable.
A carrying case is always a nice addition. It’s even more useful if it can accommodate extra nozzles.
You can find small, entry-level heat guns for as little as $10 or $15. As a tool for embossing or certain paint effects, this might be all you need. The cheapest general-purpose heat guns — the pistol-grip type used for stripping paint — cost around $20.
If you’re looking for a quality all-rounder, you’ll pay between $30 and $50, depending on the accessories included. Most DIY enthusiasts and many professionals will find what they’re looking for in this price bracket.
Heat guns from big-name brands and those aimed at heavy-duty users cost from $70 to $120. It’s a lot of money compared to many good mid-range models, but for some people it will be worth the investment. Cordless heat guns offer greater freedom of movement, but the few available currently all cost over $120.
A. These tools require very little maintenance. Mostly, it’s a question of keeping the nozzle and heat element free of dirt and dust, which is really just a matter of general cleanliness in your work area. Most manufacturers provide an instruction manual, which you should follow carefully to maximize the life of your tool.
A. You can, and some people argue that it’s cheaper to run and faster than the electric kind you leave on the coals. With a powerful heat gun, you should be able to get your charcoal grill fired up in just a couple of minutes. It’s best to heat a small area, moving the gun around a little rather than focusing on one spot. Back off a bit if you start blowing hot sparks around. Remember the usual heat gun safety precautions, and don’t leave the heat gun to cool where children or animals might reach it.
A. No. You’ll release toxins into the air. Nor should you use dry sanding methods because you’ll create poisonous dust. Experts recommend gel-based or other liquid paint strippers. Be sure to consult local authorities about the safe disposal of the waste.