Best Heat Gun – buying guide

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The Eight Best Heat Guns: Reviews and Buying Guide 

Bending plastic, softening adhesives, thawing frozen tubing and stripping paint can be very messy tasks, yet they are unavoidable for most home or shop owners. Anyone who has a nice heat gun can find such jobs simpler and even satisfying; that is if he or she knows how to use the best heat gun correctly. 

The first time I looked inside a heat gun, I could not believe the simplicity of design. This exciting machine comprises of three main components- the heat source, the heat transfer mechanism and the nozzle. Just that, yet the things the best heat guns can do are extraordinary. 

The fact that there are several categories of the best heat guns gives me confidence that there is a perfect tool for everyone, whether you are a beginner or an expert. Considering this, I took some time to outline some of the best options in the market, after categorizing them appropriately.

Category 1: Industrial Heat Guns
Category 2: Electric (Corded) Heat Guns
Category 3: Electric (Cordless) Heat Guns
Category 4: Gas Powered Heat Guns

Category 1: Industrial Heat Guns

Master Appliance HG-501D Industrial Heat Gun, Quick Change Plug-In Heating Element, 1200° F, 120V, 1740W, 14.5 Amps

It is not by accident that the Master HG is the bestselling heavy-duty industrial heat gun in America. The company has over six decades of experience in developing the best heat guns for professionals. The design, power and sheer quality of this product not only suits a wide range of professional tasks, but also supports small household jobs. 

Industrial professionals are fond of this product particularly for its sturdy build, backed by rugged die-cast aluminum housing. Material toughness is a huge plus to the longevity of the tool, which already has a superior motor design. The tool’s universal motor is upgraded for long life so that it can deliver 2X PLUS run life.

In my opinion, the 90-Degree Adjustable Non-Slip Stand is a distinctive and exciting feature on the item too. Versatile power tools are always attractive and the fact that the Master Appliance HG-501D allows for such hands-free flexibility is massive.  

The gun is also one of the simplest to service thanks to the ready availability of parts from the tool experts. Equally supportive of smooth use is the quick-change plug-in heating element. 

Temperature ratings of 400F, 800F, 1200F and 1400F, plus the single fully variable temperature heat gun offering 100F to 1200F temperature adjustment, make the tool ideal for industrial applications. Since the heat gun reaches the maximum temperature quickly, it is a great fit for intermittent tasks, whether tough or light. 

Everything in this heat gun is for superior performance, easy replacement/change and durability. That is why I think the lack of an LCD and evidence of some other minor issues are not a deal breakers. 

Pros 

  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Durable components
  • Versatile

Cons 

  • LCD screen missing

SEEKONE Industrial Heat Gun 1800W 122℉~1202℉(50℃-650℃) Variable Temperature Control with Two Temp-settings, Overload Protection, Four Nozzle Attachments for Shrinking PVC, Bending Pipes, Removing Pain

The second industrial heat gun on my recommendation list is from a new entrant in the accessories products arena, but one already making notable strides. In line with the company’s mantra of knowledge, expertise and innovation, this SEEKONE industrial heat gun delivers sufficient power effortlessly. It has the versatility to support a wide range of tasks across different industries. 

It boasts of two modes for high heat and low heat to support industrial projects. User convenience is top notch, given by the variable temperature control that allows user to select the ideal temperature. Across these temperatures (50-450℃ and 50-650℃), the product remains safe thanks to the overload protection feature. 

Renowned for making quality and affordable heat guns, SEEKONE doesn’t cost much, yet it has a powerful 1800W motor that delivers the maximum heat within minutes. With its lower temperature setting as indicated above, it is safe to say that the product will smoothly shrink PVC, remove rusted bolts, strip paint and weld plastic. 

Heat dissipation design for the motor and overload protection are some of the features that make this product last for years. Of course, you need to take good care of it to enjoy it for longer. A lifetime free warranty takes care of the rest. 

Pros 

  • Safe and easy to use
  • Dual airflow 
  • Can work for over 1200 hours
  • Versatile tool
  • Great warranty
  • Affordable 

Cons 

  • May take long to reach maximum temperature 

Category 2: Electric (Corded) Heat Guns 

DEWALT Heat Gun with LCD Display & Hard Case/Accessory Kit (D26960K)

One of the most impressive heat guns for the serious amateur is this durable and handy product by the reputable Dewalt®. Based on the convenience of the LCD display and other features, I would consider this heat gun the best overall for the regular user.

Engineering quality and relevance of features is an attractive combination for any power tool. It is not a secret that the D26960K is full of user-oriented features, the most significant one being the LCD Display. With it, users can adjust temperature within 50-Degree increments. This is unlike many models that only allow for about two temperature adjustments. 

The built-in overload protection is also spot on because it helps prevent burn up. It does prolong tool life, but we recommend that you still use the heat gun properly. Try to stay within the advised temperature range for each task and this will do justice to the device. 

Dewalt have done even more for durability by including a sturdy durable case for the 2.3 lbs heat gun and a cord protector. Okay, the weight is seemingly on the higher side and the price a little restrictive, but the wonderful features are irresistible. 

Pros 

  • Durable components
  • Safe 
  • Convenient – LCD display

Cons 

  • Expensive 
  • A bit heavy 

SEEKONE Heat Gun 1800W Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun Kit Variable Temperature Control with 2-Temp Settings 4 Nozzles 122℉~1202℉(50℃- 650℃)with Overload Protection for Crafts, Shrinking PVC, Stripping Paint

The first thing that the SEEKONE Heat Gun 1800W Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun elicits is simplicity, but handling it reveals a powerful and handy tool fit for any beginner. 

Thanks to the powerful 1800W motor beneath the tough cover, this machine is ideal for a wide range of home based and professional tasks – heating PVC, electronics, paint removal, thawing, unlocking bolts etc. I love the fact that the product can heat up within seconds to an impressive 1202℉ (650℃) and allows for two modes of operation, yet it is safe with its overload protection. 

When you order this ergonomic product, do not worry about forfeiting some important tasks because there are some nice accessories to get you going. I am talking about the deflector nozzle, pair of concentrator nozzles and a reflector nozzle. 

You will be pleased to know that SEEKONE has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on this heat gun. Save for a few hiccups related to packaging and loosening parts, users are happy with ease of use, versatility, affordability and general value for money of the product. 

Pros 

  • Easy to use
  • Safe- Overload Protection
  • Versatile – wide temperature range and variable control 
  • Affordable 

Cons 

  • Unfit for heavy-duty work 

Category 3: Electric (Cordless) Heat Guns

Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Heat Gun (Tool Only) P3150

From the widening pool of battery powered heat guns, the Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Heat Gun stands tall for its unmatched versatility and sleek design. This product is a testament to what RYOBI brand has been able to do over the years- Deliver high quality products that do the job thoroughly.  

In the Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Heat Gun, it is evident that the manufacturer deliberately created a high performance product. This heat gun reaches 875 degrees F within 10 seconds, so it is the perfect tool for melting ice, defrosting car locks and other small projects around the home. 

Even after extended use, the handle never gets hot. That is the result of an excellent design, which contains the heat at the tip. Not even the top part of the gun gets hot, so you never have to worry about hand burns. Even that small plastic section close to the tip remains unaffected. Not many guns are so safe to handle immediately after use. 

Overall, the design of the Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless Heat Gun is simple but ergonomic. For instance, the handle has a simple bump that is comfortable to the hand. Its rubberized surface offers a firm grip for extended use. Owing to the flat-bottomed battery synonymous with this brand, this tool is table on the bench. You do not see such a feature in corded 18V heat guns. 

Do not forget that the device has a beautiful LED light for working in poorly lit areas. For the quick fixes around the house, the 20 minutes runtime is fine, especially when using a 6ah battery. This tool could have been better with a lock on button and stronger airflow, but it still wins on many fronts.  

Pros 

  • Ergonomic 
  • Great price
  • Versatile 
  • LED light

Cons 

  • No lock on button

Milwaukee Electric Tools 2688-21 M18 Heat Gun Kit

Are you looking to do small heating jobs fast and efficiently? Look no further than this heat gun from Milwaukee Electric Tools, which is powered by a reliable Lithium Ion battery. Ok having a battery is no longer exhilarating with all the options available, but not many cordless heat guns have the customer-centricity of this kit.

The leading feature in this device is a high-performance heating coil made of ceramic that works perfectly in tandem with the M18 XC5.0 battery. The gun achieves its maximum temperature in six seconds, making it perfect for short intermittent jobs. The runtime of the tool may not be so attractive at about 20 minutes, but you will love the performance in heat shrink joints and related niche jobs. 

Ease of use and safety are prominent in the tool. I loved the nozzle design; long and guarded to keep user hands and unprotected areas from the heat. This kit includes a 3/8” concentrator nozzle, hook nozzle, battery charger, heat gun and of course, a Milwaukee-branded kit. 

On durability, the manufacturer says that the item has Redline plus™ intelligence with a temperature management. From what reviewers are saying, the tool stands the test of time. However, there are complaints about runtime and the high price. 

Pros 

  • Great niche product
  • Compact design
  • Heats instantly 
  • Safe design 
  • Comes with hang hook

Cons

  • Relatively pricey
  • Runtime somehow restrictive 

Category 4: Gas Powered Heat Guns

Ridgid 18-Volt Cordless Butane Heat Gun, Bare Tool – R860434B – (Bulk Packaged)

The arrival of Ridgid 18-Volt Cordless Butane Heat Gun, Bare Tool – R860434B reminds the history of Ridgid® of releasing products that cause widespread excitement in the market. Judging from the price alone, you might think this is another common heat gun in the $100 price range. Yet, this product is one of the best heat guns in the gas-powered category. It has the highest efficiency you can imagine and it is quite versatile.

The R860434B may rival the performance of some corded alternatives. Its maximum temperature of up to 1100°F is one of the best in the market. In less than 10 seconds, this heat gun delivers in the excess of 1,000 degrees so you no longer have to watch paint dry. Remember that this tool not only works without an outlet, but also weighs little (built-in butane tank). 

What strikes my eyes the most is the ergonomic design, especially the Hex Grip enhanced micro-texture grip. This feature reduces user fatigue. Also attractive is the locking trigger, which prevents unintentional firing for extra safety. 

The runtime is a bit limiting, but I found this heat gun extremely efficient for small tasks like removal of window stickers and small paint sections. If you are scraping off paint from a whole wall, I suggest you use a corded heat gun. Not that adding butane in the tool is hectic, but the interruptions will be too many.

Overall, the versatility offered by the temperature range and foldable kickstand, and all the other positives mentioned here make the few issues insignificant. Investing in this product offers value for money. 

Pros 

  • Extremely efficient 
  • Three year warranty
  • Cool down mode
  • Foldable kickstand

Cons 

  • Need to keep adding butane for big projects

Shrinkfast 998 Heat Gun

If you ever wanted a powerful heat shrinking gas-powered by propane, then I highly suggest you try one of the best heat guns in this category. The tool is ideal for industrial applications, but I chose to place it in this category by virtue of the propane power. Shrinkfast 998 Heat Gun is the dream of every operator, as it offers a rare combination of efficiency and speed. 

At only 2.2 lbs. weight, this sleek product delivers between 134,000 and 212,000 BTU”s of power.  It is ergonomically designed to give the user optimum comfort for hours. This is important because the tool is meant to reach the farthest corners. A 25′ Propane Hose is part of the package. 

It is also noteworthy that the heat gun is UL® (Underwriters Laboratories) safety-certified. One of the related safety features is the UL Guard. Not many things matter more in a power tool than safety, so this certification speaks volumes about the suitability of Shrinkfast 998. To ease the headache of packing/ transportation and enhance life of the tool, this set contains a metal case. 

Pros 

  • Compact 
  • Safe 
  • Durable 

Cons 

  • Extremely expensive 

Buying Guide for the Best Heat Gun

Using a Heat Gun

The most popular application of a heat gun is paint stripping, but you can achieve a lot more thanks to the different nozzle designs. We will look at different applications in a latter section, but let us first know how the device works. 

The heat gun is based on a simple principle: Production of heat of the range of between 100̊C and 650̊C and blowing it on a surface. There are various ways of producing this heat, and the device comes with a fan located at the rear for absorbing air and releasing it as hot air.  This video demonstrates how to use a heat gun to strip paint from a surface. 

Designed for one hand operation, the heat gun is ideal for jobs that need heating plus use of a second tool. For instance, in paint stripping, one hand will be holding the gun and the other a stripping tool. Standard guns come with only one fan speed and heat setting, but models that are more complicated may have several settings. 

There are two main ways to use a heat gun. Holding the gun and moving it around the work surface is obviously the most popular. The second option is whereby the machine rests on a surface, leaving both hands free.  To achieve optimum temperature, you can vary the distance between the surface and the heat gun as recommended by the manufacturer. 

Reason to Use a Heat Gun

The versatility of a hot air gun makes it one of the handiest tools to have at home, workshop or factory environment. The temperature range and the nozzles create broad possibilities. The product finds use throughout the year. 

No longer a reserve for professional mechanics, hot air guns are now common with DIY users. If you regularly need to dry out wood, dry varnish, weld plastics or loosen bolts/nuts, then you want to invest in it. 

Below are some tasks that this tool could help you accomplish: 

  • Paint drying
  • Plastic welding
  • Frozen pipe thawing
  • Paint stripping
  • Shrink wrap
  • Wallpaper removal
  • Roast coffee
  • Desolder 
  • Remove dents 

Simply put, any task where heat is needed for melting, welding, bending, flaking or shrinking will be super cool if done with the best heat gun. Because of its versatility, this tool is found in homes, auto garages, electronic shops, building & construction among many other areas. 

Factors to Consider When Buying

The heat gun may be simple in design and relatively affordable, but suitability for specific user requirements can vary a lot. This section of this article lays bare the different factors that every buyer should consider to get the best heat gun. 

Power

Guns for DIY applications can have as low as 300W, which is substantially lower than what the industrial versions are capable of delivering- up to 1800 watts. Some models may be in the 110V category, hence suitable for industrial settings, but majority of the heat guns available in the market are for 240V power outlets.  

Professional or Hobbyist

Looking at the general design of a heat gun, the target market is usually professionals or hobbyists. Sometimes, the product is meant for both sets of users. Most hobbyists use the heat gun in their homes or shops. Users in serious busy garages usually need a more powerful and sturdier item in the form of a professional heat gun. 

Surface Stand 

A freestanding heat gun makes tasks like bending tubes so effortless. With the gun standing on the bench, you place the tube over the hot air and make all the manipulations you need. If you are constantly performing tasks that require the gun to be stationary, make sure you buy a product that has either an integrated stand or a freestanding design. 

Variable Temperature Setting

Temperature range and variable temperature setting go hand. On temperature range, you may not prefer the conventional heat gun that is limited to say between 300 and 1000 degrees. Modern devices offer a wide temperature range, which is crucial for versatility. With such a gun, issues of overheating or below par performance are inexistent. The secret is temperature control capability. You particularly need this feature for the small sensitive components that can damage easily. 

Variable temperature setting is usually used in advanced heat guns, but basic models have some form of control. DIY heat guns may be set at 500 degrees centigrade, which is the ideal temperature for paint removal, and one low temperature setting. 

Power Switch 

When it comes to controlling a heat gun, two switches are indispensable: “Dead man” switch, which cuts off power immediately you disengage the finger, and the Main Control Switch that is on the grip. 

Thermal Cut Out

It turns off the heat gun in case of overheating. If thermal cut out ever occurs, then the machine has an underlying issue that needs addressing. Without the feature, the gun would overheat and eventually permanently damage critical components. Contrary to what many buyers may think, guns with this feature are not necessarily expensive. The best part is that you do not need to replace the product every few months. 

LCD Display

An LCD display on a heat gun is more than a fancy addition. It gives important data, ordinarily for airflow and temperature. Devices with LCD display are extremely easy to control. The temperature control button comes in handy for surfaces that need gradual heating. Most of the heat guns in this category are able to adjust temperature in to as little as 20 degrees steps. A display is also necessary when you are heating a sensitive surface that needs precision, for instance electronics. 

Nozzle and Other Accessories 

Stripping paint is not the only application of the best heat guns. Nozzle designs help achieve different results with the tool. They include reflector nozzle, reducer nozzle, slot nozzle, welding nozzle and surface nozzle. In case you are wondering, a nozzle is a small component fixed on the heat gun to help direct the heat. Other heat gun accessories to consider are paint scraper, blade sets and scraper handle. 

Types of Heat Guns

Electric Heat Gun

This type is exclusively powered by electricity. Save for the usual corded and cordless tool categorization, this product can be either small for the lighter tasks or large for the more demanding ones. It is true that beginners are fond of the electric heat gun, and the simple reason for this is simplicity of use. Cordless models are most popular with users who value mobility. Without cords to connect to the grid, these guns draw their power from batteries. 

Gas Powered Heat Gun 

Powered by propane or butane, this heat gun is probably the most efficient of the given categories. Butane or propane can be stored in a cartridge or cell, and is controlled using an ignition. Since these products vary in temperature, power and other capabilities, prospective buyers must take time to analyze everything. Gas powered heat guns are ideal for large tasks that are remotely located (no grid electricity), but some could be applicable at home. 

Infrared Heat Gun

In place of hot air, this heat gun applies infrared energy to heat up the surface. Its temperature range is typically between 400 and 600 degrees centigrade. Since it does produce toxic fumes like the regular heat gun, those worried about air quality as they work prefer this type. Unfortunately, infrared heat guns tend to be less effective that the conventional models. That explains why they are also relatively cheaper. 

Industrial Heat Gun 

Some tasks are simply too demanding, so they need a higher amount of air power continuously. That’s why there is a dedicated product in the name of an industrial heat gun, even though it borrows technology from any of the above. Heavy duty in both construction and capability, this class of devices suits some of the most popular industrial settings including automotive and building & construction. A strongly built housing, reliable ceramic heating element and extremely high temperatures combine to create the ultimate tool for these conditions. 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Heat Guns

What are some of the popular applications for heat guns?

You will find heat guns in aerospace, electronics, automotive and construction industries. Other industries that use this technology extensively are packaging, medical and general maintenance. Tasks like bending plastics, stripping paint and removing adhesives fall under maintenance. In the medical field, heat guns are used in the formation of prosthetics, orthotics and dentures. Popular applications across the other industries are warming vinyl siding in construction industry, plastic welding in automotive industry, creating gift baskets in packaging industry and precision fabricating in aerospace industry. 

I didn’t know there is a difference between hair dryer and heat gun

It is not a wonder that many people think that hair dryer and heat gun are the same thing. These gadgets resemble each other and even operate the same. Both have temperature controls, electronic filaments and fans. However, there are marked differences between the two. Heat guns reach higher temperatures of up to 1200F, while hair dryers can only do about 140F. This simply means that while you a hair dryer could do the job of a heat gun, for instance paint removal, it is to inefficient at it. Of course, you do not want to perform the job of a hair dryer with a heat gun. 

Why should I never use a heat gun near a flammable substance?

Serious accidents involving heat guns have happened in history. In 2016, an 85-year-old burned down an apartment when he used a heat gun on a freezer. This accident in Glasgow reminds of the hazardous nature of the heat gun near flammable substances. When you are using the heat gun, be alert about the environment, including combustible environments and open containers. The gun is flameless, but its heat can ignite flammable materials and debris. Trend carefully when you are dealing with soffit boards, ceiling, walls and other hidden areas. 

I am not sure what distance to use the heat gun

Beginners often are unaware of the best distance between the surface and their newly acquired toy. By the rule of thumb, the nozzle of the heat gun should be at least 6 inches away from the surface. Of course, you discover with time that some surfaces need more intense heat so it breaks no bone to move the tool closer. However, most surfaces will melt or even burn if the tool is too close. 

What some of the maintenance steps for a heat gun? 

To safeguard your safety and extend heat gun life, you can do a few things. One of them is visual inspection of the device before and after use. Check for cracked housing, torn insulation and so forth. It is also important to use the tool properly, most importantly keeping it away from water. Proper storage is also part of maintenance. A cool dry place is recommended for storage. 

Are you ready to pick the best heat gun? 

When you are looking for a power tool, three areas of concern will always emerge-The amount of power delivered; the means of controlling the power; and the supporting features. The best heat guns I have outlined here are results of careful analysis of the types, sizes and brands in the market. Whether you choose to go with one of the corded electric, cordless electric, industrial or gas powered guns, I believe you will get value for money. My top pick is the DEWALT Heat Gun with LCD Display & Hard Case/Accessory Kit (D26960K), simply because it looks like the complete package. 

While using your tool of choice, remember the inherent danger associated with improper use. Finally, keep the item away from children’s reach. Please Share your views below and I will gladly respond. 

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