Removing paint has been so much more manageable since heat guns have come to the scene. You can convince the paint to start peeling itself, and you just do a quick cleanup behind with a paint scraper. Taking a quick look at the available options, you can’t help but wonder which is the best heat gun for removing paint . Below is a list of the top heat guns on the market. But first, what is a heat gun and how will it help us?
What is a Heat Gun?
As the name alludes to, a heat gun is a gun that gets hot. It’s a power tool that looks like a hair dryer. In fact, it works just like a hair dryer on steroids. But you don’t want to point this tool anywhere near your hair or face.
How it works is a heating coil gets the air hot inside of the body, and a fan blows the hot air forward. The hot air goes out of the nozzle and applies to the air in front of it. Physics tells us that the air in front of the gun will heat up, and the surface in front of the nozzle will heat up in turn.
Some heat guns have a dead-man’s switch that means if you accidentally drop the unit, it won’t keep heating its surroundings and damaging whatever you dropped it on. Most units offer a simple on-off switch. Your heat gun may offer a variable temperature, some pre-selected temperatures, or a single temperature. If you’re looking to use the gun just for removing paint, variable temperature might not matter a ton to you.
For professional and large-scale paint removal, 750-degrees F is the heat you’re looking for. However, with smaller projects you could get away with 250 to 300 degrees F.
Heat guns are rated for different temperatures, and that is usually the big difference between units. This allows different heat guns to be used for different applications.
Uses for a Heat Gun
There’s actually a ton of uses for a heat gun. Removing paint is only one thing that they can be used for. They can also shrink wrap an item. Sometimes for electronic repair you need to use a heat gun. You can also use heat guns for working on vehicles, repairing plastic, and thawing frozen pipes. This is why variable-temperature heat guns are so popular. They can adjust to accommodate a huge range of different applications. Of course, you’re looking for one that can remove paint, but how do you use a heat gun in this application?
How to Use a Heat Gun
If you are unfamiliar with how to use a heat gun you need to show a lot of caution when you first learn. These tools can get incredibly hot. They can burn items and cause permanent damage to skin. Before plugging in the unit familiarize yourself with it. Remember, not only does the nozzle get super-hot, but the air immediately in front of the nozzle gets very hot. Don’t point it at something you don’t want to melt, mold, bent, or remove.
To use a heat gun, first you need to attach the nozzle you’re planning on using. Some heat guns come with a lot of different nozzles, or you can purchase them after the fact. The different nozzle add-ons will allow you to do different projects (mostly by adjusting the area that you’re heating with the nozzle and how the air is dispersed). You can’t replace the nozzle mid-job because the head will be way too hot to touch.
Once the correct nozzle is on, plug it in and power it up. Flip the switch to the on position and wait about a minute or so for the gun to heat up. Remember, heat guns don’t have a trigger you have to hold to heat it up. They have an on-off switch and that’s it. That means that if the gun is plugged in and switched to the “on” position, it is starting to heat up.
When it comes to doing the work, operation is simple. It’s as simple as pointing the nozzle in the direction you want to heat up. Keep your hand on the handle and do not touch the body of the gun or anywhere near the nozzle.
Reminder, once it’s heated up make sure to never aim the heat gun towards yourself or anyone on the job site.
While using it, be conscious of how close you’re holding the gun to the work surface. Some applications require you to hold the gun closer than others – this is a matter of learning as you go. For removing paint you might want to be about 1 to 2 inches away from the surface. This distance changes depending on the speed and power of the tool.
When you’re done with the job, unplug the tool. Wait a few minutes so the tool can cool. If your heat gun has a cool down feature, click it to this setting. Then you can pack it up and store it. If you don’t wait for it to cool down it could burn you, your tool bag, or melt plastic containers.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the top heat guns in this space. There are pros and cons for each unit, so it’s up to you to decide which you like the most. Ultimately, every option is viable on this list.
Wagner 0503008 HT1000
This tool by Wagner is perfect for removing paint. It has two temperature settings – one at 750 and one at 1,000 degrees F. Its three-position toggle switch gives you the option for off, low, or high heat.
It has a built-in stand that allows for hand-free operation. This lowers your chances of accidentally touching your work surface with the tip of the gun.
The nozzle is corrosion resistant and the tool features an integrated hanging hook. This makes storage really easy and will let you rest well knowing this tool will last a long time.
Wagner’s heat gun uses 1200 watts of power, so it has all of the strength you need to remove paint.
It barely weighs a pound and a half so you can carry this heat gun wherever you need to, and it won’t fatigue your arms.
The price is very fair though the overall quality seems to suffer a little. That’s just the name of the game when it comes to cost-conscious tools like this. Luckily there’s a 2-year warranty that follows this tool around so you can replace it if anything goes wrong.
This is another cost-efficient way to get the job done. This B&D heat gun has a contoured grip with a three-position power switch. The switches toggle between off, low temperature, and high temperature. The temperature ratings it can operate at are either 750- or 1,000-degrees F.
It has a built-in stand so you can work hands-free and also cool the tool easily after use. It tips the scales at 1.6 pounds and its overall dimensions mean the tool will fit perfectly in your hand.
Its motor has a power rating of 1,375 watts. The tool isn’t quite as large as others on this list, which may or may not benefit your project.
As the model number of this Porter-Cable suggests, it’s a 1500-watt heat gun. It is the first heat gun on this list to boast a variable temperature dial. You can turn the dial and deliver any temperature along the range.
The toggle-switch on the handle has a position for off, low speed for the fan, and high speed for the fan. There is also a hands-free stand to make operation easier. The tool weighs in at just 2 pounds.
The low fan speed will range between 120- and 900-degrees F, and high speed will go between 130- and 1,100-degrees F.
This is a good tool for a variety of projects. Its variable temperature setting and two-speed fan will allow the user to do a ton of different jobs with this one tool. The price is higher than others on this list, but it is well worth it.
DEWALT D26960K Heavy Duty
Next on the list is DeWalt’s heavy duty heat gun. This is a large expensive tool that’s mostly favored for professionals. It has a temperature range between 150- and 1100-degrees F. The power is rated at 1,550 watts.
It tips the scale at 7 pounds and that’s because of how heavy duty the tool is. Luckily the grip is super comfortable and ergonomic. On the grip is a three-position toggle switch for off, low, and high fan speed.
This set also comes with an accessory box with 12 different accessories.
The heat gun has an LCD display that allows you to adjust the temperature in 50-degree increments. There’s a built-in overload protector that prevents burn up.
It also has a kickstand, cord protector, and a hanging ring. These are a lot of additional add-ons that were put in with the customer in mind. It makes the continued use of this tool really easy and user-friendly.
This tool is incredibly handy for professionals and semi-pros. It has all of the tech and add-ons that you need in this tool, and a convenient carrying case with an accessory kit. The price tag is a little shocking, but after realizing how much you get in this bundle it’s not an issue.
TR Industrial 1700W
Next up is TR Industrial’s powerful heat gun. This has a lot of technology on the heat gun. It has a hugely powerful 1,700-watt motor which heats up fast.
The temperature ranges from 120- to 1,200-degrees F. The digital screen lets you precisely adjust the temperature in 20-degree increments.
This tool has five different fan speeds. The fan speed is displayed on the digital screen and adjusted right under the screen.
Another cool feature this tool has is a memory mode. You can set different temperatures and remember up to 4 of them. When you pick up the tool, it’s as easy as selecting the memory temperature and the gun will automatically heat up to that setting.
The heat gun has an integrated stand for hands-free operation, and a built-in overheating protection to make your gun very safe to use.
The switch has three positions: off, cool down, and normal. The cool down switch will help you quickly cool the heat gun down after use.
This kit comes loaded with 7 different accessories for your gun which result in a better overall product. On top of that, it comes with a heavy-duty carrying case.
It weighs in at 5-1/4 pounds so it’s on the heavier side of things. But this should be expected with how much power the tool delivers.
There’s so much to say about this heat gun. It has a ton of different accessories and settings that other heat guns in the market can’t match. Overall it’s a perfect pick for a homeowner, construction worker, or professional who will utilize this tool a lot.
Master Appliance HG-501AK
This “Master Heat Gun” looks exactly like a blow dryer – but don’t be fooled, it has a ton of power. It operates on 120 and 220V, depending on the model you pick. At check-out make sure you select the temperature range. For this application you might pick their 500-750 degrees F model.
This heat gun has a three-position switch; off, heat, and cool. The cool setting will quickly cool down the heat gun so you can store it without burning anything.
The temperature changes as you rotate the air intake on the side of the gun. It’s really easy to use.
There’s a large plate on the back of the tool that allows you to rest it and operate it hands-free. Overall the design is beautiful, and there is an expected long life with this tool.
The only downside is it doesn’t come with a box or nozzles, you get only the heat gun.
Genesis rVZpax GHG1500A
This kit from Genesis has a heat gun and 4 attachments. The heat gun has two power settings. You can select between 750 and 1,500-watt power ratings.
The three-position toggle switch allows you to select low temperature, high temperature, and off. The tool can also be rested on its back to allow for hands-free operation.
The temperature range for the low setting goes up to 572 degrees F, and the high setting goes up to 1,000 degrees F.
It weighs 2 pounds and has a comfortable grip.
It’s an inexpensive model despite its power. The only downside is it doesn’t come with a box or a cool-down feature that other heat guns in this space have.
When you’re picking out the best heat gun for removing paint there are a few things you need to consider. Some heat guns have a “cool-down” feature that helps the unit cool down after use. Other guns have a variable temperature that allows you to select from a wide-range of temperatures. Some heat guns just have one or two temperature settings.
You should also take a look at some of the kits offered in this product review list and see if there are some accessories that you’d like to have with your heat gun. Understand that the more features and power a heat gun has, the more expensive it is. Finally, you need to think about if you want multiple fan speeds.
All of these features go into your heat gun, and ultimately you want the right combination so it’s perfect for you. With that said, any one of the heat guns on this list will do exactly what you expect, and more.