10 Best Heat Guns | February 2017

10 Best Heat Guns
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 31 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you're stripping paint, loosening old bolts, bending pipes, or shrinking insulation, one of these quality heat guns will help you get the job done fast. We've included models priced for the occasional DIYer along with some heavy-duty options suitable for professional contractors. Skip to the best heat gun on Amazon.
10
The Master Appliance HG-501A boasts a unique design that includes a large rear-attached stand, allowing you to safely set it down on any flat surface to cool when you're done using it. That will come in handy, considering it emits heat at a whopping 3,000 feet per minute.
  • good for desoldering and soldering
  • can heat to 750 degrees fahrenheit
  • can't stand up to prolonged use
Brand Master Appliance
Model HG-501A
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
9
The Weller 6966C runs on just 250 watts, making it useful for jobs where energy consumption is a concern. It's lightweight, with a powerful internal fan that keeps the unit cool during use, and, unlike some models, can handle epoxy curing without a problem.
  • ideal for production plants
  • cul certified for laboratory use
  • cannot choose specific temperatures
Brand Apex Tool Group
Model 6966C
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
8
The multi-functional Wagner 0283022 is capable of sending out a 1,000 degree blast of hot air, but can also run on fan mode for no-heat drying. It's extremely durable, featuring a tough die-cast metal housing, so you don't have to worry about tossing it around.
  • airflow is manually adjustable
  • can be used to roast coffee
  • takes a while to heat large areas
Brand Wagner Power Products
Model 0283022
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
7
The Porter-Cable PC1500HG features a continuously variable temperature dial and a rubber-coated grip, making it comfortable enough to use all day. The 1,500 watt motor means it's fully capable of handling all kinds of labor-intensive tasks, such as bending plastic pipes.
  • includes one year of free servicing
  • quieter than a hair dryer
  • does not come with accessories
Brand PORTER-CABLE
Model PC1500HG
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
6
At a price that's hard to beat, the Genesis GHG1500A includes an air reduction nozzle, so you can use it on more sensitive materials that only need to be partially softened or melted. Set to a low temperature, it can even remove a cracked iPad screen.
  • attachments are heavy gauge
  • the body stays cool during use
  • the handle is a little uncomfortable
Brand Genesis
Model GHG1500A
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
5
The DeWalt D26960K is built with safety in mind, utilizing a cord protector that keeps the wire from tearing away from the housing. At the same time, it's powerful enough to strip linoleum off any surface, and to melt most materials.
  • lcd display for precise temp control
  • extra long power cord
  • hard carrying case
Brand DEWALT
Model D26960K
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
4
The Black & Decker HG1300 is a lightweight and compact model with a built-in stand for cooling down. It offers two temperature settings for a variety of applications, including stripping paint, loosening rusted bolts, and quick drying almost anything.
  • backed by 2-year warranty
  • hits max heat within seconds
  • useful for removing stickers
Brand BLACK+DECKER
Model HG1300
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
3
The Hitachi RH600T is a capable gun that comes in both a variable heat and dual heat version. Both, however, feature a rapid cooling function and overload protection that helps safeguard the tool from damage during long periods of use.
  • convenient storage hook
  • comprehensive instruction manual
  • ergonomic soft grip handle
Brand Hitachi
Model RH600T
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The Wagner 0503008 is great for DIYers with a lot of home projects, like stripping tiles and removing the coating on cabinets. It can even shape plastic piping for plumbing jobs or do something as simple as defrosting a freezer.
  • corrosion-resistant nozzle
  • heats plastic film for windows
  • budget friendly but long-lasting
Brand Wagner Power Products
Model 0503008
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
The Steinel st34859 comes with a full set of accessories, including a spreader, a reflector nozzle that protects glass, welding rods and shrink tubes. Its winning feature, though, is a microprocessor control and LCD that lets you set very precise temperatures.
  • heavy-duty carry case
  • ceramic enclosed heating element
  • easily focuses on small areas
Brand Steinel
Model st34859
Weight 5.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Heat Gun Construction And Uses

A heat gun's most basic components include a fan, a heating element, a nozzle, an on/off switch and a housing. The fan draws air into the body and pushes it along the heating element before finally pushing it out of the nozzle. The heating element is most often electric, but can also be a gas flame in some industrial models. Whatever heating element is used, it must be powerful enough to heat the air instantly as the air moves through the system at high speeds.

The nozzle may be a simple fixed round tube or it can be specially shaped and designed for a specific task. The housing is designed to make the heat gun comfortable to hold as well as protect the user during operation.

Heat guns are surprisingly handy tools that can be used for more than paint and varnish removal. Some common applications for heat guns include forming and shaping plastic pipes, heat-shrinking plastic films and wire connectors, loosening rusty bolts, soldering plumbing joints and drying out damp wood before painting. They can also be used to cure paint and adhesives quicker, allowing you to move onto the next stage of a project without waiting. Other uses include speed drying plaster wall patches, thawing frozen pipes, and softening caulk or putty for easier removal.

Heat guns aren't only suitable for construction applications. The inventive homeowner can find a number of additional uses. If you like to repurpose glass food jars, a heat gun can make removing the label easier and less messy. If you have peeling floor tile or laminate, a few seconds with the heat gun can reactivate the adhesive and make them stick again. They can even be used to roast coffee beans, thaw a deep freezer, or remove window tint.

Tips For Using A Heat Gun Safely And Effectively

Heat guns can function at temperatures upwards of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is important to take safety precautions when operating one. Never touch the nozzle while the heat gun is on and never direct the flow of hot air at yourself or anyone else as this can cause severe burns. A heat gun must also cool down after use before it can be packed away safely.

If you purchase a heat gun with multiple nozzle attachments, you should always attach the nozzle you plan on using before turning on the unit. Wide nozzles are best for paint removal, while smaller nozzles are best when you need to localize the heat into a compact area. If you do need to change nozzles mid job, let the unit cool for at least five minutes before attempting the change.

To ensure your heat gun has reached an effective temperature, let it heat up for 45 seconds before trying to use it for the intended application. If you try and use it before it reaches an optimal temperature, you run the risk of damaging your work surface or, at the very least, making it ineffective and making your job more difficult.

The average heat gun consumes upwards of 2,000 Watts. If you must use an extension cord always choose one that is rated for heavy duty use. Preferably a 12 gauge cable with a minimum of 15 amperage load rating. The extension cord should be fully unwound and cannot be left coiled as the load can generate enough heat to be considered a fire hazard.

Blocking the heat gun's inlet grills can cause the internal components to overheat and possibly catch fire. It will also shorten the gun's lifespan and may cause the fan's components or the heating element to burn out. Operating the heat gun with the exhaust nozzle flat against a hard surface can have the same effect.

Features To Look For In A Heat Gun

There are a number of features to look out for that can make a heat gun easier and safer to use. If you will be using your heat gun for a wide range of applications, purchase one that allows for a variety of temperature settings. Some models have a continuously variable dial that allows you to increase and decrease the temperature in minute increments. In addition to adjusting the temperature, the ability to control the air flow can be extremely helpful. Some models may just have one airflow setting, while others may have a low, medium, and high setting.

The main control switch may be a standard on/off switch, or it can be a dead man switch. Models with a dead man switch are considerably safer as they will turn off if the unit is accidentally dropped during operation. This can be invaluable if the unit falls into a hard to reach area. Another safety feature to keep an eye out for is a thermal cutoff. This will switch the tool off if some of the interior components overheat. If the thermal cutoff is tripped, there is a fault which must be identified and corrected before continuing to use the unit.

Other features which can be helpful include a stand that allows you to use the gun hands-free. This can be especially handy when bending plastic or metal objects. A range of nozzle attachments will also make the gun more useful in a variety of applications.



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Last updated on February 15, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.


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