Best Heat Guns: A Great Tool for Numerous Tasks

A heat gun helps with tasks in the home and in the shop

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A heat gun is a multi-purpose tool that professionals, homeowners, and hobbyists use for a wide variety of jobs. You can strip paint, remove old wallpaper, bend pipes, or light your charcoal grill with a handy heat gun. Craft people use heat guns when working with vinyl, plastic, and leather. Other uses include removing rusty bolts and screws, solder-sealing wire connections, thawing frozen pipes, shrink wrapping, and softening adhesives. You can even use a heat gun to dry out a wet cell phone. Check out the top three heat guns on the market in the buying guide below.

  • Best Overall
    Dewalt Heat Gun
    Summary
    Summary
    This gun has a variable temperature control dial, two fan speeds, and two nozzle choices, so you can use it for a variety of different jobs. It also features a sturdy, shock-resistant housing, a convenient extra-long cord, and a comfortable ergonomic handle.
    Pros
    Pros
    The Dewalt gun warms up quickly and puts out steady heat between 120 and 1,100 degrees. It has a cord protector to keep it from fraying or breaking at the point where it attaches to the gun. Built-in overload protection prevents the coil from overheating.
    Cons
    Cons
    May not be the best choice for industrial use. It may take a while for the gun to cool down.
  • Best Value
    Porter-Cable Heat Gun
    Summary
    Summary
    The Porter-Cable heat gun features a powerful 1,500-watt motor, two-speed fan selector, and a variable temperature control. The gun is lightweight, which reduces fatigue, and has a support stand, so you can use both hands for repairs, plastic pipe bending, and shrink wrapping.
    Pros
    Pros
    This value-priced heat gun is sturdy and has a wide temperature range (from 120 to 900 degrees), and an adjustable heat control that stays put to provide steady heat at temperature. The six-foot, high-quality cord combined with a stable, no-tip stand helps provide mobility while you work.
    Cons
    Cons
    It may not last as long as some of its competitors. It may also be a little noisy.
  • Honorable Mention
    Black+Decker Heat Gun
    Summary
    Summary
    This economically-priced gun operates at two temperatures and has a stand, so you can stand it up while it cools down. It is also compact and lightweight for easy mobility.
    Pros
    Pros
    This gun’s temperature settings are 750 degrees and 1,000 degrees. The gun heats quickly and has a long, six-foot cord. It’s great for household tasks such as stripping varnish and paint, thawing frozen pipes, and loosening rusted bolts.
    Cons
    Cons
    The nozzle could be longer to get into tight areas. Also, the stand could be more sturdy because the gun may tip over.

Tips

  • Think about how you will use a heat gun before you purchase one. Are you going to use it exclusively for one type of job? Or do you want a gun that you can use for multiple tasks?
  • If you are a hobbyist or homeowner, save money by buying a heat gun that is more suited to its purpose. For small household jobs or crafts, you probably don’t need the same type of professional-grade heat gun that auto technicians or plumbers use.  
  • Check out the various features the different heat guns provide. Look for low and high-temperature ranges, blower speeds, types of nozzles, price, and warranty. 

FAQs

Q: Do all heat guns operate similarly?

A: For the most part, yes. Electricity heats a coil, and a blower forces the hot air out of the front of the gun. But while they operate similarly, features and options vary widely. 

Q: How do I use a heat gun for scraping off the old paint?

A: Choose a nozzle that concentrates the hot air and apply the heated air to the painted surface. This warms the paint so that it is easier to scrape off and remove it. Removing old wallpaper is similar: You heat the wallpaper, which melts the backing glue, allowing you to easily remove the wallpaper from the wall.

Q: Can I use a heat gun to desolder wires?

A: Yes. Most heat guns reach a temperature high enough to do this. Just make sure you protect yourself against melting solder. Also, aim the gun properly if you are working on a circuit board, so you desolder only the wires you want to desolder.

Final Thoughts

The sturdy Dewalt Heat Gun is our top pick for a quality, variable temperature heat gun. The best value Porter-Cable Heat Gun is lightweight and has a powerful 1,500-watt motor.