If you have a painting project that you are serious about, the heat gun is an invaluable asset. Heat guns used to have relatively limited applications—used for stripping paint but not much else.
Technology has come a long way, making these tools substantially more versatile in the process. Now they can be used in a number of ways for painting, and for other projects. You can dry out wood, soften adhesives, even do light welding work with plastic.
The versatility of the heat gun makes it a great tool to have. It also puts a bigger premium on selecting the right one.
It takes time and research to find a heat gun that checks all the boxes. The average shopper just doesn’t have the bandwidth to take it all on.
That’s where this guide comes into play. We’ve tested plenty of high-end heat guns lately with the purpose of helping you find the right one.
Not only have we put together five heat gun reviews, we’ve also got a handy buying guide to help simplify your decision. Read on!
|DEWALT D26960K Heavy Duty Heat Gun Set|
|PORTER-CABLE PC1500HG 1500-Watt Heat Gun|
(Best for the Money)
|Wagner 0503008 HT1000 Heat Gun||1 lb||4.4/5|
|BLACK+DECKER HG1300 Dual Temperature Heat Gun||2 lbs||4.2/5|
|Stalwart 75-ST6038||2 lbs||3.9/5|
In first, we have a heat gun that pulls out all the stops. DeWalt is always reliable when it comes to making a good product, and this unit certainly holds true to this reputation.
For one thing, the package is very comprehensive. In addition to getting the heat gun itself, you also get a nice, durable carrying case, as well as a plethora of attachments and small tools that make the gun easier to use.
It also features an overheating meter that will deactivate the gun if it is at risk for trouble. There is even an ergonomic element to the tool. It weighs just under three pounds, meaning you shouldn’t have any trouble using it for long periods of time on a working day.
You also get a handy LCD screen that will allow you to make precise temperature adjustments in 50-degree increments. The range is between 150 and 1100 degrees, so you can apply the tool to a wide range of tasks.
The only concern here is the price. This is an expensive tool that only serious users will take into consideration. However, one thing is clear: you get a lot for your money with the DeWalt.
Porter Cable wins our best for the money slot. This is a casual heat gun, with casual features, and a price tag that follows suit. While the DeWalt is good for professional applications, this tool is better suited for more basic do-it-yourself work.
You actually get a wider range here than you do with the DeWalt—120-1150. However, the controls are not nearly so precise. You alter the temperature through a dial, and through using two different fans.
The first fan features a temperature range of between 120-900 degrees, while the second features a range of 130-1150.
It is a good tool for basic work, but there are a couple of concerns.
One issue is that this tool is very noisy—a relatively small concern in the grand scheme of things. The controls are also a little flimsy, which does create some durability concerns.
Ultimately, though, it is a good tool for the average user.
Now for the budget buy. The Wagner is a tool that you might consider if you need to get something operable for as little as possible.
The price tag will certainly be the biggest selling point here. However, it is also worth mentioning that you get a small range of adjustability—between 750-1100 degrees.
As always, there are some problems though. For one thing, the limited range also means limited application. You should be able to use it for removing paint without issue, but more refined use will require a product with stronger features.
It takes an abnormally long time to cool down, which can cause safety concerns once the job is complete.
It is also fairly noisy, which will be irritating over a long period of use. It’s a “you get what you pay for” kind of heat gun.
The Black and Decker is another gun that falls into the budget buy category. You do get a couple of handy features though. For one thing, the tool includes a built-in cooling stand that allows you to easily prop the gun up as it cools. This will make it a little safer to use.
You also get a (very) limited range of adjustability. As the tool’s name suggests, it features two different temperatures. The gun can be set to either 700 or 1100 degrees, which will essentially just allow it to strip paint, or maybe loosen screws.
There are some durability concerns though. For one thing, many users have reported that the nozzle melted onto the gun, which is a fairly serious design flaw. This seems to be a defect—not something that every user will encounter. Still, it is a little disheartening.
The tool also emits an odd clanking noise that, in the best case scenario, will just be irritating. In the worst case scenario, it could imply a defect with a bearing within the gun.
Most of these glitches are common to tools of this price range. However, many buyers may be better off spending a little bit more on something like our best for the money pick.
We end things with a heat gun that is the price of a hair dryer, a cheap hair dryer at that. The Stalwart is a true budget pick, but unfortunately, serious safety concerns sour the deal quite a bit.
Many users report that their gun melted after a relatively short time of use. Others have said that theirs began to smoke after use, or emit sparks when plugged in.
If it wasn’t for these major defects, it would be a decent basic option to think about. The price can’t be beaten, and it does have the benefit of multiple temperatures. You can select from between 575 degrees and 932 degrees. This adds a level of versatility that you don’t always see with products in this price range.
Still, the fact of safety remains. No deal is worth risking a house fire over, right?
Our reviews are done, but your decision-making process has just begun. If you need a little help making sense of all the features you just saw, read on for our buyer’s guide, where we compile some crucial considerations that should make your decision easier.
Back in the days where heat guns were mostly just for stripping paint, you didn’t need to worry so much about the temperature threshold.
There is a much bigger premium on it now. Yes, your basic heat gun will still be able to strip paint, but if you want to do more than just that, you will need to pay closer attention to the specifications.
For example, if you are going to be melting plastics, or drying out wood, you may need a higher temperature threshold than you would for just stripping paint.
Fortunately, many manufacturers are already rising to these demands. Many heat guns can reach temperatures around 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s a lot, but if you need versatility, something in that range will be able to get the job done.
In keeping with the same line of thinking, it isn’t enough to have a gun that gets extremely hot. If you want to maximize the tool’s versatility, you also want it to be adjustable. How many temperature stop points a product will have varies with each unit.
Some guns will start as low as 90 degrees, and work their way up all the way to 1100. Others may only have a couple of temperatures to provide.
Naturally, if you want the tool to be as versatile as possible, you will want a big range of adjustability. This feature can also be expensive, so if you are shopping on a budget, you may want to forgo it to save yourself some money.
That said, application will always be the most important consideration. If your purposes require a gun with lots of adjustability, that is what you will need to get.
It seems a little odd to talk about the comfort features of a product that basically looks like a fancy hair dryer. However, there is actually lots of merit in putting a premium on getting something ergonomic.
If you have a big DIY paint project to tackle, this tool is going to spend a lot of time in your hands, which can lead to soreness over time.
Ergonomic features include comfort padding, a shape design that naturally fits the hand, and sometimes, a strategic placing of the controls that eliminates the need for awkward digit manipulation.
The good news is that most tool companies seem to be embracing the need for ergonomic equipment in every tool they approach. Comfortable products aren’t so hard to find these days, but also don’t take it for granted that a product will be ergonomic.
Most companies won’t be shy about mentioning that their tool is ergonomic, so pay attention to the features if this attribute is important to you.
In keeping with the discussion on ergonomics, it is also important to look for a lightweight tool. A couple of pounds can make a big difference at the end of a working day, so, the lighter the better!
If you do want to make sure you get something light, you can find options in the 2-pound range.
The lightweight design will simply ensure that you are a little less sore when your project is complete.
Most heat guns will not come with a built-in LCD screen. It’s a premium feature found only on the top-shelf units.
If you want a tech-heavy feature like this, you will need to be willing to spend the money to get it. However, there is plenty of value to it.
Not only does the LCD screen look very cool, it also makes it as easy as possible to make precision adjustments to within a degree of what you require.
This level of precision won’t be needed by everyone. In fact, only the pros will probably get the full value out of the feature.
However, if you are hoping to get the most out of your tool, this feature is certainly a nice bonus to have handy.
You will also see packages out there that come with accessories. Usually, the accessories are limited to nozzles that will help you perform a wider variety of tasks.
You may also find options that come with storage/carrying cases or even designated cool down racks that provide you with a safe place to let the gun rest when you are finished with it.
A nice robust accessory package will make the product much more versatile, but of course, if you don’t need the features, you also don’t want to pay more for them.
At the end of the day, all these considerations come down to one thing: What are you using the gun for? The simpler your purposes, the simpler a gun you can use.
Painting? Your basic, run-of-the-mill paint gun will do just fine in those situations.
Electric work? You probably want as much precision as you can get. You know what your project requires. Finding a product that can comfortably meet those requirements is key to ensuring that everything goes smoothly.
As you probably remember, we mentioned that these products can get up to 1100 degrees. That is a lot of degrees (literally the same temperature as fire). You can get a nasty burn from a hairdryer, so you can imagine what improper use of a heat gun can do.
One way to be safe with this tool is to engage in best practices. Gloves and goggles are always a good idea for just about any DIY project.
Of course, always make sure that the heat dispersion mechanism is not pointed at anything other than the work piece.
But good practices aside, there are other things that you can do to keep this tool safe.
Buying smart is one of those things. If you don’t need a heat gun that can reach 1100 degrees, you may decide not to get one.
Why? If the extra heat isn’t there to perform a task, it just makes the tool more dangerous to use.
No matter what you are shopping for, price is a consideration that everyone bumps into eventually.
Heat guns are available at a wide range of prices. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get something decent, but the more versatility you require, the more your gun will ultimately cost.
Now that you have read our heat gun reviews, only one last thing remains: your decision. All the products we looked at today will fit the needs of someone. Maybe you recognize the value of a good heat gun, and you want something that will be able to thrive in a variety of applications.
If that is you, there is no going wrong with our top choice, the DeWalt.
Maybe you need to shop for a mixture of quality and affordability. There is something out there for you as well. Our best for the money pick, the Porter Cable, provides lots of value to buyers who are shopping on a budget.
Maybe you want something different. That’s okay too. Our job isn’t to tell you what to get—only to make your choice a little easier.
Hopefully, after reading our reviews and buying guide, you feel well acquainted with the world of heat guns. So, go out and confidently make your own informed buying decision!
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