There are a lot of power tools available on the market and an overlooked one that has many uses is the Heat Gun. This tool is great because I can use it for almost everything. Common uses are woodworking projects, painting and removing paint, repairing your cell phone, wallpaper removal, fixing things on your automobile or vehicle, replacing pipes and shrink wrapping.
A heat gun is somewhat similar to a hair dryer in terms of how it works and it’s shape but the similarities end there. They are even called hot air guns or hot air stations. Heat guns typically blow hot air in temperatures from 100 to 1300 degrees F / 37 to 700 degrees C. Please see my below blog post Heat Gun vs. Hair Dryer: Do You Know The Difference? for which one to use in specific situations.
Heat gun types are generally differentiated by the features they have and if they are designed for general use by DIYers or or more specific and professional applications. Here are common features that you want to look for:
- Temperature Settings – probably want at least 900 degrees F / 500 degrees C for the common usage of stripping paint, with a range down to 100 degrees F for multiple uses, such as shrink wrapping
- Fan Speeds – having more than one fan speed makes the heat gun more gun more versatile with two to three speeds covering most uses
- Air Flow – sometimes listed in place of fan speeds and measured in volume of air per minute in typical rages of 3 to 25 CFM (cubic feet per minute) / 80 to 700 L (liter) per minute as plenty sufficient
- Power (Wattage) – generally 300W to 2000W for most DIY uses and sometimes over 3000W for specific professional applications
- Control Switches – always a main power/heating button, one that requires constant pressure or auto-off is better in case the gun is dropped, and sometimes a temperature cutoff switch helps to prevent overheating
- Nozzles – they usually come with different nozzle types for different applications, including a general purpose nozzle, plus a Concentrator or Reducer nozzle for target areas, an Edge Protector nozzle for stripping paint off windows but protecting the wood sides, a Flat nozzle that focuses heat over a thin and broad surface, and a Reflector nozzle that reflects heat outside of the target area
- Displays – Some guns come with an LCD or LED screen that displays temperature and fan speed
- Stand or Hook – helps to position the heat gun when in use, especially if both hands are needed to hold the object or hands-free mode, and hang it when finished but when the nozzle is still hot and cooling down
- Corded vs. Cordless – Most are corded due to their power and temperature requirements and you’ll want up to 6 feet but there are some lower power cordless ones for tight spaces and crafters/hobbyists
Since heat guns produce much hotter temperatures, they require safety precautions when in use. Some safety and usage tips:
- Do not use near combustible or flammable materials, liquids, and vapors – check your surroundings
- Always switch the gun off before putting it down, including removal from a stand
- Let the gun cool down before storing it away
- Never point the gun towards any part of the body, clothing, or skin
- Always turn off and unplug the gun before looking into the nozzle
- Don’t insert anything down the nozzle of the gun while in use
- Don’t block the air inlet grille nor obstruct the airflow of the gun while in use
- Use insulated and heat-resistant forceps or pliers to hold small objects for heating and to avoid the heat coming near your hand
- Safety goggles and sometimes breathing masks are recommended
I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to heat guns. Below you can find the reviews as well as posts on using heat guns for specific applications.