Heat guns are remarkably versatile tools with a variety of DIY purposes in hardware, home improvement, electrical work, and even crafting. They are handheld devices that produce a steady stream of hot air – much like a hair dryer, but far more powerful.
Heat guns have a wide variety of uses, including stripping paint, shrink wrapping, shrinking electronic cable sleeves, thawing frozen pipes, pre-heating tools, melting and softening plastics, drying wood, soldering circuitry, and even light welding.
Although there are several heavy-duty models used by professionals, there are plenty of affordable options available for personal use at home. Let’s review some of the best heat gun models on the market, and go over a few important features to look for when choosing a heat gun for purchase.
Heat Guns Reviewed
Below are our picks for some of the best DIY heat guns on the market.
- 1.4 lb
- Two temperature settings, maximum of 990 degrees Fahrenheit
- Maximum of 20 V power
- Includes flat and hook nozzle attachments
- Cordless model for easy transport
- Good for small jobs
- Lock feature for hands-free operation
- Relatively short battery life
- Less powerful than corded models
- More expensive
This heat gun is ideal for small, detail-oriented projects such as shrinking electrical cords, setting small decals, and heating tools. Its cordless design makes it perfect for use in tight spaces and provides extra convenience for travel. However, it’s not as powerful as corded models, and takes more time to heat up. It’s not an excellent choice for long projects, as one charge will last roughly 42 minutes.
It’s also the most expensive model we’re reviewing here, and on top of that, you’ll need to purchase the charger and battery separately. However, there isn’t a huge variety of cordless heat gun options, so if you’re looking to be cord-free, this model is a solid choice.
- 1.63 lb
- Two temperature settings, 750 and 1000 degrees Fahrenheit
- 120 V power
- Built-in stand
- Lightweight and compact design
- Great price
- Built-in stand for cool down and hands-free operation
- Doesn’t reach as high temperatures as other models
- Plastic cover over the switch is difficult to remove
- Bad smell
Overall, this is an excellent basic heat gun that can perform most of the common tasks you’d use a hand gun for, such as paint stripping, loosening rusted bolts, thawing frozen pipes, and more. Its built-in cooling stand is a huge plus, and it’s a wonderful budget buy as well.
Negative aspects of this model include an unpleasant smell and a plastic cover over the switch that can be challenging to remove. This heat gun also has a relatively short lifespan – although it does come with a two-year warranty.
- 1.95 lbs
- Two temperature settings, 140 and 1112 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1600 W power
- Comes with four nozzle attachments
- Ergonomic handle
- Built-in stand
- Has four nozzle attachments included
- Slightly heavier weight
- Temperature choices are very extreme
This is another great basic heat gun model, with more power than the other options we’ve reviewed so far. It’s an unbeatable price for the heat gun itself as well as four nozzle attachments (one deflector, one reflector, and two concentrators). This model also features a comfortable handle and a built-in stand. It is slightly heavier than the other models we’ve reviewed but is still lightweight enough for prolonged projects.
- 2.05 lb
- Variable temperature control range from 120 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit
- Comes with four nozzle attachments
- Variable temperature control, rather than only two settings
- Ergonomic handle design
- Lifetime warranty
- Heavier weight
- Slower to heat up
This is an extremely popular heat gun model that has a lot going for it for a great price. It’s the only model we’re reviewing here with variable temperature control, which means that you can be much more precise in your work. It also has two power modes for airflow.
Like the GDMONIN model, the Seekone heat gun comes with four nozzle attachments – a deflector, a reflector, and two concentrators.
This heat gun is the heaviest model we’re reviewing, and it takes a little longer to heat up than the others on our list. However, this gun does come with a lifetime warranty and a full refund guarantee if it does happen that you’re unhappy with your purchase. If you want a genuinely high-quality heat gun for a fantastic price, we suggest this one!
- 1.35 lb
- Two temperature settings, 750 and 1000 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1200 W power
- Hanging storage hook and integrated stand
- Budget buy
- Convenient stand and storage hook
- Low noise design
- Not very powerful
- Doesn’t last as long as other models
- Non-ergonomic handle
The last model on our list is an excellent pick for someone on a budget – it has the lowest price of the models we’ve reviewed here. However, that price is at least somewhat reflected in the heat gun’s performance. It’s just not nearly as powerful or long-lasting as the other options.
However, it does feature a low-noise design as well as a convenient storage hook.
If you’re looking for a heat gun that is inexpensive over everything else, this is a good option – just know that your results might not be as good as they would be with another of these choices.
Heat Gun Buyer’s Guide
When you go to purchase a heat gun, there are several factors you will want to take into account.
Heat guns are quite powerful tools. Even non-professional heat guns typically have a power of around 1600 watts, although some lighter-duty models are less powerful than that. Most heat guns are corded, but there are a few cordless models available. Just be aware that cordless models require frequent charging due to the amount of energy they use and aren’t usually as powerful as their corded counterparts.
The primary purpose of a heat gun is – obviously – to produce heat. Just how hot a heat gun will get will vary by the model, but, generally speaking, the best heat guns will reach around 1100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. However, depending on what you’ll be using the gun for, you won’t always need such a high temperature. For instance, one of the most common uses of a heat gun is paint stripping, for which you’ll only need a temperature of 900 or 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Just as important as the temperature threshold of a heat gun is how adjustable that temperature is. Many basic heat gun models are dual temperature, meaning that they only have two temperature settings.
However, other heat guns have a variable temperature, which means that you can select your preferred temperature from a dial or even enter it directly. This gives you more control over your work and is advantageous if you are using the gun for a project that requires an exact temperature.
Just like a hairdryer, heat guns usually have control for airflow as well as for temperature, allowing you to reduce the force of the heat if necessary while keeping it at a consistent temperature. Most heat guns have at least two settings for airflow, but some have a variable adjustment.
Comfort & Ergonomics
You might not consider ergonomics an essential factor in choosing a heat gun, but some projects may require extended use and repeated motions, making a comfortable design something to consider. The most ergonomic handles on heat guns will have a padded grip, a shape that fits the hand well, and strategically placed controls.
In a similar vein, you will want to consider the heat gun’s weight if you plan to use it for an extended amount of time. Many DIY models are under 2 pounds, making it easier for transport and repeated use than bulkier professional options.
Some heat gun models have LCD screens that display temperature, airflow, and other specifications. These are mainly found on top-shelf options and aren’t strictly necessary, but are helpful if you’re completing a project that requires more precision.
Stand or Flat Back
Some projects, such as bending pipes and plastics, will require you to use your heat gun hands-free – that is, to set it on its back with the airstream going up. If you think you’ll need this option, be sure to look for a model that has a feature that allows for it, such as a built-in stand or a flat back motor housing.
There are various nozzles and attachments available for heat guns that, while not necessary, can help make certain projects easier. Some common types of nozzles for heat guns include:
- Flat (fishtail) nozzles, for distributing hot air more widely
- Cone (reducer) nozzles, for focusing hot air distribution
- Glass protector nozzles
- Reflector nozzles, for soldering
You can buy these nozzles separately, but some heat guns come with a few nozzles included. Even if you don’t think you’ll need a special nozzle for your project, it’s still a good idea to purchase a heat gun that will be compatible with different attachments, just in case.
Some heat guns also include carrying cases, which is convenient if you plan on bringing it to different sites rather than merely using it around the house.
As we’ve discussed, even amateur models of heat guns can produce dangerous temperatures, so they must come with certain safety features. The best heat guns should have a thermal cut-out feature, which will automatically shut the gun off if it reaches a specific temperature or power level. Other useful safety features include cooling stands and residual heat indicators.
Here are answers to a few common questions about heat guns.
How Do Heat Guns Work?
Heat guns have motorized fans that draw air over heating elements to produce a concentrated stream of hot air. Again, heat guns work much like hair dryers – just at very high temperatures!
How Do I Use a Heat Gun?
When using a heat gun, hold it at a 45-degree angle from your work surface. You should only apply heat for a few seconds so that you don’t damage the materials.
What Safety Precautions I Should Take When Using a Heat Gun?
It is imperative to use proper safety precautions with heat guns since they produce such high temperatures. Here are some of the most critical steps to take to ensure safety:
- Wear protective goggles and gloves while using a heat gun
- Always turn off the gun before setting it down
- Let the gun cool completely before storing it after use
- Do not use a heat gun to strip lead paints
- Do not touch the nozzle of a heat gun
- Do not insert anything into the nozzle of a heat gun
- Do not use a heat gun around any flammable materials
Heat guns are a powerful and versatile tool that are great to have on hand for any home improvement projects. Although you’ll find a lot to like with all of the options above, our top recommendation is the Dewalt 20V MAX Cordless Heat Gun. As the only cordless option on our list, it provides unmatched portability and ease of use.
If portability and size aren’t important factors to you, you might prefer the GDMONIN 1600W Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun Kit. It’s a large, powerful heat gun that can tackle heavy-duty projects without a problem.
All of the above models on our list are well-made, durable, and effective. Consider the type of project you want to work on, your budget, and all other relevant factors to ensure you buy the best heat gun for your specific needs.