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The Best Heat Gun in 2021
The best heat gun usually enjoys a place in every serious DIYer’s or hobbyists workshop. The sheer amount of applications that this tool has makes it a very popular tool with some models having over 30,000 sales to their name.
Right from stripping paint, to removing an ungainly sticker from an otherwise work-of-art glass jar, to drying wood, tinting windows, bending PVC conduits, making electrical repairs, cooking bacon, roasting coffee beans. The list just goes on.
The best heat guns for come with a bunch of in-built features such as digital temperature control, overload protection, a kick-stand that allows you to park them aside while you work, and a cool down setting.
None of these seem earth shattering if you are a hobbyist with very broad needs. But if you are a professional, or hope to be one, then you absolutely need the best heat gun, suited for your intended application. There’s no two ways about it.
That’s where we come in. We have handpicked the top 10 heat guns in the market in 2021 to save you time and to ensure you get the quality you would expect to be getting.
To make things easier, we have separated them into corded and cordless versions.
The Best Corded Heat Guns
The corded vs. cordless debate is an endless one with no clear verdict. So we’ll not touch on that. Instead, let’s jump straight away to the top 5 corded heat guns in the market currently.
#1 – DEWALT Heat Gun – Best Corded Heat Gun
Our #1 pick is the Dewalt D26960K and its hands down one of the most feature-rich heat guns that you’ll find in this list.
It’s lightweight, has a very wide temperature range which translates into a variety of applications, comes with digital temperature control and there’s an LCD display on the control panel.
This takes the guesswork out of heat settings. In more basic heat guns, you’ll be left wondering what the exact temperature is at some point. The D26960K gives you an accurate answer.
These are the basics of course. The closer we look at the D26960K, the more we realize what a well-thought out machine this is.
Ergonomics for prolonged use
The Dewalt D29660K features a tough casing, which is a blend of PE and metal. It features the signature Black & Yellow colors, in an ergonomic design that’s very comfortable to hold. Moreover, it weighs just 2.3 lb. In a nutshell, this is designed for one-handed operation.
In the event of wrist fatigue, you can rest it on the kickstand, which also doubles up as a hands-free stand.
#2 – Wagner Spraytech Heat Gun – Best for Crafts
Hobbyists generally look for budget-priced heat guns that work well for their intended purpose. Features like a digital temperature control system and micro-increments might be overkill for most. If that sums you up, then this best heat gun from Wagner is just what the doctor ordered.
It’s very economically priced, it doesn’t boast of the bells and whistles of the Dewalt. But hey, if you intend to use this for basic household tasks or arts and craft projects, it might be a terrific purchase.
The Wagner HT1000 has a very barebones design. It’s a high-impact plastic casing with an integrated stand for cool down. The nozzle is corrosion-resistant steel and it weighs just 1.5 lb. Be rest assured that you can use this for hours without wrist fatigue.
When you are done with the task, you can hang it in your workshop using the integrated hanging hook.
#3 – Dewalt D26950 – Best Heat Gun for Removing Paint
The D26950 is another versatile heat gun from Dewalt, that’s built like a tank. It has a tough PE outer casing, a large temperature range and variable temperature control to boot, this makes it perfect for stripping a wide range of paints from wood and metal.
There are professionals who have run this for days at end, and according to most reviews, it doesn’t skip a beat.
At first glance, the D26950 looks exactly like the D26960K. One key difference though, is that this features a rotary temperature control knob, instead of a digital one.
Now, this might be subjective. But we know a lot of DIYers who prefer old school designs such as this one, over digital settings. Further, the knob is positioned on the rear of the unit, for easy access and on-the-fly temperature adjustments with your free hand.
Talking about temperature adjustments, the D26950 can be adjusted from a very low 120 F or 49 C, all the way till 1100 F or 600 C. Vast temperature ranges such as these are typically found in best heat guns priced much higher than this.
#4 – Porter Cable PC1500HG – Best Cheap Heat Gun
The Porter Cable PC1500HG is a stunner. It features a black & silver, dual tone plastic casing, a lightweight ergonomic design and a bunch of practical features. To top it off, it comes at a very attractive price point that doesn’t raise eyebrows amongst discerning shoppers.
The PC1500HG is powered by a 1500 watt motor that delivers consistent heat at both temperature settings. The temperature does not fluctuate, nor does the heating element get cooked even if you do an extended run.
There are two speed settings for the fan, which also determines the max temperature for the heat gun. On the low speed setting, it goes from 120 F to 900 F, whereas on the high speed setting, it can go from 130 F to 1100 F.
There’s a temperature control knob, which eases temperature increments. But it’ a tad difficult to grip, especially if you have sweaty fingers.
#5 – TACKLIFE Mini Heat Gun – Best Mini Heat Gun
The Tacklife Mini is a pocket-sized monster of a heat gun that’s tailor made for small household tasks. The most notable application will be arts and crafts, and other minor repairs.
But it has a reasonably high temperature rating and we don’t see why this cannot be used for more specialized DIY tasks.
Compact, pen-styled design
The Tacklife Mini Heat Gun is designed more like a compact, soldering-iron, rather than a conventional heat gun. This makes it very easy to hold. Moreover, the narrow profile makes it possible to reach into compact spaces that would be impossible to reach with a conventional heat gun.
It features a sturdy, plastic casing with a rubberized non-slip grip, and weighs just 0.6 lb. This ensures that sweaty palms don’t affect your grip, and you can continue to hold it for hours without getting fatigued.
Best Cordless Heat Guns
Cordless Heat Guns are the epitome of flexible working. You are not limited by cords or the availability of power. It brings a certain flexibility to your work that’s impossible to achieve with corded tools.
On that note, let’s check out the best cordless heat guns in the market in 2021.
#1 – DEWALT 20V MAX – Best Cordless Heat Gun
By now, you’d be thinking that we are biased to Dewalt. The fact though, is that Dewalt’s heat guns feature practical designs and functionalities that make them well suited for a variety of tasks. Moreover, they are very reputed amongst the DIY community.
Now that we have cleared that right off the bat, here’s the Dewalt DCE530P1, a super-lightweight heat gun powered by a 20V Lithium-Ion battery.
Fast and Efficient
A common gripe that DIYers had with old cordless heat guns was that they would take forever to get heated to the max temperature, and by the time you could get some work done, the battery would drain out. Thankfully, Dewalt’s 20V Lithium Ion batteries work like a charm.
The Dewalt DCE530P1 heats up reasonably fast and has enough runtime to complete most common DIY tasks. It is rated for 42-minutes of continuous runtime, which is amongst the highest in cordless heat guns.
Unless, you are looking to perform a really time-consuming task, such as stripping paint off an old truck, this should work just fine.
#2 – Dewalt DCE530B – Variable Temperature Heat Gun
The Dewalt DCE530B is a very powerful machine that produces a lot of heat and clubs it with a 6.7 CFM air flow rating.
Most cordless heat guns either fall short to produce sufficient heat, or they just don’t pass the amount of air you need for serious professional applications. The DCE530B does both.
Comfortable design with a narrow profile
The Dewalt DCE530B features the brand’s quintessential ergonomic design with a narrow, vertical profile. At 6.33″, it’s the most compact unit in this list, which definitely has its perks while working in space-constrained settings.
The rubberized-grip on the handle gives you a firm grip, even in warm and moist conditions. Add to that the one-touch controls and you have a unit that’s very comfortable to use even in demanding conditions. If you throw in some of the compatible nozzles to the mix, this can be a great replacement for a corded unit, with some caveats of course.
#3 – Milwaukee Heat Gun – Quick Heat Time
The Milwaukee 2688-20 is a quick-heating cordless gun that’s powered by Milwaukee’s XC 5.0, which is an 18V Lithium Ion battery.
In case you didn’t notice, that battery is not as powerful as the 20V one in the Dewalt heat guns, and this results in a much shorter runtime. But what it lacks in runtime, it more than makes up in heating time.
Milkwaukee claims that it heats up to operational temperature in just 7-seconds. There are multiple users who have confirmed that it indeed does.
Max Temperature output of 875º F
The Milwaukee 2688-20 produces a reasonably good amount of heat in just seconds. If you add a few seconds more, it quickly reaches its max temperature output of 875º F.
Now, this might seem pale if you compare it with AC-powered heat guns. But considering that this is a battery powered unit that does not require butane either, that’s a lot of heat. It will get most of your jobs done.
The only thing that you might miss is an additional battery and that’s not really a deal breaker, is it?
#4 – PRULDE NHG0140 – High Temperature
The Prulde NHG0140 features some of the best-in-class features amongst cordless heat guns. For starters, it has a max temperature output of 1022 º F, which rivals most AC heat guns. Secondly, it comes bundled with 4 metal nozzle attachments, which expand the potential applications that you can use this for.
This makes it a complete value for money purchase.
10-second heat up time
A fast-heating cordless heat gun can be godsend, especially during the winters when you are working outdoors. The Prulde NHG0140 with its 10-second heat-up time certainly ticks that box.
In about 5-minutes, it reaches the max output temperature of 1022 º F, ready to tackle almost anything that you throw at it. The 4-nozzles make it more versatile than any other cordless heat gun in this list. Be it shrink wrapping or paint stripping, this will get the job done.
Oh, almost forgot to mention that it also comes with a concentrator nozzle, which can be very useful for targeting the airflow to a limited area.
#5 – Ridgid 18-Volt Cordless Butane Heat Gun – Best Gas Heat Gun
The Ridgid 18V cordless heat gun brings two things to the table that conventional battery powered cordless models don’t.
It provides instant heat. We are not talking 5 to 10-second operational heat ups and then a 5-minute run to reach the max temperature. We mean on-demand heat, when you need it. Thanks to the Butane powered motor, this gets hot fast.
Secondly, you get automatic cool down. Every time you release the trigger, the fan kicks in automatically cooling the gun down a lot sooner.
More heat than any other cordless unit
The Ridgid 18-Volt cordless goes to 1100°F. That’s more heat than what some of the top-rated corded heat guns produce. This increases the versatility of this tool by miles. Imagine getting corded heat gun-like max temperature from a compact gun that you can carry anywhere.
Also, it features a variable temperature control knob. There’s no way to know the exact temperature unless you run some tests. But we do know the max temperature. The knob makes it easy to control this for heat-sensitive applications.
Best heat gun FAQ’s
Believe it or not, a lot of DIYers are actually skeptical about investing in heat guns. They either do not understand the versatility that these tools offer, or they consider a toss-up between a heat gun and a hot plate.
This brief FAQ aims to answer some of the common questions that newbies have about the best heat guns.
Q, What is a heat gun used for?
A, As we mentioned at the onset, a heat gun is an incredibly versatile tool that has tons of potential applications that would be impossible to list over here. That said, it’s most common applications are paint removal, removing stickers, wallpapers & decals, bending PVC (plumbing), thawing frozen surfaces, shrink wrapping, electrical repair work on circuit boards, car tinting and drying wood.
It’s also used extensively in the cooking industry in different applications. But it’s not as common as some of the other uses that we’ve mentioned here.
Q, What is the best heat gun for crafts?
A, Craft heat guns are used for a bunch of applications with very specific requirements. For instance, embossing powder, which needs a concentrated nozzle that directs heat to a precise spot and prevents the powder from being blown all over. Or candle making, removing bubbles from epoxy resin or just drying glue or color.
In all these applications, the emphasis is on lightweight, narrow profiles and compatible nozzles, rather than the amount of heat the gun can produce. To that end, we have two heat guns that are perfectly suited for the purpose.
The first one is the Tacklife Mini Heat gun, which would be your best bet if you are going to be using it solely for crafts. But if you wish to use it around the house for other impromptu applications, then the Wagner HT1000 will be a slightly better pick.
Q, What is the best heat gun for removing paint?
A, Heat guns are an economical, fast and with hassle free way to remove paint. What’s more is that they can be used both indoor and outdoor, and work equally well with latex and oil-based finishes. The ideal temperature required to strip paint ranges from 750 F to 1100 F.
However, most types of paint will start to soften much before the gun reaches that temperature. It’s not uncommon for paint to start bubbling if the temperature exceeds 1000 F.
Always wear your safety gear and check if the paint is leaded (pre-1980) before using the best heat gun.
For paint removal, you ideally need a heat gun with variable temperature settings, such as the Dewalt D26960K.
The temperature on this heat gun can be adjusted from a low of 500 F to a scorching 1100 F in 50 degree increments. You can start with the lowest setting and adjust the heat as required.
Moreover, it’s a corded unit. So you’ll never run out of juice even if you have to work for hours.
Q, What is the best heat gun for epoxy resin?
A, Heat guns are perfect for use with epoxy resin for multiple reasons. Since it does not produce a flame, you can work with flammable solvents like alcohol and acetone. Also, skilled resin artists use heat guns to create cells in the resin and produce some spectacular results.
If you are looking for the best heat gun for epoxy resin, you’d be spoilt for choice. The Milwaukee 2688-20 is one of the best options you have.
It heats up fast and does not produce more heat than what you typically need for such tasks. Another good choice would be the Dewalt DCE530B. It’s cordless, has a narrow profile and allows you to adjust the temperature. Makes it a great choice for epoxy resin related crafts.
The best heat gun buyer’s guide
All said and done, how do you select the best heat gun for your specific task?
Here’s a brief buyer’s guide that shows you exactly that.
The intended use
With all the tasks that can be accomplished with a heat gun, it’s not uncommon for potential shoppers to get swayed by fancy features that they might never use. So, it’s always better to have the most frequently used tasks for a heat gun in mind, before you head shopping.
Are you going to use it in your automobile workshop? Then you need high temperatures and uninterrupted power. Opt for the best corded heat gun. Do you frequently head outdoors during winters to thaw pipes or locks? Get a cordless heat gun that heats up fast. Are you going to use it predominantly for arts and crafts? Look for a heat gun that’s compact, lightweight and narrow.
Most importantly, check the nozzles that are included in the pack. Most heat guns come with one or two basic nozzles. You might need more for specialized tasks.
Corded vs. Cordless
The vast majority of DIYers prefer using corded models for the superior overall performance and the continual power advantage. However, unless the heat gun will be operational for 30-minutes or more continually, there’s little difference in the two. There are cordless models that produce as much heat as some of the corded models.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each one.
Corded Heat Guns Advantages – Consumer-grade models produce up to 1100 F, which is excellent. Professional grade units can produce up to 3000 F. You won’t run out of power, which is a problem with cordless ones.
This means that you can use these for a wider range of applications. Corded units typically offer more control over temperature adjustments.
Corded Heat Guns disadvantage – These are generally pricier than cordless models. Also, some people find cords to be messy and disruptive to their workflow.
Some budget-priced corded heat guns feature 6-feet cords, which are very small. You’ll have to look at an extension in such scenarios.
Cordless heat guns advantages – These are convenient, feature a narrower profile and do not require a constant power source. They are portable and hence can be used outdoors, which is challenging and sometimes impossible with corded units.
Lastly, these are eco-friendlier and there’s a general consensus that eventually, all power tools will become cordless.
Cordless heat guns disadvantages – These generally do not have the kind of air flow you need for high-end applications. Some cordless units also take forever to reach their maximum advertised temperature. Lastly, their runtimes are very short.
Ensure that you consider all pros and cons before coming to a decision.
Temperature control is a great feature for DIYers who use the best heat guns for temperature-sensitive applications. But unless you don’t, it’s an overkill.
You can pick up a heat gun that offers two temperature settings that you can toggle. A high temperature for demanding tasks and a low one for household tasks.
Check the temperature control mechanism as well. Is it a large knob that’s easy to grip? Where is the knob positioned on the housing?
An LCD display provides you with visual confirmation of the exact temperature that the heat gun is producing. Once again, this is a terrific feature to have. But do you always need it? You may or you may not. If you mostly don’t need it, look for a more basic model and save yourself some money.
Built-in overheating protection
An overheating protection system, also called a thermal cut-out will ensure that extended runs at max temperature doesn’t cook the internal circuitry in the heat gun.
Most budget-priced heat guns do not have this feature. If you plan to use the heat gun for more than an hour at a time, we recommend that you pick a model that features a cut-off system.
The miscellaneous features
We also like an integrated kickstand, which is very useful in plumbing and automobile applications. It prevents wrist fatigue while working for hours with a heat gun.
Other notable features include an accessory kit with more nozzles and an adjustable airflow. Most basic heat guns feature two air flow settings. Professional-grade units have multiple air flow settings to choose from.
That sums up our list of the best heat guns. We hope that this serves as a starting point for your research and that you can use it to make an informed choice.
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