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Easily Strip Paint or Varnish with the Best Heat Gun

  1. Steinel IntelliTemp Heat Gun
  2. Milwaukee Variable Temperature Heat Gun
  3. DEWALT Heavy Duty Heat Gun
  4. Wagner Heat Gun
  5. Bosch 2000w Heat Gun
  6. Buyer's Guide

Heat guns aren't really one of the first tools that most people think of when stocking a workshop, but they’re surprisingly useful tools. You can think of a heat gun as an industrial strength hair dryer, providing more heat and air volume. Of course, that means that they consume more electricity as well so you want to be careful of what else you have one of these units plugged in with.
Probably the most common use of heat guns in the home workshop is for stripping paint and varnish. Rather than use chemical strippers, many people prefer a heat gun. The gun softens the finish, allowing it to be scraped off the surface with a putty knife. Heat guns are also useful for removing linoleum floor covering or pretty much anything held in place with an adhesive or mastic. The heat from the gun softens the adhesive, just as it does with paint. This allows tile or whatever else to be scraped off. The only limitation is that you can't use it with wallpaper, as there's a good chance of catching it on fire.
There are many other places where these tools can be useful, such as shrinking heat shrinkable tubing for wires, forming PVC pipe and thawing out frozen pipes. You can even use it for welding plastic. Once you have a heat gun, it seems that uses for it just seem to keep showing up.
The key to an effective heat gun is of course how much heat it can put out. First of all, there's the power consumption of the gun as all but a very small amount of that power is being converted from electrical energy to heat energy by the electrical coil itself. The other major factor is airflow; the more air flowing through the gun, the less the heating coil can heat it up. While a large airflow is desirable, if it’s too large, then it reduces the actual output temperature.
All of the guns I've selected have a maximum output temperature of at least 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. That's usually enough for most applications. Some of the guns provide you with temperature control circuitry and a LCD readout of the temperature you've selected. Others just have a high/low switch for you to select the approximate temperature range you want.
Before selecting a gun, think of how you are going to use it. If you are mostly using it for heat shrinkable tubing, you don't need all that much heat or airflow but you do need a gun that concentrates the heat in a small area. If you're using it for stripping paint and tile, you're going to want a lot of heat and airflow. So, understanding how you are going to use it will help you pick the best gun for your needs. Check out our list of the best heat guns in 2022.

Make sure everything sticks with these top heat guns

Steinel IntelliTemp Heat Gun - Best Heat Gun Overall

If you're looking for the mother of all heat guns, this one is it. With a temperature range of 120 degrees all the way up to 1200 degrees, it's the hottest gun on the market. Airflow is continually variable, allowing you to custom set how you want the gun to work and an LCD display tells you exactly what temperature the gun is operating at. The controls include four customizable preset temperature and airflow combinations, so you can establish settings for the most common ways you use the gun. Maximum airflow is 17.6 CFM. It is electrostatic discharge safe (ESD) for use with sensitive electronic components and circuit boards.

Milwaukee Variable Temperature Heat Gun - Runner Up

Milwaukee's heat gun is very similar to the Steinel, however it has truly variable heat, which can be set in ten degree increments. Airflow is preset to three different ranges, with the lowest being a "cool down" mode. The temperature range on this unit is from 110 to 1150 degrees and the maximum airflow is 17.6 CFM. The back of the gun is designed to be a wide base, for hands free operation. An impact resistant heating element, housed in a ceramic heat chamber provides long tool life without problems.

DEWALT Heavy Duty Heat Gun - Honorable Mention

DeWalt offers excellent value with this heat gun kit. Not only is it reasonably priced, but you really don't lose anything important over the more expensive units. A built-in LCD display shows the temperature that you've set the gun for, which can be adjusted to 50 degree increments with a temperature range from 150 to 1100 degrees. A cord protector protects the power cord from tearing away from the unit and an innovative "kickstand" supports the unit when using it hands free. The kit comes with a case, fitted with ten different nozzles and tools.

Wagner Heat Gun - Consider

Wagner makes paint application equipment, so this gun is created specifically with the idea of using it for stripping finishes with the temperature being adjustable from 750 degrees to 1000 degrees. Like the Bosch unit, this one also has a cool setting, for cooling the unit down safely. One of the nicest things about this unit is it’s been designed with a replaceable heating element. Considering that's the part which is most likely to go bad, that helps ensure that you can use it for a long time. There is an integrated stand for hands-free operation.

Bosch 2000w Heat Gun - Consider

Bosch's unit is the most powerful heat gun on this list. Not only does the heating element put out over 1700 watts of heat, but the blower operates at up to 23 CFM. However, the output is limited to 750 to 1000 degrees. A mechanical air intake regulator adjusts the temperature to the requirements of the job. The unit has a cool air setting, for cooling the tool down after using it while a base allows for hands-free use. The tool comes with a range of accessories for use in specific applications.

Buyer's Guide

As the name may suggest, a heat gun is no revolutionary weapon. It is simply a gun-like machine that produces heat. A self-respecting handyman’s best-kept secret is a heat gun. From automobile repair shops to homes to large-scale industries, heat guns have a range of applications but they are often overlooked. A heat gun is a power tool, an invaluable, affordable part of your tool kit.

There is a variety of heat guns with different innumerable features each suitable for different utilizations. Let’s discuss the different features and mechanisms of heat guns so that you can buy the best heat gun for yourself!

How does a heat gun work?

A heat gun functions very similarly to a hairdryer. The only difference is, you guessed it, the temperature! Heat guns produce temperatures way higher than a hairdryer by sucking in air through a fan and passing it through a heating coil.

Where can heat guns be used?

A heat gun is the jack of all trades in a toolbox when it comes to home improvement projects or heavy-duty industrial work. Following are some of the uses of a heat gun:

1. Thawing pipes, gutter systems, car doors, and deep freezers.
2. Drying paint or removing paint.
3. Drying damp wood or giving wooden furniture an antique vibe.
4. Molding.
5. Bend PVC and metal pipes.
6. Removing old flooring and wallpapers.
7. Shrink tubing and shrink wrap.
8. Window tinting.
9. Repairing leather and vinyl.
10. Get rid of bumper dents.

What are the different types of heat guns?

Electric heat gun

Electric heat guns are the most sought-after in the market due to the variety and convenience they offer. Electric heat guns come with various features for example cordless or with a cord, with or without temperature variation, and different fan types.

Electric heat guns have a multitude of applications and these are mostly the cheapest option with a similar configuration of heat guns of other types.

Gas heat gun

It is safe to say that gas heat guns have lost their appeal and only a small percentage of contractors use them now if there is no electrical power source available where they are working. And rightly so. A gas heat gun uses propane or butane to operate so an added burden of buying and refilling a gas canister is on the owner. Additionally, these heat guns are relatively costlier.

Infra-red heat gun

New to the market and steadily growing in popularity, infra-red heat guns give off infra-red heat instead of hot air. They are cheaper, safer to use and can go up to 600 degrees celsius.

Industrial heat gun

A robust construction, higher airpower and higher temperature allows industrial heat guns to be the power tools for industries like automotive, engineering, and construction.

Temperature settings

Conventionally, heat guns do not come with temperature settings. Most heat guns heat up to their maximum temperature and the only way to achieve variable heat is to manually move the gun towards or away from the object.

However, heat guns with advanced temperature settings are available in the market. Temperature settings are essential as they determine the timescale of your work (how much time it takes to heat the gun up), the quality of your work for example, a heat gun directly heating up to 12000 degrees Fahrenheit might char the walls if you are removing paint, and the user’s safety.

If you are a novice and do not know exactly what you want, opt for a heat gun with variable temperature settings. There are heat guns that come with a dial ranging from low, medium and high temperatures. Even more sophisticated guns have an electrical display allowing the user to insert exact temperatures.


Airflow is directly related to the fan speed. Professional heat guns on the expensive side offer three fan speeds for varying airflows. The changing airflow will determine the surface area being impacted by the heat gun. A stronger fan will resist change in temperature as the heat gun is moved towards or away from the object to vary the surface area.

Airflow features like that of automatic shut down are imperative in case the heat gun overheats to prevent damage to the heat gun itself, you or the project.



Nozzles are detachable accessories of different shapes to concentrate hot air. Ideally, you want a heat gun that comes with multiple nozzle options so you can take on various DIY projects.

The most common nozzles that come with a heat gun are:
1. Reducer nozzle
Best for soldering and bending of pipes.
2. Reflector nozzle
It wraps itself around pipes and is, therefore, best used to bend plastic
and copper pipes as well as apply heat shrink tubing.
3. Surface nozzle
It has a wide, narrow opening great for removing floors.
4. Glass protection nozzle
It protects the glass from direct heat so it can be used for taking paint
off glass windows.

Additional accessories include a dead man’s switch. A thermal cut-out to cut off power in case of overheating, a scraper, a hook to store the heat gun, and a stand.

Safety precautions

Heat guns are relatively safe as fire is not involved. However, to avoid any unfortunate incident, precautions must be taken. Buy a heat gun with a cool down feature and thermo-cut in case of overheating. Make sure you are not blocking the airflow as this can overheat the heat gun and lead to a fire. Wear heat-resistant gloves, which are readily available at any hardware store, and a long-sleeved shirt. Do not, at any point, direct the heat gun to your body. A heat gun should also never be directed at a flame or flammable object.

If you are using a heat gun with a cord, do not trip over it.

When stripping off lead-based paint, install an air-purifying respirator, HEPA filters, and an organic vapor cartridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is power in a heat gun?

A: The power of a heat gun can range from 1500W to 2300W. The power determines the highest temperature a heat gun can go up to.

Q: What is the maximum temperature a heat gun can reach?

A: The highest temperature is achieved by an industrial heat gun which is typically 1000 degrees celsius.

Q: Is there a storage process for the heat gun?

A: Nothing too complex is required to store a heat gun. Make sure to cool it down for at least 15 minutes before storing it in a box or hanging it by a hook.

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