Best heat guns for paint stripping

Best Heat Guns For Paint Stripping

Paint stripping can be very difficult and time-consuming, especially if you’ve never done it before. That is where a heat gun comes in – to make your paint stripping job easier.

However, if you’re considering to use a heat gun for removing paint, you have to find one that will handle the job properly, at a price that won’t get your pocket burnt.

Because of the numerous options available on the internet, it might be challenging and confusing to determine which model is ideal for your needs. But that’s no longer a problem as we’ve done the hard work for you.

Here, we handpicked and reviewed some of the best heat guns for paint stripping so that you can easily find your desired model, and at a favorable price. In the end, you’ll also learn how to use a heat gun.

Before we proceed, take a look at the comparison table below for our top picks:

Best Heat Guns for Paint Stripping

What Is a Heat Gun?

A heat gun (also known as hot air gun) is a handheld tool for blowing hot air, just like a hairdryer but operating at higher temperatures.

Most offers either a digital display or dial to adjust the output airflow temperature and speed, typically up to around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the manufacturer.

The device can be used for several things (more on this below), but you want to use caution when operating the tool as the extreme heat emitted can be hazardous.

What Is a Heat Gun Used For?

Best heat guns for paint stripping

Heat guns are mainly used by DIY purposes to scrape paint from wood and other surfaces, heat shrink tubing, desolder circuitry before using a soldering iron, dry damp surfaces (see moisture meters), soften glue, bend plastic, etc. But a heat gun is much more versatile than this.

In the cold months, it can be used to thaw frozen pipes – and throughout the year, hot air guns can be used to sterilize hard surfaces like stone countertops.

Other applications include:

  • Remove paint or acrylic stickers
  • Soften metal so it can be bent
  • Heat frozen pipes
  • Melt plastic (useful for electrical work)
  • Loosen rusted bolts
  • Apply vinyl decals and wraps to cars

The equipment has an array of nozzles, which makes it even more versatile, and there indeed are innumerable ways to use a heat gun at home.

Best Heat Guns For Paint Removal

1. DEWALT D26960K Paint Remover Heat Gun

The DeWalt D26960K paint stripping heat gun is one of the most powerful and the best heat guns out there, making it ideal for a wide variety of projects.

It features an LCD screen which gives you a current temperature readout and lets you adjust the temperature at 50° increments.

Some tasks will require more detailed temperatures and there are guns that will adjust in 10° increments; however, this will work perfectly for most household jobs. The product also comes with 12 accessories, which is one thing we love about it.

Another wonderful thing about the DeWALT D2690K is that the automatic overload protection ensures that if it overheats, it will turn off automatically to avoid any problems – and it has an inbuilt ring so you can always hang it securely when it’s not in use.

It’s worth noting that this model costs slightly more than some of the other options here, but it’s truly a steal, considering what you’re getting.

For example, you get a scraping tool, fishtail nozzle, cone nozzle, carrying case, and lots more. It’s certainly worth the investment if you plan to use it for multiple projects. Overall, this device is suitable for do-it-yourselfers and light construction jobs.

  • LCD display for temperature control
  • Multiple useful attachments
  • Perfect for professional use
  • Hang ring
  • Overload protection
  • Cord protector
  • Wide temperature range
  • Kickstand support
  • It’s somewhat expensive
  • Only adjustable in 50° increments
  • No auto-cooldown

2. PORTER-CABLE PC1500HG Heat Gun

There are some things that make the Porter-Cable PC1500HG one of the most popular hot air guns for hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers. This powerful 1500 watt heat gun offers as much concentrated heat as any of its rivals out there without breaking the bank.

It features separate controls for the heat and fan speed setting, where other brands in its price range might have only one control. The ability to adjust for a higher fan speed while using cooler temperatures means this device is designed for a huge range of tasks.

That’s not all, the integrated stand makes it possible to use the tool while working with your materials, and the cord features an inbuilt ring clip for easy peg storage when your job is completed.

However, the only downside is that it does not come with any accessories to simplify a collection of applications. On the brighter side, the hot air nozzle is similar to other models so finding suitable accessories will never limit you to one brand name.

Finally, you can’t make a mistake with Porter-Cable tools and the PC1500HG heat gun is undeniably one of the best heat guns for removing paint.

  • Best heat gun for the money
  • Huge temperature range
  • Designed for a wider variety of jobs
  • Offers you lots of control
  • No extra accessories

3. Wagner HT1000 Heat Gun

If what you want is a cheap heat gun, then the Wagner Spraytech HT1000 Heat Gun is your best choice. The build quality might be slightly fragile, and it might have only 2 heat settings (750° and 1000°), but for such an affordable price, it’s a wonderful choice.

The fan has 2 speeds, giving it more control, and it’s flexible enough to be able to carry out most standard household DIY jobs for which a heat gun is required, from stripping paint and shrinking wrapping, to loosening rusted bolts and bending plastic pipes.

It’s not the best heat gun on the market though, but if you have a lean budget, then the Wagner HT1000 Heat Gun is undoubtedly one of the best cheapest heat guns designed for standard home use.

The paint removing device has a corrosion-resistant nozzle, which is amazing since it means improved longevity. Another excellent feature of this tool is its low-noise design, making it ideal for noise-sensitive environments such as households and hotels.

Overall, the Wagner HT100 is capable of scraping several paint layers with its 4100 Btu output and comes with a 2-year warranty.

  • Very affordable
  • Ergonomic design
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Produces minimal noise
  • Long-lasting
  • Lightweight
  • 2-year warranty
  • Long cool down
  • Limited application

4. Wagner Furno 300 Heat Gun

The Wagner Furno 300 is one of the most popular hot air guns out there. At 1200 watts, and with all the power of a larger brand, this is a great heat gun for small tasks, hobbies, and crafts.

The Furno has 750° and 1100° heat settings, and a two-speed fan setting that is tied into the respective heat modes. It weighs less than 2 pounds, super comfortable to use, and is one of the lightest brands out there.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any attachments or accessories, but the nozzle design will let you use them from a range of manufacturers.

While it doesn’t have the versatility of the Black+Decker or the power of the Porter-Cable, this brand still deserves a place here as a good safe and affordable heat gun.

  • Pretty much affordable
  • Comfortable grip
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Lower temperatures
  • Small and lightweight
  • No accessories

5. BLACK+DECKER HG1300 Dual Temperature Heat Gun

The Black+Decker is another hot gun that falls into the budget-friendly category. It doesn’t have lots of features though, but I’m certain you’ll like it.

For one thing, the device features an inbuilt cooling stand that lets you easily prop it up as it cools – this will make it slightly safer to use.

It also has a limited variety of adjustability – and as the name suggests, the tool features two different temperatures. It can be set to either 700° or 1100°, which will enable it to strip paint, or perhaps loosen screws.

It has some durability drawbacks though. For example, some users complained that the nozzle melts onto the gun, which is really a serious design flaw. While this is not something that will be encountered by every user, it is still somewhat disheartening.

It also has a few other glitches, which are common to devices of this price range

  • Very affordable
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Comes with kickstand
  • Cooling stand
  • Loud clanking noise
  • Melting nozzle
  • Few temp settings

6. SEEKONE Heat Gun 1800W Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun

SEEKONE hot air gun is very easy to use. Plug it in, switch it on, and start working. The small switch on the handle can be used to control airflow.

This model has the ability to set variable temperatures, which is pretty awesome. This is controlled by a thermostat on the rear that you’ll just twist to adjust the temperature.

Therefore, while SEEKONE may not have the accuracy of some of the premium models listed here, it does feature more temperature control than a more basic one.

Apart from that, you are equally getting a very powerful little tool here, with up to 1800 watts of heating power allowing the equipment to kick out up to 1200 Fahrenheit of heating power.

It is also able to go as low as 122 Fahrenheit, for a very amazing temperature range. All these also comes with a 4 piece accessory kit for a reasonable price tag.

  • Variable temp control
  • Overload protection
  • A wide temperature adjustment range
  • High/Low On/Off switch
  • Includes 4 specialty nozzles
  • Readings aren’t always accurate

7. Genesis GHG1500A Dual Temperature Heat Gun Kit

This may be an affordable heat gun paint remover but it’s neither cheap nor substandard. It features both low and high-temperature settings for working on different jobs, such as stripping varnish and paint, thawing freezers, pipes, and radiators, as well as removing adhesive labels.

That’s not all, there’s also a deflector nozzle to protect surfaces like glass and a reflector nozzle to speed up thawing of frozen pipes.

These attachments are designed to securely fit on the device so there’s a low risk of careless work as long as you know what you’re doing. The generated heat can become incredibly hot in a few seconds; however, the unit’s body stays cool throughout the job.

Additionally, the Genesis GHG1500A Dual Temperature Heat Gun Kit is a solid unit that will be useful for both beginner painters and DIY enthusiasts. It’s also a fantastic option for someone who wants to carry out multiple small jobs in the house

  • The switch stays in place
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with attachments
  • Satisfactory build quality
  • Features only 2 heat settings
  • The cord isn’t grounded

Types of Heat Gun

How to Use a Heat Gun

Heat guns come in different types and can be classified based on their type of heat or power source:

Electric heat guns

Electric heat guns are very popular among newbies; thanks to technology advancements, electric guns get more and more sophisticated and professionals have also started turning towards this direction.

Most electric guns are corded and get power from a standard socket outlet. However, if you want more mobility, you can also choose from a variety of cordless models.

Gas-powered heat guns

These are powered by either propane or butane, are more affordable, and probably the most efficient type. The gas-powered units can produce more heat than their electric models and are usually preferred by industries and professionals.

However, they can catch fire easily if operated carelessly, which is why they are less famous among hobbyists.

How to Use a Heat Gun

To remove paint using a heat gun, just plug the device in a socket outlet and switch it on.

Then adjust the temperature to the needed setting and hold the nozzle very close to the painted surface.

Now, watch the video below for a proper demonstration on how to use a heat gun:

Heat Gun Buyer’s Guide

Now that you’ve seen some of the best heat guns for paint stripping, let’s now talk about some of the most important things to consider while buying a heat gun. This section will give you an idea of the thinking that went into our reviews.

Temperature Control

Most (but not all) heat guns feature temperature control, which allows you to work on a range of materials. Ideally, heat guns that have higher temperature ranges and greater variability in temperature options are usually more expensive.

That said, picking the right temperature control feature for this tool should be primarily based on the type of paint you want to strip and the surface where it will be used.

If the tool has a very low temperature, it would not guarantee the paint removal results you’d expect – and if it’s too high, you’ll risk damaging the surface.

A heat gun can offer variable temperature or dual temperature control. Dual temperature control has 2 temperature options, while the variable temperature control option allows you to choose among the various temperature settings that may (may not) feature incremental temperature increases.​

Adjustable airflow

Just like the temperature, the airspeed can also have a significant impact on your project. You can have total control of your temperature, but if the heating device does a bad job of getting the hot air to the surface you’re working on, you won’t enjoy the experience.

Additionally, you never want to touch the heat gun’s tip to the surface in question, and having proper airflow is one of the best ways to ensure your safety distance away.

Many brands feature “high” and “low” speed settings; however, that does not always mean that you’re getting excellent airspeeds at either setting.

One of the perfect ways to make sure that you get adequate airflow is to check the brand’s wattage. Basically, if it has over 1000 watts of power, there are good odds that you will have good airflow for the job.

Nozzle Choices

All the models here comes with a standard wide-mouth nozzle. However, manufacturers provide interchangeable attachments perfect for special applications by directing the heat in a specific way.

It’s worth mentioning that some of these nozzles may come as part of the tool package while you’ll need to purchase the other separately.

Here are the nozzles you can choose:

  • Fishtail Nozzle: Ideal for applications that require wide coverage as it spreads the heat
  • Cone Nozzle: Has a reduced nozzle output size so as to concentrate the heat
  • Surface or Flat Nozzle: Concentrates or extends the heat based on detailed measurement
  • Spoon Reflector: Suitable for assisting pipe soldering by reflecting the heat around a small region
  • Glass Protector: Used for paint or adhesive removal, avoids the overheating of window glasses
  • Inbuilt Scraper: Perfect for one-hand paint stripping by fitting onto the heat gun

Thermal cut-off

The thermal cut-off is not just a feature, it is something that must be in every good hot air gun, and something that if found missing from the device, you shouldn’t buy it.

Like every equipment, heat guns can also burn out if they become too hot. They have more heat-tolerant features than most kinds of home tools out there, but can still melt and breakdown if they become too hot.

Thermal cut-offs are built to switch off the device before it gets to those thresholds, which while awkward, helps to protect your investment.

Weight

Apart from looking at the ergonomic design of these devices, it is equally crucial to consider the weight of the tool. A couple of pounds can certainly make a huge difference at the end of a job, therefore, the lighter the merrier.

Essentially, if you do want to ensure that you get something lightweight, then opt for options in the 2-pound weight range. The lightweight design will help to make sure that you’re slightly less sore when the job is complete.

Accessories

There are also some packages that come with accessories, which are often limited to nozzles that will help you carry out a huge range of tasks.

Some options also come with carrying/storage cases or even cool down racks that offer you a safe place to let the tool rest once you’re done using it.

Furthermore, a great robust accessory package will enhance the product’s versatility, but if you don’t need the features, you equally don’t want to pay more for them.

Heat Gun Temperature Range

heat guns for paint removal

You also want to consider the temperature range as it determines the product’s suitability for a certain project. Most substandard heat guns have temperature ranges of 120°F and 1200°F. Ideally, the higher the temperature range, the higher the cost.

Basic household tasks, such as softening the dry paint, thawing frozen pipes, removing adhesives, and molding plastics require low temperatures of 120°F and 550°F.

While medium-duty applications, such as scraping paint, welding plastic, and loosening rusted materials require higher temperatures of 800°F and 1200°F.

Safety Considerations When Using a Heat Gun

Handling and operating a heat gun should be done with great caution as it uses high power and high temperature. The first step to guarantee a safe operation is to make sure that the power source in the workstation can accommodate the tool.

Furthermore, the device should not be left unattended once plugged in. Keep it away from pets and children to prevent injuries, fires, and other related hazards. It’s also important to study the manufacturer’s instructions on the safe operation of the product before using it.

Other safety measures include wearing a respirator mask, goggles, and gloves. You also want to wear protective clothing, pull back and package your long hair properly.

Finally, make sure that you can safely work with heat guns in your location; and think about the necessary steps for the job beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions

How hot does a heat gun get?

Most of the heat guns on the market have a minimum temperature of around 120°F (49° Celsius), although a few are lower, starting at 90°F (32° Celsius).

The highest temperature of this product reaches around 1,100° F (593° Celsius), although some get even hotter.

Do heat guns work to strip paint?

Yes! A heat gun strips paint economically, quickly and with significantly less mess than a chemical paint remover.

Can I use a hairdryer to strip paint?

Hair dryers are not designed for paint stripping as they are not meant for heavy-duty jobs like a real heat gun.

Will a heat gun remove stain?

Yes! Most citrus-based gel paint stripper and liquid chemicals remove stain and varnish. Heat guns soften stain and varnish within a few minutes.

Do heat guns work to remove wallpaper?

Yes! Heat guns can also remove stubborn wallpaper pieces. Just position the tool about 2-inches from the wallpaper at a 45° angle.

For the best results, move the hot air gun in circles over a small area – and follow along behind the heat gun, then scrape using a paint scraper.

Can a heat gun start a fire?

While a heat gun is a very useful tool to own when redecorating, it’s worth mentioning that it’s dangerous and can operate at around 1200°F at full power.

This can easily get you burnt so it’s important to know how to safely use the equipment and how to avoid starting fires.

What is the best heat gun to strip paint?

for Best Heat Guns For Paint Stripping

The 5 Best Heat Guns for Removing Paint:

  • DEWALT D26960K Paint Remover Heat Gun – Best Overall. Check Latest Price.
  • PORTER-CABLE PC1500HG Heat Gun – Best Value. Check Latest Price.
  • BLACK+DECKER HG1300 Heat Gun. Check Latest Price.
  • Wagner HT1000 Paint-Remover Heat Gun. Check Latest Price.
  • QST Multi-Purpose Heating Gun.

Is a heat gun good for stripping paint?

Heat guns are also a great way to remove old paint, varnish and other finishes. They are especially good at taking off multiple layers of paint all at once. The heat gun softens the paint causing it to bubble up making it easy to remove with a metal scraper.

Which is better paint stripper or heat gun?

90% of the time I’d go with a chemical paint remover. I know it had a longer list of “cons” than the heat gun method did, but the heat gun method takes so much active time that it’s really not worth it. Because the chemical stripper would need to be applied multiple times, the heat gun is probably a better option.

What temperature should it be to strip paint with a heat gun?

The heat gun should not exceed 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, while paint can be removed from concrete, stain cannot. This substance seeps into concrete pores and dyes it permanently.

Will a heat gun remove paint from metal?

Heat guns “melt” the paint, causing it to pull away from the metal surface. Once the paint begins to bubble or pull up from the surface, scrape it off using a putty knife or paint scraper. If the paint doesn’t bubble, slowly increase temperature until it does.

What is the best product for stripping paint off wood?

The best paint stripper

  • Best Overall: Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel.
  • Most Eco Friendly: Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover.
  • Fastest Working: Sunnyside 2-Minute Advanced Paint Remover.
  • Most Family Friendly: MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper.
  • Most Heavy Duty: Dumond Peel Away 1 Heavy-Duty Paint Remover.

Are heat guns easy to use?

The electric heat guns now available are lightweight, easy-to-use tools which make it far less likely to scorch wood or crack glass when used correctly to strip paint.

Can I use a hair dryer to strip paint?

Set on low heat, low speed, the hair dryer works very well at removing already loose latex paint. Using the hair dryer and the blower attachment, we’re saving about 50% of the time it would take compared to carefully peeling the paint by hand.

How do you strip paint off drywall?

How to Remove Wall Paint

  • Put drop cloths in place on the floor. Cover furniture as needed.
  • Using a paint roller, apply the paint stripper to the entire wall.
  • When the paint bubbles, scrape off with a paint scraper.
  • Once the paint is removed, rinse and wash with cold, clear water.

What is the fastest way to remove paint from metal?

In fact, an incredibly effective paint remover for metal is boiling water. This technique is best for removing old paint from items like hardware, hinges, knobs, etc, and is likely the fastest, easiest, and cheapest option if done correctly.

Conclusion

There you have it all. We believe by now, you’ve been able to decide which heat gun is suitable for your paint stripping and other household projects.

Admittedly, paint stripping isn’t an easy job but getting the right heat gun brand can significantly reduce the time you spend on the project and the frustration you experience.

In the end, even the best heat guns will become less useful and a danger to both animals and humans, when not used carelessly.

We suggest that you always study the instruction manual that comes with it first and adopts the proper safety measures when you’re using this tool, even if it isn’t your first time. Remember the safety measures we mentioned earlier, you also want to follow them religiously.