Best Heat Gun

We’ve researched what’s out there to bring you the best heat guns on the market for all your craft needs. Looking at specs and real world performance including essential safety features, heat output, and durability ratings, we narrowed it down to the best heat guns for electronics and shrink wrap, car wraps, paint work and even for thawing pipes or de-icing outdoor equipment.

Our top pick, the Wagner Spraytech HT1000, has an integrated stand offering hands-free use, plus it offers convenient dual temperature settings and comes with a durable corrosion-resistant nozzle. Keep reading to see more of the best heat guns you can buy.

Top 5 Best Heat Guns

 #1  Wagner Spraytech HT1000 Heat Gun

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: This affordable heat gun is durable, safe and easy to use, thanks to its hands-free integrated stand, making it great for heat shrink insulation in electronics and other DIY craft projects.

Pros
  • Excellent value & 2-year warranty
  • Good built-in cooling for durability
  • Convenient storage hook
Cons
  • Limited heat range compared to some pricier models
  • Can be noisy after shut off

The Wagner HT1000 has a good reputation for durability and longevity, and it’s one of the more budget friendly heat guns in this range. Its output range of 750 or 1000 degrees F is great for crafts and tasks like working with heat shrink wire insulation, remelting hot glue, paint softening, and rust removal.

It offers two fan speeds and a convenient hands-free desktop stand, making it one of the better heat guns for electronics. It also features a built-in hanger hook for easy storage in your garage or work space. Many tools, like the best corded drill could use this feature.

 #2  Genesis GHG1500A Dual Temperature Heat Gun

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: This versatile, low-priced heat gun features two temperature settings and comes with four different nozzle attachments including a reflector nozzle that spreads heat more efficiently.

Pros
  • Great for thawing pipes
  • Intuitive, rocker switch control
  • ETL Certified
Cons
  • Limited to a few minutes at a time on “high” setting
  • Not as durable when pushed to its performance limit as our top pick, the Wagner

This heat gun, like our top pick, offers two different heat settings, though you do get a slightly wider range on the low end. The Genesis offers not only a 1000 degree setting but also a 572 degree setting, which may be more appropriate for tasks like removing adhesive and softening plastic. It also offers two fan speeds.

Adding to its versatility are the four interchangeable nozzles the Genesis comes with. Among the choices are two deflector nozzles, a reflector which makes it great for thawing pipes, and an air reduction nozzle for close up work, such as when using the heat gun for electronics. Heat guns are very versatile, making them one of the best tools for the home.

 #3  Porter Cable Heat Gun

Award: Best for Electronics

WHY WE LIKE IT: A well reviewed lightweight heat gun for home improvement and DIY projects, the Porter Cable PC1500HG Heat Gun puts out 1500 Watts and offers variable temperature control.

Pros
  • Reaches 1150 degrees F
  • Only weighs 2 lbs
  • Built-in hands free support stand
Cons
  • Some complaints about the air speed control’s ergonomics
  • More expensive than the Wagner

This Porter Cable heat gun has a higher maximum temperature than many of the leading budget heat guns, making it potentially a better choice for tasks like helping to loosen rusty bolts, quickly thawing pipes, shrinking plastic tubing or removing solder from electronics. While it doesn’t come with as many nozzle accessories as the Genesis (our #2 pick) it does have higher output and is backed by a solid 1-year warranty.

A rotary dial lets you control the temperature more precisely with this heat gun, as compared to the Wagner which only gives you two settings. However, some may find the air speed control on this Porter Cable heat gun less convenient to use, since the switch can slide easily past your desired setting. I heat gun will even let you fix other tools, like reattaching a handle to the best magnifying glass.

 #4  ZeopoCase Mini Hot Air Gun

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: A mini hot air gun for shrink wrap and general crafting, this simple no-frills tool is easy to use and nearly pocket sized, but comes with stainless steel nozzle and structure for safety.

Pros
  • Best portable
  • Heats up quickly
  • Includes hands-free stand
Cons
  • Temperature not adjustable
  • Not as hot or powerful as the full-sized models
  • Limited use time due to lack of built-in cool off function

This mini heat gun is designed for embossing, working with polymer clay and heating shrink wrap packaging; it’s also great for re-melting wax candles and even softening wire insulation to clean up electronics installation. While it doesn’t offer the range of temperature control that, say, the Porter Cable heat gun does, it’s very simple to use.

The downside of this mini hot air gun is that, as to be expected, it isn’t as versatile nor as durable as the heavy duty models from Wagner or Porter Cable. However, it’s less expensive and may be more convenient for projects where you don’t need 1000 degrees F. It reaches about 200 Celsius or 390 F, enough to melt hot glue and soften plastic, though it can’t be left on too long since it lacks overheat protection. If you are working with materials that you used the best spray paint on, make sure it can withstand the heat.

 #5  Cartman 1500 W Heat Gun With Case

Award: Best for Paint

WHY WE LIKE IT: This heat gun comes with a carrying case and six useful accessories that help with stripping paint and with tasks requiring focused heat such as with electrical insulation or pipe bending.

Pros
  • More powerful than the Wagner
  • Heats up and cools off quickly
  • Comes with paint stripping accessories
Cons
  • Doesn’t get as hot as the Porter Cable (1000 degrees F vs 1150)
  • May produce smoke on initial start up

One of the more well-equipped heat gun kits on the market, especially if you’re looking to do a project like DIY paint stripping for furniture restoration, or if you need angled or focused heat for melting wire insulation, this heat gun from Cartman functions well, getting up to temp quickly and cooling off quickly in between uses. It offers two heat settings, either 750-degrees F or 1000 degrees F.

It comes with six accessories including four different nozzle attachments and two dedicated paint scraping tools. It also comes with a handy carrying case for travel. Like many electric heat guns, it may give off smoke when first started; this should diminish and go away after one or two uses, but it’s suggested you warm it up on the low setting first, preferably in a ventilated area with cool ambient temperature. A heat gun and the best wire strippers are an electricians best friend.

How We Decided

In order to select the best heat guns for electronics, DIY home improvement projects and crafts, we first looked at the essential safety features. We only included heat guns that used a metal nozzle and were insulated so as to limit the potential for accidental burns. Since heat guns get hot enough to ignite some common household items such as paper, we only picked models that were designed to cool off quickly when not in use.

Next we looked at ease of use and versatility, only including heat guns that offered two or more temperature settings, with the exception of the mini hot air gun, which functions more like a hot glue gun with a single temperature, albeit one much lower than the full-size heat guns offer.

Finally, we selected models that offered hands free stands or propping; essential in a heat gun for electronics or precision work, a stand reduces fatigue and helps you get the heat in exactly the right position.

Heat Gun Buyer’s Guide

Features to Consider

  1. Temperature Range
    The temperature range you need in a portable heat gun depends on what kind of projects you need it for. Most heat guns for DIY use offer a range between about 500 and 1000 degrees F. For paint stripping or rust removal, you’ll want one that offers high temps, 1000-1150 F, while a heat gun for shrink wrapping, embossing or candle making only needs to be around 350.
  2. Accessories
    If you have a specific project in mind you might want to consider a heat gun with nozzle accessories designed for that kind of project. For example, a heat gun for electronics may benefit from an air reduction nozzle that keeps the heat centered in a small area.
  3. Safety Features
    As with anything that gets hot–and these heat guns get really hot, up to 1150 degrees F, more than hot enough to ignite paper, and even start fires in some types of wood–safety features are important. At a minimum, a heat gun that reaches over 1000 degrees should have a built-in exhaust fan for cool off, an overheat protection circuit, and plenty of space between the nozzle and any plastic or electronic elements. It should also have a hanging hook and should be able to be rested upright with the nozzle pointing up.

Heat Gun FAQs

Are these loud like hair dryers?

Most of the heat guns on our list are nearly silent; even the 1500 W, 1150-degree Porter and Cable heat gun is much quieter than a hair dryer. However, they also get much, much hotter than hair dryers and hot air guns, so take care not to leave them on when not in use.

Can you use heat guns for searing?

According to sous vide experts on the web, you apparently can, with a few caveats. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll find the technique varies depending on the heat gun used and the exact temperature, but it is possible. You’ll want to use the hottest setting, around 1000 to 1150 degrees F.

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Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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