Help & advice: Buying guide to heat guns
Buying guide to heat guns
Paint stripping? An electric heat gun is a safe, simple alternative to blasting away with a blowtorch. Here's what to look out for. See the Homebase range of easy-to-use heat guns.
Heat guns are a great way to get rid of paint without going too far! They use a jet of super-hot air - rather than the flame of a traditional blowtorch - to soften paint for stripping. That means there's less chance of burning woodwork or cracking glass.
Most basic heat guns (also called hot-air strippers) have at least two temperature settings for working on different materials. More sophisticated guns offer a wider range, from about 50oF to 600oF. Professional models range from 100oF to 1000oF and can have an LED temperature indicator for precision control.
Temperature control can be important to protect material - too much heat will split glass and scorch wood. But it's also handy when you need to adjust the heat for different types of jobs, such as melting adhesives, bending plastic, soldering or even thawing frozen pipes.
All heat guns come with the standard wide mouth nozzle for general use. But most manufacturers offer a range of interchangeable attachments for a variety of tasks.
These include fishtail nozzles for spreading the heat, cone nozzles for concentrating it, glass protectors for shielding windows from overheating when you're stripping frames, and spoon reflectors for soldering pipes.
If you need to work up a ladder, an integral scraper is a handy heat gun fitting, as your whole operation can be done one-handed.
- Protect your eyes by wearing safety goggles.
- Protect feet with heavy-duty footwear (we recommend steel-capped boots).
- Don't point the heat gun anywhere other than the area you're working on.
- Look for models with a built-in stand, so you can put the gun down to cool safely.