Best Heat Guns
If you are looking for a top-tier heat gun that can pretty much handle it all, check out the Seekone 1800W Heavy-Duty. This full-size model has one of the highest power ratings of the entire group, and we love how versatile it is. The Seekone not only has one of the widest temperature ranges of the group but also offers dual airflow settings. It's comfortable to hold and easy to use. It features a stand for hands-free operation and a hanging loop for convenient storage, along with a variety of different diffuser nozzles for different applications.
We noticed that the cord for this heat gun is on the shorter side compared to some of the other products. The stand for cooling or hands-free operation also points the hot end of the gun straight up, so it can be a little more cumbersome to use in this orientation than other products and is more prone to being knocked over. However, we strongly think this is one of the best overall options available today, particularly for anyone looking for more heavy-duty applications.
If you are looking for a compact heat gun instead of the larger pistol-grip models, we think the TackLife Mini is your best bet. This is a great option if you need more precise control for low-temperature projects like embossing or smaller pieces of heat shrink tubing. It has an integrated stand for hands-free use and a wire diffuser shield that makes it easy to uniformly heat your wires while shielding other parts of your project. It also has a comfortable grip and one of the longer cords of the group.
However, this compact product only has a single temperature and airflow setting, so it lacks most of the adjustability found on other models. It also has a lower maximum temperature than the larger products, making it ill-suited for high-heat applications, like removing paint from larger areas or freeing seized fasteners.
If you need a solid heat gun on a budget, the Wagner Spraytech HT1000 is a great option. This bargain tool offers two different temperature settings and two different blower settings, allowing you some finer control for varying projects. It's about average to hold with the standard length cord and has an integrated hanging loop for storage.
The HT1000 doesn't include any accessories, like different nozzles or diffusers. It also doesn't offer the most stability in hands-free mode, as it just balances vertically. It's about average in comfort as well, lacking any grippy material on the handle, and doesn't have the most ergonomic grip. However, it's a great middle-of-the-road product that won't fry your budget.
If you are focused more on crafts or smaller projects and looking to spend as little as possible on a heat gun, then we think the Homidic Mini Handheld Hot Air Gun is a fantastic option. This compact product is great for crafts and smaller projects with lower-temperature requirements, like shrink plastic, removing bubbles, or setting embossing powders. It's lightweight, fairly comfortable to hold, and features one of our test group's longest power cords. It also has a fold-down metal stand to keep the hot end elevated while cooling down or for hands-free operation.
Unfortunately, the Homidic isn't the ideal option for heavy-duty or high-heat applications. It's limited to a lower maximum temperature of 200°F and states that it can only be run for a maximum of 10 minutes at a time. We highly recommend it to anyone that wants a low-cost solution for small projects but would recommend upgrading if you frequently need a heat gun.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty product, then we think the Porter-Cable PC1500HG is one of the better options out there. This hefty model has an impressively large range of temperatures and we like that you have a dial to adjust between them, allowing you to fine-tune the output to your project's needs. Of the pistol-grip style products, we think this is one of the most stable when balanced for hands-free mode, and it has a handy loop for storage.
The PC1500HG is one of the larger and heavier products that we have tested, so it isn't the best if you are primarily doing smaller or more delicate tasks. This product also doesn't include any diffusers or nozzles, though compatible ones can be purchased separately. If you are looking for a top-tier heat gun for heavy-duty applications, we definitely think this one is worth checking out.
If you are looking for a medium-weight heat gun that won't break the bank, then the Genesis GHG1500A is an alright option. This middle-of-the-road product is a bit less burly than the heavy-duty models but can put out considerably more heat than the miniature one. It includes a variety of different diffusers and is about average when it comes to ease of use.
We did find that this heat gun doesn't really have enough heft to balance in the most stable way if you are trying to operate it in hands-free mode. It only has two temperature settings, which are linked to the different airflow amounts, offering you considerably less adjustability when it comes to your projects. Overall, we think this might be a good option for the occasional DIYer on house projects but isn't the best for crafts or heavy-duty use.
If your heat gun projects could benefit from a wide variety of different nozzles, then the Prulde N2190 might be a good option for you. This pistol-grip style model comes with 4 different nozzles — including one specifically for lighting briquettes. It has an integrated stand that is quite stable and an integrated handguard that can be useful if you are heating up large areas. It also runs on the hotter side for these products, all at one of the lower prices of the group.
Unfortunately, you only have two distinct temperature/airflow settings, so you aren't going to be able to fine-tune the temperature and blower settings for each project. As mentioned before, this product runs on the hotter side, making it ill-suited for some of the smaller and more delicate craft projects. It's much better for things like stripping paint or helping loosen a seized bolt. It's not our favorite, but it's a good intermediate product at a reasonable price.
If you are looking for a heat gun mainly for smaller crafts, like embossing or shrink plastic, but still want some adjustability when it comes to temperature and airflow, then we think the Chandler Tool is the product for you. Unlike many miniature models, you get two different temperature/airflow settings, allowing you a bit more versatility in your crafts. We love that the included stand is not only very stable but also holds this tool at the optimum angle for hands-free use.
This handheld product is a bit more expensive than many of the other handheld models, so you should be sure that the dual-temperature settings are really worth it to you before purchasing. It also has a lower maximum temperature than most of the pistol-grip models, so we would recommend steering clear of this option if you are looking at the higher-heat applications of these products. Overall, we think this is a good option for crafts or other delicate work but might not be the best for everyone.
Overall, we weren't the biggest fans of the Black+Decker HG1300. It's a fairly run-of-the-mill product, with a few nice features. It offers dual-temperature settings and is relatively comfortable to hold with its molded plastic grip. It also has an integrated fold-out stand for hands-free use and a power cord that is usually more than long enough at the typical 6' and is one of the lighter-weight pistol-grip models.
Unfortunately, we found it to be just a bit more wobbly than we would have liked when balanced on the fold-out stand. The HG1300 also lacks any nozzles or diffusers. However, it was the switch that we were the least fond of. It just doesn't feel very user-friendly or easy to actuate. This product does get the job done most times, but we generally preferred other options considerably more.
Why You Should Trust Us
David Wise takes charge of our heat gun review. He is an avid DIYer and has formal training as a mechanical and ocean engineer. He has been using these products for well over a decade on everything from freeing seized hardware on an underwater robot to shrinking heat shrink tubing over the solder joints on an electric race car.
We spent hours rating and ranking these products head-to-head, comparing their thermal characteristics, user-friendliness, ergonomics, and included accessories. We also looked at their overall ease of use and compared performance both in side-by-side tests and over a myriad of different applications.
Analysis and Test Results
We divided our testing process into three different testing metrics — heating performance, ergonomics, and ease of use — each composed of different assessments. Notable performances in each metric are highlighted in the following sections.
The most important aspect of these products is their heating performance, making this metric the most significant by far. We looked at the temperature settings, listed temperature range, and airflow settings to determine scores, as well as our experience with these products in various projects.
When it comes to heating performance, the Seekone and the Porter-Cable PC1500HG are easily our favorites. We like that both of these have an adjustable temperature range rather than discrete settings like most of the other models. The Seekone has an impressive range of 122 - 1202°F — slightly more than the Porter-Cable — and has both a high and low fan setting. The Porter-Cable has two separate temperature ranges (120-900°F, 130-1100°F) depending on the airflow setting.
The Genesis GHG1500A is next in our minds. This model has two different settings, with temperature and airflow tied together for a low and high mode. While other models have a similar temperature range, we favor the Genesis since it has a more defined high and low-temperature setting of 572/1000°F.
The Prulde N2190, the Wagner Spraytech HT1000, and the Black+Decker HG1300 all followed when it comes to heating performance. These three also have a simple high and low setting, though the Prulde has a slightly higher maximum temperature, offering 800/1112°F as its two settings. Both the Spraytech and the Black+Decker have high and low modes of 750/1000°F.
Of the miniature models, the TackLife and the Chandler Tool heat guns are our favorite. The TackLife only has a single operating mode but has a listed set temperature of 662°F — quite impressive for one of the smaller products.
The Chandler Tool can't get quite as hot, with a maximum temperature of 572°F listed, but we like that this product also offers a low mode with a temperature of 392°F. The Homidic brings up the back of the group, with a listed peak temperature of only 200°F.
For our ergonomics metric, we looked at how comfortable each of these products are to hold, their interface, and weight. The three non-pistol-grip models, the TackLife, the Chandler, and the Homidic, are all the lightest of the group, weighing in at less than a pound. Of these, we think the TackLife is the most ergonomic and comfortable to hold, offering a shaped rubber grip that we preferred over the molded plastic handles on the Chandler or the Homidic. Both the Homidic and the TackLife have a simple on/off switch, but we again preferred the more robust feeling slide switch on the TackLife to the flimsier rocker switch on the Homidic.
The Chandler has a similar rocker switch to the Homidic, though with its dual settings, we found it slightly more difficult to use. It's very easy to overshoot the off position in the middle and accidentally toggle all the way to the opposite setting.
Of the hairdryer-style products, the Porter-Cable PC1500HG had our favorite handle design. It has rubber grips and is very comfortable to hold, despite being one of the heaviest models. However, it is nicely balanced and doesn't feel too bulky. It has a burly switch and an easy-to-adjust temperature selection dial.
The Seekone and the Prulde N2190 also have decent ergonomics. Both have all-plastic molded grips that are quite comfortable to hold, though the Prulde feels somewhat top-heavy and weighs just a bit more than the Seekone — similar to the Porter-Cable PC1500HG. We found the slide switches to be very user-friendly and liked the large temperature adjustment dial on the back of the Seekone.
The Genesis GHG1500A and the Wagner Spraytech are about average in comfort, but both had awkwardly placed switches that we weren't huge fans of. The Black+Decker is even worse in this regard, with a very cumbersome to use switch due to a clear plastic cover. These three are all a bit lighter, though, tipping the scales between 1.5 and 2 pounds.
Ease of Use
For our ease of use metric, we looked at the length and flexibility of the power cord for each of these products, how stable they were on their stands, and if there were any attachments included.
When it came to stability in the hands-free mode, the three miniature models — the TackLife, the Homidic, and the Chandler — all take the lead compared to the hairdryer or pistol-grip models. Of these three, we think the TackLife is the most stable, but the Chandler has a slightly more optimum angle.
Looking at the pistol-grip style products, the Porter-Cable PC1500HG is our favorite regarding stability. This burly product doesn't have any fold-out legs but is definitely the most stable in our minds, especially with its molded stabilizing flanges.
The Genesis GHG1500A and the Prulde N2190 are our next favorites for stability. Though not quite as solid as the Porter-Cable, we still would be more than happy to trust using them when balanced in an upright orientation.
With its fold-out wire foot, the Seekone was just a bit tippier than either the Genesis or the Prulde. It's fine on a flat surface but does seem quite precarious if the surface is uneven and will usually fall over if bumped. The Wagner Spraytech and the Black+Decker are our least favorite when it comes to stability; we found them very easy to knock over with just a slight jostle.
The Homidic, the TackLife, the Prulde, and the Genesis GHG1500A all have the longest cords of the group at around 6.5' or 2 meters. However, the Homidic and the TackLife have considerably more flexible cords than the heavier-duty Prulde and Genesis.
The Chandler, the Porter-Cable PC1500HG, the Wagner Spraytech, and the Black+Decker all have slightly shorter power cords at 6'. Of these, the Chandler has by far the most flexible and easy to manage cable, with the Porter-Cable's being the most inflexible and harder to handle. The Seekone has the shortest power cord of the group, at just over 5'. It also has a somewhat rigid cord, like most of the heavier-duty options.
Finally, we looked at any included nozzles or diffusers. The Seekone, the Genesis, and the Prulde all include 4 different nozzles. The Seekone has a wire shield, a flat nozzle, and two different sizes of cylindrical concentrators. The Genesis has a wire shield, a flat shield, a concentrator, and a flat nozzle, while the Prulde substitutes the flat nozzle for a perforated option designed for starting briquettes.
The TackLife includes a wire shield, with none of the other products including any nozzles or other attachments.
We sincerely hope this heat gun review has helped you find the perfect product for your needs and budget. We tested all the top products head-to-head so you don't have to, whether you are a DIY weekend warrior or a seasoned professional.
— David Wise
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