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How Do Heat Guns Work – Uses, Types & What To Consider

Written by Willie Osgood
Last Update: April 30, 2023

When we use the word ‘heat gun,’ it sounds like a weapon, but it isn’t. It’s a useful tool when it comes to different types of repairing jobs. Whether you want to smooth the surface of old paint or solder it, a heat gun is going to be a must-have tool. Moreover, heat guns come handy when you need to remove glues, bumper stickers, or similar sticky objects.

Weighing just a few pounds, a heat gun sells at $40 which might go much higher in case of high-end models. The most expensive ones are available at or around $400. Heat guns are safe to use because the heat processing mechanism does not produce any flame and if you know the safety rules.

How Do Heat Guns Work

The heat comes from a fan drawing air in the back of the gun, moving air to the overheated features to generate a haze of hot air. In place of maximum heat gun task, 750 °F is warm enough. Some of the heat guns have a feature which can let you regulate the heat which can suit you the most.

It should be held at around 45 degrees from your task and by no means should it be kept in a single place more than a few seconds. When the adhesives start to melt down under the heat, move the gun away and strip the adhesive with a scraper.

Heat gun comes with different types of nozzles for manipulating the air flow into your subject. If you need a specific kind of nozzles for a particular task, you can buy nozzles separately from the market.

There is different kind of nozzles, including:

  • Fishtail nozzles: to widening the production of air.
  • Cone nozzles: to centralize the air flow.
  • Glass protection nozzles: to work with the glass.
  • Spoon reflector nozzles: to work with the plastic pipe.

So, now you are interested in more of its use? Well, keep reading.

Temperature Settings

Temperature Settings of a heat gun

The basic heat guns have only one heat settings and fan speed, but for advanced users, more complex models are also available. Sophisticated models include two or three temperature adjustment presets. Some models with these features are fully adjustable. A person can adjust the temperature with a basic one by moving the heat gun closer or away from the object.

For removing paint and soldering plumbing joints and removing ruts requires the maximum airflow is generally required. But there are some other settings for the heat gun include:

  • Desiccating paint or varnish- 30° to 130°C.
  • Wet wood drying- 100° to 200°
  • Smoothing paint- 100° to 200° C.
  • Plastic tube twisting- 200° to 300° C.
  • Shrinking plastic film- 200° to 300° C.
  • Repairing plastics- 330° to 400°

Types of Heat Guns

What kind of heat gun you need depends on your task. There are many kinds of heat guns are available. Some of them are electric heat gun, gas-powered heat gun, infrared heat gun, industrial heat gun and many more.

The source of power of an electric heat gun is electricity. Electric heat gun includes:

  • Cordless heat gun. Milwaukee heat gun is very popular in this kind of gun
  • Battery powered heat gun (Some of the top heat gun Lowes are battery-powered)
  • Corded heat gun

If you want heat gun for a small task like crafting, shrinking, smoothing paint then you have to go for the smallest one, but if you need for household and pipe bending types of work, then a big one will be a good idea.

In the gas-powered heat gun, two types of gas are being used. One of them is butane gas, and the other one is propane gas. Also, gas-powered heat guns are cost effective.

Some of the heat guns use infrared to produce heat instead of air. This kind of heat gun has a very low temperature. Ordinary infrared heat guns are used for small projects.

When you heard the term “industrial heat gun” you’ve got to realize that these are expected to do a large job. Expert people use this industrial heat gun to a do a big task like removing old paint from a significant portion of the area.

Heat Gun Safety

Heat guns are safer than doing all the flaming work, but taking proper care of yourself while working with a heat gun is necessary. Remember not to block the air flow. If the air stream gets reduced, the heat gun will be overheated, resulting in a fire. Do not put the nozzles to close to the surface of the object. It will reduce the air flow. You should not use a heat gun near any flammable device/object. Do not insert anything in the nozzles.

Different heat guns come with the different heat levels. Before choosing a heat gun, you need to understand which level you want. Only then, you may be able to choose the right one for the job.

About the author

Willie Osgood

An Avid Metalworker

Willie doesn’t really consider himself an artist, rather a craftsman involved in practical trades. Yet, most of his projects require him to make interesting and fine objects. Being the eldest son of a carpenter, his background is 100 percent rooted in crafting. He found the art of blacksmithing quite appealing since his teenage years… that fire, the sound of swinging hammers, and those long and shiny blades that came out as a finished product. Soon he literally became obsessed with metal – the way it moved, worked, and changed when heated or cooled.

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