Top 5 Best Heat Guns To Remove Paint (2020 Review)

Are you looking for the best heat guns for removing paint?

We've got your back!

In this ProPaintCorner Review, you'll discover:

  • How removing paint with a heat gun works
  • What to look for when buying a heat gun for paint removal
  • Our top heat gun for paint removal picks

And much more!

Top 5 Best Heat Guns To Remove Paint (2020 Review)

Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the perfect heat gun for removing paint!

Image Product

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Wagner Spraytech HT1000 Heat Gun
  • Dual temperature
  • Built-in stand
  • Corrosion-resistant nozzle
  • Dual temperature
  • Built-in stand
  • Corrosion-resistant nozzle
View on Amazon

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BLACK+DECKER HG1300
  • Lightweight
  • Compact size
  • Flat rear stand
  • Lightweight
  • Compact size
  • Flat rear stand
View on Amazon

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DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless
  • Cordless
  • 990F max temp
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Cordless
  • 990F max temp
  • Built-in flashlight
View on Amazon

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Porter-Cable PC1500HG
  • 1500 watt motor
  • Variable temperature control
  • Hands-free support stand
  • 1500 watt motor
  • Variable temperature control
  • Hands-free support stand
View on Amazon

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DeWalt Heat Gun Kit
  • LCD display
  • Hard case included
  • Overload protection
  • LCD display
  • Hard case included
  • Overload protection
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated 6/10/2020)

Removing paint with a heat gun isn't rocket science. It doesn't require fancy or expensive tools.

Sure, you could treat yourself to a higher-end model, such as either of the DeWalts. That'd give you a more premium experience.

All that said-- the Wagner Spraytech HT1000 earns our overall top pick.

If you're after a simple, no-fuss heat gun to remove paint, you're safe to choose this rig.

Its ergonomic design makes it easy to hold during long paint removal sessions.

Oh, and its also the top seller on Amazon out of all shop heat guns, and also it's very highly-rated.

Top 5 Best Heat Guns To Remove Paint

In a hurry? Check out our top five heat guns for removing paint below! Keep reading to discover more about our top heat gun picks for removing paint.

  1. Wagner Spraytech HT1000 Heat Gun
  2. BLACK+DECKER HG1300
  3. DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless
  4. Porter-Cable PC1500HG
  5. DeWalt Heat Gun Kit

How Does Removing Paint With A Heat Gun Work?

Stripping paint with a heat gun may seem like a mortal form of magic.

The process is only part-magic. The rest: one might call it science.

In a nutshell, the premise is to heat layers of paint to where they soften and begin to melt. 

Then, once the paint becomes pliable, it can be easily peeled or scraped away.

This heat gun paint softening approach works especially well on painted metal and brick surfaces.

Once you establish a technique with your hot air gun manipulating the painted surface, you can heat an area with one hand and scrape it with the other.

This two-handed technique is optional. You could heat an area, turn your heat gun off, set it down and then scrape away that heated, softened area with both hands.

Either way is fine. Make sure you feel comfortable and don't accidentally point the heat gun toward any exposed skin. These high-powered electric heat guns have the power to cause severe burns if misused.

Read More >> How Do You Remove Paint From Brick?

What Is Proper Heat Gun Safety

In a sense, a heat gun is a stove mixed with an actual gun. Rather than firing bullets, a heat gun fires hot air. And so, it should be treated with the same level of respect and caution that you'd have towards using either a gun or a stove.

Used properly, these are all intended to be and should serve as intended, as tools. 

You want to make sure you never point your heat gun towards the flesh of any human or animal. This includes, but is not limited to, the face, hands, arms, legs, hair-- any part of any living creature.

Heat gun temperatures can rise to over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in under a minute. Even to simply wave your hand in front of a heat gun to see if it's warmed up yet, could be an incredibly painful folly.

Gear up

Get a good handle on the situation by investing in a quality pair of work gloves that are designed to withstand high temperatures. 

You could borrow a pair of gloves from your welding kit if you have one handy as they'll certainly have the heat-insulating properties that you'll want.

Of course, the heat will be a bear, but to wear long sleeves and long pants is another way to avoid potential burns. Sure you'll sweat like a pig, but you'll avoid anything worse.

Sold old paint is lead-based and can emit some pretty horrendous and quite toxic fumes when heated. The US Government has published reports on this exact process and the danger associated with the fumes that are emitted.

Use a proper NIOSH-approved respirator and spare your lungs and brain cells the onslaught from those random paint gasses. 

Also, please be aware, that these emitted fumes are especially harmful to children, even at far lower concentrations than would affect an adult. 

In addition to proper ventilation, insist that kids go and play outside or at a friend's house while you're doing this work.

Body and mind

Stay well hydrated by drinking a glass of water before you begin. Then take a break minimally every 45 minutes.

Drink another glass on break. You'll be working in heat, and you'll likely have those long sleeves and gloves on.

You'll be hot, sweating, and possibly getting less oxygen to your brain than you're normally used to getting. Sweat means essential minerals coming out of your body and the potential for dehydration.

Mitigate this by taking frequent breaks and by beginning your workday properly hydrated with water and fueled with a healthy, balanced breakfast.

Here's a guide that was written by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services detailing the importance of staying hydrated for your best health, and especially when exerting yourself physically.

Let it warm-up and cool-off

Yes, there is a warm-up period for these electric element-powered heat guns. 

Generally, about 45 seconds into running and the heat gun should be emitting air at the temperature at which the temperature control dial is set.

If you'd like to reduce your heat gun's temperature or switch nozzles, turn it off first. Set it down, let it cool, then switch nozzles, reset your temperature control settings and start all over again with a new warmup period.

Read More >> How Do You Clean An HVLP Spray Gun?

Did you know: The typical heat range for a heat gun is anywhere between 200° to 1000°, but some guns can go all the way up to 1400°! But, the ideal heat for removing lead paint is 590°.

What To Consider When Buying A Heat Gun For Removing Paint

Sure, there used to be more choices when shopping for a heat gun, including gas-powered units and other more exotic choices. 

These days, you're going to choose an electric heat gun for most DIY challenges and certainly for removing paint. Anything else is more cumbersome and far more involved than is necessary. 

Electric models are safe, efficient, and inexpensive. Oh yeah, and they work.

There are essentially two main types of electric heat guns that you'll think of or encounter.

You have your shop-grade models and your low-end version, the hair blow dryer.

Similar premise, entirely different scale. The shop-grade heat guns we recommend here are intended for many things; they're not to ever be pointed toward exposed skin.

The mechanism and engineering behind a dual temperature shop heat gun are not that dissimilar from a standard hair dryer, only that the shop gun operates at far higher temperatures.

Here's a video breakdown of how paint stripping using a heat gun works.

Read More >> What Are The Best Paint Sprayers For Walls?

What Are the Various Heat Gun Nozzle Choices?

Ok, so we've established that heat guns vary only slightly from one to the next, so your finding the right one is all about honing in on the finer details.

It's also somewhat a matter of personal choice.

Once you do choose a heat gun, you've got a variety of nozzle-types to consider for particular tasks, including paint removal. 

Here's an overview of some of the most common ones. 

Spoon Reflector Nozzle:

This nozzle forces air into a small conical-shaped channel and then flips it back around 180 degrees after bouncing off a small hook or spoon-shaped piece of stainless steel. 

These nozzles are used when soldering. They help direct heat around a small area.

Fishtail Nozzle:

A nozzle in a "fishtail" shape pushes the hot air into a flat fanned-out shape. The purpose of such a nozzle is for situations where wide heat application is needed.

You might have some luck alternating a fishtail nozzle in your repertoire of nozzles when using your heat gun to remove paint. 

Cone Nozzle

A tapered nozzle with a hot air opening that becomes more narrow is called a cone nozzle. 

Some get gradually more narrow, while others have a stair-stepped pattern that almost looks like a tiered cake.

The purpose of a cone nozzle is to concentrate the heat in a small space. You could try this attachment for especially thick painted areas that need more softening than others. 

Inbuilt Scraper Nozzle:

This tool is one you want as a part of your arsenal when looking to do heat gun paint removal.

It's like a regular scraper, but this one attaches right to the end of your heat gun so said scraping attachment heats up to close to a thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

Read More >> How Do You Paint A Wall Like A Pro?

Our Reviews Of The Best Heat Guns For Removing Paint

The wattage rating on the Spraytech is a solid 1200.

That puts it squarely in the range that makes it useful for a variety of home improvement tasks. 

Surely, it being our top pick, it's a great hot air gun to use as a paint stripper aid.

Oh, were you looking for a heat gun with two fan speeds? 

Well, this one has two fan speeds, both operating rather quietly.

The HT1000's 4100 BTU output makes it capable of stripping many layers of paint at once.

Throw in the free two-year manufacturer's warranty and you see why we made this our top recommended electric heat gun for paint removal.

Pros

  • Dual temperature
  • Built-in stand
  • Corrosion-resistant nozzle

Cons

  • Power switch location
  • Wide temperature range

With the HG1300, you're getting the dual temperature heat gun experience that you'd have on other higher-end models, at a very reasonable price point.

At 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in high-temperature mode, this model has as much paint stripping power as most other devices in its class. 

Quick device cool-down is done easily using the built-in stand.

Its included 1375 watt heating element is one of the more high-powered you'll find. That extra power does come in handy when removing old paint layers off walls.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Compact size
  • Flat rear stand

Cons

  • Power switch safety
  • Long-term durability

You're that guy. You're walking around the job site with the same tool as everyone else, but you're not dragging around an extension cord everywhere you go like they are.

That freedom is going to come at some cost to you. Mocking, envious glances your way, and smack talk all could result from your taking this fancy heat gun on a job site.

In the case of the DeWalt cordless heat gun, that extra cost might be small enough to leave you in the "let's do it" category. 

You can trust the DeWalt name brand, so that gives you the warm fuzzy feeling you want when adding a new tool to your collection.

So long as the 42-minute battery life doesn't turn you off, or if you're willing to stock up on a few backup batteries, this might be the way to treat yourself, especially if you have a big paint removal task on your plate.

Pros

  • Cordless
  • 990F max temp
  • Built-in flashlight

Cons

  • 42-minute battery life
  • Device warmup time

This electric heat gun with adjustable temperature settings is a great DIY or hobbyist heat gun.

For a hot air gun, at its price point, this porter-cable heat gun is a great paint remover.

If the price weren't about 30% more than some similar competitors, the Porter-Cable could have easily taken our top honors. 

The Porter-Cable PC1500HG is a robust heat gun and it does a great job heating old paint and putty for removal.

Like many in its class, it comes with a built-in support stand that makes soldering a lot easier.

Pros

  • 1500 Watt motor
  • Variable temperature control
  • Hands-free support stand

Cons

  • No celsius temp option
  • Could blow hotter

DeWalt delivered a heavy-duty heat gun in an awesome kit.

It comes with all the goodies.

That includes accessories like a scraper, multiple nozzles, and of course the heavy-duty, lightweight design, clamshell carrying case.

It has a digital LCD screen to readout current temperature and target temp. 

This temperature range display gives you the most granular temperature adjustment control of any other device that we've tested thus far. 

You can set temperatures up or down by increments of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Considering that it tops out around 1100 degrees Fahrenheit, that's some incredibly precise control. 

Once again, the addition of all the different nozzles that come with this kit may make the higher price point worth it.

Add to your peace-of-mind the fact that this DeWalt has an overload prevention feature that automatically shuts it off if it detects overheating.

Pros

  • LCD Display
  • Hard case included
  • Overload protection

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Loose-fitting attachments

We're happy to select the Wagner Spraytech HT1000 as our top pick for a high-quality heat gun to remove paint. 

The Spraytech has all the standard features you'd expect like dual heat settings, a backside flat-end kickstand feature, and an ergonomic design.

Its dual temperature settings are sufficient for removing paint. 

Sure, the more granular controls of the higher-end models are nice to have for various other applications.

The two-year warranty and rave reviews it's gotten from buying customers pushed us over the edge. So, congratulations to Wagner for earning the ProPaintCorner overall top pick for heats guns used to remove paint.

Check out the lowest price now on Amazon!

Final Thoughts on Using Heat Guns To Remove Paint

While affordable and seemingly easy to use, a heat gun is a tool not to be taken lightly by anyone.

Make sure they're always stored out of reach of any children and let older children know not to ever touch or play with them.

Here's an EPA guide detailing the risks associated with removing paint and how potential lead exposure should be addressed.

Heat Guns Are Multitools

Bonus for you if you end up adding a heat gun to your tool collection.

There are so many other uses for shop-grade heat guns, besides removing paint.

The heat guns you see featured in this article are all capable of drying damp surfaces, softening glue, loosening soldered connections, bending plastic, and even shrink-wrapping.

That's hardly it, either. You can also use heat guns for thawing out frozen pipes during wintertime, loosening rusty bolts, and melting plastic pipes.

Provided you find one that works for removing paint, you'll be in good shape. All of these that we've featured here remove paint and do so well.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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