Hot Air Gun 101

Hot Air Gun 101

Hot air guns are flameless electric air guns used for various repair and construction tasks. They are useful portable or stationary tools. However, you cannot use hot air guns without proper techniques because of the high temperatures and safety concerns. As a result, it is critical to understand how a heat gun works.

Hot air gun applications

A hot air gun is a multipurpose electric tool that can be used for various tasks. It’s similar to a piece of standard essential equipment you can use for university projects, household repairs, and even tough jobs in your workshop and laboratory.

Hot air guns are primarily used to remove paint from various materials such as wood, metal, and glass. Compared to other electric tools, a heat gun will provide the highest precision when stripping paint. In addition, hot air guns are used in DIY electronic projects and metalworking shops for soldering wires and repairing metal parts. For example, they are excellent for soldering copper pipes.

Putty and old paint can be removed from furniture and walls using an electronic hot air gun. People frequently use them to separate pictures from walls and other hard surfaces because they can melt all types of glue. Furthermore, hot air guns can be used to make various household and decorative items. They are popular among artisans due to their ease of use and accuracy, which is critical for small craft items.

Workers frequently used hair dryers to wrap goods in factories with shrink wraps. However, a hot air gun is much more convenient for shrink wrapping and works much faster than a hairdryer.

Temperature controls

Hot air guns with only one heat setting and one fan speed are intended primarily for paint stripping. More complex models have two or three heat settings, or even fully variable adjustment within a range, and a choice of two, three, or variable airflow speeds.

Any heat gun’s effective temperature can be reduced by holding it further away from the surface but having variable settings gives you more options.

Maximum speed and air flow are generally required for paint stripping. These settings are also needed for other jobs like soldering plumbing joints and freeing rusted nuts. Other heat gun applications require lower air flows and/or lower temperatures. Other applications for the heat gun include drying paint or varnish (30 – 130°C) with caution because dust particles may be blown onto the paint/varnish.

  • 100 – 200°C for drying damp wood before filling or painting.
  • 300 – 400°C for softening adhesive when applying worktop edge trim or lifting floor tiles.
  • 200 – 300°C for bending plastic pipes and heat-shrinking plastic film
  • 330 – 400°C for welding some plastics

A hot air gun should never be used near copper plumbing with solder connectors because the heat can melt the solder and weaken the joints. In addition, special nozzles for purposes other than paint stripping are available.

Operating principles of hot air guns

A hot air gun’s operation is like that of a hairdryer in that both produce heat and emit hot air streams. However, the temperature is much higher than that of a hairdryer, which is why this heat is used to melt various materials.

A fan inside the hot air gun body draws in outside air to create a continuous hot air flow. Corded hot air guns are powered by electricity, whereas cordless ones are powered by batteries.

When the hot air gun is powered up, the heating element produces a high temperature and heats the air. The hot air then exits through a nozzle attached to the heat gun.

When stripping paint, heated air is directed onto the painted surface, softening it so that it can be easily removed with a stripping knife or hook. For the best results, use the hot air gun above the stripping tool to soften the paint just before the stripping tool reaches it. The device is used one-handed, with the stripping tool in the other.

Some heat guns can be used while sitting on a bench, leaving two hands-free to use the hot air for other purposes.

Hot air gun characteristics

Different features and attachments are required to adjust your hot air gun for maximum efficiency. Various brands and models of guns exist, but these features and attachments are almost universal.


The general power of a hot air gun typically ranges from 1 000 W to 2 000 W. The higher the wattage, if there are heat and/or airflow controls, the better.

The control switch

The main switch on a hot air gun, located in front of the trigger grip, turns the gun on and off. This “dead man” switch is a hot air gun safety feature turning off the gun when you remove your finger from the trigger.

Temperature control

You can change the temperature depending on the task at hand. Use less than 260°C for materials with low melting points. Otherwise, use a higher temperature that is within the range of your hot air gun. If the proper temperature is not set, things can go wrong, and your workpiece may be damaged.

Airflow controls

Set the low airflow option while working on a small area with a high-temperature setting. However, if you need to work in a large area, always set the airflow to high. Otherwise, the temperature will rise, and the surface will burn.

Thermal cut out

This feature turns off the tool if it becomes too hot. If this occurs, it indicates a flaw in the device or method of use that must be identified and corrected before the hot air gun is used again for safety.

Flex length

Flex lengths of two to three metres are typically fitted, which means that when using an extension lead, the tool can be used at full reach without the socket hanging in mid-air.


Some hot air guns have a hook from which the tool can be hung. Others have a surface stand that allows the heat gun to be safely ‘rested’ during work pauses and after use. It also enables the gun to be used “hands-free” when two hands are needed on the workpiece.

Setting nozzles

When using a hot air gun, you must use the correct nozzle because they control the hot airflow, which varies depending on the task. Four types of nozzles, each with a different size, are essential for regular work with a heat gun.

  • When you want to concentrate heat on a specific area, use a reducer nozzle.
  • The reflector nozzle wraps around a plastic or copper pipe to distribute heat evenly.
  • A flat nozzle distributes hot air over a larger, narrower area.
  • The glass protector nozzle keeps direct heat off the glass when stripping paint from a window.

Types of hot air guns

Let’s break down the hot air gun list.

Electric heat guns

Corded or cordless electric hot air guns are available. This type of heat gun is the most common and, of course, the most effective for various projects. The popular electric heat gun has an energy-saving system that can help you save money on your electric bill. It’s worth noting that you can use the electric heat gun for multiple projects without running out of power.

Electric hot air guns have largely replaced ‘traditional’ paraffin and bottled gas blowlamps for stripping paint from wood. Although a heat gun’s hot air flow is less dangerous than a naked flame, it can still cause highly flammable items to catch fire, crack glass, and cause injury if directed onto skin. One significant advantage is that the heat is almost instantaneous, allowing the hot air gun to be switched off during breaks, whereas flame blowlamps must be relit if the flame is extinguished.

When used correctly to strip paint, electric heat guns are lightweight, easy-to-use tools that are far less likely to scorch wood or crack glass.

Industrial hot air gun

If you’re looking for a heat gun to help you work in heavy-duty areas, an industrial heat gun is larger but may require electricity.

Gas-powered hot air gun

Because they use a lot of gas while working, gas-powered heat guns are not very popular. Furthermore, gas power heat guns are used in heavy-duty heating areas.

Hot air gun safety

  • Although a hot air gun is safer than a naked-flame blowlamp, it must still be used with caution. Because of the power of these tools (up to 2 000 W), when an extension lead is required, only use a 10 amp or greater lead, and always completely unwind the lead.
  • Never block or cover the air intake grills. The heat gun will overheat and possibly catch fire if the airflow is reduced.
  • Never use the heat gun with the outlet nozzle pressed against a surface. This reduces airflow and can have the same effect as blocking the air inlet grills.
  • Use a heat gun away from flammable materials.
  • Always turn off the tool before placing it on any surface.
  • Allow the tool to cool completely before storing it.
  • While the nozzle is hot, do not place it near anything.
  • Never touch the hot metal nozzle to your skin or clothing.
  • Do not use to remove lead-based paints.
  • Avoid getting paint stuck to the nozzle, and allow the gun to cool before removing any paint.
  • Don’t look down the nozzle while the hot air gun is in use
  • Never insert anything down the nozzle.


Q: Are hot air guns more dangerous than torches and flame throwers?

A: Heat guns are less dangerous than torches and flame guns because they are less likely to generate flames and catch fire.

Q: What is a thermal cut-out in a hot air gun?

A: It is a feature that turns off the heat gun when it becomes too hot.

Q: Are heat guns portable?

A: Cordless heat guns are extremely portable and easily transported from one location to another.

Q: How simple are heat guns to use?

A: A hot air gun is simple, but you should always follow the above-mentioned safety tips when using the tool.

Q: How long can a heat gun be used?

A: You can continuously use a hot air gun for nearly 15 to 20 minutes without stopping.

Q: How hot can a hot air gun get?

A: It depends on heat guns. Temperatures vary depending on the type of heat gun used. A standard heat gun can reach temperatures of up to 760°C. When you use an industrial-grade tool, you will also get more temperature.

Q: Can a heat gun start a fire?

A: Using the heat gun for up to 40 minutes without stopping may start a fire. Furthermore, you should inspect the safety features before each use because safety problems cause most fires.

Contact M.E.E. for details

Hot air devices and welding machines from ZINSER are used wherever professionals use hot air. So for all your hot air gun needs and repairs, get in touch with us today for more information.

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