Heat guns are commonly used to strip paint, wax snow gear, and make candles, among other applications. With a wide range of uses, the temperature requirement also is high.
So, what temperatures can heat guns reach, and what are their inherent limitations?
Let’s find out.
How Hot Does a Heat Gun Get?
Heat guns work at high temperatures. These temperatures vary with application, and the heat gun watt rating also affects the maximum working temperature. Most heat guns blow hot air at a temperature between 100 – 760°C (200-1400°F).
Looking at specific models, we see a wide variation in maximum temperatures.
The Wagner HT1000 heat gun, with a 1000W rating, offers a minimum temperature of 369°C (750°F) and a maximum of 538°C (1000°F). In comparison, the WEN 1500 Watt Dual Temperature Heat Gun Kit 2020 operates between 300°C (572°F) and 600°C (1112°F). The Netta 2000W Electric Heat Gun also operates between 300°C (572°F) and 600°C (1112°F), with two different air flow rate options.
As you can see, heat guns deliver a much higher temperature when compared to blow dryers.
Heat Gun Temperature Control
Most heat guns offer more than one temperature setting, typically high and low. Older heat guns don’t have accurate temperature control options – the set point offers an average temperature around a predetermined set point. These older heat guns overheat easily since the high temperatures are reflected back to the heat gun from the heated workpiece. Luckily, they also have built-in protection, with a constant heat control that shuts down the heating element. At the same time, the fan continues running to cool down the instrument. Once the heat gun has cooled down sufficiently, it will automatically switch on again.
Since the heat gun is still hot and the ventilator is still active, hot air is still supplied to the application. You can continue working with the heat gun uninterrupted while the element cools down. Sometimes, you might not notice that the element was switched off during the operation.
The heat gun is more prone to overheating when using small-diameter nozzles since the heat is concentrated in a smaller area than when using a large nozzle.
Some newer heat gun models have more precise temperature controls, with built-in digital temperature controls that typically work in increments of 10°C. These heat guns are controlled at a constant temperature with overheating protection controlled automatically. This means that you can use small-diameter nozzles at precise temperatures. Since the temperature is electronically controlled, the controller will decrease the element’s temperature when it starts to overheat, maintaining a constant temperature during operation.
Heat Gun Temperature Chart
Different heat guns work at different temperatures. Below is an overview of some popular heat guns and their operating temperatures.
Average Temperature of Popular Heat Guns
|Product Name||Operating Temperature|
|SEEKONE Heat Gun 1800W||50°C – 650°C (122°F – 1202°F)|
|DIAFIELD 1850W Heat Gun Variable Temperature||44°C – 650°C (112°F – 1202°F)|
|SEEKONE Mini Heat Gun 350W||350°C (662°F)|
|Wagner Spraytech 0503008 HT1000 Heat Gun||399°C – 538°C (750°F – 1000°F)|
|TGK 1800W Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun||50°C – 650°C (122°F – 1202°F)|
|Genesis GHG1500A Dual Temperature Heat Gun Kit||300°C – 538°C (572°F – 1000°F)|
Temperature Chart for Different Uses
Heat guns are used for many heat-sensitive applications, each requiring a specific temperature or temperature range to work optimally. Here’s an overview of the most common heat gun applications and their optimum temperatures.
|Drying||Paint||232°C – 399°C (450°F – 750°F)|
|Plaster||232°C – 399°C (450°F – 750°F)|
|Removing||Paint||482°C – 649°C (900°F – 1200°F)|
|Adhesive-backed floor coverings||177°C – 399°C (350°F – 750°F)|
|Heating||Electrical shrink-wrap||177°C – 260°C (350°F – 500°F)|
|Window and craft shrink-wrap||121°C – 288°C (250°F – 550°F)|
|Frozen water pipes||399°C – 649°C (750°F – 1200°F)|
|Frozen locks||177°C – 343°C (350°F – 650°F)|
|Molding and Bending||Plexiglass and Formica||121°C – 232°C (250°F – 450°F)|
|Plastics||121°C – 232°C (250°F – 450°F)|
|Loosening||Rusted bolts/nuts||482°C – 649°C (900°F – 1200°F)|
|Sealing||Nylon rope ends||232°C – 343°C (450°F – 650°F)|
|Waxing||Snowboards and skis||121°C – 232°C (250°F – 450°F)|
|Defrosting||Refrigerator||232°C – 399°C (450°F – 750°F)|
|Wrapping||Vinyl||60°C – 80°C (140°F – 176°F)|
|Manufacturing||Candle making||60°C – 85°C (140°F – 185°F)|
|Resin art||21°C – 24°C (70°F – 75°F)|
What Can a Heat Gun Melt?
Hot air guns can produce a hot air stream sufficient to melt solder. This is used to remove components from PC boards, like ICs. The heating process shouldn’t take more than a minute since the amount of solder is typically very small.
2. Plastic and PVC
A heat gun can soften plastic and PVC enough to make it pliable. This process is relatively simple and doesn’t take long. The heat gun won’t produce sufficient heat if you want to heat the plastic enough to mold and shape it. In this case, you’ll need a double boiler to get the job done.
Some types of glass have a relatively low melting point. Heat guns can produce a high enough temperature to melt these types of glass, but not others. Typical flat glass, mostly made of silica sand, has a melting point of 1700°C (3092°F), far above typical heat guns’ operating temperatures.
4. Metal (Steel, Aluminum, Brass)
Most metals, like steel and brass, have a higher melting point than the 760°C (1400°F) maximum operating temperature of heavy-duty heat guns. Aluminum’s melting point is 660°C (1220°F), so a heat gun can technically melt aluminum. However, this isn’t easy to do in practice, and there isn’t much information on the topic. If you attempt this, it is best to take safety precautions since molten metal could cause serious injuries when in contact with skin and eyes.