Best Automotive Heat Gun — Buyers Guide, Review and ComparisonThe best automotive heat gun could be the most versatile tool in your motor vehicle armory. These machines can address a plethora of car projects, including film wrapping, light welding, paint stripping, and removing unwanted stickers. Typically, they feature a wide temperature range, extensive power cord, and numerous nozzles.
- Temperature range of 122-1202 degrees Fahrenheit
- Twin fan speeds.
- 1800 watts of power.
- Additional nozzles.
Top Automotive Heat Guns 2023
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Automotive Heat Guns Buying Guide
This places them outside the price range of home users, petrol heads, small garage owners, and vehicle restorers.
However, there are a few models of heat gun available that possess features making them ideal for motor vehicle work.
When choosing your perfect machine, consider:
What Are Automotive Heat Guns Used For?
I’m right, yeah?
However, while these implements are invaluable for the motor enthusiast — they’re limited in versatility. Sure, you need that trolley jack to raise your car and get underneath the chassis — but what else can you do with it?
That’s why car heat guns are the automotive accessory you simply cannot do without.
As their name suggests, these machines deliver an intense stream of heat from a handheld unit. And, with a variety of nozzle accessories, can fulfil functions such as:
They avoid the use of chemicals, which can be hazardous to your health and may increase the risk of oxidation to your valuable metalwork.
Additionally, should you purchase a pre-owned car which includes unwanted flashes — then the heat gun enables you to remove them without damaging the paintwork
And, just because you’re not a West-Coast gangsta rapper, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t darken your glass.
Adding window tint provides the benefits of:
- Preventing fading of the vehicle’s interior.
- Blocking UV rays that can cause skin damage.
- Preventing glass shatter.
- Security — no one can see your valuables.
- You feel like Snoop Dogg.
Also known as vinyl wrapping — this process has gained huge momentum over recent years.
Many vehicle owners see the process of overlaying their car with an outer wrap as a more preferable alternative to painting, because it:
- Is more cost effective.
- Gives your vehicle a unique look.
- Can be removed (with a heat gun!) if you become bored with it.
- Has no effect on resale value (as it can be removed).
- Is quicker to apply than a complete respray.
Heat Shrinking Cable Sleeves
Desoldering and Welding
How to Choose the Best Auto Heat Gun
Hence, here’s my handy breakdown of the characteristics you should consider before shelling out your hard-earned dollars:
For the largest spectrum of automotive applications, you need a broad range of temperatures. For a detailed guide on heat requirements for specific jobs — check out my How to Use a Heat Gun article.
However — generally speaking — decal removal, heat-shrinking cable sleeves, and window tinting need low to mid heat (250 degrees to 700 degrees Fahrenheit). While welding, car wrapping, and paint stipping require mid to high temperatures (700 to 1200 degrees).
The latter gives the most precise control — although unless they have oversized buttons, they can be difficult to adjust with gloved or oily hands.
Some of the most useful nozzles for the car enthusiast are:
- Reducers — concentrating the heat into a small area, practical for desoldering.
- Glass protectors.
- Fantail — disperses heat over a wide area, ideal for wrapping.
Best Automotive Heat Gun — The Top Five
Hence, to allow you to get back to your wheels as soon as possible, I’ve sourced the best heat guns for you. Based on industry opinion, customer feedback, and my own knowledge — these are the ultimate automotive hot air machines available.
Best for Versatility
This powerful 1800-watt machine features a temperature range of 122-1202 degrees Fahrenheit — suitable for virtually all car applications, from shrinking cable wraps through to stripping bodywork paint.
Adjusting the heat level is straightforward and ideal for garage use. The rear of the unit incorporates the temperature control dial — simply rotate clockwise to boost heat output or anticlockwise to reduce. Not only is this rotary adjuster substantial, but it also features a textured relief, which suggests that — even when wearing work gloves or with oily hands — you can still change the temperature output.
I welcome the fact that this heat gun arrives complete with four interchangeable nozzles. These include the crucial fantail — for your vinyl work — and a reflector nozzle, for cable shrinking.
The manufacturer claims that the handle of this automotive hot air gun has been scientifically designed to increase comfort and reduce the likelihood of repetitive strain injury. Furthermore, it incorporates a buffer at the foot of the handle, to prevent slippage — even when perspiring.
If I was to make one criticism of this machine — it would be the cord length. At 5.25 feet, it’s shorter than the typical six-foot cord usually seen on power tools. However, as you will undoubtedly be using this unit with an extension cable anyway — this may not be a deal breaker for most motorheads
Our Rating: 4.5
Unlike most of its competitors, this unit gives the option of two-handed control. This should help to relieve wrist and finger fatigue during heavy-duty work. Furthermore, boasting a category-leading 10-foot mains cable — in many cases, this should negate the use of an extension cord.
Additionally, this machine boasts a cord protector at the point where the cable enters the handle base. This prevents the crucial power lead from tearing away from the unit, should you overstretch. Thus, it adds longevity and safety to the gun.
This motor heat gun includes two additional nozzles. Admittedly, not as many as the SEEKONE model, but the vinyl wrap essential of a deflector is included.
A nice feature of this car heat gun is the integrated kickstand. This adds additional support should you wish to stand the unit on its end — for hands-free use. This may appeal to the auto-electrical enthusiast, who may need this versatility to heat shrink wire sheaths.
When you’ve finished your work for the day, you may welcome the hanging ring. This allows you to safely store the heat gun on a hook or pegboard, out of harm’s way.
Best for Accessories
Our Rating: 4.6
Two differently-sized fantail ends are ideal for providing even heat distribution when vinyl wrapping or window tinting. A reflector nozzle allows you to heat in a circular fashion — essential for wire sheath shrinking. And finally, a concentrator cap-end delivers focused heat — crucial when soldering or desoldering auto-electrical components.
The LOW setting, 572-degrees Fahrenheit, should be appropriate for window tinting and decal removal — while the HIGH temperature of 1000 degrees
Fahrenheit is ideal for paint stripping and vinyl wrapping (although, check the film’s guidelines for the optimum heat required). This heat gun boasts a heavily textured handle — increasing traction in the palm and reducing accidental slippage when perspiring. Additionally, being pleasingly substantial, it’s easier to wield while wearing protective gloves. Furthermore, a backstop buffer at the base of the handle provides increased stability.
When taking a break — or finishing work for the day — you may welcome the incorporated stand. Thus allowing you to safely store the machine in an up-facing position — preventing damage to workbenches. And, while the unit comes with a 6.5-foot power cord — an extension cable will be needed for most motor applications.
Our Rating: 4.5
Hailing from VViviD, a company renowned for its wrapping films, this heat gun has been designed with one primary purpose — to cover your car with vinyl.
While lacking additional nozzles, this unit has an in-built tip, which the manufacturer indicates delivers the optimum heat delivery for car coverage. Although this restricts its use in other applications, for the ardent automotive wrapping enthusiast this won’t matter.
However, it’s not just the heat gun itself that is appealing — but also the additional accessories. This machine arrives complete with a 3M squeegee applicator — a flexible tool enabling you to smooth out your film without fear of lumps or bubbles. Plus — to ensure that the keen edge of this squeegee doesn’t rip or scratch your vinyl — the manufacturer has also included three disposable felt strips to attach to the lip of the applicator.
And, while primarily a car wrapping gun, the high temperatures reached by this machine also enable you to use it for non-automotive applications. Stripping paint, thawing pipes, or loosening rusted bolts and screws, to name but a few.
Our Rating: 4.0
Although a budget-friendly option — this power tool is still packed with features to address numerous motor applications.
Featuring an additional four nozzles — disperser, reflector, fantail, and concentrator — you should be able to tailor this machine for your current motor project. This ensures that your working material always receives the correct heat intensity.
Temperature control is adjusted through a switch, mounted on the rear of the handle. Personally, I consider this a well thought-out location, as it enables you to alter the heat setting with your thumb — even while in use. It provides a choice between 800 and 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unusually for a budget unit, this motor heat gun allows for two-handed operation. So, should you be working on a larger project, this feature may be a bonus.
Six ventilation holes improve airflow through this power tool — both keeping the machine cool in your hand and protecting the crucial heating coil. Furthermore, should these air vents become blocked or damaged, you have the peace of mind knowing this heat gun incorporates an overload protector.
This machine features a 6.5-foot power cable, instruction manual, and the backup of a two-year warranty.
These versatile machines can address everything from vinyl wrapping, desoldering and window tinting, through to decal removal, wire-sheath shrinking, and paint stripping.
While you could use a standard DIY heat gun — these automotive machines offer the heat flexibility, distribution, and delivery intensity required for this wide spectrum of applications.
When choosing your ideal unit, take time to consider its features. Additional nozzles allow you to achieve the perfect finish, dial controls enable ease of use with gloved or oily hands, and a wide temperature range permits you to choose the optimum heat for your project.
The bottom line.
The best automotive heat gun is a crucial weapon in every car-lover’s armory.
Automotive Heat Guns FAQs
Q: Do You Need a Heat Gun to Vinyl Wrap?
Yes, it’s essential. Using an automotive hot air gun is the only way to achieve perfect results when car wrapping. Other alternatives, such as hairdryers, neither deliver the correct temperatures nor the even heat distribution required.
Q: Why Do I Need a Car Heat Gun?
Heat guns are one of the most versatile tools for the car enthusiast. They enable you to vinyl wrap, tint windows, remove decals, strip paint, and conduct electrical work.
Q: Do You Need a Heat Gun for Window Tint?
It’s not essential. However, with a hot air automotive gun, you will achieve better results — the heat makes the film more pliable and helps to prevent trapped bubbles.
Q: Can I Use a Hair Dryer for Vinyl Wrap?
No. A hairdryer doesn’t achieve a sufficient temperature level to apply car film. Instead, use an automotive hot air gun.
Q: Can You Remove Tint With a Heat Gun?
Yes. Should you wish to remove window tinting — apply heat gently to the film. This will reduce the adhesion and allow you to easily take it off the glass.
Q: Is It Hard to Put Window Tint on Yourself?
It’s not hard — but it takes time, care, and a little bit of practice. Never rush the job, ensure that you purchase high-quality tint, and use a heat gun suitable for automotive applications.
Q: Can I Strip Paint on My Car With a Heat Gun?
Yes. However, ensure that you purchase a heat gun that can reach temperatures of at least 1000 degrees Fahrenheit to enable effective removal.
Q: Can I Defrost Car Windows With a Heat Gun?
It’s not a good idea. The rapid change of temperature from cold to hot can damage your windshield.