For the next edition of our power tools buyers guide series, Makita provides advice on choosing a heat gun for painting and decorating applications.
A high-quality heat gun is a useful item for professionals to have in their kit, especially when taking on painting and decorating or interior refurbishment work. It also has a wide variety of other uses.
One common use of a heat gun is the safe removal of paint and varnish from surfaces such as doors and window frames, which has significant advantages over alternative methods such as sanding or chemical paint strippers.
Sanding creates dust, which not only causes mess but also presents a health hazard if not controlled correctly. Inhaling dust should always be avoided as it can lead to serious lung conditions. However, this risk is even greater when working with older paints that include dangerous substances such as lead. Similarly, chemical paint removers have their own health and safety considerations such as fumes, flammability and avoiding accidental contact with skin and eyes.
Heat guns can also be used to aid the removal of linoleum and vinyl floor tiles, for quickly drying surfaces prior to coating or applying a gentle heat to help speed up the curing of filler. They can also be used for shaping plastic pipe and conduit and to help remove anything held with adhesive, such as stickers and labels.
While heat guns may seem relatively simple, there are a range of factors that should be considered when choosing the right tool for the job.
An important factor is choosing a heat gun that allows it to be used for a range of applications. Selecting one with variable heat and air volume settings is always recommended as this gives the user the control to meet different requirements. A high temperature will be required for stripping paint quickly and effectively but a lower one may be desired for drying to prevent accidental damage to the surface. For example, the Makita DHG181 18V LXT heat gun has six heat settings from 150°C to 550°C and two air volume options of 120 or 200 litres per minute.
It is also worth looking at the accessories that can be used with the heat gun, especially the compatible nozzles that will help the user carry out specific tasks. Reduction, wide slot and welding nozzles nozzles will concentrate the flow of air to various degrees. There are also glass protection nozzles that direct the air away from the glass to prevent it becoming overheated, and can be used for the removal of window putty. If you own a corded Makita heat gun, the nozzles can be used interchangeably.
Some cordless heat guns may also be compatible with accessories that help extend the runtime. For example, the Makita DHG181 can be used with the Makita PDC01 portable power supply. This backpack battery unit can be fitted with up to four LXT batteries to provide longer run times. The PDC01 is also compatible with a wide range of Makita 18V and Twin 18V (36V) LXT machines, making it a valuable investment for improving productivity on all jobs.
Ease of use
In addition, it is important to consider how easy to use the heat gun will be. This may be the inclusion of a lock-on function for easier more comfortable use when working for extended periods, on-tool work lights for illumination of the area and hanging hooks for easy storage. Also, the ability to stand the heat gun on its backend may also be useful for hands-free operation, or to place the tool in an upright, standing position in order to protect work surfaces while the gun is still hot.
Finally, the safety features of the tool should be looked at. For example, the DHG181 includes a safety switch on the trigger to avoid accidental activation, which could cause burns or damage if the tool is already up to temperature. In addition, safe removal of the nozzle should also be considered. The DHG181 has a toolless quick eject mechanism that means the nozzle can be swapped without needing to handle the hot metal or waiting for it to cool.
A heat gun is a useful addition to any professional’s kit, especially for painting and decorating work where it can be used for safe, effective paint removal. However, it is important to choose the right product as not all options on the market offer the same level functionality, versatility, ease of use and safety.
To find out more about Makita’s range of heat guns visit Heat Guns (makitauk.com).