Best Cordless Heat Gun Buying Guide Buying Guides

Best Cordless Heat Gun Buying Guide


Choosing The Best Cordless Heat Gun Depends on What Job You Want it to do

We’re seeing more cordless heat guns hit the market. But what should expect from them if you’re making the switch from corded? The best cordless heat gun you can get your hands on has a lot to do with the jobs you expect to complete with them. Regardless of which direction you go, there are limitations compared to the heat and runtime you get from corded models.

The Best Cordless Heat Gun: Battery Power and Nothing Else

When most of us think of cordless tools, we assume you need some accessories, but nothing more than a battery to actually power it. Generating heat consumes a lot of power and making a cordless, gasless heat gun is ambitious.

Your runtime is going to be limited, even with some of the mega-watt-hour batteries out there. If you’re looking for the best cordless heat gun that doesn’t need anything more than perhaps a nozzle, it’s going to do its best work on heat shrink connectors and punch list painting. There’s just not enough runtime to do much else.

You have 3 options from the major players in the power tool industry and they are very similar in design and specifications.

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Milwaukee M18 Heat Gun 2688-20/2688-21

Milwaukee’s M18 Heat gun makes a name for itself with quick heating, giving you heat shrinking temps in just 7 seconds and taking a bit longer to reach its full 875ºF potential. We really like the hang hook and its compact 6.4″ head length. The kit comes with a 5.0Ah battery, charger, guarded nozzle, and reducing nozzle. As a purely cordless model, it was the first to hit the market from the major tool brands.

Best Cordless Heat Gun Buying Guide - Milwaukee Heat Gun

Pros

  • Quick operational heating time
  • 2 nozzles come with the kit
  • Hang hook
  • Compact length
  • 5-year warranty
  • M18 Heat Gun/M12 Soldering Iron kit available (2688-21K)

Cons

  • Single mode only
  • No lock-on

Price

  • Milwaukee 2688-20 (bare tool): $129
  • Milwaukee 2688-21 (kit): $299
  • Milwaukee 2688-21K (heat gun/soldering iron combo kit): $349

Numbers to Know

  • Max Temp: 875ºF
  • Heating Time: 7 seconds to operational, longer to max
  • Airflow:  6CFM
  • Runtime: ~18 minutes with a 5.0Ah battery
  • Length: 6.39″
  • Width: 2.6″
  • Height: 7.87″
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs bare
  • Warranty: 5 Years (Tool), 3 Years (Battery)

DeWalt 20V Max Heat Gun DCE530B/DCE530P1

DeWalt is a newcomer to the field and makes its argument as the best cordless heat gun by upping the temperature mark to 990ºF. That’s getting really close to the 1000ºF mark that we like to see corded heat guns at. There’s an asterisk on the temp, though, and retailers are listing 875ºF in their specifications. That said, expect that max temperature to take nearly 6 minutes to peak. You’ll need to be 0.4mm away to get that max temp.

They take a shot at Milwaukee’s claim as the “most compact” by dropping their head down to 6.33″ and taking over that crown. DeWalt also keeps things a little more traditional with 2 modes. They only give us the best stats to work with, so we’ll have to wait until we can put it through more testing to answer all of our questions. If low has enough heat, you can get up to 42 minutes of runtime from a 5.0Ah battery. DeWalt doesn’t give us an estimate for high.

DeWalt 20V Max Heat Gun - Best Cordless Heat Gun

Pros

  • 2 nozzles come with the kit
  • Lock-on button
  • Most compact length in this class
  • Lightest bare tool in this class

Cons

  • Several unanswered questions regarding actual max temp and runtime
  • No hang hook

Price

  • DeWalt DCE530B (bare tool): $119
  • DeWalt DCE530P1 (kit): $199

Numbers to Know

  • Max Temp: 875ºF (possibly 990ºF)
  • Heating time: 340 seconds to max
  • Airflow: 6.7 CFM
  • Runtime: 42 minutes on low, no estimates on high
  • Length: 6.33″
  • Weight: 1.17 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years limited

Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Heat Gun P3150

The Ryobi P3150 cordless heat gun pretty much sits on Milwaukee’s design minus the hang hook. Like its cordless colleagues, its hits 875ºF and claims to get there in just 10 seconds. You also get guarded and concentrator nozzles in the $99 bare tool package. If there’s a downside, it’s that Ryobi uses stem packs and don’t have quite as nice a handle design as Milwaukee and DeWalt. But that’s being pretty picky for this kind of tool.

Ryobi Cordless Heat Gun - Best Cordless Heat Gun

Pros

  • 10-second full temp heating time
  • 2 nozzles come with the kit
  • Compact length
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Single heat mode
  • No lock-on
  • No hang hook
  • Bare tool only – no kit option

Price

  • Ryobi P3151: $99 bare tool only

Numbers to Know

  • Max Temp: 875ºF
  • Airflow: 6 CFM
  • Height: 8.34″
  • Width: 3.23″
  • Depth: 6.5″
  • Weight: 1.35 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years

Verdict

There’s not a ton of separation between these three models and certainly not enough to jump battery platforms over. If you’re already on one of these systems, buy that heat gun. If you’re not, and this is the only tool you need, grab one of the kits to save some money over buying a separate battery/charger starter kit. All 3 brands have broad lines and it’s not a bad thing to jump onto any one of those platforms.

The Best Cordless Heat Gun: Butane and a Battery

If you don’t mind buying butane, you get a lot more runtime since all the battery has to do is ignite the gas and run the fan. That opens up more possibilities such as paint removal and thawing pipes.

Ridgid Cordless Butane Heat Gun R860434B

Ridgid pretty well has the corner on the market for the best cordless heat gun that uses a battery and butane. It kicks the battery-only options in both battery runtime and maximum temperature, reaching up to 1100ºF with an adjustable dial.

While the battery lasts pretty much all day, the butane doesn’t. You get in the neighborhood of 15 minutes with each refill, depending on the temperature you’re running and there’s no gauge to let you know how close you are to empty.

Even though this model doesn’t come with any nozzles, it’s 1.25″ barrel is a standard size and works with many other brands’ nozzles.

Ridgid Cordless Butane Heat Gun kickstand

Pros

  • Adjustable temperature dial
  • 1100ºF max
  • Kickstand
  • Trigger lock
  • Cool down mode keeps the fan running after you shut off the butane

Cons

  • No butane gauge
  • No kit option
  • Frequent butane refills

Price

  • Ridgid R86043B: $109 bare tool only

Numbers to Know

  • Max Temp: 1100°F
  • Runtime: ~15 minutes per butane refill
  • Airflow: Variable (max not listed)
  • Height: 9.25″
  • Width: 9.72″
  • Depth: 3.43″
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years (not a Lifetime Service Agreement product)

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Best Cordless Heat Gun Alternative

If you don’t own a heat gun for heat shrink connections, there’s a good chance you’re using some sort of lighter or open-flame torch. These are more limited since they don’t produce any airflow to move the heat away, but they still get the job done and are much less expensive. You just need gas refills. The one thing you need to keep your eye on is that they use an open flame for heat, so take appropriate care.

Dremel VersaTip 2000-01

The Dremel VersaTip makes a great heat gun alternative thanks to the tips that come with it. We can say the same about the Dremel VersaFlame but we like the VersaTip’s compact size a bit more. The tip is for precision applications, so it’s smaller than the heating area on our other recommendations. You get a range of 1256–1832ºF and the 0.57 fluid ounces of fuel last up to 75 minutes. That’s a pretty killer combination if heat shrink connections are your primary focus.

Without butane, the tool weighs less than 5 ounces. In addition to applying precision heat, you can cut, shape, pyro-write, and solder with the included tips. And for the OCD person in the room (that’d be me), it even comes in a handy-dandy case to store everything. If you’re a DIYer, it’s a pretty nice way to go.

Dremel VersaTip - Best Cordless Heat Gun

Pros

  • Higher temperatures and longer runtimes
  • Adjustable temperatures
  • More versatile tip arrangement
  • Incredibly lightweight and compact
  • Lock-on button

Cons

  • Very small heating area
  • Open flame design requires extra caution

Price

Numbers to Know

  • Max Temp: 1832ºF (2192º open flame)
  • Runtime: Up to 75 minutes
  • Weight: 4.76 ounces
  • Warranty: 2 years limited

 

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