A heat gun blows out hot air using a fan that draws in air at the rear of the gun and then passes it over heated elements. Some have temperatures as low as 100 degrees Fahrenheit while others go up to 1200 or more. Dual temperature heat guns have two different temperature settings to accommodate different types of projects. Their applications include removing paint and decals, shrinking tubing, shrink wrapping, drying components, and bending plastics. Different types include electrical heat guns and pneumatic heat guns.
A torch typically produces a flame with propane or butane fuel. You can adjust the flame size to fit your project needs. Main uses of torching include soldering, as well as heat shrinking and terminating, heating, lighting, and other applications.
A smaller version of a blowtorch, a micro torch runs on butane. Micro torches solder metals, which makes them popular for jewelry making.
Propane reaches a higher temperature of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit while butane only reaches 2,400 degrees. Propane torch heads curve inwards, while butane torches have straight open torch ends. The smaller size of butane torches makes them more compact and portable, but they burn weaker, making them ideal culinary torches. If your project calls for more soldering, use a butane torch, and if it calls for more welding, use a propane torch.
Propane torches have a gas tank that are easy to refill once used up, while butane torches use gas canisters that you need to replace. Butane torches tend to be cheaper, but not as high quality. Make sure you know the specific needs of your project so that you can buy the appropriate torch.
If you work on a wide variety of projects, you want a torch with an adjustable flame size that can produce either a pinpoint or broad flame. For detail work, you want a pinpoint flame, while for bigger surfaces you want a broad flame.
You also want to look to see if your torch has interchangeable tips to help you change your flame size for different projects. If you will work with a variety of materials and know that you will need different flame sizes, you should buy one torch that can accommodate all your project needs.
You also want to consider the ignition. If your torch doesn’t use a trigger start, you will need to use a lighter to ignite it.
Before you choose your hot air gun, first consider the temperature range. You want to make sure that your heat gun operates at a high or low enough temperature for your project. You also want to check and see if your heat gun uses a cool down feature. A cool down feature saves time by cooling the gun faster than just waiting for it to cool naturally.