Holiday Gift Guides

Tools Under $30 Gift Guide: Heat Guns

A heat gun, like this one from Titan Tools, has plenty of uses around the house and garage. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Whether it’s for a holiday or birthday, this Tools Under 30 Dollars Gift Guide Series shows you important, yet somewhat uncommon, tools that any gearhead would want.

Today, let’s talk about Heat Guns.

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First off, let’s be clear: A heat gun is not a hair dryer. The key difference is that heat guns typically get much, much hotter. So if you’ve been using an old hair dryer to fill the role of a dedicated heat gun, we’re guessing it’s a frustrating experience.

With that distinction out of the way, a heat gun is worth the investment because it’s a really useful tool.

Here are just three jobs a good heat gun can easily handle:

1. Shrinking Heat Sleeves

A heat gun is the best way to install heat shrink tubing. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Yeah, we know you could use an ordinary lighter on your heat shrink tubing but, and you can call us nervous nellies here, we don’t like the idea of using open flames around electronics—particularly in an automotive setting.

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2. Removing Stickers, Emblems & Residue

Got a sticker that won’t come off? A heat gun, some adhesive remover, and our old pal the Gasket Scraper will handle it. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

Back in the day, did you slap a “Keep on Truckin‘” bumper sticker on your ride, and now want to take it off? Well, a heat gun, soft-blade gasket scraper, and some adhesive remover is a good way to do it.

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3. Bending Plastic and Other Materials

Sometimes, we get a plastic model kit with some pieces that need a bit of “persuasion” for proper fitment. We keep a heat gun on-hand for just that reason. (Image/OnAllCylinders)

A little heat makes some plastics soft and flexible, so you can bend them into custom shapes. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much heat can burn, shrink, and distort the material you’re working with.

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And that’s just a beginning. Heat guns can also help remove fasteners, strip wax, thaw frozen locks, and heck, they’ll even warm-up your coffee. All told, a heat gun is one of those tools you buy for a specific task, only to to find you’re using it more and more with every new job that crosses your workbench.

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Again, a lot of folks try to make-do with a hair dryer here, but that really isn’t the right tool for the job—a proper heat gun can make all the difference. That means a heat gun is an excellent gift to give and receive. Best of all, there’s a good chance you can find a basic heat gun for under 30 bucks.

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