Heat Gun Vs. Hair Dryer: Don’t Get Them Mistaken!

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Heat Gun Vs. Hair Dryer: Don’t Get Them Mistaken!

Do you have projects in hand that need a concentrated source of heat? Are you secretly considering using a hairdryer instead of a heat gun? Yeah, we know it’s heavier and more expensive and we’ve all been there! And we also know that doing so will probably either damage the project or the hair dryer.

But to be fair, in the heat gun vs. hair dryer battle, the heat gun isn’t always the winner. If you want to know the end of the story and make sure which tool you should use for different tasks, keep reading.

Can You Use a Hair Dryer as a Heat Gun?

Let us be honest. There’s no absolute answer to this question. Of course, we can be absolute about the fact that you should never use a heat gun on anyone’s hair! But there are some cases in which a low heat will get the job done. In this case, you don’t have to be so strict and it’s fine to use your hair dryer instead.

It’s not ideal but desperate times call for desperate measures. But before you go on and forgo the option of buying or using a heat gun, give us the chance to change your mind. Read the following to make sure you don’t hurt your project, devices, or yourself.

The Temperature of a Hair Dryer Vs. a Heat Gun

Heat level is what primarily guides you when choosing a heat gun or a hair dryer. As you know or can guess, hair dryers produce less heat than heat guns, so you can’t always use them interchangeably. The temperature of a hair dryer can range from 95° F (35° C) to 130° F (54.4° C). This number for a heat gun is from 400° F (204.4° C) to 1200° F (648.8° C).

Here’s a table for more clarity:

the temperature range of a hair dryer vs. a heat gun

Another thing to consider when comparing a hair dryer vs. a heat gun is the temperature control. As you can see from the temperature range, when using a hair dryer, you don’t have much of a choice. But you can adjust a heat gun to emit heat enough for different types of tasks. This is extra important as an imprecise temperature can damage the material you’re working on.

The Differences Between a Heat Gun and a Hair Dryer

Okay, okay. Let’s get into it and finally examine what differences these two devices have. If you’re hesitant about choosing one, don’t wing it. Go for it with enough information so you achieve the best results. Who knows, maybe even one day you can flaunt your knowledge of the difference between heat guns and hair dryers and impress some people!

Functionality and Purpose

The major functionality of a heat gun or a hair dryer is to, you guessed it, generate heat. The difference is we use hairdryers to dry hair but heat guns are for shooting out heat on different materials. The air in a hairdryer is heated by an electric element and afterward is blown out by a fan installed in the device.

This helps the hair dry up more quickly and you can style the hair as you desire. The heat gun generally has the same process for blowing out heat. It’s also used for styling but on materials like plastic, vinyl, paint, and adhesives. So, you can imagine how hotter a hair dryer vs. a heat gun can get. But why is that?

functionality and purpose of heat gun vs. hair dryer

Power Rating

Comparing the power rating between is a bit tricky and you’ll see why in a bit. Let’s look at the range of power rating in hair dryer vs. heat gun:

power rating of hair dryers vs. heat guns

As you can see, the maximum power rating for both of these devices is the same. So, why is there a difference between heat emissions? The thing is, a heat gun or a hair dryer can reach the same wattage but the way they use that power is different.

Heat guns are designed to reach high temperatures. But hair dryers, even with 2000 w of power, max out at a way lower temperature. So, if you’re planning to bend plastic, shrink vinyl, or strip paint, a hair dryer simply won’t get you there.

Safety Features

Devices that deal with heat are generally equipped with safety features to keep them from overheating. So, it makes sense that the higher the temperature, the more caution is needed. Take a look at this table to get the full comparison between the safety features in a heat gun vs. a hair dryer:

safety features of hair dryers vs. heat guns

Beware that not all types of heat guns or hair dryers are equipped with all of these safety features.


Airflow plays a crucial role in both of the devices. Hair dryers are designed to spread hot air over a large area. Heat guns, on the other hand, shoot out heat through a focused stream. This has a large impact on the amount the tension they can release.

Size and Weight

Hair dryers are supposed to be portable and easy to maneuver. But heat guns typically have more of a robust design and maneuverability isn’t the first consideration in their design. Overall, hair dryers are more compact and lightweight than heat guns.


Do you have trouble with your hair dryer roaring early in the morning before leaving for work or late at night after a nice night shower? Well just be thankful that you only have to use a hair dryer and not a heat gun because these plastic-melting devices are LOUD! This makes them less of an ideal option to use in calm settings and better for workshops.


It’s not surprising if your decision to use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun is for its price. This handy friend of every hairdresser is more affordable than a heat gun that’s used to melt different materials. But don’t get discouraged by the price. If you need heat on various materials and for different tasks, a heat gun is the best investment for you.

cost of hair dryer vs. heat gun


You might think you know this one but there’s more to it. Heat guns are used for more heavy-duty but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are also more durable.

Hair dryers are built to last for a long time and be used frequently, but heat guns are designed for industrial use. This means it’s more possible for heat guns to experience overheating or breakage. But all in all, the durability of a heat gun or a hair dryer depends on the material and the build of each product.


You could say that the whole premise of a heat gun vs. a hair dryer is the same. They both have attachments to direct the airflow in different breadths. But in a heat gun, these attachments are called nozzles. Also, heat guns might come with other attachments such as a scraper.

hair dryer vs. heat gun attachments


We expect you to be a pro by now and guess which device is more high-maintenance: a heat gun. These devices need to be cleaned and maintained more often than a hairdryer. This is because a hairdryer is more likely to face breakage or malfunction.

Power Source

In the end, let’s discuss power sources. For better or worse, this criterion cannot really help you choose between a heat gun or a hair dryer. Because the two come in both corded and cordless forms.

But let’s make it all more interesting and see if you actually can use your hair dryer instead of a heat gun or vice versa. (Don’t do it vice versa!)

hair dryers and heat guns with different power sources

Heat Gun Vs. Hair Dryer: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job

If you take a quick look at the applications we’ve listed, you might think you know the answer to the question “What’s the right tool for these jobs”. But let us ask you to trust the process.

Vinyl Wrap

Okay, you might anticipate the answer to this one but the reason will surprise you.

A heat gun is a better choice when it comes to working with vinyl wrap. But it’s because the excessive and outspread heat from a hair dryer and the fact that you can’t quite control the temperature, can cause damage to your vinyl and melt it. Also, you cannot expect the precision of a heat gun from a hair dryer so the former is the definite choice here.

Hair dryer vs heat gun on vinyl wrap


In this case, the low-temperature setting and even the imprecision of a hair dryer can come to your aid. You want a blow of warm airflow on your masterpiece and you don’t want to set it on fire using a monstrous heat gun. So, don’t go the distance and just pick your hair styling aid to create magnificent art.

Dry Paint

Okay, this is an easy one: Do you want bubbles and cracks in your painting and end up burning the building? Yeah, I didn’t think so! This is why the difference between a heat gun and a hair dryer is what you need to keep in mind before using the two. So, just go for your good old hair dryer and keep a distance from your painting with a gentle blow. And there you go, a safe and sound art-making session.


Did you grasp how bad of an idea it was to use a heat gun on a painting? It’s exactly the other way around for resin. It’s a bad idea to use a hair dryer on resin as it’s too windy, too cool, and also too dirty for a clear material like resin. It can cause bubbles, blow dust, and take way longer to harden the resin. So, no questions asked, use a heat gun on resin.

heat gun vs. hair dryer on resin

Phone Repairing

This can be a bit tricky because it depends on the kind of phone repair you have in mind. Primarily using heat for phone repair consists of loosening the adhesive on the different parts. In this case, it’s all about the capacity of the hair dryer you are using. If it’s capable of reaching a high temperature, it can loosen the adhesive and get the job done.

But it’s not really recommended especially if you’re a professional mobile technician and you deal with this matter day to day. A handy little heat gun doesn’t need to try too hard to achieve high temperatures. This means 200° F (or 400° F according to some sources) which is the heat you need to repair phones. Also, it can get there way faster than a hair dryer which is what you need to have a smooth workflow.

hair dryer vs heat gun for phone repairing
  • Note that it’s not recommended to dry a wet phone with a hair dryer so stay clear of that area as well.

Screen Printing

The hair dryer vs. heat gun has a clear winner in the case of screen printing. a hair dryer cannot get as hot as you need to fully cure the ink so the heat gun is a clear choice.

Window Tinting

This one is all about the possibilities. It’s possible to use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun for window tinting but it’s not ideal. It doesn’t get as hot as the job requires and this can cause damage to your hair dryer and leave you with an ugly tinting.

Can You Use a Hair Dryer as a Heat Gun for Shrink Wrap?

using hair dryer as heat gun for shrink wrap

If it’s just a question of ‘can’, yes you can. But will it work? Probably not. You need enough heat to somewhat melt the shrink wrap and it’s unlikely that a hair dryer can produce such heat. But if you’ve found one that can, you can use it. Although it will take twice as long than using a heat gun and won’t give you the sleek results you’re looking for.

Hope we’ve answered enough of your questions about the differences between a heat gun and a hair dryer. But if there’s anything else, you can leave your questions below. And that’s a wrap!


Can I use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun for DIY projects?

Depending on the project, hair dryers, and heat guns can be used interchangeably. But it doesn’t work for all projects and it can even cause hazards or sloppy results.

Are there any safety considerations when using a heat gun versus a hair dryer?

As a heat gun can produce more heat than a hair dryer, there are more safety precautions to keep in mind. Such as wearing gloves and keeping the heat gun away from flammable materials.

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18 May 2024

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