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Can You Use A Hair Dryer As A Heat Gun: 3 Important Differences

Can you use a Hair Dryer as a Heat Gun for your daily tasks? A heat gun and a hairdryer look the same, feel the same, work the same way, have the same sound and design. Someone can confuse them; the hairdryer is mostly under your bathroom counter and the normal heat gun is in the garage or in among other tools.

They both have settings for high/low and have motor-driven fans that blow hot air. That is why a heat gun is often called a hot air gun. The Irony is that they are totally different tools with different functionalities, but you don’t know that and you want to confirm if it is possible to use a Hair Dryer as a Heat Gun.

The core difference between a Hair Dryer and a Hot air Gun

The doppelgängers have descriptive names, most of the time, the name describes what the item does. A Rice cooker cooks rice, an Iron irons clothes, a hairdryer dries hair and a heat gun produces heat for different uses.

The Functionality of  the Hair Dryer & the Heat Gun

Most of the time if you buy new things they may have adhesives or you would like to defrost something that stayed in a freezer. The best tool for such jobs, between the two, is the Hot air Gun.
You will understand later in the article, but at the moment just note that a Hot air Gun is a tool that provides a steady supply of heat.

At this point, you might be thinking, “This guy has just described a hairdryer,” well, you will not be able to point a Hot air Gun to your face even for two minutes. But that is what we are going to discuss in this article, why a hairdryer cannot replace a heat gun.

Can you use a hair dryer as a heat gun

Yes, but No. What I mean is that the hairdryer can be used to remove dried glue, remove old stickers, and maybe other types of adhesives. The idea is that a hairdryer performs tasks that do not heat intensive.

At the same time, it is because the hairdryer lacks the capacity of a Hot air Gun. A hairdryer has a maximum temperature of 60 °C (140 °F), which is the minimum temperature for all heat guns. Most tasks that heat guns perform require a higher temperature.

There are domestic basic heat guns for personal use and there are industrial professional heat guns that have even higher temperatures.

A Personal hot air Gun is likely to have a heat temperature range of between, 100 °F to 1200 °F; which comes in handy when working on tasks such as epoxy, resin, wrapping, and vinyl, among others.

For a better understanding, it is important to comprehend how a hot air Gun works and how it is compared to the hairdryer.

Fact about The Heat Gun

Based on its name it is possible to guess its function, the idea behind the tool is very simple; producing heat at different temperatures. A hot air Gun is simply a power tool that produces a steady flow of hot air as long as the trigger is held down.

Having a similar look to a power drill, the hot air Gun has a circular metallic nose, a trigger, and a grip. It is powered in various ways; some heat guns utilize gas and the most popular utilize electricity.

The powerful industrial heat guns are the ones that are designed to use gas power, but domestic heat guns for personal use are designed to use electricity.

The “hot air,” that a heat gun produces, is extremely hot. The electric heat guns are capable of reaching 1500 °F which is around 815 °C.

Well, you might have a reference of how hot this is, but let me elaborate on it for you. In seconds, the hot air gun melts plastic, and you can imagine what can happen to your skin.

Heat guns can cause third-degree burns on your skin within seconds, therefore it is a serious tool that requires safety and precaution.

Mostly women, girls, or people with long hair use heat guns daily. After their showers, they use blow dryers to dry their hair.

A blow dryer/ a Hairdryer is categorized as a heat gun even though no one refers them to as heat guns. The difference has been mentioned before, which is the temperature difference between the two.

At this moment, we can point out that a hairdryer is categorized as a heat gun but, it is not as powerful as a heat gun, in terms of temperature limits.

Why should not you use a hairdryer as a heat gun

Given that a hairdryer is similar to a hot air gun, you might be wondering why don’t they perform the same way.
You may also be wondering why can’t you just use a hairdryer in the place of a hot air gun. And save the money used to buy both a Hair Dryer and Heat Guns which is expensive.

Yes, you can use the hairdryer, but the work will not be efficient as compared to using a hot air gun.

For Instance; You may want to remove dry paint so that it does not drip. When you use a hairdryer it will drip because the air is not hot enough. But if you use a hot air gun, the paint will dry because the heat gun has provided enough heat.

You may want to remove old paint from the door so that you can paint another coat of paint. A hairdryer will automatically fail you but a hot air gun will do the work.

It is important to have proof and I back my word with the YouTube video from who did an

Instructional Video: Heat Gun Vs Hair Dryer – How To Properly Use Heat Gun On Leather.

The YouTube Video illustrates that a hairdryer cannot be used in the place of a heat gun. The reason is that a hot air gun and a hairdryer have different characteristics and abilities as shown in the table below.


Heat Gun Hair Dryer
This power tool is designed for melting and heating. The hairdryer is primarily designed to dry things.
Temperature range: 100 °F to 1500 °F 100 °F to 200 °F
The body is metal housed with plastic. The whole body is plastic lined with mica sheets are insulators between the plastic body and the heating coil.

Vinyl wrapping.

Fixing leather Crease

Stripping old wallpaper/paint.

Removing linoleum and vinyl flooring.

Shrink fit plastic.


Drying hair

Drying damp clothes

Defrost food items

Peel off price tags, stickers and labels

Thin plastic sheets shrink-wrapping.

In retrospect, you can substitute a hairdryer for a hot air gun, but it will not work the same; because the hairdryer has a strict heat limit.
Imagine if a hot air gun had the same heat limit as a hairdryer, people would have injuries, and it would be ironic that you cannot use a hairdryer to dry hair.

If that was the case then the question would have changed too; “can I use a hot air gun in the place of a hairdryer?” The answer would be “NO” because it can melt your face!!

Most dryers do not go over 100 °F so that they cannot cause bodily harm to the user. This means that it is a problem if a hairdryer is used to perform tasks meant for a hot air gun. This is because most activities that require the use of a hot air gun require a heat threshold of over 100 °F.

Take, for example, you are renovating a space in your house, and you want to strip off paint or dry paint quickly.
The best choice is a hot air gun, you can try using a hairdryer but quickly drying paint requires 300 °F to 600 °F, meaning that a regular hairdryer won’t cut it.

It is even more challenging when looking at tasks that are designated for a heat gun. Applying Vinyl wrap on cars is a sensitive activity and requires swift action.

This activity requires around 175 to 195 °F, if something goes wrong then a disaster is pending. The same sentiments extend to frozen pipes, they need to be addressed swiftly or things will turn out to be disastrous.

Defrosting frozen pipes requires around 1000 °F of heat, which is a heat temperature that will never be on a hairdryer, simply exceeds the capabilities of a hairdryer.

The following YouTube video from SKIL shows how a heat gun is instrumental in different activities and at what temperatures. It helps to show you cannot use a hairdryer as a heat gun. Although you can use a hairdryer as is discussed in the next section.

YouTube: How to use a heat gun?

Uses of a Hairdryer

The difference between the two does not limit the hairdryer. Some tasks can be accomplished using a hairdryer.
For Instance, A  standard hairdryer can be very handy when it comes to removing stickers or old adhesives on containers.

This activity is not heating intensive, therefore, either a heat gun or a hairdryer can be used. Besides the unique examples, you should rarely use the hairdryer in the place of a heat gun. Using a heat gun is more efficient & much faster. Because it has concentrated airflow.

10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Using a Hair Dryer in the Place of a Heat Gun

1. Which is cheaper, a heat gun or a hairdryer?

They have a similar price range, but some brands are more expensive than others both in hairdryers and heat guns.

2. Which will dry my hair faster, a hairdryer or a heat gun?

A heat gun, but you end up with burn scars or hair loss; because the hair would have been burnt off by the high temperatures coming from the heat gun.

3. Between a Hairdryer and a Heat Gun, which one is safe to use around flammable materials?

A Hairdryer, the low temperature cannot set off flammable materials like perfume canisters. But a heat gun is known for starting fires around flammable materials.

4. What is the cold setting on a hairdryer?

This setting on the hairdryer is one temperature setting that intimidates a lot of people. Although the cold setting is instrumental in styling wet hair.

5. Can I tweak a hairdryer to get a Heat gun, since they have almost similar wattage?

Wattage is important in these two gadgets, what you have to understand is where the wattage is going. The wattage on a heat gun is directed into an air stream that is a low flow to produce high temperatures.

On the other hand, the hairdryer wattage is used to limit fault conditions that can lead to maximum temperature. So, even though the wattage is almost similar it does not mean a hairdryer can be transformed into a heat gun.

6. Hair Dryer and a Heat Gun: which one should I prefer over the other?

Preference is relevant when two things have the same functionality or serve the same purpose. That is not the case in this situation.

The Hairdryer is used to drying hair and the Heat Gun is used for melting and heating. Meaning that they have different abilities, therefore not comparable.

7. What is the difference between a Heat gun and a Hot air gun?

They are the same thing, Heat guns are also known as hot air guns.

8. Can I use a hairdryer as a heat gun for paint stripping, resin, window tinting, embossing, phone repair, epoxy, and vinyl wrap?

It all depends on the activity because all the activities mentioned above except the phone repair would require high temperatures. Therefore, it is not advisable to use a hairdryer as a heat gun, because of the hair dryer’s heat limit.

9. If I cannot use a Hairdryer, then What Can I use instead of a Heat Gun?

You will probably need items that have the same temperature limit. Therefore, it is advisable to use a soldering iron, alcohol burner, butane torch, or engraving laser. All these tools perform high-temperature tasks effectively.

10. What is the difference between a Heat Gun and Hair Dryer?

The Temperature limit; a hairdryer has a temperature limit of 100 °F. A heat gun has a temperature limit of 1500 °F.
The body design; the hairdryer has a plastic body insulated to avoid it being burnt by the heating coil. The heat gun has a metallic body covered by plastic.


The article was written with you in mind, hope it has provided every answer to your questions, in regards to heat guns and hair dryers. As a parting shot, I recommend that you invest in a heat gun, because they cost almost the same price as hair dryers and they are very efficient.


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