Heat Gun vs Hair Dryer - Are They Different?

side view of a heat gun

As a craftsman, one of the things that come really easy is improvisation. Sometimes your tools fail to work and you have little or no time to make quick repairs, or even find a means to get a replacement. However, the world of DIY has made it thus far, thanks to some home appliances that have made improvisation possible.  Today, the “heat gun vs hair dryer ” post will help identify certain similarities and differences between these two key tools.

Heat guns in some way have a similar shape with hair dryers and in fact, sound in the same way when in use. Occasionally people think you can use a hairdryer in place of the heat gun and get the same results, but these two tools have vast differences. However, the truth remains that on a few occasions you can make this swap for a few applications and go unnoticed.

Fortunately, in this heat gun vs hair dryer, we will take a look at lots of detailed information. This is because many people do not know the differences between these two tools. Furthermore, we will explain the mode of operation of both tools and also identify the accurate applicable uses for each tool.

Heat Gun

Car mirror wrapped in adhesive film by car wrapping specialist

Both the heat gun vs hair dryer work similarly, which explains why people decide to use the heat gun ins place of the hair dryer. Similarly, you can use the hair dryer in place of the heat gun, however, not for all tasks. The use of a hair dryer over a heat gun depends on the sort of work.

Despite the relative interchangeable use, both devices blow hot air and remain influential. The heat gun provides an air of temperature within a range of 300 and 1200-degree Fahrenheit. The temperature depends on the model of heat gun you use and the type of features it has. Talking about the build design, it comes with both ON and OFF buttons which indicates the power starts and ends.

However, in the newer versions of heat guns seen on the market, some advanced features have been introduced. For instance, newer models have LCD which displays the current working temperature. This feature comes in really handy as it prevents you from burning your fingers from touching the working surface to feel the heat. Lastly, the LCD helps to set a fixed working temperature.

Hair Dryers

Hair Dryer

Just like heat guns, hair dryer blows warm air. However, due to the functionality of hair dryers, the air becomes blown at lower temperatures. Furthermore, it features the same build design as with the heat gun with a number of similar features. However, when used for regular applications, it cannot burn the surface of workpieces except applied for a long time.

Like the heat gun, the Hair dryer also features LCD that displays the working temperature. Therefore, you do not need to touch the surface or feel the airflow to check the temperature. Unfortunately, many still check the temperature with their hand which is risky.

How a heat gun vs hair dryer works

Hot air gun with glowing nozzle - head on view - isolated on white background

Getting down to the basics, you would discover that a hair dryer and heat gun works in pretty much the same way. They have similar basic shapes, make the same kind of noise and even have some of the same types of controls.

Most importantly, you will find in these tools two things: a heating coil or element and fan. They work in such a way that the fan becomes powered by a universal power of varying horsepower rating. The motor upon ignition by an electric current causes the fan to start blowing and this, in turn, gives out a mass volume of air.

The other part: the heating coil produces the heat which warms up the air the fan gives. Eventually, what you have coming out of the tool is hot air. You could say the hair dryer doesn’t emit hot air, however, this is because it has a low-temperature level. Basically, the hair dryer has a singular function of giving off air to help accelerate evaporation of hair from your hair. On the other hand, the heat gun gives off hot air to melt substances.

In summary, heat gun vs hair dryer are tools that blow air over a heating element which comes off the barrel.

Similarities Between Heat gun vs Hair dryer 

Earlier we mentioned that heat guns and hair dryers have the same shape and design which resembles that of a gun. Furthermore, they both use electricity as the sole source of fuel, although some handheld heat guns use gases such as butane or propane.

In addition, both devices have nozzles, although they come in different shapes and designs which we will discuss in other sections of the heat gun vs hair dryer. Lastly, they work using the same principle and require you to squeeze the trigger before it starts to work.

Differences between Heat gun vs Hair dryer 

The use of hair dryer dates back to the 1890s when Alexander F. "Beau" Godefroy took inspiration from vacuum cleaners. Godefroy added this old-fashioned hair dryer and blow dryers to his salon in France. Unlike the newer handheld models of the hair dryer, we have now, these traditional hair dryers had a big size and requires to have a dome placed on top of the client’s head. Back then, this helped put out warm air to dry and style the hair.

However, modern versions of these devices, popularly referred to as hair hood dryers still exists in some salons. Handheld dryers now found in most household became introduced during the 1920s. and of course majority of the users were professional stylists in beauty salons. American Inventor Gabriel Kazanjian field the first patent for a hair dryer in America in the early 1911s.

This brief history comes in really handy as it helps to clear the air as regarding which device came first. Heat guns were introduced years after the use of hair dryers in 1970s. This shows that in one way or the other, hair dryers have played a role in the fabrication of heat guns and it’s safe to say “heat guns look like hair dryers”

Without further ado, let’s get to the differences between hair gun vs hair dryer.

Temperature Range


Hair dryers exists as electromechanical devices that give off air to dry hair quickly after a shower or for sue in a beauty salon. The hair dryer basically helps to speed up the evaporation of moisture from the hair. On the other hand, heat guns exist as electronic device used to emit hot air. Just like the name suggests, they have a shape similar to that of a gun.

Heat guns can emit heat air at temperatures ranging between 100°C and 550°C (200-1000°F). In addition, some commercial models can go up to 760°C (1400°F). On the other hand, a normal hair dryer has a temperature level varying from 100 to 205 degrees. However, both have different uses and sometimes one cannot replace the other as many think.

Applicable Uses

By now, you already know that heat guns emit hotter air than hair dryers. This singular factor should suggest to you that heat guns will work best when used for duties requiring hotter like melting glues and or defrosting. On the other hand, hair dryers have specific functionality and used only when you need to evaporate moisture from your hair.

You should never use a heat gun on the hair as it can cause the hair to singe. However, the faster evaporation hair dryers offer allows the hair to style and set quickly as compared to natural air drying. Therefore, in every salon and hair styling boutique, air dryers remain a common feature.

After a wash, there exists temporary hydrogen bonds that form between strands of hair. These bonds although quite powerful help to determine the shape and style of hair. Therefore, Blow dryers come into view and play a huge part in controlling the existing hydrogen bonds.

The following are typical applicable uses of a heat gun.

  • Paint drying: nothing less than 250-degree Fahrenheit
  • Plastic bending nothing less than 250-degree Fahrenheit
  • Refrigerator defrosting nothing less than 250 degree Fahrenheit
  • Removing floor coverings, nothing less than 350-degree Fahrenheit
  • Frozen locks, nothing less than 350-degree Fahrenheit
  • Paint removal nothing less than 750-degree Fahrenheit
  • Frozen water pipes, nothing less than 1150-degree Fahrenheit
  • Removing rusted bolts, nothing less than 1150-degree Fahrenheit

Other than using the hair dryer on your hair, the following are other creative ways to make use of the device:

  • Heating an eyelash curler
  • Warm up your bed under the covers
  • Dry off wet nail polish
  • After washing vegetables to dry them off.
  • Eliminate water rings from furniture
  • Remove adhesives from wallpapers and murals faster
  • Stretch out a pair of tight shoes.
  • Defrosting frozen products
  • Removing wrinkles from clothes.


The Hair dryer although a powerful tool, has a build design and you can easily handle it using a single hand. Talking about the build quality, it features body parts made of plastic with ceramic heating elements. Due to the composition of ceramic, it makes it possible for the dryer to reaching a required temperature within a short time.

Remember the coil becomes powered by a universal motor, however, this motor has high electric resistance. This singular reason prevents the device from becoming overheated. The hair dryer uses electricity as its fuel and needs to cool down as soon as it can. Thus, the newer versions of hair dryers feature the latest ionic technologies which helps to reduce static electricity. The reduced static electricity causes the cooling and heating operation of the dryer work smoothly.

On the other hand, the heat gun stands as an excellent source of high temperature. Therefore, it has a build design that features elements which can protect the unit from burning as a result of the high temperature. Furthermore, due to the nature of the hot air, you cannot have the device just blowing onto any surface. Hence, it comes with a nozzle which helps to direct the hot temperature to a specific object or surface.

Unlike hair dryers, heat guns have external stands which allow the user to store the device when not in use. Many heat guns also come with triggers used to power ON/OFF the device. Lastly, the control of the device temperature lies in the hands of the electric fan and gas flame inside the device.

Safety Concerns

Safety first word on grunge background

Nothing beats safety when it comes to the use of electrical Safety is the prime concern while using electric devices. However, a hair dryer comes with few hazardous threats than a heat gun because of its relatively low temperature. Unfortunately, both give off hot air and any unconscious mistake can have really dangerous consequences. Therefore, concentrate on the task while using to devices and invest in protective ears like gloves.


While you cannot say precisely that you can use heat gun vs hair dryer  interchangeably, they have a number of similar applicable sues. Some of these include:

  • Label and sticker removal.
  • Molding of plastic frames for glasses.
  • Removal of candles wax from various surfaces.
  • Removal of crayon marks.

As you already know, you cannot use a heat gun to dry your recently washed air. Similarly, you cannot use a hair dryer to remove a rusted bolt. However, for tasks that fall in between the temperature range offered by these devices, you can always rely on the results of their performance.

Although there exists a number of things you cannot do with a hair dryer, there exists just as much as many things a heat gun cannot do too. With the temperature being the major difference between the heat gun vs hair dryer, you can easily select the right tool for whatever applicable sue.

Although simple as the temperature, the difference cannot be stated in a single line, that is why we have explained in details a number of things you need to know in heat gun vs hair dryer.