January 26, 2011

Porter-Cable PC1500HG Heat Gun - Review

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A heat gun is one of those tools that you're probably not going to carry around with you in your truck, but when you need one, man o man are they ever handy. Recently, Porter-Cable sent us their new model to test out and review. We only used it a few times in the fall, but now that it's winter we're finding all kinds of things to do with it. We also did a few head to head lab tests against our old Kawasaki heat gun (reviewed here). Read on to see what we thought...

So we've defrosted the auger blades on the snow blower, melted a few ice dams, and stripped a little paint. In all those situations, the Porter-Cable acted accordingly, meaning: it blew hot air on what we wanted it to.

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There's not a whole lot to say about features on any heat gun, but the Porter-Cable has one that we really liked a lot. The tool has a temperature adjustment on it. At its lowest setting, the tool is nothing more than a fan and at the highest setting it's the devil's hairdryer.

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Actually, when we tested it against our Kawasaki, we found that our older tool (lacking any temp adjustment) is considerably hotter. We turned both tools on and set them to high and took readings of their business ends with our infrared thermometer. At its hottest, the Kawasaki reached up into the low 300 degree mark while the Porter-Cable only reached a little over 200 degrees. We also placed a piece of wood about 1" away from the gun noses and turned the tools on to high. The Porter-Cable didn't burn the wood, but the Kawasaki torched it in no time, leaving a nice brown mark.

PC_heatgun_nose.JPGOne thing we've come to know is that too much heat isn't necessarily a good thing, particularly with a one-temp gun like the Kawasaki. For a time, we did nothing but rot repair and we were always using heat guns to dry out damp wood in preparation for loads and loads of epoxy. Setting the wood on fire, or some bit of old insulation behind the wood was a real danger and having a one-temp heat gun is a little dicey in that kind of situation. Even though it's not as hot as the Kawasaki, there are definitely times when we'll gladly choose the lower temp gun, especially if it has the temp adjustment as well.

So if we need to call on intense heat, we'll still go with the Kawasaki, but the gun that is going in the truck and heading to the job site with us is the Porter-Cable. The temp adjustment makes it more versatile and we're far less likely to set someone's house on fire.

Amazon has two kits available:
PC1500HGA (comes with a few nozzle attachments) for $50 here
PC1500HG (tool only) for $42 here

Read More in: All Reviews | Heat Guns | Painting | Power Tools

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 26, 2011 6:10 AM

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Recent Comments

Ethan, that's an interesting question. We've had this gun for so long, when we wrote the review, we didn't even look at the press materials...

We did contact PC regarding your question and it seems that the temp is taken from inside the tool. Apparently, there is no standard way to record a heat gun's temp, so the numbers will likely vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, depending on how they're getting the readings.

Given this info, what we think it boils down to is a number that's not worth paying much attention to. Still, the PC gun at 200+ degrees is hot enough to handle the things that your average tradesman is going to throw at it.


Posted by: Tool Snob at January 31, 2011 7:28 PM

PC claims a max temp north of 1000 F for this heat gun. Why such a huge difference from your measurement?


Posted by: ethan@OPC at January 26, 2011 3:42 PM
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