How to choose a hair dryer: professional advice

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A hair dryer is a popular tool that can hardly be replaced with something else. At first glance, it has a simple, uncomplicated design, but does this mean that it will be easy to choose the required model??

This is a continuation of a series of articles dedicated to the electric tool for professionals and amateurs. Today we are going to talk about heat air guns.

A technical hairdryer, as the “competent authorities” say, is an air blower, a thermal gun, a thermal blower, a hot air gun, a thermal blower, a construction or industrial hair dryer … This unit has a lot of names, most likely because of its remarkable popular popularity, the possibility of application in a wide variety of areas of life. And what, it is inexpensive, practical, compact, functional, easy to operate.

A hair dryer is a device powered by a stream of heated air. In German and French there are words that roughly sound like “foehn” – a gust of warm wind descending from the Alpine mountains. The German company FOEN, which has been part of the AEG concern for over a century, presented the first hair dryer in 1900. Over time, the successful device was improved, acquired a number of additional properties and took its place in production workshops, on construction sites, in home workshops..

What a hair dryer can do

The list of operations performed with a hot air gun can amount to hundreds of items. In short, it comes in handy when you need a local, safe heating of the surface. In fact, a powerful professional building hairdryer will do everything that was previously done with a blowtorch and much more. There may be one obstacle (in extreme cases, two) – if there is no power supply at the workplace, or it is raining, only then the lamps get some advantage. In the asset of the hair dryer: no open flame, the possibility of the finest adjustments, safety, versatility, compactness.

How to choose a hair dryer

So, what tasks are solved with the help of a thermal gun? Let’s list the main ones:

  • removal of heated paintwork, veneer, films, wallpaper, parquet, tiles;
  • soldering and deformation of polymers;
  • welding of linoleum, fabrics and PVC membranes;
  • heating, melting and cutting of roofing material, bituminous tiles;
  • work with soft metal solders, tinning, tin removal;
  • installation of heat shrinkable insulation;
  • soldering with tin or silver;
  • acceleration of gluing processes;
  • drying, blowing, surface cooling;
  • defrosting water pipes, steps, storm gutters and other elements;
  • cutting of foam polymers;
  • melting compositions;
  • shrink fit (press fit).

How to choose a hair dryer

It is believed that a powerful building hairdryer can easily light barbecue coals and even create a magnificent crust on a gastronomic masterpiece. Some builders like to dry a wet robe with a blower, someone warms up their “brakes”, but still the main thing that is required from the layman is to “not confuse” the blower with a household appliance. It has been proven that whenever a technical hairdryer is used for other purposes, for example, for hairdressing purposes, it ends in disappointment. The manufacturers of this device persistently remind about this in passports and manuals..

How to choose a hair dryer

Naturally, not all hot air guns are equally versatile, there are amateur models with limited capabilities, there are truly multifunctional devices with a large range of high-tech gadgets. Let’s figure it out so as not to waste money.

Technical characteristics of the building hair dryer

The design and principle of operation of all technical hair dryers are approximately the same. In a housing made of heat-resistant plastic, a spiral is located on a ceramic insulator, which brings the air to a predetermined temperature, and a high-speed electric motor, using one or two impellers, pumps it in a specific direction. The nozzle forms the outgoing flow in a special way, which, in fact, does all the work. Of course, different products can have serious differences in layout, but more on that later. First, I propose to consider the “power” characteristics.

Construction hair dryer device

And these include the maximum temperature of the air stream and the amount of air supplied (performance). As for the maximum operating temperature, the average for the class, this figure is approximately in the region of 600-650 ° C. It is these numbers that can most often be found in the name of the tool (AEG PT 600 EC).

AEG PT 600 EC AEG PT 600 EC

As always, there are exceptions to the rule – there are monsters in nature that heat the air up to 750-800 degrees. The performance of an average building hair dryer varies between 200-650 liters per minute, sometimes it can be adjusted (Metabo HE 2300 Control). These characteristics are interdependent, they change their values ​​almost every time the instrument is changed. A quality instrument in this regard will be well balanced, manufacturers of the cheapest models do not burden themselves with such things, they put everything together in full, just to surprise the consumer. Obviously, the higher the maximum temperature and performance of the device, the more benefit it can bring to its owner. The reverse side of the coin will be a solid total power of the blower (500-2500 watts), which is distributed between the filament and the blower fan. Gluttonous devices, which exceed 2 kW, significantly load the electrical network and will be somewhat larger, heavier and more expensive. There are models that are obscenely powerful, for example, Steinel HG 5000 (3.4 kW, 800 l / min, max. 600 degrees; 1.2 kg).

Steinel HG 5000 E Steinel HG 5000 E

Temperature regulation. This essential function will help us adapt to specific work with specific materials, which are now plentiful. It is no secret that even externally similar materials can have a special chemical composition, have unique physical properties, so each of them will need its own temperature regime. Construction hair dryers of the “hobby” class provide step switching, usually two or three modes: “small”, “near average” and “maximum”. Their scope is limited to materials that fall within these ranges. The situation is much more interesting with professional models – there is an opportunity to smoothly select the desired temperature, respectively, to work with any materials, even the most capricious ones. The temperature can be controlled either electronically (Steinel HG 2310 LCD) or using a slider.

Steinel HG 2310 LCD Steinel HG 2310 LCD

Cold airflow. Very handy sometimes the ability of a building hair dryer to give out cold air (not all models have this). Thanks to this option, you can quickly cool down, for example, a freshly welded joint of two plastic parts and immediately continue working. The total time for the entire project is reduced significantly. By the way, cold air can be supplied either by turning off the spiral (Bosch GHG 660 LCD), or through a separate nozzle. The second option is considered a serious technological breakthrough, but the first one also has its advantages – you can quickly cool the spiral at the end of the work and immediately put the unit in the case.

Bosch GHG 660 LCD Bosch GHG 660 LCD

Maintaining the set temperature. This system is called temperature stabilization by some manufacturers. Smart electronics reads information from a group of sensors and adjusts the power of the coil for specific conditions, but at the same time does not allow it to overheat and fail (Makita HG 651). The temperature of the jet will be exactly what we need, regardless of voltage drops in the network, strong winds or low temperatures of the treated surface that reflects cold air. The built-in memory will play the last mode next time it is turned on. It is much more pleasant to work with such a tool, the speed and quality of the operations performed increases. And the service life of the heating element increases markedly due to the absence of overloads and sharp dips in energy consumption. Unfortunately, household models cannot boast of such a wonderful option, primarily due to its high cost..

Makita HG 651 CK Makita HG 651 CK

Filtration of incoming air. Certain types of “blowing” work may generate a certain amount of dust. It is sucked into the instrument and settling on the spiral can cause its failure. Advanced manufacturers supply their technical hair dryers with built-in removable filters that are easy to clean..

Control indication. To perform high-precision professional operations, when there is a danger of overheating (or “underheating”) the workpiece, you have to monitor the parameters of the workflow every minute. All kinds of information screens, LCD panels (Sparky HAG 2000ED) come to the rescue, which, however, do not make the instrument cheaper. Most often, we will have LED indication of various colors at our service..

Sparky HAG 2000ED Sparky HAG 2000ED

Construction hair dryer layout

A pistol or a cylinder? Usually the blower has a pistol-type main grip (Makita HG 650 CK), which is why, in general, the “military” version of the name stuck behind it. The handle can be closed, where the bracket protects the operator from hot air and molten particles – this is the traditional version (Metabo HE 20-600). But there is also a direct layout (Bosch GHG 600 CE), which may not be as convenient and safe, but definitely more walkable, allowing you to get to the most tight spots (imagine that you need to clean a cast-iron radiator of paint). Hairdryer Black&Decker KX1692 has a rotary design and can, if necessary, take a straight or L-shape. Anti-slip grip pads significantly increase comfort and safety when working with a hot air gun.

Black & Decker KX1692 Black&Decker KX1692

Parking options. Imagine a situation: work is in full swing, and we need to take a minute break, for example, in order to fix a new workpiece on the workbench – the hot hairdryer needs to be put somewhere so as not to burn yourself and not melt anything. The task is complicated by the fact that he really does not like the hairdryer to fall even from a low height (the ceramics inside beats, the spiral bursts). It is not always practical to put the instrument on the bottom, even if the platform width is sufficient, it is very unstable. Laying the tool on its side is also not an option, there is always something nearby that tries to stick to the hot nozzle.

The solution turned out to be very simple – a special loop is made on the network cable, with which you can hang the unit on any hook. This device is useful if you need to direct the hair dryer to a certain area without special precision and hold it in this position for a relatively long time (for example, we need to warm up thickened bituminous mastic). We fixed the tool to the loop, and you can do other work. The hot air gun body can also have all kinds of hooks and supports for installation on a flat surface (DeWalt D26411).

DeWalt D26411 DeWalt D26411

Burn protection. It is easy to explain why the cases of technical hair dryers are made of plastic – just metal in such a design (due to the high heat transfer coefficient) would be simply dangerous. There is no reducer here, but plastic will be lighter – in general, all manufacturers have unanimously agreed on the use of polymer as the main material. The nozzle of the heat air gun is still metal, so in all models it is covered with a thermal protective casing. The latter, however, somewhat limits the capabilities of the hair dryer in hard-to-reach places, because some manufacturers make it removable. Yes, working without a casing will require increased concentration and accuracy from the master, however, if necessary, the functionality of the device is significantly increased.

The nozzle can be equipped with a hot nozzle ejector (Skil Masters 8005MA).

Skil Masters 8005MA Skil Masters 8005MA

Weight, dimensions, power cord. The building hair dryer is a hand tool, so it makes sense to pay special attention to its weight and dimensions. Typically, heat guns weigh in the range of 0.5-1 kg. It is also impossible to grind in this case, since such a difference in weight is seriously affected not only by the total power of the product, but also by the quality of materials, the presence of a high-quality casing and closed-type handle, a long and well-protected power cord. By the way, the longer the power cable is, the more convenient it will be to work (it is recommended to operate the hair dryer at chest / head height in order to expose yourself less to the action of vapors). A cord shorter than 3 meters for a professional tool is a serious disadvantage.

Complete set of a hair dryer

Any technical hair dryer is equipped with a set of metal nozzles, they are also called nozzles, nozzles, nozzles. It is they who form the air flow in a certain way, which allows you to expand the capabilities of the instrument. Usually, you can buy the necessary nozzle for any blower model, since they are quite inexpensive, and their assortment is estimated in tens of units, depending on the shape.

Hair dryer attachments

For soldering and heating copper pipes, sealing products with welding tape, round, focusing nozzles are suitable. Flat nozzles are good at deforming flat plastic, removing coatings (wallpaper, veneer, varnish, paint). For deformation of polymer pipes, a reflex nozzle with a frontal rounded outlet is used, it heats the part from both sides, therefore it is also suitable for pressing in, heating the heat shrinkage. Slotted nozzles help with overlapping PVC sheets. The cutting nozzle is made in the form of a narrow flattened tube, it concentrates hot air at one point – it is designed for straight or curly cutting of foam polystyrene (foam, EPS …). To clean window frames, when there is a danger of overheating the glass, use “side design” nozzles – glass-protective. Flat V-nozzle designed to feed the welding cord. Mirror nozzles return the reflected heat to the working area and serve as a heating surface for resistance welding of plastics. Reducing adapters are used to switch from a pistol to nozzles of a thinner diameter, they also work as concentrating nozzles. We have listed the most common injectors, the list is actually very long.

STEINEL HG 2620 STEINEL HG 2620

In addition to nozzles, the basic set of a hair dryer may include scrapers, additional handles, welding rods, pressure rollers, adapters and, of course, a case. Some manufacturers put the entire gentleman’s set in a metal box, which is very far-sighted, given the poor resistance of hot air guns to mechanical stress..

When choosing a technical hair dryer, clearly define its scope. Inexpensive models from world leaders, including the “hobby” class, are suitable for most of the work. Excellent construction heat guns are made by Makita, Bosch, Skill, Steinel, AEG, Kress, Metabo, DeWalt, Sparki, Black&Decker. The cheapest units without a name, as a rule, do not work out even their meager price, they are unsafe and have little functionality.

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