Can You Use A Hair Dryer Instead Of A Heat Gun?

They look the same, they sound the same, and they even work the same way. You could almost be forgiven if you thought that a hair dryer (the one that lives on or under your bathroom counter) might work the same way as a basic heat gun (the one that lives — or should live — in the garage or in a tool kit). After all, both have motor-driven fans that blow hot air over electronically heated filaments. Both are controlled by high/low settings. 

But the doppelgangers have a significant difference — while hair dryers might be able to reach 140F at their higher settings, heat guns can get much much hotter. Tools First gives the temperature range of a heat gun between 100 to a whopping 1300F, so you can think of a heat gun as your hairdryer, but only if it was turbo-charged and able to inflict serious damage to your face and hair after just a few seconds of exposure.

You can use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun, but it won't work very well

Basic heat guns are mostly used for drying or removing paint, defrosting a refrigerator, or unfreezing locks and water pipes — all tasks which require between 350F to 1150F of heat (via Tools First). More powerful heat guns are seen as essential tools in a research laboratory, where Princeton University Environmental Health and Safety says they can be used instead of a blow torch. The site also warns that you cannot use a heat gun near flammable materials, and you should never touch the heat gun's hot metal nozzle with clothing or skin and never direct the airflow toward a person's body. Also, definitely do not look down the nozzle when the gun is turned on. 

So its safe to say that while hairdryers can be used in place of a heat gun in a pinch (and don't expect that idea to work too efficiently, but it could work to defrost frozen pipes or locks), it's definitely not a good idea to reach into your toolbox to use your heat gun if your hair dryer is not an option