10 Best Paint Strippers Reviews & Ratings
When painting surfaces, be it furniture, your house, or your automobile, you have to prepare appropriately. Proper preparation is essential as the result depends on the surface underneath. Before you consider repainting though check if you can restore the coating by sanding and scrapping the weak areas and then painting over. Chipping may start a few years or months later, and here we recommend you start on a clean slate.
Stripping your property off the previous coating creates a solid foundation and will result in a breathtaking finish. However, be careful of paint lead residue especially in old houses. Use the appropriate gear and dispose of the waste appropriately.
Our Top 3 Picks
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Nonetheless, picking the best stripper is a challenge seeing as there are various methods and products you can use. We have included a buying guide to help you make an informed decision, but we have also done you one better and added our ten recommendations.
10 Best Paint Strippers
1. Festool 570789 RAS 115.04 E
First, you will appreciate that the Festool 570789 has thermal and overload protection. Thus, your apparatus is safe from any an over surge and excess heat. Moreover, it maintains a constant speed even under load. Speaking about speed, it happens to be variable in six steps up to 4,500 rpm. You will also appreciate the soft start, and you can add till it gets to 100%. Benefits of a soft start are that it extends the life of your motor.
Finally, the abrasive pad is a hook and loop and the abrasive is stick-fix for ease of use.
Dust Shroud – The 570789 includes a dust shroud for dust collection. It can rotate 360-degrees by rotating the handle, and it depends on the part that is sanding. Moreover, it contains brushes for any residue dust.
Versatile – First, you can use the 570789 for more than stripping paint, you can use it without the shroud so it is lighter and includes an auxiliary handle that you can attach on the right or the left depending on your dominant hand.
360-degree rotating shroud
Includes an auxiliary handle
4.5” stick fix pad
Power: 500 Watts
Who is it for?
The Festool 570789, is best for Festool enthusiasts so you can get the most of the tool from integration. It is also best for people who appreciate physical work.
Festool products are renowned for their quality, and the 570789 is not an exception
It keeps your air clean thanks to the dust extraction
It is easy to control
The removal rate is faster than other means
Attaching the abrasive is simple enough
It is reasonably priced
It cannot handle heavy duty work without shutting down
2. Festool 571810 RO 150 FEQ
Another exciting feature of the RO 150 is the Jetstream dust extraction which is built into the abrasive. The Jetstream pulls dust as it is produced resulting in cleaner air, smoother and better finishes, while also increasing the life of the abrasive as well as the pad. Moreover, there is the fast-fix tool-free pad that is simple to change and can adapt to various surfaces. You will also appreciate how compact the unit is, the power it packs, and the edge protector to protect any delicate surface. However, our top features were the MMC electronics and the dual mode.
Dual-mode – Other than having variable speed, you can vary between a rotary mode and an eccentric mode. The speed while in eccentric is between 3,300 and 6,800 rpm, while that in rotary mode is between 320 and 660rpm.
MMC electronics – First, it allows the unit to deliver constant power while under load and includes thermal overload protection. The latter will check the heat of the appliance and reduce the speed until the gadget can cool down. Finally, it has a soft-start that will save your mortar.
Voltage: 240 volts
Power: 720 volts
Speed: 320 to 620rpm while in rotary mode, and 3300 to 6800 rpm while in eccentric mode.
Who is it for?
We recommend the Festool Rotex for people on a generous budget owing to the high price. It is also ideal for people who need more than a paint stripper but are looking for a sander too.
Durable as it is consists of the most robust materials
It is powerful thanks to the 720-watt motor
It is easy to use
It happens to be quite pricey
3. Metabo LF724S 3-1/7-Inch
You will appreciate the 13.5 feet cord as it ensures you have enough room to work without needing to re-plug the tool. Furthermore, it is lightweight at 6.6 pounds enabling you to work for extended periods. One exciting feature of the LF724S is that you can adjust the depth of cut of the bottom blades between 0 and 3mm. However, it happens to be a lengthy process. Our best features though were the dust collection and the side cutters.
Dust collection – The Metabo LF724S has a hose adapter at the rear end where you can attach a powerful vacuum to collect the dust. The result is cleaner air in your work area and longer life of the blades.
Side cutters – First, the blades are carbon, and thus you can expect them to last. They also happen to be reversible should one side become dull. However, you need not concern yourself with that as they are durable.
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Cord length: 13.5-feet
Speed: 11,000 rpm (load free)
Motor: 6 amps
Who is it for?
We recommend the Metabo LF724S for anyone on the hunt for woodworkers or anyone refinishing their furniture or house.
The blades are durable and can withstand abuse
The blades are four-sided and will last before you have to replace
It is reasonably priced
It is faster than heat and chemical removal
The blade door covers are flimsy, and it is only a matter of time before they break off
The dust extraction hose does get in the way and might throw it off balance
4. Wagner Spraytech 0513040
First, the unit is lightweight at 3.5-pounds allowing you to work for long hours with ease. It is also ergonomically designed, so it is comfortable and safe to use. It allows for multiple hand positions, easing fatigue and both right and left-handed individuals can use it. As for safety, it includes a shroud at the bottom to keep your hands away from the abrasive. There is also a Velcro strap so you can secure the tool to your wrist. Finally, there is a silicon boot that protects the on and off switch from moisture.
Nevertheless, our best features were the flex-disc system and the 3M spun-fiber disc.
3M spun-fiber disc – The PaintEater happens to be aggressive on paint but gentle on surfaces thanks to the disc. The disc has abrasive embedded into it, so you have power and performance without damaging the surface. It also resists loading up with paint and dust for seamless paint removal.
Flex-disc system – The disc will conform to any surface especially around trims and sidings. It is also great for use on edges, and you can access tight corners thanks to the compact unit size.
Weight: 3.5 pounds
Dimensions: 10.6 * 9.5 * 5.2-inches
Who is it for?
The Wagner PaintEater is for use on wood to get rid of paint chips and flakes. It is used to prepare the surface for a new paint job or repair.
First, it is reasonably priced
Replacing the disc is straightforward thanks to a small locking mechanism underneath
The sanding discs are durable as they resist waste
• It is fast at paint removal.
The replacement disc is expensive resulting in higher operational costs
It does not include a dust collection bag
5. Wagner Spraytech 0503008
One feature that piqued our interest was the British thermal unit output (BTU). At 4,100 BTU’s, it produces enough heat to get rid of various layers of paint. The more the BTU, the more effective the tool is. However, be careful as not to torch the wood.
The Spraytech 0503008 has an easy to use switch on the handle that fits into the ergonomic design of the heat gun. It is also lightweight at 1.9 pounds, and thus you can work for long hours with ease. However, our best features were versatility and quality.
Quality – The Wagner Spraytech is a rugged unit, and you can expect it to last. First, it has a corrosion resistant nozzle and a quality hook for hanging.
Versatility – First, Wagner has two temp settings between 750-degrees and 1000-degrees for different applications. Moreover, it can be used for more than removing paint. You can use it to remove rusted nails, and remove flooring. Furthermore, it is great for thawing frozen pipes.
Power: 1,200 watts
BTU: 4,100 BTU’s
Weight: 1.9 pounds
Temp setting: 750-degrees and 1000-degrees
Who is it for?
The Wagner heat gun is not only great for removing paint but is also other activities including thawing frozen pipes. So if you are on the hunt for a versatile heat gun get the 0503008.
It is powerful at 1,200 watts and a 4,100 BTUs
It is versatile
It is light, and thus you can work for long hours with ease
One shortcoming of the 0503008 is that it can only be used when working on small spaces
6. REXBETI 1800W
One remarkable feature of the RDX007 is the carrying case. Though it is a bit flimsy, it is sufficient to keep the appliance safe and for portability. Moreover, the unit has a 6-feet cord; thus you have enough room to work. You will also love the power at 1500W, enabling you to make quick work of any task.
For safety and longevity of the tool, the Rexbeti has 4th generation overload protection allowing you to get back to work in 5 seconds, unlike standard heat guns that take 5 to 10 minutes to cool down. Moreover, it is ergonomic with a rubberized grip for comfort. However, our top features were the accessories and variable heat adjustment.
Accessories – First, the nozzle accessories increase the resourcefulness of the unit. First, it includes a heat spreader for when you are working on large spaces, and it is ideal for paint removal. There is also the protector nozzle to prevent damage on other surface parts. The reduction nozzle applies intensified heat and finally the reflector nozzle which is ideal for getting into tight spaces. It also includes a scraping tool which is accessorized.
Heat Adjustment – You can adjust the heat anywhere between 1 and 9; couple this with the 3-speed switch on the back and you can get the right temp for any application.
Temp range: 140°F and 932°F
Weight: 3.9 volts
Who is it for?
The Rexbeti RDX007 is for DIY fanatics and people looking for a unit they can use for more than paint stripping. It is great for removing adhesive tiles and bending pipes too.
First, it is quite versatile thanks to the variable heat adjustment
It is durable thanks to the ABS plastic shell build
It is fast-heating owing to the high powered turbofaces. Works in 1.5 sec
It is affordable
The case is flimsy
7. DEWALT D26960K
Moreover, it has a D-handle which though is not that useful in a heat gun; it keeps the trigger safe from bumps and drops. Another splendid feature is the cord protector. The protector keeps the cord from tearing from the housing; the cord to is heavy-duty, and you can expect it to last.
The Dewalt is accessorized with nine attachments increasing what you can do with the tool. First, it has two diffusers that concentrate the heat, several heat spreaders when working on large areas, a reflector to get into tight spots, and an accessorized scraper for various activities. However, our best features were the kickstand and the LCD.
Kickstand – One shortcoming of most heat guns is that they always require you to use one hand and thus are limiting during two-handed operations. However, the D26960K has a kickstand for stability and ease of use, and it saves you the hassle of using it when hung or having to prop it.
LCD Display – You can adjust the temperature of the D26960K by using the LCD which eases the work. You can make 50-degree increments or decrements anywhere from 150°F to 1100°F.
Temp range: 150°F to 1100°F
Weight: 2.3 pounds
Who is it for?
The Dewalt D26960K is a professional tool. However, if you are a DIYer and you are looking for a rugged device that can withstand abuse, it would be the ideal pick.
It is rugged and can withstand abuse
It includes a case, and thus it is effortless to transport and store
It includes a ton of attachments increasing the areas you can use it
It is pricey for a heat gun
The scraper and spatula will not hold up when it comes to demanding jobs
8. Formby 30063
The Formbys requires the room to be well-ventilated owing to the strong scent. However, it dissipates once you are done and only leaves a perfume scent. You also need a ton of fine steel wool to get rid of the mess or fine grit sandpaper. The refinisher has a 4.6-star rating after 125 reviews on Amazon which speaks of the quality of the refinisher. Our best features though were the quality and eliminating the need for sanding.
Eliminates sanding – First, sanding is time-consuming and laborious, it also results in a ton of dust which could be harmful especially when stripping old lead paint.
Scrapping, on the other hand, is too time-consuming and can damage antique wood. However, Formbys makes quick work of refinishing as scrapping with the steel wool will be a breeze.
Quality – The Formbys is excellent for not only, refinishing, but also removing stains. The strong scent dissipates fast, and it is harmless. The refinisher too will leave your wood in top condition.
For removing old varnish
Who is it for?
The Formbys is for removing shellac and varnish on old furniture. It can strip paint, but it is best for varnish.
It is better than scraping and sanding as it reduces the likelihood of damaging the wood
It quickly dissolves varnish and shellac
It is affordable
Tung oil has to be applied afterward; otherwise applying varnish will be close to impossible
Clean up is challenging and time-consuming
9. Citristrip QCSG801
Furthermore, the Citri-Strip is more versatile than our top pick for the best chemical strippers. It is designed for oil-based paints, but it still works on varnish and lacquer. It also eliminates the need for scrapping and sanding which are time-consuming, laborious, and can damage the wood.
However, our best features were the scent and that it stays wet for 24 hours.
TIP: When using citri-strip try giving the piece of work a light sanding so the solvent can penetrate easily for better results.
Scent – The Citri-strip is splendid for indoor use thanks to the orange scent. It is more pleasant unlike the chemical odor of most solvents. Moreover, it is methylene chloride-free, and thus safer to use.
Stays wet for long – Chemical solvents have to stay wet for long for better effect. The Citri-strip stays wet for 24 hours unassisted and thus you can forget about it until it is time for removal.
Scent: Citrus (orange)
Who is it for?
The Citri-strip is for paint removal as well as working on furniture especially antiques. We also recommend it for environmentalists seeing as it is bio-degradable.
It has an orange color, and thus you can tell if you missed any spots for consistent results
It has a pleasant citrus scent for indoor use
It stays wet for long unassisted
Well, it takes longer to remove paint, and it is still a chemical solvent; thus clean-up will be demanding
10. Sansher Corporation 33831
First, all Dad’s Easy Spray stripers retail with a spray can for easier application. Unlike other strippers, the application is fast and does not consume a ton of energy. Moreover, you get a uniform spread, and you can get into tight spots with ease.
Another exciting feature of the Dad’s Easy Spray is that you can use it on wood and metal.
Application on non-porous and porous wood is straightforward but removing is a bit demanding. Use a scraper when working on non-porous lumber, and a brush with tough bristles when dealing with porous wood.
Composition – The Dad’s Easy spray is one of a kind blend of solvents balanced with rinsing agents, evaporation retardants, and viscosity enhancers. Rinsing agents make the product easy to clean using water. Operation retardants allow for indoor use seeing as it does not evaporate quickly. Finally, the viscosity enhancers result in the product becoming a jell once you have sprayed it.
Lead paint capabilities – The Sansher Corporation Dad’s Easy Spray paint remover works on all lead-based paints, latex coatings, lacquers, and exterior stains. The remover forms a barrier on the lead paint reducing the mobility of the lead and eases handling and disposal.
Includes a spray can
Available in one quart or one gallon sizes
Made in China
Who is it for?
The Dad’s Easy Spray is best for use on old houses where there is a higher likelihood of lead-based paints.
It has low odor and thus great for use indoors especially on furniture
It is safe for use on all woods and metal
It is safe to use seeing as it is non-caustic and non-acidic
It leaves no residue, and it is easy to clean
Penetrates and lifts paint, but it does not raise wood grain
The stripper is slower in temperatures below 55°F and the active time falls when temperatures exceed 95°F
Paint Strippers Selection Criteria
First, there are three paint stripping methods; you can grind the house or automobile down, you can use heat, and you can use paint removers.
- Grinding down – Grinding down involves the use of a power sanding block or sandpaper. However, it is quite laborious and requires a lot of effort. Moreover, it also needs skill over it being physically demanding as an inexperienced individual could damage the furniture or walls and spray waste everywhere.
- Heat – Often blowtorches, and heat guns are used to apply heat upwards of 1000°C on the surface weakening the bonding. Nevertheless, the two are different in that blow torches apply a naked flame on the surface, while heat guns apply high heat. The latter are better to use as they are less fire hazard. Using heat is ideal when removing several layers of paints though it still has its cons. First, wood is easily scorched, and the burn marks have to be sanded off. Moreover, the machines only apply heat to a small area typically 3” to 5-inches, and thus it is still laborious. Also, heat will gas off the lead in paint which is hazardous and can easily ignite dust, bird nests, cobwebs, and other dry particles.
- Chemical strippers – Chemical strippers too fall into three categories.
- First, you have caustic strippers that can work in as little as 10 minutes and a few hours depending on the paint thickness and the chemical used. They are good for horizontal, detailed, and curved surfaces. However, they are drippy, and thus will not work on horizontal Moreover, they result in skin and inhalation protection and require a liquid neutralizer is needed afterward.
- We also have solvents; methylene chloride has been in 75% of all applications until recently. Solvents happen to be thicker and faster working within minutes. Seeing as it is thick, we recommend it for vertical surfaces. However, proper ventilation is paramount, and it is time-consuming.
- Finally, we have green chemical solvents. These are rising in popularity seeing as they are user and environmentally friendly. However, it is also a time-consuming process, especially when setting up and cleaning up. Moreover, you might have to apply the stripper severally to get rid of the paint.
There are some industrial methods which are great, but you should hire a professional. One such way is sandblasting, also known as abrasive sanding that involves propelling a stream of abrasive under high pressure to remove or smooth a surface. However, only an expert should do this as you can warp or distort your metal sheet if you are too aggressive. You can also power wash your surfaces although it might result in damage of the surface especially wood. Power washing includes spraying surfaces with water under high pressure and is excellent for bricks and concrete.
Test Your Wood
Often, you will have an oil-based finish or a latex finish, and the type of varnish will determine the thinner or stripper you use. Oil-based paints will require a stronger thinner than latex paints. To know what you are dealing with apply thinner on a small surface and if bubbles appear almost instantaneously, you have a latex varnish. However, if it takes a long time, then you are dealing with an oil-based coating.
Are chemical strippers hazardous?
Chemical removers have different chemicals, and thus there are potential hazards posed by different products. Therefore ensure you take the necessary precaution when using these products. F
irst, always work out in the open or a well-ventilated room and ensure that the fumes are blowing away from you. Moreover, ascertain you use chemical resistant gloves and safety glasses. Finally, read the manufacturer’s instructions as products pose different threats.
How does a heat gun work?
Heat guns are like overpowered hair dryers. They run on electricity and contain an internal heating element. However, unlike a hair dryer, these produce a lot more heat that is capable of melting paint. However, always ensure that the surface is clean before you heat it. Dirt burns on the paint, and it will give you more work when scraping.
Then heat the gun and then the paint until it starts melting and bubbling. You need to be careful lest you damage the surface. Finally, scrape the paint off and use a sander or steel wool to scrape off any remaining dots.
How powerful is a heat gun?
Heat guns are designed to produce a ton of heat seeing the nature of jobs they are supposed to tackle. The temperature range is anywhere between 120°F and 1,200°F. However, most affordable heat guns will only get to 1,000°F or 1,100°F. We recommend you get a unit with a broader range as it increases the versatility. However, you have to be willing to spend a small fortune on a heat gun as an extensive heat range is only on premium products.
Given the many ways you can strip paint, we recommend you pick one that works for you. We recommend grinding down for professionals as it eliminates the recurring cost of purchasing chemical strippers. Heat guns are also ideal when removing paint on small areas or tough to reach spots. Finally, chemical strippers are for DIY enthusiasts who don’t regularly use a paint remover. We have covered all three categories and hope you find a product that meets your needs.
Finally, we love hearing from our readers, so be sure to leave a comment below.