The generous folks at Eco-Strip sent us a brand new Speedheater™ Cobra to test in our shop, and I put it through the paces for a couple weeks on a bunch of different projects. So, this week, I wanted to share the results of my testing as well as a “How To” video on using infrared paint removal for your own projects.
We’re all looking for faster and safer ways to remove old paint (especially lead paint) and there are a ton of options I see people using like scrapers, heat guns, steam, chemicals and of course infrared. I think they all have their place depending on a few things like budget, size of the project, and time. So, today, let’s take a look at infrared and how it can help you!
What is Infrared?
Infrared technology is different than the old fashioned way of just applying heat to paint. It used to be that painters would use a torch to strip old paint. It worked great, except that it caused a ton of house fires and vaporized the lead paint, which is a serious health hazard.
Infrared works faster and at much lower temperatures than traditional heat guns. For example, the Speedheater™ I was testing runs between 400°F and 560°F, compared to a traditional heat gun which needs to be at 900°F to 1100°F to get the same effects.
That cooler temp means there is almost no chance I am going to vaporize lead paint or start fires. That, my friends, is the awesome thing about infrared paint removal.
The Speedheater™ Cobra
I’ll come right out and say it, I really liked the Cobra. Having used the Original Speedheater™ for a few years, I was used to a big bulky tool that worked great for doors and siding, but was not nimble enough for the large amount of windows we restore.
If the Original Speedheater™ is like the reliable work truck you use for the big jobs, the Cobra is the Ferrari that you want to drive every day! I was worried about the smaller size slowing down production speed, but since the Cobra heats paint so quickly (2-4 seconds!) production time wasn’t an issue.
With the small size also comes a few other benefits:
- Can reach in tight spaces (perfect for windows)
- Not more tired arms
- Easy to transport
I blew threw a 3-lite sash inside and out in about 20 mins, which is about 10 mins faster that it usually takes me and I was less tired because with the soft paint, I wasn’t working my scraper as hard.
The only thing I took issue with was that the Cobra doesn’t come in a carrying case like the Original Speedheater™. Since I’m mostly planning to use this in the shop, it’s not a big deal, but infrared bulbs are expensive and I sure would like to have a custom case to carry this from job to job, especially for the price.
How to Strip Paint Using Infrared Heat
The video below will walk you through the tools and techniques you need in just 5 minutes and give you a good demonstration of the Cobra. And please excuse the sweat, I’m using a infrared heater…in a warehouse…in the summer…in Florida. As always, subscribe to our Youtube channel so you get our helpful DIY videos as soon as they are released so you can get a head start on your next project.
You’ll see me using a variety of tools in the video above, and in case you are wondering what they are, here are the links below as well as a few other tools that may be helpful. Some are available in our store and others are pretty standard and can be found online or in a local hardware store.
You can click on any of the links below to learn a little more about each tool.
- Speedheater™ Cobra
- Speedheater™ Original
- Hyde Countour Scraper
- Stanley Razor Knife
- Triangle Scraper
- Dewalt Trigger Clamps
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.
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We’ve paired two of our tools for DIY homeowners and professionals stripping interior woodwork: our Cobra Infrared Paint Remover and our Boomerang Scraper. Together they make your close up work of stripping wainscoting, baseboards, chair rails, crown moulding, door and window frames, stair spindles and even furniture go quickly.