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Infra-red Paint Stripping - gimmick or solid stuff?

While doing my homework looking for a decent hot air gun I stumbled across a number of references to ‘infra-red’ paint stripping tools & systems.

There are a number of videos & sales articles out there but I’m unsure if it’s snake oil or worth delving further…seems they are all US products & articles.

Any experiences or am I just looking for a get out of jail card that does not exist?

@Matthew I believe has the infra red paint stripper. He doesn’t get involved with snake oil as a rule :smile:

I will drop him a line, he may be able to shed some light.


Nice one, thanks Andy…not got the hang of this @abc thing yet…is it twitter or something?

Yeah if it’s a firm plank (the stripper) not Mathew then interested to follow it up…there a mighty big rough field of white gloss out there and anything I can do to make it easier is worth hearing about


Here’s @Matthew reply

( @ will bring up a forum members name, so you can pick and reference them)

Yes indeed I have the speed heater and have used it to strip quite a few windows and doors for painting and varnishing.

I like it a lot, its not too aggressive and you can work a large area easier than a heat gun and when you get in a rhythm with heating one area and scraping another it is quite fast.

Downside is its cumbersome on vertical surfaces and you will get a workout holding it (unless you can make a support for it like this arm and the price of a new model is very expensive. I bought mine second hand for not much more than a couple of heat guns so was very lucky I think and not sure if I’d splash out new unless I was going to get a lot of use over a couple of jobs. I think I recall someone had them for hire (try ) to give it a whirl.

Everyone I’ve spoken to who has used them has been very happy with it. Also I did buy the scrapers and putty chisel new and was very pleased with them, good quality and they work very well keeping a sharp edge and easy to resharpen

Hope that helps, I will try to find some vids of me using it on a small window to give a better idea


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Funny isn’t it…you see something…like it…then wrongly assume it belongs on QVC! :smile:

Ok very interesting to know.

Would be very interested to get product details and costs if possible…and yes the videos of Mathews usage of them…the US ones look a little stage managed…I never saw a layer of gloss lift to clear as easy as the Youtube ones do.

There are folks in the UK selling them at reasonable money. The tech spec and effectiveness of I’m not sure about.

I feel a snake oil purchase coming on!

I bought a Speedheater Cobra last June. This is a lightweight version at about half a kilo.

Not cheap at just short of £300 from Oricalcum but a fantastic bit of kit for paint stripping.


Hi Mark, interesting stuff. Thanks for letting me know about this.

Yes 500g is very manageable. Have you used it on old skirting and door architrave etc?

And how would you see it helping productivity wise?.. for example how long would it take to do a door frame/entrance to a room…both sides to a good quality standard?

What is it’s main benefit area would you say? And how would it compare with a decent hot air gun … how much of your hot air gun usage would it eliminate?

Thanks for your help

I used it on these doors.

It’s quicker, safer, great next to glass and good for getting into corners/hard to reach areas.

I took the following from the Oricalcum website which I think explains it all:

The ultimate in rapid, safe paint removal.

You’ll never pick up a hot-air gun again. The original Swedish Speedheater system uses gentle infrared heat to remove paint, varnish and putty brilliantly at lower temperatures –
so you can say goodbye to scorched wood and cracked glass. It safely removes lead paint, too. After only a few seconds’ exposure, the Speedheater Cobra lets you scrape old paint off
easily, even in those pesky hard-to-reach areas.

Lightweight (at just over half a kilo), fast to set up and easy to angle, the Speedheater Cobra makes light work of removing paint from both wide-open expanses of paint and tricky
nooks & crannies. It’s perfect for removing old paint from furniture, door & window frames, marine details and stairways. We also supply replacement bulbs.

Safe, environmentally friendly paint removal

When stripping old paint which contains lead, lead particles are carried in the dust during sanding and scraping, and are released as fumes when using a hot-air gun. Even in relatively
modern properties, paintwork may contain lead: although the use of lead in paint dropped dramatically in the early 1960s, it continued quite legally with some paints until the early 1980s.
In 1992, EU regulations banned lead in all paints except those for use in historic buildings.

The good news is that the Speedheater Cobra safely removes lead-based paint because it works at temperatures lower than those which activate lead. Genuinely independent tests conducted by
an industrial research institute in Sweden found that, even under ‘worst case’ conditions, the Speedheater only released between 1 and 10% of the lead limits which are permissible in Sweden and the USA.

Gently removes paint from wood

The Speedheater Cobra’s infrared wavelength activates the water molecules in the old paint and softens it, causing it to bubble. The bubbling is due to the expansion of gases: some might
even ignite, producing tiny flames which quickly burn out. This is quite normal and, with proper use, the Speedheater won’t scorch wood.

Gentle on glass, too

Working close to a glass pane with a hot-air gun can be a tense affair, because cracking can happen no matter how careful you try to be. Used correctly, the Speedheater Cobra keeps your glass
intact because the heat is generated by radiation, not convection.


Tell you what…you costing me some!!! :wink:…I’m now down a CTL-MIDI, a Henry hoover, an ETS EC 150 and now it looks like a Speedheater Cobra!!!

No is super stuff stuff Mark…like the materials and techniques advice I’ve been getting from Andy and all of you on TP…your recommendations have been on the money every time so have no doubt this will be the same.

The actual renovator that we intended buy went beyond our money ceiling last night at auction so I have a limited reprieve…but that at least buys me time to adjust my kit bag to include one of these…I’m sold on it.

Cheers Mark

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Well it’s not the Cobra but I was lucky enough to drop on this on ebay this week…think it should do a similar job.

Looks a bargain I think and in nice condition. Still going to look for the Cobra as well…get a press-ganged family member help out with the renovation! … for an hour and a half! before receiving an sms to go do something else!!!

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You got a bargain there. If it’s this one they are £525 new:

You kidding…I didn’t check the list. Ok I impressed myself! :grinning:

Actually that really is pretty good isn’t it…and the seller was really helpful and accommodating. The unit itself looks like it has only had very light use and yes its definitely the 1100rs. It’s not arrived yet but all the signs are good

I guess for guys like yourself doing on a professional basis it makes sense to be able to invest in the new top tier stuff…for us amateurs it’s harder to justify the new list expediture. But when you can get pro stuff for the same price as a ‘homebase own’ hot air gun then it does feel good for sure. Cheers

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I don’t think the set of scrappers shown on the link you sent are included Mark.

Do you think they are worth investing in? I have loads of beat up shaped scrappers that have done a very long shift but still work well. But the Speedheater ones significantly better? Cheers

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I haven’t bought their scrapers as I have lots of my own. I’d only buy them if yours are getting past their best.

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Was my feeling as well Mark. They look good mind. All the best

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Mark just a bit feedback…the folks at Oricalcum are very helpful. I spoke with Michiel about replacement tubes and they were excellent with customer service. As indeed have all the the suppliers who have been referred from TP web site including MyPaintbrush.

Just to note for anyone else looking at investing in this stuff.

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Ok and as for the IR stripper … what do they say…a thing of beauty is a joy forever? Will this thing is a jov that’s for sure…£31.00 well spent! … They actually fight over using it. Never has paint stripping been so desirable!

A marvelous thing for anyone considering it.

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