Investing in the best paint stripper is a must if you're working with a lot of square footage and don't think the white spirit and manual scraper approach will quite cut it. These paint stripping tools are great for those worried about inhaling fumes, as they use heat to lift layers of old paint from surfaces: think hairdryer, but with more horsepower.
After something more traditional? Not to worry, we’ve picked a selection of the best chemical paint strippers too, including options that work on stubborn varnish as well as paint.
Find more decorating tips and tricks in our dedicated decorating hub page.
The best paint stripper
The DeWalt 240V Twin Settings Electric Paint Stripper (opens in new tab) is our top rated product for those who are serious about removing paint with ease. And given that DeWalt are so highly regarded when it comes to power tools, it stands to reason that they're produce the best paint stripper. Easy, effective, and comfortable to use, it’s our all-round winner.
And while it can’t be beaten for performance (users say it can melt pretty much anything), it also takes the top spot for its design. It’s light and compact, to avoid putting pressure on wrists over long stretches, but still built to last through several full-on jobs, and reviewers were blown away by how easily it saw off tough jobs.
Shop more DeWalt products at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Tacklife Electric Paint Stripper Gun (opens in new tab) is one of the most versatile out there, offering multiple means of getting the job done. It’s great at the basics of course, said to heat up to full temperature in just one minute and have good airflow throughout, but it also offers three heat settings to cope with the toughest paints and most delicate surfaces, as well as a dedicated cooling mode.
It comes complete with four nozzle attachments including an extension tube, making it suited to most tasks from paint stripping to softening caulk.
Find more Tacklife products at Amazon (opens in new tab)
While some reviewers admitted to having reservations when they first saw this Home Strip Paint Stripper (opens in new tab) on the shelves, they invariably wound up impressed by this wonder formula in its unassuming packaging.
They found it beat some more well-known competitors hands-down when it came to effectively stripping layers of hardened paint away, but most importantly, reported that it was more user-friendly. The lack of a chemical smell was a huge bonus for many, especially those with small children troubled by fumes.
Find more paint strippers at B&Q (opens in new tab)
The Biostrip 20 Paint Stripper (opens in new tab) has a handy no-mess, non-drip formula to keep everything other than your target area safe from potentially damaging droplets. And it’s also low-odour, water-based and non-toxic, making it one of our safest paint strippers for use in houses with kids, pets or simply anyone who’s hoping to do an eco-friendly job or is a bit nervous of using chemicals.
That thick formula also means less product wasted, and this highly economical tub is intended to clear 2-3 square metres of surfaces.
See more Biostrip products at Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Rustins 500ml Strypit Paint and Varnish Stripper (opens in new tab) works on paints and varnishes alike, and is effective on wood, metal, stone and even glass surfaces, making it a bit of an all-round wonder.
The drip-free gel consistency means it clings to whatever surface you apply it to, including verticals, giving you a fighting chance of keeping it away from any unwisely uncovered carpet.
Reviewers loved the quick-acting formula, saying that you can almost watch it dry, and noting that both paint and primer blistered off ready for wiping away in mere minutes. By all accounts, an excellent value buy.
Browse more Rustins products at Amazon (opens in new tab)
If maximum strength paint stripping is what you’re after, consider this Polycell Maximum Strength Paint Stripper (opens in new tab) for your trickiest projects.
Users say it’s no misnomer, working quickly and effectively to lift layers of paint off wood, metal and more, and scraping away easily after it’s worked its magic. They also loved the thick, non-drip gel formula, which makes for less mess and less risk of damage to flooring and any non-target areas.
The only issue is that it’s understandably very potent, so be prepared for some quite strong chemical smell while it’s working, and be sure to ventilate the room you're working in.
Find more paint strippers at UK Tool Centre (opens in new tab)
How to buy the best paint stripper
When it comes to buying the best paint stripper, there are a few factors worth considering. These include:
We've included two electric paint stripper guns in our guide for those who want to make their life easier, and then a few paint stripper solutions.
The solutions range from 500ml to one litre in size, however, some can only be used on wood and metal, so be sure to check before you buy. The paint stripper guns have their capacity and heat range listed to make your decision easier.
Safety guidelines so it all goes smoothly: wear long sleeves and trousers, gloves, and eye protection to avoid burns, and use in a well-ventilated area, ideally with a respirator mask.
Think you might have lead paint in your home? Learn how to handle it safely with this Defra guide (opens in new tab).