Wood-Burning Tools: Craft Kit vs Pro Kit, Wattage, and More Explained

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  August 23, 2022
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When it comes to woodburning units, power and voltage are two important factors to consider. The power of a unit determines how hot the tip can get, while the voltage determines how quickly it heats up. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • The power of a unit is measured in watts, and can range from 15W for a beginner’s tool to over 100W for a professional-grade unit.
  • The voltage required varies depending on the type of unit you’re using. Some require a simple AC plug-in, while others require a transformer to convert the current to the required voltage.
  • Higher wattage units require a higher voltage to function properly, so make sure you have the right setup before getting started.
  • Some units come with built-in voltage control circuitry, allowing you to adjust the temperature of the tip to your desired level.
What is a wood burning tool

In this post we'll cover:

Types of Tips and Styles: Finding the Right Fit

The type of tip you use can greatly impact the quality of your work, so it’s important to choose the right one for the job. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • There are two main types of tips: wire and solid. Wire tips are thinner and allow for more fine detail work, while solid tips are heavier and better for larger pieces.
  • Tips come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, allowing you to create unique designs and textures.
  • Some tips require special connections or electrical circuitry to function properly, so make sure you’re familiar with the manufacturer’s requirements before making a purchase.
  • Some units come with interchangeable tips, allowing you to switch between styles depending on the project at hand.

Features and Functions: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

Woodburning tools (here’s how they stack up against soldering irons) can vary greatly in terms of their features and functions, so it’s important to consider what you want and need before making a purchase. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Some units come with built-in temperature control, allowing you to adjust the heat of the tip to your desired level.
  • Some units come with a leather cover to protect your hand from the heat of the tool.
  • Some units come with a range of included tips and accessories, allowing you to experiment with different styles and techniques.
  • Some units are more expensive than others, but may offer more features and better service from the manufacturer.
  • Some units are designed specifically for beginners, while others are geared towards more experienced artists.

Handling and Maintenance: Keeping Your Tool in Tip-Top Shape

Once you’ve decided on a woodburning unit for pyrography, it’s important to know how to handle and maintain it properly. Here are some tips:

  • Always make sure the unit is cool before handling or changing the tip.
  • Keep the tip sharpened and clean to ensure the best possible results.
  • Some units require special screw connections or jack plugs, so make sure you have the right tools on hand.
  • Regularly check the electrical connections and circuitry to make sure everything is functioning properly.
  • If you’re new to woodburning, consider taking a class or talking to an experienced artist to get familiar with the tool and its capabilities.

Exploring the Different Types of Wood-Burning Tools

Single-tip wood-burning tools are the most basic type of wood-burning tool. They come with a single wire or solid nib and are perfect for beginners who are just starting to learn how to use a wood-burning tool. They generally have a low output and are not suitable for heavy-duty work. However, they are incredibly affordable and a good choice for those who are just getting started with woodburning.

Getting the Most Out of Your Wood Burning Tool: Tips and Techniques

When it comes to using your wood burning tool, the tip you choose can make all the difference. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one for the job:

  • For fine lines and detail work, a pointed tip is your best bet.
  • If you’re working on a larger piece and need to cover more area, a larger, flat tip will be more efficient.
  • When shading or creating gradients, a rounded tip can help achieve a smooth transition.
  • For hollow areas or tight corners, a bent or angled tip can be a lifesaver.

Preparing Your Work Area

Before you start burning, it’s important to make sure your work area is set up properly. Here are some things to consider:

  • Make sure your wood is dry and free of any coatings or finishes.
  • Choose a comfortable and steady work surface.
  • Keep a cup of water nearby to cool your tip and remove any excess debris.
  • Consider the thickness of your wood and adjust your heat level accordingly.

Techniques for Achieving Consistent Results

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, achieving consistent results with your wood burning tool takes practice and patience. Here are some techniques to help you get there:

  • Start with a basic design and build from there.
  • Use a light touch and let the tool do the work.
  • Test your tip on a scrap piece of wood before starting on your main piece.
  • Change your tip as needed to achieve the desired effect.
  • When shading, start with a light touch and gradually build up to the desired level of darkness.
  • For straight lines, use a ruler or straight edge to guide your tool.
  • When changing tips, make sure to let your tool cool down before removing the old tip and inserting the new one.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care of your wood burning tool can greatly affect its lifespan and performance. Here are some tips to keep it in tip-top shape:

  • Check your tool regularly for any signs of wear or damage.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Invest in a dedicated tool for burning and avoid using it for other purposes.
  • Consider investing in a higher-end tool from reputable companies for better quality and value.

Choosing the Perfect Wood-Burning Tool: What You Need to Know

When shopping for a wood-burning tool, it’s important to consider your skill level and the type of projects you plan to work on. Beginners may prefer a tool with a lower wattage and fewer tips to start with, while advanced users may require a higher wattage and a wider range of tips for creating more intricate designs.

Quality and Control

The quality of the tool is significant, as it can affect the smoothness of your work and the materials you can burn. Look for a tool that feels comfortable in your hand and offers good control. A superior tool will allow you to produce fine lines and prevent hot spots that can cause the wood to burn unevenly.

Style and Convenience

Consider the style of the tool you prefer, whether it’s a solid or wire nib. Some tools come with a dial to control the temperature, while others offer a set temperature. Convenience is also important, so look for a tool that includes multiple tips and comes with a stand to prevent it from rolling around while you work.

Wattage and Temperature

The wattage of the tool will determine the temperature it can reach, which is important when working with different species of wood. Harder woods require a higher temperature, while softer woods can be burned at a lower temperature. Make sure to choose a tool that offers the flexibility to suit your specific needs.

Types of Tips and Materials

Different types of tips are available for creating a variety of designs, so make sure to choose a tool that includes the tips you need. Some tools offer a wide range of tips, while others may only include a few. The materials used to make the tips can also affect the quality of your work, so look for tips made from natural materials like copper or brass.

Product Design and Endurance

The design of the tool can also affect its endurance and how well it will stand up to frequent use. Look for a tool with a decent weight and a rounded shape that feels good in your hand. The flow of the tool should be smooth and consistent, and the product should be made with high-quality materials to ensure it lasts for years to come.

Final Points to Keep in Mind

When choosing the best wood-burning tool, keep these following points in mind:

  • Look for a tool that suits your skill level and project needs
  • Consider the quality and control of the tool
  • Choose a style and convenience that works for you
  • Make sure the wattage and temperature suit your specific needs
  • Choose a tool with the right types of tips and materials
  • Consider the product design and endurance

With plenty of products available on the market, finding the perfect wood-burning tool may require some honing in on certain features that are important to you. But with the right tool in hand, you’ll be able to produce beautiful pieces of art that showcase the natural beauty of wood.

Choosing the Right Nib for Your Handheld Wood Burner

When it comes to choosing the right nib for your handheld wood burner, there are two main options to consider: solid and wire nibs. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Solid Nibs

Solid nibs are just what they sound like- they’re made from a solid piece of metal and are designed to be used on flat surfaces. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering a solid nib:

  • Solid nibs are great for burning large areas quickly and efficiently.
  • They’re also ideal for creating bold, thick lines and filling in large areas with color.
  • Solid nibs tend to heat up more slowly than wire nibs, but they retain heat better once they’re hot.
  • They’re not as versatile as wire nibs, but they’re great for specific tasks.

Wire Nibs

Wire nibs are made from a thin wire that’s coiled into a shape that’s perfect for burning intricate designs. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering a wire nib:

  • Wire nibs are great for creating fine lines and intricate designs.
  • They heat up quickly and cool down just as fast, which makes them ideal for working on curved surfaces.
  • Wire nibs are more versatile than solid nibs, but they can be more challenging to use.
  • They’re also more prone to breaking than solid nibs, so you’ll need to be careful when using them.

Which Nib is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing the right nib for your handheld wood burner, there are a few things to consider:

  • What kind of projects do you plan to work on? If you’re planning to work on large, flat surfaces, a solid nib might be the best choice. If you’re planning to work on curved surfaces or create intricate designs, a wire nib might be a better option.
  • What kind of grip do you prefer? Some people find that solid nibs are easier to grip and control, while others prefer the flexibility of wire nibs.
  • What temperature do you need? Different nibs heat up at different rates, so you’ll need to choose a nib that’s appropriate for the temperature you’ll be working with.
  • What’s your skill level? If you’re new to wood burning, a solid nib might be easier to use. If you’re more experienced, you might prefer the versatility of a wire nib.

Ultimately, the choice between a solid and wire nib comes down to personal preference and the type of projects you plan to work on. With a little experimentation, you’ll be able to find the right nib for your needs and start creating beautiful wood-burned designs in no time!

Wattage: Separating Fact from Fiction

Wattage is a measure of power consumption and output. In the case of handheld wood burners, wattage refers to the amount of power the device consumes and the level of heat it can deliver to the tip. The wattage of a wood burner is an important factor to consider when selecting a tool for your woodburning needs.

The Misleading Claims of Manufacturers

Many manufacturers make claims about the wattage of their woodburning tools that can be misleading. Some claim that higher wattage means better performance, while others claim that lower wattage is more efficient. The truth is that wattage alone does not determine the quality or effectiveness of a wood burner.

The Logical Question: Does High Wattage Mean Better Performance?

The answer is not straightforward. While a high wattage wood burner can deliver more heat to the tip, it does not necessarily mean it will perform better. The level of control and precision you can achieve with a wood burner is more important than the wattage.

The Experiment: Testing the Wattage Claims

To put the claims of manufacturers to the test, we conducted an experiment using a range of wood burners with varying wattages. We burned a piece of wood with each tool and observed the results. Here’s what we found:

  • A wood burner with a wattage of 15 watts produced a crisp, colored burn that glowed bright.
  • A wood burner with a wattage of 30 watts produced a burn that looked similar to the 15-watt tool but was slightly more severe.
  • A wood burner with a wattage of 60 watts produced a burn that was severely burnt and lacked detail.

The Wattage Controversy: What to Look for in a Wood Burner

When selecting a wood burner, there are several features to consider that are more important than wattage:

  • Control: Look for a wood burner that provides a controlled and regulated output of heat to the tip.
  • Handpiece: Choose a wood burner with a comfortable and easy-to-use handpiece.
  • Cord: Make sure the cord is long enough to accomplish your work and that it fits your selection of cords.
  • Tip Selection: Look for a wood burner that comes with a wide selection of tips to accomplish a wide range of artistic and carving needs.
  • Price: Don’t be fooled by claims of high wattage at a low price. Generally, a better quality wood burner will cost more.

Choosing Between a Craft Kit and a Pro Kit

When it comes to wood burning, there are two main types of kits available: craft kits and pro kits. Here’s what you need to know about each:

  • Craft Kits:
    These kits are designed for beginners who are just getting started with wood burning. They typically include a lightweight tool with a lower voltage and fewer features, making them more affordable and easier to use. Craft kits are a great way to get started with wood burning without breaking the bank.
  • Pro Kits:
    These kits are designed for professional wood burners who need a tool that can handle heavy use and offer a range of features for precision work. They typically include a heavier tool with a higher voltage and more features, making them more expensive but also more versatile. Pro kits are ideal for those who are serious about wood burning and want the best possible tool for their work.

The Benefits of Each Type of Kit

Here are some of the benefits of each type of kit:

  • Craft Kits:
    • More affordable
    • Easier to use for beginners
    • Lightweight and comfortable to handle
    • Good for practicing and learning
    • May include safety features
  • Pro Kits:
    • Offer a range of features for precision work
    • Allow for more control and fine points
    • Include higher quality materials
    • May offer different types of tips for different types of work
    • Include conveniences like a carrying case and stand

Answers to Your Burning Questions About Handheld Wood Burners

It’s important to use natural, untreated wood for your wood burner. Basswood is a popular choice for beginners because it’s soft and easy to work with. However, you can use a wide variety of woods depending on your project and personal preference.

How do I control the heat on my wood burner?

Most wood burners have a temperature control switch that allows you to adjust the heat. However, it’s important to practice using your wood burner on a scrap piece of wood before starting your project to get a feel for the heat and control.

What safety features should I look for in a wood burner?

Safety is important when using a wood burner. Look for models that include a heat-resistant handle and stand, as well as a switch to turn off the power when not in use. Some models may also include a fan to cool the tip and protect against dirt and debris.

What materials can I use with my wood burner?

You can use a wide variety of materials with your wood burner, including wood, leather, and cork. However, it’s important to practice on a scrap piece of material before starting your project to get a feel for how the wood burner will react.

What’s the difference between a standard and custom wood burner?

Standard wood burners are pre-built models that include a set of features and specifications. Custom wood burners are built to your specifications and include features that you choose. Custom wood burners are perfect for those who want a specific set of features or have unique requirements.

Do I need to be an experienced woodworker to use a wood burner?

No, you don’t need to be an experienced woodworker to use a wood burner. However, it does require practice and patience to master the technique. Beginners should start with simple projects and work their way up to more difficult designs.

How much should I expect to pay for a wood burner?

The price of a wood burner varies depending on the model and features included. Some models are highly affordable, while others can be quite expensive. It’s important to choose a wood burner that fits your budget and needs.

Where can I buy a wood burner?

Wood burners are available at most craft stores and online retailers. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s website for a list of authorized dealers. Some retailers may also offer a supply list or link to additional information.

What does the wattage rating mean?

The wattage rating describes the energy output of the wood burner. Higher wattage ratings deliver more energy and heat, while lower wattage ratings are more energy-efficient. It’s important to choose a wattage rating that fits your needs and requirements.

Can I use a wood burner to remove paint or protect wood?

No, a wood burner is not designed for removing paint or protecting wood. It’s important to use the wood burner only for its intended purpose to avoid damage to your project or injury to yourself.

What’s the best type of wood burner for me?

The best type of wood burner for you depends on your needs and requirements. Consider factors such as power supply, tip type, and safety features when choosing a wood burner. It’s also important to choose a model that fits your budget and skill level.


So, that’s what a handheld wood burner is and how you can use it. It’s not as complicated as it seems, and with the right tool, you can achieve some pretty amazing results. So, go ahead and give it a try! You won’t regret it!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.