Would like purchase a wood burning tool for your craft, but not sure where to begin? The artist in you will definitely love this complete and comprehensive guide featuring TOP 5 Best Wood Burning Devices on the market! Read on to learn how wood burning tools work, how to choose the most suitable tool for your art project, what to look for when shopping, and our expert detailed review of some of the TOP wood burning tools.

Write with fire! Pyrography is considered the art of creatively “writing with fire”, which was first used by Han Dynasty artisans, and later by ancient Egyptians and African crafters. Wood burning is a type of hot-temp engraving.

Today, wood burning is viewed as a global craft technique or folk art. Modern electric wood burning tools make it easy for you to transfer your designs to wood or other materials and make 3-dimensional art that is as timeless as that of the ancients!

What You Will Learn from This Guide:

How Does It Work?

Wood burning involves tracing designs onto, and burning them into, wood or other materials, such as veggie-tanned leather, soft metals, or the outer skins of gourds. A highly-heated brass-tipped pen or stylus-type implement is used to engrave the material.

Different types of wood burn and create different effects. Pine, oak, maple, and light colored, fine grained hardwoods (i.e.: beech, birch, sycamore, etc.) are generally used for wood burning projects. Pine is less expensive and hardwoods require more heat.

Different pen tips create different markings and depths. The tool’s temperature and the way you insert or apply the brass tip also help create a variety of burned effects. Many of you may also want to add color to your wood-burned projects to enhance portions of your design. Coloring helps make your wood burned design pop out and appear even more 3-dimensional. Colored pencils and oils may be used to enhance your project’s appearance and depth.

Types of Wood Burning Tools

Wood burning tools may be solid-tip or craft style with a fixed temperature for engraving or a wire-nib type that has varying temperatures for more precision work.

Craft Style Wood Burners

Craft style wood burning tools have larger pen grips. While these craft-style tools are well-suited for beginner wood burners, the larger grip can cramp your hand after extended use.

They easily allow you to complete projects without adjusting the temperature or being too exact or accurate. The solid brass tip is electrically heated at a fixed temperature by an internal heating element.

The best use of this type of wood burning tool is for signs and filling in large dark areas on your design.

Wire-Nib Wood Burners

Wire-nib burners are suited to more advanced wood burning artisans. The pen handle is slimmer to allow easier rendering and for working longer periods without cramping or tiring.

These wood burning tools assist designers with detail and special effects. Many models come with a variety of interchangeable tips, including fine tips for detail/precision work.

Their dual-wire elements require less time to heat and cool. Variable temperature controls allow greater precision. The solid brass tip is heated by the electric current that goes directly through it from a power source rather than from an internal electrical unit.

Wood Burning Lasers

Wood burning lasers attach to your computer much like a printer. They engrave a graphic or pattern image created by a software program onto wood or other designated material much like your computer would normally print out a document.

Engraving is performed with nothing more than a beam of light that vaporizes the material as it creates the image.

More sensitive laser systems can produce pyrography effects on materials as thin as paper or thin card stock.

This method of wood burning allows you to create multiple identical  pieces of very detailed work quickly.

What to Look For When Buying a Wood Burning Tool

  • Cost

Wood burning tools can cost as little as $15 (beginner) to more than $200 (advanced designers/artisans).

Less expensive tools are less likely to provide any detail or include many different types of tips, but they are good tools to get you started. You can upgrade as your desire, skill, and experience increase.

More expensive pyrography tools will last longer and typically have more tips, power, and variable temps for detailing and fine work.

  • Beginner Wood Burning Tools

Beginner wood burners do well to select a wood burning kit that has a variety of tips, instruction booklet/patterns, and other items to get you started. Beginner wood burning tools:

  • are basic
  • have a permanently fixed chisel tip
  • have a thin lighter wire tip
  • heat between 600 deg. F. and 900 deg. F.
  • Intermediate and Advanced Wood Burning Tools

Advanced wood burning tools:

  • adapt to a variety of woods (i.e.: hardwoods require higher heat)
  • have a variety of tips for special effects and detail
  • quickly heat and quickly cool
  • have variable temperature settings up to 2,000 deg. F.
  • Pen Tips

Fixed tips heat up quickly for faster and consistent rendering.

Interchangeable tips allow more versatility and detail and require only one pen.

Polished tips are variable temperature tips. They are smooth and allow you to provide more detail.

Non-Polished tips are typically craft style tips used to fill large areas. They are irregular and create a rough, imperfect effect.

  • Accessories

Wood burning kits often include instruction booklets, stencils (designs), transfer paper (carbon paper), and colored pencils.

You may also want to purchase color wood stain to detail your finished project.

Now, let’s cover TOP 5 best wood burning tools currently available on the market.

TOP 5 Wood Burning Tools Review

The best wood burning tool is the one that is comfortable for you to use, achieves the temperature(s) necessary to work your chosen material, and has the tips (and accessories) you need to complete your selected wood burning design and project.

Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner - for all skill levels

Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner: photoThis Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner is a good starter or backup tool for woodburner artisans of all skill levels and expertise.

It features an easy-grip fluted handle and includes four screw-in tips (Flow, Cone, Shading, and Universal) that allow you to draw, write, and fill image areas. It maintains a constant 950 deg. F. that allows you to get satisfying results on most types of wood.

This USA/Canada UL-approved wood burning tool has a long cord with an on/off switch attached and heat shield to protect your hand from heat during operation. Secure the stand to ensure it does not tip when the (hot) pen is resting in it.

The downside is that this wood burning tool is not suitable for all international customers unless an adapter is used. It should not be used in countries that do not utilize the US/Canada standard two-prong 120V outlet, or where a higher voltage is the standard (i.e.: Europe, etc.).

Recommendations:

This inexpensive wood burning tool is craft style model intended for beginners and intermediate wood burner users age 14 yrs. (with adult supervision) and up. It includes easy-to-follow instructions on how to effectively use each tip. Other Walnut Hollow tips also fit this pen.

Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool - for more skilled & experienced woodburners

Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool: photoThis Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool is a versatile wood burning tool for the more-skilled, woodburner.

It features a comfort grip, heat shield to protect your hand during operation, and 11 interchangeable tips.

Laser transfer images directly onto your material! The color-coded variable temperature control (Low to 950 deg. F.) allows you to get multiple effects (i.e.: soldering, stencil and hot knife cutting, wood burning, paper crafting, hot stamping, and fabric embossing) on a variety of materials.

This USA/Canada UL-approved wood burning tool has a long cord with an on/off switch attached and heat shield to protect your hand from heat during operation. Secure the stand to ensure it does not tip when the (hot) pen is resting in it.

One drawback is that the tips must be changed using pliers. This wood burning tool is not suitable for all international customers unless an adapter is used. It should not be used in countries that do not utilize the US/Canada standard two-prong 120V outlet, or where a higher voltage is the standard (i.e.: Europe, etc.).

Recommendations:

This inexpensive wood burning tool is intended for advanced woodburners age 14 yrs. (with adult supervision) and up that want to produce a variety of detail and effects on numerous materials. Lead-free solder is included.

(STAGE 1) Wood and Leather Pyrography Pen - for all skill levels

Wood and Leather Pyrography Pen: photoThis TruArt (Stage 1) Wood and Leather Pyrography Pen is a lightweight, easy-to-use, durable, short-barrel quality tool that is best-suited for wood and leather.

It has a stainless steel barrel and heat/impact resistant ergonomic rubber handle that aids precision.

There are 21-34 different tips (depending on the kit) including soldering and razor blade.

The dual power mode allows one temperature for leather (15W) and one for wood (30W).

This (Stage 1) wood burning tool has its on/off switch conveniently located on the handle. It is easy and comfortable to hold, easy to handle and operate, and will not cramp or fatigue your hand. This pyrography tool heats quickly and retains its heat better.

A 1-yr. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is also included.

A drawback is that an adapter is needed for international customers that do not utilize the standard two-prong 110V outlet. The maximum 850 deg. F. temperature (30W setting) may also not be as hot as some crafters may expect.

Recommendations:

This reasonably-priced leather and wood burning tool is intended for hobbyists that work in many different types of wood and leather crafts. A downloadable Complete User's Guide with instructions, tip use, and safety precautions is included. A storage/carry case is included.

Uolor 44 PCS Wood Burning Kit - for all skill levels

Uolor Wood Burning Kit: photoThis Uolor Wood Burning Kit offers a versatile, lightweight, quick-heating wood and leather burning and soldering tool.

It has a variety of tips and accessories that make crafting easy for all skill levels. Included are 28 soldering tips, pencils, stencils, and more. All of the tips are universal!

The ergonomic handle allows you to maneuver without cramping or tiring.

The 60W temperature adjusts (392 deg. F. to 842 deg. F.) allowing you to solder, emboss, or perform calligraphy, wood or leather burning crafts with ease. The energy-saving inner-heated ceramic system heats quickly.

The stand should be secured to prevent it from tipping when the (hot) pen is resting in it.

A drawback, and caution, is that the tips may loosen too easily. The manufacturer also warns not to apply too much pressure when you use it.

Recommendations:

This reasonably-priced combination soldering, leather and wood burning tool is intended for artisans, crafters, and hobbyists of all skill levels. A User's Manual with instructions on tip use, stencils, color, etc. is included. A soft storage/carry case is also included.

TRUArt Stage 2 Dual Pen Professional Woodburning Detailer - for advanced woodburners

TRUArt Stage 2 Dual Pen Woodburning Detailer: photoThe versatile TruArt Stage 2 Dual Pen Professional Wood Burning Detailer has two pens and sturdy metal stands that allow you to work quickly, switching between them so there is no waiting for the tool to cool before changing tips.

Twenty different tips (i.e.: shading, razor-thin, etc.) are included and fit either pen. Each pen has a heat/impact resistant ergonomic rubber handle that aids detail and precision and reduces hand fatigue.

Both 60W temperature wood burning tools heat instantly and may be regulated using the digital voltage control adjustment. The dual power/heating mode allows you to work faster, alternating between the two pens.

A 1-yr. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee are included.

The cost and the space needed to accommodate and fully operate both pens may be drawbacks. Also, both pens cannot be used at the same time. It is necessary to switch between the two handpieces.

An adapter is needed for international customers that do not utilize the standard two-prong 110V outlet and these Stage 2 tips are exclusive to the TruArt Stage 2 tool.

Recommendations:

This higher-priced dual wood burning kit works best for advanced and professional artisans that create detailed work in a variety of materials.

A metallic alphabet stencil, PDF Instruction Manual, and a storage/carry case are included.

What First-Time Wood Burning Tool Users Should Know

If you are choosing a wood burning tool for the first time, buy a less expensive one first. It may only have a single fixed or a small number of tips. Read reviews to get an idea of what more experienced woodburners look for.

FAQ – People are asking:

Does it work on 220V current?
No. Most are 110V / 120V only.

What is the maximum temp for this tool?
Each tool has different temperature ranges from 392 deg. F. to 950 deg. F.

Can it be used on leather?
What other types of materials?Yes, various burning tools are designed to be used on particular materials, mostly different types of wood, leather, soft metals, or the outer skins of gourds.

Are the tips Universal?
Will other brand tips fit this brand/model of wood burning tool?Unfortunately, some woodburning tools require original tips.

Are replacement parts available?
You will have to purchase replacement parts separately. Otherwise contact the seller or manufacturer in case you need a replacement within a specified guarantee period.

Comparative chart of Wood Burning Tools

Product Features
Walnut Hollow Creative Woodburner
  • Type: Craft style
  • Tips: 4 different screw-in
  • Temp: Fixed at 950 deg. F.
Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool
  • Type: Wire-nib
  • Tips: 11 interchangeable
  • Temp: Variable: Low to 950 deg. F.
TRUArt Stage1
  • Type: Wire-nib
  • Tips: 21 – 34 different (depending on kit)
  • Max Temp: Dual temp setting: 18W and 30W (850 deg. F.)
Uolor
  • Type: Wire-nib
  • Tips: 11 interchangeable
  • Temp: Adjustable: 392 deg. F. to 842 deg. F.
TRUArt Stage2
  • Type: Wire-nib
  • Tips: 20 interchangeable
  • Temp: (Q&A-Review Measured) Max: 1,500 deg. F.

Conclusion

Wood burning tools and kits do not cost a lot and are good fun for crafting, sign making, or even for starting a small business!

If you are a beginner, a less expensive solid-tip, craft-style wood burning tool with a small number of tips and consistent temperature is a good choice.

You can add to your tip collection as your skill increases or upgrade to a variable temperature, dual-wire elements tool as begin to create more complex projects and need the ability to be more precise or detailed.