There are two kinds of people who are looking to get a wood-burning kit: artists, and hobbyists.
If you’re an artist, you want to avoid those cheap kits out there that have a large variety of tools, tips, stencils, colored pencils, stamps and so on. They all look really similar. You’ll know what we mean when you see them.
However, they’re not what you’re looking for because they’re not really proper tools for artists. They’re more for people who want to have a go at wood burning for fun, rather than people who want to create professional art. You won’t be using stamps and stencils, because you’ll be more relying on your own skill and creativity.
So, if you’re an artist, you’ll want to go for a real wood burning kit, which is what we’ve featured as the top pick in this guide.
However, if you’re someone who’s just interested in trying out wood burning for a bit of fun, but you’re not sure whether you’re going to actually commit to it as a hobby or not, then you just want to go for one of those basic kits instead, where there’s a range of how much you can spend depending on how many tips you want to play with.
With those, you can get one kit that’s quite alot cheaper than another, with the only difference being the number of tips you get, so that cheaper one might actually end up being the best one for you.
But, don’t worry, you’ll see in the section of the guide where we cover all that. You can click here to scroll down to that part of the guide if this applies to you.
However, first, we’ll be looking at the best proper wood burning kit out there. This one is quite a step up from those kits, as you’ll see.
The Best Wood Burning Kits Reviewed
Best Wood Burning Kit: TRUArt Stage 2 Professional Woodburning Detailer
The limits of this tool are the limits of your own skills and creativity. As artists, we don’t want to be limited by our tools, and this isn’t one that’s going to hold you back.
That’s why this one has made the top pick. It’s the best “price point” actual artist’s tool you can get for wood burning without having to commit to an expensive kit that does more than you need.
It doesn’t have lots of different types of tips like the cheap kits, which come with absolutely loads, but that’s not actually a downside because you’ll want to use this more limited, high-quality set of tips for a wide variety of applications, much like with the pencils and brushes you use for drawing and painting already.
This kit doesn’t have any stamp tips, because you won’t be using stamps as an artist. You’ll be drawing things yourself, you see. That’s the difference in the focus of this kit.
The kit we’ve featured as our top choice is the single pen version. But we have to say, it’s much more worth going for the two pen version if you can, that way you’ll be able to have the two tips you’re using most often for your project at hand and ready to be swapped between without having any wait time for one tip to cool down before being swapped and then swapped back when you need it again. It’ll save you a lot of faff and hassle in the long run.
You get a good selection of quality wire tips in this kit. These wire tips are much better than the stamp tools or various solid shaped tips you get with the cheaper kits. They’re designed for you to draw with and add your own detail, unlike those that have chiseled ends in various shapes that make a standard – pre-shaped mark for you. You’ll be able to work with these tips in a way that’s not unlike the way you would use your pencils and brushes in traditional artwork and you can make minute heat adjustments with the digital control to easily achieve depth and shading to your work.
What We Like:
- Cooler to the Touch, Ergonomically-Shaped Pyrography Pen – The pen has a heat resistant rubberized wrap that will remain cool enough for you to hold the pen much closer to the heated tip, than other brands on the market – even for long periods. It’s also more oval-shaped than some of the chunkier round shaped pens out there so it fits more naturally in your hand, allowing for greater control and a steadier hand.
- Fast Heat-Up Time – These tips heat up super fast which will help speed up your workflow. They do obviously take longer to cool than heat up, but they still cool faster than the thicker solid tips of the cheaper kits and if you go for the 2 pen set, you won’t have to interrupt your workflow while you wait for the tips to cool.
- 3-Year Warranty –TRUArt are a company that just specializes in wood-burning kits, spare parts, and accessories, so you know you are getting a professional artist quality product. As such, unlike with many other kits out there, you get a 3-year warranty and should you require any extras, such as additional tips, spare parts, or even if you decide to get an extra pen at a later date, you’ll find that they’re all easily available to buy.
- Carry Case – Most other kits don’t come with a carry case. This might seem like a no big deal detail but you’ll want to look after your equipment so having the correct size case that you can put everything away into when you’ve finished using your kit is both helpful and sensible.
- Good Choice of Tips Available – Although the kit comes with 2x sets of 20 tips, and they’ll possibly be all you’ll ever need, it’s nice to know that there are additional tip sets that you can choose from for a more bespoke wood burning effect.
Things To Consider:
- Limited Stamps – As we’ve seen, these pens are designed to be used like artist’s pencils or brushes. That said, however keen on drawing you might be, it would be nice to have the option to get a bit more crafty with the kit sometimes. As you can see the pen has a dual wire insert tip. This makes it much more efficient at producing and controlling heat but this also makes it less compatible with other models that may have a different fitting. Most of the tips that are suitable for this pen are the drawing/brush type and there aren’t many stamp tools available. That’s not to say there aren’t any suitable stamps out there, they’re just a little limited in choice. You can buy the ones that are available directly from the TRUart website.
The Best Wood Burning Kits for Beginners:
As a beginner, you’re going to want to try out lots of different wood burning techniques to get a feel for what you can achieve. The beginner kits with lots of different tips and stamps are great for this. You’ll notice they are all pretty similar to each other, whichever one you go for, and they’re also unbelievably cheap.
That’s because these pyrography pens are pretty much-repurposed soldering irons and soldering irons are pretty cheap to make. That’s not to say they’re not good for wood burning, they may be very basic – you plug ’em in, they get extremely hot pretty quickly, hot enough to make decorative marks on wood and with all the different tips you can attach to them, you can get some great results.
You may be more creative than artistic, in which case, you’ll find having lots of stamps and stencils useful. Just bear in mind that unless the stencils are metal, and with the cheaper kits they mostly aren’t, you should just use them to trace your design onto the wood because you’ll melt the plastic if you use the pen directly on them.
If you lean more towards the artistic side or you like the artist’s sketch look and want to have a go at drawing, you should look for a kit that has a good selection of pencil-shaped tips. The 97Piece Wood Burning Kit shown above left has quite a few of those but it also has several stamp tools too, so it’s a good all-round kit with a bit of everything in it.
One of the downsides to these kits is that though some do have temperature controls, which is something you’ll find useful in order to achieve the right amount of burn for the type of wood you are using and the type of mark you are trying to make, they’re a bit fiddly and not as accurate or sensitive as the digitally controlled ones you get with the more professional pens.
These pens also tend to get hot so they aren’t ideal for using over prolonged periods. If this is a problem you might find a heatproof glove a good idea.
They’re also, it has to be said, less efficient in that they tend to take longer to heat up and longer to cool down than our top choice above, this will, unfortunately, slow your workflow down considerably and you’ll need to be patient while you’re waiting for the tip to cool down enough to swap it.
What We Like About These Kits:
- Lots of Tips and Accessories – This makes them ideal for experimenting with. You’ll be able to find your own style and learn what works for you so you can achieve something to be proud of. Not only that but if you find a good tutorial or have a project in mind you want to create, chances are, you’ll already have everything you need in one of these kits to go ahead and make it.
- They’re Super Cheap – Most of these kits are around the $20 mark which makes them worth going for, even if you’re not sure whether you’ll like your new hobby or not. In any case, even if you don’t commit to wood-burning and go on to create amazing and stunning masterpieces, you’ll certainly get your $20 worth of fun out of one.
Things To Consider:
- Pyrography Pen Can Get Hot – These pens as we’ve discussed are primarily soldering pens so they’re pretty cheap and not that well insulated. This means they can get uncomfortably hot if you’re using them for long period of time. If you want to complete large projects or you think you’ll be using the pen quite alot you should consider going for a professional kit like our best choice above.
Lastly, we can’t recommend enough that you get yourself a good wood smoke extractor.
However, pleasant the smell of wood smoke is, it’s not good for you and once you get totally absorbed in a project, you can forget that the air around you is getting smokier and more unhealthy by the minute. It’s only sensible to get yourself a fume exhaust rather than to risk any short or long term health problems from something that should be relaxing and enjoyable enough to be actually good for you. This one by TRUart isn’t expensive and it’s designed specifically for all types of wood-burning projects.
Though we generally only review the best stuff out there and make recommendations in this case we are saying – If you buy a wood-burning kit, you MUST buy one of these!
Will I Like Wood Burning if I Like Drawing?
Firstly, if you’ve never tried this before but you like drawing, you’ll find your art skills are easily transferable to wood burning, giving you an exciting and extremely versatile new medium to work with.
But don’t worry or be put off if your drawing skills are a little on the rusty side or you’re not quite in the league of Rembrandt. You’ll be completely blown away by the amazing results you can achieve with even a basic kit.
Sure, the basic kits aren’t really tools for artists, but if you’re still learning, you won’t pick up any bad habits, and they’ll be easily good enough for the level of precision you’re working with.
Besides, as a professional illustrator and serial art dabbler, I can attest to just how far a passion for something you want to learn can take you. All you’ll need is one of these beginner kits, even one with not too many tips in order to save money, and you’ll have all you need to let your creativity loose.
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