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Best Soldering Stations 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2018
Best Soldering Stations of 2018
Before you spend your money on soldering stations, start by familiarizing yourself with the various types. There are dozens of choices for an soldering stations these days. These are composed of modern styling with modern technology to match it. Here are some good examples.
Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing soldering stations should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition. You must have heard that the best soldering stations should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this soldering stations win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day.
Why did this soldering stations come in second place?
I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.
Why did this soldering stations take third place?
We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
Soldering Stations Buyer’s Guide
Know your purpose
Soldering guns or irons need to be chosen based upon the purpose for which you would be using it. For most of the common applications such as electronics applications, hobby DIY projects, a soldering iron of 30 Watts would fit the purpose.
Again, wattage comes into picture when more power is required for soldering jobs. More the power, higher will be the heating temperature.
Read this detailed post on deciding about how much wattage you need in a soldering gun.
Multiple Tip Support
Soldering irons come with provision of using multiple tips (bits) so that user has the flexibility of applying right amount of heat on different sized objects being soldered. See that the soldering iron has this option of supporting multiple tips.
Temperature control features
Recent soldering stations come with digital displays that show the tip temperature and allow the user to control the temperature during the job.
Applying right temperature is extremely important while soldering delicate parts such as PCB. An excess heat can damage the PCB tracks easily.
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Support for multiple tips
Your soldering iron should be able to support multiple tips, because size and sharpness of the tip decides how much temperature has to be passed to the soldered object. Having options to attach different sized tips gives you flexibility of using your solder iron in various situations and achieve a optimum soldering effect.
Of course, a great soldering quality improves with your experience with soldering process.
Corded or Cordless
Now-a-days, soldering irons can run on battery as well compared to conventional AC power source. Portable soldering irons useful in applications such as electronics kits.
If you are frequently traveling and need a handy soldering gun that is independent of AC power source, then cordless types can be helpful. Cordless solder guns have advantages of being portable and are less distracting while working on the job. They are bit heavier since they use batteries to power (usually batteries).
However, they are suitable for smaller jobs such as electronic kits or hobby projects.For larger jobs, corded ones are preferred.
People do have combination of corded/cordless solder guns to help themselves in varying situations.
After spending more than 20 hours researching and testing eight soldering irons, we found the X-Tronic Model 3020-XTS LED Display Soldering Iron Station to be the best one for beginners and hobbyists alike. The X-Tronic station performed reliably as we assembled an electronics-project kit, and it had one of the fastest warm-up times of the soldering irons we tested. The handle is comfortable to hold and not hot to the touch, and the iron comes with a heavy, sturdy stand and useful accessories.
The reliable X-Tronic heats up fast and offers a safe and sturdy stand, an ergonomic grip, and a digital temperature display.
If our main pick is unavailable, the next-best option is the Weller WLC100 Soldering Station. It performed reliably in our tests, and its design makes it feel very safe (if less comfortable) to hold, but it takes longer to heat up and doesn’t provide the luxury of a digital display or a solder spool. The Weller has one of the highest maximum temperatures of the eight soldering irons we tested, though, and the included station is sturdy and easy to adjust, and equipped with a wet sponge. But the WLC100 has a wider chisel tip, which is less useful for delicate electronics projects—we recommend getting a conical tip to use with it.
Who this is for
A soldering iron is an essential tool for creating, modifying, or repairing electronics. By applying heat and solder, you can fuse together conductive metal elements (such as wires) for durable, permanent connections. Beginning soldering iron users might be interested in building a keyboard, repairing their headphones, or assembling an electronics kit designed to teach how devices are put together. (We found the tube easier to hold during testing.)
People also use soldering irons for jewelry metalwork, though this guide focuses on electronics use. Our research shows that jewelry makers often prefer butane-based soldering torches to achieve the heat necessary for the higher melting points of silver, gold, and other metals. This guide also doesn’t discuss soldering guns, which are typically more appropriate for industrial applications such as heavy-gauge electrical connections or sheet-metal work.
How we picked
The X-Tronic 3020-XTS (left) meets all of our requirements for a great soldering iron: adjustable temperature, good comfort, and an easy-to-understand design.
Soldering irons come in five popular configurations: pencil, adjustable pencil, cordless, torch, and station. The basic pencil soldering iron plugs directly into a wall socket and doesn’t provide adjustable temperature. Many of the experts we interviewed for this guide used a basic pencil as their first soldering iron. This type is ubiquitous and inexpensive, but we skipped basic pencils because adjustable pencils, which allow you to change their temperature, offer more control and are still affordable.
We also skipped cordless irons, which are useful for their portability but require trade-offs that aren’t worth it for beginners: They heat up more slowly, consume batteries quickly, and can damage delicate electronics. Butane-powered soldering torches are prized for their portability and high heat, especially for jewelry metalwork, but they’re too difficult to use for beginners.
That left us with adjustable pencils and entry-level stations. These soldering irons are the most affordable and straightforward for most people. Adjustable pencil soldering irons include a temperature dial on the iron’s handle, striking a balance between the simplicity of a basic pencil and the flexible temperature control of a soldering station. That control comes in handy when you need a higher temperature for heating thicker materials, or when you need lower temperatures for working with delicate components.
Soldering stations come in two parts: a base (typically with a holster, a temperature dial, and a sponge) and an iron that plugs into the base. These systems tend to have precise temperature control, quick-heating irons, and rugged designs.
At least 30 watts of power: Low-wattage irons take longer to heat up and longer to recover when the heat dips during solder work.
Consistent temperature: It should be able to hold an adequate, consistent temperature. Fluctuations in temperature can be frustrating while you wait for your iron to get hot enough to melt solder—or devastating, if your iron gets too hot and damages your circuit board.
Tip compatibility: The iron should work with a range of tips, which ideally are replaceable, easy to find, and affordable. You may need a thinner, conical tip for delicate electronics work or a thicker, chisel tip for through-hole projects that need even heating—it depends on the project.
Comfort: The iron’s grip should be thin and padded to allow control for delicate work, and it shouldn’t get uncomfortably hot while you work.
Extras: A sturdy stand for holding your hot iron while you work, a sponge to clean the tip, and a spool for the solder are much-appreciated extra features, especially for beginners who don’t want to buy a bunch of accessories piecemeal to get started.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
As with the other irons we tested, the X-Tronic model’s temperature dipped a few times during use due to the heat dissipating while we were soldering, and we had to wait for it to get hot enough again to melt solder. Each instance was annoying, but it passed within a few seconds, and the X-Tronic recovered about as quickly as the other models we tested. The digital display made tracking its current temperature simple.
If the X-Tronic is unavailable, we recommend the Weller WLC100 Soldering Station. It does its job reliably and well, but it’s less comfortable to hold, it comes with a larger chisel tip (which is less useful for delicate electronics kits), and it lacks a digital display. The Weller iron’s included station is simple but has everything you need: an iron holder, space for the included sponge, an on/off switch, and a temperature-control knob with five settings.
The 40-watt Weller WLC100 iron heated about five times more slowly than our top pick: It took minutes, 1seconds to reach 700 °F, posting the third-slowest heat time of the irons we tested. However, the WLC100 had the third-highest maximum heat, at 907 °F—higher than the X-Tronic iron’s max—though you’ll need temperatures that high only for some types of solder and smaller conical tips. During use in our tests, it reliably held its temperature as effectively as the X-Tronic iron did.
Weller’s station includes a temperature-control knob marked with the numerals through 5, rather than exact temperatures; none of the labeled numbers appeared to correspond to a specific temperature (though our Hakko testing device did not appear to be completely accurate). We set the WLC100 between and to assemble the Larson Scanner Kit; that setting translated to around 700 °F according to our measurements.
The Weller iron’s wide handle isn’t as ergonomic as the X-Tronic iron’s.
The WLC-100’s included tip is chisel-shaped and thick, so it’s difficult to use on small components like those included with the Larson Scanner Kit. We suggest investing in a thinner, conical tip. The iron’s handle is also a little too thick, which made my hand tire faster, but it did have nice padding and a rim to prevent my hand from sliding down toward the tip. During use it felt slightly warmer than the X-Tronic 3020-XTS and Xytronic 258, but better than the rest of the models we tested.
Since the Weller station is lighter than the X-Tronic station, it moved more often when we set the iron down. But its longer cord meant that we accidentally yanked on it less often, minimizing its movement, and the station required almost no setup.
The only included accessory is a sponge. The WLC-100 doesn’t come with a spool for holding the solder or a brass sponge like the X-Tronic 3020-XTS, or a complete set of accessories like our budget pick, the Vastar Full Set 60W 110V Soldering Iron Kit. But once you buy a conical tip and solder, you won’t find yourself missing any of the other accessories.
The Atten SA-50 heated up quickly but didn’t impress us with its lackluster maximum temperature. At 782 °F, its max temperature was just enough for us to work on the Larson Scanner Kit, but far lower than the 900 °F other irons reached. It was decently comfortable to hold, but a bit larger and warmer than the most comfortable irons in our test group, the Aoyue and X-Tronic models.
The Aoyue 46Soldering Station had the most comfortable iron to hold and included a nice collection of accessories, but it had the longest setup time at nearly minutes and one of the lowest maximum temperatures. Our picks set up in under three minutes (or required no setup at all) and produced higher maximum temperatures. It did hold its temperature well throughout testing, though.
The Xytronic 25had the second-longest heat-up time and the lowest maximum temperature. Its handle was also plain, with no padding or ergonomic features, and the included tip—a small chisel shape—was a bit too large for the Larson Scanner Kit.
The Velleman VTSS5U Soldering Station had the longest heat-up time, at minutes, 2seconds, and the second-lowest maximum temperature. The stand didn’t feel stable, and the iron’s handle felt wide and hot. However, it came with a nicely sized conical tip and held its temperature during testing.
Tabiger Soldering Iron Kit 60W 110V-Adjustable Temperature Welding Soldering Iron with Tool Carry Case ã€Soldering KITã€‘ – Soldering iron kit comes with soldering iron, solder wire, desoldering pump, stand with cleaning sponge, multiple soldering …
Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-88(blue & yellow)
Digital soldering station end safe Comes with fx-888d, fx-880soldering iron, t18-d1tip, Fh800 iron holder, A155sponge, A156cleaning wire, …
Weller SP80NUS Heavy Duty LED Soldering Iron, Red/Black
High-Performance LED Soldering Iron – 80 Watts, up to 900-DegreeF Three 5mm high temperature long-life LEDs at 2Lumens/ftÂ² for superior soldering …
6-in-60W Soldering Iron Gun with Carry Case and Cleaning Sponge Stand, SOAIY Adjustable Temperature Welding Soldering Iron, Including 5pcs Different Soldering Tips, Desoldering Pump, Soldering Wire
6-in-FULL KIT – Kit comes with tool carry case, soldering iron, soldering tips, soldering sucker (desoldering pump), solder wires, stand with …
A soldering station does not only allow the users to organize the soldering tool and its tips. But, it can further give users with more control over the heat or temperature and even the wattage of that goes through the soldering iron.
When choosing a soldering station, it might be useful for you to examine the variability of the temperature it offers. That is, a wider temperature range you can control may give you more project or work options.
This criterion can further cater to your skills, especially for the beginners. It is because you can set or control the station based on how you work.
There are two basic systems that you may encounter when looking for a soldering station. You can have the analog soldering station or the digital soldering stations. The difference between these two is the information feeding mechanism it provides the users.
The analog provides users with a more manual setting and information giving the process to the users. This kind of system allows you to manage temperature through manual temperature measurement process. Some may consider analog to provide less data as compared to digital considering the time aspect of the process.
Its counterpart is the digital soldering system. This type of system is deemed to be more accurate and can provide more data regarding the status of the tool.
Depending on your skills and preference, both systems can be advantageous or disadvantageous. One key element to consider when examining the system is your skills, where some beginners may find digital soldering stations easier to use.
We are a firm believer that accessories, although considered trivial, has a huge effect on the overall experience with the product. Soldering station as a power tool may also come with tiny details or accessories to make work more efficient and comfortable.
Therefore, it might also be a help to you to notice the small details or accessories in the search for the best soldering station.
It might be important to use protective gears.
The soldering station offers a variable temperature control mechanism. You can set the station to 350°F to 850°F (176°C to 454°C) to give you the right temperature appropriate for your work.
It has an automatic shutdown when the product is inactive or not in use.
The product comes with an internal heat sensor that cools down or for fast heat up time so you can have control more control over the temperature.
Temperature also locks out to keep the unit in good temperature levels. But, it provides the consistent heat you need.
This unit packs an ESD plastic for safer use.
It includes a stand for the iron and sponge for cleaning and maintenance.
The LED light indicator seems to not work properly that may confuse the users as to the status of the unit.
You can control and choose the temperature setting that you want for the work or for your comfort. It can be from 200°C to 480°C.
The product is equipped with an ESD design for safety of the user and the tool.
It comes with Magic Temperature Compensation Technology that is similar to the PID system to maintain a stable temperature when in use.
The LED setting can show both Fahrenheit or Celsius depending on which unit you are more comfortable with.
It has an automatic sleep technology that shut downs the tool when you are not working. This feature helps in safety from overheating.
The station also comes with a stand and sponge for maintenance and cleaning.
The temperature range is comparatively shorter or less expansive than seen from other products reviewed.
Its variable temperature setting comes from 100°C to 480°C, which is relatively wider than other products on this review.
Since it has a digital system, it can show a precise temperature from its dual LED display, which gives your more accuracy in the project you are working on.
Its soldering iron has an ESD design to keep you safe from burns and grounding.
The unit is less noisy with its low noise design or feature.
This unit can automatically lower down the temperature, which is useful to prevent damage to the unit’s heater.
It has a proportional integral derivative or PID technology that helps keep the consistency or stability of the temperature that can ensure good working heat all through the use.
The station comes with several accessories from hot iron, hot gun, gun holder, IC extractor, and different nozzles.
There are issues with the rubber foot below the station as some of it comes off easily. This can be a problem with quality and safety.
It has a relatively wider range of temperature from 50° – 480°C. This range allows users to have more variety of work done as well as the suit your skills when handling the heat.
The product’s digital display will show both Fahrenheit and Celsius measurement that caters to users who are comfortable with either of the two temperature measurements.
It is an ESD safe design or make-up that can ensure user with more safety precautions.
The station comes with an iron that has multiple tips to cater to different uses or jobs.
The thermal recovery works within seconds, and the iron tips are regulated to prevent overheating.
The station is smaller than other products on review, which saves space in the work area.
Some report faulty temperature setting, where the tool does not easily adjust to a cooler temperature when adjusted.
The temperature variation is wide. It can be adjusted from 100°C to 480°C allowing you to do more with the station.
It is designed to ESD safe with its iron having an anti-static design feature. This twin safety feature can help in preventing hazard issues.
Factors to consider
Soldering equipment is not necessarily a novice hand tool but has become an essential instrument for a complete toolbox.
This technique of soldering is not hard to learn, but most starters typically add the iron solder to the DIY tools inventory after embarking on novice projects, such as rewiring computer fans or power supplies (PSUs).
Professionals, however, have many factors to consider before buying a soldering equipment. The list below will apply to both starters and professionals in electronics.
The electronic temperature control typically allows for the control of the heat level to the soldering equipment tip.
Most soldering equipment produce temperatures of up to 850 degrees F.
There are main three basic soldering equipment temperature designs.
The first type has no regulation temperature form. This is an unregulated soldering pencil such that once you plug in you wait for few minutes, and you are good to go. It is best for do-it-yourself projects and household standard soldering projects. This is the cheapest and simplest type.
The second is the temperature controlled soldering equipment. They ensure the temperature of the metal is maintained at a level since it has a built-in temperature control. An internal thermocouple monitors the temperature and others have thermocouple built into the iron tip. The iron temperature can be adjusted. This type is more expensive than the soldering pencils.
The third type is a complete system of soldering for rework and repair. This system of soldering consists of an entire bench control unit in a soldering tools variety where you can plug in i.e. capacitors, thermal tweezers, DE-soldering gun, and the hot air soldering gun. They are designed for professional use repair and rework stations, continuous production line in a high volume manufacturing.
Convenience and portability is one of the main reasons as why professionals and a novice should buy the cordless power tools soldering equipment versions.
Users can easily move from one place to another without restrictions, and that increases productivity. They can operate in gas combustions from separate tanks
Soldering equipment mostly come with same tip features.
The bits also referred to as dots vary in shape and size for flexibility to users. Most common tips include the chisel, pyramid, tapered, and beautiful conical.
To decide on which type of tip to include on your inventory, users should consider the type of job in plan. For most durability, copper, nickel and chrome types of tips are essential.
This provides the heating power required for objects.
Too much wattage causes burning or boils flux before cleaning of certain electronic components.
Electronic repair professionals can go up to 60 watts while the novice range is between 1to 3wattage.
The question here is not which soldering brand produces the best quality since many electronic brands produce soldering equipment.
The simple act of choosing a brand to purchase is a great start for productivity and ensuring high quality.
Users should want to consider brands that have a good reputation in quality products and have a lengthy track record of constructing high standard iron solders.
These brand names should be able to provide firm handling, comfortable grip, and overheat rarely. Good tools can be expensive.
Cost should not be considered a significant issue for the novice who use pencil Desolder or iron solder.
For experienced professionals and novices must consider trade off for purchasing these products.
Name brands cost more than the generic models. It is important to create a budget and also consider quality.
To know which type to buy is the first step in the process of shopping.
You should also decide on the type of iron solder temperature control, brand or whether to go cordless.
It is a light-weight unit; only 8.oz.
Temperature is easily adjusted with a manual control knob.
When first plugged in, the tip of this unit gives off some smoke. After this initial smoke clears, it should not happen again.
This unit is not grounded and it should not be used with electrostatic sensitive materials.
When this aspect is combined with the upgraded PCBA Chip Fixed Resistor, this combination delivers a fast heating factor and workers can expect to finish projects in a minimal amount of time allowing time for even more projects! With a maximum output of 60W 110V, this iron delivers a punch of power from the second you flip the switch to the on position. With a range of temperature between 200℃ and 450℃, this tool is ready to handle nearly any job that needs to be done.
The innovation of the ventilation holes and unique design give this model of iron the advantage over their competitors when it comes to heating accuracy and heat dissipation; the handle design ensures a secure grip when the unit is in use. Covered by a 12-month worry-free guarantee and a 4day money-back guarantee, users can use this tool for many projects with the assurance that they have the manufacturers support.
This iron is very affordable and easy enough for a beginner to use.
This product is covered by a manufacturers warranty and guarantee.
The new design with the steel-pipe design and holes in the tips help to cool faster.
If this iron is not used at either the lowest (200℃) or highest heat settings (450℃) the temperature of the tip may vary. To ensure the correct temperature, test the solder on a scrap piece of material.
This soldering instrument can not be utilized as a wood burning tool.
When it comes to getting into small spaces to repair or create soldered joints this unit can get into those spaces easily with the uniquely shaped anti-static tweezers. Among the other extras available with this tool, these tweezers give the user the advantage of pin-pointing the area with precision and ease to deliver the maximum output of 60 Watts of power and heating force to any project. This power provides a temperature range of 200℃ to 450℃, with a hand dial to adjust the temperature and to any desired temperature between the two.
This iron may come off as cheap, but the inclusion of the five different soldering tips gives the user the advantage of being able to work on different sizes of multiple projects. The fast heating and cooling aspects of this tool make the operation of the unit even easier; cool-down time and re-heat time are at a minimal. To ensure the highest level of safety, this unit is certified by CE, ROHS, and the FCC. Using the desoldering pump will help to prolong the life of the unit and keep the welds clean and strong.
The variable temperature allows for a number of different raw metals to be implemented depending on each individual soldering need. With the steel-pipe design of the heating unit, this iron is quick to heat and adjust safely. Securely enclosed in the slip-resistant and heat-insulated handle, the handle of this tool stays cool even at the hottest settings.
Five unique tips allow for use in a number of different situations.
The steel-pipe design delivers fast heating and cooling of the unit.
The stand for this unit is thin and may need to be attached to a work surface to prevent it from falling over during use.
The light-weight design of this iron will benefit any user who spends a tremendous amount of time soldering such as in the construction of stained-glass. The sleek pencil design give the user the ability to work on large projects for prolonged amounts of time without discomfort or cramping of hands. The light-weight cushioned foam grip also offers a level of comfort that is not commonly seen among the units offered by the competitors.
With a range of to 40 Watts of power, this unit is able to deliver a range of temperature options for which the user may choose, depending on each job and the specifications. Once turned on, the LED indicator light will light up indicating that this unit is delivering an abundance of power to the STiron-plated copper tip. This highly functional and replaceable tip will heat up and can be adjusted with the simple turn of the temperature dial on the unit; from to 40 Watts of power within minutes.
The pencil design of this tool allows for maximum comfort for long soldering sessions.
Tips for this model are constructed from strong materials such as solid copper that has been plated with iron for durability.
The design of the spring holder for the iron may be a hindrance for those hobbyists who are in a hurry; purchasing an inexpensive stand will allow for quick hands-free work.
The temperature of this unit fluctuates during use; allow a few seconds in between applications so the unit has time to heat back to the necessary temperature.
TasiHome Premium 60W Soldering Iron Kit With Optimum Tip Temp. Adjustment And Control For Reliable Electronic Repairs By Eliminating Repaired Component Damage. Robust Electrical And Jewellery Repairs
Unlike many other units on the market, this one comes with an extra tube of solder and five extra job unique tips from the manufacturer. The manufacturer stands behind this iron and all of the accessories and workmanship with a 18-month warranty and the invitation to contact them at any time with soldering concerns.
The main purpose of buying a soldering iron is, perhaps, the most important variable throughout the process. The brand or model you should buy highly depends on your purpose as the most common applications that are related to electronics. For larger and more complicated soldering tasks, choosing one with a higher wattage is the best choice such as those with 200 or 400 watts that are specifically designed similar to a drilling machine but with a trigger for heating the gun.
Print this Project
There are hundreds of different soldering iron tip shapes and sizes used in everything from jewelry making to plumbing to even stained glass.
We’ll focus on the most common for electronics work: chisel, conical, and bevel tips.
Conical tips are usually used for precision electronics work, though they’re also often used for general soldering. The pointed tip helps deliver heat to small areas, such as tiny surface-mount components.
NOTE: Tips for one brand of soldering iron are often not compatible with others, so be sure to verify that tips are designed for your soldering iron before buying them.
SPECIALIZED TIPS: There are endless varieties of specialized tips designed for specific jobs — even if they aren’t soldering related. For example, this spade tip is used to scrape UV glue off of LCD glass.
What Tools Do You Need
Soldering Iron — It is important that you use a soldering iron of at least 2watts for electric guitar components. The reason for this is that with a lower powered iron, the time needed to heat a component for solder application is longer — especially when dealing with grounding wires on volume and tone pots. This extra time allows for heat to radiate away from the iron contact point and through components, potentially causing damage. If you are new to soldering, however, I do not recommend using an iron much above 25w. This will allow for connections to be made without the speed that is needed with a high-powered iron. My advice for beginners would be to stick within 2to 50 watts and to keep in mind that the contact time should generally be shorter for higher powers.
Solder — The most common and recommended solder for guitar work is the rosin-core, 60/40. The 60/40 describes the ratio of tin to lead, respectively. The rosin (flux) core facilitates the bonding process of the metals and solder.
De-soldering braid — There can be times where you have too much solder buildup on components and need to remove it. At other times, you may simply need to remove the whole joint. This is where a de-soldering braid can be useful. It draws in solder under heat and thus removes it from components.
Pliers — Due to the way heat transfers through thin wires and components quickly, it is best to use pliers when needing to grab a hold while at the same time applying heat nearby.
Tinning the Tip
After wiping the tip of the soldering iron with the solder, you should notice a thin silver layer over the tip. If so, you have successfully tinned the tip.
Please note: It is sometimes thought that you apply solder to the iron tip and then bring the tip into contact with the components you want to join. This is incorrect. In fact, the only time that solder should really be placed on the tip is in the tinning process. The proper method is to use the soldering iron only as a source for heat.
Practice Makes Perfect
Soldering is a skill more than anything. You need to practice it if you intend to do a good job. In fact, I highly recommend that you practice on something invaluable first — even just some plain used wire — before moving on to a guitar or other instrument. You can cut some scrap wire into several pieces and practice creating joints with them. Try to create a shiny joint as that is usually the sign of a good connection. If you have a resistance meter that can measure small resistances, you can use that to test your connections. A quick tip to getting better connections is to first tin the ends of wires to be connected. This is done much like the tinning of an iron tip; however, you do not wipe away any solder after coating. You simply coat the ends of the wire with a bead of solder that will later be used to form a joint.
There is only one way to repair electronics-with a soldering iron. Maybe you want to build your own headphone amplifier. What to do with a broken microphone cable or guitar cord? Don’t throw it away! Make the simple repair and save a ton of money. Soldering irons have also found uses in non-electronics projects too. The more advanced soldering iron kits include a hot knife tool for cutting and shaping foam boards, wax, soaps plastics, Styrofoam and even fabrics. 3D-printed components can be shaved and milled for a smooth finish. Soldering irons have also been used to burn patterns into wood and leather. What is the best soldering iron for your projects? It depends on the type of work you plan on doing. We compiled a list of The Best Soldering Irons for 2017, making it easy for you to decide.
Note: Most soldering stations require re-calibration when tips are changed.
For the technical geeks here’s a couple of interesting articles. The first covers everything you’ll ever want to know about tips and compares the Hakko and Metcal tips. The second covers the performance characteristics of soldering iron tips (in this case Weller, but the theory applies to all brands).
You will need a couple of products to properly maintain your soldering tips. The main concern in tip care is oxidation, which reduces the ability of the tip to transfer heat to the joint. Oxidation is the result of oxygen and the rate of oxidation is increased by heat. It is easier to prevent oxidation than to remove it so some basic preventive care will ensure your tips stay in good shape.
In the old days a damp sponge would have been used to clean the tip while soldering, but due to the thermal shock applied to the tip, a copper wire sponge is now the preferred method. The copper is softer than the tip, but harder than the oxidation so it will safely clean the tip. Hakko recommends that at the end of the soldering session you clean the tip using a sponge and the following procedure.
lower the temperature to 482° F (soldering stations and adjustable temperature irons).
Clean the tip with the damp sponge and inspect the tip.
If there is any black oxide on the tip, apply solder with flux and clean again. Repeat until no oxidation remains.
Quoted from sohchx
I am a long time customer and use nothing but PACE soldering and desoldering equipment. Excellent quality and product support. Highly recommend them
The biggest difference I notice between good and cheap soldering/desoldering tools is how well the tip will wet with solder.
My decent soldering tools seem to easily and completely wet with solder if I rub the tip with a damp sponge. But cheap soldering irons are a pain to get to wet and normally they will only wet on a small portion of the tip. The cheap stuff will work in a pinch, but the heat does not flow right from them or into the joint because only a small portion of the soldering iron is actually heating the solder joint.
Quoted from Chet
Hope you cover desoldering, desoldering stations and techniques.
Solder tends to be a religious issue, with everyone having their favorite. I exclusively use Henkel Multicore 63/3leaded rosin core solder. That doesn’t mean it’s better than other choices, just that I’m used to how it flows, so why change. Equally important to the brand is the type of solder you use, so let’s talk about solder.
The first issue I’ll address is lead solder vs lead-free solder. The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive requires manufacturers to use lead-free solder (technically almost lead-free). Unfortunately there are some downsides to lead-free solder.
The FR300 has a built-in vacuum pump and the tip has a hole in the middle that fits over the component lead and provides the vacuum pressure when the trigger is depressed. There are four temperature settings ranging from 662° to 932°.
The tip size should roughly be the same size as the pad you are desoldering, but not much larger. The gun should be re-calibrated after changing nozzles.
Even with the fanciest iron and best solder you can buy, you’ll struggle without a helping hand. This tool simply helps you hold the pieces of equipment that you’re working on. Simple things like soldering a wire to a pad can become very difficult if your work is moving around and slipping as you solder. A helping hand holds the pieces you’re working with in place, allowing your hands to work freely and elevating the work off the table.
The wattage the soldering iron contains is one of the biggest components of any butane soldering iron. Most butane soldering irons used for electronic repairs contain between 20 to 60 watts. It is very common for butane soldering irons to contain 50 watts, which offers more than ample wattage to solder items such as circuit boards or other small electrical projects.
The higher the wattage a soldering iron contains, the better off you will be and the more projects you can complete with a single soldering iron. The higher the wattage a butane soldering iron has to offer, means the soldering tip will be able to retain heat longer and will help heat up solder joints to allow a smooth, solid solder.
Size and Shape of Tips
The size and shape of the tips that you have supplied with a soldering iron can greatly affect the type of projects that you can complete. Usually kits will include a number of tips that allow you to solder or cut. The larger the tips the harder it will be to complete delicate jobs. However replacement tips can be bought to allow you to perform almost any job.
Get airflow to the iron
Since we don’t have any heat resistant tubing, we used the suction bulb as a bulky, but simple heat insulator.
Drill a hole in the end of the bulb with a 5/3inch drill bit or something similar. The hole needs to be round for a good seal.
Insert the tube
Cutting the end of the vinyl tubing at a 4degree angle will help a bit. Wet the end of the tube lightly and push the end into the hole you drilled in the bulb. Attach the other end of the tube to the outlet on the air pump. To clean things up, secure the airhose to the iron and along the power line with the zip ties. Later we replaced the zip tie on the handle with some stylish red electrical tape.
To use the gun effectively, allow the iron a sufficient warm up time without turning on the air pump. Once it’s toasty, plug in the air pump and it’ll be ready to go. In order to get a feel for the way the heat transfer works, we tried out our gun on a few workbench materials.
Tin the Tip
Soldering irons don’t transfer heat as nicely to things as you might suspect. But by tinning the tip of the iron, the heat transfer will be much more even and efficient. Plus, it’s easy to do. Once the tip of the soldering iron is just warm enough to melt solder, touch the tip to your soldering wire. It will melt and flow up and around the tip, giving it a nice smooth and shiny finish. Any excess solder can be wiped off with a damp soldering sponge. Don’t use an ordinary cleaning sponge, as it’ll melt. Soldering sponges are made out of cellulose, which is more heat resistant than your standard plastic sponge.
Get a Helping Hand
Soldering takes at least four things: a soldering iron, solder, and the two things you want to solder together. But you’ve only got two hands. There’s a device called helping hands that are worth getting. It’s a little stand with two alligator clips, and sometimes a magnifying glass. Another handy holder to have is a mini-vice.
The Rosin is in the Middle
When you go to solder the component lead to the board, place your soldering iron tip at that point where the lead and the board meet, at a 4degree angle. That heats the lead and the pad on the board. Gently push your soldering wire into the same point – it will melt and flow around the lead, just like in the picture below.
Pull the solder away before you pull the iron away – this will prevent little peaks of solder protruding off your joint. Those peaks can lead to shorts between components, and they don’t look very nice.
If you’re having a hard time being accurate with your soldering iron, try setting up your work so that the side of your soldering hand can rest on something solid, just like in the picture above. You’ll find it much easier to be precise.
This video, from Adafruit, is an excellent introduction to soldering components to circuit boards. It’s not rocket science. Okay, it sort of is, but the really easy part of rocket science.
Signs of a Solid Solder Joint
With practice, you’ll be able to avoid making mistakes most of the time. Until then, examine every joint after you solder it, and before moving on to the next one. A good solder joint will be smooth, shiny, and make full contact between the two parts. If the solder is dull, rough looking, clumped, or there are gaps between it and either part, your joint is going to fail.
Don’t worry, most soldering problems are easily fixed. You can re-heat the solder and remove it with a solder sucker.
How to Fix Broken Headphones
Despite having a reasonable pair of Sennheisers and looking after them, my headphones broke recently — like they always do. Rather than replace them, I decided to repair my headphones. Here’s how.
Read More. Or maybe you want to scavenge some parts from an old laptop
Disposing Of An Old Laptop – What To Recycle, What To Keep
Disposing Of An Old Laptop – What To Recycle, What To Keep
Laptops are a treasure trove of parts that can live more than one life. Whether they continue a life as spare part or become the subject of a DIY tech project, you can get a…
Things You Can Do With Your Old Electronic Devices
We all have them in a drawer or on a shelf somewhere; outdated or broken electronic devices. Are they even good for anything now? Surprisingly, they can be quite valuable!
Read More for a future project. That’s good practice in using a soldering iron and solder sucker.
FM Radio Kit
It is what it says it is. Build yourself a nice single-speaker FM radio that can tune in stations from 8to 10FM. With plenty of parts to solder, new components to learn about, you’ll also learn a thing or two about radio technology.
If you can build a radio, there’s nothing you can’t build. Put it in a nice clear case and be the envy of friends and family alike.
The End Result
Soldering is a basic skill needed for DIY’ers, whether you want to build your own electronics or just do some simple repairs. It’s an inexpensive and simple skill to learn. There are plenty of electronics kits to practice on, and you can start designing your own electronics projects before long.
Be safe, be smart, and have fun!
The majority of soldering irons have three basic temperature settings:
Temperature-controlled soldering irons allow you to be sure that the soldering iron tip maintains the right temperature, but they are more expensive than basic soldering irons.
No temperature control designs, which are usually the least expensive and suitable for household soldering jobs, plug in and are ready to go after they have warmed up.
Soldering stations — Soldering stations are bench-top control unit and a soldering iron specifically designed for the unit, and which are the most expensive type of soldering iron — typically offer digital temperature readouts, adjustable soldering iron temperature, and a number of other features.
If you are a professional or you plan to do a lot of soldering, consider a soldering station first.
Tip Size & Shape
The selection of correct style/shape of tip is important and depends on the job you are planning on doing. Further the size is also an important parameter because, if it is too small, heat will not be transferred efficiently and, if it’s too big, you can overheat and damage the circuit board.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Soldering Stations wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Soldering Stations
- №1 — Digital Soldering Station with Pure Aluminum Soldering Stand
- №2 — Tek Motion 858D LED Display SMD Soldering Rework Station
- №3 — Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station