Table of Contents
- 1 In case you are running out of Time
- 2 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Soldering Iron
- 2.1 Purpose
- 2.2 Wattage
- 2.3 Temperature Control
- 2.4 Size and Shape of the Tip
- 3 comparison table
- 4 Top Selling Soldering Iron Reviews
- 4.1 Best for Overall – Hakko FX888D Soldering Station
- 4.2 Best for Electronics – Weller WES51
- 4.3 Best for Circuit Boards – Aoyue 968A+
- 4.4 Best Soldering Kit – Vastar Full Set 60W Soldering Kit
- 4.5 Best for Stained Glass – Weller WLC200
- 4.6 Best for Price – Weller WLC100
- 4.7 Best Butane Soldering Iron – Weller P2KC
- 4.8 Best for Brand
- 5 Buying Guide
- 5.1 Type of the Soldering Iron
- 5.2 Functions and Special Features
- 5.3 Essential Tools
- 5.4 Size and Weight
- 5.5 Cost and Warranty
- 6 Conclusion
As you have visited my website, I am pretty sure that you must be eager to learn more about soldering iron. And some of you might be even planning to purchase a new soldering tool. As there are infinite choices available in the market, many novice buyers find it hard to choose the best and end up buying the wrong unit. But you need not worry as I’m here to help you select the ultimate soldering iron perfect for your work.
Here not only will you find honest reviews on some of the best soldering iron, but also you’ll get to know much important information about soldering irons. I can assure you that my website will prove to be a very useful source of knowledge, and the precious time you have invested here won’t be wasted.
In case you are running out of Time
Some of you might not have enough time on hand to go through all the reviews. For this, I have prepared a Comparison Table of some of the best soldering irons based on their features, functions, and prices. However, if you have some spare time then feel free to go through each review individually.
You can also take a quick glance at the list of my best 8 picks given below:
- Best for Overall
- Best for electronics
- Best for circuit boards
- Best soldering kit
- Best for stained glass
- Best for price
- Best butane soldering iron
- Best for brand
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Soldering Iron
As mentioned earlier, there are infinite models of soldering irons, each one with unique features and functions which makes choosing the best unit quite tough in case you are a novice. If you want you can go through the Ultimate Buying Guide. However, for easy and quick selection, given below are some of the most important factors that you must consider when going for the buy:
Before going for the purchase you must be sure why you need a soldering iron. As different models are constructed for different applications it’s important to know the purpose. Soldering irons are mostly used in the following fields:
From small to large items soldering iron is used mostly for repairing wiring in electronics like TV, music system, refrigerator and many more. Some use it in repairing connections and some used it for mending any wear or tear. Choose the unit according to the size of the electronics or the parts that you will be particularly repairing.
Soldering iron is also commonly used in repairing or creating various types of circuit boards. As circuits have extremely small components, many use soldering tweezers for the purpose. Other than that a small size soldering iron with pointed tip also works well.
Stained glass is a craft for creating beautiful ornaments, frames or window decorations. Soldering iron is usually used to solder over the copper foil that connects the glass pieces. Select a soldering iron that is particularly recommended for this purpose.
Many use soldering irons for various DIY projects like jewellery making, wood designing, embroidery creation and more. Go for the unit that is best for your project.
Apart from small projects or DIY tasks, soldering iron is also used in high precision professional applications like pyrography, plastic welding, and many heavy duty purposes. For this, you are highly recommended to choose a professional soldering iron designed for heavy-duty applications.
Wattage is another important factor that you must consider. Most of the soldering irons
Have wattage ranging from 20 to 80 watts.
Soldering irons with low wattage of 15 to 35 watts are recommended for small soldering tasks like DIY. However, units with 20 watts or less are most likely to lose heat faster than being able to re-heat, resulting in lower quality solder joints.
Soldering irons with the higher wattage of 40 to 80 watts are better than the models with lower wattage as they have more power available and won’t lose heat quickly. Higher wattage is ideal for professional soldering tasks. On the other hand, too much wattage can possibly burn the components and boil the flux before it can clean the surface of a component.
Units with the wattage of 40 to 50 watts are most commonly used as these soldering irons are able to deliver sufficient amount of heat to almost all projects.
Based on the purpose you must select the unit with a particular temperature design. Generally soldering irons come with either of the three temperature designs mentioned below:
Soldering irons without temperature control design are the most affordable and inexpensive ones. This type of units is ideal for less precise household soldering tasks. All you need to do is plug in and they are ready to go once the tip has warmed-up.
A temperature adjustable unit allows you to set the temperature according to your requirement so that you can be sure that the tip is maintaining an accurate temperature. They are more expensive in comparison to the non-adjustable soldering irons.
Adjustable Temperature with Display
The soldering irons with separate digital bench top temperature control are the cutting-edge units and most expensive among all. This type of units is ideal for professional soldering jobs that need optimal temperature control.
Size and Shape of the Tip
Tips of soldering irons are also called bits. They vary in size and shape in order to deliver maximum flexibility to the user. Choose the size wisely according to your application. If the tip is too small for your task, heat will not be transferred sufficiently and if the tip is too large, it could ruin your components. Here are some of the most common types of tips that are used:
Bevel tips have comparatively larger flat-surface than other type of tips. This type of tip is used in tasks that require pre-loading of solder on the iron. It’s ideal for drag soldering or soldering smaller gauge wires.
Chisel tips are broad and deliver equal heat to component pads and leads. This tip is recommended for soldering wires, components with large surface-mounts, through-hole components and also for desoldering.
Conical tips are cone shaped and pointed. These are mostly used in precise electronic jobs. Conical tip is also used for general soldering and ideal for novice. As the tip is pointed, it helps to deliver heat to small area such as components with tiny surface-mounts.
Blade tips come with sharp edges like a blade. This type of tip is ideal for high quality professional soldering tasks that require clean and smooth finishing.
Pyramid shaped tips have pointed tip just like conical tips but have flat surface on the sides. This tip is good for industrial purposes.
Weight: 2.6 pound
Weight: 4 pound
Weight: 14 pound
Vastar Full Set
Weight: 8.8 ounce
Weight: 14 pound
Weight: 1.9 pound
Weight: 5 ounce
Run Time: 60 min
Weight: 5 pound
Weight: 5 pound
Weight: 2 pound
Top Selling Soldering Iron Reviews
Best for Overall – Hakko FX888D Soldering Station
The Hakko FX888D with wattage of 70W is a powerful digital soldering station available at an affordable rate. It has numerous features that makes is one among the most convenient soldering irons. Its T18 series conical tip has terrific heat conductivity and warms up 20 seconds faster than any standard iron tip.
The station is compact and requires very less space. It has a user-friendly operating system with only two operating buttons, so even if you aren’t an experienced machine operator, you’ll be able to operate it effortlessly. A highly functional holder is included with the station that promotes ease of use and adds visual consistency to the work environment.
Its digital display allows the user to virtually view the temperature setting at a glance. With many more features like password function, separable tip design, preset mode and adjustment mode, it’s the best soldering station in its class.
Best for Electronics – Weller WES51
The Weller WES51 is a revolutionary combination of sensor and heater that delivers quick warm-up and rapid heat recovery. The unit includes an analog power station, soldering pencil, a stand, and sponge. Its wide range of temperature controls and comfortable foam-pencil grip allows precise control over the device for optimal results. After 90 minutes of inactivity, the soldering system will automatically shut down to prolong tip life and save power.
It features other safety aspects like LED indicator and static free pencil. The pencil is light and slim to reduce operator fatigue. This device is perfect for many soldering applications including rework, repairs, industrial manufacturing and more. With wattage of 50W Weller WES51 is the most preferred tool for soldering electronics.
Best for Circuit Boards – Aoyue 968A+
This 3-in-1 system is the best unit featuring hot air microprocessor technology that offers optimal control over temperature and airflow. The system includes a soldering iron, hot air gun, and smoke absorber. With digital control and temperature display and knob type soldering iron temperature control, it’s efficient and user convenient.
It features a configurable auto sleep mode that puts the unit to sleep based on duration defined by the user for prolonged iron tip life and user safety. Also, it has an auto-cooling function that cools down the temperature by blowing air before the system is turned off. This 70W soldering iron uses low cost standard tips. The device is eco-friendly as the smoke absorber absorbs and traps the toxic fumes produced at the source during soldering. Due to its multiple functionality and innovative features, it’s mostly preferred for fine soldering projects like PC boards.
Best Soldering Kit – Vastar Full Set 60W Soldering Kit
Look no beyond this Soldering kit from Vastar if you are seeking a complete soldering kit for all types of soldering applications. The kit includes five unique iron tips that can be used for the basic soldering tasks. In case you are a DIY hobbyist or an enthusiast who doesn’t deal with a fixed soldering work then Vastar soldering iron kit is an ideal choice.
The 60W soldering iron is made of iron plated tip and stainless steel to ensure optimal quality results and delivers precise stability and reliability. It heats up fast, with very slow temperature drop. The iron is slim and has an easy-to-hold soft grip-handle for maximum user comfort and reduced slippage. This soldering iron kit is one of the most affordable soldering tools available in the competition.
Best for Stained Glass – Weller WLC200
The Weller WLC200 soldering system is an ultimate tool for the hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts who need a good soldering iron to complete their stained glass project. However, it can also be used by soldering professionals for more consistent and complex tasks. With this unit, you can control the power from 5W to 80W and temperature up to 900°F. Its replaceable tip makes this device more versatile and useful for even fine soldering jobs including electronics.
The actual iron is light and it has a foam cushioned grip for more comfortable hold and minimum strain. The Weller WLC200 soldering system includes a soldering iron stand and a sponge for convenient storing and easy cleaning. The station itself is small and compact, making it easy to store anywhere. It’s an ultimate package of reliability and durability.
Best for Price – Weller WLC100
If you are looking for a good soldering iron at the best price then this is a perfect unit for you. The Weller WLC100 Soldering Station has every feature that you need in doing a soldering task. Designed by keeping in mind the liable needs of hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts, this kit features a high-quality and lightweight pencil iron with variable power and temperature control, soft cushioned foam grip with a separable heating element, and safety guard iron stand.
It allows you to adjust power between 5W and 40W by turning a simple knob so that you can set the power depending on the type of task in order to deliver the best results. It’s a low-end soldering system but has features and accessories comparable to the high-end models.
Best Butane Soldering Iron – Weller P2KC
The new Weller P2KC cordless soldering iron and hot air tool from Weller gives you the ultimate experience in portable power and convenience for your every soldering project. All you need to do is slide the gas button forward, push the piezo switch, and the unit’s super-fast warm-up lets you melt solder in less than 40 seconds.
The Weller P2KC cordless soldering iron is powerful tool. Its wattage can be adjusted from equivalent of 25W to 75W according to the type of soldering. The temperatures can be set up to as high as 850°F. This unit can be easily refueled with standard butane in only 20 seconds, which will last for up to an hour when used continuously. This premium tool is designed lightweight and compact for ultimate portability and convenient storage.
Best for Brand
Among hundreds of soldering iron manufacturers, if you are looking forward to getting a unit from the most reputed brand then Weller, Hakko, and Aoyue are the three leading brands. Given below are the top soldering irons from each brand:
The Weller WESD51 is a cutting-edge soldering station with a digital temperature display. The system includes a power station, 50W soldering pencil, iron stand, four additional tips and a sponge. It comes with features like wide adjustable temperature controls, temperature lockout function that will prevent excessive heat while soldering, and auto sleep mode that shuts the power down after 99 minutes of inactivity.
Its tip can rapidly heat up to 500°F within 40 seconds and also has a decent temperature recovery times. With the smaller size and more improved fabrication technology, this soldering iron is ESD safe as its tip is designed to stop any accumulation of the charge that can damage the device while operating. The Weller WESD51 is a great tool for both electronic hobbyists and professionals in the lab.
Hakko FX-951 Soldering Station
The Hakko FX-951 is a high-power thermally-controlled soldering station with specially designed construction for precise soldering experience. It’s a standard model and ensures high heat recovery that allows soldering a low temperature. The 70 W soldering station can be used for three types of soldering work. The soldering iron has a uniquely designed handle for better comfort and workability.
The soldering iron is featured with many functions including power-saving feature with interlocking mechanism, auto-sleep mode and auto shut off to save power, improve tip life and ensure safety. The unit is compact and lightweight for better portability. Whether you need a soldering tool for a simple DIY project or for soldering high-density electronic components, the Hakko FX-951-66 is ideal for all soldering jobs.
The Aoyue 852A++ is a two in one rework system with a hot air gun and a powerful vacuum pickup equipment for clearing components. This 500W repairing system has ESD safe microprocessor controlled equipment that delivers precise results. With fast heat-up functionality and thermal protector, the unit is efficient and durable.
It includes many more features like built-in temperature sensor that maintains stability of heat level, integrated air gauge for improving air flow, easy to understand digital display of temperature and air pressure, user defined auto-sleep mode for power saving and additional device protection, and inbuilt auto cooling function that prevents excessive heating. With five unique nozzles, the device is perfect for all types of soldering repairs.
I have also prepared a simple buying guide with all the basic information that a buyer must understand and know while going for the purchase. Here are some the important points that you must keep in mind when choosing a soldering iron:
Type of the Soldering Iron
Generally, there are four types of soldering irons:
Soldering pencil is the simplest and most inexpensive soldering device. This tool works great for small DIY projects. Soldering pencils are available in the range of $10 to $30. They don’t allow control over temperature on the tip so this type of unit is not recommended for fine soldering tasks as too much heat applied can destroy the components.
A soldering station has a separate power station to which the iron tip is attached by a cable. The power station has controls that allow the user to set the desired temperature on the unit’s iron tip. Some high-end soldering stations have electronic temperature control in which the user can precisely set and maintain a particular temperature on the iron tip. This type of device ranges between $40 and $150. Almost all soldering projects can be done with this tool including fine surface-mount components and through-hole components.
Rework system, also known as repair system is the most complex soldering system. This soldering unit is mostly used in industries or in heavy-duty manufacturing facilities. A repair system generally consists of numerous hand pieces including soldering iron, thermo-tweezers, hot-air gun, de-soldering tool, etc. This system is available in a wide price range of $100 to $2500.
Soldering gun is similar to a cordless hand drill. Soldering gun consists of a rapidly cooling wire looped tip, eliminating the need for a holster for safe storage. This unit can be quickly turned on and off and requires minimal warm-up time.
Due to the convenient mechanism and easy-to-grip handles, soldering guns are mostly preferred by do-it-yourselfers. This tool is not recommended for fine projects like soldering circuit boards as sometimes soldering guns produce too much heat that can damage the components. Cost of soldering guns ranges between $20 and $70.
Functions and Special Features
Different soldering iron comes with different functions and features depending on the type and price. Here is a list of some of the special features that you may want in your soldering tool:
Quick Heat-up Time
The time required for the iron tip to heat up when the soldering tool is switch on is a must consider feature. A good soldering unit will heat up quickly and lose heat slowly.
Auto Turn Off
Some soldering systems have an auto turn off feature that senses inactivity and shuts down the device when the maximum inactivity limit has exceeded. It’s a good safety feature.
Auto sleep feature powers down the temperature of the iron tip when it’s placed on a stand or holder. This feature helps in extending the life of the iron tip.
Quick Temperature Adjustment
If you are likely to use the soldering iron for projects that require inconsistent temperature setting then you would like to go for the tool that can quickly adjust the temperature on the iron tip.
Support Multiple Tips
There many soldering iron models that are designed for multiple tips. If you are not going to stick to a particular type of soldering process then you can go for a unit that supports multiple tips.
Cordless soldering irons offer better portability and convenience. It will allow you to move from one point to another quickly without being restricted by a cord. Not only you are free to move, but it also increases productivity. So if you are onto DIY projects then it’s best to go cordless. Earlier cordless soldering irons used to operate on gas but now some units are rechargeable or battery-operated.
When you are going to purchase a soldering iron, it’s obvious that you’ll need some additional tools and equipment as they would be essential for your soldering project. Also many manufacturers and stores will offer some discount if you buy together a tool or two. Given below is a list of some of the most essential items that you’ll need in a soldering work:
- Stand is used to hold the iron tip temporarily during small intervals while soldering. However, some manufacturers provide a stand along with the soldering iron.
- Solder is a vital component required in a soldering project. Different types of solders are available in the form of rolls. Purchase the solder that best suits your soldering task.
- Diagonal cutters are pliers that are used in cutting wires. You’ll need this tool in cutting the solder.
- Hold or clamp works as a helping hand for holding the components. This tool is important if your project needs precise stability.
- Solder sucker is a manually-operated desoldering pump that is used to remove the solder print from a component. In case you accidentally mess up with your soldering project, you can use it to undo the soldering. This device is particularly designed for desoldering semiconductors and PC boards.
- Solder wick, also known as the desoldering wick or braid is commonly used in removing solder.
Size and Weight
Size and weight of the unit is another important aspect as portability of the tool is something that you would want to consider if you are into soldering. Too big will not only need more storage space but also it’ll be difficult to carry around. Also, if the soldering iron is heavy, this will make your hand feel fatigue very fast. If you are likely to work for prolonged periods then go for a unit which is small and light.
Cost and Warranty
Before going for the purchase you must decide your budget. If you know your budget limit, you can look for the best soldering iron available in that price range. An expensive unit is not always the best. You must choose a tool that has the most useful features for your job. If you are a beginner then cost shouldn’t be an issue. However, you might want an expensive tool if you are a more experienced soldering enthusiast or a trade professional.
Many manufacturers offer warranty of 1 to 5 years with their tools to ensure safety of the buyer’s investment. Many low-cost brands on the other hand don’t offer any warranty. It’s highly recommended to buy a unit that comes with a reasonable warranty period.
This website has been created not because I’m into some soldering iron business, but the reason is something more concerning. I have come across many buyers who couldn’t make any appropriate decision and ended up buying a random tool only to regret later. I know exactly how it feels as I have also been through a similar situation. To make sure that I don’t make any mistake again on my next buy, I decided to do a thorough research on soldering irons. The further I researched, the more I realized that there are a lot of things that could be done.
Finally after many months of studying and learning, as I have collected enough knowledge about soldering irons I felt that I must share my knowledge with other soldering enthusiasts like you so that you won’t make the same mistakes. I have tried to keep things straight to the point for convenient reading and better understanding. After going through this site not only will you be able to choose the right soldering iron, but you’ll get to learn some of the most basic things about soldering. Hope this has helped you, and may you find what you are looking for.