Whether you are an engineering student working on your circuit boards, or looking to repair some electronics, having a suitable soldering iron can bring perfection to your work. There is a wide range of soldering irons, with multiple features available on the market, all you need to do is find one that suits your needs. So, Let’s start with the most important question, and talk about what to look for when you want to buy a new soldering iron
What to Look for When Buying Soldering Irons?
From the length of the power cord to the tip of the soldering iron, there are several factors that need to be considered when buying a soldering iron. Let’s discuss some of the most important ones.
Types of Soldering Irons:
There are three main types of soldering irons categorized based on the features and accessories that they have. The first one is Basic air-cooled irons that have no temperature control. They are cheaper than other types and effective in simple soldering tasks that don’t require specific temperatures.
The second one is a controlled soldering Temperature iron with a thermostat to provide temperature control. Using it, you can set the temperature according to your needs, which is far better than others. The third one is the Soldering iron workstation which is a complete package containing a stand and a digital display for professional-level soldering.
Soldering irons aren’t a tool you want to cheap out on, especially when it comes to quality. A quality soldering iron will be safer, and easier to use as well. The price of a soldering iron may also depend upon the features it provides. For instance, you will have to pay extra if you want expensive features like temperature control and a digital display.
As you know, the tip of your soldering iron can get oxidized and dirty over time. So, you should ideally look for a soldering iron that has replaceable tips.
The Handle plays a significant role in setting the overall ergonomics, grip, and feel of any soldering iron. Apart from a grip, you also look for a handle that should be made of sturdy material that can bear high temperatures without melting.
Power Consumption or Wattage
Power consumption or wattage is an essential factor that must be considered when buying a soldering iron. It indicates how quickly your soldering iron gets warm. Non-temperature-controlled iron with a wattage of 40 watts may be suitable for performing general tasks such as small PCB work. On the other hand, temperature-controlled irons require slightly higher wattages.
Temperature control doesn’t play a significant role, but it is needed most when dealing with sensitive electronic parts and performing lead-free soldering jobs.
Best Soldering Iron for Electronics
With more than 5000 positive reviews on Amazon, ANBES 60W 15-in-1 Soldering Iron Kit is the perfect choice for both professionals and hobbyists. It is the most upgraded version in the series of ANBES soldering iron kits and it comes at a very reasonable price
This fully-featured kit includes all the necessary tools to perform any soldering job. Its ergonomic design perfectly fits in your hand and gives you a firm grip on it. Also, Its lightweight design allows you to work continuously without tiring your arms
To save energy, it comes with a convenient on-off switch to turn it on/off at any time. This feature also ensures safe Soldering. Moreover, a sturdy and secure stand is also included in this kit to hold the hot iron during use and protect your hands, and other items on your workbench from getting damaged.
You can also adjust the temperature between 200℃ – 450℃ according to your needs. Its inner-heated ceramic technology and steel-pipe design make it comparatively more efficient and reliable than others.
Best Soldering Iron for stained glass.
With an 88% five-star rating and many positive reviews by customers on amazon, the Hakko FX601-02 Temperature Controlled Soldering Iron is ideal for a wide range of soldering applications that require high heat. Its pen-shaped design is unbelievably lightweight and ergonomic, allowing you to work continuously without fatigue.
The Hakko FX601-02 Soldering Iron features an LED indicator to fulfill the need for a digital display. The LED starts lighting when it starts heating up. When the desired and selected temperature is attained, it starts blinking. And there will be no light when it starts to cool down.
To save your precious time and energy, it comes with a ceramic heating element that gets warmed quickly and helps you to work faster than ever before. Disappointingly, it doesn’t have a stand along with itself so you will have to buy it separately.
Its sturdy handle is made of good material that doesn’t get warm and does not feel hot to the touch. It provides a maximum temperature of 540℃ that can be changed by a rotating temperature control knob placed in the middle of soldering guns.
Moreover, the last but crucial feature is that it has a newly designed tip with high thermal capacity. It is suitable to solder large connectors, chassis, and transformers that require a large amount of heat.
Best Solder for Stained Glass
If you’re working on stained glass, you need to have the right solder as well. Various kinds of soldiers are used for working on stained glass, some are better for creating delicate designs, while others may work better for thicker designs.
The Canfield 60/40 solder is ideal for a wide range of applications and has a composition of 60% tin and 40% lead. This composition is ideal for soldering copper foil seams and lead came seams along with stainless steel welding jobs. The Canfield 60/40 solder comes in a very convenient 1lb spool.
The Canfield 60/40 solder has a melting temperature of 361° – 376°F, and a maximum operating temperature of about 450°F. Using it with hotter soldering tips is not recommended and can be dangerous as the lead in the solder can start to burn.
Best Cordless Soldering Iron
Hakko FX-901/P Cordless Soldering Iron is one of the safest and most ergonomic soldering irons on this list, and it comes with an array of marvelous features. This cordless soldering iron is very light and it has a flat bottom that allows it to stand up. So, you don’t need to buy a stand for it.
It also comes with a cap that you can put on if it is still hot. This cap also locks down the switch and doesn’t allow it to turn on accidentally. In this way, it prevents you from accidents.
This soldering iron is powered by 4 AA batteries in a magazine that can be detached within seconds. Moreover, it can generate a maximum of 600 ˚F enough for most craft jobs and minor electronic repairs.
It can operate for up to 2 hours continuously without any pause depending upon the battery’s health. Its ergonomic design and lightweight build allow its users to work comfortably for a long time.
Best Soldering Iron for Guitar
Whether you need to make some repairs on your electric guitar, or fix an old play station, the Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station is up for the job. It is ideal for DIY enthusiasts, hobbyists, and professionals, and is packed with all the necessary tools and features that you need to do your soldering projects perfectly.
The WLC100 sits in your hand comfortably and allows you to work smoothly. It features a lightweight pencil-shaped iron cushioned foam grip handle, which makes it the most comfortable option to join metal and create strong connections.
This Soldering Station can produce temperatures up to 900°F, which enables it to perform multiple soldering tasks. Furthermore, its easy-to-adjust Variable Power Controls allow you to adjust the power level from 5 watts to 40 watts with a simple turn of the knob.
One thing that makes it superior among all the Soldering Stations is its pen having ST Solder Tip. This tip is built with solid copper and then plated with iron, nickel, and chromium to protect it from corrosion and make it long-lasting. This way, it is more reliable than other soldering iron in the market.
This Soldering Station also has a sturdy and durable stand to prevent it from burning the surface of your workspace. Moreover, it also comes with a cleaning sponge to remove unwanted residue left behind on the tip from soldering for next time use.
Soldering Irons – Final Thoughts
Hopefully, our review of the overall best Soldering Irons helped you choose the right one. However, if you are still on the edge, here are our top picks. Firstly, the Hakko FX601-02 is the most budget-friendly and user-friendly device on our list. Overall, it is best to perform most soldering tasks efficiently. Our second recommendation is the ANBES 60W Soldering Iron Kit, which contains all the tools you need to start and complete any job. It’s like a complete package of all the tools you’ll need to solder anything. If by chance you need remote power for your soldering iron check out this article.