The best soldering iron is one of the most essential tools that anyone can own. It will help the hobbyist, the DIY repair specialist, and even the professional be able to get more jobs completed. This one tool will help you patch a burst pipe, repair a power supply, and much more. The only decision you have is this: how do you find the best soldering iron to meet your specific needs?
Here is the Best Chart for Soldering Irons
Your journey begins right here. These soldering irons all have specific strengths that they can bring to your home or business. Compare and contrast each make and model to find the one that best fits your needs.
|Weller 40-Watt Soldering Station||4.4||$$|
|Weller 40 Watt LED Soldering Iron Kit||4.3||$$|
|Weller 100 Watt Soldering Iron||4.6||$$$$|
|Elenco AmeriKit Learn to Solder Kit||4.5||$|
|Weller Analog Soldering Station||4.6||$$$$$|
|Weller 35-Watt Professional Soldering Iron||4.7||$$$|
|Power Probe PPSK Butane Soldering Kit||4.6||$$$|
|Weller P2C Butane Soldering Iron||4.4||$$|
|Weller Super-Pro Self-Igniting Cordless Butane Soldering Iron Kit||4.6||$$$$|
|J&L 60 Watts Soldering Iron||3.8||$|
What Is a Soldering Iron?
In basic terms, a soldering iron is like a miniature welder. They come in different shapes and sizes to help you form joints between two metal points of contact that can even be waterproof. The most common job for a soldering iron in the home is to create a joint in the plumbing or irrigation pipes. They can also be used to remove solder from circuit boards.
You have four basic factors to consider if you’re in the market for the best soldering iron today.
- The wattage of the soldering iron.
- The type of soldering that can be accomplished with that tool.
- How much temperature control is available.
- The shape and size of the soldering tip on the iron.
Wattage is listed as the #1 consideration for a very good reason. You’ll find that most soldering irons have a 50w output today. The higher wattage is important because it low wattage soldering can actually lose heat faster than the joint can re-heat itself. Even with great soldering skills, the lower wattage irons make it more likely to create a bad solder joint.
The other factors are dependent on your needs. Smaller tips go into tighter spaces, but take longer to create a solid joint. Temperature control is important for some tasks, but not for others. Soldering on a circuit board is different than soldering the joint on your copper pipe that takes hot water into your home. Know your needs first and then begin the shopping process.
How Do I Find the Best Soldering Iron For Me?
It all begins with a look at our reviews. This is information that you can quickly compare so that the strengths of each soldering iron can be properly evaluated.
If you don’t plan to use your soldering iron very often, then the best one for you will be a pencil style type of iron that has interchangeable tips. Adjustable heat settings will give you the chance to use one tool for multiple jobs.
If you are going to be soldering stained-glass windows or wiring for large appliances, then invest in a soldering gun instead of a soldering iron. These typically fall into the same price range, but have power ratings up to 250w so larger applications can be soldered effectively.
On the other end of the extreme, electronics work requires a thin, conical tip for a soldering iron that has the option for low power settings. This type of tip gives you the maximum level of control over the joint being formed, but it also takes the most time to deliver a dependable final product.
You’ll also have the option to select a portable soldering iron or a workstation soldering iron. If you work at a bench to do your soldering, then a workstation model is probably a better solution. Portable soldering irons are more for grunt work. Workstation soldering irons are more about finesse.
What Are Some Common Problems With Soldering Irons?
There are two things that you must remember when using a soldering iron. First of all, the tip will get hot. Even though solder melts at a relatively low temperature to create a joint, it’s still going to cause the tip to get hot enough to cause a burn if it contacts skin. It’s also important to remember that most types of solder contain a bit of lead in them, while the gases from the rosin core of the solder can actually create toxic fumes.
It’s also important to make sure you have a proper storage point for your soldering iron. You could set the soldering iron down on a non-flammable surface, but that won’t protect you from inadvertently bumping a hot iron. Use a stand instead, even for portable soldering irons, so that you and everyone else will have the highest level of safety. Your soldering iron rest must be heatproof.
A soldering iron takes some practice to use. The solder needs to melt properly to form a bond without any air pockets or gaps in the joint. If those pockets were to form, it would degrade the integrity of the joint that is being formed. On a circuit board, that would mean it would become more difficult for power to reach the proper chipset. In plumbing, that means the leak you’re trying to fix might not actually be fixed.
What Are the Prices of Soldering Irons Today?
Quite honestly, you could pick up an entry-level soldering iron at a big box discount store for about $5 today and it might get the job done for you if you’re learning how to solder. If you’re shopping for something that is a little more reliable, you can grab a soldering station for about $40 today and have a satisfactory experience. Some may wish to invest in a higher wattage soldering iron for around $100, which would be considered the beginning of the premium pricing structure.
For just the soldering iron without a station, a decent tool can be purchased for about $20. The best soldering iron is going to have variable temperature and wattage controls, however, and this will typically have a higher price associated with it.
What Do Our Reviews Have to Say?
This is the general soldering iron and workstation that you need if you’re just getting started with this skill. It offers a variable power control that lets users have a 5w to 40w soldering experience within the confines of a pencil iron. It offers a cushioned foam grip to protect users from the heat and the tip is iron-plated copper. A natural sponge tip cleaning pad has also been included for added convenience. There are a wide variety of different tips available for this iron as well, making it one of the best investments you could make today.
Instead of working with an electrical or battery-powered soldering iron, the best tool might just be a butane-powered soldering iron. The Power Probe offers users a maximum temperature of 950F when used as a soldering tool, but it can go up to 2,500F if you’re using it as a butane torch. It offers an electronic ignition and users can adjust the flame as needed for their needs. The tool itself is easy to refill and will give users about 2 hours of total use. 3 soldering tips come standard and you’ll get your first tube of solder with this kit as well. It’s a pretty good deal on a multi-use tool.
This self-igniting soldering iron is a butane tool that has an automatic safety switch in place that will help you prevent burns if the tool slips on you. The filter for the fuel is built into the soldering iron and comes with three different tools that are standard. It offers just under 2 hours of use on a full serving of standard butane fuel and is completely portable. If you want a very versatile tool that you can take with you virtually anywhere, then this is going to be the best soldering iron to meet your needs. It’s comfortable, reliable, and will help you get the job done.
This is the #1 best selling soldering iron on Amazon today because it is highly affordable, but still suitable for basic needs. Retailing for less than $10, it plugs into any standard outlet and will provide 60w of soldering power for any task. The benefits of this tool include its compact frame, lightweight handling, and replaceable tip design. The disadvantage of this soldering iron is that it is rather basic and provides nothing more than a heating element for the copper tip. If you have basic soldering needs, however, this is the iron to consider today.
If you are a stained-glass hobbyist, then you are going to love this soldering iron. It’s a professional grade tool that offers consistent temperatures to help you create an outstanding finished product. Although it doesn’t have any temperature controls for variable heat, it will help you create the correct flux. It’s perfectly balanced, doesn’t have an overly small footprint, and this means there is less overall hand fatigue. There might be cheaper soldering irons on the market today, but this one has plenty of value that it brings with an investment.
The best soldering iron will make you more productive in every project. Secure yours today and you will enjoy the higher quality results that your work will be able to bring.