If you work with electronics, it’s pretty important to be skilled in soldering. You need a decent soldering iron in order to repair some appliances while out on a job, or for soldering your own circuits. It isn’t too tricky once you get the hang of it, but it’s certainly important to ensure that you have the right tools for the job, whether you’re just beginning or you’ve been working with electronics for a while.
With that being said, there are a lot of soldering irons on the market and it can be tricky to narrow down what will be best for you. That’s why we’re here to help! Read on for the best soldering irons on the market, in addition to a handy buyer’s guide that will help you to narrow down your decision.
Best Soldering Irons
OUR TOP PICK
If you know a lot about soldering irons, we’re willing to bet that you’ve probably heard of Weller. With this product, the brand will provide you with a fantastic performance, lots of power and optimal efficiency that you are sure to appreciate. It even comes with a bunch of extra cool features too.
To start with, the device comes with things such as intuitive navigation, standby mode, auto setback in order to conserve energy, and it even has password protection for the settings. It has a molded grip that you can hold easily, and a safety rest that will provide you with a place where you can put the iron when you are not using it.
The device also comes with an LCD screen with 3 different buttons so that you can control the temperature easily. You can also change the tips of the iron without needing any additional tools. It’s perfect for professionals that want a reliable option, providing you with a massive 70 watts of power - it’s even able to go up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also easy enough to use for people just getting started too!
- LCD screen
- Good range of heat
- Molded grip
For a relatively low priced soldering station, you really can’t go wrong with the Hakko Soldering Iron. This is the ideal choice for anyone looking for an iron on a budget that still wants to be able to complete projects with ease.
The iron heats up within a mere 10 seconds so there’s no need to spend hours waiting for it to get to the temperature that you require. Not only that but it also stays at this temperature while you work. It also comes with temperature adjustment and a digital display.
In addition to this, the tool also comes with a cleaning sponge and a stand you can rest it on while you are not using it. It has a fairly decent temperature range, from 120 to 899 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also pretty easy to operate making it a beginner friendly option too. It’s perfect for professionals moving from job to job too, due to the lightweight and compact design.
- Heats up in only 10 seconds
- Budget friendly
- Easy to use
- It can be tricky to re-calibrate the temperature
You may not expect the Tabiger Soldering Iron Kit to be as good as it is for the price that it’s available for, but we assure you - it’s pretty great! This soldering iron has a lot of offer, from a lot of accessories to great performance, all for a budget price.
The iron comes along with the 60W soldering iron, which also has adjustable temperature, solder, a stand, a cleaning sponge, five different soldering tips, anti static tweezers, and even a little carrying case where you are able to store and carry the iron!
The iron also offers you temperature control, and can heat up in under 2 minutes, allowing you to get along with your project in no time at all. It’s super easy to use so it’s perfect for beginners - all you need to do is plug the device in and you’re ready to go. It also comes with an LED indicator which means you don’t need to worry about burning yourself or anyone else. Many people have said, however, that the soldering iron cleaning sponge is not the best, but this is a relatively minor complain.
- Ideal for beginners
- Comes with lots of accessories and add ons
- Adjustable temperature
- Cleaning Sponge isn’t very good
The X-Tronic Model Soldering Iron Station is perfect if you want a lot of versatility and a high quality performance for a range of different jobs. This tool looks attractive, but it’s also pretty sturdy too, with a bunch of great features to boast.
The tool comes with a bright blue LED tube display, and this will let you switch in between Centigrade and Fahrenheit temperature readings. It comes with Magic Temperature Compensation Technology which means that the heating performance is much more efficient. In fact, when you are not using the tool, the 10 minute sleep function will kick into place so that you don’t need to worry about having any accidents.
There is also a pretty impressive heat range on this device - it’s able to go from 392 degrees up to 896, so it’s perfect for a lot of jobs. The soldering station is a 75 watt model too, and 60 watts powers the soldering iron and the remaining 15 watts power the motherboard. Plenty of power, versatility and overall greatness to keep you satisfied for a long time.
- Able to achieve high temperatures
- 1 year warranty
- Ergonomic handle
- Doesn’t have the fastest temperature rebound
If you want a portable option that you can use from wherever you want, whether in the field or at home, you are going to love the UY Chan TS100 Digital Soldering Iron. The main reason that this soldering iron is so portable is because it is battery operated so there’s no need to hunt around for power sources either. It actually comes with a USB port too and this will let you connect it up to your PC if you would like to reprogram the temperature riding curves, in addition to other additional functions.
Of course, that’s not all that this soldering iron has on offer. It caters to your safety too, coming with dual temperature sensors, an automatic overheating warning and a sleep mode when you haven’t used it in a while. It’s able to reach its full temperature in mere seconds, and you can see the temperature clearly on the OLED screen too.
As far as temperature is concerned, this device is able to go from a temperature of 212 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit, so it can work with a wide range of different projects. It is able to be taken anywhere, and it’s also pretty powerful so it’s fantastic for any professionals or beginners alike that want to have a good quality soldering iron by their side.
- Lots of safety functions
- USB port
- Battery operated
- The temperature isn’t as high as some of the other options on this list.
Best Soldering Irons Buying Guide
There are a lot of factors to consider when buying a soldering iron, because not every model is made the same way. Certain soldering irons are better for some applications than they are for others. Because of this, we’ve compiled this buyer’s guide to help you to know about some of the things that you should consider when you are looking to buy a soldering iron.
Sure, it isn’t all that necessary to have hundreds of extra features, but it’s certainly handy! One thing that is particularly handy is soldering irons that will let you easily swap out the tip and ones that can be used with a range of different 3rd party soldering iron tips are really useful. If you plan on taking the tool out and about with you, then a product that also comes with a carrying case may be useful.
With that being said, you still need to create a balance between good performance and additional features. If your soldering iron is not up to the job then optional extras will make barely any difference. Always consider the things that you absolutely must have and then search for your product based on that information.
Generally, you will find that the power output of a soldering iron is measured in watts. Of course, the key thing when using a soldering iron is that it heats up quickly and is able to maintain an even temperature. As a result of this, the wattage of your soldering iron is by far one of the most important features to consider. You will find that most decent reliable models will provide between 40 to 50 watts, so you will have enough heat to complete your projects. Generally though, the vast majority of models in the market will provide anywhere between 20 to 60 watts.
Having higher power levels will allow you to be able to make the performance of the soldering iron match with your specific needs. If you just solder as a hobby, you may wish to buy a soldering iron that doesn’t give you as much power. While this may make sense economically, it’s not really recommended to get an iron offering around 20 to 30 watts because they can take more time to heat up and can lose heat much more quickly. This can mean that your solder joints are sloppy.
As we have already mentioned, there are a number of different kinds of soldering irons on the market. Every model has its own characteristics, so you need to be able to understand all of the differences in these soldering irons to find something that’s right for your needs. For example, a soldering iron station will come with a soldering pencil that’s attached to a power station. Then, the power iron station will behave like a stand so you can have a place where you can put the iron when you are not using it. This means you are less likely to have an accidental injury. Having a soldering iron station also means that you will have good temperature control, because the iron has a place to rest it is not going to make any contact with objects unless you want it to.
This also means that the tool is able to keep a steady temperature. They also usually have electronic variable temperature control, which means that you are able to select the exact temperature that you need without trying to make any random guesses. They are ideal for a bunch of different project types, but they are also quite bulky so they aren’t best for portability purposes. They can also cost quite a bit of money.
Soldering irons aren’t always the best choice for hobby workers that just want an affordable option as a result of this. Of course, there are also adjustable irons that are a little bit like this but they don’t come with a power station base, and instead have a temperature adjustment dial on the tool’s body.
Price is a pretty important thing to consider when buying a soldering iron. Irons are available on the market in a range of prices, some very low and some very high. Of course, a cheap soldering iron may not perform too well, but you don’t have to spend your entire life savings on a soldering iron. Actually, the vast majority of users are able to get fantastic results just by using a mid range model costing less than $100. You really just need to think about how often you are going to use the tool, the sorts of projects you will be doing and the amount that you would like to spend.
Range of Temperature
Of course, you will find that every single soldering iron is going to get hot but you will need to really be careful making your decision here. Think about getting a model with an adjustable temperature as this will mean you are not limited to completing just one kind of project. You should also think about getting a model that is able to keep up the temperature that you choose. Sadly there are some models that aren’t super accurate which can mean that the temperature will vary. This may be a little bit problematic because some projects will need a certain level of heat in order to get the best possible results. These are great for intermediate solderers and they can deal with a number of projects. They’re also far more affordable, but they don’t come with a base or holster.
If you want something even more affordable, you could opt for a pencil iron, and all you need to do is plug one into the wall. It’s perfect for someone just starting out, but they don’t have variable temperature control. You could also opt for a wireless soldering iron if you want something portable because they are battery operated. They do eat through batteries quite quickly though!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use a soldering iron?
It’s actually fairly simple to understand how to use a soldering iron! To start with, heat up your soldering iron to the temperature that you require. Before you begin using the tool, grab a wet cleaning sponge and clean the tip. You should ensure that you keep cleaning it through the whole soldering process. When you have cleaned the tip, then touch the object you are going to solder using a hot tip. After around 2 seconds have passed, put a little bit of solder into the joint area where you plan on connecting to. The heat that builds up in this area will then transfer onto the solder, and it will become a liquid kind of substance.
It is vital that you give the heat time to transfer to the solder - don’t attempt to heat the solder by pressing the tip on it. This can make joints that are brittle, which can cause some big problems for the electricity. When the solder has melted properly and the objects have been joined together, you will then need to keep the workpiece in the same place until your solder has cooled down.
How hot will my soldering iron get?
This can largely depend on a number of factors. Soldering irons are able to work with a number of different projects, and they generally work using a power source to heat up the tip of the iron. The solder then melts, which will allow you to be able to solder to different things together. Usually the amount of heat that you need can depend on what you need to do with it. Generally, most common solder will melt at around 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
In order to get to this point, a lot of models make temperatures that go higher than that number, some of them even provide temperatures going to 800 degrees. There are a lot of soldering irons that are made with fixed temperature settings but generally most models will let you change the heat depending on what you need at the time.