The Soldering Irons
A soldering iron is an essential tool for many hobbyists and professional tradesmen. These small pen-like tools can be used to fix electronics, build circuit boards, make jewelry, and create arts and crafts. The ability to fuse two metallic materials together allows you to perform projects that require skill and precision. But if you want high-quality results and an enjoyable user experience, it’s important to purchase a good soldering iron.
Deciding to pick the best soldering iron isn’t always easy. While all soldering irons are designed to accomplish the same task, they’re not all built the same. There are plenty of options out there from different manufacturers. And with different specs, heating elements, features, and quality, choosing the perfect soldering iron can get confusing.
To make your life easier, we took a look at some of the most popular models on the market. We compared their design, reliable performance, specs, price, and reviews. In the end, we came up with our list of the top 10 soldering irons of 2020. Keep reading to find out which models came out on top. But first, let’s talk about soldering irons and what you should look for when purchasing one.
If you’re a hobbyist or professional interested in purchasing a new soldering iron then you’ve come to the right place. We took some time to discuss what you should look for when researching these soldering tools. Now it’s time to get to the reviews! There are so many options available today. With different designs, specs, styles, and features, choosing the right soldering iron is tough. But we took a close look at the top models on the market.
We compared them based on their design, performance, features, price, and customer satisfaction. In the end, the following models stood above the rest, earning their place in our list of the top 10 soldering irons of 2020.
View the Best Soldering Iron, Below.
What to Look for When Buying a Soldering Iron
Before you purchase a soldering iron, it’s important to understand what to look for. They’re not all designed the same. These differences make some irons better-suited for certain applications. That’s why a model that’s good for one user might not be ideal for someone else. Here are a few factors to consider when purchasing a soldering iron. These features are what we used to evaluate the models featured on our list. And understanding these facto is also the best way to choose the model that’s right for your needs.
The power output of a soldering iron is measured in watts. When using one of these soldering tools, you want it to heat up quickly and maintain an even temperature. That’s why the wattage of a soldering iron is one of its most important features. Most models today offer between 20 and 60 watts. A reliable model will offer between 40 to 50 watts. This will ensure that you have sufficient heat for your projects. These higher levels of power don’t mean more heat.
Instead, they have more power available, allowing you to fine-tune the reliable performance of your tool based on your needs. Some hobbyists might be tempted to save some money and purchase a model that offers less power. Irons offering lower watts around 20 or 30 might get the job done. But they take longer to heat up and lose heat faster, resulting in sloppy solder joints.
Every soldering iron gets hot but you should consider two things as far as temperature is concerned. First, you want to choose a model that has an adjustable temperature. This will allow you to use the tool for a variety of projects. You also want to ensure that the model you are looking at can maintain the temperature you select. Unfortunately, some models aren’t accurate, causing the temperature to vary.
This can cause problems since certain projects need specific heat levels for optimum results. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the model you purchase is well-made and offers variable temperature control.
There are several types of soldering irons available. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to understand the differences between these styles if you want one that is right for your needs. A soldering iron station has a soldering pencil attached to a power station. The power iron station acts as a stand, giving you a place to rest your iron when it’s not in use. This reduces the risk of accidental injury. One of the most important advantages to a soldering iron station is that it delivers great temperature control. Since the end of the iron can rest on the stand, it won’t come in contact with any objects.
This helps the tool maintain a steady temperature. Also, most power stations feature electronic variable temperature control. This feature allows you to select precise temperatures, eliminating guesswork. Because of the ability to fine-tune the temperature of the soldering pencil, these models are great for a variety of projects. The downside to soldering stations is that they’re bulkier than other models. This makes them a poor choice for anyone looking for a portable option. Also, while there are some models available for around $40, a high-quality model can cost you up to $150.
This makes soldering stations a poor choice for hobbyists who might be looking for an affordable option. Adjustable irons are similar to soldering stations but don’t come with a power station base. Instead, they’ll have a temperature adjustment dial on the body. This style of soldering gun is a solid intermediate choice that’s capable of handling a variety of projects. Plus, they’re generally more affordable than a soldering iron station. The drawback to an adjustable iron is that they don’t have a base or holster to hold your soldering iron.
This might not be an issue for an experienced user who has space on their workbench to mount the tool. But beginners and hobbyists who don’t have a space they can dedicate for holstering the iron might be better off purchasing a soldering iron station. Users who are looking for an affordable option might prefer a pencil iron. They’re the cheapest type of soldering iron on the market and can be found at any hardware store. The pencil iron is plugged into a wall, making it a great soldering iron for beginners who don’t have the space needed for a larger model.
The downside is that the kinds of projects this type of iron can handle are limited due to the lack of variable temperature control. And since it doesn’t have a stand or holster, a pencil iron can be a bit uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time. But they’re a perfect soldering iron for beginners who might not use the tool too often and are perfect for basic soldering projects. Wireless soldering irons are perfect for craftsman and technicians who need a portable tool.
They don’t require a power cord and are powered by batteries. This makes them great for small, quick projects. The downside to wireless models is that they run through batteries quickly. Plus, they have a lower temperature range than other types of irons. This means that they’re best for tasks that only take around 20 minutes to perform.
While having a ton of extra features isn’t a requirement, it’s nice when a model offers a few simple add-ons that boost its usefulness. Soldering irons that allow you to easily swap out soldering iron tips and are compatible with a wide-variety of 3rd party soldering iron tips are ideal. And if you’re planning to take your tool on the road, a product that comes with a carrying case would be terrific.
Still, it’s important to balance the performance of the tool with the number of available extras. All of the bells and whistles in the world aren’t going to make a difference if the tool doesn’t perform well. That’s why it’s important to consider the features that you can’t live without and then purchase a high-quality model that offers these extras.
The final factor to consider is price. There are countless models on the market ranging from $10 to over $200. While a cheap soldering iron might not perform well, it’s not really necessary to spend a small fortune on one of these soldering tools. In fact, most users can get excellent results out of a mid-range model that costs less than $100. The main thing to keep in mind is how often you plan on using the tool, what kind of projects you’ll be tackling, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Choosing the Right Soldering Iron for Your Needs
Soldering irons are popular among hobbyists and professionals because they’re perfect for use in a variety of applications. They can be used to solder pipes, electronics components, electronic circuit boards, stained glass, and even jewelry. But with so many models on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be tough. But by keeping your eye on a few key facts, you’ll be able to narrow down your search. First, consider what type of solder iron suits your needs. A portable option is ideal for professionals who are regularly working on the road.
A small adjustable model might be perfect for a DIY enthusiast or someone interested in using it for arts and crafts, and a larger soldering station is perfect for use on a workbench. Once you determine what kind of soldering iron to purchase, it’s time to look at a few other factors. You want a model that offers around 60 watts of power and a wide temperature range. This will ensure it heats up quickly and can handle a variety of projects. Also, check out the reviews and look for a model that maintains temperatures well and are made from durable materials.
Finally, consider how much you’re willing to pay. With models ranging from $10 to over $100, there are quite a few options available. Your best bet is to purchase a model in the price point that you’re comfortable with. Just keep in mind that frequent users might be better off investing a bit more money up front for a soldering heat gun that can withstand heavy duty use while casual users can usually get away with purchasing a budget-priced option.
What is a Soldering Iron?
A soldering iron is a handheld tool used for a variety of projects. It is essentially a tiny blow torch that supplies heat to metal parts that need to be joined together. There are several types of soldering irons available such as soldering iron stations, adjustable soldering irons, wireless irons, and pencil irons. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, making some models better suited for some projects than others. But the theory behind all of these tools is essentially the same.
These soldering tools use a filler material called solder to join pieces of metal together. The tip of the tool heats up, turning the solder into liquid. The liquid covers the two objects it comes in contact with and joins them together once it cools and hardens. This is different from welding, where the actual objects are heated and fused together.
Because of this, soldering is perfect for jobs that are more delicate such as making stained glass mosaics, fusing copper pipes, repairing electronic circuits, and making jewelry. Plus, the bond made by solder is electrically conductive, which is why they’re great for connecting wires and other electrical components.
How to Use a Soldering Iron?
Whether you’re repairing electronic circuits, making jewelry, or doing some home repairs, a soldering iron is a tool you’re going to need in your workshop. While the thought of soldering might seem intimidating at first, some basic knowledge will help any beginner get impressive results. The basic steps involved in soldering are simple. First, make sure that the soldering iron is heated up to the desired temperature setting.
Before you start using the tool, clean the tip with a wet cleaning sponge and then continue to clean it throughout the process. Once the tip is clean, touch the object you want to solder with the hot tip. After two seconds, put some solder into the joint area where you want to make the connection. The heat built up in the area will transfer to the solder, turning it into a pliable, liquid substance.
It’s important to allow the heat to transfer to the solder instead of trying to heat the solder up by pressing the tip on it. Placing the tip directly on the solder can make brittle joints that might not be able to conduct electricity. Once the solder is melted and has joined the objects together, keep the workpiece in place until the solder has cooled.
How Hot Does a Soldering Iron Get?
Soldering irons are a great tool that can be used to tackle a variety of projects, particularly electronics. These soldering tools use a power source to heat the tip of the iron. This tip is then used to melt solder, allowing this conductive material to join two objects together. The heat required by these tools depends on the application. Most common solder melts at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
To reach this temperature, most models will produce temperatures exceeding that number, with some models offering temperatures up to 800 degrees. While there are some types of soldering irons that are designed with fixed temperature settings, many models offer temperature dials that allow you to adjust the heat depending on your chosen application.
If you want clean, professional joints you should always apply heat to your contact surfaces before introducing solder. By heating up these surfaces prior to adding solder, these base metals will be hot enough to melt the solder once it is introduced.
The right way to do this is by applying solder where the joint will be made, not on the soldering iron. By adding it to the heated metal work surfaces instead of to the solder gun, the solder flows directly onto the location that it needs to harden.
Did You Know?
While ancient civilizations like the Egyptians were soldering gold almost 4,000 years ago, it wasn’t until 1921 that Ernst Sachs, founder of Ersa, developed the first electric, mass-produced soldering iron.