Soldering irons are tools that many people associate only with electronic repair enthusiasts and computer technicians. They consider them to be tools that only really belongs in geek culture and don’t have any real practical use in their household. And this misconception just isn’t true. While it’s a belief that is commonly held among many people, the fact of the matter is that these tools have all kinds of practical uses.
Before we can talk about how you can use a soldering gun or what projects it can be used on, we first have to take some time and find the best ones currently available. We have to do our research and find models that are easy enough for beginners to use but are powerful enough for professionals to use. And we have found those soldering tools and have included them in the following list.
Best Soldering Irons – Top List
10Sywon 60-Watt ESD Iron Station Kit
Professional soldering results are within your reach thanks to the iron station kit. This kit has everything needed to make high-quality repairs and to do it quickly and safely. It includes a 60-Watt soldering iron with a temperature adjusting module and five extra backup soldering iron tips. It also includes a Helping Hands unit with two alligator clips that can be used to hold items in place while they’re being repaired. Another item found with this kit is a metal base where the soldering iron can cool down after it’s been used and an instruction manual which tells you everything you need to know to use this kit.
9Tabiger 60-Watt Soldering Kit
While it’s not always necessary, we feel that some of the better soldering iron kits have everything you need to get started, and this model really highlights that belief. Everything you could want in a kit that would allow you to begin soldering is found in this kit. It has a 60-Watt soldering iron, a desoldering pump, 60% tin solder wire, 6 soldering tips, and anti-static tweezers. All of these tools are then placed in a handy toolbox that can be taken just about anywhere. The number of pieces in this kit makes it quite handy for all kinds of different repairs.
8Sealody Digital Soldering Station
In the past, most soldering guns were simple analog devices. Nowadays that has changed thanks to the introduction of soldering stations like this one. This kit includes a 55-Watt iron with a 59-inch power cord and a digital on/off switch power unit. This kit has an operating temperature of 180 degrees Celsius to 450 degrees Celsius and comes with a number of items which make this kit even easier to use. Some of the item found in this set include an aluminum soldering stand, a cleaning sponge, tip cleaning wire and an informative user manual. All of which come together to make this a truly handy kit for any electronic enthusiast.
7Weller WES51 Analog Soldering Station
A number of features make this kit a very versatile tool for just about any household. It has a 60-Watt slim-style soldering pencil that will automatically be shut down by the included station once it has been inactive for 99-minutes. This not only helps to extend the life of the soldering tip but also means that this unit uses less electricity. It also means that it is safer to use than many other types of soldering guns. This kit also comes with an iron stand that holds the iron until the user is ready to use it again and a cleaning sponge for wiping off excess solder.
6Vastar 60-Watt Full Soldering Kit
Although this kit comes with an iron that operates at 60-Watts and has a 59-inch power cord, that isn’t the only useful thing about it. This kit also comes with a number of accessories which help the user get the most use out of it. This includes five soldering tips, a pocket pack of solder, a desoldering pump, a pair of anti-static tweezers and a soldering stand. All of which allow this kit to take its rightful place in just about any garage or home workshop. Whether it’s used to solder electrical circuits or for fixing a lamp’s power cord, it’s sure to be quite a useful tool.
5Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station
This durable pencil iron can reach temperatures of up to 900-degrees Fahrenheit, more than hot enough to handle just about any soldering project. This kit comes with a variable power control dial that allows the user to dial in the Wattage of the unit from 5-Watts all the way up to 40-Watts. This kit also comes with a soldering iron stand, to hold the iron while it’s waiting to be used. Although it’s operation is rather basic, it’s a great kit that will enable you to accomplish all of the solderings that you need either in your workshop or in your home garage.
4Anbes Adjustable 60-Watt Kit
Encased in a convenient carrying case, this kit has everything needed to not only solder but to maintain electrical circuits. It has an easy-to-use digital multi-meter for measuring AC & DC currents or for performing continuity tests. This multi-meter has a large LCD screen and is equipped with a data hold feature. Another useful tool found in this compact kit is an 8-in-1 pocket screwdriver, about the size of a fountain pen, with a magnetic base. And of course, this kit comes with a powerful soldering iron with an on/off switch and a soldering stand. It may lack the power of full-size kits, but it more than makes up for that by being extremely convenient.
3Magento’s Adjustable Temperature Iron Kit
This soldering kit is a complete kit that any hobbyist or DIY enthusiast will appreciate. It not only comes with a 60-Watt soldering iron, but it also comes with additional accessories that will allow the user to get the most out of this soldering iron. It comes with a handy soldering stand, a carrying case, 22-AWG wire, solder wire, a solder-sucker, anti-static tweezers and a wire stripper/cutter. The iron in this kit comes with four ventilation holes which improve soldering efficiency, and an adjustable temperature dial which allows the user to dial in the exact temperature they need for their project.
2Wall Lenk 400/150 Heavy-Duty Gun
Some people need to buy a kit to begin soldering, and other people just need a reliable iron. Fortunately for the people in the latter category, there is a reliable iron which they can buy to get the job done. This soldering gun provides all of the power and the versatility they need to begin or finish their electronic repairs. It has a 400/150 dual-wattage capability and can deliver a maximum tip temperature of up to 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for heavy-duty soldering projects to be easily undertaken and gives the user all the power they need to finish just about any project.
1X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS
This ESD-safe soldering iron kit has everything needed to work on just about any electronic component. Its 60-Watt iron has a temperature range of 200-degrees Celsius all the way up to 480-degrees Celsius. It also comes with a spring-style holder that keeps the iron upright when it’s not in use. This kit also comes with a brass sponge tip cleaner and cleaning flux. Other features to mention about this kit is the iron’s 55-inch power cord, a LED readout on the control module, a 10-minute sleep timer and a Centigrade to Fahrenheit toggle switch. Anyone who needs a high-quality iron will want to consider this very powerful model.
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A Beginner’s Guide to Soldering
Now that we’ve determined that owning a soldering iron is not just something that tech enthusiasts can do but that everyone can own one, it’s now time to talk about how they should properly be used. Before we can do that though, we’re going to have to learn about soldering. So let’s attend to that subject before talking about properly using an iron for soldering.
What Exactly is Soldering?
As you probably noticed from our review of the best soldering irons, soldering is accomplished by using a long iron that has an extremely hot top. On some of the units we reviewed, some of these tips can get up to 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty hot. This hot tip is then used to heat up the part that is being worked on. For example, suppose you’re working on a lamp’s cord. You can heat up the wires enough so that when you apply solder to it, it melts. Solder, as you may already know, is a combination of different alloys which melts quite easily and can be used to fix a number of different things, depending on the type of solder. While there’s just a basic overview of the process, it’s good enough for our purposes here.
What Type of Solder Should Be Used?
Solder comes in a variety of different “types.” The kind you need will depend on what you’re trying to repair. For most computer or electronic repairs, then you are probably going to need to use a 60/40 solder, which means the solder has 60% tin and 40% lead. You can also use a lead-free formula, but you should realize that this type of solder needs a high-quality iron because the melting temperature is significantly higher. Lead-free solder is also harder to use than a 60/40 solder, but that’s a subject for another discussion. Just be sure that your solder is specifically made for electronics and that you don’t use plumber’s solder. The solder that plumbers use has a higher amount of acid in it, and that can cause damage to delicate electronics.
Keep Safety in Mind
I know some of you have probably seen people soldering without any safety equipment. After all, I once saw a guy soldering the transistors on a motherboard without even wearing a shirt—as if he was in some sort of a beer commercial! However, I’m here to tell you that’s not the appropriate way to solder.
For one thing, you should definitely wear clothing, preferably a long-sleeve shirt. You should also wear safety gloves and safety goggles while you are soldering. The tip of the iron gets extremely hot, as does the solder itself, so taking the proper precautions is always recommended. Also, it extremely important that you work in a well-ventilated room because components and solder can give off some pretty nasty fumes.
Prepare the Tip For Soldering
The tip of the iron needs to be able to heat to its proper temperature to ensure that the soldering is done properly. This means that if there is any leftover solder on the tip of your iron, then it must be removed. Leftover solder will only insulate the tip and prevent it from properly conducting heat. This not only prevents the solder from being properly applied but may result in damage to the component being repaired. To avoid this, make sure that you keep a wet solder sponge nearby when your iron has reached temperature and then brush the tip on this sponge to remove excess solder. This should result in the soldering iron with a nice smooth tip.
With your now clean soldering tip, you will want to apply just a bit of solder to the tip. This is called “tinning the tip.” This thin layer of solder on the tip will help it conduct new solder when it’s applied. As you’re joining the items you are joining you will want to clean and apply tin to the tip again and again until the job is complete. This will help to keep the tool-tip in the best possible shape for as long as possible and will extend the lifespan of the iron.
Soldering Your Project
Using your dominant hand, hold your iron and prepare to solder your project. In your non-dominant hand, you’ll want to hold a long string of solder. Now touch the tip of the iron to the area that you are trying to join. Hold it on that part for a moment and then slide your solder underneath your iron’s tip. As you go along, make sure that you feed solder as needed. Once you’re done applying solder, hold the iron for a moment longer, and this will help the solder to fully melt and create a better joint. When you’re done, remove the iron. From start to finish, the entire process should only take a couple of seconds. It’s important to allow the solder to cool on its own, so it forms a solid joint.
Using A Solder Vacuum
A solder vacuum, or a solder sucker as it’s sometimes called, it used to deal with solder mistakes. It will clean up the solder area so that you can apply fresh solder to the area. Which makes it a handy tool for any workshop to have on hand.
Using a Helping Hands Unit
An important piece of equipment to consider is a helping hands unit. This unit usually hooks onto your soldering stand or clips to your workbench. The helping hands have alligator clips which can be used to hold a part in place so that your hands are kept free. It may also include a magnifying glass for examining really small repair jobs.
Good Luck With Your Soldering Project!
Congratulations! You just learned how to not only buy the best solder but also how to apply it correctly. While we’ve only covered the basics and there are a few other nuances to learn, with the above information you should be able to begin your journey and make your first solder repair.