Tips on selecting a soldering iron that's right for you
- Soldering irons can vary from 10$US to several thousand dollars, but there are basically four groups:
- Cost varies on how well it can regulate the temperature, and ability to set the temperature, and interchange tips.
- Choice in soldering irons depends on your application
- If you plan on soldering soldering wires together, repairing disconnected speaker wire, broken plugs or similar than a basic soldering iron is perfect. Soldering guns also work, they heat up much faster, but are very cumbersome, and often you need three hands as it is. If you are soldering joints that are close to the size of a marble then a solder gun is recommended. It would take a solder pencil a very long time to do that job.
- If you are a beginner electronics hobbist and work with through hole components such as resistors and capacitors with leads, then a basic solder iron is fine. If you find you are spend a lot of time waiting for the iron to melt joints, you can get a higher wattage iron, but if you solder a lot it is recommended you get a soldering station.
- If you are a professional electrition, engineer, or avid electronics hobbiest it is better to get a soldering station. The solder stations iron can heat up most joins instantly and maintain the heat. With variable heat soldering stations you can solder sensitive components more easily. A good soldering station can be purchased for 100-200$US.
- Rework stations cost thousands of dollars and are not for personal use. They often contain a soldering iron, hot air pencil, vacuum suction for placing and removing chips, and heated tweezers. These are very helpful in soldering surface mount components.