Best Soldering Iron

If you are a hobbyist or student looking for a soldering iron, you probably want either a small soldering iron or a small soldering iron with a station. Small soldering irons are sometimes also called soldering pencils. You may also want soldering tweezers for delicate work.

Common household uses include making stained glass or mosaic art, working on circuit boards and repairing damaged electrical cords. Although solder can also be used in roofing, plumbing and auto repair, these applications are much more likely to be done by professionals, not hobbyists.

Contents

Best Soldering Irons Reviews

1. Anbes Soldering Iron Kit 60W – Best Basic Kit (Editor’s Choice)

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This kit comes with a number of basic essentials, all conveniently stored in a handy zippered notebook-style toolkit. If you are new to soldering and have no idea what you need, this may be the kit for you.

The soldering iron heats up in just 30 seconds. It features an LED indicator light to let you know when it is the proper temperature for use. This helps enhance safety while saving energy and helping to protect the longevity of the tool and accessories, such as tips.

It includes a multi-meter and a solder sucker. A multimeter is an essential tool for most electronics works. The sucker is a high-pressure vacuum for removing an excess of unwanted solder. It also has other basic necessities, such as an 8-in-1 screwdriver and tweezers.

If you are new to soldering and don’t have a list of essential tools, a kit like this one can help you get started as painlessly as possible. It’s also a good value for the money because it includes so many tools that are generally useful.

The soldering iron itself is a 60W model that runs on 110V current. It offers adjustable temperature from 392℉ to 842℉ (200℃-450℃), yet cools down rapidly thanks to its safety-conscious design. Includes a 12-month warranty.

Recommended for people just starting out who need a kit to make sure they have all the pertinent parts.

Pros:

  • The tweezers are especially nice.
  • The user manual has helpful photo illustrations.
  • It comes with all the basics you will need to get started.

Cons:

  • You might want to replace the wire cutters with one of your own.
  • If you already own some tools, these basics may be redundant or even inferior to your other tools.

2. Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 (blue & yellow) – Best Serious Station For Avid Hobbyists

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If you have some experience and most of the basic tools, you may be ready to upgrade to a more serious tool. If so, this may be the best deal for you.

It’s a high-quality iron with a station and a stand. The stand includes a sponge for waterless cleanup. The station features a digital temperature display.

This is such a popular item that it is being spoofed. There are fakes of it out there. Make sure you check yours for authenticity when you receive it by checking if it has an R5F1007C chip.

It takes up about a third less space than the model it replaces. This helps make room on your workbench, where surface area is an increasingly valuable commodity.

It offers adjustable temperature control with digital display, a temperature range of 392°- 896°F (200°- 480°C) and a ceramic heating element to support quick heating and quick thermal recovery when working.

Although it offers some great options, the controls are not intuitive. It has a simple two-button control system for programming a wide variety of things. This trips up some people.

Because of the challenges with the two-button control system, some people have accidentally changed the temperature settings. It is possible to do a factory reset to resolve this issue, however, you may have to look up a YouTube video to find this information. The manufacturer appears to not provide.

When you turn the iron on, it automatically returns to the last temperature setting you used. The settings can be password protected, which can be important if your tools are potentially accessible to other people.

Recommended for anyone with a little experience who is looking to up their game. Great if you already have all the other tools and just need a soldering iron with the station. Recommended if you need a station that won’t be a space hog.

Pros:

  • The digital temperature display shows your choice of Fahrenheit or Celsius.
  • Heats up quickly and has good thermal recovery.
  • It comes with a stand and waterless cleanup.

Cons:

  • The instruction manual fails to adequately explain how to do everything it is designed to do. You may need to seek additional instruction to get full value, such as online video tutorials.
  • There are many fakes on the market. To authenticate, check to see if it has the R5F1007C chip.
  • The controls are not intuitive.

3. Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station – Best Ergonomic Soldering Pencil

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This high-performance model provides heat up to 900° F, yet it’s easy on the hand. This can help you keep working for hours without loss of precision.

It features variable power from 5 to 40 watts. The controls are easy to use.

Weller is an established brand that provides a wide variety of choices for tips. This gives you some flexibility for your work. Their tips are pre-tinned to help protect them from oxidation.

However, the unit is not grounded. This isn’t a deal-breaker per se for most uses, but grounding can matter to some people doing delicate work.

The base has an indicator light that lets you know if it is still on. This can be a helpful safety feature.

Weller is a trusted brand name. This is an excellent tool for a hobbyist and acceptable for professional use.

Recommended for serious hobbyists. Recommended for limited professional use or a professional seeking to set up a shop on a budget.

Pros:

  • The unit includes a Weller certified ST3 iron-plated copper tip for temperature consistency.
  • Ergonomic design can help you be productive for hours.
  • Adjustable wattage allows you precision control over your work.

Cons:

  • It does not include other tools or accessories.
  • There is no temperature display.
  • This model is not grounded.
  • Stand and station are one unit, which reduces flexibility.

4. a href=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071VLFGXL/?tag=protoolsadviser-20″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>Soldering Iron Kit Electronics 60W – Best Kit With Hard-Sided Carrying Case

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If you need a kit to take with you to a workshop or school settings, this may be the kit for you. It comes in a durable hard-sided toolbox to help keep you organized while keeping all your tools safe and secure.

The kit includes twenty different items. It includes a soldering iron, wire, wick and stand with cleaning sponge. It has five pre-tinned soldering tips, two different tweezers in different styles, scissors, screwdrivers, insulation tape and more.

The soldering iron is a 110V 60W adjustable temperature model. It heats up to between 200 to 450℃. The model comes with a 12-month warranty and lifetime customer support.

It includes an aluminum desoldering pump. This item is designed to be used one-handed.

The kit is suitable for use on jewelry, watches, wiring, mobile phones, computers, TVs and an assortment of other items. It is especially convenient for fieldwork, such as with radio work.

The toolbox is a compact 10″ × 4.7″ × 4″. It should handily fit in a backpack or similar while providing additional protection for the tools. This helps protect the tools and protect people from injury as some of these tools are potentially dangerous.

Recommended if you need a complete kit that is travel-friendly. Great if you are looking for a kit suitable for doing fieldwork. Recommended if you are looking for a good value as you get a lot of tools and accessories for the price.

Pros:

  • It comes with excellent instructions.
  • A complete, high-quality kit suitable for a wide variety of soldering jobs.
  • The hard-sided case helps provide convenience and safety.

Cons:

  • Some of the tool labels are not in English.
  • Some tools, such as the Xacto knife, are potentially dangerous and may need to be left behind if going to a school setting.

5. Weller SP40NKUS 40-Watts Soldering Iron Kit – Best well-illuminated Soldering Pencil

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If you find yourself frequently working in poorly lit environments or if you are getting older and could use a little more task lighting, this may be the soldering for you. It comes with three built-in LED lights to help cast some light on the work you are doing where you most need the light.

This 40-watt unit heats up quickly, retains the heat so you can work. The triangular handle with ribbed grip is ergonomically designed to help improve comfort and control.

The tips are easy to change out. It’s a Weller brand item, so you know you have a wide variety of tip options if you need them.

The extra light makes it well suited to delicate work, such as radio work, electrical work, and electronics work. It helps make it easy to do precision work in tight spaces where you can’t possibly fit in a flashlight.

This unit is a high-performance model designed for household use. It was created with the hobbyist in mind and comes with good operating instructions.

The cord is five feet long, which gives some maneuvering room, but some people feel it is not enough.

It heats up to 900°F and can be used with a soldering station. It should be compatible with a variety of Weller soldering 120V AC stations.

This model includes two extra tips and soldering wire. The included tips are not compatible with lead-free solder. Using lead-free solder with them may damage them. Some people complain that the included solder is not compatible with the included tips.

The soldering iron comes with a 7-year limited warranty.

Recommended if you are in need of adding some illumination to your soldering work. Recommended as a step up from very inexpensive soldering irons that don’t heat up quickly and don’t reliably sustain the temperature.

Pros:

  • Well lit for precision work or work by someone with less than perfect eyesight.
  • Can handle high heat work up to 900°F.
  • The triangular grip means you can lay it down without burning anything, no need for a stand.

Cons:

  • It comes with solder incompatible with the supplied tips.
  • This model does not come with a station or other accessories.
  • The cord length limits your reach.

6. Magento’s Superb Quality Soldering Iron – 14 Extra Pieces for Easy & Safe Use at Work and Home – Best Comprehensive Kit With Extra Tips

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This 28-piece has you covered. In addition to a 60W soldering iron, it comes with extra tips, a stand, multi-headed screwdriver, solder sucker, tweezers, wire cutter, and other essential items.

The carrying case has plenty of room to hold the original contents, plus room left to add your own tools and accessories. If you want to create a custom kit without going through the hassle of starting from scratch, this is a terrific place to start.

The ergonomic soldering iron has a temperature range from 200° to 450°C. The patented design helps to ensure that it delivers the power you need consistently while allowing for rapid cool down when the job is done.

This makes it efficient for fieldwork. No more waiting for long periods for the iron to be cool enough to put away. For that and so many other reasons, this kit is ideal for keeping in your truck “just in case.”

This is a non-toxic, environmentally-friendly iron that was designed with safety in mind. It features auto shut-off and has been certified by the FCC and other trusted agencies.

It can be used for high-heat jobs, such as working with silver jewelry. Not really suitable for jobs requiring more power, such as glasswork.

Recommended for both hobbyists and professionals. Great for fieldwork. Recommended for someone wanting to jump-start their own customized kit.

Pros:

  • Terrific value because you get a lot of different things for one low price.
  • The iron heats up fast and also cools down fast.
  • Includes a nice portable stand that can be broken down again.

Cons:

  • It does not include a station.

7. X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS Digital Display Soldering Iron Station – 10 Minute Sleep Function, Auto Cool Down, C/F Switch, Ergonomic Soldering Iron, Solder Holder, Brass Tip Cleaner with Cleaning Flux – Best Ergonomic Iron With Station

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This 75W station with 60W iron has a temperature range of 392°F – 896°F/200°C – 480°C. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 3-year warranty. The 3-year warranty covers parts and labor.

The station includes an attached stand for the iron, attached solder roll holder and tip cleaner. This unit features a blue LED temperature display and the option to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

It boasts good temperature stability. Safety features include auto cool down and 10-minute sleep timer. The timer means it goes into sleep mode if you leave in the stand for over 10 minutes.

The built-in Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) program is often called “Magic Temperature” tech. Every 20 milliseconds, it checks the actual temperature and makes adjustments as needed. This helps keep the temperature reliably consistent.

The cord for the soldering iron is 60 inches. The power cord for the station is 55 inches. This gives you tremendous maneuvering room compared to most soldering irons that lack a station.

It operates on standard 110/120V residential power. It includes a self-test function and protection against short-circuits and overloads.

Compatible with Hakko 900 series tips. Manufactured overseas. Not made in the USA.

Recommended for someone needing an iron for light, occasional use. Not recommended for full-time professional use.

Pros:

  • This is a terrific hobbyist option.
  • It can accept tips from other manufacturers, allowing a wider variety of options.
  • The soldering iron has good ergonomics.

Cons:

  • Not durable enough for full-time or professional work.
  • The display shows goal temperature, not the actual temperature.
  • The solder rack may be awkward for some people.

8. Tabiger Soldering Iron Kit 60W 110V-Adjustable Temperature Welding Soldering Iron with Tool Carry Case – Best Streamlined Kit of Essentials

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This small kit comes with a padded case and a streamlined set of tools. It includes anti-static tweezers, five tips, and a one-handed desoldering pump.

The 60W iron has a temperature range from 200 to 450℃. It is energy efficient and heats up rapidly.

Excellent for work on small electronics, jewelry, wiring, and similar tasks. It comes with a 12-month warranty.

The included stand is a neat little design that lays flat in the case when you first get it, then you bend it into the upright position to use it. In practice, this shouldn’t be bent and re-flattened over and over, so the stand doesn’t really work for the design of the case.

Recommended if you want a small kit of quality accessories with your iron for a great price.

Pros:

  • Most of the tools are of surprisingly high quality.
  • Terrific for occasional, hobbyist use.
  • The tips are easily switched out.

Cons:

  • The included stand doesn’t really fit in the case after you bend it into the right shape.
  • Not good for regular/full-time use.
  • The case is fairly small.

9. Aoyue 469 Variable Power 60 Watt Soldering Station with Removable Tip Design- ESD Safe – Best Choice of Tips

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This is a nice little station with a 60W iron. It heats up quickly and has a temperature range of 200 – 480°C (392 – 897°F). Station has an integrated stand and cleaning tray.

If you pay careful attention to reviews, many of the reviews indicate that people have researched which other brands have compatible tips because they didn’t have the tip selection they wanted from the brand. The brand for this iron makes over 50 different tips.

So if variety and convenience are the spice of your life and you really need a good selection of tips, this may be the soldering iron for you. There is no need to research which other brands might work with it.

On top of that, it also works well with Hakko Station 900M 933 tips. So you have yet more options.

The cord from the station to the iron is 2’9″. The power cord from the wall to the station is 3’5″. If you are working in a small space, you may be happy. For some people, this will not be enough length.

Recommended if you need an iron with a station that works well in a compact space. Recommended if you do a variety of work requiring a variety of tips.

Pros:

  • Great selection of tips.
  • Great for a compact space. Small footprint with short cords.

Cons:

  • The cord length limits your range of motion.
  • It doesn’t come with a lot of accessories.

Buyer’s Guide

First, a brief introduction to solder for those new to this hobby.

What Is Solder?

Solder is a low heat metal alloy applied with a heated tool to connect metal pieces together. It gets used in a variety of industries, including roofing, plumbing, electronics, and jewelry repair.

For most applications, solder is primarily made of tin. For uses in making or repairing jewelry, it is primarily made of silver.

At one time, lead was the primary component. It has mostly been phased out due to the health hazards it poses. However, 50-50 solder is still available for some industrial uses, such as roofing and sheet metal work. It is half lead.

Due to the use of heat and potentially hazardous metals, appropriate precautions should always be taken when working with solder. Among other things, always wear protective glasses and turn the soldering iron off promptly. If it won’t be used again imminently, don’t leave it on “just in case” or because you plan to do another thing “shortly.”

Soldering Tools For The Hobbyist

Soldering tools for household use are typically small handheld devices, such as a soldering iron or soldering pencil. A soldering station can be a nice enhancement.

Soldering guns are usually more than a hobbyist needs. There are more heavy-duty options out there, but they are typically for professional or industrial use.

Simple iron

A low-power iron (15-35W) is suitable for electrical or electronics work. Higher wattage does not mean it runs at a higher temperature. Instead, it means it has more capacity to sustain the correct temperature while working and to recover quickly after using it naturally causes the tip to cool some.

Cordless

These are typically battery-operated, however some us combustion gas, such as butane. They can be convenient for applications where a cord might get in the way. They are often favored for precision work.

Temperature control

Some irons offer temperature control. Others do not. If you can afford it, a unit with temperature control is generally the better choice.

Irons that are not temperature controlled to heat up based on power input, then cool down naturally with usage. Using them to heat something else causes their temperature to drop.

But irons that offer temperature control will have a sensor and a means to try to keep the temperature consistent. This can make a big difference in quality control for the project in question.

There are different methods used to control the temperature. The simplest is a mechanism to let you reduce the amount of power it is getting. It does not give you precise control because there is no thermostat.

Irons with a thermostat will turn the power on and off as needed to maintain the desired temperature. Alternately, magnetized soldering tips use the Curie point to moderate temperature. The Curie point serves as a regulator that switches the iron on or off based on the tool losing and regaining magnetic properties due to exceeding or dropping below the temperature known as the Curie point.

Soldering stations

Temperature-controlled irons can be free-standing but are often part of a soldering station. A soldering station is a separate base with a control circuitry for the iron. It sometimes includes a display.

Stations include an electrical supply. You can think of it a little like an Uninterrupted Power Supply for your computer. It helps make sure things run smoothly. It is typically used when working on electronics.

Most stations will also include a stand for the iron. This gives you a place to safely set the iron when it is still hot but not in use at the moment.

Stations sometimes have other features, such as a wet sponge, hot air gun or soldering head. A desoldering station will provide a vacuum pump to remove excess solder.

Tweezers

Soldering tweezers can come in handy for small surface-mounted jobs with two terminals, such as diodes, resistors, and capacitors. They are especially valuable for delicate electronics work.

Stands

Stands are often included as part of a station, but they can be bought separately. They often include a sponge and flux pot to aid in cleanup.

Wattage

Many people have the incorrect idea that more watts equal a higher temperature. This is not true.

Wattage serves as a well of energy to maintain the temperature. A higher wattage allows the tool to heat up faster and to reheat faster when it cools due to the process of using it.

The Plug

A three-pronged plug provides the ability to ground the tool. This isn’t necessary for all jobs but can be an important feature when doing electronics work.

General Safety Tips

If you are new to soldering, you should keep in mind that working with this small high heat tool is potentially dangerous. Safety should always be your first priority.

  • Always wear safety goggles.
  • Keep your face away from the fumes.
  • Choose an iron appropriate for the type of soldering work to be performed.
  • Be gentle. Too much pressure can damage the tip or the project.
  • You can prevent oxidation by covering the tip with solder after you finish your work.
  • Never use a soldering iron as a screwdriver.
  • Always use the lowest possible temperature.
  • Pick an appropriate tip for the job.
  • Turn it off when you stop using it.
  • Keep the tool clean, especially the tip.

Our Best Choice

Our overall favorite is number 1. Anbes Soldering Iron Kit 60W Adjustable Temperature Welding Tool, Digital Multimeter, 2pcs Soldering Iron Tips, Desoldering Pump, Wire Stripper Cutter, Tweezers, Iron Stand, 2pcs Electronic Wire. It’s adequate for any beginner and even for many people with some experience and it includes all the basic tools you need.

You get all this in a convenient and lightweight carrying case at an affordable price. It practically has something for everyone.

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Tim Nilson
Tim Nilson / Senior Contributor
Love my job! Work with and test new equipment all the time. More than 10 years of experience! That is why I decided to share my experience with you so you will be able to choose good equipment for your needs!
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