LAST UPDATED: June 27, 2018

Best Soldering Station (Review) in 2020

Best Choice Hakko Digital Soldering Station Hakko Digital Soldering Station
Premium Pick PACE Professional Soldering Station PACE Professional Soldering Station
Best Value Aoyue Variable Power Soldering Station Aoyue Variable Power Soldering Station

A soldering station is a device that has a handheld iron which is used to join different metal components together. It does this by injecting a filler metal into the created joint which is usually a permanent one. It is used in repairs of electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers and radio sets among many others. Today, soldering stations offer even more excellent services. Want to explore? Come with us as we review some of the best soldering stations on the market today.

The Best Soldering Station

This Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station comes in a blend of blue and yellow colors. It is one of the current soldering stations on the market and features an improved system that increases the heater component on the thermal’s recovery rate by up to a whopping 30%. Thus, the level of productivity when using the conventional Hakko soldering station models shoots up to 30%. This Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station also utilizes the T18 series of soldering tips in its heat transmission from the soldering station unto the components. This enables soldering to be done in a minimal set temperature to lower the level of impact that the thermal has on the parts being worked on. It also helps extend the lifespan of the hot tip by regulating oxidation. This soldering station again produces an additional 20 seconds thermal recovery rise time on the graph.

Key Features
  • Increased thermal recovery rate of 30%
  • It is a digital soldering station
  • Features T18 Soldering tips
  • Features tip oxidation regulation mechanism
Specification
  • Brand Hakko
  • Model FX888D
  • Weight 3.6 pounds
PROS

T18 Soldering tips regulates heat transferred unto components

Thermal recovery rate causes efficiency

Thermal tip lasts long

CONS

Quite difficult to regulate 

Manipulating the current temperature and temperature calibration can be confusing

Features only 2 control buttons

Looking for the best lightweight soldering station out there? Weller has a response to that. The Weller WE1010NA Digital Soldering Station is a lightweight soldering station that has a pencil design with a welcoming handle that provides greater user convenience. It is digital based soldering station that has more excellent prospects to delivering on all your soldering jobs done swiftly. This is due to the higher recovery rate, which is dependent mainly on the faster rate at which the iron heats. Thus, assuring higher productivity than the traditional WES and WESD stations. To avoid any unforeseen incidents, there is a dedicated safety rest that is highly enhanced to provide additional storage support for the iron in between uses. A front switch button enables an easier and prompt power on and off.

Key Features
  • It is of lightweight
  • Provides up to 70W of power
  • Features an enhanced safety rest to store the iron in between uses
  • Uses a password protection system to keep user settings intact
Specification
  • Brand Weller
  • Model WE1010NA
  • Weight 5.51 pounds
PROS

Easy temperature control with 3 buttons and a large display screen

Easy to use

Standby mode helps conserve energy

CONS

Has no built-in fuse

Does not run on 220V power supply

No wand sensor to switch from standby mode

This X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS Digital Display Soldering Iron Station is a top-quality soldering iron station. It is a complete system that serves both the beginner and the professional. It has new and enhanced features that have been carefully crafted to give the utmost performance. It is of top quality and durability and promises to last longer than all soldering stations in its class.

As a digital soldering station, this product comes with a sizeable LED screen that displays in blue. The screen can be adjusted to your preferred temperature display. An automatic cool-down function prevents any situation of overheating and a Celsius/Fahrenheit switch is also added. For a convenient user experience, this soldering station has a grip that is ergonomic in its make and made to resist heat. Again, it features a self-test technology which has an inbuilt full intelligence system to curb all issues regarding overloads, short circuits, and over temperature.

Key Features
  • Highly durable and of top quality
  • Features the Proportional Integral Derivative(PID) technology system
  • Automatic cool-down function
  • Offers a self-test technology system
Specification
  • Brand X-Tronic
  • Model FBA_3020-XTS
  • Weight 1 pounds
PROS

Features an easy to use Celsius/Fahrenheit switch

Includes a 10 minutes sleep timer

Features a blue LED screen

CONS

Sleep mode duration is not adjustable

Does not come with any European plug type

Does not support 220V power supply

As a leading brand in electronic products and soldering iron stations, Weller presents Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station. This is an analog soldering station that produces up to 900°F of temperature for all your soldering works. Plus the temperature levels are adjustable for all your different soldering needs. It provides a consistent temperature throughout your soldering period by use of the inbuilt Weller certified ST3 copper tip. An inbuilt iron stand is also included to accommodate the soldering iron in between soldering jobs.

It is easy to use soldering station which features a power control feature with an adjustable power level of up to 40 watts from 5 watts. The solder tip is built to last long while producing maximum output. The tip has an iron coating with chromium and nickel which fights rusting and corrosion. This soldering station is ideal for soldering works on jewelry, crafts and small appliances among many others.

Key Features
  • It is an analog soldering station
  • Soldering iron weighs light and has a foamy grip
  • Approved by all safety standards
  • Includes a soldering iron stand
Specification
  • Brand Weller
  • Model WLC100
  • Weight 1 Pack
PROS

Weller certified ST3 provides consistent temperature level throughout soldering works

Soldering iron can be easily replaced

Easy to use pencil-like soldering iron

CONS

Not a digital soldering station

Bag or case not included in the purchase

Only works on electronic components

This  Vastar Soldering Iron – Soldering Iron Station is an electric soldering iron. It comes in handy and portable to be easily carried and used in different places as and when the need be. The entire soldering station weighs 1.75 pounds and it is an analog soldering station that has a temperature regulator which can handle soldering works that require up to 480°C temperature. Also added is a control knob to regulate the power from five watts up to sixty watts.

This soldering station is easy to operate. It has a platform for the soldering iron to keep it in between the entire soldering period. Purchase of this product comes with a sponge to be used for cleaning dirt and residue and to prepare it for the next job. This is a perfect product for beginners as it is very easy to use soldering station.

Key Features
  • Produces up to 480°C temperature
  • It is an analogue soldering station
  • Features a power control knob
  • Highly efficient
Specification
  • Brand Vastar
  • Model VLY2-JKUS01
  • Weight 1.75 pounds
PROS

Includes 5 different soldering tips.

Includes a cleaning sponge

User can regulate the power from five to sixty watts

CONS

Does not have an LED screen

Does not work at 220V of power supply

It only runs on electricity

Looking for an ideal SMD rework station? The Hakko Soldering Station, FX-951-66 is a digital soldering station that weighs 2.6 pounds and comes in a blend of blue and yellow colors. This highly effective soldering station runs on the highest voltage of 120 and up to 75 watts. With a featured sensor for closed loops, this product does excellent at iterations.

For greater output in all related soldering works, a holder from the FH-200 series is used to give the user comfort and increase productivity. It measures its temperature base in Fahrenheit and can produce temperature levels ranging from 400 up to 840 degrees. It has a sleep mode feature and includes a cable to that effect. This SMD rework station is ideal for all your everyday soldering needs.

Key Features
  • It is a digital soldering station
  • Features an FH-200 holder series
  • Temperature levels from 400 to 840 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Maximum voltage support is 120V
Specification
  • Brand AMERICAN HAKKO PRODUCTS INC
  • Model FX-951
  • Weight 6.2 pounds
PROS

Features a closed-loop sensor

Screen displays both preset and temperature set for the tip

The holder is from the FH-200 series

CONS

Does not support 220V power supply

Tip not included in purchase

No analog features

The New & Improved X-Tronic MODEL 5040-XR3 Soldering Iron Station is built with all the needed features as a hot air soldering station. In its package is an included hot air gun that is plug and plays and runs on 500 watts. The temperature range of this gun is from 100°C up to 480°C and the product features a soldering iron which is also plug and plays.

A wet sponge is included for clearing all residue remains and preparing the soldering iron for the subsequent tasks ahead. An extra 9 soldering tips of different sizes and types provides a vast range of soldering options to cover your everyday soldering needs. This is a digital soldering station that allows the user complete control over it.

Key Features
  • Includes pinpoint tweezers
  • It is a hot air soldering station
  • Soldering tips approved by SGS and Rohs
  • Comes with a wet sponge for cleaning residue remains
Specification
  • Brand X-TRONIC
  • Model 5040-XR3
  • Weight 15 pounds
PROS

Comes with 10 different soldering tips

Includes a hot air blowing gun

Features a 5X standing lamp for easier magnifying

CONS

Does not produce consistent quality services

Blowing gun has no fuse

Requires a lot of set up space

This is a high end soldering iron station that has a great build-up to provide greater user comfort and convenience. With a cushioned iron handle, this Vastar Soldering Iron Station offers a greater user experience. It is made of lightweight materials for easy use and can produce up to a maximal 480°C adjustable temperature.

Temperature adjustment is made easier with the all-new temperature control circuit. Its steel cylinder is made of high-end stainless steel of strength 304. This Vaster Soldering Iron also features an inbuilt soldering iron holder to rest the iron in between your soldering works. To use, you will have to wet the sponge first. It is to clean up the machine of any stains to prepare it for an effective subsequent job.

Key Features
  • Features an inbuilt iron holder
  • It is an analogue soldering station
  • Temperature control circuit makes temperature adjustment easier
  • Easy to use
Specification
  • Brand Vastar
  • Model VLY1-JKRPUS01
  • Weight 1.55 pounds
PROS

Features 5 assorted soldering tips

Includes an anti-static tweezer

Soldering iron is made of lightweight materials

CONS

Purchase does not include a case for the set

Runs solely on electricity

Included sponge is not already wet

This TXINLEI 8586 110V Solder Station is an SMD rework station. It comes with an assorted 12 pieces soldering tips. This versatility provides a broader base of soldering works to be handled by this soldering station. It is built primarily from alloy metal and has a silicone coating which gives it a better look. It is an energy-saving station that uses minimal electricity and the hot gun runs on 700 watts of power while soldering iron runs on a minimum 60 watts of power. The hot gun has a temperature range of 100 to 450°C, whereas soldering iron’s temperature ranges from 200 to 480°C.

It gives the user full control over the entire station with its sensor switch which has been built into the handle. A handle grip automatically sends the system into operating mode and it switches into standby mode as soon as the handle is released.

Key Features
  • Includes 12 different soldering tips
  • Features sensor switch in the handle grip
  • 700 watts of power for hot gun and 60 watts for soldering iron
  • It is a digital soldering station
Specification
  • Brand TXINLEI
  • Model 8586
  • Weight 6 pounds
PROS

Has an added 12 pieces soldering tips

Saves electricity

Features a digital LED screen

CONS

A heat gun can be difficult to regulate

Does not support simultaneous use of soldering iron and hot air gun

Not an analog soldering station

Mark Ethan presents this BGA rework station – the 2 in 1 SMD Soldering Hot Air Rework Station comes with an added 5 iron tips to enable easier soldering jobs of different nature. For greater efficiency, Mark Ethan makes use of the Samsung microcomputer control chip for its heat and temperature system. This soldering station is ideal for all soldering works from small components to relatively large ones. The holding grip is cushioned to give you a great feel in the palm throughout your soldering period.

All soldering irons attached to this soldering station are produced from very high-end sensitive components which are covered by the ESD design technology. This also enables an easier tip removal and replacement. It also features an airflow mechanism that is adjustable. Mark Ethan offers a whopping 30 day return policy for all purchases made.

Key Features
  • Features the Samsung microcomputer control chip
  • Up to 5 assorted iron tips
  • Large LED screen displays accurate temperature of soldering iron and hot air gun
  • Increased temperature stability
Specification
  • Brand Mark Ethan
  • Model 8795206
  • Weight 9.2 pounds
PROS

Added 5 iron tips

The system heats up faster

Supports hot air gun usage

CONS

Does not run on batteries

No fuse in hot air gun

Does not include a sleep mode sensor

The Soldering Station, Holife Digital Display Soldering Iron Station is a high-end digital soldering station that comes with an added cleaning sponge and an assorted 3 piece iron tips. These different iron tips will allow a wider range of possible soldering works with this station and are easy to change by just twisting to lose and then twisting in the opposite direction to fix a new suggestion.

It provides a stable and safe temperature variations. This stability enhances the lifespan of the soldering iron tips and the components being worked on. It has an LED screen that can display dual temperatures of different components. Thus, the working and preset temperatures are equally displayed to keep the user informed always. Added are 3 buttons that can easily be pressed to control the temperature in 3 different levels; 392°F, 572°F, and 752°F.

Key Features
  • Multipurpose backpack
  • Able to carry skis diagonally
  • Able to carry snowboards vertically
  • Compartment holder for shovel blade and probe
Specification
  • Brand Holife
  • Model DS066A
  • Weight 4.71 pounds
PROS

Large storage space

Laptop carriage is possible

Highly versatile backpack

CONS

Comes in only dark black color

Does not run on batteries

Does not run on 220V power

For the best better soldering station, this Aoyue 469 Variable Power 60 Watt Soldering Station has you covered. The product weighs 1.45 pounds and is a 60-watt power soldering station that runs on electricity. It has an easily removable tip design and is made of top quality ceramic material that traps heat as well as a heating range of temperature from 200°C to 480°C and runs on 110V power supply.

It also has a solder iron compartment holder to keep solder iron safely in between soldering works and a security measure to prevent any unintended incidental burns of any components or materials. This soldering station does not run on battery, but rather, it is solely powered by electricity. It is suitable for undertaking all your personal and commercial soldering tasks. It is easy to use the tool.

Key Features
  • Features an iron holder compartment
  • Highly durable soldering station
  • Easy to use with utmost user convenience
  • Runs on electricity only
Specification
  • Brand Aoyue
  • Model AO469
  • Weight 1.45 pounds
PROS

The easily removable iron tip

The heating mechanism provides greater efficiency

Built with a removable iron tip makeup

CONS

Only runs on electricity and does not support batteries

Package does not include solder

Not compatible with 220V power

For a professional soldering station, this PACE ADS200 Professional Soldering Station is the right choice. Enjoy soldering like never before with the welcoming cushioned handle grip. The grip is well built with no heat conducting variable. Regardless of how extreme the iron tip gets, you don’t feel an inch of it on the handle grip. Thus providing room enough to enjoy a high-level soldering experience with higher output levels.

Overall, it has an excellent design and an easy to use make. It is built primarily of durable metals. From soldering small components on electrical devices to soldering for commercial purposes, this is an all-round soldering station that can serve all your needs. It has a large display screen with buttons to easily switch between 3 preset temperatures. Tip temperature monitoring mechanism by use of AccuDrive control technology.

Key Features
  • Features a password lockout technology
  • Accuride control technology feature
  • It is a digital soldering station
  • Highly durable and long-lasting
Specification
  • Brand PACE
  • Model 8007-0584
  • Weight 8 pounds
PROS

Ideal for all professional and personal soldering jobs

Provides a storage compartment for the soldering iron in between uses

Low energy consumption

CONS

Set up requires enough space

Does not support 220V power

Sensor and setback cable not included

The Smartxchoices Pro 2In1 862D+ SMD Soldering Iron Hot Air Rework Station is a soldering iron station that runs on 110V power. It is a 2 in 1 hot iron and a hot air soldering station. It features a dedicated area for keeping the soldering metal during soldering tasks. A highly advanced Samsung microcomputer control chip gives a quick warm-up of the iron, which directly means more work can be done in the shortest possible time. 

It has an inbuilt automated cooling system that keeps the station refreshed and productive at all times and also has a temperature stability enhancer through a PID technology system. For precision and accuracy, an LED screen is fixed to display dual temperature and the handle has an inbuilt sensor which puts the station into operation mode once it detects a handgrip and into sleep mode when the handle is not grabbed.

Key Features
  • Lightweight soldering iron
  • Durable product
  • Temperature stabilizer enhancer
  • LED screen
Specification
  • Brand Smartxchoices
  • Model SC1533&D1-1158A
  • Weight 7.05 pounds
PROS

Temperature displayed on the LED screen

Inbuilt cooling system

Highly efficient

CONS

Does not support 220V power

No color variations

Does not run on batteries

Electronics enthusiasts and those working with PCBs either as a vocation or as a hobby will find this soldering iron setup to be more than fully capable of getting their job done. Set on a secure and stable platform is an elegant-looking soldering iron stand with a control console, a solder wire holder, and a cleaning section that organizes everything you need in one neat package.

The Tuloka comes with a heater that comes with a PID temperature control technology, allowing for a more efficient use of the soldering mechanism, constantly adjusting the actual temperature of the soldering tip to the temperature you want to work on. Its lowest temperature setting of 392oF is not the lowest we’ve seen in a soldering iron station; there are those operating at 194oF or even lower. Suffice it to say, this should still be enough to get your projects completed. Besides, it’s ESD-safe.

The Tuloka soldering iron station goes into sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity while also reducing its temperature to its minimum. You don’t have to reset it to its last known temperature settings since it automatically heats up once activity resumes.

It’s not really a very sophisticated piece of soldering station, but it is a good soldering iron especially for newbies and practical fellows.

Key Features
  • 60-watt soldering station
  • 392oF-896oF soldering iron adjustable temperature with LED display
  • PID auto temperature control technology
  • 10-minute auto sleep mode
Specification
  • Brand Tuloka
  • Model TK-SIS926LED
  • Weight 939 g

One of the good things about the CSI Premier soldering iron station is that it can actually store up to 3 different temperature settings in its 3-channel mechanism. This way you can resume almost any other project with a single push of the correct preset button.

The CSI Premier comes with a much lower minimum temperature than the Tuloka at 212oF, offering a far wider range of temperature variability. This also gives you better control of the various temperatures you’re working on.  The auto-sleep feature is nice since it is integrated with motion sensors. The moment you pull it out of its holder, the soldering iron instantly goes up to its last set temperature. It comes with an auto shutoff feature which should help improve safety. Perhaps our only gripe is the rather plain-looking base for your soldering tools. Also, it’s got a heftier price tag than most.

Still, the CSI Premier makes for a great soldering iron to have on your workstation.

Key Features
  • 75-watt soldering station
  • 212oF-896oF operating temperature with calibration
  • Auto sleep with motion detection
  • Auto shutoff mode
  • 3-channel temperature presets
Specification
  • Brand Circuit Specialists
  • Model CSI PREMIER75W
  • Weight

The KATSU soldering tools station is a soldering iron and hot air gun combination that can make quick work of any project that requires both systems. It’s the kind of soldering station that extends its versatility to other aspects of an electrical or plumbing project.

The KATSU requires 70 watts of power to juice up both its hot air gun and soldering iron components. The hot air gun comes with 4 nozzle attachments and operates at a relatively low noise so you can really focus on the task at hand. The soldering mechanism comes with 3 additional tips for greater versatility across a variety of surfaces and materials. The ESD-safe solder mechanism features an ergonomic and heat resistant handle for much safer work. Both hot air gun and soldering iron come with their respective LED, temperature controls, and power switches so you can easily turn off one if you don’t need it.

KATSU provides a 2-in-1 solution at a price that is friendlier than having the 2 systems purchased separately. It’s stable, sturdy, and perfect for amateurs and advanced beginners.

Key Features
  • 70-watt soldering and hot air gun station
  • 392oF-896oF soldering iron adjustable temperature with LED display
  • 212oF-896oF hot air gun temperature
  • 3 soldering iron tips + 4 hot air gun nozzles
  • Low-noise hot air gun
  • Hot air gun sleep mode at less than 212oF
Specification
  • Brand KATSU Tools
  • Model 312080
  • Weight 4.2 Kg

Perhaps the best soldering station that you can ever buy is this setup from Holife. It has a much wider temperature range (194oF-896oF) than most of the soldering iron station setups in the market. The Holife best soldering iron comes with a sturdy holder and a heat-resistant, comfy, and non-slip handle to make sure you’ll be able to finish your project without so much as any type of body ache.

The system delivers an error message right on its screen in the event that it detects a fault in the system’s operation or even an unusually low or high temperature different from the one set. You don’t get that notification even from pricier brands. Additionally, the temperature settings can be locked to make sure you don’t inadvertently use a different temp for your task. With a friendly price, exceptional safety features, wide range of temperature controls, and a stable platform, the Holife is more than just a good soldering iron. It could very well be the best.

Key Features
  • 60-watt soldering station
  • 194oF-896oF digital temperature control and LED display
  • Heat dissipation holes with heat resistant handle
  • Temperature lock
  • Error message function
  • Sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity
Specification
  • Brand Holife
  • Model 029-UK
  • Weight 1.2 Kg

This is the second Tuloka soldering iron station we have in this list. It is priced higher than the first one we featured on a list price basis. Unlike the other Tuloka that integrates both control panel and iron management into a single base, this soldering iron platform comes with a separate handheld unit which houses the controls including on-off switch, temperature adjustment knob, and ESD protection.

It’s ideal for those with no extra space to spare on their work table. You can easily hang the control unit on the side of your workstation with the base on the table. It’s one of the best soldering iron platforms because of its affordability, ample temperature control, and uniqueness of design.

Key Features
  • 60-watt soldering station
  • 392oF-896oF handheld temperature control with On-Off switch
  • Electrostatic discharge protection
  • 5 900M-series backup tips
  • Soldering iron with steel cooling holes and heat-resistant material
Specification
  • Brand Tuloka
  • Model
  • Weight 621 g

The MVPOWER soldering iron station is a compact and lightweight platform that comes with almost everything that you need to accomplish an intended task. It has easily adjustable temperature controls that range from as low as 194oF to as high as 896oF. It also comes with sleep mode, allowing you to other important matters while the system is just on a stand-by and fully ready when you return.

A good soldering iron should allow you to easily handle the iron without feeling fatigued or discomfort. The MVPOWER provides just that. It also features ESD protection so you’ll feel a lot safer while working on electro-sensitive circuitry. Perhaps our only critique of the MVPOWER is that it feels rather flimsy. Also, some users complained of reliability issues. Still, it should make for a worthy tool especially for beginners.

Key Features
  • 60-watt soldering station
  • 194oF-896oF adjustable temperature
  • Temperature LED digital display
  • Sleep mode
Specification
  • Brand MVPOWER
  • Model
  • Weight 939 g

With a simple platform design, the Draper SI400 soldering station is one of the cheapest setups you’ll find, although its retail price is actually slightly higher than some of the models in the market. It comes with a modest power requirement of 40 watts, good enough to heat its soldering iron.

While you can easily adjust the temperature of the heating mechanism, there is no display to tell you the exact temperature you’re working with. It’s a test of your ability to check whether the temperature you’re applying is good enough for the project. On the positive note, the Draper does come with overheat protection. You’ll still feel safe, at least.

Key Features
  • 40-watt soldering station
  • Overheat protection
  • Adjustable temperature dial
  • Fully replaceable tip
Specification
  • Brand Draper
  • Model SI400
  • Weight 780 g

Best Soldering Station Buying Guide & FAQ

Things to Consider When Buying Soldering Station

Every accomplished DIYer will have the best soldering station in his toolbox. If you see yourself down this path, you might want to understand some variables you need to think about before buying a good soldering iron. Here are some of the more important ones.

  • Temperature control

The idea of soldering is almost similar to welding where heat is applied to melt metal in an effort to bond two metal surfaces. As such, the key here is in the ability to regulate or control the amount of heat generated by the soldering iron.

Different models come with different temperature control mechanisms. The simplest entails controlling the range of temperatures upon which the element can be heated. This system will not allow the temperature to go outside this range. But, since it is a range of levels, it is not precise; fluctuations are always possible.

Related Post: Best Welding Helmets and Best MIG Welders

soldering stations

There are also those that employ thermocoupling whereby the station circuitry monitors and constantly adjusts the temperature at the tip of the iron itself. Others come with an automated thermostat for more precise temperature control.

  • Corded or cordless?

The soldering tools we listed above are all corded. But, there are cordless versions, too. The beauty of cordless irons is their versatility. The tip can be heated pretty quickly, too, often in a matter of 2-3 seconds. Cooling it down occurs in just a second. However, because of their design, cordless systems are only good for minor repairs. If you’re thinking of doing some major repairs or extensive work your best bet will still be corded devices.

  • Type of soldering iron

There are 4 types of soldering tools available in the market today. There’s the soldering pencil, the soldering station, the soldering repair or rework station, and the soldering gun. We’ll have a more detailed discussion of these types in a latter section of this article.

  • Size and shape of tip

The tip of soldering irons can be interchanged, often depending on the type of project you’re working on. These come in various sizes and shapes so if the device already comes with a variety of tips, you’re almost guaranteed optimum versatility. If not, you might want to check the iron’s compatibility with standard tips. Examples of tip shapes include tapered, pyramid, fine conical, and chisel. Also, the material with which the tip is made should also be considered. Copper, nickel, and chrome are preferred since they’re more durable than others.

  • Wattage

Most DIYers work with systems with lower wattage, typically in the range of 15 to 35. Professionals max out at 60 watts, although it is not unusual to see a few working with 70 or even 75 watts. The thing here is that you cannot use too much wattage in the heater as you can easily lose control of the temperature settings. If you’re working with highly sensitive electronics, you’ll be better off with lower wattage devices. Going with 60 watts is always a safer bet especially if it also has an excellent temperature control mechanism for fine tuning your temperature requirements.

Benefits of Using a Soldering Station

A good soldering station operates at a much lower temperature compared to welding, allowing you to work a lot safer on your project. This also has the added benefit of not warping or melting the metals that you are trying to join together since the heat that you are applying is enough to melt the soldering substrate, but not the metal surfaces being joined. As such, you get to retain the original shape and size of your items regardless of how many times you make a mistake.

The solder also allows for the flow of electricity between connectors. There are no breaks that may adversely affect the full functionality of the circuitry. At least, when you join connectors on an electrical component, you’re guaranteed that it will work. The other good thing about this is that you can actually make multiple connections.

A soldering station also helps you organize your workstation. Rather than having several soldering tools to accomplish your task, you will have everything you need in one nifty platform that is also stable and sturdy enough.

Soldering Station Maintenance

Maintaining the integrity of your soldering iron station is crucial to ensuring its optimum functionality. One of the most important, albeit often overlooked aspects of soldering station maintenance, is the choice of solder. High quality solder should be used as this doesn’t contain impurities that can adversely affect the tip’s ability to transfer heat because of the accumulation of these impurities.

Occasionally cleaning the tips with a wet sponge also helps ensure proper functioning. Wiping it very frequently can also lead to failure, however. It should be remembered that the soldering iron tip is quite hot and the wet sponge usually cold. Heating the tip leads to its expansion while cooling it will contract it. Very frequent cleaning of the tip is like inducing frequent expansion and contraction of the metallic tip.

You should also avoid, as much as possible, exposing the tip of your soldering iron to flux. The reaction can be likened to that of oxidation which can damage the tip of your iron over time. Also, don’t ever make the mistake of using sandpaper or any other abrasive material to clean your iron.

soldering device

After every use, it is important to clean the tip with the wet sponge. Before turning your machine off, make sure to apply good quality solder throughout the entire surface of the tip and then wipe it off. This effectively re-tins your iron tip which serves as its protection against corrosion. Then you can turn off the machine.

There are instances when you need to use another size or shape of tip. Just make sure that, if you’re replacing the tip, it sits securely in the barrel of the soldering iron.

Types of Soldering Irons

We said that there are 4 types of soldering irons in the market today. Each one has its own uses so learning what each of these is for is crucial to determining the kind of soldering iron you need to buy.

  • Soldering pencil

These are very simple devices that come with a pencil-like handle with metal tips with which to transfer heat to the solder. These are inexpensive and are perfect for DIY projects. However, if your project requires precision temperature control, a soldering pencil should be the last thing you’ll use as it doesn’t come with temperature controls. You’ll most likely ruin your project if you do.

  • Soldering station

Like the products in this list of the best soldering station, you have a soldering pencil connected to a power station that comes with a variety of technical features. The power station comes integrated with temperature control modules as well as a number of safety features like auto-sleep and auto-shutoff mechanisms. This is perfect for a variety of projects since precision temperature control can be achieved.

  • Soldering rework or repair system

These are high-end platforms that feature not only a soldering station (pencil and power station), but also additional tools needed in the repair or rework of certain items. These can come with a hot air gun, thermo tweezers, and de-soldering gun. Since you’ve got a wide range of tools in one complete setup, these are naturally more expensive and are best reserved for manufacturing facilities and/or industries.

  • Soldering gun

This is a pistol-shaped soldering tool with a built-in transformer that will reduce AC power to a much lower voltage. A single-turn secondary winding further reduces the current to a much lower resistance that is then transmitted to the copper wire tip. A trigger-style switch activates the mechanism. This has the advantage of quick heating time. Sadly, there’s a chance that too much heat can be generated. As such this should not be used on very sensitive electronic components like circuit boards.

work soldering station

Using Your Soldering Iron for the First Time

One of the advantages of using soldering irons is that they’re relatively easy to use. It is important to think of your safety if this is your first time to use one. Safety glasses and protective gloves are a must. Working in a well-ventilated area is also important as the rosin fumes can be quite toxic when inhaled.

Assemble your soldering iron station beforehand. Plug your iron and turn the machine on. Adjust the iron’s temperature to the desired setting. Dampen the sponge with water, but not soaking wet. After about a minute or two, try touching the iron tip onto the damp sponge. If you see steam coming off, then you’re good to go. If not, your tip isn’t hot enough yet. You may need to wait a few more minutes. You can also try wetting the sponge some more especially if it has already dried out.

Once everything’s ready, wipe the iron tip on the sponge. Now get your solder and briefly touch it to both sides of the iron tip. This is called ‘tinning’ which effectively improves conductivity. It also allows for easier and faster soldering.

Don’t forget to clean the tip after every one or two connections by dipping it in the wet sponge, making sure that there is no solder that remains and then tinning it again for another round of soldering.

Best Soldering Station FAQ:

Q:  What is soldering?

A:  Soldering is the process of creating a bond or joining two items by melting a material known as solder. The solder is typically placed on a very hot object before this is applied to the joint that needs to be bonded together. The melted solder then cools and solidifies, forming a bond and creating the perfect connection.

Q:   Which is the suggested soldering temperature in lead-free processes?

A:  Professionals typically work with an entire range of temperatures when soldering. However, there is a growing body of knowledge suggesting that the optimum soldering temperature for lead-free processes is at 662oF or about 350oC.

Q:  Which are the advantages of soldering at lower temperature?

A: There are a number of advantages when working with lower temperatures compared to higher ones when soldering. First, there is a much lower risk of oxidation giving the iron tips durability while also improving the wettability and cleanability of the soldering iron tip. This also helps guarantee greater efficiency in heat transfers.

Second, it prevents the direct burning of the flux right on the tip. Instead, the flux is activated while soldering. This helps minimize, if not completely eliminate, one of the perennial problems of DIYers turning their tips into charcoal black. This also helps retain the tip’s wettability.

Third, it is much better and safer to work with lower temperatures especially when soldering sensitive electronics like PCBs and the like. Low-temperature soldering helps reduce the risk of excessive heat transfers so sensitive components don’t get easily damaged.

Lastly, the whole process of soldering allows for the optimization of quality since there is better control of the temperature. This helps minimize if not eliminate scraps and reworks.

Q:  Which is the suggested sleep temperature?

A:  Studies show that the optimum soldering temperature upon which the system can be placed on sleep mode is 220oC or 428oF. It is established that oxidation is kept at a bare minimum at this temperature level, keeping the integrity of the tips and allowing for more efficient heat transfer. The same temperature also allows for faster ramping of the working temperature so you can almost immediately resume work.

Q:  How do I calibrate my station?

A:  Advanced soldering stations already come with high-tech circuitry and microprocessors that they do not require any form of calibration. If your system doesn’t come with such microprocessors, you may check in your owner’s manual the specific instructions on how to recalibrate your soldering iron station.

Our Top Pick for Best Soldering Iron

The Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station narrowly edged the other contenders in our list of the best soldering station. It comes with excellent temperature control, which allows for more precise management of heat transfer through its tips. It also features a fantastic thermal recovery heater output, which is, on average, around 30 percent higher than its competitors’. The stable and sturdy platform plus the unique arrangement of the different soldering tools like the station’s power supply, iron, iron holder, sponge, and waterless cleaner all make the Hakko an ideal piece to have on one’s workstation. Moreover, it is reasonably and affordably priced.

Picking the best soldering station can be tricky as there are quite a number of variables to think about. The good news is that you can always use the guidelines we’ve shared to help you zero-in on the system that is just right for your needs.

Sources:

  1. Temperature Controlled Soldering Stations – Test ElectronicForU
  2. What to Consider when Buying a Soldering Iron Kit – DoItYourself
  3. How to Use a Soldering Iron: A Beginner’s Guide – How-to-Geek