While a screwdriver, drill and hammer may suffice when it comes to performing small DIY repairs, fixing electronics often requires a more specialized piece of kit. We are talking about soldering irons.
If you’re unfamiliar with soldering irons, they are a specialized piece of kit that usually resembles a chunky pen and heats to high temperatures at the tip. This high-temperature point can be used to melt solder (a metal alloy found in circuit boards) to join/attach/repair, depending on the task at hand. This process gives soldering its name.
Whether it’s fixing computer hardware, a TV, a guitar or any basic electronic accessories, soldering irons are actually surprisingly versatile. They can even be used for other, more decorative pursuits, like jewelry welding and wood etching through burning.
To be clear, if you do have a broken TV, we’re not suggesting you open it up and start soldering away. But, for beginners interested in taking up the hobby, there’s no reason you shouldn’t invest in the basics and start on your path to understanding and repairing more complex electronic items, or simply crafting your own metal jewelry.
If you are looking to pick up your own soldering iron, we’d suggest being aware of a few criteria in order to ensure you have the right tool for the job. In general, choose a soldering iron that has:
Over 30 Watts of Power – While it’s easy to assume the wattage of a device dictates the maximum temperature, it actually tells you more about how quickly your device will warm up when turned on or after being used to melt solder. In low-wattage devices, this delay can be tedious and problem-causing, which is why we suggest only selecting devices above 30 watts.
Temperature Control – Although not essential, having the ability to control the exact temperature you’re working at can be handy. Examples include heat-sensitive and lead-free work.
Ergonomic Design – The level of comfort you wish to enjoy when soldering will, for the most part, come down to how long you intend to use your soldering iron for. Professionals and serious hobbyists will want to look for irons with padded handles and ergonomic designs which remain comfortable over long periods of use.
Changeable Tips – Over time, the tip on your iron will wear down or oxidize. Being able to change it out or replace it, depending on the job you are performing, prolongs your iron’s life and provides a more comfortable experience for you.
Portability – This will again depend on your intended soldering iron use, but as these tools do come in different styles, it’s worth thinking about your personal needs. Some devices are suited to being kept on a work surface, while others, like cordless, butane-powered devices, can be used remotely and don’t require electricity to function.
Whether you’re an experienced solderer or you’re looking to step into the hobby, below you’ll find eight of the best soldering irons available. We’ve included desk stations, full kits and cordless options, too.
1. Anbes Soldering Iron Kit
The Anbes Soldering Iron Kit ticks all the boxes. The soldering iron is designed for fast heat dissipation and efficiency, offers 60 watts of power, is adjustable between 200 and 450 degrees Celsius and sports an easy on/off switch built into the cable for convenience. Meanwhile, the accompanying kit includes a plethora of handy items, such as a dual-spring holder for your iron, line strippers, two versatile wires, a pair of tweezers and five interchangeable tips. Plus, you’ll find a made-for-purpose case which makes storing and transporting this kit simple.
2. Vastar Soldering Iron Kit
At under $15, the Vastar Soldering Iron Kit is the ideal choice for beginners looking to learn the skill of soldering or anyone on a tight budget. This comprehensive kit features a 60-watt soldering device along with five soldering tips, a desk stand and a desoldering pump. The quick-heating iron allows for temperature adjustment through the built-in knob, while the accompanying anti-static tweezers allow for precise picking up and placing of smaller components.
3. HANDSKIT Soldering Iron Kit
If you’re going to be changing soldering locations on a regular basis, you’re going to want a kit capable of keeping up. The HANDSKIT Soldering Iron Kit comes with all your soldering essentials as well as a smart PU carrying bag, which has a place for storing each individual piece. Additional components include a collapsible iron stand, a desoldering pump, tweezers, wire and rosin. The 60-watt soldering iron allows for temperature adjustments between 200 and 450 degrees Celsius, while its anti-skid handle and heat-resistant thread keep your hand safe and comfortable during use.
4. LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit
The LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit is a quality option if you’re looking for a desk soldering station. The smart design ensures everything you’ll need during use is within arm’s reach, including the iron holster, solder wire reel, two built-in helping hands and the temperature adjuster. You’ll also be able to choose between a Celsius and Fahrenheit digital temperature display and enjoy the station’s sleep mode, which prolongs its life, saves energy and offers a more eco-friendly experience by switching the iron off when it hasn’t been used for a prolonged period. Additionally, this 60-watt device comes with five interchangeable tips.
5. X-Tronic Digital Display Soldering Iron Station
BEST DESK STATION
For unbeatable clarity and convenience as you work, choose the X-Tronic #3020-XTS Digital Display Soldering Iron Station. This desk station boasts a smart, compact design that keeps all the essential elements close by and includes a clear digital display, so you can always see the working temperature. The iron takes under 30 seconds to heat up and allows for temperature adjustments between 392 and 896 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, you’ll be able to choose between a standard kit that includes one solder tip and three other setups which come with more tips and a varying number of soldering accessories.
6. Weller Soldering Station
HIGH TEMP PICK
In addition to being capable of reaching 900 degrees Fahrenheit, the Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station keeps things simple. The station is made up of a guard iron holder, a sponge tip cleaning pad, an indicator light, variable power control and an iron. This clean configuration is ideal for users who detest desktop clutter and lets you focus on achieving precision outcomes. The adjustable dial lets you choose between five and 40-watt power settings. Additionally, the iron sports a cushioned foam grip for added comfort during extended use and gives you the ability to switch out different iron tips, depending on your needs.
7. Weller Professional Cordless Soldering Iron Kit
If you’re going to be working in remote areas without access to electricity, the Weller P2KC Professional Cordless Soldering Iron Kit could be the right choice for you. This butane-powered soldering iron allows you to work remotely for 60 minutes from every complete fill. The refilling method is also quick and easy. You’ll be at ready-to-melt-solder temperatures in as little as 40 seconds after igniting your device using the push-button mechanism. In addition, the soldering iron is adjustable between 25 and 75 watts and comes supplied with a handy carrying case for added convenience and portability.
8. Weller Digital Soldering Station
The Weller WE1010NA Digital Soldering Station is made for anyone serious about their soldering, whether that’s in a personal interest or professional capacity. It’s made up of a single We1 station, a soldering iron and a safety rest with an accompanying sponge. It also comes loaded with advanced technology in the form of a standby mode, password protection and an auto setback, which aids energy conservation. You’ll find that the easy-to-read LCD screen and buttons make setting your temperature precise and easy. Furthermore, if you want more included in your kit, there are different setups to choose from, which feature additional items, like a spool of lead-free wire, soldering tips and a pair of general-purpose shear cutters.