How to Choose the Soldering Irons

Whether you are a novice or a pro, a soldering iron is a must-have.

How to Choose the Best Soldering Irons

As you try to narrow down the possibilities, this section lists down some of the most important considerations.

Wattage

This is a crucial factor as it is indicative of the performance of the soldering iron. If you are a beginner, you can choose a low-wattage model, especially if you will use it only for small jobs. On the other hand, if you are a pro, then we recommend choosing the highest wattage possible, which is ideal even for the most demanding jobs.

Most of the models available will have anywhere from 20 to 50 watts. A common misconception, especially amongst newbies, is the belief that wattage is equal to power. That is not necessarily the case. Instead, a higher wattage means that the soldering iron will reach the required temperature quicker. If the wattage is too low, you will wait too long, which can affect precision and outcomes.

Temperature Range

Heat is one of the most important properties in a soldering iron, so make sure to consider the temperature range as you decide which to choose. It must reach a temperature high enough to melt the solder. Most of the high-quality models will have a maximum temperature of up to 896 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best Soldering Irons in 2021
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Temperature Control

Aside from the temperature control, you should also look at how the temperature is changed. Some will have a bar that you have to push or pull. Others will have a knob-style dial that you have to rotate. More advanced models will come with a digital display, making it easy to monitor the current temperature of the soldering iron.

Comfort

It is annoying to work when you have an uncomfortable soldering iron. It must be lightweight and should come with an ergonomic grip. Holding the soldering iron must be easy, which means that it should not easily slip off your hand. We also love ones with a well-balanced design, which will make it easy to hold and control, even for an extended period.

Portability

This is especially important for the pros who want to work anytime and anywhere. A good soldering iron is one that is compact and lightweight without compromising its performance. It must easily fit in your toolbox.

Tip Compatibility

If you are looking for versatility, then you should choose a soldering iron that is compatible with different tips. Chisels, bevels, and conical tips are some of the most common tips that must be compatible with a soldering iron.

Electronic repair requires the right tools. Among others, one of the most important is a soldering iron. It fuses conductive elements, such as wires. This hand-held device heats a fusible metal alloy, melts, and bonds.

They are affordable and user-friendly, so anyone can have them. However, with too many options for the best soldering irons, making the right choice isn’t a straightforward task. Read this short buying guide and learn from our recommendations.

1. Hakko FX601-02

Best Overall

From its fully-adjustable temperature to the advanced ceramic heater, this soldering iron packs plenty of remarkable features, making it our favorite.

Our favorite soldering iron is geared towards hobbyists instead of professionals. While it caters to beginners, it does not mean that quality is inferior. From its construction to technical features, we are sure that this is one product most of you will love.

Fully-Adjustable

From decorative projects to electronic repair, this product is designed to handle multiple applications. It comes with a fully-adjustable temperature, so you can easily set the heat depending on what a specific job requires. You can set it from 464 to 1,004 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly equal to 240 to 540 degrees Celsius. There is also a built-in sensor, which will ensure consistent temperature throughout its use.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Simple Adjustment Dial

You can easily change the temperature as desired through the adjustment dial. It is strategically positioned in such a way that you can quickly access the knob if you need to change the temperature. More so, it does not get on the way of your hand, which means that you can hold the tool properly as you solder. We also love how there are clear temperature markings, making it easy to set the desired heat level.

Lightweight Body

If you have used a soldering iron before, you will know how comfortable it is to hold the tool for a long time. With this model, however, that will never be the case. We love how lightweight it is. You can hold it for extended periods without any problem. This is unlike other heavier soldering irons that can instantly result in hand fatigue.

High-quality Ceramic Heater

The overall construction of this model makes it stand out in a sea of competitors. It has an efficient ceramic heater, which maintains the right temperature throughout its use. This will make it more precise across a variety of applications. We also love how the ceramic heater is built to withstand the test of time.

Requires Less Energy

Compared to the previous versions of the soldering iron and many of its competitors, it uses less energy. However, this does not mean that it is less efficient and effective. It heats up five times quicker compared to its predecessor. It is powerful without wasting energy.

2. Weller W100PG

Best for Customer Satisfaction

The manufacturer of this portable soldering iron with a stainless steel heater promises an unconditional refund if you are unhappy with its performance.

Whether you are a DIY or professional, this is a user-friendly and ergonomic option for a soldering iron. The manufacturer offers a guarantee of satisfaction, which is one way by which they are showing confidence that you will be happy with their product.

Packaged with Three Standard Tips

From basic to advanced soldering jobs, this product has your needs covered. It comes with three standard tips, which makes it versatile enough to handle different user requirements. The tips are the ones that control the temperature. You can choose from three tips based on your required temperature – 600-, 700-, and 800-degrees Fahrenheit. It is also worth noting that it has closed-loop heating, which was exclusively developed by Weller. The latter makes sure that the tip maintains the right temperature depending on the heat level you have earlier set.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Does not Require a Base Station

Similar to the other products that are included in this guide, there is no need for a base station. This soldering iron is designed with a portable line voltage. The iron is directly connected to a wire, which is then plugged. This makes it more portable and compact compared to those that require a charging station.

Includes a Fume Extraction Adapter Kit

If you have tried soldering, then you will know that fumes can be a problem. Some may even panic at the mere sight of smoke coming out of the gun. Not to mention, it is also unpleasant. You might not be able to concentrate and it can affect your vision. Good thing, this product comes with a convenient fume extraction adapter, which will make your work a lot easier.

Comes with a Guarantee of Satisfaction

Unhappy with how this soldering iron works? The good news is that your money does not have to go to waste. Let the manufacturer know and they will issue an unconditional refund. Judging from the features and reviews of this product, it seems like you will not have any reason to return it.

3. Weller SP80NUS 80-Watts LED Soldering Iron

Best for Professionals

A great choice for the pros, it has a power of 80 watts, reaches a maximum temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and comes with a high-temperature LED.

For pros who are looking for a soldering iron with advanced features, it is hard to go wrong with this product. It is built even for demanding jobs. The best thing is that while it is ideal for those with experience, it is user-friendly. Plus, it is one of the most affordable soldering irons you will find in this list.

Latest LED Technology

One thing that sets this apart from many of its competitors is the latest LED technology. Even if you are in a poorly lit environment, you will not have a problem ensuring accuracy in your work.  It has three LEDs, which means that you can see the area where you are working on. It delivers light to the application so that you can work easily.

Soft-Grip Handle

Since this model is made with the needs of professional users in mind, you can be confident that your comfort is never compromised. The soft grip will make it easy to hold, even if you have to work for a long time. I also like how it has ribbed rubber as the main material. This creates an excellent traction so I can hold the soldering iron without any problem. It is unlike others that easily slip.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Maximum Tip Control

More than being comfortable to use, this product is also praised by many professionals because of the triangular tip. This will provide a wide point of contact, so you can hold the soldering iron properly. This will make the tip easier to control. Meanwhile, it is complemented with a round handle, which is quick to rotate.

Industry-Leading Seven-Year Warranty

For your peace of mind, it is also good to know that the manufacturer is offering a seven-year warranty. This is one of the longest in the market. It is enough compelling reason to choose it over others. Within the warranty coverage, you can expect reliable support from the manufacturer, such as when there is a need to repair.

4. Weller WP35 35-Watt 

Best for Comfort

Designed even for demanding applications, this soldering iron has a plug-in heating element, cushioned handle, and exceptional heating.

Seasoned DIYers will surely know Weller as one of the best brands of soldering irons. This model is one of their best offerings to date, which is known for its comfort. Even after using it for a long time, fatigue is the least of your worries. The manufacturer claims that it is built to handle even the most demanding tasks.

Designed with Comfort in Mind

As mentioned earlier, this is a good choice if you are concerned about your comfort. It is compact, lightweight, and well-balanced, so handling the soldering iron is effortless. We also like the cushioned grip and knurled collar, which will allow you to hold the tool properly. Plus, even if the soldering iron reaches the highest possible temperature, we love how it does not get extremely hot.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Delivers Heat Up to 850 Degrees Fahrenheit

This soldering iron comes with 35 watts of power. This is far from being the highest of all the products in this list, but that does not mean that it has dismal performance. Wattage measures how quickly it reaches a desired temperature and not how hot it becomes. This model can reach up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for different jobs.

Durable Double-Coated Tips

The durability of this product is one thing that has captivated our attention. Among others, one reason for this is the double-coated tips with iron plating. Even after years of use, we can say that it will remain solid. This is unlike its cheaper competitors that break down easily, especially when subjected to high heat.

Proudly Made in Germany

We have been looking for soldering irons for quite a time, and many of those we saw are made in China. There are lots of models from brands unheard of. Luckily, this model is different. It is Made in Germany, which is indicative of reliability and innovation. Not to mention, the manufacturer is backed with many years of solid experience, so I am confident that the quality of this product will be second to none.

5. Hakko FX600

Best for Selectable Tips

The versatility of this soldering iron is one of its best assets since it is compatible with 30 different tip types to suit a specific application.

Looking for a soldering iron suitable for a variety of applications? This is another product that should be on your list. It has an adjustable temperature range and selectable tips, so all you need is one tool for completing a wide array of jobs.

Fits Over 30 Selectable Tips

The versatility of this product is one reason why it is well-loved. This is perfect for DIY enthusiasts and professionals. You can choose from over 30 types of selectable tips, allowing you to change the latter depending on what is most suitable for a specific task. Regardless of the soldering that needs to be done, you can fit this tool with the required tip.

Superior Heat Conductivity

This is also one of the reasons why you can expect an incredible performance from this product. The internal structure has been redesigned, which results in better heat conductivity. It also means that it will heat up quicker, and this is important in keeping your soldering job precise. While it has notable heat recovery, it has efficient power consumption.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Easy to Adjust Temperature

Not all soldering jobs are the same. In many instances, you will need to adjust the temperature so that it is suitable for a specific task. That said, we love how this model has a strategically positioned dial. All that you need to do is to rotate and select the desired temperature. You can choose from 200 to 500 degrees Celsius. There are clear temperature markings.

Lightweight and Portable

Similar to the other products that are mentioned in this guide, we also love how portable it is. It will not be a significant addition in terms of space consumption in your toolbox. Because of its lightweight body, you can bring it almost anywhere you are working. Not to mention, it is easy and comfortable to hold.

6. Weller SP40NUS 

Best for People on a Budget

This affordable soldering iron has LEDs for illumination and an ergonomic design, making sure of your highest level of comfort.

Many of the impressive soldering irons are expensive. This is different because it is affordable. It is from one of the most trusted brands in the global market and it packs plenty of admirable features. Despite all of these, it is also an economical model, which makes it perfect for beginners.

A Great Entry-Level Soldering Iron

If you are buying a soldering iron for the first time, then you have a good reason to pick this product. More than its price, it also has a straightforward operation. You do not have to be intimidated with its use. It is designed with simplicity in mind, so even beginners can make the most out of this handy tool.

Three LEDs for Illumination

Similar to the Weller soldering iron that we have earlier talked about in this guide, this model also comes with three LEDs. They provide supplementary lighting in your workplace. It directs the light on the area of your work, which will also help improve accuracy. This will make it easier to ensure exceptional outcomes in your job.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Triangular Front Housing

This model has plenty of design features that guarantee ease of use. Among others, one of our favorites is the triangular front housing. This is where the LEDs are positioned. Additionally, it provides a convenient area where you can hold the soldering iron, preventing your fingers from slipping when working.

Comfortable Round and Soft Grip

Even if it is an economical soldering iron, you can be confident that your comfort is not compromised in anyway. We love the round and soft grip, making it easy to hold. Even after a long time, it won’t easily result in fatigue. The round handle is also logical since it makes it easy to rotate the soldering iron.

7. Weller WPS18MP

Best or Demanding Jobs

Even for advanced applications, you will not go wrong with this soldering iron, which has a LED light, modular plug, and maximum temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wrapping up our list is another notable option from one of the most trusted brands in the market. This is ideal even for demanding applications. What I love the most is that even if it is for tough jobs, it is easy to use.

Built-in Work Light

One of the best things about this product is that it comes with a built-in LED. This way, you will have an illuminated work area, making it easy to work with precision. Without a light on the soldering iron, you can be prone to making more mistakes. The bright white light will make your work a lot easier.

Heats Up in an Instant

You don’t need to wait a long time before the unit heats up and ready to be used. With the breakthrough performance of this product, it heats up within 35 seconds. This is also one of the reasons why we are recommending this even for demanding tasks. Plus, it has a patented design that improves heat recovery for better precision. This 18-watt tool has a performance comparable to a 60-watt iron.


Best Soldering Irons in 2021

Convenient Indicator Light

Another practical feature that we love is the indicator light, which is in an easily visible position. With the latter, you will not be left guessing if the soldering iron is ready to use or if you should wait longer. After turning it on, the light starts red. Meanwhile, once the iron is hot enough to be used, the light turns green.

Co-Molded Grip for Comfort

Similar to the other products in this list, it also comes with an ergonomic handle. The molded design makes it easy to hold, even for a long time. It has a textured grip, so your hand will not slip, which will also help in making your work more precise. Plus, it comes with a self-standing feature which makes it easy to rest the tool.

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