11 Best Soldering Irons (Review) In 2021
Ever since he was a child, Jason has loved repairing, building and creating things. Growing up, he spent all his free time carving intricate woodcraft pieces that soon caught the eye of neighbours and friends. Before he knew it, Jason turned his hobby into a job, earning an income from being his hometowns handyman. Many years have passed since then but Jason’s enthusiasm for woodwork remains the same. He can usually be found in his workshop, crafting furniture or restoring old treasures.
- The Best Soldering Iron
- 1. Weller 40-Watt Soldering Station
- 2. Hakko Digital Soldering Station
- 3. GLE2016 Electric Soldering Iron Kit
- 4. Weller Digital Soldering Station
- 5. LEXIVON Butane Soldering Iron Multi-Purpose Kit
- 6. LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit
- 7. Toolour Soldering Iron Gun Kit
- 8. LDK Soldering Iron Kit
- 9. IMAGE Welding Soldering Iron
- 10. Hakko Adjustable Temperature Controlled Soldering Iron
- 11. Milwaukee M12 Soldering Iron
Sometimes a super glue just won't cut it, in that case, a good soldering iron is a must-have addition to the toolbox of any professional tradesperson or hobbyist. However, many people don’t have much experience with a soldering iron, and if they have, it’s likely that they’ve only used them at school to attach components to circuit boards. The potential of a soldering iron stretches far further than this, though, and anyone with even a mild interest in electronics, including homemade computers, or any other arts and crafts that require careful precision at high temperatures can find plenty of reliable uses for their soldering iron.
Modern soldering irons are designed to be as user friendly as possible, and even high-quality soldering equipment makes it easy for beginners to jump right in. If you’re more experienced in using a soldering iron, there are also a variety of upgraded models packed with an array of essential features to improve your soldering adventures.
Today, we’ve collected a broad spectrum of soldering irons for everybody. So, while it can be a little daunting to pick which soldering iron kit is best for you, we’ve made things a little easier. From small and speedy repairs around the house to more demanding projects that demand the most exceptional products, here are the best soldering irons for both casual and professional use.
The Best Soldering Iron
Produces up to 900° F
Variable power control dial with 5 to 40 watts
Cushioned foam grip
Built-in soldering holder
Cleaning sponge to remove residue
Anyone who knows anything about soldering irons will understand why we’;ve selected the Weller 40-Watt Soldering Station as our best choice. It has a vast temperature range, producing a maximum of 900° F to deliver professional results for a range of demands. The variable power control ranges from 5 to 40 watts, giving you plenty of flexibility, while the cushioned foam grip adds a touch of comfort to the proceeding. The built-in soldering iron stand keeps everything safe and in place, and there’s also a sponge to clean residue during work. It takes a little longer to heat than other options, and we wish there was a digital display for the temperature, but the quality otherwise speaks for itself.
ST Solder tip compatible
Durable pencil iron
Easy to adjust power controls
Takes a while to heat
No temperature display
Station power supply
Digital LED screen
Reaches 350°F in 20 seconds
392°F – 896°F temperature range
The Hakko Digital Soldering Station is our premium pick for several reasons. The soldering station power supply ensures consistent operation, while the digital LED screen and temperature adjustment control make it a highly flexible option for a range of soldering projects. The waterless cleaner is one of the best around, and it also heats to 350°F in just 20 seconds, ensuring some of the most reliable performance you’ll stumble across. It loses some comfort points as the tip is a little bulky, so you must focus more, and buy extra tips, too.
Compact and portable
Excellent heat conductivity
Comfortable to hold
Speedy heating time
Tip is slightly bulky
Extra tips not included
Range of color options
Quality stainless steel and iron plate construction
60-watt heated core
Non-slip soft rubber handle
5 different tips included
The GLE2016 Electric Soldering Iron Kit offers a range of color options that you can match to your workshop, but there’s much to it than a fancy style. The quality stainless steel and iron plate construction ensures durability, and its 60-watt heated core ensures stable temperature retention for a range of project demands. It’s comfortable thanks to its non-slip rubber handle, and with five different tips, you can work on a range of materials. However, it feels a little cheap compared to other options, so while it’s ideal for beginners, it may not be suitable for professionals.
Suitable for a range of soldering jobs
Safe to use
Plug and Play operation
May feel a little too cheap for professional demands
Adjustable temperature is a little temperamental
5-piece solder kit
Digital LCD screen with temperature reading
High-performance 70W solder
Heat-resistant silicone cable
Stable temperature consistency
Standby-mode and Automatic set-back
The attractive and highly functional Weller Digital Soldering Station is a five-piece kit that includes everything you need to complete large and small projects. This includes its digital display (although there’s no backlight) and temperature reading, as well as high-performance 70-watt power for stable temperature. It’s safe and durable, too, and the heat-resistant silicone cable contributes to this. We also think the standby mode and automatic set back options are some of the best around, and with password protection, your settings are safe and sound for as long as you need them, while the temperature lock protects the components.
Safe to use and handle
Password protection preserve preferences
Temperature lock to protect components
Safety rest sponge
Display is not backlit
Heavy for its size
Operates up to 1100° F when soldering
100% metal and refillable fuel tank
Compact protect carry and storage case
6 tips included
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose kit that does a little more than merely soldering, the LEXIVON Butane Soldering Iron Multi-Purpose Kit is the perfect option. This 13-piece set comes with a butane-based soldering iron that is one of the best and most impressive around, making it perfect for work and play, but only if you promise to use it safely. It can reach up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit when soldering, demonstrating plenty of power, and its long-lasting construction, complete with a compact and carry case ensures protection. However, while sleek, stylish, and useful, there is no soldering iron station included, but you still get a cleaning sponge plus interchangeable tips.
Sponge for easy cleanup
Solder and wrenches included
Quick and easy to use
No solder holder
Foam cutouts are convenient for portability but inconvenient for simple storage
194℉-896℉ Adjustable Temperature range
5 extra solder tips included
Protective cord shield
Temperature unit conversion
Boasting a 194℉-896℉ temperature range and much more, there’s a lot to love about the LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit. You’ve also got an LED display and a straightforward control knob, while the crocodile clip accessory means simple, hands-free operation that will make all your projects infinitely more straightforward. There is also temperature conversion for those who prefer the Metric system, further encouraging the idea that this is suitable for all levels. Extra tips are included, too, but there isn’t a great range of these, you’ll need more, anyway.
Reusable ceramic core
Ergonomic solder handle
60-watt soldering station
Suitable for all levels
Not a great range of extra tips
Clip arms are too weak for heavy-duty soldering
Adjustable temperature between 500-896ºF
Desoldering pump solder sucker
Detachable wire scaffold
High-quality ABS construction
Premium inner-heated ceramic heating element technology
The Toolour Soldering Iron Gun Kit is a little different from other options because of the shape. Rather than the pen-style we see with other soldering station and iron kits, this is an ergonomic model that allows for the best control and precision with one-handed soldering, making it an ideal choice for the pros. You’ll also get a desoldering pump solder sucker included so you can easily clean up any mistakes, with nobody else being any wiser. Other features include high-quality ABS construction and premium inner-heated technology, but with a range of 500-896ºF, it may be too hot for some applications.
Solder wire roll included
Premium solder tips
2 – 4 minute heating time
May be too hot for some applications
A little too lightweight
Plug and Play design
5 iron soldering tips included
Solder wire tube included
2 minute heating time
Novices looking for a dependable budget pick should seriously consider the quality of the LDK Soldering Iron Kit. It comes with the 60-watt operation and temperature adjustment (although this feels a little cheap), and a handy plug and play design that helps you get started immediately, although this also means it’s one of the few soldering irons without an iron stand or station. Despite this, there are five tips included with wire, while the two-minute heat up time ensures excellent efficiency. We just wish the cleaning sponge was a little better.
Easy to use
Ideal for basic DIY fixes
400°F max temperature
Excellent choice for beginners
Temperature control feels a little cheap
Sponge could use some improvement
Digital temperature read-out
180℃/356℉ to 480℃/896℉ temperature control
Fast heat-up time
60W operating power
5 replaceable soldering bits included
Boasting an array of the best features that include a broad temperature spectrum and fast heat-up time, the IMAGE Welding Soldering Iron is a compact and convenient option for beginners. It includes a digital temperature readout on the soldering pen and a range of useful soldering tips, while the portable stand means you can keep the tip (and your surfaces) safe from harm. It’s non-rusting, ensuring durability, while the ceramic core heating element makes it stand out as one of the best options for the price. The buttons are in an awkward place, though, so this could cause accidental adjustment, so be careful to ensure consistent performance and stability.
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Solder wire hanger
Spring solder iron holder
Ceramic core heating element
Buttons on the handle may cause accidental adjustment
Feels low quality compared to other options
Reliable ceramic heating element
Chisel head style
Lightweight and ergonomic handpiece
Corded power design
Advanced electronic control
If you’re looking for the best value, even without soldering stations, the Hakko Adjustable Temperature Controlled Soldering Iron is the first place you should look. It uses a reliable heating element and boasts a lightweight, ergonomic handpiece ideal for long, laborious jobs where focus and precision are vital. The advanced electronic control provides exceptional stability, while the corded power design delivers consistency. However, if you need to solder circuit boards, this may not be the best option, but for larger jobs that demand chisel tips, this is a perfect choice.
Ideal for larger jobs
Uses T19 tips
Easy to use and handle
Not suitable for soldering circuit boards
Cord is a little too stiff
Heats up in 18 seconds
Maintains optimal temperature during use
Ready-to-use and safe to store
3-stop pivoting head
Tool-free tip change
Battery-powered with 40 minute run time
The Milwaukee M12 Soldering Iron is another unique choice as it’s the only option we’ve selected that doesn’t rely on corded power. Instead, it uses a battery pack that provides convenience and portability, even if the battery might add a little more weight compared to corded models. Still, there’s a lot to love, including fast heat times and tool-free tip changing for efficiency. The three-stop pivoting head is also unique, giving you optimal control and helps you reach trickier places while maintaining confidence. For confined spaces, it’s an excellent choice, and although it relies solely on batteries, you still get a 40-minute run-time, which gives you plenty of time to finish quick jobs.
Easily adaptable for confined spaces
Heat indicator with Redlink Intelligence
Convenient power light
Tool only package
Battery makes the tool more difficult to handle compared to wired options
Features To Consider With Soldering Irons
Soldering iron, same as angle grinder, is a tool that you won't use so frequently, but when you do use it you need to make sure you find the ideal setup for your needs. Whether you're a novice hobbyist or a professional with a wealth of experience, we've collected a range of features you need to look for when considering which soldering irons are best for you.
The ideal wattage for a high-quality soldering iron is between 20 and 50 watts. Many people mistake this for the overall power, but this is not the case. Instead, the wattage determines how quickly the iron will reach the optimal temperature and how quickly it will return to this temperature after soldering a piece of wire.
This efficiency is vital for maintaining consistent performance during your soldering projects. If the wattage is not sufficient, you risk taking too long, and your projects may be ruined, even if you are precise when soldering.
By finding a soldering iron with a consistent and reliable wattage, you can expect a more stable and dependable temperature. For novices, this makes it easier to get to grips with using your soldering iron. For professionals, it helps you maintain the exceptional quality you are used to. No matter who you are, it makes soldering less frustrating and more straightforward.
Soldering Iron Type
There are several soldering iron types and features you will encounter, and the one you choose will all depend on your projects. The most common irons include a product that is (almost lazily) referred to as a Simple Iron. This soldering iron operates between 15 and 35 watts, but there is no opportunity to adjust the temperature. They are best for items with high thermal capacities, but the bigger the item, the more the temperature will reduce.
A cordless soldering iron is another product you may encounter. These come with the convenience of not being restricted by the cable, which could get in the way too often. They run off batteries, which means you'll need to keep them charged, and this battery can also make the unit slightly heavier compared to corded models.
Some soldering irons use a temperature control knob or buttons that enable you to raise or lower the temperature as you need. You will find both complex and simple adjustable soldering irons. High-quality and advanced models will automatically stabilize the temperature, whereas simple ones will suffer the same issues as their range-less counterparts. These types are ideal for professionals, although beginners could get a lot of use from the temperature dial to save them from investing in an upgrade later on.
Soldering iron with a broad temperature range gives you more control over the projects you can choose and also guarantees better results, as you will maintain and stabilize the right temperature more comfortably. However, you need to make sure your soldering iron reaches temperatures that will melt solder properly.
High-quality soldering irons will boast a range of 392°-896° F (200°-480°C), and you can expect to find this on any high-quality soldering iron. Some products won't include temperature adjustability, but those that do include a control knob or a digital display on the iron or the soldering station with buttons that you can press or twist to raise or lower the temperature to suit your needs.
Soldering irons with broad tip compatibility features are the most appealing products as it gives you greater variety when approaching different projects. The most common tip types (also known as bits) include bevels, chisels, and conical tips. Each tip brings benefits. For example, the conical tips are best for working on electronics, whereas chisel tips are excellent for sheet metal. Check out our buying guides for driver bits and drill bits in case you are a DIY fanatic.
Many products will come with extra tips included in the packaging, but you can also buy tips independently if you choose. Soldering irons with more tips will generally be more expensive outright, but they could save you time and money.
Modern and high quality soldering iron tips might also have heaters and sensors that will regulate the tip and soldering wire temperature more efficiently and enable better control. These are TS100 and T12.
Comfort is always a vital element of any product you buy, and it's no different when looking for the best soldering iron. The comfort will depend on several factors, including the size, weight, and shape of the handle., among other factors. For smaller projects, you may not notice how comfortable your soldering kit is. However, for more intense projects, this can be the difference between success and sad, sorry failure.
An iron that is too heavy will cause hand or wrist strain. This won't just be uncomfortable, but can also impact the precision and quality of the work. This will also affect your focus, which puts you at more significant risk of making a mistake and burning yourself (or someone else) with the iron.
For corded models, you might also find it too awkward to position your arm in the correct place as the cord is blocking you. This puts unnecessary strain on your hand and could also affect visibility.
Portability may not seem too high on your list of priorities when deciding which soldering stations to buy, but if you're a professional who needs to make repairs all over or even a hobbyist who loves using their soldering iron wherever they are, it is more important than you expect.
A portable soldering iron means the unit is more compact, allowing it to fit comfortably into your toolbox or tool bag, while some come with a carrying case to protect the parts. It may also be ideal for minor jobs, as you can get things done quickly and efficiently, which is useful for small but vital repairs. However, this also means you may struggle with bigger demands if required, as you won't have your full-sized soldering iron plus stand with you.
If your soldering iron is too small, it may not come with all the bells and whistles you need, also, and this could negatively impact your jobs when on the road.
Soldering Iron FAQ
Q: How hot does a soldering iron get?
Different soldering irons have a range of maximum temperatures. This will depend on the brand, purpose, and quality of the soldering pen or soldering tool. The top temperature from the different soldering iron we have selected is over 1000-degrees Fahrenheit, although not all soldering irons will reach this temperature, with several maxing-out at 480 degrees, whereas others have even lower maximum temperatures. Some models may not have adjustable temperatures, but you can still expect these to reach a suitable heat to ensure success.
You might assume that you need to invest in the soldering kit that can achieve the highest temperature. This is not the case, though, so don't buy the hottest product just because the allure of high temperatures is difficult to resist.
Those familiar with using a soldering iron likely already know the right temperature for soldering. If you don't, it's useful to know before you use your soldering iron. Typical solder wire melts at 374-degree Fahrenheit (190C). You will need to get the iron temperature higher than this if you want a successful and straightforward solder.
The solder you choose will depend on the efficiency and build quality. For more efficient soldering irons, with a fast heat-up time and better tip, a solder with a maximum temperature of 480 degrees is ideal. Less efficient models may demand more, though, although most soldering kits worth having will emit up to 480 degrees.
You will not require such temperatures for the entire project, either. This is why soldering irons with a broad temperature range can be highly beneficial as you can adapt the temperature to suit the demands of the project, ensuring better control, accuracy, and precision and minimizing the risk of damaging what you are working on, whether this is a circuit board or homemade jewelry.
Q: How to use a soldering iron?
You may have used a soldering iron before, but this could have been years ago when you were at school. Because of this, it's important to refresh your memory on how to use a soldering iron well and use it safely. Re-learning how to use a soldering kit will eliminate the risk of injuries and help you finish your projects neatly and efficiently.
If you've never used a soldering iron before, this is going to benefit you, too. While it can be slightly intimidating to work with such extreme temperatures, especially considering how complicated soldering can look from the outside, it is relatively straightforward as long as you exercise patience and concentration when using the soldering iron. Make sure to get some wire cutters and strippers to cut your wire to length and prepare it for soldering. You may also need duct tape to insulate bare wires or hold some components in place while soldering.
Before doing anything else, you must first prep the tip through a process known as tinning. The reason for this is to increase the heat transfer. This process involves four simple steps:
- Ensure the tip is fastened securely to the soldering iron or soldering gun.
- Switch on the soldering iron and allow it to heat up. For irons with a temperature control knob, this should be as high as possible.
- Wipe the tip on the damp sponge in the soldering iron station
- Touch the solder wire to the tip and allow the wire to melt and flow evenly, covering the tip.
When you have tinned the soldering iron, you can start soldering. While there are slight differences depending on what you are doing, the basic idea remains the same.
You need to hold the component to the surface and then apply the liquid solder, gently transferring it from the tip to the surface. When there is enough (but not too much) solder in place, remove the tip and allow it to dry.
This requires plenty of accuracy, as too much solder could run towards other parts of the surface, which can impact the quality and also looks messy. At the very most, your final solder should look like a drop on the surface. Repeat this step as often as you need until finished.
Aside from applying solder, you might also need to desolder items. While this might seem even more complicated than regular soldering, the process is rather straightforward, and solder is something you can remove easily if you need to, such as making circuitry repairs, or after making a mistake during your project.
This process requires a desoldering braid, but you can also use a desoldering pump (also known as a solder sucker), for when you need to remove lots of solder in one session.
Desoldering requires just two steps. First, you must place the braid on top of the area you need to remove. Then touch the tip to the top of the braid. The heat transfers through and melts the solder, which is then absorbed into the braid. When you are satisfied, remove the braid.
For a solder sucker, you press the plunger-device down and then heat the area with your iron. Hover the sucker over this area until you melt the solder. Once it is, release the button and suck the solder away. You can empty this by pressing the button again, freeing the now-dry solder to discard so the desolderer isn't blocked in the future.
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