Best Soldering Iron in 2021: Top 13 Choices for Beginners, Hobbyists, and Professionals
As someone who enjoys fine craftsmanship, you know that pliers and screwdrivers aren’t enough. And that’s where the best soldering iron comes. This tool is among the most popular instruments used in jewelry making, electronics, and even soldering enthusiasts dedicated to artistry.
You can find many different types of soldering irons on the market, from those designed for professional use to models suitable for beginners and hobbyists. Using a soldering iron is not rocket science, but it is more complicated than a hammer. Therefore, you shouldn’t go for the first soldering iron you find but consider its essential features and see whether it is worth investing all the money.
This article will walk you through all the crucial aspects of a soldering iron you should keep in mind, including the 13 best solutions for different purposes.
What to Look for in a Soldering Iron?
Soldering iron is a handheld tool that heats up to certain temperatures, creating secure connections between metal pieces. Although you may think that these tools are more or less the same, there are some key features that differentiate them:
- Wattage: Wattage doesn’t mean temperature, but it refers to how quickly the tool heats up. This is an important aspect to consider, but it is not as crucial as some others. You won’t go wrong with tools that are at least 40 watts, which is more than enough to reach and maintain a stable temperature.
- Replaceable tips: Soldering tips tend to wear down and oxidize over time, and you should look for tools that include replaceable ones.
- Temperature control: This feature is not necessarily critical because you can perform most soldering jobs without it. However, it is nice to have it around. It can help you with lead-free soldering jobs that require high temperatures or heat-sensitive jobs you perform with low temperatures.
- Budget: Keep in mind that soldering irons are long-term investments, you can use them for decades if you maintain them properly. If you are looking for a tool with all the features you need, it’s better to invest in a more expensive one than to buy several low-quality tools that break down easily.
Most Common Soldering Iron Types
Soldering iron is an umbrella term that refers to different tools that excel at different things. It is essential to understand the right purpose of each of them to be sure which one meets your needs the best.
- Standalone pencils: Pencil-type soldering irons often need a wall socket to power, but you can also find portable ones. The mobile variants either have a rechargeable battery or use a refillable gas canister as a power source.
- Adjustable soldering irons: Adjustable soldering irons are more advanced than traditional variants, primarily since they have a dial for setting the temperature.
- Soldering station: Soldering stations are responsible for regulating the iron’s temperature. They also offer a safe place to put your hot iron, sponge, and other accessories you use during the process, making your soldering much easier and safer.
- Soldering guns: The gun types are bulkier and heavier than most soldering irons, and they are more convenient for connecting bulky wires or large components. Since they are highly-powered, they can easily damage sensitive parts.
- Torches: Soldering torches use butane or propane canisters as the primary power source, which makes them more powerful than most of their electric counterparts. However, they tend to be less precise.
- Hot knives: These knife-shaped soldering tools are often used in crafts and construction since their heat allows you to cut materials and engrave shapes.
Now that you know the crucial aspects of soldering irons, we can move on to the 13 best tools for professionals, beginners, and hobbyists.
1. Weller WLC100 – Best Soldering Iron for Electronics ($33.18)
The Weller WLC100 offers a great value for money, including the ability to produce up to 900 Fahrenheit temperature. It is suitable for large projects that require you to keep the temperature consistent during the process. Thanks to its foam-cushioned handle, it is comfortable for long-time use.
- Adjustable (5 to 40 watts)
- Soldering station
- Suitable for beginners and professionals on a budget.
- No temperature display.
2. SainSmart ToolPAC PRO32 – Best Soldering Iron for Small Electronics ($84.99)
SainSmart ToolPAC PRO32 features dual temperature sensors that help the internal heating element reach its operating temperature pretty fast, within 12 seconds. Its ergonomic design allows safe and easy use for various purposes, primarily small electronics.
- Accurate and precise temperature
- You can connect it to your PC and change any settings
- Heats up and cools down quickly
- Suitable for heavy-duty soldering projects
- Compact design.
- Uncomfortable grip.
3. Weller P2KC – Best Butane Soldering Iron ($58.12)
The Weller P2KC provides ultimate power, portability, and enhanced convenience in all your soldering tasks. This butane-powered soldering iron is lightweight yet potent, offering a maximum temperature of 850 F. You can refill it in 20 seconds and prevent any delays that could prevent you from getting the job done on time.
- Can be used as a mini torch
- Enhanced safety
- Melts solder in less than 40 seconds.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
MORE STUFF FOR DEAR MAKERS:
- A Complete Guide to Welding: History, Types, Tools, and More
- An Essential Welding Art Guide
- Ultra-Simple Welding Joints Guide
- Edge-to-Edge Guide to Welding Symbols
- Introduction to Brazing 101
- Brazing vs. Welding – Find the Difference
- A Super-Simple Guide to the All Types of Welding
- How to Sharpen a Sword Like a Lord: A Quick Guide
- How to Remove Rust From Metal – 8 Most Efficient Solutions
4. Dremel Versa Flame Multi-Function Butane Torch – Best Soldering Station with High Temperature ($89.51)
If you prefer soldering torches, Dremel Versa Flame Multi-Function Butane Torch is the right choice for you. It comes with an enhanced temperature range that goes from 1022F to 2192F. It is butane-powered, which makes it suitable for heavy-duty tasks. You can use it continually for more than one hour, and you’ll need about 30 seconds to refill its tank.
- Incredibly high temperature
- Easy to refill
- Quite a long runtime
- May be considered the best soldering iron for jewelry
- Integrated ignition trigger.
- Replacement tips not available.
5. Hakko FX-901/P – Best Battery Powered Soldering Iron ($36.60)
Hakko FX-901/P offers a wide variety of functions to make your job easier. It features easy-to-carry mechanisms and battery-powered technology that allows you to use the tool for extended periods of time. It can heat 600 to degrees, which a high temperature that also provides a safe space for beginners.
- Continuous soldering for up to 2 hours, once fully charged
- Powered by AA alkaline rechargeable batteries
- 7-year warranty
- Lightweight and quick
- Heats up within 35 seconds.
- It doesn’t come with accessories.
6. Delcast 30-Watt – Best Cheap Soldering Iron ($9.99)
Delcast 30-Watt is a top-notch solution for all those who seek a functional yet budget-friendly tool for their soldering hobbies or beginnings. It is suitable for non-professional use since it may take some time to heat up and have difficulties holding the temperature. Overall, it is quite a good soldering iron you may use for smaller projects and soldering practice.
- Lifetime replacement warranty
- Suitable for basic soldering needs
- Excellent for beginners and hobbyists
- Lightweight and ergonomic.
- Doesn’t have variable temperature control.
7. Weller SP80NUS – Best Soldering Iron for Beginners ($21.04)
If you are at the beginning of your soldering journey, you need a tool such as the Weller SP80NUS. This high-performance LED soldering iron that heats up to 900 degrees allows you to perform your soldering tasks with ease. The package includes an easy-change tip that delivers smooth rotation.
- Co-molded soft grip
- Reduced slippage
- Triangular area for maximum tip control
- Ergonomic design
- 80-watt power.
- Poor durability.
8. Milwaukee M12 Redlink – Best Cordless Soldering Iron ($163.94)
If you are looking for a high-end cordless soldering iron, look no further than Milwaukee M12 Redlink. It reaches the maximum heating temperature within 18 seconds, providing an excellent soldering experience to both beginners and professionals. This tip features an exceptional redlink technology that notifies you when the tip is ready to use or cool enough to store.
- Complete soldering kit
- Reaches the optimal temperature quickly
- Tool-free tip change
- 40 minutes run time once fully charged
- Advanced redlink intelligence.
- You cannot control the temperature.
9. Tooluxe 40420L – Best Portable Soldering Iron at a Low Price ($14.53)
If you are looking for a budget-friendly portable soldering iron, we suggest you go for a Tooluxe 40420L. This battery-operated soldering gun heats up quickly, allowing you to perform your duties without an outlet. You can use it for various purposes, both professional and non-professional, allowing you to repair jewelry, appliances, cars, alarm systems, wiring, etc.
- Heats up to 1050 degrees in 7 seconds
- Sleek and ergonomic design
- LED illumination
- Molded grip
- Protective cap that reduces the risk of burns.
- Batteries not included.
10. Plusivo 60-Watt Soldering Iron – Best Soldering Iron for Jewelry Making ($17.95)
Plusivo 60-Watt Soldering Iron is an excellent option for all those dedicated to DIY hobbies, appliance repair, and jewelry making. The kit contains a sponge, a soldering gun with six multiple replacement tips, and other elements that take your soldering practice to the next level.
- 21-in-1 soldering kit
- Temperatures reach between 392 and 842 degrees
- Portable and padded kit
- Downloadable e-book with detailed instructions.
- The temperature dial is too tiny and marks the temp in Celsius.
11. LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit – Best Soldering Iron Kit ($49.99)
A powerful and highly-precise LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit has all the features both beginners and professionals will find useful. With LED display and ultimate PID temperature control technology, you can keep track of temperature and adjust it according to your needs. The kit’s durability and quality will go beyond your expectations, and you’ll love its intelligent functions and adjustable temperature.
- 60-watt power
- 5 types of replaceable soldering tips
- Highly adjustable and stable temperature
- Quick heating up
- Intelligent sleep mode and sleep-wake features.
- Not suitable for heavy-duty soldering.
12. Vastar Soldering Iron Station – Best Soldering Iron Station ($32.99)
The Vastar Soldering Iron Station is an excellent welding platform suitable for various projects. It is made of strong and durable materials (stainless steel), which provides high efficiency and long life. This is a multi-purpose soldering station you can use for computer and mobile repair, electronic component welding, and daily welding work.
- 60-watt power
- Temperature goes up to 896 degrees
- Contains 5 tips, a cleaning sponge, and tweezers
- Accurate temperature adjustment
- Heats up in 15 seconds.
- No temperature dial.
13. Aoyue 469 Variable Soldering Station – Best Soldering Station for Hobbyists ($29.99)
Aoyue 469 is the best hobby soldering iron convenient for beginners soldering enthusiasts. This is a high-performance soldering station that delivers an unmatched experience, offering 50 different tips to meet all your needs. Its lightweight and convenient design saves your desktop space, providing the utmost comfort.
- Portable and lightweight design
- On/off switch
- LED light that blinks when the station is on
- Adjustable temperature
- Cleaning sponge and the iron holder included.
- The LED light could be bigger and more visible.
Soldering Iron FAQs
The soldering iron wattage can vary. A wattage of 40 watts is suitable for general work, while some heavy-duty tasks may require more potent devices. Therefore, you will choose a soldering iron wattage based on your needs.
If you notice that your soldering iron is not getting hot enough lately, it may be because of improper tip care. To prevent that, make sure you remove the tip from time to time and clean the oxidation from the shank.
Low-quality soldering irons may oxidize sooner than some “luxurious” models. Still, the proper regular maintenance is a key to preserving the tips in the long run, allowing you to use the same ones throughout the years.