10 Must-Have Soldering Tools for Hobbyists & Professionals
Soldering is not an easy job; it requires patience and a lot of practice. The best technique for soldering is to heat the metal, not the solder. The good solder joint needs to be shiny and smooth; its edges must contact the pad to make a good connection.
Only experience will tell you if you soldered correctly, so do not hesitate to ask for some help from an experienced soldering friend. It is possible to remove unwanted or bad solder so that you can practice the basic technique with some cheaper equipment.
Soldering is used mainly in electronics, plumbing, flashing metalwork, jewelry, and musical instruments. Look at our soldering tools list to help you get started.
Soldering Tools List
Maybe you asked yourself What do I need to solder? Here is the answer.
Although not a tool, solder or solder wire is a fusible metal alloy melted to create a permanent bond between two metal components. We have wires with different formulations and diameters for different soldering jobs. Also, solder comes in the form of a wire, bar, coils, rolls, or thin sheets. As far as the formulation is concerned, there are:
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Soft solders or tin-lead solders; MAIYUM 63-37 Tin Lead Rosin Core Solder Wire for Electrical Soldering ($8.59) is Amazon’s best seller lead-based solder. It will save your working time and is applicable in different types of reparations, like cable, toys, TV, and radio reparation.
Tin-silver-copper alloy; Rosin Core Lead-Free Solder Wire for Electrical, Electronic, Connector, PCB Soldering ($12.99) non-toxic, fast-melting, and flows smoothly. It is excellent for electronic, printed circuit boards, jewelry soldering, and many others.
Copper-zinc or copper-silver alloys used in jewelry making and for brazing. Plumb Silver Jewelry Solder Easy, Medium, or Hard ($19.75) is the best solder for sterling, fine silver, or other white metals. It requires a very controlled heat and a little practice.
The most straightforward solder to work with is standard 60/40 tin/lead rosin core solder, so it is ideal for beginners. But the lead-free solders are becoming more widely used because of environmental reasons, although they create less reliable joints.
2. Soldering Iron
The most important part of soldering equipment. There are several types of soldering irons:
Soldering pencil-style iron
This is the simplest iron without adjustable temperature. It connects directly into a wall socket. Delcast 30 Watt Precision Tip Soldering Iron ($9.99) is a light, easy to hold, and low wattage iron. Suitable for basic soldering with inexperienced beginners.
Adjustable Soldering Pencil-style Iron
Similar to the previous type. Still, it has an option to adjust the desired temperature. We picked Hakko Dial type temperature limiting soldering iron FX600 ($43) because it has replacement tips and an adjustable temperature range from 400 – 930°F. It heats up very quickly, and its tips last long.
Soldering Tools Kit for Beginners
The best soldering tools kit for beginners is definitely Anbes Soldering Iron Kit Electronics, 60W Adjustable Temperature Welding Tool ($19.99). The Amazon bestseller 14-In-1 soldering kit, with everything a beginner needs: an iron holder, several different tips, solder sucker, tweezers, and tin wire tube.
Cordless iron is a portable type powered by batteries or butane powered. It is so convenient to use and easy to handle. A butane-fueled cordless iron is the most preferred type for professional usage. Working on automotive wiring, Weller BL60MP Cordless Soldering Iron with Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery ($71.56) is the best solution. No cords to get tangled, small enough to get into tight places, and durable battery are sufficient to complete most soldering jobs.
A soldering gun is a pistol-shaped iron used mainly for performing large electric jobs, has a higher voltage and heat they produce, and often comes with a convenient torchlight. Toolour Automatic Soldering Gun Kit 60W Temperature Adjustment Auto Solder ($25.99) with single hand operation will make your soldering much more effortless. It combines the iron with the solder via a trigger-fed spool. Suitable for occasional hobby soldering.
Soldering Gas Torch
A soldering gas torch is frequently used to solder copper water pipes with a maximum temperature of 2000oF. It uses propane or butane for fuel. It is not an appropriate tool for soldering electronics because it can damage delicate electronic components. Big Butane Torch with Torch Cover, Zoocura Refillable Industrial Butane Torch Adjustable Double Flames Blow Torch with Safety Lock ($24.99) is excellent for wire and silver soldering with powerful double flame and a big butane torch. It has a gas valve near the ignition button to adjust the flame quickly.
The soldering station comes with better temperature control. It is made of two different parts – the base/power station and the soldering iron. The base usually consists of a holder, temperature dial, and a cleaning sponge.
The newest addition to your workbench may be LONOVE Soldering Iron Station Kit – 60W Solder Station ($54.99). It will meet all your needs because it is designed both for beginners as well as experts. It is also a soldering tools kit, including a soldering station, soldering iron, helping hands, sponge tip cleaner, holder, and some additional tips.
Soldering Repair Station
A soldering system/repair station is a complex soldering system primarily used in industry. Usually consists of several pieces, including soldering iron, hot-air gun, de-soldering gun, thermo-tweezers, etc.
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Things to Consider in a Soldering Iron
- Wattage – the most important feature of a soldering iron. It determines how fast soldering iron heats up. Irons used in the electronics are in the range of 20 – 60 Watts. The iron with the higher wattage will provide sufficient heat for the soldering job. In comparison, lower wattage can lose heat faster and re-heat slower, resulting in bad solder joints.
- Temperature control is a handy feature because different soldering jobs require different temperature
- Easy tip change – you will be pleased to know that you can replace a tip on your soldering iron, so it can be used for different soldering jobs, especially if you do not need to use any additional tools.
- Price – cost will always be a factor. It is directly linked to the usage of iron. Is it going to be in a professional setting or used for educational purposes? You can choose some basic and cheaper models for education, but for professional usage, you will want to go for an iron that has some additional features; thus, it is more expensive. So, set your price limit and rule out those that are above and below it.
3. Soldering Removal Tools
When you make a mistake, there are two types of tools for desoldering:
A solder sucker or solder pump is usually a mechanical vacuum pump. Heat the solder joint to make it fluid and suck it off with a Teenitor Solder Sucker Desoldering Vacuum Pump Solder Removal Tool 3pcs/Pack ($8.99) with just one hand.
A solder wick is a copper wire which pulls in excess solder through strong capillary action. Amazon’s bestseller is NTE Electronics SW02-10 No-Clean Solder Wick ($9.74), intended for smaller desoldering projects, leaving your working area neat and clean.
4. Flux or flux pen
Flux is used as a cleaning agent, removing oxidation from the metals to be joined. It can be in the form of a paste or a form of a pen for easy application.
SRA Soldering Products Rosin Paste Flux ($9) is a petrolatum-based flux; it prevents corrosion of the soldered area.
5. Cleaning Wire
The tip of the soldering iron oxidizes very fast. It gets dirty, so it needs regular cleaning in the form of a brass wire. Solder Tip Cleaning Wire and Holder Soft Coiled Brass Tip Cleaner will clean your tips thoroughly and prolong the soldering iron tip life.
6. Soldering Stand
When you need to put down your pencil-style soldering iron, YIHUA X-4 Premium Soldering Iron Holder with Brass Wool, Cleaning Sponge, and Solder Tip Slots ($23.99) is the best choice for you. Sturdy and heat-resistant design, it comes with cleaning wire, sponge, and temporary tip storage.
7. Helping Hand
Made of 7 flexible hands and clamps, RRIS Third Hand Soldering Station Tool with 7 Helping Hands ($39.98) will hold your pieces firmly. An irreplaceable electronic soldering tool and must-have jewelry soldering tool.
8. Cutting pliers
You do not need to spend much on the wire cutter. The cheapest one on the market will serve you well for cutting the long components. Look at the Dorman Hardware Light Duty Wire Cutter ($1.95).
9. Tip Tinner
It is a powder used for cleaning the tips of the solder irons. Put the hot iron tip in the powder, and it should become shiny and clean again. Try out Thermaltronics FBA_TMT-TC-2 Lead-Free Tip Tinner ($6.39), and your tips will be as good as new!
10. Fume extractor
The smoke solder releases is hazardous, and you do not want to breathe it in. Solder Smoker Absorber Remover Fume Extractor Smoke Prevention Absorber DIY Working Fan Soldering ($28.58) will help you with that problem. It allows you to remove fumes 5-6 inches away; it comes with 5 spare carbon filters.