A soldering iron is an essential tool for many hobbyists and professional tradesmen. These small pen-like tools can be used to fix electronics, build circuit boards, make jewelry, and create arts and crafts. The ability to fuse two metallic materials together allows you to perform projects that require skill and precision. But if you want high-quality results and an enjoyable user experience, it’s important to purchase a good soldering iron.
Deciding to pick the best soldering iron isn’t always easy. While all soldering irons are designed to accomplish the same task, they’re not all built the same. There are plenty of options out there from different manufacturers. And with different specs, heating elements, features, and quality, choosing the perfect soldering iron can get confusing.
To make your life easier, we took a look at some of the most popular models on the market. We compared their design, reliable performance, specs, price, and reviews. In the end, we came up with our list of the top 10 soldering irons of 2020. Keep reading to find out which models came out on top. But first, let’s talk about soldering irons and what you should look for when purchasing one.
If you’re a hobbyist or professional interested in purchasing a new soldering iron then you’ve come to the right place. We took some time to discuss what you should look for when researching these soldering tools. Now it’s time to get to the reviews! There are so many options available today. With different designs, specs, styles, and features, choosing the right soldering iron is tough. But we took a close look at the top models on the market.
We compared them based on their design, performance, features, price, and customer satisfaction. In the end, the following models stood above the rest, earning their place in our list of the top 10 soldering irons of 2020.
View the Best Soldering Iron, Below.
- X-Tronic FBA 3020-XTS
- Weller WE1010NA Digital
- Vastar VRK10-AXL-1 Kit
- Weller WLC100 Station
- Tabiger Soldering Iron Kit
- Weller WES51 Analog
- Aoyue AO469 Station
- Hakko FX888D Bundle Soldering Station
- Aoyue 9378 Pro Series
- UY CHAN TS100 Digital
1. X-Tronic FBA 3020-XTS
This soldering iron from X-Tronic is perfect for anyone interested in purchasing a high-quality model that can handle a variety of tasks. This soldering station is sleek and sturdy. It features a bright blue LED Tube Display that allows you to switch between Centigrade and Fahrenheit readings with the flip of a switch.
This X-tronic model was designed with Magic Temperature Compensation Technology for better heating performance. And it even features a 10 minute sleep function that’s great for preventing accidents. X-Tronic includes a stainless iron holder, a solder roll holder, and a brass sponge tip cleaner with this unit. Plus, it’s backed by a 1-year warranty.
This Xtronic model is a great soldering iron that’s capable of tackling almost any application. It heats up quickly and has a temperature range from 392 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit.
Demanding projects require power and this X-tronic model has you covered. It is a 75 watt soldering station with 60 watts allocated to the soldering iron and the other 15 watts powering the motherboard.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Weller WE1010NA Digital
Weller is one of the leading names in soldering irons and the WE1010NA Digital Soldering Station is one of the top models on the market today. It offers 40% more power than the brand’s popular WES and WESD stations, allowing it to heat up and recover faster for optimal efficiency and precision. And it comes packed with useful features like intuitive navigation, Standby Mode, auto setback for energy conservation, and even password protection for your settings.
The molded grip is easy to hold and the safety rest gives you a place to rest your iron when it’s not in use. The LCD screen has 3 buttons for easy temperature control and tips can be changed without an additional tool. This is a great premium option for professional soldering jobs, hobby projects, wiring, cable assembly, and electrical work. And with the included power unit, soldering iron, safety rest, and ET soldering tip, you have everything you need to get started.
With a temperature range of 200 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, this model from Weller is ideal for any soldering project you can think of. And you can easily adjust your heat settings thanks to the easy-to-use LCD screen and push buttons.
This high-performance soldering iron runs on 70 watts of power, making it perfect for hobby or professional use.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Vastar VRK10-AXL-1 Kit
Not everyone is looking to spend a lot of money on a soldering iron. That’s where this portable soldering kit from Vastar comes in. It’s one of the most affordable options on the market but comes with the tools and features you’d expect from a more expensive model. The steel pip design allows for better heat dissipation and the adjustable knob lets you fine-tune the tool’s temperature.
The ability to plug the tool in and get to work makes it great for professionals and hobbyists looking for a portable option. And it comes packaged with a stand, 5 soldering tips, a pack of solder, tweezers, and a desoldering pump.
This compact model heats up fast and offers a temperature range of 392 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing it to handle a wide-variety of tasks with ease.
The Vastar VRK10-AXL-1 Soldering Iron can be plugged into any wall outlet and offers 60 watts of power. That’s impressive for a model that’s available at such a low price.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Weller WLC100 Station
Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, the Weller WLC100 Soldering Station is one of the best tools you can buy. The durable, lightweight pencil iron has a cushioned foam grip, replaceable heating element, and iron-plated copper tip. And the built-in iron stand and included cleaning pad help keep your tool clean and your workbench organized. Plus, it’s well-made and comes with a 1-year warranty.
This Weller soldering iron is capable of producing temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows you to tackle a variety of projects with one easy-to-use tool.
The WLC100 is designed to offer variable power control. Simply turn the knob on the base to adjust the power level from 5 to 40 watts. This ensures you have the precise amount of power for whatever project you have in front of you.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Tabiger Soldering Iron Kit
This soldering iron kit from Tabiger is perfect for DIY enthusiasts, beginning solderers, and hobbyists. It’s easy to hold and comes with an adjustable soldering iron, solder wire, 5 soldering heads, tweezers, a stand, and a desoldering pump. And the sturdy steel-pipe design offers better heat dissipation for faster heat up times and optimum efficiency.
The Tabiger Soldering Iron takes around 2 minutes to heat up, which is a bit slower than some other models featured in our review. But with a solid temperature range from 392 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit, it is capable of handling almost any project you can think of.
This 110 volt tool delivers 60 watts of power. That’s enough to ensure that it heats up quickly and can maintain a steady temperature.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Weller WES51 Analog
The Weller WES51 Analog Soldering Station comes with two stations, a control station and a stand with a dedicated cleaning station. This makes it a great piece of hardware to add to any workbench. The slim soldering pencil features a durable Nichrome-wound stainless steel heating element that gives it a quick response time and a long lifespan.
Wireless temperature lockout prevents the temperature from rising higher than the specified level. And for safety and power conservation, it shuts down after 90 minutes of inactivity. Compatible with Weller ET series tips, this is a durable option that can handle anything from DIY to industrial applications.
This Weller station features an adjustable temperature dial that can be increased in 10-degree intervals. And with a range from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, it can handle any project you throw at it.
Like most of the models featured in our review, this soldering station offers 60 watts of power. This allows it to handle any project, heat up quickly, and maintain precise temperatures.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Aoyue AO469 Station
The Aoyue AO469 Station is one of the most impressive models on the market today. With variable power, a unique removable tip design, and a durable ceramic heating element, it’s a sturdy tool that can handle a variety of projects. And with over 50 different tip sizes available, this soldering station is perfect for all of your project and construction needs.
The PTC ceramic heating element of this model heats up fast and offers a range from 392 to 897 degrees Fahrenheit. And thanks to its design, it retains heat remarkably well for optimal precision.
Aoyue designed this soldering station with variable power control that can go up to 60 watts. This allows you to select the amount of power needed for your specific application.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Hakko FX888D Bundle Soldering Station
The Hakko FX888D Soldering Station is a great option that’s ideal for a variety of soldering projects. Designed as an update to the FX888, the Hakko TFX888D features a CHP170 cutter, adjustable temperature control, and a digital display. With excellent thermal recovery and compatibility with T18 tips, it allows you to work at lower temperatures, reducing the thermal impact placed on your workpiece.
The Hakko FX888D Soldering Station is compact and can fit on almost any workbench. And, with only two operation buttons, it’s easy enough for beginners to use. And when you’re not using the iron, simply place it in the sturdy blue and yellow iron holder.
This model from Hakko offers one of the highest temperature outputs around. It is capable of reaching temperatures ranging from 120 to 899 degrees Fahrenheit, making it perfect for projects requiring high or low heat.
Offering up to 70 watts of power, the Hakko TFX888D Soldering Station offers the power and reliability you need for high-quality results.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Aoyue 9378 Pro Series
The Aoyue 9378 Pro Series is one of the top solder stations on the market. It features a digital thermostat control with an easy-to-read red LED display. The programmable sleep function offers improved safety and increased tip life. And the vibration sensor in the handle allows this tool to detect movement. Plus, with 10 different tips included and over 50 sizes available, you can use this soldering iron for practically any application from home crafts to professional projects.
This model from Aoyue offers a comparable range to many of the models we’ve selected in our review. It heats up quickly and the digital thermostat control allows you to select temperatures from 392 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit.
With 60 watts of power, this solder station is capable of heating up quickly. Plus, you can count on precision since it is capable of retaining heat remarkably well.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. UY CHAN TS100 Digital
The UY Chan TS100 Digital Soldering Iron is perfect for anyone looking for a portable model to use at home or in the field. It features an OLED display and heats up quickly. Plus, since it’s battery-operated, you can take it anywhere. It even features a USB port that allows you to connect it to your computer if you want to reprogram your temperature rising curves and custom functions. For added safety, the TS100 is designed with dual-temperature sensors, sleep mode, and an automatic over-heating warning. Plus, it comes with a 19 volt adapter cable so you can plug it in for household use.
This digital soldering iron reaches high temperatures in a matter of seconds. The temperature is displayed clearly on the OLED screen. And with a range from 212 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s capable of handling a variety of projects.
The UY Chan TS100 Portable Soldering Iron can be taken anywhere. And with 65 watts of power, it heats up quickly and maintains temperatures remarkably well.Check Price on Amazon ➞
What to Look for When Buying a Soldering Iron
Before you purchase a soldering iron, it’s important to understand what to look for. They’re not all designed the same. These differences make some irons better-suited for certain applications. That’s why a model that’s good for one user might not be ideal for someone else. Here are a few factors to consider when purchasing a soldering iron. These features are what we used to evaluate the models featured on our list. And understanding these facto is also the best way to choose the model that’s right for your needs.
The power output of a soldering iron is measured in watts. When using one of these soldering tools, you want it to heat up quickly and maintain an even temperature. That’s why the wattage of a soldering iron is one of its most important features. Most models today offer between 20 and 60 watts. A reliable model will offer between 40 to 50 watts. This will ensure that you have sufficient heat for your projects. These higher levels of power don’t mean more heat.
Instead, they have more power available, allowing you to fine-tune the reliable performance of your tool based on your needs. Some hobbyists might be tempted to save some money and purchase a model that offers less power. Irons offering lower watts around 20 or 30 might get the job done. But they take longer to heat up and lose heat faster, resulting in sloppy solder joints.
Every soldering iron gets hot but you should consider two things as far as temperature is concerned. First, you want to choose a model that has an adjustable temperature. This will allow you to use the tool for a variety of projects. You also want to ensure that the model you are looking at can maintain the temperature you select. Unfortunately, some models aren’t accurate, causing the temperature to vary.
This can cause problems since certain projects need specific heat levels for optimum results. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the model you purchase is well-made and offers variable temperature control.
There are several types of soldering irons available. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to understand the differences between these styles if you want one that is right for your needs. A soldering iron station has a soldering pencil attached to a power station. The power iron station acts as a stand, giving you a place to rest your iron when it’s not in use. This reduces the risk of accidental injury. One of the most important advantages to a soldering iron station is that it delivers great temperature control. Since the end of the iron can rest on the stand, it won’t come in contact with any objects.
This helps the tool maintain a steady temperature. Also, most power stations feature electronic variable temperature control. This feature allows you to select precise temperatures, eliminating guesswork. Because of the ability to fine-tune the temperature of the soldering pencil, these models are great for a variety of projects. The downside to soldering stations is that they’re bulkier than other models. This makes them a poor choice for anyone looking for a portable option. Also, while there are some models available for around $40, a high-quality model can cost you up to $150.
This makes soldering stations a poor choice for hobbyists who might be looking for an affordable option. Adjustable irons are similar to soldering stations but don’t come with a power station base. Instead, they’ll have a temperature adjustment dial on the body. This style of soldering gun is a solid intermediate choice that’s capable of handling a variety of projects. Plus, they’re generally more affordable than a soldering iron station. The drawback to an adjustable iron is that they don’t have a base or holster to hold your soldering iron.
This might not be an issue for an experienced user who has space on their workbench to mount the tool. But beginners and hobbyists who don’t have a space they can dedicate for holstering the iron might be better off purchasing a soldering iron station. Users who are looking for an affordable option might prefer a pencil iron. They’re the cheapest type of soldering iron on the market and can be found at any hardware store. The pencil iron is plugged into a wall, making it a great soldering iron for beginners who don’t have the space needed for a larger model.
The downside is that the kinds of projects this type of iron can handle are limited due to the lack of variable temperature control. And since it doesn’t have a stand or holster, a pencil iron can be a bit uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time. But they’re a perfect soldering iron for beginners who might not use the tool too often and are perfect for basic soldering projects. Wireless soldering irons are perfect for craftsman and technicians who need a portable tool.
They don’t require a power cord and are powered by batteries. This makes them great for small, quick projects. The downside to wireless models is that they run through batteries quickly. Plus, they have a lower temperature range than other types of irons. This means that they’re best for tasks that only take around 20 minutes to perform.
While having a ton of extra features isn’t a requirement, it’s nice when a model offers a few simple add-ons that boost its usefulness. Soldering irons that allow you to easily swap out soldering iron tips and are compatible with a wide-variety of 3rd party soldering iron tips are ideal. And if you’re planning to take your tool on the road, a product that comes with a carrying case would be terrific.
Still, it’s important to balance the performance of the tool with the number of available extras. All of the bells and whistles in the world aren’t going to make a difference if the tool doesn’t perform well. That’s why it’s important to consider the features that you can’t live without and then purchase a high-quality model that offers these extras.
The final factor to consider is price. There are countless models on the market ranging from $10 to over $200. While a cheap soldering iron might not perform well, it’s not really necessary to spend a small fortune on one of these soldering tools. In fact, most users can get excellent results out of a mid-range model that costs less than $100. The main thing to keep in mind is how often you plan on using the tool, what kind of projects you’ll be tackling, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Choosing the Right Soldering Iron for Your Needs
Soldering irons are popular among hobbyists and professionals because they’re perfect for use in a variety of applications. They can be used to solder pipes, electronics components, electronic circuit boards, stained glass, and even jewelry. But with so many models on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be tough. But by keeping your eye on a few key facts, you’ll be able to narrow down your search. First, consider what type of solder iron suits your needs. A portable option is ideal for professionals who are regularly working on the road.
A small adjustable model might be perfect for a DIY enthusiast or someone interested in using it for arts and crafts, and a larger soldering station is perfect for use on a workbench. Once you determine what kind of soldering iron to purchase, it’s time to look at a few other factors. You want a model that offers around 60 watts of power and a wide temperature range. This will ensure it heats up quickly and can handle a variety of projects. Also, check out the reviews and look for a model that maintains temperatures well and are made from durable materials.
Finally, consider how much you’re willing to pay. With models ranging from $10 to over $100, there are quite a few options available. Your best bet is to purchase a model in the price point that you’re comfortable with. Just keep in mind that frequent users might be better off investing a bit more money up front for a soldering heat gun that can withstand heavy duty use while casual users can usually get away with purchasing a budget-priced option.
What is a Soldering Iron?
A soldering iron is a handheld tool used for a variety of projects. It is essentially a tiny blow torch that supplies heat to metal parts that need to be joined together. There are several types of soldering irons available such as soldering iron stations, adjustable soldering irons, wireless irons, and pencil irons. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses, making some models better suited for some projects than others. But the theory behind all of these tools is essentially the same.
These soldering tools use a filler material called solder to join pieces of metal together. The tip of the tool heats up, turning the solder into liquid. The liquid covers the two objects it comes in contact with and joins them together once it cools and hardens. This is different from welding, where the actual objects are heated and fused together.
Because of this, soldering is perfect for jobs that are more delicate such as making stained glass mosaics, fusing copper pipes, repairing electronic circuits, and making jewelry. Plus, the bond made by solder is electrically conductive, which is why they’re great for connecting wires and other electrical components.
How to Use a Soldering Iron?
Whether you’re repairing electronic circuits, making jewelry, or doing some home repairs, a soldering iron is a tool you’re going to need in your workshop. While the thought of soldering might seem intimidating at first, some basic knowledge will help any beginner get impressive results. The basic steps involved in soldering are simple. First, make sure that the soldering iron is heated up to the desired temperature setting.
Before you start using the tool, clean the tip with a wet cleaning sponge and then continue to clean it throughout the process. Once the tip is clean, touch the object you want to solder with the hot tip. After two seconds, put some solder into the joint area where you want to make the connection. The heat built up in the area will transfer to the solder, turning it into a pliable, liquid substance.
It’s important to allow the heat to transfer to the solder instead of trying to heat the solder up by pressing the tip on it. Placing the tip directly on the solder can make brittle joints that might not be able to conduct electricity. Once the solder is melted and has joined the objects together, keep the workpiece in place until the solder has cooled.
How Hot Does a Soldering Iron Get?
Soldering irons are a great tool that can be used to tackle a variety of projects, particularly electronics. These soldering tools use a power source to heat the tip of the iron. This tip is then used to melt solder, allowing this conductive material to join two objects together. The heat required by these tools depends on the application. Most common solder melts at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
To reach this temperature, most models will produce temperatures exceeding that number, with some models offering temperatures up to 800 degrees. While there are some types of soldering irons that are designed with fixed temperature settings, many models offer temperature dials that allow you to adjust the heat depending on your chosen application.
If you want clean, professional joints you should always apply heat to your contact surfaces before introducing solder. By heating up these surfaces prior to adding solder, these base metals will be hot enough to melt the solder once it is introduced.
The right way to do this is by applying solder where the joint will be made, not on the soldering iron. By adding it to the heated metal work surfaces instead of to the solder gun, the solder flows directly onto the location that it needs to harden.
Did You Know?
While ancient civilizations like the Egyptians were soldering gold almost 4,000 years ago, it wasn’t until 1921 that Ernst Sachs, founder of Ersa, developed the first electric, mass-produced soldering iron.