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. 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’ve taken 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. Choosing the right soldering iron is tough with different designs, specs, styles, and features. 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.
View the Best Soldering Iron, Below.
- Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station
- Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station
- Weller SP80NUS 80-Watts LED Soldering Iron
- Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Soldering Iron
- Bernzomatic ST500 Cordless Soldering Iron
- Weller 9400PKS 120V Dual Heat
- RYOBI P3105 18-Volt ONE+ 40-Watt Soldering Iron
- Weller WE1010NA Digital Soldering Station
- YIHUA 862BD+ SMD ESD Safe 2 in 1 Soldering Iron
- Weller P2C Professional Self-igniting Cordless Soldering Iron
- X-Tronic Model 3020-XTS Digital Display Soldering Iron
1. Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station
Best Soldering Iron to Keep your Workplace Clean
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 soldering iron stand and included cleaning pad help keep your tool clean and your workbench organized. Plus, this soldering iron kit is well-made and comes with a 1-year warranty.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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2. Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station
Best Soldering Iron for Working at Lower Temperatures
The Hakko FX888D Soldering Station is a great option that’s ideal for a variety of soldering projects. Designed to update the FX888, the Hakko soldering iron 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 soldering iron 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.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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3. Weller SP80NUS 80-Watts LED Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron for Your Budget (Cheapest Option)
This petite corded soldering iron model still packs in plenty of power for all of its lightweight and ergonomic features. Weller has built three LED lights, made using the most recent technology and materials, into the soldering iron. This will illuminate your work and eliminate shadows, making minute and detailed work easier in any lighting conditions. This soldering iron's temperature reaches up to 900˚F.
It's also incredibly low-priced, making it the best budget soldering iron on our list!. Jumpstart your latest hobby and project with a tool you can trust. Especially one this comfortable, safe, and effortless to use and move around!Check Price on Amazon ➞
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4. Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron for Features with Cordless Capability
Cornering the market with some of the best cordless battery-powered tools, Milwaukee offers its own impressive iteration of the cordless soldering iron. A bit bulkier compared to standard soldering irons, it more than makes up for it with enviable features rare to find in another single model – such as a convenient pivoting head, advanced technology temperature indicator, and much more.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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5. Bernzomatic ST500 Cordless Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron Kit to Solder Wire, Crafts and Jewelry
If you’d love to go cordless but expensive batteries aren’t your speed, Bernzomatic’s cordless butane soldering iron may be right up your alley— and it comes at an amazing and affordable price. You’ll especially appreciate this soldering iron kit if projects related to heat shrinking wire, crafts, jewelry, and electronics are your forte.
This soldering iron heats up to 3150 ˚F. With a grand assortment of interchangeable soldering tips, you can do even the most impossibly precise work with the right amount of heat and power— all in one light, sleek, and elegant tool covered by warranty. It even comes with a carrying case, making it a good portable soldering iron.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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6. Weller 9400PKS 120V Dual Heat
Best Soldering Iron for Temperature and Power Control
Weller’s reputation for making the best soldering irons in the business always precedes itself. This driver-sized and trigger-controlled power model is perfect for dimly lit areas and garages. It's especially good for the soldering iron needs that fit these places: small automotive works, metal arts, and more.
LED technology helps light up your workspace. But with corded capabilities, you'll need to have a power source nearby. This, thus, makes it suitable for garages and shops. It's one of the best electric soldering irons out there.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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7. RYOBI P3105 18-Volt ONE+ 40-Watt Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron for Reliability and Great Reviews
RYOBI never disappoints, and their version of the soldering iron certainly won’t, either. As one of our top recommendations in our lineup, this 18-volt hot iron tool covers all practical bases you’d want in a standard soldering iron tool. It’s reliable, high-performing, and packed with stellar features (including heat indicator, holder, and more).
It's also backed by solid reviews from those who’ve bought and used it in the past. The soldering iron's tip is a fine point, making it great for small jobs. Best of all: its battery is compatible with all other RYOBI tools!VIEW ON HOME DEPOT ➞
8. Weller WE1010NA Digital Soldering Station
Best Soldering Iron for Getting Started, Whether Professional or Hobbyist
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, an 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.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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9. YIHUA 862BD+ SMD ESD Safe 2 in 1 Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron for Wide Use, Heavy Duty, and Near Professional Projects
Want to solder like the pros? Yihua is the next best thing, without paying that arm and a leg for true-blue professional soldering iron equipment. Though it’s the most you’ll pay for a soldering iron out of our entire lineup, this model comes with an advanced microcomputer processor that allows you more specificity, temperature control, stability, and reliability than any other product.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Weller P2C Professional Self-igniting Cordless Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron for Ergonomics, Sleekness, and Lightweight Use
If compactness is your game, then the Weller P2C Professional Self-Igniting Cordless is the name of your next soldering iron tool. Running on butane (so you’re not limited by cords or expensive batteries), its elegant, dainty, and comfortable size is a huge appeal to those after a small soldering iron that won’t take up too much space. Start soldering with the push of a button!Check Price on Amazon ➞
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11. X-Tronic Model 3020-XTS Digital Display Soldering Iron
Best Soldering Iron for Value
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.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, and come with different features. For example, one might come with a desoldering pump, and another might feature a temperature adjustment. Or you might need something to solder a tin wire tube.
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. We used these features to evaluate the models featured on our list. And understanding these facts 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. The best soldering irons will have a good temperature. 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. Soldering irons with higher power will be better for professionals.
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’re looking at can maintain the temperature you want. 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’s right for your needs. A soldering iron station features a soldering pencil attached to the 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 of a soldering iron station is that it delivers great temperature control. Since the end of the iron rests on the stand, it won’t come in contact with any objects. Also, this helps the tool maintain a steady temperature.
Most power stations feature electronic variable temperature control or temperature adjustment. 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 some models are 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 more affordable soldering irons.
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 capable of handling various projects. Plus, they’re generally more affordable than a soldering iron station. The drawback to an adjustable temperature range 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 the wall, making it a great soldering iron for beginners who don’t have space 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 or for those trying basic soldering projects.
Wireless soldering irons are perfect for craftsmen and technicians who need a portable tool. They don’t require a power cord and are powered by batteries instead. 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 and soldering accessories that boost its usefulness. Soldering irons that allow you to swap out soldering iron tips and are compatible with a wide variety of 3rd party tips are ideal. And if you’re planning to take your tool on the road, a soldering iron kit that comes with a carrying case is terrific. If you’re soldering electrics or something that has previously been soldered, you might want to look at a desoldering pump.
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, spending a small fortune on one of these soldering tools is not necessary. 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. If you need adjustable temperature, a desoldering pump, or a range of tips, you’re looking at a more expensive model.
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, tin wire tube, and even jewelry. But with so many soldering irons on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be tough. 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 soldering iron kit is ideal for professionals who are regularly working on the road. Or maybe you want to look at soldering irons that will offer a lead-free solder. 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.
Soldering stations are often better for professionals. Once you determine what kind of soldering iron to purchase, it’s time to look at a few other factors. You want to look at soldering irons that offer around 60 watts of power and a wide temperature range. This will ensure it heats up quickly and can handle a variety of projects. Look for a model that maintains temperatures well and is made from durable materials.
Finally, consider how much you’re willing to pay. With soldering irons ranging from $10 to over $100, there are quite a few options available. Your best bet is to purchase a model at the price point you’re comfortable with. Just keep in mind that frequent users might be better off investing a bit more money upfront for a soldering heat gun that can withstand heavy-duty use, while casual users can 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’s essentially a tiny blow torch that supplies heat to metal parts that need to be joined together. Several types of soldering irons are 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 more delicate jobs 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, you’ll need a soldering iron 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 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 heating 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 solder melts at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
To reach this number, some models offer temperatures up to 800 degrees. While some types of soldering irons 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’s 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 the solder gun, the solder will flow directly onto the place 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.