LAST UPDATED: October 10, 2019
Best Soldering Stations: Keep Your Tools in one Spot
Get organized with a soldering station that arranges all your tools in one place
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PUBLISHED ON October 10, 2019
If you solder electronics or wiring, you know how frustrating it can be if you don’t have a dedicated space to do the job. Aside from accidentally burning your surface area or making a mess, you might misplace critical accessories. If you routinely work on projects that require you to use a soldering iron, it may be time to invest in a dedicated soldering station. We’ve shortlisted the best soldering stations that you should consider making a part of your workshop.
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The Aoyue SMD Digital Hot Air Rework Station is a four-in-one soldering repair station with a Hot Air, a 70Watt Soldering Iron, vacuum pickup, and a Smoke Absorber. This soldering station maintains a constant set temperature when set and the value is reached. It comes with easy-to-use touch control and digital display for the Hot Air of the actual temperature and set temperature. The soldering iron also has a digital display, digital calibration, and auto sleep function for added peace of mind. The Aoyue soldering station includes a built-in Air Flow gauge and knob adjustment to control the airflow. This product includes 500 watts of hot air power and a temperature range of 100 degrees C to 480 degrees C. The iron power is 70 watts and has a temperature range between 200 degrees C and 480 degrees C.
If you're shopping for a high-quality product on a budget, the Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station is an excellent option. This soldering station can reach temperatures up to 900 degrees F to handle a wide variety of soldering projects. The power can be adjusted via a power control dial between five watts to 40 watts. This product includes a precision soldering tip on the pencil iron, a holder, and a sponge for convenient cleaning between uses. A cushioned foam grip provides extended comfort during long-term soldering projects. The heating element is completely replaceable, so you can continue to use the iron for an extended period of time. An ST3 iron-plated 1/8-inch screwdriver tip is included with the soldering station. This product is UL-listed, meaning it has been tested and meets independent safety standards.
The Anbes Soldering Iron Kit has an adjustable temperature of 200 to 450-degrees Celsius and heats up quickly. It's a portable kit that's popular with DIYers, jewelry makers, appliance repairmen, and hobbyists. The kit, which comes in a storage bag, includes a soldering iron, desoldering pump, five soldering tips, tin wire tube, a stand, tweezers, wire stripper cutter, and electronic wire. The soldering iron holder has a sturdy and safe base to prevent damage and burns, while the iron features a heat and impact-resistant screw. The desoldering pump is a high-pressure vacuum tube that allows users to remove solder from PCB. This is a great kit for beginners as well as those who have tackled soldering projects for years. It's lightweight and easy to maneuver. One issue is the items tend to move around a bit in the case. Also, some of the parts are cheaply made, so it's not designed for heavy use.
The X-Tronic Model #3020 Digital LED 75 Watt Soldering Iron Station is designed for both beginners and experienced DIYers. Included in the package are a soldering station, two helping hands for propping up PCBs, five extra soldering tips, a side-mount solder roll holder, a spring-style soldering iron holder, a brass sponge tip cleaner, cleaning flux, and a wet sponge. This durable and high-quality unit heats up from 392-degrees Fahrenheit to 896 degrees in just 30 seconds. It features a 10-minute sleep timer, Centigrade to Fahrenheit toggle switch, LED display, and Magic Temperature Compensation Technology or PSD technology. The soldering iron cord is 40 inches, and the power cord is 55 inches. The company provides a three-year warranty and a 30-day, money-back guarantee. Users report that the X-Tronic provides excellent customer support if you experience any issues. However, while it's great for occasional soldering it's not really designed for heavy use over an extended period.
With extremely reliable digital technology, the Hakko Digital Soldering Station is a great option. This product provides excellent thermal recovery by using the T18 series tips, which are known for their terrific heat conductivity. It allows you to solder at a lower set temperature and reduces the thermal impact on components. It also reduces tip oxidation, which can shorten the tip life. The thermal recovery heater output of this soldering station has been increased by 30 percent compared to that of conventional Hakko models. The digital readout provides an extremely accurate reading of your soldering tip with each usage. The increased range of applications, including soldering electronics and delicate wiring, are a major strength of this product. One downside of the soldering station is that you might experience issues trying to fine tune the temperature.
- Solder wire is not a one-size-fits-all accessory. If you don’t confirm that the solder you’re selecting is best suited to your project goals, you could experience problems during the soldering process and find that the bonds you create don’t hold properly.
- Avoid using solder designed for plumbing. This specific type of solder tends to be the cheapest. While it’s ideal for creating long-lasting bonds for pipes that come into contact with grease, it can damage circuit boards by destroying the electric trace.
- Always double check the compatibility between your soldering tip and your iron. This will impact your application process and the types of projects you can tackle.
Q: What type of solder should I consider as a first-time user?
Unless you’re working on a specialized project, most DIY solder projects can be completed using flux-core, lead-free solder. This type of solder is ideal because it creates a good conductive bond and is great for use with circuit boards.
Q: I’ve never soldered before. What thickness should I use?
Most projects should be fine if you use solder that’s between 0.711 and 1.64 millimeters in diameter. Within this range you should be able to get the precision you need without wasting excess product to properly solder a joint.
Q: How do I clean the solder on the tip?
There are two main options for cleaning a soldering tip: a sponge or a brush. It’s a personal preference, but a damp sponge is ideal for most quick jobs that just require a clean surface. It is also ideal if you frequently clean your soldering iron tip during a project. However, if you’re working on a large job where gunk is quickly accumulating on your soldering iron tip, it’s better to use a brush.
If you want to guarantee that you’ll have everything you need when you start a soldering project, opt for our Best Overall selection, the Aoyue SMD Digital Hot Air Rework Station, which comes with soldering iron tips, accessories, and heating elements to tackle any job.
For those just starting out on DIY soldering projects, the Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station—our Best Value selection—is a smart option that gives you great functionality and is easy to operate.