Smooth and professional soldering requires two things: adequate soldering wire and a quality soldering iron. In this article, we will deal with soldering irons, specifically those that are used in electronics. We will present you with the list of top 8 products, describing their strengths and weaknesses.
But before you go through our list, you should (preferably) read our Buyer’s Guide, especially if you are a beginner. The guide should inform you about the product category (soldering iron) and explain which characteristics you should consider if you decide to buy a soldering iron.
Soldering iron is a universal tool for soldering, which is a process of metal merging/connecting/bonding. Here, we aren’t interested in any solder irons, only those that are good for electronics. Here are a couple of things you should know about them before you make your final decision:
Make sure that you are happy with the temperature range the soldering iron offers you; the more extensive the range, the better the product. Why? Well, you can cover more ground and use the soldering iron for different purposes.
The most significant indicator of heat production is the iron’s wattage. Most soldering irons for electronics use 40-60 Watts, but 70-Watt is also good. The more watts your iron uses, the more heat it produces, which means warmer joining and more sophisticated soldering. It could also mean faster heating, but this depends on the design.
Station Or Pencil?
Obviously, pencils are less potent than stations but are more convenient, compact and lightweight. Pencils are often very cheap and are often selected by amateurs and beginners since they have less heat-control on the tip. Then again, they are becoming more and more sophisticated, so, it depends on the build and design.
But, if you are more serious about soldering, always go with the station. It produces more power, offers better data (temperature, power level, etc.) and delivers more consistent performance.
Holding Stand And Tip Compatibility
Firstly, it is best if your iron is compatible with a large variety of tips. In fact, most of the products we reviewed already arrive with different tips, which is excellent since you’ll use different tips for various projects. Also, make sure that these tips are quality made. Moreover, when you buy new ones, make sure that they are compatible with your iron.
Alas, confirm that you are comfortable with solder stand. In essence, the stand is something which should store the soldering iron while you take a break or when you aren’t using the iron. It should be stable and reliable and preferably made of stainless steel.
Ease Of Use
Alas, you should always buy the product that you are comfortable with working with, regardless of the quality. If you are a beginner, go for the less expensive products, preferably those that features built-in temperature meter, so that you don’t have to guess the temperature.
Also, make sure that it feels right, that the handle fits right in your hand and that it isn’t slippery (which can be dangerous). If you already know and are experienced with soldering, it should be a lot easier for you to judge the item’s usability and comfort.
LDK soldering iron tool is the most inexpensive product on our list. This 60 W machine heats up quite rapidly: thanks to the internal ceramic heating technology, it takes only 2-3 minutes to heat up. It also features a heat indicator, which should always tell you the current temperature of the iron.
Furthermore, LDK iron comes with five different tips, features non-slip and ergonomic handle, and is protected with bakelite (for heat resistance). It also features four vents, which help prevent overheating.
This tools is eco-friendly, and is the perfect item for the hobbyist, and is undoubtedly the best cheap soldering iron on our list. Note that you should always try to pair it with 60/40 soldering wire (tin/lead) for optimal results.
- extremely inexpensive
- easy to use
- perfect for hobbyists
- excellent for small electronics projects
- not the most durable item on the list
- lacks quality and sophistication
GLE2016 is another 60W machine, also pretty inexpensive. GLE2016 is made of quality material (stainless steel body, iron plated tip, etc.). It takes about 2 minutes to heat, heating up to 450 Celsius degrees, which is impressive.
You have the temperature indicator to read the current melting temperature, and you can use five soldering tips, depending on the soldering you are doing. The handle is rubber padded and non-slip, which is helpful.
The product also comes with a soldering wire, which you can use immediately. But, GLE2016 isn’t the most durable or sturdy items on our list, but you can’t expect it to be for such a low price.
- easy to use
- inexpensive, perfect for hobbyists and DIY work
- comes with compatible soldering wire (and five tips)
- heats up rather quickly
- inconsistent performance
- lacks sturdiness and durability
Vastar soldering tool is arguably the most popular item on the market, at least among hobbyists, students and DIY enthusiasts. It is inexpensive and features unique steel pipe design, which helps with heat dispersion.
It requires no charging station (plug in and use), comes with five different iron tips, soldering iron stand, as well as with other useful soldering tools. It heats between 200 and 450 degrees Celsius, perfect for working with electronics
You control the temperature via the thermostat circuit, hold the iron solder for rubber, non-slip handle. And even though we said that LDK Soldering Iron Kit is the best cheap soldering iron, we could all agree that Vastar Soldering Iron Kit is as good, if not better than the LDK.
- extremely valuable (cheap, but quality made)
- decent temperature melting range
- simple temperature control
- firm rubber non-slip grip
- comes with plenty of additional equipment
- the soldering iron stand is poorly made
- might take more than 2 min to heat up
Tabiger iron heats up in just 2 minutes, between 200-450 ℃. It comes with a built-in thermostat (for heat control), and plenty of additional equipment. More importantly, Tabiger iron features steel-pipe design and plenty of vents, which reduce overheating and help with heat dissipation.
It is an excellent tool for DIY enthusiasts, reasonably inexpensive. It also comes with a desoldering pump, carrying protective case, tweezers, soldering stage, sponge, and so forth.
Tabiger Soldering Iron Kit is used for fixing and making small home electronic appliances, such as stereos, radios or TVs. Interestingly, one of the significant advantages of this solder is the customer service, which always promptly responds to customer’s demands.
- value for money
- heats up in under 2 minutes
- comes with plenty of additional tools
- durable, consistent performance
- amiable customer service
- made of cheap material
- lacks sophistication and sturdiness
ANBES is a mid-range item, for those who want to transition from being a hobbyist to becoming a pro at soldering. It features an adjustable temperature control wheel (from 200 to 450 Celsius degrees), offers excellent heat dissipation, and feature high-temp resistant thread.
ANBES might just be the best soldering iron for circuit boards, due to its consistency and stability. It comes with a bag, five different iron tips, desoldering pump, wire stripper/cutter, and so forth.
It is relatively cheap, considering the amount of additional equipment you get, but it does deliver some serious performance. We recommend this item to soon-to-be professionals and students.
- immune to overheating
- value for money
- plenty of additional equipment
- stable airflow
- excellent heat dissipation
- lacks durability
- struggles with thick wiring
Weller is a bit more expensive unit on our list, but also one of the most sophisticated irons. Weller WLC100 uses 40W (max), but can also be adjusted to use the only 5W, depending on the quantity of power you need.
It is very adjustable and easy to use, featuring a soldering station that produces up to 900 degrees Celsius. The iron is lightweight and padded (with foam cushions), which makes it very comfortable to use.
Also, the tips are all durable (ST tips), and the heating element provides long-term use even after excessive use. The product is straightforward to use, featuring a simple on/off button, as well as the 1-5 control wheel for power adjustment.
- extremely potent soldering station (up to 900 degrees Celsius)
- well made and sturdy
- extremely simple to use
- durable provides consistent performance
- uses only 40 Watts (Max)
- no temp display
If you are a beginner and have just started soldering, ETEPON is the best solder for you. It is effortless to use, featuring on/off button, Dual Safety design, wire stripper/cutter, desoldering pump, and so forth.
It is resistant to high temperatures and allows you to adjust temperature via the simple built-in wheel. ETEPON also comes with easy to read digital multimeter, which reads and displays a lot of data, helping you solder more accurately.
It is lead-free; instead, ETEPON uses copper-based tips, which don’t burn easily and emit smoke. It can be used for various purposes, mostly household related and is recommended for beginners and DIY enthusiasts.
- value for money
- perfect for beginners
- comes with the useful measurement device
- heats up rather quickly
- more expensive than other units on the list
We left the best for the end; X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS is the best soldering iron for electronics on our list, but also the most expensive one. This 75 W soldering beast comes with digital display soldering station, which makes things ten times easier.
Beneath the display is the temperature control wheel; note that you can read the temperature in Celcius and Fahrenheit, which is nice. And speaking of temperature, X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS heats up to 480°C ( 896°F), the most on the list.
It also comes with both iron and roll holders (both are stainless steel), sponge tip clear as well as with cleaning flux. All in all, it is fair to say that X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS is the best solder for electronics, for both pros and hobbyists.
- simple to use (features display screen)
- adjustable and consistent
- durable and sturdy
- features potent soldering station
- comes with several attachments
- the most expensive item on the list
There’s no soldering without solder wire and iron. In fact, there would be no electronic devices and all those appliances we use on a day to day basis if it weren’t for soldering iron. So, if you are interested in soldering, hobbyist or professional, choose the product wisely.
Make sure that you are happy with the amount of power it provides, that you are comfortable with using the tool, and that you are satisfied with all the little details we mentioned in our Buyer’s Guide. If you do that, you’ll find the best solder for your needs; we guarantee you.