Soldering is one of the essential skills needed in the electronics industry. Without the knowledge and of course, the equipment, you won’t be able to lay your hands on circuit boards and other electronic systems, much more assemble or break them down. Nevertheless, if you are interested in learning soldering and other related electronics skills, then you will also need to learn about soldering irons. You see, soldering irons will be your most trusted and reliable companion as you learn and practice your way throw electronic circuit systems.
There are many types of soldering irons in the market. Without proper preparation, you would definitely have a hard time choosing among the different brands with their gimmicks and useless features. Chances are, you would end up with the wrong type of soldering iron and waste your money for a useless tool. In order for you to avoid this mistake and also save you a lot of time and effort, we have listed 3 simple but very important tips in choosing the best soldering iron.
Soldering involves the application of heat in order to join to electronic parts. Thus, soldering irons with temperature control functions are the most popular. These types of soldering irons allow the user to maintain the right amount of heat on the soldering iron providing them with an accurate work-rate. These types are best for students in the electronics course or those people that will need to practice for eventual heavy use. They are slightly cheaper compared to the cheapest types of soldering irons – the straight-up plug in soldering irons that don’t have temperature controls.
On the other hand, if you are thinking of starting a career in soldering, then you might want to upgrade to a soldering station. Soldering stations come with a separate power station and a separate soldering pencil that must be plugged in on the station. The power station has all the control knobs, buttons related to the soldering pencil. There are also soldering stations who have small screens that accurately displays the current temperature offering the user very precise controls and real-time monitoring of their work.
Although not recommended, if you need a portable soldering iron for rare use or if you are going to work on a project without a near plug or extension cords, then you can go for butane or battery powered soldering irons. They offer decent power but are difficult to control, so unless necessary, try to avoid using them.
Another factor that you should consider in looking for the best soldering iron is the wattage. Normally, most soldering irons are rated between 40 – 60 watts. And the higher wattage your soldering iron has, the more power it has, meaning – it can quickly heat up and also maintain the temperature. Getting a soldering iron with high wattage ratings are recommended not only because of their ability to heat up quickly and maintain the temperature but also because of its reserves that will guarantee a longer life and more durable use.
It is also very important that you know the soldering tips that you will use for every project. While there are literally hundreds of variations of soldering tips, we will only give you 3 kinds of soldering tips as we believe that they are enough to cover any project;
Bevel tip – tip with a large flat surface that can hold more solder. Best for soldering multiple small gauge wires or soldering multiple materials across a chip.
Chisel tip – broad tip that provides even distribution of heat. Great for wires, through-holes, and larger surface-mount components.
Conical tip – small pointed tip. Best for precision projects especially for small mounts that require the tiniest solder penetration.