Good soldering iron, w/ fine point tips, less than $50?

Hey all- I've finally decided that my soldering iron just plain sucks. $3 harbor freight irons just dont cut it anymore :) (dont really recommend them. Solder eats away at tip). So- the question. I need a good, high quality soldering iron, preferably fine point (or has fine point tips available). I would like one under $50, but I'm looking for around $30.  Do you think I need to get one with variable temp? I am using lead free solder, but I may do some (not a ton) of SMT work. Just as long as it works, and has a quality tip I am good :)

Thanks for your answers

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Burf5 years ago
Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station.
I have one of these I use regularly, its not quite professional standard but for general usage it works great and there are an ample variety of tip and shapes available.
I got mine through Amazon.com for about $35 U.S.
iceng5 years ago
One iron won't do it for you.
You need a medium power and a fine point both temp adjust.
No you don't need a temp readout, the dial will do fine as you
learn to use it.   Keep the Harbor one for dirty work.

astroboy907 (author)  iceng5 years ago
any model recommendations? I have a couple old HBF ones for dirty work- Ive retired them once the tip gets too blunt for some finer perfboard work, but they work fine for other wire...
Good one by Burf.
exabopper5 years ago
Get yourself a butane-powered iron, like this one:


I would get mine at Amazon or something, as the Shack is a little pricey, but I got one of those and haven't looked back. You can use it anywhere, since you don't need to plug it into mains power, and it has a temperature adjustment. You can get several tips for it (large, fine, chisel-tip, etc) as well as special tips like a torch tip for applying heat to whatever, and a hot-air tip to apply heat without flame, and all kinds of stuff. As it isn't electric-powered, you don't need to worry about the electricity in the heating element frying the component (like you do with those Cold-Heat irons you see on TV).