A soldering iron is a hand tool used in soldering. There are many soldering irons available on the market. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Which soldering iron to choose for yourself depends on the soldering projects you are planning to do, as well as how often you are planning on using it. This Instructable will cover choosing a soldering iron that will be used for projects in electronics for soldering and de-soldering work on the circuit boards.
The four main factors to consider when choosing a soldering iron are:
2) type of the soldering iron
4) tip size and shape
The wattage of the soldering iron is one of the most important factor of a soldering iron. Most of soldering irons used in the electronics are in range 20 – 60 Watts. Soldering iron with wattage 50W is very common these days and it will provide sufficient heat for most of soldering projects on the circuit boards. Soldering irons with higher wattage (40W -60W) are better. It does not mean that soldering irons with higher wattage apply more heat to the solder joint- it means that soldering irons with higher wattage has more power available. Since most of soldering stations comes with knob on power station for setting iron’s temperature, it is possible to regulate amount of the heat on iron tip. On the other hand, soldering iron with low wattage (20W - 30W) can lose heat faster than it can re-heat itself - this results in bad solder joints.
Types of soldering irons
Generally, there are 4 different types of soldering irons:
-Soldering systems (rework /repair stations)
Soldering pencils are very simple (and very cheap) soldering tool that can be used only for simple do-it-yourself projects. The price of the soldering pencils is in the range $10-30. I do not recommend soldering pencil for fine soldering projects since they do not provide any control of the temperature on the iron tip. Too much heat applied during soldering can damage components and peel off tracks on the circuit board.