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Where is the best place to buy a soldering and desoldering iron? Answered

I need a soldering and desoldering iron for the Electronics Technology trade in my school. What stores sell them?



Best Answer 1 year ago

I really like my Hakko FX888D. It's a bit costly at $80 or so, but it's really good. It's 80W, goes up to 899*F, and is built well. (Hakko must really like 8's!)

I was also really considering getting this iron and saving a bit. https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX601-02-Adjustable-T... This one offers a good ballance between quality and price. It's a name brand so it should last, and should be good for light to moderate applications. Anything basically anything Hakko or Weller is a good choice, but they can get pricy. Especially some of the Weller irons.


If you had to go budget ( >$40) then I would probably look for a cheap knockoff of the Hakko 936 or some other simalar iron. If these break it's not a big deal, and if you are proficient at electronics, you can probably even design your own really good thermal controller board to get the most out of the iron. It should be simple to regulate temperature of the iron tip with a few op amps and a power transistor.

Avoid the ones that claim temperature controlled but have a knob that has random numbers on it instead of temperatures. These do not have temperature control, just a dimmer switches that changes the iron wattage. (some of these stations will basically have a standard wall plug for an iron too, that's a tail tail sign that it's no good and just a dimmer.)


It your a real tightass (like me 99% of the time!) then those $20 irons that plug directly into the wall will probably work OK. Look for the ones with a small knob or trimmer that allows you to use a screwdriver to set the temperature. Avoid the ones that don't have that. If you choose this, make sure to read reviews and pick one based on that. There is a lot of garbage here so watch out!


At all costs AVOID the really cheap ones that plug directly into the wall and offer no temperature control. Even some of the older wellers do this. This only works for the very large irons with large thermal mass which regulates temperature by having a ton of mass and weight to store the heat for when it's needed. Small crappy irons will make you regret every job.

What will you need it for? I bought a 40W $25 on eBay, and it works great, since I don't use it very often.

Trust me when I say that noname and cheap can bit you later quite nasty ;)
I am using a rebranded model from a small electronics reseller that is f half decent quality.
18 years old now and apart from one thermocouple and a bunch of tips over the years it just works fine.
Goes from 150-420°C and with that covers almost everything it need.
The really cheap ones often use far too complicated stuff inside and that on a very low budget.
Although no longer considered to be really efficient nothing beats old tech with just a big tansformer and a simple but reliable temperature control.
And once you have done some bigger jobs with both a cheapo and a really good soldering station you won't go back to cheap.
For only very uses the best option would be to get two cheap soldering irons and some replacements tips to be good for a few years.
The small one in the range of 30W with a very fine tip (or several in various shapes) and a big 150 or 200W one for those bigger jobs - ever tried to solder a thicker copper cable? ;)

I don't solder very often, so I'm not planning on investing in an expensive one.

Yesterday, I was trying to solder outside, but it was so cold that I was barely able to melt the solder. I want a soldering gun!

Under conditions like that you need a propane torch for big jobs and a pencile torch for smaller ones. I have done copper pipe soldering in the snow and that is a chalenge. If it gets really bad you have to use MAP gas instead of propane.

I had a bit of trouble with the soldering that I had to do in steps 16 and 17 here. Turned out good enough though :)

*If I start working more with PCB's, I'll lower the temperature with a cheap lamp dimmer.

Thank you!


1 year ago

Somebody is probably going to say I am wrong but I use a Weller soldering gun.


I have had mine for so long I can't remember when I bought it. Just need to replace the tips once in a while.

It's basically a big transformer. Converts line current to very low voltage, high amperage and the amperage causes the tip to heat up very quickly. Then when you let go of the trigger it shuts off the power and it cools down almost immediately. So its efficient, doesn't wast power and is only hot when you need it to be. I have used the always on hot tip ones including one for wood burning and I always go back to my Weller.

I agree with you, nothing beats the old Weller guns and stations.
I had one with 200W and a high/low switch.
5 replacement "wire tips" in various sizes and no matter how much abuse they got I never needed a replacement in my 12 years of having it.
Then some day someone decided it would work much better in his home than in mine :(
Loved the little lamp in the front illuminating the tip and work area....

We already said what needs to be said, so just as an addition in case someone finds this topic in a few years to dig it out again:

For hobby use only every few weeks basically anything will do as long as the tip fits the parts to solder.
For ongoing use you want reliability, ease of cleaning (especially if there is suction desoldering kit included as well), and availability of spares.
School use IMHO is again a bit different as students love to do things they should not do.
Meaning you will need a steady supply of tips at the beginning and might want to consider mounting the actual station permanently.
I have seen good soldering stations go walkabout in schools at a level that was not funny anymore - this can become costly.
A good deterrent is to physically mark the things in visible areas as school property, so not just a sticker....
You also want to be able to teach all aspects of electronics soldering, so you really need a system that includes a seperate grounding option for the soldering iron.
Otherwise you will have a hard time with electrostatic sensitive electronics as they blow before you even finnish the circuit.
IMHO the ost important feature next to a proper digital temp control is a proper handpiece.
Depending on the power level and temp selected some tend to get uncomfortably hot and if the front is not dominant enough beginners can loose the grip and slide the hand onto the burning hot iron.
Last but least: Fumes!
If a whole class starts soldering at the same time you want to be able to filter or better remove the air inside the room.
If you want to avoid additional filter stations and the service of them it would be best to consider a room that allows you to pump fresh in, either through the aircon or with a seperated duct system.
Open windows should do the rest.

Your best bet is online. Check EBay, Digikey, Mouser, and most other electornics supply stores.

And before deciding select the right model ;)
For afew jobs here and there anything will do, for daily and prolonged use you want somethin decent.

Yup. I'd also recommend that the OP consider *investing* in a temp controlled station rather than a standalone wand type. It may cost more up front, but it will serve in its role better and longer.