Picking a Soldering Iron

This is for the people out there who aren't sure how to get started on soldering. I know this may not please everybody, but if you need somewhere to start, here you go. You can learn from my mistakes and save money by my example.

Step 1: So You Want to Solder?

First you will need to decide what you will be needing to do with this iron. There are different irons for different purposes, however if you decide you need it portable, DO NOT get a Cold Heat
New Cold Heat soldering iron for Easter 2 years ago. Sadly, within the first 5 minutes of use, the thing burnt its tip off and i never bought a new one. I would strongly advise anybody against getting one of these due to the fact tips cost little less than a new ColdHeat. These are little more than glorified LED flashlights.
If you decide on portability, Weller makes a butane powered one. I have never used a butane iron, but i would imagine that it would have to be better than a Cold Heat.
UPDATE: Today i decided to give the ColdHeat one more go (even in its already dehabilitated state) and one entire half of the tip broke off this time. Picture below.

Step 2: Non-Portable

My first soldering iron was from Big Lots and it set my mother back a whole $2. Definitely not the best, but it did make things burn and melt. I would recommend getting a slightly better one from Radio Shack, which I sadly still use due to the backorder of my new Weller station. If it wasn't for Ibanezfoo, i would have totally forgot to mention wattage. I would recommend no less than 20w and probably wouldn't go much above 30w. That is why adjustable stations are so nice.
UPDATE: I have finally received my Weller and man is it nice. Heats up to 550 F in less than a minute. After using that Radio Crap one for so long and waiting 5 min for it to get close to heating up, this is like heaven.

Step 3: Solder

Now you need some solder to get you squared away. I use Radio Shack's 60/40 (lead/tin ratio) Rosin Core .062 dia. Some use thinner solder, but i think this is a good size. All just personal preferance really. Another thing to note is to get as big as rolls as possible. As soon as you just buy a little tube, you will run out in the middle of a project so at least get 8oz. of the stuff.

Hopefully this helped a little and get out there and solder SAFELY.



    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest
    • Sweet Treats Challenge

      Sweet Treats Challenge
    • Warm and Fuzzy Contest

      Warm and Fuzzy Contest

    93 Discussions


    3 years ago

    this is my ks60r, it works vgud !! it's switched of that's why there's a blob of SOLDER on the tip , my tip is vvvv.shiny


    3 years ago

    my dad says : goot, Weller, hakko have no comparison , the internet and I agree , but where I live only goot is easily available , I bought a ks60r ,cuz it was in my range :14usd, I'd reccomnd it and if u have a budget of abt 40usd buy a goot px201 temp adjustable iron


    3 years ago

    I had a really bad IRON , then bought a suoer(Chinese) , better but nt v.gud , I bought a goot original ks60r(60watt) , for 14usd(1400pkrs) , its very good ! I'd prefer it , and if u cud go up to 40 dollars buy a temp adjustable px201 , its awesome and has a v.gud grip , I haven't used it but seen videos and I've seen it on a store !!!


    11 years ago

    ya NEVER buy the cold heat the tips break real easy and there 10.00$ a tip!!! I got mine and it doesnt really turn on when i put solder on its tip!!!! If you get the connection somehow it is inpossible to do anything.!!! REPEATING... NEVER BUY THE ((COLD HEAT))

    also use acid free,lead free solder (radio shack or dutchboy brand is good :-) )(lead, and its fumes can cause cancer!! ..eek!)

    16 replies

    crap....i have the archer brand and been using the same spool since i got the soldering iron (big spool) and it has a warning you can barely see that says it contains lead

    aww. that sux man. :-(. When i buy my solder, i go to the pluming section in The Home Depot, and i buy either Aluminum electrical solder, or more often 'safe pluming solder', because the safe stuff, you can use it in your pipe so its chem free ;-)

    every once in a while it will put off a little smoke but i just kinda lay back on breathing kinda and try not to breath it in

    ya, really ANY solder you use is bad to breath in, but lead is worse. And really i just dont use lead cause when ever i touch the soldered on item i have to wash my hands, but when i use aluminum solder i can just touch it and not worry about washing my hands ;-)

    I try to do my soldering outside. Don't have to worry about the fumes and if some solder sputters away I don't have to clean it up or worry that its going to melt something


    That sounds really serious... I'd look in to a little fume fan or something, they aren't all that expensive and they will save you lots of trouble, just check the link that shadymilk posted. I mean you can get a decent one that will not only recirculate the air, but clean it and cool you and your board off for like $75.

    don't worry too much all solder does that and it's not that bad for you... Also lead is not an all killing metal, I had lived in a house with lead pipes for years with my family and all I can say is that the water tasted better there... Lead paint on the other hand should be avoided like an std, my dad and I didn't realise the paint in the house was lead, we went at it with a haet gun and as a result we were coughing and spluttering for weeks afterwards... Lead solder aint too bad on it, just not every day of your life...

    Quotes: * Lead is a soft, heavy, toxic metal* *Like mercury, another heavy metal, lead is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bone over time.* *Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage nervous connections* There are just a couple of quotes from random sites, plus here is a Lead Safety Sheet: http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/l2347.htm and on a 5 or 6 point safety scale this is a 3 (cancer causing, witch yes killjackalope cancer can kill you...). So wile you probably will not be affected soon, you probably will get something bad later down the road.

    Oh crud, great to know, though i don't live there any more so all damage is done if ya know what I mean, being accumulative... By the way my dad died of cancer I know damn well that it can kill you... On the upside I'm likely to dies long before anything like that gets me, my luck has to run out sooner or later and considering the simply incredible number of near misses I've had I'm running out faster than many... I'm now wondering is that the reason for some of the strange bad nerves i have..., got one that's just trapped in each shoulder, and one on my upper thigh that make my voice jump up three octaves and knee to kick out... it's irregular and only in one leg so my guess is it aint the natural plan...

    lol ya that might b why. um honestly if that is really happening to you, you should go on a week detox diet. it will get rid of most of the heavy metals in your system (plus make you feel better).

    No it was more a joke they're long standing things from various injuries, but it's very annoying when a girl finds the one on my leg, lol not cool, my friend and I were messing about one night in the bar and she found it... I'm talking away to the barman, though I'm good at dealing with distractions, that always gets me, she found it and he was sitting laughing away because I'm good friends with him and we had had a discussion about amusing injuries so he just kept the conversation going so I couldn't stop her... After about ten minutes he turned round and said 'that's just mean' by which point my voice was hitting mika territory when she poked the nerve. It doesn't help that I have a naturally low and gravelly voice but very large range... any change is bovious and very ridiculous, being eleven and going from really low to normal eleven year old wasn't fun... Anyway back to point, yes i know it's bad and have went on a detox, when i went back to normal life it was wierd, I was nearly knocked out by my version of a cup of coffee... Apparently caffeine tolerances are quick to diminish and mine is usually very high. I have a pretty high metabolism though so no real worries of lower amounts of toxins... The heavy metal poisoning was clear at one point as I got the bads on my nails, turned out that a combinations of an old kettle, high dose vitamins and lead pipes were contributing (iron can give you the poisoning at high does, the vitamins contained a high dose of Iron and the kettle added.)

    the first part, i have no idea wtf ur talking about xD lol. Second part, ya after detox you whole body should be more regulated and normal, and ya actually anything in high consentration is very bad for you (really any metal in your system is bad, other than needed iron, just that lead easily can get in to you and lead can cause cancer + baaaaad other things) glad to see detox has worked for you in the past, honestly if you solder a lot do a detox once every 2 months or so.

    it wasn't lead it was overdosage of iron apparently or something, I never really found out but even iron can poison you and I had very slight poisoning, eg not dying just not good. I used to solder a hell of a lot with dirty cheap lead based solder due to my schools tight fistedness (they had loads of money and wouldn't buy lead free solder!) that was fairly rough on me, at the same time my dad and I attacked the house with paint strippers and hit some previously unknown lead paint. Those things together mess your lungs completely for months, it damages the lining epethilials or something and it's horrible. The first bit I was saying the bad nerves weren't really from heavy metal poisoning, sorry I sometimes make jokes with out explaining then I explain and people are confused. I no longer solder much at all any more but I do it outside because I had a permanent chesty cough when i soldered every day in school. One of my projects was a highly complicated intercom...

    ya :-\ . the best for health conserns would b plumbers solder. but i use non toxic electrical aluminum silver bearing solder :-). ...and u soldered at school???

    The flux is currently classified as a "unknown carcinogen" The fumes are not cancer causing, but if you inhale it for Extended periods of time, like 8+ hours, it can cause the following in order of badness:
    Light headedness
    Problem breathing
    ruptured lung

    The death part happens after 48hours of constant inhalation. USE A MINI COMPUTER FAN WORKS WELL =)