Best Soldering Iron For DIY Enthusiasts

Best Soldering Iron For DIY Enthusiasts

Designed to weld circuits but used for a bunch of other purposes, a soldering iron is an essential tool in a DIYer’s  workshop.

There’s a bountiful range of soldering irons on today’s market ideal for beginners and hobbyists. But from so many options, how to choose the right one?

The first thing is to evaluate your purpose. What temperature might you need? Would you need special soldering tips? Do you have a tight budget or could you choose a high-end tool?

These questions are often overwhelming, that’s why I hope to bring some light. Check out this guide to choosing a soldering iron for domestic use.

Or, if you’re in a hurry, click on the links below to check the features and specs of the best soldering irons on the market.

Designed to weld circuits but used for a bunch of other purposes, a soldering iron is an essential tool in a DIYer’s  workshop.

There’s a bountiful range of soldering irons on today’s market ideal for beginners and hobbyists. But from so many options, how to choose the right one?

The first thing is to evaluate your purpose. What temperature might you need? Would you need special soldering tips? Do you have a tight budget or could you choose a high-end tool?

These questions are often overwhelming, that’s why I hope to bring some light. Check out this guide to choosing a soldering iron for domestic use.

Or, if you’re in a hurry, click on the links below to check the features and specs of the best soldering irons on the market.

What Is A Soldering Iron Used For?

Soldering irons are primarily used to design or repair electronics and circuits, but their versatility has made them a tool of choice in many alternative projects. A soldering iron is a tool that uses “cold” heat to weld parts that have to be joined.

To do this, the tool melts an iron-free metal, called solder, on the ends of the parts, joining them together.

Besides circuit design and electronic repairs, soldering irons are successfully used for the DIY arts and crafts, for applications that go from jewelry making to the creation of musical instruments. These applications often promote the use of precious metal solders, such as silver.

But a hot soldering iron with a sharp tip can also be used to engrave wood. Most crafters use this tool to create intricate shapes on wooden boards.

The art of stained glass also requires a soldering iron and lead-free solder. In fact, making stained glass is easier than it seems. Just draw the pattern on the glass, melt solder along the lines, and paint the pieces in the colors of your choice.

Mosaics can also be made in a similar way, but in this case, you’ll have to use the solder to join ceramic pieces together.

If you don’t like arts and crafts and aren’t so talented to repair electronics by yourself, a soldering iron can still be a useful tool to have. You can use it for a bunch of household applications, from fixing appliances to plumbing.

For instance, you can use the soldering iron to fix a broken wire or to repair copper pipes. Yes, it takes a little practice to get the things done properly, but the method is faster and cheaper than calling in a qualified professional.

How To Choose A Soldering Iron?

Power

The power of a soldering iron can vary from 40W to over 100W and it determines the efficiency of the tool. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to invest in the soldering iron with the highest wattage.

For some projects, 40W may be more than sufficient.  This is the case of wood carving, but in jewelry making 40W may also suffice. Certainly, a higher wattage means the iron will warm up faster and that it can reach higher temperatures.

However, a higher wattage may also mean a higher cost. So, analyze your needs and your budget, investing in an iron that best reflects both.

Temperature Range

Most soldering irons designed for domestic use have variable temperatures between 392 and 842°F. The difference is explained by the existence of various types of solder which have various melting temperatures.

A variable temperature range ensures an optimization of the resources because it takes more power to reach a higher temperature.

There are also soldering irons that have a broader temperature range and again, just choose the most adequate tool.

Accessories

Soldering irons are rarely sold by themselves. The simplest kits include a soldering iron and a station that you can use to hold the hot iron and to regulate temperature and power. Other irons come with a whole set of tools and accessories.

The most common are the soldering tips, which can range from sharp and pointy to thick. Different tips ensure the suitability for a wider range of applications.

Another common accessory is a desoldering pump, a small tool which blows compressed air over the soldered area to remove old solder or residues.

Useful accessories also include the solder itself, a sponge to clean the tip, tweezers, and other small items with various applications.

Once you’ve considered all these points, just roam the market to find the tool most suitable for you. To help you with your choice, I’ve reviewed five of the most popular tools. Check out their specs and performance below.

Best Soldering Iron For DIY Applications

1. ANBES 60W Soldering Iron Kit

ANBES is an entry-level soldering iron kit comprising a 60W soldering iron with a support station and a range of accessories designed for student, professional, or DIY applications. The iron boasts unique features, such as a heat and impact the resistant design of the screw thread.

Designed to heat up fast and to be suitable for a wide range of applications, the iron has a variable temperature between 392 and 842°F and is portable.

ANBES 60W Soldering Iron Kit

Among the 14 accessories included in the kit, the most useful is perhaps the desoldering pump which boasts a rugged metal construction and a sturdy aluminum frame. This design ensures an easy one-handed use.

Another great accessory is the secure base which makes the iron safer than others on the market. The base accommodates the tool in a spring support and has a sponge that allows you to clean surplus solder without the risk of getting burned.

Things We Liked
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    14-piece kit: this soldering iron comes with a wide range of accessories. The kit includes a desoldering pump, a sturdy base, multiple soldering tips and solder, tweezers, wire stripper cutter, and more.
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    Construction: both the iron and the desoldering pump are made of sturdy materials and boast a rugged construction which improves grip.
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    Portability: this iron is easy to carry thanks to the comfortable case. All accessories have their own space and it’s easy to keep the space organized.
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    Performance: this soldering iron warms up in seconds and is very easy to use. Keep the hot iron on the soldering station to prevent burns.

2. Weller 40W Soldering Station

Weller 40W Soldering Station

Weller soldering station doesn’t come with endless accessories and it doesn’t have the versatility of the ANBES unit, but its durability and resistance make it a great alternative. What impresses about this unit is its built.

The soldering station is sturdy and inspires quality. The high-performance analog station produces temperatures up to 900°F and comes with a variable power control dial which allows users to adjust the power from 5 to 40 watts.

This ensures accuracy while ensuring an optimal energy consumption. The iron-plated tip is also ST3 certified for performance and the unit is ideal for domestic projects, arts, and crafts, or beginners. The station comes with a built-in soldering holder.

Independently tested to meet all safety standards, this simple soldering station with iron is a high-quality product ideal for a wide range of applications.

Things We Liked
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    Soldering iron: the iron included is a high-quality and lightweight unit. It boasts a cushioned grip and a solid iron-plated tip designed for precision soldering.
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    Soldering holder: the convenient soldering holder is designed to hold your iron securely and comes with a cleaning sponge that seamlessly removes any unwanted residue from the tip.
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    Heating element: this unit is designed with durability in mind and it comes with a replaceable heating element.
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    Tip compatibility: the iron comes with a single tip but the manufacturer produces an array of compatible accessories, including a range of tips.

3. X-Tronic Digital Display Soldering Iron Station

If you’re looking for something more powerful, X-Tronic boasts a digital display soldering iron station with iron that delivers an excellent value for the money. The soldering station comprises a spring support and a tip cleaner and sponge.

This station comes with a powerful 75-watt soldering iron with ergonomic grips and it has an adjustable temperature range that varies between 392 and 896°F. The temperature is indicated on an LCD display for convenience.

X-Tronic Digital Display Soldering Iron Station

Other features include Magic Temp Technology and 10-minutes sleep times with blue LED display and C/F function to set the temperature in the desired unit.

The tip is made of high-quality metal and the pen design of the soldering iron improves grip. A thing we like was the impressive stability of the temperature that varies with no more than 3.6°F.

Things We Liked
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    Performance: with a power up to 75W, this is one of the most performing soldering irons for DIY and home use.
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    Tip cleaner: this soldering station comes with more than a sponge. It also includes a brass sponge tip cleaner and a cleaning flux solution.
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    Guarantee: the product is backed up by a 3-year 100% repair guarantee which covers the parts and labor. A 30-days money-back guarantee also comes in the purchase.
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    Functions: the soldering station includes a stainless iron holder and a solder roll holder beside the sponges and cleaner.

4. Hakko Digital Soldering Station

Hakko Digital Soldering Station

Hakko Digital proposes a more expensive but high-quality soldering iron and station with a variable temperature range and 70W maximum power. However, the price is somehow hard to justify for a product intended to use for DIY projects.

Costs apart, the soldering station is built with safety in mind and comes with a quality soldering iron and tip, a holder, cleaning wire, and a sponge.

The adjustable temperature control allows you to set the desired temperature up to 662°F, which is quite low compared to similar stations on the market.

What we liked in the analog convenience of the adjustments combined with the convenience of the digital display. The heat management is great and it only takes about 20 seconds for the iron to get hot. The temperature drop is also magnificently controlled during continuous work.

Things We Liked
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    Footprint: this soldering station is compact and fairly lightweight. It occupies a little space on the bench, which is a great advantage.
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    Iron holder functions: the iron holder boasts a functional design and incorporates a cleaning sponge, a cleaning wire with rubber cleaner and a protective tip cap.
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    Color choice: aesthetics come second when choosing a soldering iron. However, this model is available in either silver or blue and yellow options.
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    Password function: the soldering station allows you to lock the settings and prevent other users from changing them. A preset temperature mode is also available.

5. Tabiger 60W Soldering Iron Kit

Tabiger is another fantastic soldering iron to consider for your DIY projects. This is an entry-level unit available at a ridiculously cheap price. Obviously, you can’t expect the quality of a Hakko unit, but his tool still does what it’s supposed to do surprisingly well.

The iron is designed to heat up quickly and to dissipate heat efficiently. It needs less than two minutes to reach the temperature, which varies from 392 to 842°F. What makes the iron different is an upgraded steel-pipe design that promotes heat dissipation.

Tabiger 60W Soldering Iron Kit

Another thing we like is that the unit comes in a kit comprising 11 pieces. One of them is a decent desoldering pump, but the product also includes five versatile soldering tips, a stand, solder, and sponge.

Coming with a portable storage toolbox, this kit brings great value for money and is an ideal gift for any DIYer. Thanks to its affordability and versatility, the unit is ideal to use for welding jewelry and circuits, repair appliances, or do arts and crafts.

Things We Liked
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    Affordability: this soldering iron kit includes 11 pieces and comes at a very cheap price. Most users, including us, have been happy with its performance.
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    Heat efficiency: the iron impresses with an exceptional heat management. It heats up in less than two minutes and boasts a great heat dissipation efficiency.
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    Carrying case: the unit comes with a plastic carry case which is convenient to store the iron but also other small tools.
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    Versatility: the kit comprises a desoldering pump, five soldering tips, a stand, tweezers, solder and a sponge.

Conclusion & Final Pick

Choosing the best soldering iron is harder than it seems. The units come with important differences between them and, undoubtedly, the most heavy-duty are those composed of a solid soldering station with controls and a quality pen iron.

Nonetheless, the unit that impressed me the most is the ANBES 60W Soldering Iron Kit. It’s true that this unit doesn’t impress with its durability or resistance. It has a short lifespan and doesn’t ensure an exceptional heat management. Yet, it’s versatile.

And that’s what matters the most when looking for a DIY soldering iron. The unit comes in a kit comprising 13 other accessories, including a reliable desoldering pump.

Variable temperature ensures suitability for a host of projects while the five tips allow you to use the iron for multiple applications.

The price is also exceptional. Coming in a lovely carry case, this soldering iron can make a beautiful gift for a DIY aficionado and is sturdy enough to resist intensive use. And in the end, you can simply replace it once it stops working. In my opinion, the unit delivers great value for the money and is the ideal option for home use.