A soldering station is a basic tool which keeps your iron close at hand for when you need it and prevents your workbench from becoming covered in burns. There are a number of good models out there, some very basic and some with more advanced features. Only the person who knows what he or she needs can determine the best soldering station for their particular needs. What I’ve learned, however, is that there are a few features that should be looked for when one is searching for one of these devices. Features that can mean the difference between merely a so-so station and the best soldering station available. With those features clearly in mind, I’ve decided to list what I feel are the best models that can be bought currently.
10. X-Tronic Model #4010-XTS
The X-Tronic Model #4010-XTS has features that make it useful for any workshop. It comes with a 60-Watt soldering iron that has a temperature range between 200 to 480-degrees Centigrade and comes with 10 soldering tips. The central unit has a brushed aluminum front display panel and an option that allows the user to switch between Centigrade or Fahrenheit reading on the Vacuum Fluorescent Display. Quick temperature correction and heating stabilization are built right into it as well. This unit also has a self-function test will intelligence on overloads and short circuits. This set also comes with a goose-neck lamp, tweezers, and an extra heating element.
9. Hakko FX-951-66
Designed for users who do a lot of soldering on a daily basis, this station has the power and the durability for even non-stop work. It comes with an iron that is about 188mm long and uses about 70-Watts of electricity. It can heat up between 200 and 450-degrees Centigrade thanks to its composite heater and comes with a station that has an output voltage of 24-Volts. This kit also has a digital temperature display. The holder is also adjustable so that it can be used while the user is standing up or while they are seated, so they can work in a way that’s comfortable for them.
8. Weller WLC100
Everything a person needs to begin working right away, except for the actual solder, is included in this kit. It comes with a lightweight pencil iron that comes with an ST3 iron-plated copper tip, a replaceable heating element and has a comfortable padded grip. The holder itself comes with an on/off switch, and variable power controls that are easily adjustable from 5-watts up to 40-watts. And the power switch is lighted, so the user doesn’t accidentally leave the iron on when they are done with their soldering. This makes this a useful tool for any DIY enthusiast or hobbyist.
7. Whatnot Widgets 12-Piece Kit
This twelve piece kit comes with everything a person needs to get right down to their soldering work. At the heart of this kit is an adjustable temperature iron with a 30 to a 50-Watt range that can be heated from 200 to 500-degrees Celsius. This iron has a clear plastic handle and has a 110-Volt 2-prong electric cord. Also in this kit is a pair of helping hands that are equipped with a 2X magnifier and two alligator clips, an iron stand, a solder wire pen, a brass tip cleaner and cleaner holder, a desoldering pump, 2mmx1.5-meters of desoldering wire and a hard plastic case.
6. Aoyue 469 60-Watt Variable Power
The Aoye 469 comes with the main station, a platform, a cleaning tray with a sponge, a spring-type iron holder, a solder spool stand, manual and a 60-Watt iron that’s equipped with a T-I tip size. The iron has a temperature range of 200-degrees to 480-degrees Celsius and has a long-lasting PTC element that not only allows it to quickly heat up but also allows it to achieve an accurate temperature. The main unit has a variable temperature control, and a dual-color LED that shows temperature status. This makes this a useful station for hobbyists of all types.
5. Sealody Digital Station With Stand SSA51
This set comes with a power unit, an aluminum stand, a brass solder tip cleaning wire, a sponge and an iron. Its 55-Watt iron heats up quickly and efficiently to the desired temperature between 180 and 450-degrees Celsius. The digital displays on this unit show the precise temperature, and it has two buttons which allow the user to raise or lower the unit’s temperature. With a heavy-duty stand that keeps the iron at a safe angle, this unit is good for beginning hobbyists or DIY enthusiasts and is both easy-to-use and safe. It also comes with a handy instruction manual.
4. ANBES 60-Watt Kit
Fourteen different pieces can be found in this kit. These pieces include a PU carrying bag, a pair of tweezers, wire stripper cutters, an iron stand, a tin wire tube, a desoldering pump, five soldering iron tips and an iron. It has a working voltage of 110-Volts and 60-Watts of power. It can deliver a temperature range between 200 and 450-degrees Celsius, and the iron uses 900M series tips. This makes this kit a useful accessory for anyone who works with circuit boards, does jewelry welding or repairs home appliances.
3. Weller WES51 Analog Station
Easily adjustable from 350 to 850-degrees and ESD-safe, this analog station is ideal for just about any DIY enthusiast or hobbyist. It’s built-in heater and sensor combination allows the unit to quickly reach temperature and allows for quick temperature recovery while it’s being used. While it doesn’t have the digital displays like many contemporary units now have, it does offer reliability and durability all in one. This system comes with a slim comfortable to use pencil iron and comes with a stand and a sponge. And the unit has a sleep function that can be used to turn it off after 99-minutes of inactivity.
2. X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS
This complete kit is not only a useful kit that’s easy enough for beginners to use but also has the controls that many professionals can appreciate. It comes with a blue LED fully-adjustable LED temperature display, has an auto cool-down function, a switch that allows the display to be switched between Celsius and Fahrenheit and a ten-minute sleep timer. It also has a PID Technology Program built into it that allow it to monitor the actual temperature of the 75-Watt iron’s heating element and tip so it can make adjustments as needed. This unit also comes with an iron holder, solder roll holder, brass sponge tip cleaner and cleaning flux.
1. Hakko FX888D-23BY Station
This workstation comes with an iron holder, a sponge, a cleaning wire, manual, a t18-d16 tip and a soldering iron. This unit has a 2-digit user interface that allows the user to access the unit’s features such as adjusting its temperature. This unit can be used to solder at lower temperature sets for working with sensitive electronics and has a thermal recovery rise time back up to 350-degrees Celsius within 20-seconds. This well-built and durable system is sure to do the job it was designed to do and is ideal for anyone who needs to get their soldering work done efficiently.
A Guide To Buying The Best Soldering Station
Soldering stations are extremely important tools that place the most common soldering tools within reach of the user. Although what exactly is equipped on these tools may vary from manufacturer, most of these stations include a soldering iron, desoldering tweezers, a desoldering gun, a hot air gun, an infrared heater or some combination of these components. And all of these tools are then presented in a package that fits on most desks or workbenches quite easily. This enables a person to do their soldering work more quickly and efficiently than if they had assembled all of these tools separately and laid them all about their workstation.
Since there are so many different types of stations available, it can be difficult for the average person to find one that best suits their needs. And that’s why we’ve decided to write this guide. We hope that this little soldering station guide will give the consumer all of the information they need to confidently buy the best soldering station they can.
Step One: Begin With The Gun
Any serious guide on the soldering station is going to recommend taking a look at the soldering iron itself before considering anything else. That’s because the iron is the heart of the system, and if you buy a soldering station with a poorly designed iron, then you’re not going to get the results that you want. And to decide if the soldering iron that comes with the station is worth anything, the consumer should consider 3 main areas: Wattage, Temperature Control, and the tool’s Tip. Although we’ve gone over these in our previous guide on soldering irons, it is important enough for us to reiterate their importance here, so allow us a moment to do a brief overview of each of these main points.
- Wattage: Different soldering guns have different wattage levels, so it’s really up to the consumer to consider their own personal needs. However, no matter what gun is chosen, it should be at least 30-watts. Anything less powerful than that is basically worthless when soldering parts.
- Temperature Control: Another thing to consider is the temperature control of the gun. Not all guns manufactured have temperature control, some of them merely get hot. However, not everyone needs temperature control on their soldering gun, so it is something to seriously think about. If you don’t need it, then don’t worry about it. If you do need temperature control, however, be sure to get one with an easy-to-use variable control for the best results.
- Replaceable Tips: To keep things short and simple, it’s important to buy a soldering iron that has a replaceable tip, which not all guns have. If your gun doesn’t have a replaceable tip, then you can be sure you’ll burn through the one that’s equipped on it in no time flat, so always be sure to buy one that uses replaceable tips.
Step Two: The Soldering Station’s Controls
The next thing to seriously think about are the controls used to operate the soldering station. Although getting into an in-depth discussion of solder station controls would necessitate an article larger in scope than this one, there are a few things that we can discuss in the space we have available, so let’s go ahead and do a quick summary. When looking at the station’s controls, consider whether or not it has an easy-to-read display, whether it can easily be changed from Centigrade to Fahrenheit, and whether it has an On/Off switch that’s located in a convenient spot on the unit. Also check whether the unit has a sleep timer, automatic shutoff, or other features that make it safer to use.
Step Three: Some Questions To Consider
The above features are what we consider to be the basic considerations for buying a basic soldering station. However, if you truly are looking for something better than a basic model and are instead looking for the best soldering station available, then you may want to keep the following features in mind as well. Although not every person will need or want the same features, there are some questions that a person should ask themselves before they commit to a new station. Below are some of the more important of these questions to consider.
- Do you need Tin/Lead Stations or Lead-Free Soldering Stations?
- Do you need digital or analog soldering stations?
- Do you need infrared or hot-air assisted soldering stations?
- What desoldering tools do you prefer?
- Does the station come as part of a kit with tin, tin snips and other tools?
- Does the station come in a hard case?