What are the Different Types of Soldering Irons?

A soldering iron can come in handy in many projects, such as DIY crafts and working with your kids. Soldering irons use a material called solder, which is a slim piece of metal that, once under heat, melts and bonds items together when it cools. Solder is typically used to conjoin wires or transistor leads, and in order to solder items together, you must use a soldering iron.

Even though these tools are easy to use, there are different types best suited for different projects. It’s important to understand that there are different attributes to consider when it comes to deciding which type of soldering iron is best for you.

The four main factors to consider when choosing a soldering iron are:
1) Wattage
2) Type of the soldering iron
3) Temperature control
4) Tip size and shape

Generally speaking, there are 4 different types of soldering irons:

1. Soldering pencil:

Soldering pencils are a simple soldering tool that can be used for simple DIY projects. Soldering pencils range between $10-30. Soldering pencil is not recommended for fine soldering projects since they do not provide any control of the temperature on the iron tip. When too much heat is applied to the soldering material, it can result in the components beginning to peel or becoming damaged.

2. Soldering station:

A soldering station, on the other hand, consists of a soldering pencil attached to a power station. The power station has controls for setting the wanted temperature on the tip of the soldering iron. The iron tip is automatically kept at an appropriate temperature. Soldering stations can be used for most soldering projects including soldering of through-hole components and very fine surface-mount components. The price ranges from $40-150.

3 . Soldering systems (rework /repair stations):

Soldering systems are complex systems mostly used in high-volume manufacturing facilities. Soldering systems usually consist of several hand pieces including soldering iron, hot-air gun, de-soldering gun, thermo-tweezers and so on. The price of the soldering systems is in the wide range of $250 - $2500. This is not the most suitable option for DIY projects.

4. Soldering guns

The main part of a soldering gun is a transformer which converts 110 V AC to a lower voltage. A secondary winding of transformer has only one turn: it produces low voltage and several hundred amperes of current since primary of transformer is connected to 110 V AC. Soldering guns can be quickly and easily turned on and off and they have very short warm up time. Even though soldering guns are easy to use, they’re not recommended for fine work on circuit boards, because they generate too much heat. This can damage circuit board or components on it. The price ranges from $20-70.


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Nikolas James