If you are an electrical or electronics engineer, technician or student, you definitely know the importance of soldering irons. This amazing tool is very helpful when you are gonna build or fix electronic circuits.
There are many soldering irons and stations available in the market. But In this guide we will discuss some best soldering iron for electronics students, beginners or hobbyists. The soldering kits we discuss here are suitable for prototype circuit boards of final year projects of students, hobby models, small home appliances, PCB.
What factors should you consider before buying a soldering iron kit?
Purchasing an electronics soldering kit entirely depends upon your needs because electronic components and design of the circuit board vary with respect to applications. But before buying the tools of your own choice, someone must keep these factors in mind.
Definitely the price should be the first priority before buying anything. Some irons have plenty of features but all of those are not usable especially for a student, beginner or hobbyist. Those specs increase the soldering iron price.
This is the second most important factor. The kits between 20W and 70W are acceptable for many simple electronic circuit board joints. For simple and a small circuit board, the range of 25W-30W is good. But we recommend you to choose between 40-70 watts because they regulate more energy to the tip of the soldering rod. So you will have good solder joints.
The soldering set of lower wattage maintains less energy to the tip. Hence soldering tip can lose heat very quickly which not only results in a bad solder joint but you have to heat it up again and again.
3. Temperature Control
Temperature control is the core component. It is very crucial specifically at the tip. As we discussed above the less heat at the tip results in a bad solder joint but too much heat can damage the circuit board.
Some irons come with temperature control. The ones (like soldering pencils) without temperature control are cheap. But you should buy one with adjustable temperature control so you can adjust the heat at the tip as per your requirement.
You will find various types in the market with different features and uses. Some might meet the criterion you have set such as tip compatibility, availability of parts and accessories, large display and adjustable temperature control. You should make a checklist of your requirements in face of the intended application. After that you come to a point either you need a simple soldering pencil or a soldering machine with all required specs you can’t compromise.
It’s a good practice to make another list of those specs you don’t require right now or in the near future. This not only saves your cost but makes your decision easy to pick up the best soldering station for you.
Best Soldering Iron for Electronics Students and Beginners
Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station
FX888D Hakko digital soldering iron is an updated version of the very famous FX-888 solder. It has the capability to store up to 5 preset temperatures with password protection control. The design is very compact and takes very less space. Wide selection of tips available for soldering SMD and through-hole applications.
Weller Soldering Station WE 1010NA
Weller soldering iron is a good entry-level kit for students, beginners and hobbyists. It enables you to save your settings with a password. Moreover the temperature lock feature stops the heat levels from wavering. You can quickly change out hot tips by turning the plastic knurled nut located on the soldering pencil by hand.
X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS
The X-tronic 3020 is a low cost, 60W solder. This model comes with the Magic Temperature Compensation technology program which detects the temperature of the tip every 20ms and corrects it to the set degrees. The machine goes into sleep mode after 10 minutes of idle state.
Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station
This comes with a variable power control that lets you accurately adjust the level from 5-40W with a simple turn of the knob. This is a cheap solder as compared to three products mentioned above. This can work on hobby models and small home appliances repairs.
Weller BL60MP Battery Powered Soldering Iron
This product is cordless and runs on Li-ion batteries. Very lightweight and you can easily hold it to work on SMD (Surface mount device) type components and many other tasks. The compact design makes it extremely comfortable to carry with you on remote jobs.
UY Chan TS100 Soldering Iron
Another better solder kit option is TS100. It comes with more practical features and it is highly portable. Heats up pretty quick. There is a small overlay display variable right on the soldering pencil which displays the temperature. It also has a programmable temperature control feature which is not available in BL60MP. Just connect to your computer and program it as per the requirements. We recommend this economical 12 voltage battery operated solder for home use. Perfect for some outdoor repairing, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, FPV multirotor and other similar systems.
Delcast 30 Watt Precision Tip Soldering Iron
The Delcast precision tip is a small soldering iron. It comes with no adjustable temp control. You should consider it if you have a very tight budget and need only basic operation very often. The energy consumption is 30W, so it takes time to warm up. Other things like cleaner, stand, base unit are not included in the package.
Types of Soldering Iron
This simple electric solder looks like a pencil. It contains only a soldering pencil, a power cable and a switch to directly connect to the wall socket. It comes with or without any temperature control/adjust mechanism.
Cordless Soldering Iron
Cordless irons use batteries for heating purposes. Due to this property they are very portable. Their run time depends on the energy consumption and capacity of batteries.
Basically a soldering iron, soldering stand, display screen and s cleaning sponge makes a complete soldering station. They can be divided into two units i.e the base (display, stand, power wire and a sponge to clean the tip) unit and the soldering iron unit.
Some soldering iron accessories you must have…
- Desoldering Wick which is also known as solder wick is finely braided 18 to 42 AWG copper wire coated with rosin flux, usually supplied on a roll. used to remove soldered components. The connections are heated with a soldering iron until the solder melts and is wicked into the braid by capillary action.
- Desoldering Pump which is also known as solder sucker used to remove the solder from the printed circuit board after removing the components.
- Lead Solder Wire made with an alloy of lead and tin. The alloy with a ratio of 60/40 is good because it has a small melting point. The lead free wire has a high melting point and is expensive too. Because it contains tin, silver and copper.
- Solder Mat to make your repair work easy and to protect the surface. You can also place some necessary things on the mat while soldering. Many mats have built-in small boxes to place screws and other small parts.
- PCB Stand oe Helping Hands to hold your circuit or other components.