Whether you’re a DIYer, or a professional, you need a good soldering iron. You want your soldering iron to be reliable, stable, and above all – cheap. Why spend thousands on a soldering iron and a station? Even ultra-cheap soldering irons can do the work.
The cheap soldering irons we’ll present can achieve it all. Starting from the simpler tasks, you can successfully use it to solder your broken jewelry. Moreover, you can also complete more complicated tasks. Best soldering irons of 2018 are common in tasks involving electronics. From guitars to circuit boards – there isn’t a job you can’t tackle.
Now, you may think that you don’t need a soldering gun or an iron in your equipment. As a matter of fact, this review will show just the opposite. Even with cheaper soldering iron, you can repair numerous items in your household. Interested in cheap soldering stations and irons? Keep on reading.
Best Soldering Iron Of 2018
Best soldering irons offer versatility above everything else. Regardless of the position of the station, it is important to use a full face protection mask. If you’re in the market for a good cheap soldering iron, it is important to consider the station, too. Let’s proceed to the list of the top 11 best soldering irons of 2018 for both DIYers and professionals.
|10.5 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|Kendal 853D||7.5 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|X-TRONIC||17.3 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
(Good For Beginners)
|3.8 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|Kendal 898D+||5.2 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|X-Tronic 5040-XR3||15 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|Hakko FX888D-23BY||2.6 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|Weller WESD51||4.5 pounds||1 year||Check Price|
|X-Tronic 3020-XTS||1 pound||1 year||Check Price|
|Mark Ethan||11 pounds||N/A||Check Price|
|4.5 pounds||1 year||Check Price|
These 11 models are by all means the best soldering irons on the market. Not only are they cheap, but they have a diverse purpose, and some of them even have a digital soldering station. With these handy models, you can easily solder anything from jewelry to electronic automotive wiring. They are lightweight, and therefore very easy to use.
1. Weller WD1001 - Series Soldering Station
Weller soldering iron, unlike soldering guns, comes with a soldering station. It is able to recover and heat up in a matter of minutes. This trait makes it easy to use, especially for DIYers. It guarantees quick thermal recovery, whether you’re working on jewelry or automotive wiring.
A convenient feature of this model is that the heater is in the handle. This means that even if the tip fails, you can continue to use the device. The heater remains in the same state. To be able to adjust the device easily, there are 3 preset buttons. These preset programs allow you to adjust the device and change the temperature in a second.
There are also other features of this cheap soldering iron that are very convenient. Lockout, offset, temperature standby and such settings are also programmable.
The majority of customers seem to enjoy the product, as well as the station. Its soldering station seems to be what gets the most praise in these reviews. Besides the station, the customers enjoy the overall design of the product. Since this is one of the best irons with the best soldering station, there are hardly any negative reviews. The only negative comments regard the quality of the build itself.
- quick thermal recovery
- the heater remains even if the tip fails
- numerous settings and programmable
- certain customers feel that the built of the station and the entire unit isn’t as good
2. Kendal 853D – Best Solidering Iron for Electronic
Just like most of the best irons, this Kendal model has its own soldering station. Not only can it achieve the desired temperature quickly, it is also able to maintain it. This is an extremely important property when working with irons with soldering stations.
This cheap model definitely doesn’t lack in quality. It has a 15V DC power supply, as well as a meter test. It is easy to use, while also being safe. You can adjust both the temperature and the flow rate on your own. The temperature can go from 100 to 480˚ Celsius.
This model with its own soldering station allows you to complete both soldering and desoldering tasks. The stable station guarantees efficient soldering of stained glass, as well as circuit boards. Therefore, it is a great device even for DIYers who don’t have much experience.
According to some reviews, both the soldering station and the hot air station caused a mishap after a single use. There are also a couple more reviews which justify of malfunctions after only a few uses. Most of the complaints regard the soldering station. Another target of these negative remarks are also the replacement parts.
- comes with a soldering station and a hot air station
- allows you to adjust the temperature and the flow rate
- great for both soldering and desoldering tasks
- certain customers experienced the soldering station, as well as the hot air station failure after only a couple of uses
3. X-Tronic 5040-XTS - Best For Budget
This cheap X-Tronic soldering iron comes with all the required accessories and parts. First of all, there’s a hot air soldering station, which is one of the best soldering stations out there. In addition to this station, there’s also a preheating station. What makes this model extremely versatile is that it includes both an iron and a soldering gun. The iron is 70Watt, while the hot air soldering gun is 500Watt.
Since the entire unit is completely digital, you won’t have any trouble managing it. You can easily switch from Centigrade to Fahrenheit, or vice versa. This option applies to the station, the preheating station, and the hot air soldering gun.
There’s a rather negative review which includes a picture as a proof. In addition, other reviews also justify it. Apparently, the product catches fire if it overheats. While there are numerous positive reviews, the reported issues are very serious.
- includes a hot air soldering station, as well as a preheating station, and a hot air soldering gun
- it is digital and allows you to adjust the settings
- easy to manage
- apparently it can catch fire if it overheats
4. Kendal 937D – Good For Beginners
This incredibly cheap soldering iron can tackle even detailed work such as circuit boards, or stained glass. Something that a good soldering iron must include is the best soldering station. It’ll allow both professionals and DIYers to accomplish the best results.
To keep track of the entire process, there’s a LED digital display. You can adjust the temperature accordingly to the task and its object. You can set the temperature anywhere between 200 and 480˚ C. It is important to mention that the manufacturer guarantees quality and durability of the unit design.
Certain reviews state that the digital LED display doesn’t show the correct information regarding the temperature. This can be particularly tricky, especially if you’re working on more delicate objects. Contrary of what the manufacturer promises, some users find the design to be of poor quality. However, since we’re talking about a very cheap device, customers still appreciate its performance.
- very cheap
- has a LED digital display
- you can adjust the temperature anywhere between 200 and 480˚ C
- some customers seem to find the design to be of poor quality
5. Kendal 898D+ - Complete Circuit Boards
Here we have another great cheap Kendal soldering iron. Diversity is something that all users, including DIYers, can appreciate. Since you can adjust both the temperature and the air flow rate, there’s hardly anything you can’t do. Since the soldering gun heats up quickly, you won’t be wasting time. Once you set the desired temperature, it’ll remain at that level. You don’t have to worry about any mishaps regarding the temperature control.
It includes a brushless fan. The versatility is more than apparent, since you can use it for both soldering and desoldering. Moreover, the package includes accessories, such as nozzles, extractor, and iron tips.
Some customers experienced a failure quickly after they’ve started using the soldering iron. However, the majority of users love the device.
- adjustable temperature and air flow rate
- heats up quickly
- you can use it for both soldering and desoldering
- some customers experienced the soldering iron failing quickly
6. X-Tronic 5040-XR3 – Include Sponge Cleaner
This device in particular gives you absolute control of the temperature. Although it isn’t among the very cheap models, its quality justifies the price. The entire system is digital, allowing you to decide every single step. This kind of digital system is amazing with detailed, sensitive work.
The unit includes a 70Watt soldering iron, as well as a 500Watt hot air soldering gun. Additionally, there’s a preheating station of 700Watt. Speaking of detailed work, it requires a good lighting. Any task that involves precision is unimaginable without a magnifying lamp. The unit involves a high quality magnifying lamp for all your tasks which demand precision.
In case of any malfunction or problem, there’s a 1 year warranty. The warranty covers all parts, and guarantees fix and rebuild.
Among all the praises, it is rather challenging trying to discover objective bad comments. Some customers feel that, at first, the device wasn’t reliable enough. Others weren’t very pleased with the quality control. However, countless customers absolutely adore the device. They love the versatility, as well as the design.
- digital system – reliable temperature control
- includes a soldering iron, a hot air soldering gun, as well as a preheating station
- there’s a 1-year warranty for all parts
- some customers didn’t find the device very reliable at first
7. Hakko FX888D-23BY - Stained Glass
This Hakko model is a reliable, affordable soldering iron for various tasks. What you need in a good soldering iron is the possibility of managing the process. This will give you a sense of security and precision. You want to be able to control every single part of the process for the best result. Without a doubt, this is something that Hakko digital technology offers.
The model has quick thermal recovery, to avoid overheating. Also, this property ensures the possibility of frequent use. Additionally, you can solder at lower temperatures and still achieve the desired result. This is particularly convenient when working on delicate surfaces. You’ll also prolong the life of the components this way.
Some customers find that the interface of the product isn’t satisfactory. Others state that the temperature isn’t as stable as the manufacturer claims. However, there are many more positive reviews in which customers show their appreciation.
- has a reliable, precise digital technology for best results
- able to achieve thermal recovery quickly
- you can use it to solder on lower temperatures
- certain customers feel that the interface isn’t as satisfactory
8. Weller WESD51 – Affordable Digital Soldering Station
To be able to complete the job successfully, you have to control the temperature. If it’s too high, you can damage the item. Then again, if it’s too low, certain demanding tasks won’t be complete. The Weller soldering iron has an electronic system. It allows you to adjust the temperature and keep it at a certain level. Since the device has a built-in heater, it takes seconds to heat up. Also, it offers rapid temperature recovery, thanks to the sensor.
The temperature lockout setting takes care of the security part. There’s no possibility of the temperature going over the adequate level for a particular task. Not only is this crucial for the success of the job, but also for your own security. The user can also control the station temperature.
According to some reviews, the soldering pencil changed its shape due to high temperature. Apparently, the soldering pencil can’t endure high temperatures. On the other hand, some users had a more unpleasant experience. After only a couple uses, or a year in one case, the unit stopped working.
- has a reliable electronic system which allows temperature adjustment
- heats up quickly and has a rapid temperature recovery
- temperature lockout setting for protection
- the soldering pencil seems to be of poor quality
9. X-Tronic 3020-XTS - Iron Station For Automotive Wiring
This premium X-Tronic soldering iron model offers numerous possibilities. Since it has a LED digital display, you’ll be able to follow the entire procedure. There’s a quality soldering station which will offer you security and preciseness. A good soldering station is a must with any kind of task. The station also has a 10-minute sleep setting. This particular feature allows you do make a break, and it also offers great protection.
Once you complete the task, the device cools down automatically. This setting also contributes to the overall security. What you get with this soldering iron is a solder roll holder, a cleaner for soldering tips, as well as a cleaning solution. Most importantly, the soldering iron grip is heat-resistant, and easy to manage.
You can switch from Centigrade to Fahrenheit in a second. Also, once the temperature is set, it remains stable.
A number of customers find that the device is appropriate for simpler jobs. Apparently, they don’t feel that this soldering iron would achieve great results in more demanding tasks. A general feel is that many customers put their trust in this soldering iron.
- has a LED digital display
- station with a 10-minute sleep feature
- automatic cool-down
- some customers feel that it is more of a ‘hobby’ soldering iron, not as professional
10. Mark Ethan 968DB+ - Air Rework Station For Arduino
Nothing beats a simple, easy operation, where you don’t have to spend days figuring out the system. The Mark Ethan soldering iron includes everything you need in a unit such as this. There’s a reliable soldering station, a smoke absorber, and a vacuum. Of course, there’s also a high-quality soldering iron.
The unit can achieve the desired temperature rather quickly. You get to decide to temperature to compliment the item and the task. Once it reaches the temperature, it maintains it. This gives you reliability and security you need in a soldering iron.
The smoke absorber is one of the most innovative accessories in a soldering iron. You’ll hardly find this kind of accessory in any other soldering iron. This feature is very convenient for your working environment.
Among numerous positive reviews, you’ll come across a couple complaints. These complaints regard the level of professionalism you can reach with this device. Apparently, the device doesn’t fulfill user’s expectations when it comes to bigger tasks. According to these customers, this is a perfect soldering iron for beginners.
- includes a smoke absorber , a soldering station, and a vacuum
- achieves the desired temperature quickly & maintains it
- easy to use and adapt to the task
- apparently, it is more of a beginner’s level device
11. Weller WES51 (Editor’s Choice)
Heat control is crucial for precise, successful soldering. The entire outcome of the process depends upon the ability of the device to reach the temperature. Also, once that happens, it is important for the iron to maintain it at this level. This Weller soldering iron is able to do just that, providing ultimate reliability. Thanks to its electronic control system, you’ll be in charge of every section of the procedure.
In case the temperature rises above the recommended maximum, your item can experience damage. To avoid this case scenario, Weller incorporated a useful feature. Having a wireless temperature lockout, it stops it from passing the security boundary.
Moreover, this model offers a precise, durable soldering pencil of stainless steel. This means that even in high temperatures it will not change its shape. It is easy to use, and appropriate for delicate, precise work, as well as bigger jobs.
According to the customer reviews, there aren’t many things that we could consider flaws of this model. As a matter of fact, the majority of users find this model extremely versatile. Apparently, it is great for both professional use and amateur work. The existing complains regard the issues regarding the delivery.
- electronic control system for stable temperature level
- wireless temperature lockout
- quality, precise soldering pencil
Soldering Irons 's Buyer Guide
What Is A Soldering Iron?
Soldering irons are tools which can help you repair, or alter different kinds of items. Using heat, these tools, which can even be cordless, create a connection between pieces. It usually has different purposes, and a wide use. You can use one for electronic tasks, but also for DIY projects. Less challenging tasks involve repairing your jewelry, or household items.
The composition of the unit varies from one type to another. However, in most of the cases, there’s a main unit, and a soldering tool. Sometimes, the unit also includes a soldering station. If not, you can buy the station separately. Of course, the mobility of the device depends on whether or not it is cordless.
The difference between a corded and a cordless soldering iron is in the power supply. Cordless devices usually have batteries, and a limited run time. On the other hand, corded soldering irons don’t have this limitation.
To sum it up: soldering irons can repair and connect different items and pieces. You can use them for items such as circuit boards, or musical instruments. There are numerous factors which decide the quality of a soldering iron.
Soldering Iron: What We Tested, What We Found
When discussing power, the first thing that comes in mind is the power source. Different types of soldering irons have different power supplies. This choice in particular can decide the level of performance of the device. There are corded and cordless soldering irons. Obviously, corded devices require a power outlet, and their mobility is limited by the length of the cord.
On the other hand, there are cordless soldering irons which are far more mobile. However, their limitation is in the power source itself. Since they usually use batteries, they offer a limited supply of power. Obviously, after a certain period, you’ll have to recharge your cordless device. This can be a big setback, especially with bigger tasks.
The amount of power the device can offer in its performance is also a deciding factor. It can make or break the success of a soldering iron. If you intend on using your soldering iron for bigger tasks, especially professionally, choose wisely. Perhaps you should go with a corded device instead of cordless irons in this case.
Also, make sure to check if the device is ESD safe. You want to stay as safe as possible, and avoid any jeopardizing situations.
To get to a satisfactory result, you must be able to control the process. Even if you’re a beginner and you don’t know much about soldering, this will make it easier. Having control will give you a sense of security. But, more importantly, you’ll be able to adjust the device to the task. For instance, more complex jobs such as repairing a circuit board require a lot of precision.
You want to be in charge of the temperature control. The more adjustable the temperature is – the better. Temperature variations make a huge difference in soldering. Since different tasks require different temperatures, this is crucial.
An important part of soldering iron is a soldering station. It is crucial for control, since it allows you to position the item you’re working on. While you can find these separately, the best 2-in-1 soldering irons include this feature.
Digital soldering irons do offer more control than other types. They usually have a LED digital display which allows you to monitor every single step of the way. Advanced soldering irons offer the possibility of different setting adjustments. Not only can you monitor the process, but you can also make the important decisions. Therefore, this allows you to customize the process and achieve your goal.
Since soldering irons use heat and produce hot air, control is very important. It can be an important factor when it comes to your safety.
Durability & Value
It is always frustrating not being happy with the device you spent your money on. No matter how affordable it was, you still want to have it for a long time. Devices such as soldering irons work under a great amount of pressure, due to the heat. High temperatures can damage even the best of designs. This is why soldering irons must have strong, durable constructions which will endure the pressure. Therefore, what determines the durability is the very construction.
Always make sure to choose the heat-resistant materials in soldering irons. These materials will ensure that your soldering iron lasts a long time. Besides the very unit, pay attention to the quality of the accessories and other parts. You want them to last a very long time, as well. For instance, take the quality of the soldering pen into account. Although you can find a replacement for these parts, why have any additional expenses?
The quality of the design also determines the value of the product. Durability, resistance, ease of use, and versatility all affect the concept of value. Always opt for a mixture of all the important factors. If you neglect any of these, you may end up disappointed. Lastly, but not of less importance, is your safety. Always keep in mind that your comfort and personal safety come first. This is a crucial factor when it comes to devices which use heat.
Types Of Soldering Irons
Most of the soldering irons you’ll find belong to this particular category. It doesn’t offer a great variety of settings, but it does a great job with smaller tasks. Its power capacity doesn’t exceed 35Watts. Also, there’s usually no possibility of temperature control with this type. Understandably, these soldering irons aren’t very popular among professionals. However, as an amateur, you can definitely find this type useful. It is simple, easy to use, and powerful enough for simple tasks.
On the other hand, if you need to take care of bigger issues, simple irons probably aren’t the right choice for you.
The term soldering station actually involves the entire unit. These units contain a station, as well as a soldering iron. While some soldering irons don’t have a station, these devices combine all the important parts for successful soldering. In addition, soldering station often include a LED digital display, as well a system which controls the temperature. Many other important elements make up a complex soldering station unit.
These units also can involve additional accessories. Some of them have a vacuum, as well as a hot air gun. As you can see in the product reviews, many of the best soldering irons include these items.
Soldering tweezers are miniature versions of simple soldering irons. They literally resemble tweezers, which can complete smaller tasks. They consist of two separate electrical terminals. Obviously, due to their limited performance possibilities, they aren’t suitable for everything. Customers usually use them to repair smaller items, such as batteries. They are precise enough to deal with such precise work. Also, their shape allows you to manage and position them accordingly. Finally, they lack the settings and properties that soldering stations possess.
Just like the name itself says, a soldering gun does resemble a gun in its design. It is a cordless soldering device which isn’t very popular among professionals. Therefore, this tool is a great replacement for a soldering iron, if you’re an amateur. Due to its simplicity and shape, it is great for DIY projects around the house. They don’t need a lot of time to cool, which makes them suitable and safe for beginners.
Due to its power and the level of heat they achieve, these devices shouldn’t be in a beginner’s collection. Being extremely powerful, and therefore dangerous, only professionals can handle them. They usually utilize propane gas or similar power sources. Soldering torches are, therefore, devices for bigger jobs. Therefore, these jobs definitely do not include smaller DIY projects.
Soldering Iron Tips
Find The Right Kind
First and foremost, make sure to choose the right kind. As you can see, there are different kinds of soldering devices. Perhaps a soldering station isn’t what you need in the first place. Eliminate other alternatives before you decide to invest in a soldering iron. Perhaps your DIY projects require a soldering gun rather than a full-blown soldering iron. Take a good look at your expectations and goals. Then, do your research about different types of soldering devices.
Consider The Features
Make sure to consider all different kinds of features. We’ve already discussed the majority of these soldering iron characteristics. Depending on the seriousness of the task, you need to prioritize different things. For example, if you’re working on a bigger project, you need more power. For smaller items, you’ll need a very precise soldering pen. Different features can influence your decision.
Safety Comes First
Something you simply can’t neglect is your safety. When working with heat, it is important to wear adequate protection. This will ensure that you stay safe, even if you commit an error. Also, besides the protection, there’s the safety factor in unit itself. Many soldering irons have built-in security systems, especially regarding temperature control. It is always wiser to go with these soldering irons. After all, you’ll have fewer things to worry about.
Quality Of The Design
Make sure to check the durability of the design. You want to be able to use your soldering device for a long time. Of course, you want to get your money’s worth. Well, the secret is in the material choice. Therefore, always gravitate toward materials which can endure the high heat.
Soldering iron can be a great addition to your DIY equipment. It can come in handy when repairing different household items, and completing smaller tasks. If you’re a professional, you’re already familiar with all the benefits of this versatile tool. Needless to say, it is an extremely useful, smart tool which can make complicated jobs much easier. Soldering iron allows you to engage in any kind of task with precision, absolute control, and efficiency.
As you can see, the level of your professionalism is of great importance when it comes to soldering irons. Not only do you want to stay safe, but you want to avoid damaging your goods. Therefore, be objective when it comes to choice of the right type of soldering iron for you. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced user, pay attention to the specifications and details. The possibilities are endless with good soldering irons.