Types and factors to look for while buying a soldering iron
A soldering iron is a useful equipment that comprises a metallic tip with an insulated grip. When current is applied, the metallic tip heats the solder, which melts and fuses the metals, connecting them together. There are many various types of irons to pick from, depending on your requirements. The type of soldering jobs you do and how often you use the iron can both influence your purchasing choices. If you are planning to purchase a new soldering tool but aren't sure which one to get, this article will help you pick the right one.
Five common types of soldering iron:
Electric soldering iron
Unlike a butane iron that operates on fuel, electric soldering irons melt the solder wire by passing an electric current through a resistive heating element. As a result, most electric irons heat up quickly in a fraction of minutes, resulting in quick completion of the work or project.
In addition, most of these irons have temperature controls that allow you to set a desired operating temperature, making them ideal for beginners. These irons are categorized into three types, i.e., regulated soldering station, simple regulated, and simple unregulated irons.
These simple unregulated irons are very economical and effective. Like a long-thick pen, this soldering gun is enclosed in a plastic case and comes with a neon bulb to indicate power. The device can handle power outputs ranging from 5 to 30 Watts and have a two-pin power plug.
Simple regulated irons are much better in terms of performance than ordinary soldering irons. These devices have a little knob on the handle to control the temperature and are excellent enough for small operations that require a variable temperature. In addition, these mini soldering irons are low-priced, just like the ordinary soldering irons.
Used by expert hobbyists and novices, the high-performance regulated soldering guns comprise a soldering iron and a controller. The soldering device and controller are placed separately in a different enclosure with a power supply transformer. The controller and the handle of this station are connected via a lengthy connection. The controller's cable can be removed in a few devices to attach other irons of the same brand. The tips of the iron, which come in several sizes, can also be interchanged. The power of this device can range from 10 to 300 Watts.
Often the surfaces of both the solder and the base metal are contaminated with sweat, etching of the base metal, processing solutions from plating, and other components. Therefore, you must clean the surfaces before soldering to ensure better results.
Micro soldering iron
A process wherein a tiny piece of equipment is used to join ultra-fine wires, and microelectronic components is called micro soldering. Similar to conventional soldering, these irons also melt the solder material that joins two components together. A micro soldering iron is used in critical applications where the components to be joined are so tiny that you need a magnifying lens to see them.
A micro soldering iron is generally lightweight and comes with an easy-to-grip handpiece that allows you to work with more efficiency under microscopes and magnifying glasses. In addition, they are meticulously designed to reach even the smallest and farthest areas on the board. These irons are also helpful in repairing mobiles, motherboards, and other complex gadgets. These mobile soldering irons offer high precision soldering and have high-quality tips.
You must follow certain safety precautions while using these advanced soldering irons, like
- Wearing a safety mask and gloves
- Avoid touching the iron tip
- After using the soldering iron, put it back in its position
- Clean and remove the dust from the working board before soldering
Pencil soldering iron
While conventional iron has both the soldering tip and the heating element, a pencil soldering iron features only the soldering tip. As a result, they are designed to operate along with an existing soldering station. They are about the size and weight of a standard lead pencil. Moreover, they are simple to use and provide easy access to the most challenging locations of a circuit board.
Extremely durable and lightweight, soldering pen irons are typically used to join tiny electronics and electrical components. The optimal design further makes them perfect for DIY projects and repairing home electronic appliances. In addition, they generally have a cushioned foam grip for better handling and come with a replaceable heating element and iron-plated copper tip.
USB soldering iron
If your soldering work requires mobility and you don't have access to AC power, this USB soldering iron will allow you to operate without any electricity. Introduced in recent years, these irons are another wonderful device in the family of mini soldering irons. Compact size, safety, neat application, and portability are some of the key features of these irons.
They can be powered by a laptop battery, computer USB port, automobile battery, or any other battery with 12 to 25V. These portable, pocket-size innovative mini irons are helpful in various repair and fixing applications. They are usually equipped with LED screens to display the exact temperature. Other main characteristics of these irons include 65 Watts output power, 100-450C temperature range, and a USB-powered micro connector.
USB soldering irons are reprogrammable, which means you can reset the temperatures as per your requirements. This USB Type C soldering iron heats up quickly in a matter of seconds and is ideal for repairing broken headphones, microphones, XLR connections, circuit boards, and other small electrical devices quickly and easily. However, USB-powered irons are comparatively more expensive than the other types of soldering irons.
These devices are small in size, unique and work on the chemical energy produced by the burning of flammable gas and liquid. Most of the time, an open flame is employed to heat the tip of the iron.
A gas-powered iron consists of unequaled power output while also having a significantly greater power density. Even a little flame produces plenty of heat energy than a filament of equivalent size. The output power of these mini soldering irons ranges from 25 to 125 Watts, depending on the size.
Factors to consider before you buy a soldering iron:
It is important to know what to look for in a soldering iron before making a purchase. They aren't all made the same way. Because of these variances, some irons are better suited for specific uses. As a result, a model that works well for one application may not work well for another. When buying a soldering iron, there are a few things to keep in mind. Understanding these factors will help you choose the suitable iron for your soldering work.
A soldering iron's power output is measured in watts. It is one of the most significant characteristics of a soldering iron, which heats the tip rapidly and maintains a consistent temperature. The majority of today's versions provide between 20 and 60 watts of power, whereas reliable models offer a power output of 40 to 50 watts. The increased levels of power do not imply that there will be more heat. Instead, they ensure reliable performance as per your needs.
Every soldering iron gets hot, but there are two factors to keep in mind when it comes to temperature. Firstly, look for a model that allows you to adjust the temperature. Secondly, you should also make sure that the model you are considering can maintain the desired temperature. When soldering sensitive electrical components, this factor plays a crucial role because overheating might destroy the components. Unfortunately, some models are inaccurate, resulting in temperature fluctuations.
This can cause issues because certain projects require precise heat levels to achieve the best outcomes. As a result, it is critical to ensure that the model you buy is well-made and features adjustable temperature control.
Soldering irons come in a variety of types, shapes, and sizes. Each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. If you want to find the perfect iron for your needs, you must first understand the differences between these types. For example, soldering pen irons feature electronic variable temperature control. This function allows you to choose exact temperatures. These irons are ideal for a range of applications due to the ability to fine-tune the tool's temperature.
It is always wise to buy a soldering iron that comes with a few easy add-ons that increase its usage. For example, soldering irons with easy-to-change soldering iron tips and compatibility with a wide range of third-party soldering iron tips are excellent. In addition, a product that comes with a carrying case would be ideal for carrying anywhere. Therefore, purchase a high-quality model that offers additional features to increase its usage.
The last thing to think about is the price. There are a plethora of models available in the affordable price range. While a cheap soldering iron may not perform well, spending a small amount of money on one of these soldering tools is unnecessary. In fact, most users will be able to get outstanding results from irons that are priced in the mid-range. The most important considerations are how often you want to use the tool, what types of tasks you will be working on, and how much you are willing to pay.
We hope this article will help you choose the suitable soldering iron for the desired project or work. Also, we recommend that you look for a reputable supplier of soldering irons like Moglix since they usually have a large selection to help you choose the ideal one. Besides offering a wide collection range, the website also allows you to order in bulk quantities at relatively low prices.