Earlier this year I had a really, really bad experience
attempting to get a new soldering iron. This time around I made my purchase through a reputable Japanese online retailer, and am now the proud and happy owner of a Hakko FX-950
Its an analog unit, and was discounted quite a bit as a result. Personally I'm happier with a rotary dial temperature control anyway.
This thing rocks! I've dragged my heels on getting a decent iron for so long its ridiculous. In my defense, I could always borrow a semi-decent one from work, so the pressure to buy my own was not as great as it otherwise might have been.
Top five reasons to spend the extra cash:
1. 70W, variable, closed loop temperature control. As much heat as you need, whenever you need it: the feedback loop means that the power is proportional to the conductance load: the tip will not cool down when heating up a large thermal mass.
2. Heats up to...