looking for a soldering iron

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Hey guys...

as embarrassing as it is, everything ive done up to this point i have crimped. I'm looking to get a soldering iron this holiday season. Can you give me some recommendations? I don't want it to cost too much, and I'd like to be able to get it at a local store like ACE or Home Depot. Does that "Cold Heat" crap work? Battery powered vs cordless? I just don't really know too much here guys. It will probably be mostly used on speakers, but maybe the option of using on something more heavy duty if need be would be a plus.

Any advice?


Look at the Hakko 936-12.

It is a Soldering Station with variable temperature. It keeps the tip within 1 to 2 degrees of the temperature you set. You can get different tips and even a larger or smaller irons too for work on from a PCB to making heavy connections on Speaker cables and Power Cables that are 10 AWG.

I bought mine in the Spring from here: http://www.tequipment.net/Hakko936-12.html?gclid=CJ-Rp7e8ppACFQIUPAodkAK87A

Great price and fast delivery. IMHO, you will NEVER regret this purchase! Get some (1lb.) Kester RMA 63/37 Rosin Core Eutectic Solder (#285) to be prepared for all electronics work!

Good luck and enjoy doing your soldering correctly!

I have had several soldering irons and the best one I have is a Weller WP-25(~$40). With a couple tips I use it from smd to about 14ga wire. Cheaper irons seem to have more difficulty transferring heat to the tip. The weller tips have a larger amount of material/ surface area to transfer the heat more effectively and you end up doing a better job.
I have not had anything more expensive like a soldering station.
Weller station !

I found an used one for $75 with digital temp (model EC2002).

My old philips iron is now taking dust.

Try to avoid new weller "low cost" stations that are not real "weller".

And avoid ceramic tips (low cost soldering station) : solder does not stick on it and it's realy hard to do a good job
My one supplier recently intoroduced me to the Quick series of soldering irons... they were always out of pocket's reach for me, but finaly they got stock of a more entry level (although I can't see why it is in any way inferior to their other irons).

The model is Quick936A I have seen some on the web but they seem to be an older model, the current model allows you to discconnect the soldering iron and its cable, it is also home calibrateable. It was just over $20 and I'm very happy with it...

Extra bits were less than $2 a piece

I realy love how the tip is hot in seconds as opposed to my cheapass iron which took minutes to warm up...

It also claims to be ESD safe...

come to think of it, quick936 / hakko936, maybe its the same thing?
Hi N,

I was looking at that one before I found the best price on the Hakko. It looks very similar, I remember it was around $40 - 50 USD and others on other forums said they may be the same. Another said it was a Chinese knockoff. So for $30 I got the Hakko to be safe and like you, I love it for all the same reasons! I also get cheap tips on eBay from China between $1 and 2 USD.

If you only will be soldering heavy duty stuff like speaker crossovers and connectors then look for a used Weller, one of those you plug direcly into the wall.

A soldering station is overkill for these kind of jobs and something you should look at when you really need it.

About a cheap solder station regulating tip temperature within +/- 1 degree... no way. Don't even think a Metcal does that, and if they do you know the price of those.. :)

Hi Peter,

Hakko says it maintains "Idle" temperature within 1 degree C.

Key word is "Idle". No load or soldering and maybe no tip even installed.

Even so. It does a nice job from PCB work to moderately heavy work and other Irons that use the same station and Tips allow that too!

Overall, I will never need to buy another! Most of the time I don't regret overbuying and with raising my commitment to DIY Electronics every day, this is easily justifiable.

As far as working with the Weller, I only had an old gun with two trigger positions (L/H) and copper elements. I hated it! But that isn't a fair comparison, They have a big following for a reason!

Check out this special price on the Xytronics 137ESD. (see pdf)

Add the end of year special discount and one unit should be under $70.00. If you buy three (with one free), the price drops to about $54.00 per unit.

Quality is excellent and the price can't be beat.



website: www.HowardElectronics.com

10% + 5% off on all items purchased thru our shopping cart during the month of December. Enter the word HOLIDAY in the discount code section of the shopping cart and your discount will automatically applied to your order. This offer is valid from 12/07/07 thru 01/07/08.
I had radioshack soldering irons for a while - if youre only doing occasional soldering, especially large crossover parts, get a 40W one. They are cheap (less than $20), and easy to come by. They do heat up a little, but if your not using it much, it will work perfectly fine. If you want another idea, check out circuitspecialists.com


They have cheap irons and stations. I've been using their 1A solder station ($35) for a while now, after losing my Weller, and I have no interest in buying anything more expensive (Just dont turn it up past 450C!!)
I've used all sorts in my career - from cheap nasties to weller, hakko and metcal. My favourite by far is the Metcal (now sold by Oki) - I own the PS-800. With just two tips (0.4mm cone and 2.5mm chisel) I can solder anything from tssop to copper shields on groundplanes. Not the cheapest iron - nor the dearest. Just the best.
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