Which soldering iron/station to pick?


2005-12-24 4:34 am
I am looking to replace my aging Radio Shack 25W soldering iron. I only do very occasional work like repairing my kids toys, some soldering of audio equipment or speaker cables every few months or so. No heavy duty jobs. I already own a stand so I was looking at getting just 25-30W iron but then I came across some inexpensive stations so now I need help deciding which one to buy. My budget is $50.

This is my first choice:

Weller WP25 soldering iron

Some soldering stations that also fit my budget:

Circuit Specialist soldering station (Hakko clone?)

Weller WLC100 soldering station



Ex-Moderator R.I.P.
2005-11-24 1:47 am
also look at availability of good replacement tips

I have a nice mains voltage Weller W61, and its getting harder to get tips
next time there might not be any
the best iron I have had
but sure could use a control station

25watt, is that really enough ?
I have one of the BlackJack SolderWerks BK2000 stations from Circuit Specialists, which I think is virtually identical to the CSI one you are looking at. It is excellent, no complaints, works well, heats fast, nice fine tips. I ordered extra tips when I got mine, it comes standard with a conical tip and I prefer the small chisel style. Spend the extra money on some good solder, extra tips, etc.
There are loads of Hakko clones if you look around on ebay. Especially for the 936 station. I got a Quakko (yeah no lie that's the name) 936 with 20 tips for I think $49.99 shipped a while back. Shipped from China so it took 3+ weeks to get here but the damn thing is a tank. I have used it to solder loads of stuff. It worked well enough to melt solder into a bundle of 6 12G wires (all wires were around 10ft in length).


2007-04-13 12:15 am
You can get a bonified Hakko from MCM electronics for less than 80.00 dollars. MCM also stocks most of the tips Hakko offers. I made the plunge from a Weller stick soldering iron a few years back and can say I love the Hakko iron. The wire lead is very flexible and never gets in the way. The adjustable heat control is a nice option. There seems to be plenty of reserve heat for the most demanding soldering tasks.
Changing tips takes about 10 second if you have the pliers handy. I do not foresee ever returning to the iron again.

I like Metcal/OKI a lot. Buy them used on Ebay or they are too expensive. Cartridges are in the 20-30USD range from Digikey and elsewhere. I do mostly SMT soldering on 0603 and smaller parts.

I second the Metcal. After you use a Metcal, everything else is a 'soldering tusk'. I own 2, my own at work and another at home. If you're patient on eBay, you should be able to score the parts (power supply, wand, stand) for $100-150 total. When therre is a good price on an item, I pick them up. This is a good time of year to troll as lots of folks are tapped out from the holidays and part with things they'd otherwise keep.

anyone tried to use one of the small gas iron, pyropen or whatever they are called ?

If you are referring to the "pencil" type with an integral small gas container and an adjustable flame tip, I wouldn't recommend it. I had one once. The first, and only time I used it, to do a small job in my car, it leaked gas, burned my hand, and almost set the carpet on fire!


Ex-Moderator R.I.P.
2005-11-24 1:47 am
The first, and only time I used it, to do a small job in my car, it leaked gas, burned my hand, and almost set the carpet on fire!

:eek: sound like a cheap faulty one

but we shall know soon enough, as I will buy a quality Portasol ;)

If I had a nice workbench I would surely like a solder station like Hakko or Metcal/OKi
Metcal/OKi seems to be more available in EU
Hakko appears to be more difficult to find, problems finding tips etc

though I kind of like the simple vintage toaster look of the new FX-888 Hakko :cool:
41Hz Audio - OKI PS-900 / Metcal solder station review

But I dont have a workbench
and tired of continiously hooking up my iron
so I hope the Portasol will be a nice "handy-tool"
well, tip life may be shorter, I suppose
and there may be issues with hot "exhaust air"

will report back very soon

btw, due to leadfree solder we seem to be in the middle of changes
whatever that means