Are you looking for a soldering iron? Before you purchase the first product that you come across, there are a few things you should know. In order to find the best soldering kit, you should pay attention to the following tips and suggestions.
Learn more about soldering iron kits, including the best wattage, temperature range, and other features to look for.
What is a Soldering Iron Kit?
A soldering iron kit typically contains all the equipment you need to begin soldering – except the solder. Here are some of the main items you will find a typical soldering iron kit:
- Soldering iron
- De-soldering pump (solder sucker)
- Assist tools
- Assorted soldering tips
- Storage case or travel case
At the base of each kit is a soldering iron. This is a tool that is used to heat solder. Solder is typically made from lead or tin and used to bind metals that are not easy to bind, such as brass, silver, or gold.
Along with a soldering iron, soldering iron kits will also include a few tools, which part of the value of buying a kit. You get a few extra items for an affordable price. This may include other soldering tips that attach to your soldering iron, cleaning instruments, and a solder sucker.
A solder sucker (de-soldering pump) is used to remove heated solder. You can use this to remove existing solder or correct a mistake that you have made.
You may also find kits that include small utensils that are used to assist the soldering process. You can use various brushes and cutting, scraping, or pressing tools to get the solder exactly right.
Different Types of Soldering Irons
There are actually different types of soldering irons, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
For example, there are large, complex soldering systems used for machine work and repair. There are also soldering guns, which can generate heat quickly, but are not recommended for fine work, such as jewelry or circuit boards.
For most projects, you will use a soldering pencil. The pencil is light and narrow, which makes it easy to apply solder on small items. This is the standard tool sold with soldering iron kits.
Main Features to Look for in a Soldering Iron Kit
Whether you are searching for the basics or a deluxe kit with dozens of accessories, there are a few key features to pay attention. Regardless of the contents, the soldering iron kit should have a quality soldering iron. Look at the following features:
- Temperature control and range
- Wattage of the soldering iron
- Size and shape of the soldering tip
Temperature Control and Range
Soldering irons need to get hot in order to melt the solder. You should avoid soldering irons that have no temperature control unless you are just practicing how to use a soldering iron or performing a simple household job.
In the past, you would have needed a power station that connects to the soldering iron, in order to control the temperature. Now, the soldering pencils that you find in the best soldering iron kits, include adjustable temperature settings. The average range is between 200 and 450-degrees Fahrenheit. Though, you may need at least 600-degrees for jewelry work.
Wattage of the Soldering Iron
If the wattage of your soldering iron is too low, you may end up with bad solder joints. The soldering iron will have trouble keeping the solder properly heated.
Typically, you will want to look for a soldering iron between 40W and 60W. This is a good range for most projects. Even though you may only need 20W-30W for soldering small resistors or other tiny components, the 40W-60W range will still work just fine.
Size and Shape of the Soldering Tip
Depending on what you are soldering, you may need a different soldering tip. They come in various shapes and sizes to make it easier to apply solder to specific items.
For example, it may be easier to use one soldering tip for circuit boards and another for jewelry or other small projects.
Generally, the type of tip you use will be a personal preference. The standard shapes include the spade, conical, and screwdriver tips. Though, these come in a myriad of other sizes and variations.
So, if you want the best soldering iron kit, you should purchase a set that includes a few different soldering tips. This allows you to test out a few different sizes and shapes to get a feel for how they work.
How to Find the Best Soldering Kits for Beginners
The best kits for beginners will have a good selection of accessories, including various soldering tips. As mentioned, you will need to test out some of the shapes and sizes to get a better sense of how the solder is applied.
Along with a good selection of soldering tips, you should think about the types of projects you are going to be completing. Do you plan on working with small electronics or do you intend to use a soldering iron for jewelry? This will help you make the right choice and avoid getting unnecessary equipment.
Listed below are our top 5 soldering iron kits for beginners and casual users.
How to Find the Best Soldering Kits for Electronics
When shopping for soldering kits for electronics, you should search for kits that includes useful tools and accessories. Anti-static tweezers or other gear can help you as you add a resistor or perform small tasks.
Also, small tools used for cleaning up your solder can be incredibly useful. As for the wattage and temperature, the 40W-60W and 200-450-degree Fahrenheit range should meet your needs.
How to Find the Best Jewelry Soldering Kits
One of the main features to look for in soldering kits for jewelry is a high-temperature range. When you are working with electronics, you are primarily working with plastics and small pieces of metal, which allows for less heat. So, for the best jewelry soldering kits, try to find a soldering iron with a minimum temperature of 600-degrees Fahrenheit.
You will also want a wide soldering tip, such as the screwdriver tip. Though, it is always good to have a few other options available.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Soldering Kit
If you are just getting into soldering, then finding the best starter kit is not too difficult. You basically want a quality soldering iron that will hold up to repeated use. But, by purchasing a kit with extra tools, you can save some money.
Try to get a kit that comes equipped with extra soldering tips, assist tools, and possibly a solder sucker for quickly removing the solder. Compare your options. Look at the accessories and tools that come with the kit, while considering the types of projects that you will be completing.
Keep these tips in mind as you look for the best soldering kit or go ahead and explore the rest of the site for detailed reviews.