There isn’t a soldering station that I would class as “the best value soldering station for the money”, it all depends on what you will be using the station for, how often you will be using the station and if you need the extra soldering tools that some of the stations come bundled with.
For example, some of the featured soldering stations such as the X-tronic’s come with a bundle of extras that would suit a beginner or someone wanting to upgrade their existing equipment. If you are a seasoned user with your own kit you may not want all the extras.
If you are only going to be soldering small components on to PCBs (printed circuit boards) then you won’t need a large wattage station. If you are planning to solder thick gauge wires and components with large ground planes then a higher wattage station might be a good choice. It is usually better to go for a higher wattage station if you need to solder a variety of small and large items.
All of the featured soldering stations should cope with most soldering projects.
Low Price Soldering Stations
Then there is the price consideration to take into account. Soldering stations start from around $50 for a very basic soldering station and go up into the thousands for the professional quality stations such as the Metcal soldering station range. Hakko, X-tronic, Weller and Aoyue all produce low price soldering stations under $100 that should cope with most soldering projects. These soldering stations are ideal for hobbyists (r/c cars etc), electronics repairs, guitar repairs and many more projects.
Hot air rework soldering stations
Reworking is the term used for the refinishing or repair of a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, this usually involves the de-soldering and re-soldering of surface-mounted electronic components.
Hot air Rework soldering stations are a combination of a soldering station and a hot air blower. The hot air blower usually has interchangeable nozzles that restrict or increase the outlet size of the air flow for soldering / de-soldering small or large components. The air pressure and temperature can also be controlled. Take a look at our Rework soldering station mini reviews here.
So how do you find the perfect soldering station?
- Read our Guide below
- Read the Best Soldering Station reviews
- Look at the comparison chart
- Read the Amazon reviews
Good value soldering station recommendations
How To Choose a soldering station for your needs and requirements:
If you are new to soldering, or you’ve been doing it for a while and you just want to upgrade your equipment, choosing a soldering station and tools can be a daunting task. However, by narrowing down soldering stations into the main components, the process can become much simpler.
Below you can find a basic guide to choosing the best overall value soldering station for your needs.
The Key Components
· Wattage – By choosing the right wattage, you can ensure that the power level is right for the project at hand, as well as also ensure that it is adjustable to meet the wide range of needs of your projects.
· Soldering Iron – Making sure you have the right soldering iron for the job is essential. If you have an inappropriate, heavy or wrongly weighted soldering iron, it can cause problems and result in less than desirable consequences.
· Temperature Control – Your station should allow you to control the temperature so that you always have exactly the right temperature. Soldering at temperatures that are too high or too low can be ineffective, at best, and dangerous, at worst.
· Tip Size and Shape – There are different types of tip sizes and shapes to accommodate a wide range of tasks. Ensuring that you have the right one will be helpful in accomplishing your task with efficiency and accuracy.
Here are the basics you should know about wattage, why it’s important, and how to select soldering equipment that give you the right amount.
· Power Is Key – The amount of wattage is not equivalent to the amount of heat. Wattage is simply a matter of how much power the soldering tool has. If your soldering iron has low wattage, it may end up losing heat faster than it can replace it.
· 20-30W – This wattage level is likely too low, and will not provide enough power for most jobs.
· 40-50W – This range is a good range for most electrical and other projects. While higher end is usually better, you can expect good results and solid soldering joints with a wattage in this range.
· 50W – 80W This is ideal. If you can find a 50W-80W soldering tool, it will be right for almost any project you need to do.
2. Soldering Iron
The Iron should be both lightweight and comfortable to hold. The cord from the station to the Iron needs to be long, flexible and designed to withstand heat and damage. The heating element within the Iron should be readily obtainable and easily changed.
3. Temperature Control
Having temperature control is a very important aspect of a soldering station if you are going to be doing fine soldering on small components. Certain metals, circuitry and sensitive materials can be stripped by a soldering tool that is too hot and other crucial components can be damaged permanently. If you are doing fine soldering work, a variable temperature soldering station would be best for you. Another asset would be a digital LED readout so that you can see exactly what temperature the iron is operating at.
4. Electro Static Discharge (ESD)
ESD Safe – ESD (Electro Static Discharge) can cause major problems when working on electronic equipment. Even a tiny amount of static discharge can be enough to damage or destroy a component.
ESD safe equipment prevents static build up by grounding the iron. All of the featured stations are ESD safe.
5. Tip Size and Shape
Make sure that the tip you choose is the right size. Too large and you may end up soldering things you didn’t mean to solder, and too small of a tip can have the opposite effect and leave weak soldering joints. You want to choose the right shape, too. There are a wide range of options here, and we are in the process of writing an article covering the best soldering station tips to use for different types of soldering.
Choosing a soldering tool can be difficult with all of the options available. However, hopefully the above information has been helpful to you in finding out what type of soldering station would be best for the type of soldering you normally do. Paying attention to wattage, heat control, type of iron, temperature control, and tip size and shape is a great start to ensuring you are choosing the best soldering station for your needs.
Learn more about soldering from http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Practical_Electronics/Soldering
What do you think the best value soldering station for the money is. Leave a reply below.