The 15 Best Tools & Equipment for Soldering
Both the beginners and the professional engineers at some point of their life face the difficult moment when they have to choose the equipment and tools for soldering. Selecting the right equipment is never easy: some people watch hundreds of video guides and reviews from top YouTube bloggers, others spend hours after hours in chat rooms and forums, or read product reviews on the websites day after day. To save your precious time and patience, we have prepared the list of the 15 best products for soldering from ToolBoom.
Soldering iron is probably the most essential instrument for soldering.
Nowadays there is a huge selection of soldering irons of different kinds, but we would like to highlight the following ones:
- traditional soldering iron;
- USB soldering iron;
- gas-heated soldering iron;
- temperature controlled soldering iron.
Traditional soldering iron – a well-known and widely used instrument for soldering. When choosing the traditional iron, pay attention to its wattage. To solder electronic components, you would need 25-40 W soldering iron, for the household use pick 60 W one. In case you need to solder massive details or elements (thick wires, sheet metal, etc.), consider buying the soldering iron with higher wattage of at least 100 W or more.
USB soldering iron – one of the novelties of the modern soldering equipment market. You might not believe, but 8 W USB-powered soldering iron is a perfect choice for almost any small soldering job you can think of. But let’s look at the particular model, for example, Pro'sKit SI-168U.
One of its most distinctive features is that it’s powered through the regular USB port. Therefore, you can easily charge it with, for example, a power bank. Because of this, the USB soldering iron is a portable, and very easy to hold or carry around device.
Gas-heated soldering iron – another portable device.
Compared to the USB soldering iron, the gas-heated one is much more powerful, therefore more suitable for “heavy-duty” soldering of thick wires, copper tubes, and sheet metal. It also has a special feature – it can be used as a regular heat gun. One of the most popular models of gas-heated soldering irons is Goot GP-510SET, which sets apart from others due to its high quality and modern design.
Temperature controlled soldering iron – compared to the traditional soldering iron, the temperature-controlled one is undoubtedly more versatile. Featuring 60 W ceramic heater as well as the temperature controller in its handle, this soldering iron is suitable for both lead-free and regular lead soldering. The variety of temperature-controlled soldering irons is quite wide – from the low-end models to the expensive models for professional use.
One of the best professional models is GOOT PX-201 – a high-quality soldering iron with a wide selection of replaceable tips from the well-respected Japanese manufacturer. It is also often compared to the mini soldering station.
The Miniware TS100 programmable soldering iron is another interesting model that's entered the market recently. This is a compact soldering iron with digital display and temperature control. The soldering iron is handy and functional, as it comes with a built-in accelerometer and switches between working mode and sleep mode automatically. Convenient temperature control, lightweight, and high power make this tool a valid replacement for a portable soldering station. Besides, you can load new firmware into the tool. Another interesting feature is the wide supply voltage range: from 12 V to 24 V.
Soldering station – an indispensable instrument for soldering and electronics repairs. In general, soldering stations feature galvanic isolation that provides extra safety during the soldering. Also, compared to the traditional soldering iron, soldering stations allow you to control and adjust the temperature of the tip more precisely. All soldering stations can be divided into two types:
Regular contact soldering stations consist of the soldering iron and the control unit. Most of them are equipped with HAKKO 900M series soldering tips, and their wattage is around 50 W. In general, they are suitable for the majority of electronics works. However, they can’t be used for lead-free soldering. For lead-free soldering, we recommend using the soldering stations with HAKKO T12 series soldering tips, or lead-free induction soldering stations. These two options are more powerful (from 60 W to 90 W), and with a much lower heating time of the tips.
Hot Air Soldering stations – a multipurpose instrument for complex repairs of electronics. Unlike the regular soldering stations, these come with hot air guns, may be of different wattage, and can be used for a much wider range of soldering works – from the regular soldering to the soldering of SMD components. We would like to highlight Accta soldering stations due to their compact design and excellent heating and thermal stabilization.
If you are using the hot air gun to heat the electronic components, eventually, you may face the issue of overheating. To minimize the risks of components deformation or damage due to the temperature differences, we recommend using the preheaters. The preheaters are used to ensure even pre-heating of the PBCs, which is very useful when working with IC chips.
There are two types of preheaters:
- Hot Air Preheaters;
- Infrared Preheaters.
The soldering stations with infrared preheaters are much better, and this type of preheaters guarantees even and steady heating of the circuit boards. Moreover, there are complex soldering systems, for example, AOYUE Int866, which combine the functionality of hot air gun, soldering iron, and infrared preheater. These rework stations are nothing but an all-round solution for any workshop.
Soldering Iron Stand
Carefully selected soldering iron stand is a key for making the soldering process easy and comfortable. When choosing the soldering iron stand, take into account both the weight and the dimensions of the soldering iron. There are some models, for example, Pro'sKit 1PK-362D, that are compatible with almost any soldering iron. This particular soldering iron stand features a good correlation of the weight and dimensions and can hold the iron at different angles.
Circuit Board Holder (Soldering Helping Hand)
Circuit Board Holder, or sometimes called soldering helping hand, is another perfect addition to any soldering station, especially when it comes to the soldering of fine components. The clips of the holder can fix the objects in almost any position and at any angle. Apart from the alligator clips, the circuit board holders usually also come with a magnifying glass or soldering iron holder. Some models, for example, Pro'sKit SN-396, are all-in-one and come with both magnifying glass and the soldering iron holder.
The name of this device speaks for itself. But we will tell you more about where and how to use it. Desoldering pumps are super useful when working with the IC chips on the DIP-packages. There are few ways of removing the leftovers of solder: you can do it using tons of desoldering wick, which is economically inefficient; you can use the hot air gun for it, which is quite risky as you can overheat the microchip. Or you can simply use the desoldering pump and suck the solder up and out of the way quickly and easily.
The design of desoldering pumps is quite simple, and their price mostly depends on the material the pumps are made of. Plastic pumps, for example, Pro'sKit DP-366D, are pretty cheap. The aluminum ones, for example, Pro'sKit 908-366A, are more expensive.
Unlike the regular soldering helping hands, the working platforms allow for a more secure grip of the circuit boards when repairing or soldering. The surface of the working platforms has a special anti-static coating that prevents short circuits – extra useful when working with the circuits boards. In our online store, you can find different models of the working platforms. Simple yet practical AOYUE 326 has two modes of securing the circuit boards.
More complex and expensive models, for example, AOYUE 328 and AOYUE 488, feature additional holders for the hand tools as well as built-in fume extractor.
Kaisi F-204 has an additional support stand and a screwdriver for BGA reballing, rework, and other soldering work.
All soldering tips can be divided into three groups:
- Regular soldering tips;
- HAKKO 900M series soldering tips;
- HAKKO T12 series soldering tips.
There is also another type of soldering tips that become increasingly popular – soldering tips for inductive soldering stations.
Almost all soldering tips currently manufactured have a special non-stick coating. The number of manufacturers is just as impressive as the number of types of soldering tips they make. However, by the quality standards, we would like to highlight the Japanese manufacturer HAKKO. Aoyue also deserves mention. It makes high-quality Aoyue T series soldering tips, which can be used as a good alternative to famous HAKKO 900M series tips.
Both the original HAKKO T12B series tips and Aoyue T series tips are available in our online store.
Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner
Although the soldering tips are robust, they do require a small amount of maintenance, especially if you want them to have a long service life. Therefore, during the soldering process, you need to clean them from any accumulation of carbon and old solder.To clean the soldering iron tips, you have two options: the cleaning sponge, or the special dry cleaner that consists of soft metal shavings. . The cleaning sponges are quite cheap and practical. However, be prepared that using them will cause the soldering tip to lose its set temperature. To avoid this, use the second option – the dry cleaner, which is much more durable and allows for quality cleaning. The Japanese company Goot is considered to be one of the best manufacturers of high-quality cleaning products for soldering tips.
During the circuit board repairs, you constantly need to clean the leftovers of solder. To make this process quick and easy, we recommend using a desoldering wick. Desoldering wick is finely braided copper wire coated with rosin flux, capable of removing the excess solder in a simple and precise way. It also decreases the chances of overheating the circuit board and mounted components. When choosing desoldering wick, pay attention to its width. The most popular are the ones with the widths between 1,5 – 2 mm. And again, we would like to highlight the Goot desoldering wicks, which can be purchased in our online store.
Soldering Aid Tools Kit
The soldering process can sometimes be tricky, with a quick fix needed directly in the soldering area. You clearly won’t be able to do it with bare hands, but you can always refer to the specialized tool kits, for example, Pro'sKit 1PK-3616. This soldering iron tool kit consists of various hooks, scrapers, holders, clamps, and tweeters designed to make the soldering process easier. You will find a tool for anything from cleaning the old flux from the circuit boards to dismounting the IC chips and components.
Using the regular tweezers for all soldering and repair works is not fun. For convenient work with small details and components, you will need a bent nose or even reserve action tweezers. This is why you definitely need a good set of tweezers in your soldering and repair arsenal. One of the best multi-purpose options is Pro'sKit 808-389, which consists of 4 different tweezers and can be purchased in our online store.
We also have a wide range of single tweezers available. The antistatic tweezers, for example, are very useful when working with electronics sensitive to static electricity.
Vacuum Pick-Up Tools would be the perfect choice for mounting and dismount the IC chips.
USB Digital Microscope
Modern electronics repairs require a high level of accuracy and attention: when soldering tiny details and components, you need to be very careful and precise as these elements can be easily damaged. To make the repairs easier and less stressful, use the USB microscope.
Despite being more affordable than the traditional optical microscopes, they feature comparatively high-quality image resolution as well as magnification sufficient for any type of soldering and repairs. For example, let’s look at the Supereyes B008 model.
Just like the other models of this price category, Supereyes B008 has following advantages:
- fine multiplicity adjustment;
- built-in LED illumination;
- support of photo and video recording.
This microscope comes with an adjustable stand; it is portable and very easy in use. To find out more about the operation and purpose of Supereyes B008 microscope, we invite you to watch the below video review.
Power Supply Unit
Laboratory power suppliers have a practical application in both repairs and diagnostics of modern electronic devices. They can be used to supply the power to the motherboards of electronic devices, for example, smartphones, without using the battery. Moreover, you can adjust the current and the voltage, which is extremely helpful when repairing any type of electronic devices.
The power supply units with the wattage of up to 30 W and the current of up to 3 A, for example, UNI-T UTP3315TFL-II, can be used for almost any type of soldering and repair works.
Multimeter is a fundamental instrument for both soldering and repairs of modern electronics. Whether you need to check the voltage of the connection points of the motherboard or troubleshoot the electronic circuit, even the most affordable multimeter will be super handy.
In case you need a multi-purpose instrument, when choosing the multimeter, make sure it has the following measuring functions:
- capacitance measurement;
- resistance measurement;
- inductance measurement;
- diode testing;
- transistors troubleshooting.
Our online store has a wide range of multimeters. But we would like to highlight the UNI-T UTM 158D model – one of the best options for anyone dealing with electronics repairs.
We really hope that this article will help you choose and buy the right soldering equipment and accessories. The range of the soldering equipment of our online store is not limited to the above 15 products only. Therefore, in case you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact our technical support. We will always be happy to help and answer all your questions.