Best Soldering Iron | UK Guide | 2021
The best soldering iron is an essential tool for carrying out maintenance of delicate circuitry and electronics, although they can also be used to make models or work on small projects. Soldering irons allow you to weld metals and other material at high temperatures, with the fine tip of the soldering pen providing you with amazing levels of precision.
Although basic soldering irons are ideal for model makers, those looking to undertake more precise work may want to invest in a more advanced soldering station. Need some help finding the perfect soldering product for your projects? Our buying guide will guide you in the right direction to find the best soldering iron for you.
What is a Soldering Iron?
Soldering irons are designed to allow you to weld very small pieces of metal together, creating solid bonds for circuitry or electrical equipment. They can also be used to weld metal together for other purposes, such as metal sculpting, jewellery making or model building. The most basic of soldering irons can achieve temperatures of around 400 degrees Celsius, although more advanced soldering stations can achieve much higher temperatures. Because of the high temperatures achieved, soldering irons must be handled with care. However, all soldering irons include a heat-resistant handle that allows you to work comfortably with them.
Soldering Irons or Soldering Stations?
If you want to save money, you can purchase a standard soldering iron that includes little more than a pen-shaped soldering tool with an attached power cord. However, you may want to spend a bit more money on a soldering iron that also includes a stand and additional soldering tips. A soldering station is a more advanced option.
These units are temperature-controlled devices that usually allow you to reach much higher temperatures. The base unit of a soldering station will include dial controls for adjusting temperatures, as well as a large screen with temperature information displayed. Soldering stations will also include a soldering iron stand, along with other useful safety features.
Temperature Ranges & Heating Time
If you are already familiar with soldering and have specific requirements in mind, you should consider temperature ranges and heat-up times when selecting a new soldering iron. As previously mentioned, soldering stations tend to provide the most range when it comes to temperature. Heat-up time is particularly important if you want to enjoy maximum productivity. The best soldering irons will bring the tip up to a suitable temperature in as little as a few seconds.
Pretty much any soldering iron can be adapted with interchangeable tips. These allow you to work at different temperatures and allow you to meld material of different thicknesses. When choosing a soldering iron, opt for a model that includes at least a few additional tips so you can make full use of your new tool straight away.
Other Essential Extras
More extensive soldering iron sets will include useful extras. Solder wire is one such extra to look out for. Solder wire is the material used to bind joints when soldering. If you are new to the world of soldering and are unfamiliar with solder materials, opting for a soldering iron that comes with some of this material packaged along with it gives you something to practice with. Solder wick is another useful accessory to have included along with your soldering iron. This is used to remove existing solder from joints.
Product Reviews – The Best Soldering Irons
Need a new soldering iron? Below is our personal pick of eight of the best soldering iron options currently available.
Soldering Iron Kit, Tabiger 60W Welding Tools with Adjustable Temp 200-450°C and ON/Off Switch, 5 Soldering Tips, Desoldering Pump, Solder Wire, Wire Stripper Cutter, Stand, Tool Case
This complete soldering iron kit from Tabiger is a great investment for those who want to upgrade their hobbyist essentials. Even if you have never used a soldering iron before, this quality kit makes learning the ropes easy. With its user-friendly on/off switch and quick heat-up times, this soldering iron can be used safely at all times. You also have an adjustable temperature range to make use of, making this ideal for undertaking projects with a range of meal materials.
This soldering iron uses ceramic technology to ensure temperatures rise quickly, which not only speeds up productivity, but also lessens energy consumption. The soldering iron also features plenty of ventilation holes, ensuring the internal heat levels quickly dissipate to prevent overheating issues. This soldering iron is also easy to maintain and clean, while the iron stand ensures there is no risk of injury, even if you decide to leave your soldering iron engaged as you carry out other tasks. A range of accessories are included, with a range of tips, a solder wick, solder wire and stripper cutters all thrown in.
Fuyit LCD Soldering Iron Kit 15pcs Welding Tool Set with Thermostatic Digital-Controlled Pen 60W 220V Adjustable Temperature 180°C- 480°C with Lead Free Solder Wire 100g
This Fuyit soldering kit has all you need to undertake a variety of small scale welding projects. The soldering iron pen will suit the requirements of those planning to undertake smaller soldering tasks. The LCD screen is a particularly nice touch here, giving you clear readings of temperature settings. You can also easily adjust the temperature so you can melt a variety of metal materials. The adjustable temperature range is particularly expansive, with precise adjustments possible so you never need to worry about damaging material pieces. The ceramic core also delivers superior heat-up times, with temperatures attained in as little as 36 seconds. With six ventilation holes, you also do not need to worry about your soldering iron overheating.
The ergonomic profile of the soldering pen makes this kit comfortable to work with, while also allowing you to be precise as you solder. A complete set of accessories is also included, with a selection of additional tips, a soldering stand, cleaning sponge and curved tweeze on offer along with the main soldering pen.
If you only need a basic soldering iron tool, the Silverline 643115 is a cheap and effective solution. This hardy soldering iron is designed with general soldering applications in mind and can be used to carry out work with circuit boards, thin pieces of wire and more sensitive components. With an impressive temperature range, this soldering pen will consistently achieve the melting points required for a range of tasks. The precision tip also makes it well suited to handling delicate work.
Although very affordable, this soldering pin comes with little in the way of accessories beyond a safety sheet. The electric cable is also fairly limiting, so you will need to stick close to an electrical outlet when using it. If you want the additional benefits of a soldering stand, extra tips and cleaning accessories, you are better off investigating a complete soldering kit package. However, if you only need to replace a soldering pen itself and don’t want to spend much money, the Silverline 643115 is a good choice.
LONOVE Soldering Station – 60W Soldering Iron Station Kit 90°C-480°C Adjustable Temperature, LED Display, Sleep Function, C/F Switch, 2 Helping Hands, 5 Extra Solder Tips & 1 Solder Wire
This LONOVE soldering station is perfect for those who need something more than a standard soldering pen. With its heavy-duty power station, this soldering pen can provide you with much higher temperatures than a standard soldering iron. It also achieves high temperatures more quickly than a standard pen, with fast heating in as little as six seconds. Because of its high-performance potential, it is an effective alternative to welding equipment if you only need to work with smaller materials, such as circuitry or wiring.
The anti-static design of this soldering station makes it a very safe option. The LED display is also very useful, providing you with complete oversight of temperatures and allowing you to make fine adjustments. With its protective core shield, this soldering station is also designed with a long operational life in mind. The stainless steel design of the soldering iron itself will massively extend the life of your product, preventing melted materials from causing any damage to the most essential part of your soldering station.
Dremel Versatip 2000 Cordless Soldering Iron – Butane Gas Soldering Kit with 6 Interchangeable Tips for Welding, Wood Burning, Pyrography, Jewellery Making, Arts and Crafts
The Dremel Versatip 2000 is a high-performance alternative to a more basic soldering iron. In fact, this 6-in-1 gas torch will allow you to undertake heat embossing, pyrography, paint removal tasks with ease. With six interchangeable tips included, you can jump between applications in moments. This soldering iron also benefits from cordless design, meaning you do not need to remain close to a mains power outlet to carry out work. As this soldering iron is powered by butane gas, you can enjoy complete flexibility when working with the Dremel Versatip 2000. This power source also means you can achieve quick heat-up times.
If you want to achieve more precise finishes, this is a much better option than a standard soldering iron. You can quickly make adjustments to temperature, with incremental adjustment ensuring you always have exactly the right temperature required for a soldering task. The built-in ignition trigger also makes it easy to get this soldering iron going, with no additional tools required to start work. In addition to the main soldering iron and the six interchangeable tips, this kit comes complete with a pair of spanners and a hardy tin storage box.
Soldering Station, 65W Tilswall Solder Station Welding Iron with ℉/℃ Smart Temperature Control (200℃-480℃), Extra 5pcs Soldering Tips, Built-in Transformer, Ideal for School Lab, Hobby, Electronics
This 65 watt soldering iron station from Tilswall will suit those who need to carry out more delicate work. This soldering station provides you with a broad temperature range, with stepless adjustments possible so you can always meet your desired working temperatures. PID temperature control and a smart transformer means your set levels are always maintained, while a ceramic core means you can achieve quick heat-up times. The ceramic heating core is also durable, ensuring your soldering iron will continue to work effectively for a long time.
In addition to the station base unit and soldering iron, this kit comes with a handy stand for keeping your iron within easy reach. A power cord is also included, along with five interchangeable tips and a brass wire sponge. Although this soldering station is somewhat more expensive than a basic soldering iron, you will find everything you need to get started included in this package. It is also a good option for the beginner looking for more functionality and reliable safety features.
Preciva 8786D I 2-in-1 Hot Air Gun Rework and Soldering Iron Station with ℉/℃, Cold/Hot Air Conversion, Soldering Iron Station with Digital Temperature Correction and Sleep Function
The Preciva 8786D brings you the combined functionality of a complete soldering iron station and a hot air gun. PID temperature control technology makes this soldering station a particularly good choice for those after maximum precision. The station will constantly monitor set temperatures and ensure speedy heat-up times. This is also a good choice for those who need to work with electronics or circuitry, with the anti-static design ensuring sensitive components are not damaged by any electrical leakage.
The Preciva 8786D also offers you some useful safety features, including an automatic shutdown function that will power down the station after 10 minutes of no use. The dual-screen LED display also sets this apart from more other soldering stations, allowing you to monitor temperature output precisely. In addition to the base unit, soldering iron and hot air gun attachment, you will find a huge range of accessories included. These include five soldering iron heads, four nozzles for use with the air gun, a soldering iron holder and anti-static wire. If have you more delicate projects that need completing, the Preciva 8786D is a great option.
LEXIVON Butane Soldering Iron Multi-Purpose Kit | Cordless Self-Igniting Adjustable Flame 7-Tip Set | Pro Grade 125-Watt Equivalent (LX-770)
The LEXIVON LX-770 soldering iron kit should impress those looking for more precise and professional soldering results. This 13-piece soldering kit includes a cordless soldering iron and all the attachments you are likely to need for undertaking soldering work and minor welding projects. The iron itself is powered by butane gas, allowing you to achieve high soldering temperatures. It also means you can expect high temperatures to be achieved more quickly, saving you the hassle of having to wait around for your tool to heat up. The overall temperature range of this soldering iron is also very impressive, broadening your horizons when it comes to soldering applications.
The soldering iron also has a fairly large tank capacity, with a full tank providing you with around 75 minutes of operation. When you do need to refill the tank, this can be done in as little as 10 seconds, meaning there is next to no downtime involved when using this soldering iron. A variety of tip attachments are included, along with a cleaning sponge and a very slick storage case.
Soldering Iron Buying Checklist
If you are looking to explore soldering technique for the first time, you will probably find a basic soldering iron more than sufficient. However, there are still some things to remember when selecting an entry-level soldering iron. Firstly, make sure it can achieve suitably high temperatures. An ergonomic handle with a heat-resistant coating is also crucial. Having a selection of interchangeable tips will also allow you to put your soldering iron to greater use.
If you are looking to upgrade from a standard pen-style soldering iron, a soldering station is certainly the better option. These stations not only provide you with greater temperature ranges and control, they are also loaded with better safety features and functions designed to make soldering as effortless as possible.