Tue. Mar 5th, 2024


Soldering irons are handheld tools used by electricians, engineers, jewelers, metal smiths, hobbyists, and DIY enthusiasts for a wide range of applications, but especially for coupling wires and (re)connecting electronic components on PCBs. Here are the best soldering irons for most of your needs.


What to Look for in a Soldering Iron

While all soldering irons are expected to get hot, and sometimes very hot, here are other key factors to consider when looking for the best soldering irons to buy.

Assuming you already know how to use a soldering iron, the next thing to consider is what types of projects you intend to use it for. This can help you decide the right wattage, temperature, and budget for your soldering projects, for instance.

The wattage of a soldering iron gives you an idea of how quickly it heats up and cools down and is a key determinant. Usually, the higher the wattage, the faster it heats up and the longer it retains heat. The irons in this roundup range from 60 to 88 watts.

Additionally, it’s important to consider temperature control. Soldering irons with temperature control allows for temperature adjustments to suit different projects. Conversely, soldering irons without temperature control may only be used for a limited number of tasks.

With removable tips, you can change your soldering tips when they become worn, damaged, or oxidized, unlike soldering irons with fixed tips. Tips need replacing when they become defective or when cleaning and tinning become less effective.

So, watch out for wattage, temperature, and tip when shopping for good soldering irons. All the soldering irons discussed here come with ample wattage, temperature control, and removable tips. They’re also ergonomic, with anti-skid and heat-resistant handles.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed

14

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28

How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

Pinecil Smart Mini Portable Soldering Iron on gradient background
Pinecil

Pros

Cons

Lightweight and smart open-source soldering iron

No auto-off function

Rated 88 watts with rapid warm-up and removable tip

No station/stand

Temperature control function with OLED display

USB-powered with auto standby function

The Pinecil Smart Mini Portable Soldering Iron (version 2) by PINE64 is arguably one of the best soldering irons available. It features a stainless steel core in a polycarbonate shell and weighs only 28 grams. Rated 88 watts, it reaches operating temperature in just 6 seconds and has a temperature range of 212-752 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature adjustment buttons and a 0.69-inch OLED display make for easy readouts. The Pinecil is powered by a USB-C port (with PD and QC 3.0 support) or a barrel DC jack and won’t start heating until you press the + button, even when plugged in. It also has an auto-standby function in case you forget to disconnect, and cools down pretty fast.

Pinecil Smart Mini Portable Soldering Iron pfp on transparent background

Pinecil Smart Mini Portable Soldering Iron (Version 2)

Best Soldering Iron Overall

The Pinecil Smart Mini Portable Soldering Iron (version 2) is a top-rated open-source temperature-control soldering iron that is lightweight and fast heating.

Plusivo Soldering Iron Kit on gradient background
Plusivo

Pros

Cons

Budget-friendly soldering iron with 22 soldering accessories

No off switch

Rated 60 watts, suitable for a wide variety of jobs

Not battery-powered, supports only 110V AC input

Temperature control with heat-resistant and anti-skid handle

Five replacement tips included in the kit

Even though the Pinecil 2 is often discounted, it’s still not the most affordable soldering iron in this roundup. For our budget-friendly pick, we have the Plusivo Soldering Iron Kit. This 23-in-1 kit features a ton of accessories, including a wire cutter, desoldering pump, tweezers, and even a mini PCB and carrying bag.

It also comes with essentials like a soldering iron stand and holder for safe placement, a sponge for cleaning, as well as replaceable iron tips. Rated 60 watts, it also features a temperature control knob that ranges from 392 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit making it ideal for a wide variety of use cases. With everything it offers and an affordable price tag, this is an absolute steal.

Plusivo Soldering Iron Kit pfp on transparent background

Plusivo Soldering Iron Kit

Best Budget Soldering Iron

$18 $30 Save $12

The Plusivo Soldering Iron Kit is a robust 23-in-1 soldering kit that is both budget-friendly and practical for various soldering projects.

MEAKEST Premium Soldering Iron Kit on gradient background
MEAKEST

Pros

Cons

Easy to use, beginner-friendly, and well-priced

110V AC input only, not battery-powered

12 essential soldering accessories to get you started

No auto-off function

60 watts of power for different soldering projects

Temperature control with manual on/off switch

If you’re new to soldering and want a soldering iron that’s beginner-friendly, go for the MEAKEST Premium Soldering Iron Kit. This well-built and well-packaged soldering iron kit comes with 12 of the most essential soldering accessories you need to get started.

This includes a 60-watt soldering iron with a fast-warming ceramic heater, solder suckers and tweezers, solder wire, soldering paste, an iron stand, and five replacement tips, all in a classy carrying case. It comes with temperature control covering 392 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit and a convenient on/off switch to manage power consumption and improve safety.

MEAKEST Premium Soldering Iron Kit pfp on transparent background

Meakest Premium Soldering Iron Kit

Best Soldering Iron for Beginners

$23 $30 Save $7

The MEAKEST Premium Soldering Iron Kit is the ideal choice for beginners who want a pocket-friendly yet premium soldering iron starter kit.

CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Soldering Iron on gradient background
CRAFTSMAN

Pros

Cons

Cordless soldering iron with 45-minute runtime per charge

No LCD temperature readout

Large temperature range with temperature control

No station

Compatible with other CRAFTSMAN’s V20 range of products

Additional sponge

If you prefer a cordless soldering iron that won’t tie you to the mains and offers more flexibility and mobility, we recommend the CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Soldering Iron. This powerful soldering iron comes with a four-inch cord for extra mobility and flexibility, so you don’t have to drag a cord along to the worksite.

Powered by a 20-volt battery, it has a peak runtime of 45 minutes per charge and is compatible with CRAFTSMAN’s V20 range of batteries and chargers (sold separately). It comes with temperature control spanning 400 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit and is suitable for different purposes, including electrical, wood burning, or metal works.

CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Soldering Iron pfp on transparent background

Craftsman V20 Cordless Soldering Iron

Best Cordless Soldering Iron

Enjoy more flexibility and mobility with the CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Soldering Iron which comes with a battery that delivers up to 45 minutes of runtime per charge.

X-Tronic 3020-XTS Soldering Station on gradient background
X-Tronic

Pros

Cons

Full-fledged 75-watt soldering station

Only available in 110V AC input

Two helping hands to prop up PCBs

Requires some space

Wide temperature range with temperature control

10-minute sleep timer when not in use

If you prefer a full-fledged soldering station, the X-Tronic 3020-XTS Soldering Station is for you. It is easily one of the best soldering stations on the market for all skill levels. This handy 75-watt soldering station (60 watts for iron and 15 watts for soldering iron motherboard) features two helping hands to prop up PCBs while you solder away with ease.

It has a temperature control range of 194 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit and a Centigrade to Fahrenheit toggle switch with a blue LED readout on the temperature display. The iron warms up pretty quickly, features a 10-minute sleep timer when not in use, and comes with accessories like a silicone mat, side mount solder roll holder, brass sponge tip cleaner, and wet sponge.

X-Tronic 3020-XTS Soldering Station pfp on transparent background

X-Tronic 3020-XTS Soldering Iron Station

Best Soldering Station

The X-Tronic 3020-XTS Soldering Iron Station is one of the best full-fledged soldering stations that caters to users of all levels. It comes with a powerful iron and sundry essential soldering accessories.

FAQ

How hot does a soldering iron get?

Solder melts at 365 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore, a good soldering iron should be able to top this. The soldering irons in this roundup range from 192 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do you use a soldering iron for?

A soldering iron can be used for several purposes and by different professionals, including DIY-ers and hobbyists. For instance, electricians can use soldering irons to repair electronics and electrical equipment, while jewelers use them to decorate jewelry.

Are soldering iron tips interchangeable?

Not all soldering irons come with removable tips. However, the soldering irons in this roundup all have removable tips. Some even come with up to five free replacement tips. Soldering iron tips need to be changed when they become worn, degraded, or oxidized. With replaceable tips, you don’t have to worry about the expense of buying a new soldering iron every time.

How do I clean a soldering iron?

Cleaning a soldering iron is easy and allows you to get rid of solder on the tips. First, make sure that the soldering iron is off and cool. It’s best to wait an hour or more after use. Then use a damp cloth or rubbing alcohol to wipe it down until it is solder-free.



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By John P.

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