Looking for a good inexpensive Soldering Iron

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Right now I am using a cheap Wall Lenk L25 soldering Iron. I am looking to buy something a bit better. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that is use for my hobby. I am looking at the Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station Amazon has it for about $38.00. What do you people recommend for a good inexpensive Iron .

I would say whatever you go for, select a temperature controlled station with longlife tip, preferably one where you can have a wide range of tip sizes (and go buy one of each tip size directly so you have them whenever the model goes out of production). I have had my Weller analog temperature controlled station for something like 30+ years and it still does the job, not much cost per day when look at it for the long term... Digital or analog temperature control does probably not matter much.

I've been using this temp control Tenma unit since the early '90s, tho' much less nowadays as compared to when I bought it. Nothing fancy about it but it suits my needs and I'm impressed with it's longevity.

Also have a tenma station that is now discontinued. Great iron and I have no plans to replace it after a few years of use. Would highly recommend too anyone.

i use aoyue-int3210-soldering-station and i am realy happy about this.
Weller is of course a good one but realy expensive if not second hand.



I have an aoyue 852a rework station. Been using it occasionally and it works very well for the price. So the brand does make good products. I think the big benefit getting a Weller, besides the tried and true design, is the availability of parts. If you burn up a tip on an aoyue, it may not be as easy as stopping by the local Fry's to grab a new one. Everyone carries weller tips, and they last forever.

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Depending on how often you will use it, for everyday long hour usage you should consider something like a Hako station but for less frequent use I would highly recommend the TS100. I use the TS100 to do all sorts of things, re-work, building/repairing drones, working on my kid's broken toys, whatever. It is light, heats up super fast and the tips can be changed while its hot without burning the daylights out of you. Hope that helps.

I really like the Hakko 936. The real thing is double your budget, but decent imitations are available under twenty bucks.

I have the Hobbyking Yahua. I like it and had been using it for years that I bought a 2nd one as back up.

Uh oh, mod bots are after me... better be quick.

WLC100 is a wattage controller, the wes51 is a temperature controller. There is a HUGE difference in both performance and price between the two (akin to a Bridgeport vs Harbor Frieght... no exaggeration). So I'd at least limit your search to include only stations with a temp control that is known to work well. The rest is icing on the cake... ergononomics, durability, tip life... you know I feel that the wes51 wins in all those categories.

I wanted to add an important detail to my post below. The Weller WLC100 is much cheaper than the wes51 because the wlc has a watt control, not a temperature control like the wes51. This is where the big difference in price and performance comes from. The correct wattage changes as you are soldering; when you set the iron down you need very little, then when you wet a giant 12awg splice you will need near max watts. So controlling wattage does little to help... you either will burn up tips or misheat your joints. Stations with proper temp control are the way to go; they can drop watts while the iron is on the stand, then ramp the watts up quickly the split second your tip cools from wetting a joint. So suffice it to say you should limit your search to only models with temperature control.

Among those, you can take my post below as support for the weller wes temp control system. It's been around for decades and was designed for industrial use, so you know it's going to work better than the cheap ones. When you pick up a wes51 (or wed51) you can feel the weight; it's packed with lots of goodness and you're getting what you pay for. Even the feel of the pen in your hand, the sturdiness of the cord and connectors, all of it feels industrial. Sure there's the name, weller, but you know that name doesn't matter to the hoardes of industry pros buy them by the boatload... which is why they are at a reasonable price point for consumers to jump on board.

I know you will hear advice to the contrary, but I recommend just biting the bullet up front and getting an industry standard weller wes51 or wes51. Coming from the machining trade, I'm sure you noticed it is pretty much the only soldering iron used by professional engineers. I got by for over 20yrs with basic irons and cheap stations, until my first job where I got to use a wes51. Man, night and day I swear! I immediately went out and bought myself a wesd51, a bunch of tips for it, and never looked back. I have absolutely zero regrets spending $130 on a tool I use frequently (avg 5hrs/mo, sometimes 40hrs in a week). In the 10years I've owned it I have not had a single joint it wasn't happy to do well, and I've only had to replace a tip once because they are so well built. It doesn't hurt that the wes51 series also has a very precise temp control so tips (and joints) never overheat. With 50W and well done ergonomics, it makes any job a breeze (after getting my '51 my friends started calling me the 'solder master' lol... thanks to Weller for that).

Now wes vs wesd... really up to you as they both hold very accurate temps. The nice thing with the d model is I just set it to 300C and forget it. With a wes I would have had to make adjustments the first few hours until I got it just right... and if my kids play with the knob I'd have to do it again (not sure if the non d model has a temp lockout like the d does).

You can save $ and get cheaper, but if you do I bet the first time you get to do a decent size job with a wes51, you will regret it. ;)

Yes that is the one. The wesd51 is probably more bling than it is helpful... more work to calibrate it vs the wes51 anyways. Also take a look at the Hakko 888d (also the 888 non-'d' if you can find it)... it competes directly with the weller wesd51 and lots of folks (at the respectable eevblog forums) are saying the quality is there.

I second this sentiment. If you're going to do the hobby for a long time, get a good station.

Only thing I could add would be to purchase some brass scrubs for tip cleaning.

Check out EEVblog, Dave's taken a look at some stations worth a damn.

The most important things are thin solder with flux and using a separate liquid flux together. Might seem like overkill but you can't have too much. I like 0.5 mm lead free from Kester.

Something to consider is the tip heating element style. I like the hakko style where the heater is built into the tip. The older style wellers with a ceramic element don't recover as fast.

+1 I like 63-37 rosin core Kester the best. The thinner the better unless you're filling huge gaps all the time. Even thin stuff can fill a gap the same, just takes a few more seconds to fill say a 12awg splice.