Discover the Different Types and Features of Soldering Equipment

By Steven Harrisson, June 8, 2017

If you’re one of the guys who pride themselves on being very handy around the house, then you’ve probably heard about soldering irons and what they do. However, the fact that you’re reading this article is proof enough that you are not quite sure what you need to be on the look out for when buying one. Well, in this guide I’ll talk about the different types of soldering equipment and how they differ.

As you probably know, soldering irons are used on electronics to create strong physical connections between metals. There are a few types of them – all designed for different tasks. Some emit intense heat for creating quick melting points, others are designed to enter small openings. If you want to be a serious smolder, then you should consider getting all types of soldering irons.


Simple Iron

This is the most common type nowadays – it operates on a low power rating, usually 15-35 watts. This is more than enough to handle most electronic repair jobs. It is designed to run at uncontrolled temperatures, which are determined by a thermal equilibrium. For instance, if you’re heating a larger object, the temperature will decline in order to provide more uniform heating. If you’re a novice DIY-er who works mostly on smaller electronics, the simple iron is all you need.

Soldering Stations

Soldering stations are comprised of a display and temperature control circuitry, an electrical power supply and a soldering head which includes a temperature sensor. It also includes a stand for storing the iron when not in use and a wet sponge to help you clean the dips from the soldering iron surface. Some higher-end models include features such as a vacuum pickup tool, a hot air gun and a vacuum pump for desoldering.

Soldering Gun

These soldering tools are designed similarly to wireless hand drills. They possess a wire looped tip which cools up very quickly, meaning you don’t need a holster for safe storage. These also diminish fire hazards and are the preferred choice for a lot of DIY-ers as they are incredibly easy to handle and have a convenient trigger mechanism. The tip only activates when you pull the trigger.

Important Features – Wattage and Temperature Control

The more wattage a smoldering iron has, the higher its heating power will be. More isn’t always better though, as you can burn through certain components or boil the flux before you clean the component. As aforementioned, for most DIY-ers, 15 to 35 wattage is enough, while professionals can go up as high as 50-60 watts.

Temperature control is not something all soldering irons have, but only the more advanced models. This feature allows you to control the temperature range of the tip for variable power control. Higher-end models also have a thermostat that can switch the power on and off, depending on how much power is needed for a specific task. Professionals use this feature to handle delicate soldering tasks.