Be tempted to spend enough to get a good quality temperature controlled iron with adjustable temperature setting,
anything less is probably false economy. Well worth making sure replacement bits will still be obtainable in many years
time (which means a well-known brand).
Agreed, although it still goes without saying that I shouldn't spend more than I have
Maybe a used WES51? If you could find someone willing to part with it...
I assume you mean this? http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WES51-Analog-Soldering-Station/dp/B000BRC2XU
A bit pricier than I'd be willing to pay, but it looks like it would be a good investment...
I recommend Hakko FX-888.
Buy once, keep a lifetime.
I still have a Weller station that I bought in 1978.
This guy? http://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX888-FX-888-Soldering-Station/dp/B004M3U0VU
Looks very nice... still pretty expensive though.
totally out of my price range.
Overall, I guess I was too low in my original price range. Since this *is* the backbone of all hardware tasks (if you don't solder it right, it won't work) I guess I would rather go a little bit over the top than get something disappointing. Well, thanks for the responses!