The clear favorite for quality low price irons in the hobby electronics world seems to now be the TS100 and TS80 soldering irons. I've seen quite a few reviews from the trusted names and no negatives so far. I think they do give it points for portability, which is not a feature I put any value on, but that's definitely not the sole selling point.Unfortunately these irons are at a significantly higher price point from the ones you're looking at. What I can tell you is that I would happily trade in my $20 iron and an extra $45 for a TS100 and power supply but since I have a working $20 iron I can't justify buying a new iron. If you're anything like me, you already have a pile of power supplies so you could just buy the iron.
I've been using one of these for a few years now -- very similar to the second one you show, but with a temperature display. I've been happy with it, although the display isn't really necessary. If you hunt around a little, you might be able to find one that comes with a spare soldering iron. It may cost a few more dollars, but will give you peace of mind in case one fails (I've not had one fail yet).The big advantage of these stations is that they heat up fast, so you can turn the temp. down when not in use and quickly return them to temp. when you need them again. If you're like me, you'll end up using just two temperatures: one you decide works best for soldering, and another for idle times.
I think the most important requirements are:1) has enough power to heat up a joint quickly2) Has a variety of tips to different components. To replace a 0603 you need a very fine tip and very fine solder.
If you have the above, you could always use a light dimmer to make it adjustable.
That's something I forgot to grab, fine solder. Any specific guage/size I should grab? Just for soldering things like a DHT22 to a PCB or soldering the Uno pins.
I wonder if this method would work with my soldering gun as well?
I'm assuming the tip that the gun has is way too bulky to use on an Uno or Nano.
So I have two iron handles, one with a fine tip, the other with a broad chisel tip. Much easier to swap handles that bits.
It seems like it would be much faster to use a heat proof tool to swap tips than trying to untangle the cables of two handles.
In NZ those brass scouring sponges are known as "Goldilocks".I think Scotch-Brite sells them as "Gold Scourer"Available in any supermarket.Leo..