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Topic: How long does $5 soldering irons(that plug directly into mains) last? (Read 795 times) previous topic - next topic


Hi all, I am planning to buy a soldering iron and I have very low budget. If any of you have used those cheap soldering irons that plug directly to mains then please share your experience. I make 1 or 2 permanent circuits a week and are usually not much complex and I don't care if iron is temperature controlled or not.
I am planning to buy this -> https://www.amazon.com/Soldering-Iron-Solder-Pencil-Craft/dp/B001KVW7CC/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3MVTQKTWJDYLU&keywords=soldering+iron&qid=1552587114&s=gateway&sprefix=soldering%2Caps%2C396&sr=8-2
Please tell me if it is worth the price and how long it will last.


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My cheap soldering iron could not even be tinned, it would not accept any solder. so it really depends if it even will work. Had to fix something while on vacation so i tried a cheapo from the hardwarestore. Toral garbage.

My dad had one, simple mains plug nothing to be conteoled, that one was ok for my beginners projects.

I am in love with my ts100 portable soldering iron. Not 5 dollars but also not hugely expensive. I take it everywhere with me.

But seriously 2 permanent projects per week, don't buy something like that in your link


Brattain Member, I will solder THT components on a perfboard and not solder SMD.


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I used to buy similar cheap soldering irons from Radio Shack and they lasted several years, but I don't solder every day.    I would recommend buying one from someplace "reliable" that sells replacement tips.

And, get a stand for it.   They are usually lightweight and they can end-up "moving around" and burning your worktable (or whatever else).

Now, I have a Weller with adjustable temperature that I paid about $50USD for.


That one looks like 220AC.

The 5 star ratings look like a joke.

Wait till you can afford a better iron.

No technical PMs.
If you are asked a question, please respond with an answer.
If you are asked for more information, please supply it.
If you need clarification, ask for help.


I have a 25W iron that looks almost identical to your second link. It's lasted me about 30 years of occasional use so far but the bits don't last nearly that long so check that replacements are readily available.

OTOH mine is a genuine Antex iron and not what is possibly a cheap copy from some company I've never heard of. So the quality could good or could be rubbish. It's always a risk.



Those soldering irons are pretty crappy.

The tips don't last very long, and without temperature control, it's easy to get the board too hot and lift the traces from the PCB.

A decent soldering iron is worth spending more than $5 on - if you're making several projects a week, that seems like enough use to justify a better soldering iron
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If its not temperature-controlled, and the bits are not iron-plated, its not worth using.
[ I will NOT respond to personal messages, I WILL delete them, use the forum please ]


A while back I bought this: https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B01M3RW3S8/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 for aproximately 15€.

Last week I soldered a PCB with SMD components with no problems. It took me some time but it was my first time soldering SMD.

I'm not implying that a better/more expensive soldering  iron is not worth the money. But as I have all my life been using cheap soldering irons (school mainly) I don't have a reference on how it could improve my work.
It would be a lot different if I switch from a good/expensive soldering iron to what I have.

If I had to buy a Soldering Iron with a more generous budget I would probably pick a Ksger T12


As some have alluded to the weakest point are the tips.  Once whatever plating on the tips burns off the tip is useless because the solder will not "wet" on the tip.  It will be like trying to get water to wet an oily surface.

Once this happens it will be difficult if not impossible for the iron to heat the pin and board to solder it.  this is because the heat to the to be soldered joint travels through the solder blob on the tip.

My suggestion is to purchase one (try to stay near 40W and not 60W) and give it a try.
I would suggest you don't leave the iron on when not using it, to keep the tip from overheating. And periodically melt some solder on the tip to keep it tinned.

When soldering a through hole part, you get a small blob of solder on the tip, contact both the pin and board with the tip and the blob of solder, feed in some solder and about 3 seconds later you will be done.  There are many tutorials on this topic.

Also, you should get the right type of solder.  Try 63/37 solder with flux (no clean is you can).  The solder should be about 0.030" to 0.05" inch in diameter.  Having the right solder will go a long way to making good joints.

Please do not PM me with thread based messages.  If your thoughts are worth responding,  the group should benefit from your insight.


It is daunting to buy a temperature-controlled iron. With a cheap one you don't know what temperature you are using so you don't think about it. As soon as there is a knob on the front, you have to make decisions for yourself.

But the temperature control makes it useful for more than just soldering.

It used to be that a "cheap one" was $30 and it could be used to build projects for many years. Now they are so cheap, they must be assembled in factories where nobody - even the managers - knows what the product does. (Think of Chinese workers assembling Christmas decorations. They don't know what they are for or what the English words mean.) So it is quite possible to buy a dud. Something that heats up so hot that the tip oxidizes in an hour is quite probable.

The best advice I can give is to buy whatever is cheapest at Sparkfun, Adafruit, Radio Shack or Sainsmart. If you can stretch the budget to temperature-controlled then you should.
"The problem is in the code you didn't post."


I'd recommend one of these


I have one of the 4000 series combo hot air/soldering iron stations, it has performed very well for assembling a Lot of boards since 2011. And the occasional rework of SMD parts when reflow didn't go that well.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

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