Beginner Soldering iron Choice

Ok, so i’ve been using arduino for a couple months and I’m going to be making some projects in the future that will require soldering and I need some help on choosing a good soldering iron I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars so i’ve picked out 2 and I need to know which is better for beginners with no knowledge or any recommendations you might have.

Weller WP35:

Weller WLC100:

Also could you recommend a good tip for soldering circuit boards with small parts and good soldering wire.

THANKS SO MUCH, for the help!!! XD

If that's all you are going to spend either is OK. Look on YouTube for surface mount tutorials. See: Google for more.

Use lead solder responsibly, stay away from lead free.

ALWAYS USE LIQUID FLUX similar to this.

Clean your solder iron often.

You need a temperature controlled one.

Both of those say weller and the price of those makes me suspicious as weller are an expensive make.

Its possible that weller make a fire stick i do not know of but i see nothing to indicate its temperature controlled.

I use weller and have been caught out in the past by buying new weller branded tips which turned out to be faulty chinese clones.

I have been corrected, im surprised weller make such things.

The second one is i am told not temperature controlled but current controlled.

Basically a lighting dimmer and a heater.

I would suggest both are unsuitable for electronics.

Beware of cheap temperature controlled irons , some look good but the temperature control on some is basically low med high.

These are of little use for lead free solders, but in any case i suggest you stick to lead solder , its much easier to use.

To avoid dissapointment i suggest you up your buget to about 100 , in the long run a decent soldering iron saves a lot of heartache.

After doing some more research and hearing what you guys have to say I have found this one and I think it should be perfect what do you guys think?

BTW Thanks for the quick responses!!!

I've destroyed many ESD sensitive devices because the soldering iron was not ESD safe... since switching to the cheap atten models which are temp controlled, not one single issue since :)

Search eBay for "936 soldering iron". Not only is it a good iron but t's a popular, clone format so replacement wands and tips are very easy to find and quite inexpensive.

Hi, do my eyes decieve me, A.....z.n" offering something FREE?

For my 20cents/2bobs worth.

Replacement tips, various temps or temperature control, keep with well known brands. Use good resin cored solder, try and avoid the lead free stuff, keep your tip clean. Spend about $100.00, if discounted take it. (use discount to order different tips, don't get caught with stuffed tip and no replacement in the parts draw.)

Tom..... :)

First off, stay away from that first 35 watt Weller (WP35) you posted; while I am sure it is a fine iron for certain work, it is likely way to hot for a beginner to use, and it isn't temperature controlled.

The second Weller (WLC100) you posted seems like a better bet; temperature controlled and such - it's not a bad price, either - just realize that such an iron is going to take a while to come up to temperature (about 10 minutes).

The third Weller you posted (WES51) is a much better iron - it will heat up quickly and stay at temperature properly. But on both of those Wellers, you really have no real idea what the temperature actually is, just a number on a knob.

I second Chagrin's suggestion of the "936 clone" - for example:

These are clones of a popular Hakko soldering station - they are great devices.

Also as a beginner, be sure to pick up and use leaded solder (60/40 or 63/37) - much easier to use than non-leaded, and you want every advantage you can get while learning. Make sure to get rosin-core (NOT acid-core) solder - the kind meant for electronics (acid-core is typically meant for joining metals - like pipe).

You might also want to either pick up some liquid flux or make some of your own; actually, just pick some up - then look into how to make your own once you are used to using it. For most stuff it isn't needed, but sometimes it can be helpful. Make sure the flux is for electronics (rosin-based flux). For instance:

Beyond the soldering iron, you should also invest in a tip cleaner. Whatever you do, don't use a wet sponge. While it will work, over time it will destroy the tip on your iron. You can go cheap and find a real copper scouring "pad" and stuff it into a cheap steel pipe-cap from a big-box home improvement store (it works just fine - I built one myself), or you can buy one:

Other items to consider:

Some kind of "third hand" device to hold what you are working on - these can be built (plenty of instructables out there) or bought. They typically consist of either a vice-like device or something with aligator clips. Over time you'll probably collect a few of each.

Desoldering tools (the best way to learn to solder is to de-solder stuff, and re-solder it back on - use some kind of junk electronics board) - the number of tools here seems endless - there are bulbs, pumps, desoldering braid, etc - all of it is useful, so you might as well pick it all up.

You might also want to look into a set of used dental picks - you might ask your dentist for any old ones that are no longer useful for his practice (make sure to boil them at home just in case). Such tools are useful mainly for re-work and cleanup, as well as desoldering - on thru-hole boards and parts.

When I learned to solder, it was with a cheap 25 watt pencil iron - no heat control or anything. As such, I can pretty much solder with anything, but I have found that I like a temperature controlled iron. Just realize that it isn't the tool that makes you a good solderer; practice, practice, and more practice is what will. You can easily solder with a non-temperature controlled iron (even that 35 watt Weller) - you just have to know how such an iron responds to the environment and your joints, and how to move fast and precisely - adding only the heat you need to make the joint, then moving on to the next. After all, back in the day, soldering was literally done with an iron the size of a hammer and heated with a blowtorch - granted, this was during a time when everything was point-to-point, and semiconductors didn't exist, but the point still stands.

Good luck, and enjoy your new hobby!

These should work the only thing is, I would be careful since there are a lot of knock offs out there and you really do get what you pay for. Not all solder stations are hundreds of dollars either, I like the Hakko FX-888D. It’s under $100 and Hakko is a good quality brand that lasts. I know people who are still using their old discontinued Hakko solder stations to this day. The FX-888D is a digital temperature controlled station, so you will always know what temperature the tip is at. That way the tip won’t get too hot and oxidize making the solder not stick to the joint and potentially ruining the tip. The FX-888D also has preset and sleep modes, which I’ve found to come in handy with my projects. I found this one online:

As far as wire solder, I would recommend a 60/40 rosin core wire solder like this one:
It’s no clean you so won’t have to clean the excess flux off when your finished. You can just solder and go.

kt425: As far as wire solder, I would recommend a 60/40 rosin core wire solder like this one: It's no clean you so won't have to clean the excess flux off when your finished. You can just solder and go.

Very nice; I never thought to look to see if no-clean, flux core solder existed.

More details if anyone else is like me:

what dia solder ?



.015" would be 26 gauge or the same size of the wire of an ethernet cable. I'm sure it's preference or dependent on how fine of soldering tasks you're taking on, but for general use it's too small. You spend more time unreeling more wire than you do soldering.

I'd go for the .031".