I am a hobbyist. I play with Arduino and Raspberry Pi. I do a little light de-soldering to harvest scrap components. I solder pin headers and join wires etc. So mostly light work. About 99% through-hole. I may wish to do a little SMD at some point. But generally just do fine work as it is (small boards and components).
I have a cheap, unregulated, un-grouded iron. The tip burnt out in less that a week. I kept it tinned, used brass wool rather than a wet sponge. But the fact that it just super heats without any control means that when I am fumbling with bits and pieces it just burns. Also have no idea what the heat up time is so generally leave it for a minute or two.
I found a great deal on a Weller W60 (not sure of exact model number) which is a 60w magnastat 3-wire grounded iron. Closed loop.
The iron is going for half of what I would pay for one of those Yihua 936 clones.
It uses the Weller CT5/CT6 Series tips (all chisel type) ranging from 600'F to 800'F (315'C to 426'C) the standard tip (included) is a 700'F tip.
Here is some info on the W61 (almost identical) Weller W 61, 60W Temperature Controlled Mains Soldering Iron | Rapid Online
All that said, as a beginner/hobbyist who would like to invest in a decent, quality, tool, without spending tons on something that is not frequently used - would you say this is a bit overkill for my needs? At that price point it costs barely more than the unregulated cheapo irons I can buy around here. BUT I could save up to double that amount and buy a Yihua 936 clone in the future..
I would love a TS100 as it looks nifty and seems to be decent quality (and not too big for my limited workspace) but for the going price here in South Africa - I could almost buy a Weller 2005 station! Plus I love modding things!
TL-DR; Do I spend money on a decent iron (better quality, fewer options (limited control, very limited tip selection) that may be too powerful or not decent for light hobby use or do I save up and buy a clone (less quality, more options (variable control, greater tip selection)).
PS. Apologies if this is the wrong thread.