Wicking - Fast or Clean?

I'm shopping for solder wick. The wick is coated with one of two kinds of flux. The flux provides either the "fastest wicking action" or the "cleanest wick -- clear, non-reactive residues". I've never used wick so I have no idea which is more important (or if it even matters that much).

I'm going to try my hand at SMD soldering so I'll be using the wick to remove (lots of :D) solder bridges. I think "fast" would be best in that case.


Go with either, I've never noticed a difference. Plus you will probably end up putting your own flux on it. Buy a flux pen at the same time, it works wonders!

Personally, if there is a difference I'd rather go with fast.

Any product that is "no-clean" falls into the same category as hand sanitizer. Sure it may kill everything, but then you just have a bunch of dead germs on your hands.

In other words, I still clean my boards when I use stuff with "no-clean" flux in it.

I didn't want to know that

Go with thinner (narrower?) too, heats up faster to melt the solder quicker.

Definitely use your own flux, though, as said earlier.

I successfully soldered my first SMD board (SF simon) a month ago (new soldering iron for christmas) and had hardly any luck with the wick until applying flux to it.

Thanks! Just the sort of advice I was hoping to get!

The stuff I'm looking at comes in # sizes: #1, #2, #3, etcetera. The #1 size is the thinnest / narrowest. How are your's measured? Also # sizes? In millimeters? Inches?

Don't know, can't find it at the moment. Is fairly wide tho, not that good for surface mount.

Found it - MG Chemicals, 0.075", fine braid, static free. Cat # 443
No mention of flux.
Guess its not as wide as I thought it was.
Haven't tried using it with flux added. Usually I use a solder sucker to get most solder off, little cleanup with wick if needed.

The 2.5mm is the ideal size, 1.5 tends to fill up with solder faster than you can move it and 3.5(I think thats next size up) takes too long to heat and you end up burning flux on the board.

So what does flux do in a wick? Does flux reduce the melting temperature of solder? I never understood the use of flux.

It cleans the metal of oxides that occur under heating and allows the solder to flow alot better.

...in addition, the manufacturer of the "no clean" wick I found claims their flux cleans old flux. I assume that requires some combination of: chemically altering the old flux, floating the old flux to the solder surface, trapping the old flux.

I went with PROWICK #4 from TECHSPRAY (fast). I'll report back after I've used it.