What you should know when you shop for the best soldering station
The temperature controlled soldering station has become one of the must-have lab equipment nowadays. Whether you are a hobbyist who needs to do some soldering job at home or an engineer who deals with soldering daily, you may have wondered what could be the best soldering station for your work. At whichsolderingstation.com, we reviewed a few most popular soldering stations to help you find your ideal stations for your next project.
Top 3 Soldering Stations Quick Comparison
Why you need Soldering Stations:
With the technology advancement, the components and ICs become more complicated and also more delicate than ever. If you need to do some serious soldering job, it is almost required for you to get a soldering station or iron with temperature control and ESD safe design.
Here are a few things you need to look for when shop for your stations:
The key benefit to get a soldering station is that the soldering tip temperature is well controlled. You want to look for the temperature range you can set. Also, you want to look at the wattage of the soldering iron or pencil. To cover most of the application, you would like to get a soldering station with 40+ Watt power.
2. Heat up time
If you solder regularly, you don’t want to wait for a long time before the tip can reach the set temperature. Here, faster usually is better. To certain degree, this is also related to the heat recovery capability of the station. A station with slow thermal recovery may cause issues like the cold solder joints.
3. ESD safe design
Is the soldering station ESD safe? The devices we are dealing with nowadays are more compact and most of time more delicate than before. ESD damage accounts for a big portion of device failures during soldering. Sometimes, the damage could be very subtle. The damaged device could be still functional. But, it may fail leakage specs. It posts a long time threat for its reliability. When you look for the soldering station, make sure the unit has ESD safe design.
4. Cost of soldering tips
Depending on how often the soldering iron is used, at certain point you will have to replace the old tip due to the normal wear and tear. It is part of the cost to own a soldering station. So, beware of the soldering station with soldering tips that are too expensive.
5. Real customer reviews
It is always a good idea to check out customer reviews of the products you plan to buy online. Usually, these reviews are written by people who used the soldering station on a daily basis and passionate about them. You can learn a lot about the actual functionality of these soldering station from their comments.
Top-Rated Soldering Station Reviews:
Weller is the most respected name in soldering and desoldering products. If ever work in an engineering lab in semiconductor or electronics industry, you will see one of those Weller soldering stations. The WESD51 Soldering Station is an upgrade from WES51. It comes with a 50W soldering iron/pencil. The soldering temperature is adjustable from 350F to 850F (175C-450C). It has decent heat-up and recovery times and can reach target temperature within a minute. It is ESD safe to prevent the parts from being damage during soldering. Its standard tips start from about $5, which is very reasonable. The unit features the temperature lockout function that prevents excessive temperature during use. And, it enters sleep mode after 99 minutes of inactivity for the sake of power-saving and lab safety.
Hakko has been producing great quality soldering related tools for many years. The Hakko FX-888D Soldering Station is a relatively low-cost yet very durable station. The unit comes with a 65W soldering iron. Temperature can go up to 899 degrees F (480C). It takes about a minute to heat up to the set temperature. It is an ESD-safe unit for the delicate IC and discrete components. 900M and T-18 series tips are compatible with the FX-888D. The price of the tip is also fairly inexpensive. Settings can be locked using a password to prevent them from being changed accidentally.
The Weller WD1001 is more expensive and belongs to the high end station category. Its tips also cost a little more. But, it has such an impressive heat up time and thermal recovery capability. It goes to 650F (340C) in just 12 seconds. WD1001 comes with a 65W iron pencil with a very short tip to grip distance, great for precision job. Yet, it packs enough power to handle high power PCBs or 12 gauge copper wire. To extend the life span of the tip, the unit features an auto-off time (1 to 99 minutes) function. You can also lock out the temperature setting so that it cannot be accidentally changed. Of course, it is an ESD safe device to prevent the devices from being damaged during solder.
So what is the best soldering station?
In our opinion, the Weller WESD51 is the best soldering station on the market. It deserves 4.5+ out of 5 star customer reviews on Amazon.
With its fast heat up and accurate temperature control, this model has received lots of great reviews from many hobbyists and engineers.
The station is packed with all kinds of practical functions. If you are looking for a temperature controlled soldering station, the Weller WESD51 is the best Soldering Station in the market for you.