To do proper surface mount soldering (SMD soldering), the hot air rework station is a must have other than the soldering station. What the hot air station does is to blow the hot air in a controlled way. That means that the air temperature and air flow speed is adjustable. Let us take a look at a few options we have.
One popular unit used in the semiconductor industry is the Hakko Hot Air Rework Station FR-802. It is a solid unit and does the job. But, it is relatively expensive for individual like us. Other the other hand, you will see lot of low quality Hakko clones that only cost about tens of dollars. We will not recommend those either. Some of those units have pretty serious temperature overshooting issue (20% more than the preset temperature). Some have fatal wiring problems and other major issues.
Here is one rework station that have the best of the both worlds in terms of the price and quality. It has a very good Amazon review too. This station is actually on the tool list of the popular dangerousprototype blog. How much weight that carries? You can figure it out easily.
Aoyue 852A++ Digital SMD Hot Air Rework Station
Aoyue 968A+ Rework Station
If you can afford a bit more, you can also take a look at the Aoyue 968A+ rework station. It has a soldering iron, a hot air gun, a solder fume extractor, and a vacuum pickup for SMD work. 4 in 1. This rework station get the thumbs up from two very popular electronic blogs, dangerousprototypes.com and hackaday.com. Plus the almost-5-star review at Amazon , it could be an excellent choice.
Above, we recommend two very popular hot air rework stations from Aoyue. Hope it helps you to find your next surface mount rework station.