Best solder iron for cheap

this is the best I’ve found and can do 6awg no problem and heats fast.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0BB78JSLB?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_image

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I’d personally recommend against irons that use old style tips that are separate from the heating element and temperature sensor. The cartridge style irons and stations, even cheaper ones, will do better joints with lower temperatures, due to their ability to have more even and quicker heat flow, and faster response.

I’ve always seen folks rave about high wattage irons, but when they get used to a cartridge iron, they eventually reconsider.

For a lower price, but a good value, I’d personally lean towards this:

VoltLog posted a review about it, and the tips themselves are essentially the same as one would get from a T12 style station or a Pinecil type iron.

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I would personally recommend a ksger t12. Can be had for around 55$ on AliExpress and tackles everything with the C4 tip if you bump up the temperature. It goes up to 480C. Also T12 tips are pretty much a standard and can be had for super cheap from ali. Just be aware that if you regularly use 480C the tip is probably not going to last forever

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What’s the wattage mean when it also has a temp it can achieve? I assume a low wattage iron that claims a high temp can get to the high temp but has trouble sustaining it when put up to something highly thermally conducive

I think it’s always a good idea to do a decent amount of research on any soldering station you end up buying. They seem like simple devices… “Tip get hot. Good iron.” but using them a lot quickly points out a lot of flaws and annoyances.

However, the accuracy of the temperature reading, wattage to maintain that temperature with thicker wires or PCBs, the ability to transfer that heat to the work, and the cost of replacing tips varies widely even with similar priced irons.

Despite being mostly a 3D printing guy, Thomas Sanladerer did a pretty decent comparison of a few soldering stations

Suggested from his users:

Soldering Iron/Station Price (US) Watts
Pinecil TS100 $40* 60w**
Miniware/SainSmart TS80P $60 30w**
Hakko FX-888D $125 65w
Weller WE 1010 $115 70w
Ersa i-Con Nano $375 80w
Old Station - Atten AT80D $75 80w

* Does not come with a power supply

  • One other note about price, Pinecil TS100 is cheap to start with, but tips are very expensive vs Weller/Hakko. $60 for 7 tips vs $10-$15 for 5-10 on Weller/Hakko.

** Using USB-C, based on Tom’s testing of actual input power


First test was setting the soldering iron to the melting point of his solder (350C). Then measuring how long it took for the display to reach that temp, and how long it took for the iron to melt the solder.



The first three stations did fine tinning 10awg wire, while the smaller ones couldn’t. They only handled up to 12awg wire. 60s time limit. 350C setpoint. Lead-free.



PCB heatup test. Thick PCB traces will suck heat from the soldering iron, so higher wattage and irons with better heat transfer will perform better here. Temps in C.


On a budget, going with a used Weller/Hakko off eBay or Amazon Warehouse seems like the better deal than some of the more portable or no-name options.

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I’m curious why he didn’t use the larger chisel tips for the Pinecil. The D4 tip for T12 style cartridges (and TS100/80 style irons) is surprisingly adept at tinning and soldering large work areas, even 10awg. Seems like a missed opportunity. Conical tips are a bit of a blemish (in my opinion) on the face of otherwise good irons.

Either way, his testing does highlight at least in part, my point, that wattage isn’t the only factor of a proper iron. High wattage irons with bad heat flow can and have burned off flux beyond being useful, and lead to worse joints than a cartridge based iron or station with a properly sized and shaped tip.

And the cartridge irons/stations make it much easier to change tips (generally), which is another benefit, since a user would want to change the tip to suit the work, rather than be cursed by a conical tip forever.

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You want as large thermal mass as possible, so the bigger “tip” the better

That’s not an iron.

That’s an iron. :wink:

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What on gods green flat earth…

I switched from my cheap Weller iron (probably the first one that comes up when you search on amazon) to a pinecil about 6 months ago and I love it. Make sure you get a good USB psu that can provide the max amperage at the highest supported voltage, it’ll make a big difference in the performance. I use my steam deck charger.

Note that you can press the button closer to the tip to dump as much power as possible into the joint instead of trying to hold to a set temperature. Super useful.

Sure, they’re are more powerful irons out there, but anything comparable will be 3-4x time price at least. I was able to solder 6awg wire into AS150 connectors on my raceboard, so it’ll probably be able to do what you need.

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It’s a 5/8" soldering iron. They’re actually pretty expensive, but this one was my great-grandfather’s. Weller makes a 5/8" iron still, I think, but 250 Watt, 5/8" Heavy-Duty Soldering Iron is probably the closest comparable modern one.

According to that site the intended uses are:

  1. Soldering cables & electrical harnesses for aerospace sector
  2. Branding lettering on parts
  3. Soldering stained glass on professional level and volume
  4. Soldering heavy leads onto PC board
  5. Soldering stained and leaded glass soldering
  6. Repairing some airframe components
  7. Soldering commercial sheetmetal soldering in locations where propane and open flames are prohibited (hospitals, refineries, etc.)
  8. Soldering lead-taps on transformer
  9. Soldering required in the manufacturing of stained glass lamps
  10. Restoration of Antique Clocks
  11. Melting inserts into plastic parts
  12. Soldering copper bus for heavy-duty EV charging systems
  13. Soldering sheet metal, joining seems in zinc countertops
  14. Soldering on High-end Copper Lighting
  15. Fabrication of miscellaneous pieces from sheet metal
  16. Creating copper art work

I’m pretty sure you could could solder 0 gauge wire with it if you really wanted to. It also gets almost disturbingly hot. You can feel the heat from probably a foot away once it’s fully warmed up.

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