The purpose of a soldering station is to join two metals together by melting a solder in between the joint. Whether you are soldering a car ECU, audio or wiring, you will need a station that comes with a range of accessories.
The best soldering station is the Hakko FX888D-23BY, which is a digital display unit that delivers impressive heat conductivity and thermal recovery.
Soldering electronics can be a daunted tasks for many people but with the right tools, it really isn’t that difficult. If you have a steady hand and a soldering station with a range of accessories, you will be able to make repairs with ease.
Table of Contents
- Best Soldering Station
- Soldering Station Buying Guide
Best Soldering Station
|Soldering Station||Temperature Range||Wattage|
|Hakko FX888D||120 to 899°F||70W|
|X-Tronic 3020-XTS||392 to 896°F||75W|
|Weller WES51||350 to 850°F||60W|
|Aoyue 9378 Pro Series||392 to 896°F||60W|
Choosing between the various units available can be difficult. We advise that you pay particular attention to the wattage and temperature control. This will allow you to determine the differences in performance between the different units.
Along with the soldering unit, you will also require a range of tips. You will want a variety of tip sizes and shapes to ensure that you can tackle all soldering projects.
Below is a list of the best soldering stations that are suitable for professionals or hobbyists tackling damaged electronics.
Hakko FX888D Digital Soldering Station
The Hakko FX888D is a premium soldering station that uses a desirable digital interface for usability. This model in particular is the brands new and improved model that has had the thermal recovery output increased by 30%.
The improved performance allows you to solder at lower temperatures, which reduces wear and tear upon thermal components and the tips.
Other features of the Hakko FX888D include:
- 70W unit
- Temperature adjustment
- Changeable tips
- Self supporting stand
- Safety shutoff
- A1516 alloy heating element
Although it is the most expensive soldering station, it is the best option for those requiring maximum performance. The excellent heat conductivity and thermal recovery really make this unit ideal for hours of professional use.Check it Out
Weller WLC100 Soldering Station
By far the most popular soldering station is the Weller WLC100, which is available as a 40 or 80 watt unit. The lower powered unit is cheaper and is more suited to hobbyists, whereas the 80 watt unit is more desirable for professional use.
Included with the soldering station are ST3 iron-plated tips, soldering holder and a sponge for basic maintenance.
Other features of the Weller WLC100 include:
- 40 or 80W unit
- Iron-plated copper heating element
- Adjustable power from 5 to 40/80W
- UL-Listed and independently tested
- Temperature range to 900 degrees Fahrenheit
- Includes a 7 year warranty
Although there is no digital display, it is much cheaper than the Hakko FX888D alternative. It is the best cheap soldering station available that ticks all the boxes and is backed by the reputable Weller brand for peace of mind.Check it Out
X-Tronic 3020-XTS Digital Soldering Station
The X-Tronic 3020-XTS is another digital soldering station that offers great value for the money. It is a 75 watt unit that is capable of producing temperatures that range from 392 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit.
Along with the X-Tronic 3020-XTS, the brand also provide a stainless steel iron and roll holder, brass sponge tip cleaner and cleaning flux.
Other features of the X-Tronic 3020-XTS include:
- 75W unit
- Compensated steel heating element
- Blue LED digital display
- 10 minute sleep functionality
- Auto cool down
- Centigrade to Fahrenheit adjustment
Overall, it is an excellent all-round solder station with the desirable digital display and great performance. The X-Tronic brand also offer the option for additional tips for tackling a range of different electronics.Check it Out
Weller WES51 Analog Soldering Station
Another Weller soldering station is the WES51 model, which offers extra performance compared to the WLC100 alternative. It is a 50W unit that features an innovative heater and sensor for fast heating up and temperature recovery.
Included with this Weller soldering station is the power unit, soldering pencil, stand and sponge for cleaning.
Other features of the Weller WES51 include:
- 50W unit
- Ni-chrome wound heating element
- Adjustable dial for temperature control
- Auto shut down and sleep functionality for safety
- Temperature range from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit
- Includes a 1 year warranty
- UL/CUL listed
Overall, it is a well-made soldering station that has been designed for continuous production of solder. It does come with a premium price tag but you are paying for the superior build quality, performance and reputable brand backing the unit.Check it Out
Aoyue 9378 Pro Series Digital Soldering Station
Another premium soldering station is the Aoyue 9378 Pro Series, which is a 60W unit with a digital display. It is available as a complete package that includes a choice of 50 tips, magnifying glass, tip cleaner and much more.
A unique feature of this soldering station is the vibration sensor, which “wakes” the unit up after it has been inactive.
Other features of the Aoyue 9378 Pro Series include:
- 60W unit with digital display
- Switchable temperature metrics
- Auto sleep and wake functionality
- Temperature range from 392 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit
- Plug-in heating element
- 2 programmable quick buttons
Overall, the Aoyue 9378 Pro Series is an excellent all-round soldering station that ticks every box. It may be slightly expensive but when you consider everything that is included and the performance, it makes it a worthwhile investment.Check it Out
Soldering Station Buying Guide
Soldering electronics such as your cars ECU, audio and wiring can be achieved with any of the recommendations above. They vary in budget and are suitable for beginners to professionals that need a continuous production of solder.
When using a soldering iron, its vital that you take safety precautions to avoid any injury. When used incorrectly, you may cause damage to the project you are working on or injure yourself.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding soldering stations.
The standard wattage ratings for most soldering stations vary from as low as 30W to as high as 100W. The higher the wattage, the faster the unit will be able to heat up and recover. The power is also required to maintain a consistent temperature whilst you are soldering too.
We recommend that you do not choose a unit lower than 30 watts. The main reason for this is the fact that it may struggle to perform for long periods with and perform as well as you need for certain projects.
Adjusting the temperature is a requirement for many soldering tasks. Most units allow you to adjust a dial that increases or decreases the heat output.
Most soldering stations allow you to adjust the temperature from as little as 100°F to as high as 1,000°F.
Analog vs Digital Display
Analog soldering stations have been around since they were first invented and are still in use today. They provide a “no-nonsense” solution to soldering and is a basic example of what is available on the market.
Solder stations with a digital display are more desirable but do come with an expensive price tag. However, for the extra money, you are provided with a clear display that can output the temperature along with various other metrics.
Tip Size, Shape and Material
To ensure that you are able to tackle a range of projects, you will want a variety of tips available. They vary in sizes and shapes with many brand providing multiple tips along with the soldering station as a complete package.
The tips are available in multiple shapes that include a pyramid, conical, chisel, tapered and many others. They are also made from various materials that include nickel, alloy, chrome and copper.
As soldering requires a steady hand and precision, an ergonomic grip is essential. The level of comfort you require may differ between the different types of tasks that you carry out. We advise that you look for a contoured soldering pencil along with easy to use dials upon the unit.
Many manufacturers will include additional features to make them standout from the competition. Such additions to a soldering station include:
- Self-supporting stands
- Auto sleep and wake functionality
- Safety shut-off
- Changeable tips
- LCD display
- Centigrade to Fahrenheit adjustment
Your budget will determine the amount of additional features that your unit will contain but all the above features are not essential for soldering.
How To Use a Soldering Station
If you are new to soldering, it will require a fair amount of practice beforehand. We recommend that you read through a tutorial and practice using it upon a practice surface. Some uses of a soldering station include:
- Modification to a car ECU
- Repair faulty wiring
- Light sheet metal work
- Joining body panels
- Adjusting the mechanics of RC cars
- Joining car audio
- .. and much more
Unlike other garage tools, a soldering station is relatively affordable and offers a range of benefits. To ensure that your unit is as versatile as it can possibly be, we recommend purchasing multiple tip sizes and shapes.
When it comes to repairing various electronics, a soldering station will be an essential tool. They allow you to form a joint between two metals and repair anything from a car ECU to broken audio wiring inside of your car.
All of our recommendations are suited to a range of different budgets and skill levels. We advise that you choose a unit that is above 30 watts and has various temperature adjustments that allows you to tackle any electronic device.