Soldering Stations


A lthough there is a wide range of applications for which soldering stations can be used, their most prevalent use is in printed circuit board assembly. What adds to the convenience in use as opposed to the classic style soldering irons is the fact that you can more easily control the temperature and even the power supply. Learn more about these useful tools and get a clear ranking of the best selections on this market in the following.

Top 5 Soldering Stations Comparison

1. Weller WES51 2. Hakko FX888D-23BY 3. X-Tronic 3020-XTS 4. Sealody SSA51 5. Weller WLC100
BEST MODEL OUR CHOICE
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General Info
Manufacturer Weller Hakko X-Tronic Sealody Weller
Dimensions 5.9″ x 4.5″ x 3.6″ 3.9″ x 4.7″ x 4.7″ 6″ x 5.5″ x 8″ 4.3″ x 8.8″ x 9.6″ 8.8″ x 6.3″ x 3.8″
Weight 4 Lbs 2.6 Lbs 1.5 Lbs 5 Lbs 2 Lbs
Material Plastic N/A 304 Grade Stainless Steel Plastic Metal
Technical Specifications
Temperature
Range 350°F – 850°F 122°F – 896°F 392°F – 896°F 356°F – 842°F 0°F – 900°F
Accuracy +/-10°F >+/-1°C +/-3.6°F +/-3.6°F N/A
Storage Environment -68°F – 176°F -68°F – 176°F -68°F – 176°F -68°F – 176°F -68°F – 176°F
Power
Output 50W 70W 75W 55W 40W
Source Corded Corded Corded Corded Corded
Cord Length 4 Feet 3.9 Feet 4.6 Feet 4.9 Feet 4 Feet
Supply 120V 120V 110V 110V 120V
Features&Accessories
Adjustable Temperature Controls
Indicator Light
Ergonomic / Cushioned Grip
Digital Display
Other Features
Temperature Lock-Out Password Function Automatic Sleep Mode Variable Power Control Variable Power Control
Automatic Sleep Mode Preset Mode Automatic Cool Down Dual Safety Design Built-In Iron Stand
Quick Heat-Up and Recovery Times Protective Cap Celsius to Fahrenheit Toggle Switch Quick Cool Down Replaceable Heating Element
Non-Burning Silicone Rubber Cord Separable Tip/Heater Design Proportional Integral Derivative Technology
Foam Sleeve Silicone Cord
Variable Power Control
Included Accessories
Soldering Pencil Cleaning Sponge Stainless Steel Holder Aluminum Soldering Stand Iron-Plated Copper Tip
Stand Stand Solder Roll Holder Tip Cleaning Wire Safety Guard Iron Holder
Sponge Brass Sponge Tip Cleaner Cleaning Sponge Natural Sponge Tip Cleaning Pad
Warranty&Support
Product Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year
User Manual
Customer Support
Telephone Support (800) 621-8814 1-661-294-0090 (402) 742-2586 (0086) 13480167334 (800) 621-8814
E-Mail Support [email protected] weller-tools.com support @hakkoUSA.com [email protected] XTronicUSA.com [email protected] sealody.net [email protected] weller-tools.com
Online Chat Support

The Soldering Stations Evaluation

1. Weller WES51

An analog model that comes with a specialized pencil and a sponge, the WES51 delivers everything you could ever need for soldering applications like reworking, repairs, and so on. Due to the fact that it comes with numerous safety features, it is even usable in a continuous production environment. The quick heat-up and recovery times delivered by the ingenious heater and sensor combination it features ensure increased convenience in use. When it comes to manufacturer backing, the 1-year warranty provided for it meets industry standards, ensuring that this is a qualitative product which won’t disappoint.

Electronic Temperature Control

Versatility in use is provided by the fact that an electronic temperature control is put at your disposal with it, allowing you to set the precise temperature you need for the task at hand. The adjustable temperature range it provides is from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring that you can rely on it as there is a 9-degree measurement accuracy. As an added bonus to spruce convenience in use, it features wireless temperature lockout, the role of this function being to prevent you from accidentally raising the temperature beyond the recommended point for the board or component you are tending to at that moment, thus ensuring you won’t damage anything.

Convenience in Use

As the iron it comes with is compact in size and light, you are ensured that fatigue is reduced as you are working with it. Due to the fact that the heating element is made with nickel-chrome wound stainless steel, not only are you ensured of the fact that it has a long lifespan, but that it provides a fast response time as well. The lightweight handle it features is made with high-impact electro-static discharge plastic to make it easy and safe to transport. The foam sleeve it comes with ensures that even when using it continuously, for hours on end, you won’t feel any heat discomfort or fatigue. Additionally, the pencil features a silicone rubber cord that measures 4 feet and allows mobility when working with it.

Mention Worthy Features and Specs
  • Features recessed handles that ensure your knuckles won’t get pinched.
  • Provides quick heat-up and recovery times to increase efficiency when working with it.
  • Designed to be used even for industrial manufacturing applications.
Safety Features

As it meets safety standards imposed by the UL/CUL, you can rest assured knowing that it is indeed a safe tool to work with. It is 100% free of stored static charges, and it is recommended to use it in workstations that are electrostatic-free. For safety in use, it automatically powers off after 99 minutes of inactivity. This aspect doesn’t only enhance safety, but it prolongs the lifespan of the tip and reduces electricity usage. There’s the LED light that makes it easy for you to know what operating mode is activated as well, a feature that enhances safety and convenience in use.

PROS CONS
  • Convenient temperature range allows you to make proper adjustments in concordance to the application at hand – from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cord measures 4 feet, allowing enhanced mobility in the workspace
  • Automatic sleep mode prevents useless energy consumption
  • Variable power control ranging from 5 to 50 watts
  • Quick heat-up time ensures no time will be lost when using it
VERDICT

As it comes with a wide range of accessories, it is a feature-rich product, and it is compact enough to ensure it will be a perfect fit even in the most crowded of workspaces, the WES51 is our top recommendation.

2. Hakko FX888D-23BY

A corded station that you will grow fond of fast as it is intuitive to use, the Hakko is one of our top recommendations to you. It comes at quite a reasonable price, and considering its numerous features, it is one acquisition you should not skip on. One of its biggest highlights is the Password function which does not allow anyone else besides you to use it – you and those who you tell the password to, obviously.

It offers 5 preset modes you can select between for a more convenient operation. Depending on the application at hand, just make a certain selection from the list of 5 and start – this helps save a lot of time. It features a protective cap which plays an important role, more precisely to reduce shock and noise when you are using it.

You can adjust the temperature as you need or see fit, the settings offered by it ranging from 122 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, we cannot overlook its impressive +/- 1 degree Celsius accuracy which greatly surpasses the industry standard. Additionally, the manufacturing company backs the product with a 1-year warranty, so in this span of time, it will be replaced or repaired free of charge in case of an unfortunate event.

PROS CONS
  • Generous temperature range – from 122 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Great price to quality ratio – one of the cheaper products in this niche
  • Features a 3.9-foot long cord
  • Password function ensures no one else except for you can use it
  • Protective cap helps reduce noise and shock when you are soldering
  • Does not feature an indicator light
VERDICT

An affordable and feature-filled product that will make your life a whole lot easier as it offers numerous convenient features, its biggest highlight being the Password function which enhances safety by not allowing others to use it, the Hakko is one of our top recommendations.

3. X-Tronic 3020-XTS

The solid stainless steel construction alongside its design make it one of the best picks you could make in terms of longevity. It weighs 1.5 pounds, and it measures 6 inches by 5.5 inches by 8 inches, so finding a storage space for it, as well as moving it around, won’t be difficult tasks for you. But enough with the product’s design, let us move on to the important aspects – its features and specs.

The temperature it utilizes is fully adjustable, and it ranges from 392 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, it boasts an impressive +/- 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit accuracy. It boasts a power consumption of 75 watts, and the needed supply is 110 volts. It is a corded model which features a 4.6 feet long cable that allows freedom in terms of where you can position it in your workplace.

To ensure safety, as well as to save energy, it features the useful automatic sleep mode which causes it to automatically turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity. Another handy safety feature is the automatic cool down which ensures you will be in the clear of any injuries when using it. Furthermore, for convenience in use, it allows you to toggle between the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature settings.

PROS CONS
  • Lightweight design – only weighs 1.5 pounds, easy to move around
  • Affordable price – one of the more reasonable acquisitions you could make
  • Automatic sleep mode ensures it will shut off on its own after 10 minutes of inactivity to save energy
  • Temperature setting ranges from 392 to 896 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Backed by a lengthy 1-year warranty
VERDICT

Designed not only to ensure complete safety in use, but to be as energy efficient as possible, the X-Tronic is one of the best acquisitions you could make. Furthermore, it boasts a compact design and light weight, meaning that storing it, as well as using it, will be highly convenient.

4. Sealody SSA51

Considering that the only downside to this product is the fact that it weighs a bit more than others do, it is safe to say that this would indeed be a smart acquisition to make, hands down. We start off the list of pros by mentioning the fact that it comes at an affordable price. Not only this, but it puts at your disposal impressive specs and sufficient features to get the job done right.

It allows you to adjust the temperature to what you need for the specific application at hand, the selection put at your disposal ranging from 356 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, it boasts an impressive +/- 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit accuracy which ensures you can use it with confidence. When it comes to the storage conditions for it, we recommend for the environmental temperature to range from -68 degrees Fahrenheit to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

In terms of power consumption, it is one of the best out there, consuming only 55 watts. Another aspect worth mentioning is the fact that it features a convenient 4.9-foot long cord which allows you to place it basically wherever you like in the room. Additionally, the manufacturing company covers it with a 1-year warranty. Overall, it is a product hard to say no to, one we recommend you look into carefully if you want to enjoy a real bargain.

PROS CONS
  • Low power consumption – rated for 55 watts
  • Power cord measures an impressive 4.9 feet
  • Quick cool down ensures enhanced safety in use
  • Ergonomic grip makes it one of the more comfortable tools in its niche to use
  • Generous temperature adjustability ranging from 356 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit
  • On the heavier side – it weighs 5 pounds
VERDICT

It might not rank the highest, but this is still one of the best options you could go for as it offers a generous adjustable temperature range, a highly impressive accuracy, and a long 4.9-foot cord which allows freedom in movement around the workplace.

5. Weller WLC100

Weller makes its second apparition in our top, this time with a model that exceeds expectations from all points of view as it comes at an incredibly cheap price. Not only this, but it is one of the more versatile options to go for. What makes us say this is the fact that it allows you to adjust the temperature as you like, the viable selection you could make ranging from 0 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

It has one of the lowest power consumption out there, more precisely 40 watts. When it comes to its design, we must put emphasis on the convenient 4-foot long cord which allows freedom of placement. It measures 8.8 inches by 6.3 inches by 3.8 inches, and it weighs 2 pounds, which makes it one of the most compact and light entries in this niche.

The cushioned grip ensures you won’t feel tired and your hand won’t hurt even after hours of use. It features a replaceable heating element. The accessories it comes with include an iron-plated copper tip, a safety guard iron holder, and a sponge tip cleaning pad. Furthermore, it is accompanied by a 1-year warranty.

PROS CONS
  • Best pick price-wise – it is the cheapest product in our top five
  • Ergonomic grip ensures your hands won’t get tired after prolonged use
  • Variable power control from 5 to 40 watts
  • Adjustable temperature ranges from 0 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Power cord measures an impressive 4 feet in length
  • Does not feature a digital display which would have made it more intuitive to use
VERDICT

If you are looking for a bargain, your best selection is definitely the WLC100. Not only is it cheap, but it actually puts at your disposal numerous features which enhance its usefulness and safety use, as well as an adjustable temperature ranging from 0 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soldering 101 – Tips for Beginners

Regardless of the skill you are taking up, one thing is for sure – you must learn the basics and have knowledge of some elementary aspects which will help keep you safe as well as guide you on the right path towards mastering that skill. The same goes for soldering, a skill you will not master without appropriate guidance. To receive some useful tips as a beginner, read this section of our article.

  • Tip#1: Practice makes perfect! As a beginner, you do not have the best hang over soldering as a whole, so you cannot expect to have an easy time when handling tasks like soldering PCB-mounted components. However, if you take our advice and practice regularly as much as you can on scrap, you will slowly become a natural and be able to finish the projects at hand quick.
  • Tip #2: When you work on IC chips or PCB-mounted components, be extra cautious with heat as excessive temperature can lead to damaging these parts or even breaking them. What you should do is first solder a socket to the circuit board in front of you, after which proceed to insert the component inside that socket, this way avoiding the high heat produced if you were to solder the legs of the components directly to the circuit board.
  • Tip #3: Make sure that your workspace is well ventilated as, otherwise, you will end up inhaling smoke which is quite toxic. Additionally, to be extra cautious as your health and well-being are at stake, you should wear appropriate protective equipment, more precisely safety glasses or goggles.
  • Tip #4: As opposed to what you might be expecting, the iron does not actually transfer the heat that nice, existing the danger for the transfer to be uneven or inefficient. To prevent this, you should tint the tip of the iron when it is warm enough to melt solder. The smooth and shiny finish created by the tinning procedures ensures even and efficient results when soldering, something we explained is not completely possible without this action.
  • Tip #5: If you notice that a joint does not seem to melt away fast enough, it might mean that fresh solder should be added. Thus, you should add fresh solder as you apply the heat for its flux to help make the process of breaking down the old joint go faster.

Types of Soldering Irons You Will Encounter

Used for tasks like repairs, installations, and work on electronics assembly, soldering irons are must-have tools which you will master quickly regardless if there exists a previous contact with them or not. However, note that there are quite a few types of soldering irons out there, each of them better suited in different situations, some even perfect regardless of the application at hand. Learn more about each type by reading the following lines in order to know whether your pre-existing collection needs some new addition or not, or if the type of iron you intended to use is fit for your needs.

  • Simple Iron

    The simple iron, which is low-powered, generally rated between 15 and 35 watts, is perfect for electrical and electronics work. Its temperature is limited, so even if you find a model with a higher power rating, this won’t actually help you a lot. Furthermore, their temperature runs uncontrolled and is determined by the thermal equilibrium, so if you need accuracy when it comes to this aspect, a simple iron is definitely not the right pick for you.

  • Cordless Iron

    As the name suggests, these tools are perfect when a cordless operation is required. They are heated by either a battery or by the combustion of a gas – butane, for example. Note that their temperature cannot be regulated directly – when it comes to gas irons, for example, you can change the temperature by adjusting the gas flow. Their main characteristic is obviously convenience as the cordless aspect makes them easier to handle and allows you to roam around in the workshop without any limitation.

  • Station for Soldering

    The tool which represents our main focus in this article, the soldering station, consists of a stand where the hot iron sits when it is not in use and the soldering iron or head with a tip temperature sensor. It is invariably temperature controlled, so you reap the benefit of being able to customize the temperature setting to your liking. If you need them, other functions can be combined to make the station useful in even more situations, like de-soldering or reworking.

  • Soldering Tweezers

    When you are dealing with capacitors, diodes, or resistors, you have to go with soldering tweezers. They are composed of two-headed tips which are mounted on arms that can be manually separated depending on how gentle or forceful you squeeze against the spring force, just as you would proceed with regular tweezers. It is the familiar approach they require which makes soldering tweezers necessary tools, especially if you predominantly work with small surface-mount components.

  • Hot Knife

    It is a form of iron which is equipped with a double-edged blade placed on a heating element, and it can reach temperatures as high as 538 degrees Celsius or 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the model you pick. The hot knife is ideal for cutting foam materials and fabric without beading or fraying occurring, as well as for automotive and carpeting applications.

Frequently Asked Questions



?What type of tool should I opt for if I am a beginner?
If the recommendations given in our article do not seem to be fit for you, we recommend the tool you end up buying and using to feature controls as simplistic as possible. If you do want a recommendation from the ones presented in this article, we advise you to go with the two Weller entries.

?What is the purpose of the auto sleep mode?
This feature actually fulfills two purposes through the action of automatically shutting the tool off at a certain time. First off, it prevents useless power consumption as you are likely to sometimes forget to turn it off yourself, the sleep mode function tending to turn it off after a certain time of inactivity passes. Secondly, it enhances safety in use as it ensures you won’t forget it turned on overnight.

?What is the best indicator of its quality?
While there are other factors which weigh in determining whether the tool is a high-quality one or not, by far, the most important trait is the temperature range provided. The wider the range is the better as you can use the tool for as many applications as you want without facing any difficulties.

Depending on who you ask, whether a person who is looking for a more simplistic soldering tool or one who is looking for a complex option which is feature-rich, there will be different selections from our top more appropriate than others for their use. For those who are looking to have it all quality-wise yet who do not want to be faced with handling overly complicated controls, the Weller WES51, our top pick, is their best option. It does cost more than other entries, yet it is worth every cent as it allows you to set the perfect temperature for the application you are working on, the 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range selection endorsing this possibility.

In terms of simplicity in use, another great companion would be the Weller WLC100 which comes at a much cheaper price without sacrificing features, the variable power control and generous temperature range provided making the experience of using it surprisingly great. However, if you are not shy when it comes to controls which are a bit more complex and you put an accent on features the most, we recommend you go for the X-Tronic 3020-XTS. Some of its highlights include the convenient Celsius to Fahrenheit toggle switch which allows you to use the tool with the settings you are most accustomed to and the automatic sleep mode which prevents energy waste by automatically shutting off the tool after 10 minutes of inactivity.

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