What is the best soldering Iron?


I have looked through the forums and can’t find a thread about soldering irons. I’m looking to get a soldering iron so that I can modify and customise some of my old consoles (soldering iron I used before was my dad’s old one). Which one would people recommend, i’m looking to spend £40 max. I was looking at buying an Aoyue 936, but I have been told that an Antex M12 would be just as good? what would you recommend guys?

Thanks in advance for any help given.

THis is the one I have and its awesome. I dont know if Weller is available in your area but check them out.

Weller Soldering Iron

Thats a pricey soldering iron.

Its worth it if you do a lot of soldering :). If its just for small hobby jobs you could get away with a corded iron also

I just bought one of these recently. Haven’t had a chance to put it to work yet but it’s a pretty popular station.

Yes, soldering stations are cooler than standalone soldering irons.
The power unit stabilizes temperature on the iron tip.
Unlike non-power unit ones which keep rising.

Those are nice also. I can recommend that one also. When I did cellphone repair we used those and the Weller I listed. Both great irons.

I have one of these.
Still have it from two decades, when my Mom did this kind of stuff.

Don’t need adjustable temperature for me.

I was going to ask the same question but never got around to it. Most of the time people just say “go to radioshack” and that is exactly what I did and I have been through two radio shack irons now. The first one I lost but the 2nd one after only using it two times the tip came loose and trying to tighten it down only made it worse. when I did my dual mod on the TE a few weeks ago my tip was so loose that i could move 3/4" from one side to the other so I had to “rest” the top on things very carefully and try to heat them up enough to solder. Made things 5x harder than they should have been.

The mod came out ok though despite the handicap :smiley:

I think I am looking for something between the $15 radio shack iron that feels like its going to melt itself and breaks after 3 uses, and these $100 pro irons.
I want something that is for an enthusiast that needs something reliable and quality.

If there is no such thing, guess I will save up for one of these $100 ones. But I was looking at stuff like this.

Weller $45

Aoyue $53

I think I would do better with something like the Aoyue because the iron is nice and slim (pencil type) making it easy for me to hold and handle with my awkward way that I hold a soldering iron. The Weller looks pretty thick like my radio shack one and so its a bit more awkward for me to hold.

Radio shack does sell 1 quality desktop iron there that’s their brand (technically it’s a Madell AT201D iron, just re-branded). I use it, I love it, and it’s like 70.00USD retail.

Based on the two listed above, I’d go with the Aoyue, but only because it has a digital readout…which in my opinion is really nice to have.

That tip it has looks identical to the tip on the radio shack one I listed as well. It’s a 900M series tip (900M-T-1/900M-T-I to be specific). You can get replacements online for pretty cheap if you search up ebay. There’s also a slew of other 900M series tips worth looking at, depending on your intended usage.

I’ve been using a second hand Weller temp adjustable soldering station + 60W iron for the last 3 years and I don’t have any complaints. Take a look on eBay and you’ll find a bargain.

Also recently got hold of an Iroda Solderpro 120, which is a cordless butane iron. Seems very good so far, and a lot more convenient to carry around than a whole station. You can find them in Maplins, but again look on eBay for a bargain.

But at the end of days, there’s no reason not to use a basic £5 iron for small project work like this. Just make sure you tin the tip regularly and don’t be tempted to melt plastic with it. A soldering iron stand is also recommended, along with either a cleaning sponge or wire wool ball.

How the hell does this happen? There’s absolutely no reason why a $10 Radio Shack soldering iron should be falling apart like that. I’ve had my Radio Shack iron for years now (and my dad has had one for literally decades) and they’re still trucking. Sure, after a few years or so (or an extensive project) the tips should be replaced, but as long as you keep the tips clean and tin them often the Radio Shack irons are just fine for small projects.

Buy any soldering iron which is about 15-30w and comes with a work station. Corded is best. 1 - 2 mm iron rip.

I have two Weller stations, an old EC1002 and a newer WES51. Once you use a “good” soldering station, you will throw that old Radio Shack wand in the garbage. The difference is night and day. It can also be the difference between just globbing shit together, and actually getting a good flow, and nice looking joints. Spend a little extra, and get the good shit. Skimping on tools is always a bad idea. If you want good results, get good tools.

Your choice of tip is also important. Try a couple of different kinds, depending on what you are working on.

Exact one i bought a month ago. Great soldering iron!! just make sure you clean it and tin it when your done each time.

Your mom was building arcade sticks? sweet! :slight_smile: jk

I use a 30 year old 25w soldering iron with (what looks like) the original tip. It’s that worn down. You really don’t need “the best” iron to do good work. Just a decent one that’s low enough power to not scorch your boards.

So I found this: Weller Soldering Iron | Canadian Tire soldering iron and on the other side it says 6 watts and 4.5 volts. Just wondering if this would be any good for pcb work.

I’d get one you plug in.

Mastercraft 25W Soldering Iron | Canadian Tire

The one I use is really no better than this one. In fact, it’s probably worse.

So basically I’ll be good with any soldering iron under 30w for doing joystick mods and consoles, with a soldering station if possible. Thanks for all your help and comments guys.