Which watt soldering iron do most of you guys use?

I need to pick up a new soldering iron and I was thinking I might as well just grab anything from 15-30 watts since their the most common irons to use electrical work. Do you guys suggest anything higher than that, like a 45 watts iron or even a 60 watts one? or should I just stick to 30 watts or even 15?

I find that a 30 watt is too hot for most sensitive pcb work. I use my 30 watt for soldering wires to buttons, etc (fuck qd’s I’m done with 'em), and a 15 watt for working on more sensitive areas like a pcb.

Thank you. I guess I’ll grab a 15 and a 30 than :slight_smile:

It really depends on how well you solder. I use a 45 watt soldering iron, but I have had quite a bit of practice. Basically, with higher wattage irons you have to be much more precise and quick than with lower wattage irons. Not to mention the higher wattage irons are more likely to damage something if you take too much time. If you are modding controllers or something simple like that, you should be fine with a 15 or 30 watt iron. Hope that helps. BTW, what wattage iron are you using now?

It was my dads 30 year old iron, lol. Since I don’t live with my parents anymore I don’t have access to the thing as quick as I wanted to. As for wattage, the think must have been at least 45-60 watts. In fact I modded some of my old PS2/Xbox sticks with it.

BTW, I worked for Celastica INC. a leading eletronic PCB manufacture here in Toronto. I tested and fixed PCB’s there for 2 years. Soldering station and all that on the SMT Line (Service Mount Technology, where PCB’s get made).

Funny story and you must read this… Celastica here in Toronto now produces Xbox 360’s. Yup, the very same place where I used to work has a contract with Microsoft now to build Canada’s Xbox 360’s. Also if you do get an RROD with your 360, the system goes to that exact plant for its warranty. That’s why most Canadians in Toronto get their system back pretty damn fast. I had RROD twice now and it took less than a week to get my system back. Shipped on Monday, got it back with UPS on Thursday.

15 watt.

it also depends on the solder you use. if it requires a higher temperature to flow, using a lower wattage iron will mean that you need to heat the joint up for longer.

I use a dual wattage 15/30. 15 for small PCB work, 30 for any pre-existing solder work(like large solder joints bounding boards together).

Anything higher and you run a big risk and burner your stuff.

I use hakko 937 controlling the temperature to 380-400 C

it really depends on the situation.
how well you clean your tip, how big is the tip, what kind of solder do you use, etc.

I would say a 30watt soldering iron should be able to handle most of the soldering jobs out there if you are careful

just don’t get lead free solders, they have relatively high melting point which makes your soldering experience much, much more painful than using normal solder

I have a temperature controller soldering station which is set to 300 C and I find it a good temp to work on PCB’s and such. God knows what that is it wattage terms.

If I’m trying to solder something thicker, I just crank up the temp a bit.

I have the first one on this page. It costs slightly more than what you’ll pay at ratshack but it makes work so very, very easy. Digital controls. It never gets too hot or cools down when you’re working. You can replace just the iron itself, buy new tips and attachments.

Costs less than the price of a new game and should last for years to come.

Why on earth would you buy just an iron? Get a temp controlled soldering station, you can pick up a weller for like $60 if you look around.

I use a 30 watt for everything, pcb too.

Mine is 65-watt. A Hakko 936 ESD. I keep it around 375C for 60/40.

I went through two or three cheap $10 soldering irons. After getting tired of uneven tip heating and shoddy elements I finally caved and got a decent soldering station a few years ago. It’s about the best tool I’ve ever purchased. If you’ve ever been frustrated by a cheap soldering iron, using a temperature-controlled ceramic element soldering station is a real treat.


both have 2mm tips. both are perfect for hacking controllers.

I’ve been using a $7 25-watt soldering iron I bought from a local Radio Shack for most of my soldering needs. However, recently I attempted to hack a Wii remote and needed to desolder the IR camera from the PCB, and was completely unable to do so with this soldering iron. The solder points were too small and close together for me to accurately melt them. I also had difficulties with this using my cheap Radio Shack desoldering bulb. Will upgrading to a better iron help out with this? Are there any better tools out there anyone can recommend for desoldering IC-like connections on a PCB?

I was considering this iron from Amazon, but was wary about spending more than $50 on one.

Mine is 40 Watt but I have not used it for modding yet.

I’m jealous of you guys and your fancy irons, I use this guy for all my soldering needs…

Maybe I need to invest money in a better iron so my soldering work won’t look so bad!

That’s the exact iron I use and it works fine. Pain in the ass with lead-free solder though; I use the regular stuff. :slight_smile:

This is the one I use, it’s cheap and awesome!