Everything you need to know to begin soldering:
Soldering Station VS Soldering Iron
A common question regarding soldering is "What is the difference between a soldering station and a soldering iron, and which should I be getting?"
Before we make a decision between either, let's first take a look at the features and understand how a soldering station or iron is suitable in different situations.
The main characteristics of a soldering iron is its simplicity and lack of temperature control. It is a stick-like equipment with a heat-resistant handle and a soldering tip attachment. A standard soldering iron has a fixed temperature heater in which the input voltage goes directly to the heater element within the handle to heat up the tip.
Since a soldering iron is able to heat up by itself, it is a convenient tool to bring on-the-go if the user is required to solder off-site. A soldering iron is typically more affordable as compared to a soldering station, making it suitable for those who are new to the soldering world, or users who only need it for a single purpose (e.g. simple home repairs or specific hobbies and craft).
It is a straight-forward tool suitable for:
- Simple projects or single product type
- On-the-go soldering
- Workbenches with limited space
For even more convenience, check out the FX-600/FX-601 Soldering Iron with built-in temperature control. Alternatively, for off-site soldering with no access to electrical sockets, you may consider the FX-901 Cordless Soldering Iron.
A soldering station is a complete kit that comes with a heating unit (the station), a soldering iron, cleaning sponge or wire, and an iron holder to store the soldering iron when not in use. Unlike a soldering iron, the voltage enters the station first, where the ideal temperature is selected, and this in turn heats up the soldering iron. Due to the multiple components and extensive features, a soldering station is generally more costly than a simple soldering iron and may be considered an investment.
A soldering station usually has a wide range of temperature control, allowing the user to select specific temperatures for different projects. Advanced soldering stations also have a higher power output, making it well-qualified for heavy duty or long-term soldering. It is essential to have sufficient space on your workbench to accommodate a soldering station as they are considered a bulky equipment.
It is a comprehensive tool suitable for:
- Beginners to Experts
- Wide range of projects or product type
- Workbenches with adequate space
Furthermore, some soldering stations have a wide range of features that may not be found on soldering irons, such as:
- High thermal recovery (especially for lead-free solder)
- Fast response/heat-up timing
- Nitrogen system soldering (Applicable to most soldering stations. Kindly speak with our sales team to confirm if the station you have is suitable)
- Internet-of-Things (IoT) capability for automated temperature calibration (FN-1010)
- Dual port stations with individual temperature control (FX-889)
- Multi-function stations that performs soldering, desoldering and SMD rework (FM-206)
- Saved temperature presets (FX-888D)
- High Frequency Induction Heating (FX-100)
When it comes to choosing between a soldering station or iron, it is important to first determine the purpose, as well as the level of usage. There is no right answer as the type of tool required is dependent on the user and the projects performed.
Beginners can start off with the FX-601 Soldering Iron or even the FX-888D Soldering Station, our most compact and simple soldering station. Moderate or advanced users can consider the different types of soldering stations and irons and select the one with features that best suit their needs.
If you are only working on a single type of project (e.g. stained glass), it may be more cost-effective to have a soldering iron instead of a soldering station. On the other hand, working with different types of electronic repairs may require a more substantial soldering station for quicker and more efficient soldering!
Still unsure of which to get? Drop us a message with details of your experience level as well as the types of projects you are working on, and our team will suggest the product with the best fit!