A soldering station is specifically designed for professional electronics projects that involve sensitive components and, as such, it is better equipped to handle complicated tasks.
Because the soldering station has a larger power supply, it heats up more quickly than a soldering iron and holds its temperature more accurately.
With a soldering station, you can set the temperature of the tip precisely to suit your needs. This accuracy is important for professional projects.
When it comes to the wide range of options available, my top-rated soldering station is the Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station for both its functionality and its price. It is lightweight, versatile, and fits on any worktable. Its digital design gives the most precise temperature measurements.
But, depending on your situation and needs you might be looking for different features or a more friendly price tag. I’ve got you covered!
Let’s look at the top 7 best soldering stations available:
|Best soldering station||Images|
|Best overall digital soldering station: Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital|
|Best soldering station for DIYers and hobbyists: Weller WLC100 40-Watt|
|Best soldering station for high-temperature soldering: Weller 1010NA Digital|
|Most versatile soldering station: X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS Digital Display|
|Best budget soldering station: HANMATEK SD1 Durable|
|Best high-performance soldering station: Aoyue 9378 Pro Series 60 Watts|
|Best soldering station for professionals: Weller WT1010HN 1 Channel 120W|
In this post we'll cover:
- What is a soldering station?
- Buyers Guide: How to choose the best soldering station
- My top recommended soldering stations
- Best overall digital soldering station: Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital
- Best soldering station for DIYers and hobbyists: Weller WLC100 40-Watt
- Best soldering station for high-temperature soldering: Weller 1010NA Digital
- Most versatile soldering station: X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS Digital Display
- Best budget soldering station: HANMATEK SD1 Durable
- Best high-performance soldering station: Aoyue 9378 Pro Series 60 Watts
- Best soldering station for professionals: Weller WT1010HN 1 Channel 120W
- Safety tips when using a soldering station
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is a soldering station?
A soldering station is an electronic tool for hand soldering electronic components onto a PCB. It consists of a station or a unit to control temperature and a soldering iron that can be attached to the station unit.
Most soldering stations have temperature control and are mostly used in electronics PCB assembly and manufacturing units and for repairing circuit boards.
Soldering station vs iron vs gun
What is the advantage of using a soldering station rather than an ordinary soldering iron or soldering gun?
Soldering stations are widely used in electronics repair workshops, electronic laboratories, and in industry, where precision is all-important, but simple soldering stations can also be used for household applications and for hobbies.
Buyers Guide: How to choose the best soldering station
The best soldering station for you is the one that matches your particular needs. However, there are certain features/factors you should look for when purchasing a soldering station.
Analog vs digital
A soldering station can be either analog or digital. Analog units have knobs to control temperature but the temperature setting in these units is not very accurate.
They are good enough for jobs like mobile phone repairs.
Digital units have settings to control the temperature digitally. They also have a digital display that shows the current set temperature.
These units offer better accuracy but are a little more expensive than their analog counterparts.
A higher wattage rating will offer temperature range stability and better performance.
Unless you work with heavy-duty soldering on a regular basis, you do not need an over-powered unit. A wattage rating of between 60 and 100 watts is adequate for most soldering projects.
Quality and safety features
Safety is an extremely important feature when dealing with soldering tools.
Ensure that the soldering station has an electrical standard certificate and look for additional features like anti-static protection (Electrostatic Discharge/ESD safe), auto-sleep, and standby mode.
A built-in transformer is a great feature as it automatically prevents damage from electrical surges.
Temperature control features
The temperature control feature is essential, especially for more advanced soldering projects where there is a need to work quickly and neatly.
The choice here is between an analog or digital unit. Digital units have settings to control the temperature digitally and they are more accurate.
However, they tend to be more expensive than their analog counterparts.
Digital soldering stations, unlike the analog units, have a digital display that shows the current set temperature. This feature allows the user to precisely monitor the temperature of the tip.
This is an important feature when it comes to precision soldering where it is vital to be able to control the temperature of different types of solder.
A good quality soldering station may also come with useful accessories like a chisel tip, de-soldering pump, and solder. These add-ons can save you money on accessory purchases.
My top recommended soldering stations
To compile my list of the best soldering stations, I’ve researched and evaluated a range of the best-selling soldering stations on the market.
Best overall digital soldering station: Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital
“A digital model in the analog-model price bracket” – this is why my top-rated choice is the Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station.
It stands out from the crowd for its function and price. It is lightweight, versatile, ESD-safe, and will fit on any worktable.
Its digital design allows for the most precise temperature measurements.
The adjustable temperature control has a range of between 120 – 899 degrees F and the digital display, which can be set for F or C, makes it easy to check the set temperature.
Settings can also be locked using a password to prevent them from being changed unexpectedly. The convenient pre-set feature allows you to store up to five pre-set temperatures, for quick and easy temperature changes.
Comes with a soft natural sponge for effective cleaning of the tips.
- Wattage rating: 70 Watts
- Quality & safety features: ESD safe
- Temperature control features: Digital model gives precise measurements. Temperature range between 120- and 899-degrees F (50 – 480 degrees C). Settings can be locked to prevent them from being changed
- Temperature display: Digital, pre-set feature for storing pre-set temperatures
- Accessories: Comes with a cleaning sponge
Best soldering station for DIYers and hobbyists: Weller WLC100 40-Watt
The WLC100 from Weller is a versatile analog soldering station that is perfect for hobbyists, DIYers, and students.
It is ideal for use on audio equipment, crafts, hobby models, jewelry, small appliances, and home electronics.
The WLC100 operates at 120V and features a continuous dial to provide variable power control to the soldering station. It heats up to a maximum of 900 degrees F. which is adequate for most home soldering projects.
The 40-watt soldering iron is lightweight with a cushioned foam grip which provides a comfortable hold.
It has an interchangeable, iron-plated, copper ST3 tip to help keep the temperature consistent while making soldering joints.
The soldering iron can be detached for your on-the-go soldering needs.
The soldering station includes a safety guard iron holder and a natural sponge tip cleaning pad to remove solder residue. This station meets all the independent safety standards.
If you are looking for a good mid-range soldering iron that offers good value for money, the Weller WLC100 is the ideal choice. It also has a seven-year guarantee.
- Wattage rating: 40 Watts
- Quality & safety features: UL Listed, tested and meets independent safety standards
- Temperature control features: It heats up to a maximum of 900 degrees F. which is adequate for most home soldering projects.
- Temperature display: Analog display
- Accessories: Includes a safety guard iron holder
Best soldering station for high-temperature soldering: Weller 1010NA Digital
If it’s oomph you are looking for, then the Weller WE1010NA is the one to look at.
This soldering station is 40 percent more powerful than most standard stations.
The extra power allows the 70-watt iron to heat up faster and provides a faster recovery time, all of which increases the efficiency and accuracy of the tool.
The Weller station also offers other cutting-edge features such as intuitive navigation, a standby mode, and auto setback, to conserve energy.
The iron is lightweight and features a silicone cable for safe handling and the tips can be changed manually once the device has cooled down.
The easy-to-read LCD screen with 3 pushbuttons provides easy temperature control. It also has a password protection feature where temperature settings can be saved.
The on/off switch is also located on the front of the station, for easy access.
The soldering station is ESD safe and has received a certificate of compliance for electrical safety (UL and CE).
- Wattage rating: 70 Watts
- Quality & safety features: ESD Safe
- Temperature control features: The temperature range is from 150°C to 450°C (302°F to 842°F)
- Temperature display: Easy-to-read LCD screen
- Accessories: Includes: one We1 station 120V, one Wep70 tip retainer, one Wep70 iron, PH70 safety rest with a sponge, and Eta tip 0.062inch/1.6 millimeter screwdriver
Most versatile soldering station: X-Tronic Model #3020-XTS Digital Display
Designed both for the beginner as well as expert users, the versatile X-Tronic offers some great additional features that will make any soldering project quicker, easier, and safer.
These include a 10-minute sleep function to save power, auto cool down, and a Centigrade to Fahrenheit conversion switch.
This 75-watt soldering station’s iron reaches temperatures between 392- and 896 degrees F and heats up in less than 30 seconds.
The temperature is easy to adjust using the digital screen and the temperature dial. The soldering iron also has a stainless-steel shank with a heat-resistant silicone grip for extra comfort of use.
The 60-inch cord on the soldering iron is also made of 100% silicone, for additional safety.
It also features two detachable “helping hands” to hold your workpiece in place while you feed solder and manipulate the iron with your hands.
The station comes with 5 extra soldering tips and a brass tip cleaner with cleaning flux.
- Wattage rating: 75 Watts – heats up in under 30 seconds
- Quality & safety features: ESD Safe
- Temperature control features: Reaches temperatures between 392- and 896 degrees F
- Temperature display: The temperature is easy to adjust using the digital screen and the temperature dial.
- Accessories: The station comes with 5 extra soldering tips and a brass tip cleaner with cleaning flux.
Best budget soldering station: HANMATEK SD1 Durable
If you need to solder on a budget, the Hanmatek SD1 durable soldering station offers excellent value for money. It is big on safety features and has excellent functionality.
This station has a fuse to prevent leakage, a high-temperature resistant silicone cable, a silicone-covered handle, a power-off protection switch, and a lead-free and non-toxic soldering iron nozzle.
It is ESD and FCC certified.
It offers rapid heating in under 6 seconds to reach the melting point 932 F and it maintains a consistent temperature while in use.
The station is made of high-quality heat-resistant and drop-resistant plastic material and built into the design is a tin wire roll holder and a screwdriver jack.
- Wattage rating: 60 Watts
- Quality & safety features: Good safety features, including a power-off protection switch and a built-in fuse
- Temperature control features: Rapid heating to 932 F in under 6 seconds
- Temperature display: Analog dial
- Accessories: Built-in tin wire roll holder and a screwdriver jack
Best high-performance soldering station: Aoyue 9378 Pro Series 60 Watts
A quality solder station with plenty of power! If it is high-performance that you are looking for, then the Aoyue 9378 Pro series is the solder station to look at.
It has 75 watts of system power and 60-75 watts of iron power, depending on the type of iron used.
The safety features of this station include a system lock to prevent accidental use of the station and a sleep function to save power.
It has a large LED display and a switchable C/F temperature scale. The power cord is heavy but flexible with a high-quality casing.
Comes with 10 different soldering tips, which makes it a very versatile tool.
- Wattage rating: 75 Watts
- Quality & safety features: ESD Safe
- Temperature control features: Temperature range 200-480 C (392-897 F)
- Temperature display: Large LED display
- Accessories: Comes with 10 different soldering tips
Best soldering station for professionals: Weller WT1010HN 1 Channel 120W
Not for the average or occasional DIYer, this technologically advanced and very powerful solder station falls into the professional-grade, with a price tag to match.
The Weller WT1010HN is a high-end, quality tool for serious soldering projects and heavy-duty use.
The high wattage- 150 watts- makes initial heat-up to temperature extremely fast and the iron retains its temperature for the duration.
This lightning-quick charge of the heating element allows for efficient working with several different tip types in quick succession.
The unit itself is sturdily built (and stackable), the console LCD screen is easy to read and understand and the controls are straightforward.
The slimline iron itself has a comfortable ergonomic grip and the tips are easily replaced (though not inexpensive compared to normal replacements).
The cable from the station to the iron is long and flexible. Built-in energy-saving standby mode and a safety rest.
- Wattage rating: Extremely powerful – 150 watts
- Quality & safety features: ESD Safe
- Temperature control features: Lightning-quick heating and accurate heat retention. Temperature range: 50-550 C (150-950 F)
- Temperature display: Console LCD screen is easy to read and understand
- Accessories: Comes with WP120 soldering pencil and WSR201 safety rest
Safety tips when using a soldering station
The temperature of the tip of the soldering iron is very high and it can cause a serious burn. Thus, safety protocols are important when using this tool.
Before turning on the solder station, make sure it is clean.
Plug the cable in properly, set the temperature at a low level, and then switch on the station.
Increase the temperature of the station gradually according to your needs. Don’t heat the soldering iron excessively. Always keep it on the stand when not in use.
After you have finished using it, put the soldering iron on the stand properly and turn off the station.
Don’t touch the solder iron tip until it has completely cooled down, and don’t touch the solder that you have made until it has cooled completely.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is a soldering station used for?
A soldering station acts as a control station for your soldering iron if you have an adjustable iron.
The station has the controls for adjusting the temperature of the iron as well as other settings. You may plug your iron into this soldering station.
Can I control the temperature precisely with the soldering station?
Yes, most of the digital soldering stations have a precise control facility and/or digital display by which you can change the temperature precisely.
Can I change the tip of the soldering iron in case it is damaged?
Yes, you can change the tip of the soldering iron. In some soldering stations, you can also use different sizes of tips for different purposes with the soldering iron.
What is the difference between a soldering station and a rework station?
Soldering stations tend to be more useful for precision work, such as through-hole soldering or more intricate work.
Rework stations work under different circumstances, providing a gentler approach, and being capable of working with almost any component.
Why is it important to know the de-soldering process?
Even the highest quality components fail from time to time. That’s why de-soldering is so important for those who manufacture, maintain or repair printed circuit boards (PCBs).
The challenge is removing excess solder quickly without damaging the circuit board.
What are the risks of soldering?
Soldering with lead (or other metals used in soldering) can produce dust and fumes that are hazardous.
In addition, using flux containing rosin produces solder fumes that, if inhaled, can result in occupational asthma or worsen existing asthmatic conditions, as well as cause eye and upper respiratory tract irritation.
Now that you know all about the types of soldering stations available on the market, you are in a position to select the best one for your purposes.
Do you need a high-temperature station, or a budget-friendly soldering station to use at home?
I’ve done the hard work analyzing their best features, now it’s time to pick the option that suits you best, and get soldering!
Now you have the best soldering station, learn how to choose the best soldering wire here
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.