Different Types of Soldering Irons

Different Types of Soldering Irons

Soldering is a process that allows you to join two or more metal objects together, by melting an alloy (solder) into the joint, using a tool called a soldering iron. A soldering iron is shaped like a wand or a pen and has metal tips that heat up to melt the solder. This tool can be used on pipes, electronics, and circuit boards, or even making jewelry. In this article, we’ll be looking at gas and electric soldering irons, soldering guns, and the different tips and types of solder you can use with them.

Different Kinds of Soldering Iron Tips 

Depending on the type of project you are working on, you will likely need different types of tips for your soldering iron. The tips come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from small needle tips to large wedges. Here we are looking at six common styles you may want to have in your kit and the type of work these tips can be used for. Please note that these tips are for use with a gas soldering iron and that an electric model will have similar, but likely smaller, styles.  

1. Small hole tip for concentrated area

Soldering iron tips

2. Larger tips for pipe work

Soldering iron pipe

3. Fan tips for larger sections of pipe

Soldering iron fan tip

4. Pointed tips for connecting joints, used for tin-smithing

Soldering iron pointed tip

5. Wedge tip for larger surface areas

Soldering iron wedge tip

6. Sharp tip for delicate work

Soldering sharp tip

Electric Soldering Kits 

An electric soldering iron kit is a great all-around standard option to have for your projects. It is affordable and versatile, as the kits come with several different tips to use. The wand-shaped soldering iron is generally lighter and easier to work with than a soldering gun or a gas torch, but they may not heat up to as high of a temperature. The electric irons will have a dial that allows you to control the temperature, depending on the project you’re working on and the materials you need to melt. This type of soldering iron also needs access to an outlet in order to be used, unlike a gas version which is cordless and more portable. Generally, an electric soldering kit is a great option for starting out and for smaller household projects you may be working on.  

Soldering iron kit

Soldering Guns 

A soldering gun is different from a soldering iron, although its purpose is the same as the iron; to join two or more objects together. As indicated by its name, it is shaped like a gun and has a trigger for operating the tool. A soldering gun is better for larger projects like home appliances, whereas a soldering iron can be used for smaller parts. The guns have a higher wattage, which produces more heat, which allows you to use them for bigger jobs. The soldering gun can be physically heavier than an iron, so it can be more difficult to use. Like an iron, a soldering gun has different replaceable tips in an assortment of sizes and styles. 

Soldering gun

Types of Solder 

Solder is the material that is melted, to then join two different metals together. It is an alloy, and the melting point will vary depending on the blend of materials. Lead and tin are common metals used, but alloys can also be made up of zinc, brass, copper, or silver. The one you choose for your project must have a lower melting point than the objects you are looking to join, and your soldering iron must be able to achieve a temperature high enough to actually melt the solder.  

The three main types of solder you will find are lead-based, lead-free, and flux-core. A lead-based solder is most commonly found with a ratio of 60/40 – with 60% tin and 40% lead making up the mixture. A higher tin ratio makes it easier to melt and produces a harder joint, making it one of the strongest materials you can solder with. Lead-free solder is more often used with consumer electronics. Lead-free solder has a higher melting point than those made of a lead alloy. Then there are soldering wires with a flux core. This product has resin built-in for adhesion, as the flux removes oxidation from the metal resulting in a better work surface.  

Soldering iron solder

Whether you are working on repairing power tools, pipes, plumbing, electronics, wires, or making jewelry and stained glass, there are a variety of different soldering tools out there that will fit your needs. Follow along with our YouTube Channel to see what kind of repairs we can do with a soldering iron. If you need replacement parts for any of your power tools, you can easily search with your model number on eReplacementParts.com

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