Soldering Iron Showdown: $10 vs $1,000 Soldering Iron! Which Is The Best For You?

Soldering Iron Showdown: $10 vs $1,000 Soldering Iron! Which Is The Best For You?

I do a lot of soldering. A LOT! Whether it’s soldering wires onto printed circuit boards, or soldering battery leads on a lithium pack, soldering is just part of the game when it comes to anything that is powered by electricity. I often get asked what my soldering setup of choice is and why…

In this video I cover four popular soldering irons, in four different price categories. The range is from $10 to over $1,000! They include the LDK, Weller WLC100, Hakko FX888D and the monster Weller WX2. Which is my favorite? Which is best for you? Tune in to find out!

Is there another soldering iron I should have considered for the test? Which is your favorite? Leave a comment below!

SOLDERING IRONS TESTED IN THIS VIDEO:

LDK: https://amzn.to/3cFiP6k
WELLER WLC100: https://amzn.to/2TNc0qv
HAKKO FX888D: https://amzn.to/3cHqReD
WELLER WX2: https://amzn.to/2TwJt9T

TOOLS SHOWN IN THIS VIDEO:

Work Mat: https://amzn.to/3aowH3L
Solder: https://amzn.to/3300wnE

LINKS TO MY OTHER SOCIAL CHANNELS:

High Voltage Podcast: http://highvoltagepodcast.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wattsinnovations/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WattsInnovations/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobby-watts/

50 Comments

  1. feasibletrash0 on January 1, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    You should consider a Metcal station, perfect for what you need it for. A lot more thermal capacity, and a lot better than the Weller, you can do with a tiny tip what you are doing with that large Weller tip

  2. Samuel Adams on January 1, 2022 at 1:08 pm

    I use the WLC100 but I hate that the replacement tips get stuck inside then you ruin the whole pen because you couldn’t drill it out.

  3. Tom Strickland on January 1, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Shopping for the perfect soldering tools. So happy I stumbled upon this video. Now I know exactly what I need. Thanks for the great Showdown.

  4. John Fretz on January 1, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks. Super helpful.

  5. tote TT on January 1, 2022 at 1:10 pm

    how can it be called soddering ? when its spelt Soldering? its got an L in it!

  6. gbp74 on January 1, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    I need a new soldering station and I’m having a terrible time deciding. I started off looking at a $40 Weller unit. Then the Hakko FX-888D and now the FX-951. I think it might be more than I need.

    Normally I only get it out a few times a year to fix little things here and there, solder connectors to cables, etc. I’ve got a summer project lined up doing some work replacing capacitors & other things in an old vintage radio of my dad’s so I want something capable of for that work without going overboard.

  7. mdhavoc on January 1, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you so much for this upload. It’s not what I was originally looking for but it helped me out alot!

  8. Dekky on January 1, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    Was considering the Hakko, it looks pretty decent, but god those controls are just awful… A dial is far superior for quickly selecting your desired temp, or hell even a Up AND Down arrow would have been nice. With the Hakko you have to hold the enter key for a few seconds, and select your desired temp 1 digit at a time, this is just an unnecessary waste of time while working.

  9. Max Twentynine on January 1, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    that orange weller is shit

  10. JOHN APPLE TECH VIDEOS on January 1, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks man. I needed to find a good starter soldering iron and this video is exactly what I needed and glad I found you man. New subscriber. Great video I got the one you recommended for beginners the Weller 40-watts.

  11. Rani1234 Rani4321 on January 1, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    the ldk if you can get it for 10 $ it have got to win cause 60whatts is not a joke

  12. GREEN BEGINNER on January 1, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Possibly you can help me with a mystery. For the past 2 weeks I have been scouring the internet, including YouTube itself, looking for a source or beginner Electronics. I am yet to find one after viewing possibly 50 sources. They all either assume that you already have 5 years under your belt or they just want to tell you what a capacitor is and then tell you to go build your project. Do you have any suggestions for me? Something that will say "if a schematic has a dot here, six lines this way, a endless box drawn this way, well that means that your wires need to be soldered this way, that way, and this other way." If you have any suggestions, it would be appreciated. At this point, I am lost.

  13. Jason T. Rogers on January 1, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the review this was super helpful.

  14. ink926 on January 1, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Will this “weld” copper tubing?

  15. Matt Soul on January 1, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Checkout the hanmatek sd2 on amazon

  16. Jeb Best on January 1, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    I use a hakko everyday for a few years now well worth $100

  17. soma day on January 1, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks Bobby Watts for the review. Good name for an engineer.

    I still use my 54 yr old Heathkit GH-17. The tip has been replaced once and parts are still available. I think the iron is rated at 25W, enough for most of my tinkering, and the handle is light weight and stays cool.

    Regarding the temperature settings, are the temps measured at the tips and if so, by J or K thermocouple, RTD or thermistor? Were the tip temps independently verified?
    Are the weight and the temperature of the handle important for those soldering much of the day?

    Anecdote- 15 yrs ago I purchased a new SMD hot air rework station for $185 on either Amazon or eBay from a Chinese seller. This was about one third of the cost of the Hakko 850 rework station from which it was copied. Upon opening the box, it looked just like the Hakko. But then,…this had 220V power plug, not the 120V as described. Ah, internally, it was wired for 120V, so the Wong plug was replaced. Okay now, not a deal killer. Oh, the black paint was still a little sticky. Hmm. Ready for the initial desoldering trial: switch on, set air temp and all seems good for the first 10 minutes trial use. Set aside and come back 30 minutes later only to see the tip was a dull orange but the digital display actually showed a temp under 200 F. The temp control had gone bonkers and perhaps the temp sensor, too. Another look under the hood found the single pole 120V on-off switch was wired to the neutral wire and the ground wire not connected. So much for the savings.

  18. James Bond on January 1, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    You said you are mechanical engineer… what it has to do with soldering?
    Electrical engineers yes they are soldering mechanical has nothing to do with solder.

  19. WebbedPete on January 1, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    A few folks need to take half a minute for a calm walk, to talk about English words that have silent L. Solder isn’t alone 😅
    Me, I’m going to eat my salmon with almond crust, then get back to soldering. 🤠

  20. Drip on January 1, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    i have a cheep soldering station (£40 on amazon) and it is amazing, it has a dial and temp readout, 5 tips included, heats up from switch on to melting solder a few seconds faster than the hakko. the only problem is the build quality of it, but for what i need, its just fine.
    mine might be faster because its running on 240v ofc.

    its the hanmatek sd2 if anyone is wondering.

  21. Catweazle on January 1, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    sod to the man with the strange pronunciation.

  22. SevenDeMagnus on January 1, 2022 at 1:21 pm

    I love Weller’s industrial design and interface but I think Hakko is more durable when it comes to the pencil and tips:-)

    Japan vs. Germany. 

    A combo of 31 years, I’ve only spent US$320 (includes alcohol, cotton buds, 99.9% alcohol etc,) but that’s as a hobbyist. I just got my new soldering workstation, the amazing KSGER T12, it’s stylish, very cool OLED, has the heating element and sensors in the tips (10 piece tip is cost effective vs. buying per piece), can boost to more about 550C, I believe or above 500 (for a minute or so but it can be set to boost up to 60 minutes but it can do 480, but 475C safe for me, not to overheat it, if I need that much heat).

    God bless, Rev. 21:4

  23. Stiaan Kruger on January 1, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    A master can solder with a bic lighter, lead fishing sinker, and good flux…………..

  24. Lin Lat Hein on January 1, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    how much watt do i need ?

  25. Keith Coltron on January 1, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    WELLER wx2 Overpriced, WAY overpriced!!!!! Talk about Rip Off, KSGER 8sec, TS100 8sec what is so good about 10sec I have been using my KSGER for over a year now and it REALLY performs, Weller wx2 very old technology ok for plumbers though 🙂

  26. David Richards on January 1, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    hahaha… In the heat-up test, your test was flawed. The last model to heat up didn’t fail to heat up quickly, YOU just forgot to turn up the heating temp to full..!!
    It was still set to ‘2’ on the control dial… So it didn’t come in at 4th place. Just thought id let you and others know since you didn’t redoo the test challenge before releasing the vid. Oh well…

  27. PUSCAS OVIDIU on January 1, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    TRY JBC .

  28. Marky In Uk on January 1, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for video learned a lot. Just wondering do they all rely on mains power? Any models out there that can connect to 12v battery as well for mobile use.

  29. Jeff Dewe on January 1, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    My Hakko 951 knockoff That I paid $37 new on sale, heats up to melt solder in like 11 seconds.

  30. Andrei Ciora on January 1, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    Try a soldering Iron with t12 ( hakko ,jbc).

  31. Georgy Farniev on January 1, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    Lol,I have exactly same silicone mat

  32. Saikalyan Mishra on January 1, 2022 at 1:29 pm

    Dear friend do you aware of Indian products? You can get one under 1 USD & many professional local workshops using it without any problem.

    Compare some Indian stuff someday.

  33. Tim Nilsson on January 1, 2022 at 1:30 pm

    The biggest issue I have with Hakko is the colour scheme. =P
    Looks like a toy.

  34. Bob Weiram on January 1, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    What a fitting name. LOL!

  35. Richard McClary on January 1, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    Man I beat on one of those little cheap ones for a year and it stayed in the fight until I broke the element

  36. Turtle Trading on January 1, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    I have the Hakko soldering station for hobby purposes like you said. It is amazing, I would never go back or go to any other I think. It holds heat really well and it heats up really fast. I would not recommend to anyone the cheap soldering stations. I bought one but the tip is oxidizing really fast even with flux, plus there are no clear temperature readings, the heating is usually slow and when you solder a joint, you have to wait again for the thing to heat up. Just buy a decent 70-100$ station. It will serve you well in the long run. The cheap stations will infuriate you and eventually you will be forced to replace them by a good one, so in that sense they are more expensive. Probably there is no need to go crazy and buy the 900$+ models either.

  37. SevenDeMagnus on January 1, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    Cool.

    What celsius is your tip usually at?

    Any techniques for soldering aluminum thin gauge wires to the same wire?

  38. Don Hiscock on January 1, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    I use the Hacko FX 951 and the FX 888D I love them booth.

  39. Lunatic FPV on January 1, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    My $5 iron from harbor freight is doing alright

  40. John Viera on January 1, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    This video seems 5 years old. Times have changed. Half of those are considered obsolete

  41. DaBotGizmo on January 1, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    I recently had the opportunity to use a metcal for a day and I was blown away by how good they are then blown away again by how expensive they are. It did make me upgrade to the fx-888d which I’m very happy with over my previous $30 iron.

  42. Calvin Long on January 1, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    I have a Weller WLC100 and love it! For only $33 bucks on Amazon, it’s hard to beat.

  43. AJV80 on January 1, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    Hhahaha SODERING IRON, You use it for melting SODER HAHAHAH

  44. PickleLikes Games on January 1, 2022 at 1:50 pm

    I know its probably not in your greatest concern to answer every commenters question but I was wondering does the solder you use matter and for my hobby (nerf gun modding) do you think the the durability of the solder depends on the iron or the skill. The context behind this question is that nerf guns get tossed around alot and I wanted to know what would help me get the strongest bonds for the price. Thanks – your friendly neighborhood Pickle

  45. Stephen Dgj on January 1, 2022 at 1:54 pm

    Do you add water to the blue cleaning spung before using or do I leave it dry ?

  46. Lars Eric Berg on January 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    My el cheapo only lasted a day or two.

  47. mike gray on January 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    I read another review that the weller 100 tip isn’t grounded. Can u confirm. I don’t wanna fry boards like he did.

  48. Lauris Lauskis on January 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    It looks like you left Wellers dial on 2.

  49. Elusive on January 1, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    6:17 am I the only one realising it is not connected to electricity but it still gives smoke from the sponge ?

  50. N Tag on January 1, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    High performance generally means shorter life. For a iron to heat/recover quickly it needs a very high power relative to its nominal static power. For the heating element to last it needs to be bigger but that means a bigger bulkier pencil.

    Although not practical, similar results can be done manually with the use of a isolation transformer, Variac and monitoring equipment.

    The LDK is a 60W iron which might explain why it heats to the point of melting solder quickly. That’s pretty high power for a pencil iron of its size.

    Warranty time is usually much shorter for professional use. Example, if consumer use it’s a year, professional will likely be around 90 days.

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