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The Soldering Tools That Make Your Life Easier

The Soldering Tools That Make Your Life Easier

The only soldering tools you really need to get started with soldering are a soldering iron and some solder wire. If you just want to get started, that’s what I recommend you get.

Even though you can do a lot with just a soldering iron, getting a few extra tools might things easier.

In this articles I’ll show you what the basic soldering tools are.

Soldering Iron

You can’t do much soldering without a soldering iron.

But a soldering iron does not have to be expensive. You can find soldering irons for less than $8 and below. It just depends what you need.

I’ve written a guide on how to find the best soldering iron for your needs. Read that article if you want to solder, but have no idea which soldering iron to choose.

Even though not a “tool”, you’d also need some solder wire to solder.

Wire Cutter

The wire cutter is a very handy little soldering tool. Use it to cut long component legs, or to strip the end of a wire.

This is also called flush cutters, diagonal cutters, electronic snippers, clippers, etc.

I’ve never put much money into this tool. The cheapest available is usually good enough for most things. For example this one from Hakko.

Soldering Tools For Desoldering

Sometimes you make a mistake. Or you need to replace a component in a circuit. This means you have to desolder to fix it.

There are two tools I use for desoldering: The solder sucker and the solder wick.

Solder sucker

The solder sucker, or solder pump, is a mechanical vacuum pump. It sucks the solder away from the solder joint. Just heat the solder joint to make the solder fluid, then suck it off with the solder sucker. I use this tool when I need to remove a lot of solder at once.

Here’s a nice bundle with both a solder sucker and a solder wick.

Solder wick

The solder wick is another tool for removing solder. It’s made up of copper threads that will absorb the solder from the solder joint.

I use the solder wick for removing small amounts of solder. For example to remove “solder bridges” between pins on a chip. Or if there’s a bit of solder left on a bigger solder joint that the solder sucker just won’t suck.

Here’s a nice bundle with both a solder sucker and a solder wick.

Tweezers

Tweezers are great. You can use them to keep components in their place and to avoid burning your fingers when soldering.

If you ever soldering surface mount components, these are very useful for placing small components.

USB Microscope

My USB microscope has been invaluable in some debugging situations with fine pitch components. With this you can for example discover tiny solder joints between pins that are not supposed to be there. This is also very useful for people who has problems with they eyesight.

This is not something that has to cost hundreds of dollars. You can find microscopes that are good enough for less than 50 bucks. For example this USB microscope for electronics that has gotten a lot of great reviews.

Wet Sponge

A wet sponge is very useful for cleaning the tip of the soldering iron. The tip is hot which means it will oxidize very fast and get dirty. A clean tip transfers heat faster and makes your soldering easier.

A sponge is so cheap anyway, so you should always keep one together with your other soldering tools.

Note that if you buy a soldering iron stand, a sponge is usually included.

Soldering Stand

A soldering iron gets hot, so it’s important to place it in a safe way in between soldering. A soldering iron stand is very handy for this. Since it takes up a lot of space, I don’t bring mine when travelling, but I always have one at my desk in Norway.

It only costs around 5 bucks, so I think it’s worth having one. Here’s a soldering iron stand from Elenco that is perfect for a hobbyist.

Soldering stand

Safety Glasses

A pair of safety glasses is something I really recommend when soldering. Okay, I admit that I don’t *always* use them myself. But, the consequences of getting hot soldering splashed into your eye can be terrible. So, please use them. And I will also do my best at remembering to use them from now on.

A pair of normal glasses is better than nothing. But if you want to look like a scientist, here’s a reasonably priced pair from Amston.

Where Do You Buy Soldering Tools?

The tools you need can usually be bought at your local hardware store. But you can also buy the tools from an online shop. I’ve created a list of recommended places to get tools and components for electronics. You can find the list here: Where To Buy Electronic Components And Tools?

If there are any tools you are using that you can’t find on the list, let me know in the comments field below.

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