Mar 12 2018
Now that we have discussed some of the best soldering wire to use for electronic products, let us talk about some of the best soldering stations under $100 or irons you can use. These stations are ideal and convenient for both hobbyist and professional alike. There are a variety of options and price points for these tools, but we are going to stick to options under the $100 mark. Keep in mind every soldering iron has unique characteristics. Some apply more heat, while some apply lower temperatures. It all really depends on the particular work you are undertaking. If you plan on doing some small intricate work check out our helping hands guide.
Weller WLC100 40-Watt Soldering Station
The Weller WLC100 Soldering Station has an on/off power switch with an indicator light. It is capable of varying power from 5 watts to 40 watts. The WLC100 has a foam grip to allow for a comfortable hold. It also has a replaceable heating element. The set includes an iron-plated copper tip along with a sponge cleaning pad and a safety guard holder.
This is a highly popular model is lightweight and portable. The fact that this item is capable of providing varying power allows for a range of heat temperatures. This variation provides the user with the ability to work on a variety of projects. Users stated that the tips lasted quite long provided they were properly taken care of. This unit can easily exchange out heating elements for any size tip such as fine or medium. The WLC100 is ideal for small scale projects especially electronics soldering.
One of the downsides to this product is that it does not provide consistent temperatures. Users have to play around with the settings to achieve the right heat without over or under soldering the solder material. Additional complaints included the provided tip not holding up well over time and faulty products.
X-Tronic #3020-XTS Digital Display Soldering Iron Station
The X-Tronic Soldering Iron Station has plenty of bells and whistles compared to other models. It is capable of producing 75 watts of power and has a temperature range from 392 degrees to 896 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a 10 minute sleep timer and a backlit LED temperature display. The X-Tronic kit includes a stainless iron holder, solder roll holder, cleaning flux, and brass tip cleaner. In addition, this model comes with a one year full replacement/repair guarantee.
The obvious pro of this model is all the features it includes. It has a soldering iron cradle for safe cooling when not in use. In addition, the added 10 minute sleep timer is a fantastic safety feature to have in case you forget to turn the model off. The warranty is an added bonus because not only does it cover the iron for a year, but it includes a 30 day money back guarantee. The X-Tronic also has a heat resistant, comfortable grip for comfort of use. One final additional feature of this model is that it has a switch that allows the user to choose Celsius or Fahrenheit temperatures.
This model is slightly more expensive than the Weller, but still very affordable and under our set price point. It had mostly high marks from consumers, but a common complaint that we noted was that the tip was held on to the handle with a plastic screw. It did not hold up over time and broke.
AOYUE 936 Soldering Station
The AOYUE 936 Soldering Station is a 35 watt station that has a one degree Celsius temperature control built-in. Users have the option of adding a separate holding base and tip cleaner, but this does not come included. The heating element comes with a plastic cap for storage when not in use. In addition, it has a soft, rubbery grip for comfortable use. It also has a variety of temperature settings all display in Celsius and Fahrenheit on the front side knob.
The variety this product provides is perfect for various soldering work. The dial is easy to use and see what temperature you are setting the iron at. The AOYUE has a built-in temperature control, which maintains consistent heat throughout use. This prevents the clumping of the solder or overheating.
The most notable con has to be the fact that it does not include a cooling station or a tip cleaner. It is still under our price point, but having to purchase another component will bring it into the higher range of our products thus far. Most common complaints for this unit related to consistency of the heat provided and quality of the product overall.
AOYUE 469 Variable Power 60-Watt Soldering Station
This is another AOYUE product and is capable of producing 60 watt power. It has built-in temperature control, but no n/off switch. It is capable of handling a variety of tip sizes and in this case, does include a cooling station. The 469 is capable of maintaining heats from 392 degrees Fahrenheit to 897 degrees Fahrenheit.
This unit has a fast heat up and fairly accurate temperature control. The pencil grip is comfortable and holds up well to heat. The included cooling station is a nice bonus over the other AOYUE version. In addition, the wide range of temperatures is a nice feature to have.
This has no dedicated on/off switch so the user has to remember to unplug, which is considered a negative due to safety. It also does not have specific temperature settings on the display. There are only power levels so the user has to play around with the setting. This was a fairly high rated product, but buyers did complain that it seemed to be cheaply made with plastic parts. This prevented the handle from withstanding high heats and tended to burn the users hand. In addition, the plastic did not hold up to the high heat setting. The unit practically fell apart after a few uses.
ZENY 937D+ SMD Soldering Hot Iron Station
The ZENY Soldering Station has a digital LED display that shows the various range of temperatures. It is capable of producing between 200 and 480 degrees Celsius using the provided 45 watts. This product has a unique feature. It includes ventilation on the side of the unit to dispel heat. The ZENY also includes 5 different tips.
This unit is fairly compact and perfect for any small workbench. The digital display provides accurate temperature information along with an easy to read LED display. Since the heat knob does not show temperatures, the display comes in handy. Make note that the temperatures are displayed in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. The iron heating element is easy to remove if any part breaks and can quickly be replaced. This unit was another popular product.
There were very few complaints on this model, but we did note that the quality of this product was in question by a few consumers. It either held up well or broke within a few short weeks.
SEALODY Digital Soldering with Pure Aluminum Soldering Stand
The SEALODY soldering iron is capable of producing 55 watts or power and outputs the temperature on a digital display. It comes with push buttons rather than a dial that users can push up or down to set the temperature. The unit can produce heat from 180 to 450 degrees Celsius. The stand is also pure aluminum to hold up to long term use. The SEALODY kit includes a brass-coiled cleaning pad for the tip to remove build-up.
This unit is a perfect product for all users. It comes with a cooling stand, which some models do not. It has a user-friendly temperature display that prevents overheating or under heating the unit to the point that it damages the tip. It also includes an on/off switch as a nice safety feature. The best feature is the built-in auto shutoff that is included with this model.
The most notable complaint for this product related entirely to the safety of the unit. Users noted it stopped working shortly after purchase or that it heat up so much that it burn through the holding handle. In addition, it does not have an inspection label anywhere on the product. This left some users wondering if it was a properly tested product. They were concerned about use and long term safety.
ZENY 3-in-1 SMD DC Power Supply Soldering Station
This ZENY product is quite unique. It is a 3-in-1 station that allows soldering, hot air rework, and DC power checking. You can not only adjust the airflow, but the temperature as well. It will automatically shut down once it has cooled to less than 70 degrees Celsius, which is a nice safety feature. This kit includes a tip sponge, several different soldering tips, four different air nozzles, and a DC power probe.
The 3-in-1 aspect of this product is a nice bonus. If you do a variety of handwork including soldering, this might very well be the product for you. It has a lot of included parts and still falls well into our price point. It has a variable temperature control that is digitally displayed. This allows for accurate usage.
In general, buyers liked this product, but we did take note of several complaints. One issue was that the product was quite noisy when in use. Some users also noted that the product was falsely advertised and that the warranty did not seemed to be honored.
TOKEGO Digital Soldering Iron Station
The TOKEGO soldering station has a built-in on/off switch and is capable of producing 75 watts. It heats up in about 8 seconds. It has up/down push buttons for selecting the various temperature settings. It can handle 180 to 450 degrees Celsius. The tips on this unit have a built-in heating element, which produces a longer life span. In addition, the line and the handle are made from silicone and other high temperature materials. The TOKEGO kit includes a portable power unit, composite tips, a soldering iron, solder wire, solder sucker, anti-static tweezers, and a cleaning sponge.
This is a very portable model and is practically handheld. The included tools make this a nice, affordable kit to have. It has amongst the higher range of watts produced of all the units we looked at and the silicone production ensures safe handling. The tips are easily switched out on this unit and it can handle a wide variety of tip sizes. The fact that this also has a digital display for such a compact unit is a definite plus.
This was another highly rated unit that had very few complaints. Of the ones we noted, buyer complained that they got a regular error code of 5-E and the unit stopped heating up.
We have provided you a variety of soldering iron products for review. They all produce several variations of wattage along with varying temperature ranges. Depending on your project type, one model may work better for you over another. Try to steer clear of units that contain a higher amount of plastic parts as those will not hold up indefinitely. This is especially true if you are planning to use the higher heat settings for your projects. In addition, these units are all under $100, but many of them have more features over others. Try to weigh the price point along with the added features. Digital displays are a nice feature to have for accurate temperature setting, but knob settings are okay to have as well provided they include listed temperatures. Make sure to look for units that have comfortable grips especially if you use the product regularly. You do not want your hand tiring out due to a poorly designed handle. Another nice feature to keep an eye on is whether or not the unit has an easy ability to swap tips out and allows for various sized tips. Some models do not have a lot of variety. Finally, read the online reviews. You may find a particular product you were reviewing does not fit the work you plan on doing.