When it comes to selecting soldering irons, the most common choice you get is between electric vs gas-fuelled. Based on the project that you are going to undertake, one may serve you better than the other. Let’s delve deeper into the world of electric vs gas soldering iron to know more about what’s the ideal tool for your next project.
In most cases, a gas soldering iron is typically used in remote locations. Thus buying it is a feasible option. You won’t even need any electric outlet for using it and they can keep up the temperature quite effectively. They are comparatively smaller in size and can be carried with ease. If you work in industrial zones, this can be your go-to option.
But does that mean we can rule out electric soldering irons completely? Surely not. When you compare electric vs gas soldering iron, you will see that the electric ones are more cost-effective, easy to use, and most importantly, a lesser investment.
When should you use a gas soldering iron?
It goes without saying that wireless soldering irons are most feasible when there is no access to electricity. These tools are powered by refillable butane gas or a rechargeable battery that burns up to heat the tip of the iron. Even though you cannot directly control the temperature, you can maneuver the flow of gas to adjust the heat settings. The best part of this type of soldering iron is that they are often equipped with interchangeable heads so that you can perform a wide array of soldering tasks like plastic welding, metal sheet soldering, pyrography, and repairs among others.
What are the benefits of using a gas soldering iron?
For most jobs, these multipurpose gas soldering irons are most suited for soldering tasks that call for more control and precision compared to most electric irons. Here are some reasons to invest in gas soldering irons:
- Good accessibility: As the cordless soldering irons are fuelled by refined butane, you can use them for reaching out to inaccessible areas where the trailing power cord cannot go. As the wireless irons are free from an electric source, you may take them to any location where electricity is not available.
- Highly portable: When you compare electric vs gas soldering iron, you will notice that the latter is much lighter and have less volume compared to the electric ones. As a result, you can tag them anywhere and save yourself from the tangled cord.
- Amazing versatility: As is already mentioned, gas soldering irons also have interchangeable tips for a number of jobs. In a complete kit, you will get a heated knife that’s used for shaping, cutting, and sealing plastic, an air blower for tube shrinking, a Bunsen tip for use in very high temperatures to cut or melt metal parts, and a soldering tip to take care of the common repair jobs.
- Great efficiency: The electric soldering irons are likely to take some time for heating but those fuelled by gas are ready to be used right away. Thus, the job can be done much quicker. Moreover, butane is a cheap power source and you can also buy them in bulk. Moreover, when compared between electric vs gas soldering iron, these come with a wider range of heat capacity since it allows you to restrict the amount of gas you will use while soldering. As a result, it uses reduced energy and you limit the chances of overdoing it.
- Easy availability: As these soldering irons are becoming highly popular, a growing number of companies are releasing their own products. Moreover, each is adding its own set of features to attract consumers. For instance, you can find gas soldering irons with snap-on stands to rest the hot iron, a cleaning sponge, and a carrying box.
A few years back these irons were only used for professional purposes but the ever-rising popularity has made them useful for casual hobbyists.
When gas soldering iron may not be suitable for you?
While there is almost an endless benefit to using a gas soldering iron, all good stuff has some downsides as well. And since you are comparing between electric vs gas soldering iron, it’s important to know the negative points for making an informed decision.
The two most negative aspects of soldering iron are that it can have issues with temperature control and butane has sustainability issues. Even though the iron may take no time in heating up and can sustain the temperature for a longer span, you may have a tough time adjusting the temperature, especially if you are a novice. This will invariably affect the performance and you may not get desired results. Also, there is no sustainable source for butane and if you are looking for greener options, then gas soldering iron is definitely not meant for you.
When to use an electric soldering iron?
With the consistent evolution of electrical gadgets, it was much before electrical soldering irons became very popular. Most types of soldering variants can endure a high amount of current. Also, they are corrosion-free which makes them suitable for different types of power transmission applications.
Why an electric soldering iron can be suitable for you?
Quite like gas soldering irons, the ones that are driven by electricity also come with some amazing benefits.
- Cost-efficient: For those who are a bit old school and prefer the convenience of plugging in the tool before using it, an electric soldering iron can be the best option. You will not have to carry any additional equipment to get the job done. This means you will not have to bear any additional costs.
- Ease of usage: Most beginners find it difficult to use gas soldering irons but can easily work their way through electric irons. All you need to do is to plug in the wire and wait for about a minute for the iron to become hot. Most of them are easy to operate and come with lights and switches so that you can use them properly.
- Lesser investment: If you are one of those people looking to buy the first soldering iron and compare between electric vs gas soldering iron, then you may want to start with the cheaper option. And electric soldering iron is the winner in this regard. Later on, once you are ready with some new skills to maneuver your soldering iron with precision, you may invest in a gas-powered soldering iron.
What are the issues with an electric soldering iron?
As it is highly evident, electric soldering irons have restricted portability. In some cases, you may find soldering irons with dual power options implying that you can use batteries to power them up. But in most cases, it fails to keep the iron hot for a longer span.
Another important issue is that as these soldering irons can be made easily, you may come across numerous cheap variants. And if you are not a seasoned buyer, there are chances that the product you choose may fail to serve the purpose. So, before you purchase the tool, you must go through the reviews and ratings to stay away from poor-quality products.
Based on the wattage you opt for, the electricity may not be adept in keeping up the strength of the tip. After a few uses, electric irons may have difficulty in keeping up the temperature or heat up initially which can be problematic.
What to consider while buying the best soldering iron?
Regardless of the type of soldering iron you choose, there are some aspects you need to keep in mind for ensuring a successful purchase and some of them are highlighted below:
- Iron type: As it is evident, the iron-type that you select should be in sync with the kind of project you are dealing with. For instance, if you are an onsite worker, electric soldering iron may not be the best option for you.
- Highest temperature: All soldering irons are not created equal. Some may have the highest temperature of 800� F while others may cross the 2000-degree mark. You must also ensure that your chosen soldering iron can keep up the desired temperature with a single-temperature setting.
- Average wattage: The wattage of the soldering iron is the most critical factor when selecting the soldering iron. These tools may range between 20 and 60 watts, with the highest watts being the most ideal.
Another factor to consider is that nowadays, most soldering irons in the market can come with a broad array of tips. It will allow you to take care of specific jobs while performing various actions.
The Bottom Line
Soldering is a great skill to possess as it allows you to quickly fix a lot of things in the house rather than calling the handyman and spending unwanted money. Besides purchasing the right kind of soldering iron, you will also need to have the technical know-how and basic cleaning techniques.
Gas and iron soldering irons essentially perform the same functions but in different ways. As they utilize distinct heat sources, they also have individual usage. Even though gas irons are deemed more user-friendly, most people are prone towards electric soldering irons for added advantage.