Helping hands are extremely useful considering all the up-close work you do while soldering. There are a variety of options that not only hold your work, but also include a magnifying glass and back lighting. When researching options for helping hands, there are several things you need to take into account. Make sure the unit has a solid base that can handle your work and maintain balance. It is definitely hard to get any work done if your unit keeps tipping over. In addition, take a look at the flexibility of the arms on the helping hands. You want to ensure they can adjust to any angle that you might need to maintain a steady grip. Finally, consider looking into a helping hands unit that has lighting as well. If you are a doing a lot of fine soldering work, having extra light up close will definitely come in handy. Here is a comprehensive list of the best helping hands for soldering.
Best Soldering Helping Hands
Aven 17010 Adjustable Circuit Board Holder
The Aven 17010 Adjustable Circuit Board Holder is ideal for PCB soldering work. It clamps on to the board without damaging the circuitry and can rotate 360 degrees for ease of soldering. The base is a metal structure that has rubber feet to adhere to whatever surface you work on. The rubber feet also keep the helping hands from slipping. In addition, the center arms are adjustable so that you can handle different widths of PCBs up to eight inches wide.
A nice feature of this unit is that it has four different grooves on the holding arms to allow for different sized PCBs. The holding arms are also spring loaded so you can easily insert and remove circuit boards without having to adjust the arms. While the unit does rotate a full 360 degrees, it can also be secure at any angle for precision work. This is a nice and compact unit that fits on most workbenches and is very easy to use.
This model is quite popular as it is quite inexpensive, but it does have a few flaws. Most of the complaints for this unit centered on the quality of the product. There is not a lot of reinforcement around the tightening arms and the plastic can eventually snap when a board is clamped too tight. Users also complained that the unit did not stay set and hold the PCB tightly. They found it rotated while in use, making it nearly impossible to completely solder a board. In addition, this unit does not include any extra features such as a magnifying glass or backlighting.