A soldering iron is a fairly simple, convenient, and effective device. It is used to merge plastic and metal details by melting the connecting material under the impact of high temperatures. A cordless soldering iron comes in irreplaceable when soldering wires, installing pipes and joining finer details.
Furthermore, you can use the product not just in daily life, but also in many other industries. For each type of activity, devices with specific characteristics are utilized. You should select the best cordless soldering iron depending on the type of soldering and the materials to be joined.
Portable soldering iron
|Portable soldering iron||Power, W||Solder tip temperature||Heating time, s||Run time, min|
|Weller P2KC best overall butane portable||25 – 75||0 – 850° F / 0 – 454° C||40||60||Review|
|Weller PSI100K for professionals||125||0 – 1076° F / 0 – 580° C||40||120||Review|
|Berkling BSG-568 budget||30 – 125||492-932° F / 250 – 500° C||N/A||90||Review|
|Weller BL60MP best overall battery powered||12||536 – 950° F / 280 – 510° C||35||45||Review|
|Milwaukee 2488-21 for professionals||90||0 – 1382° F / 0 – 750° C||18||N/A||Review|
What to look for when choosing a portable soldering iron
To choose the best portable soldering iron, you should take into account the following factors:
Source of power
Portable butane soldering irons
Portable butane soldering irons are tools intended for autonomic soldering in hard-to-reach places, as well as for mounting heat-shrinkable tubes and connectors. Within the handle of the soldering iron contains a gas, which can be easily refueled by yourself, like an ordinary lighter.
- Can be used under all conditions
- Simple to use
- Can be used without a tip.
- Relatively low power.
Battery powered soldering irons
The rechargeable soldering iron has low power (usually 15 V) and is designed for soldering small electronic components. The specificity of the battery-operated soldering iron is that the heating is carried out only by pressing and holding the power button. When the button is released, the tip is cooled.
- Rapid heating
- Unsuitability for long-term work
- Low power.
Portable soldering irons with rechargeable batteries
Portable soldering irons with rechargeable batteries are a type of detachable electric soldering iron, which is compact, lightweight, and portable, making it perfect for daily soldering. The output power of these irons can be adjusted in three steps – 20W, 30W, and 50W – according to your requirement.
Portable soldering irons with disposable batteries
Portable soldering irons with disposable batteries are best suited for emergency use, which is why many users prefer to store them in the car’s glove compartment. Modern wireless soldering irons have a thought-out design that is not overloaded with unnecessary details and is compact and easy to use. The distinguishing peculiarity of this type of soldering iron is that it is capable of operating at low ambient temperatures.
Portable soldering iron runtime
To choose a soldering iron that suits your requirements, you need to pay attention to the soldering iron run time. Smaller portable soldering irons with a power of about 8 W do not require a network connection and can easily cope with most light-duty jobs, but you will not be able to use them non-stop. In most cases, the running time of these irons will be less than one hour. Though, this primarily depends on the type of battery used in your model. The rechargeable batteries will ensure a longer-lasting performance than the disposable ones.
Cordless soldering iron wattage
Cordless soldering iron wattage must be sufficient for the intended operations. Many manufacturers indicate 8 watts as the nominal power. This is quite enough for regular use. But if the power turns out to be lower than the declared one, you are likely to have problems with soldering. With that in mind, I recommend you don’t save up and pick up a soldering iron with at least 30 watts of power, which can be used for a variety of applications without breaking a sweat.
Temperature control capability
It is also important to consider the heating temperature. The maximum value can reach 650 – 900 K. However, such a high temperature is usually only needed for very specific applications, which is why most soldering irons offer you the ability to adjust the operating temperature in the range from 350 to 650 K. On top of that, many modern devices come fitted with a thermal sensor to monitor the healing process and help maintain the temperature at the same level. The heating time to operating temperature is usually 4 to 6 minutes.
Ability to easily replace the soldering iron tip
A removable tip is a monolithic metal cylinder that has a soldering tip directly at one end and a cylindrical cavity at the other end, into which a heater enters the soldering iron when the tip is installed.
Personally, I recommend you buy a soldering iron that allows for changing solder tips, depending on the intended type of work. Replacing a soldering iron tip is convenient. All you need to do is put a removable tip on the heater and cover it with a cylindrical holder with a screw nut on top. The process takes just a few seconds at the most, which is essential when performing heterogeneous operations.
A cordless soldering iron kit may include a plastic case with an internal mount or a special nozzle to protect your device from damage. Surely, these things do not affect the device’s performance but without them, storing and transporting the tool will be unsafe and may cause deterioration in quality.
Also, it is necessary to pay attention to the shape and material of the tip. The dimensions of the device should also be the point of consideration. The device with a straight heat-resistant tip is considered to be the simplest and most versatile. It is recommended to choose a sting from copper material because it is easier to clean.
Best Portable Butane Soldering Irons Reviews
Weller P2KC – best overall butane portable
Besides the soldering iron body itself, the kit comes with a PPT6 double flat soldering tip, PPT10 hot knife tip, and PPT9 hot air tip. This enables you to choose the precise tip required to complete the job correctly.
The device heats rapidly as well, in less than 40 seconds, which makes it ideal for use in an emergency. Weller P2KC is both lightweight and cordless and gives you plenty of flexibility to make the soldering process as comfortable as possible. The soldering machine is also equipped with an easy push-button ignition, which can be adjusted between 25-75 watts.
Fast heat up and controllable temperature enable fast work of soldering tasks. Replaceable tips can be exploited for heat shrink tubing too. I can name Weller P2KC the best butane portable soldering iron overall.
- Power, W: 25 – 75
- Solder tip temperature: 0 – 850° F / 0 – 454° C
- Heating time, s: 40
- Run time, min: 60.
- Lightweight, compact, and cordless build, which gives you more freedom over their job area
- Easy to refill, quick to heat up, and comfortable to use.
- The instructions that come with the kit are hard to understand.
Weller PSI100K – for professionals
The Weller PSI100K professional soldering iron is specially designed for well-trained users and it is a soldering iron kit that includes not only the soldering iron body but tips, sponges, and also different tools.
The device outputs 125 watts of power and can heat up to a maximum temperature 1076° F. As you’d expect from a pro-grade tool, it also has an auto shut-off feature for security purposes, as well as an embedded butane filter and iron-plated tips.
The Weller PSI100K heats quickly, is utterly reliable, and makes the soldering process simpler and more comfortable for professionals.
- Power, W: 125
- Solder tip temperature: 0 – 1076° F / 0 – 580° C
- Heating time, s: 40
- Run time, min: 120.
- Heats up quickly, is simple to use, and is easy to fill
- On a full refill, you can interact for up to nearly two hours
- The product is small, and though powerful.
- Quality of materials utilized on the tip of the iron.
Berkling BSG-568 – budget
Berkling BSG-568 is a budget, versatile, and multi-function soldering iron. It can be utilized as a soldering gun and a mini torch and is perfect for both professional and household purposes.
The operating temperature range of the device varies between 492-932ºF / 250-500ºC. Furthermore, it can be used continuously for up to two hours and is compatible with various surfaces including metal, plastic, wood, copper, silver.
I do recommend this tool to anyone involved in repairs as a low budget choice.
- Power, W: 30 – 125
- Solder tip temperature: 492-932° F / 250 – 500° C
- Heating time, s: N/A
- Run time, min: 90.
- Solid construction and pleasing materials and finish
- Instantly heats up
- The temp range is wide and infinitely adjustable.
- Difficult to turn off because you must release the fuel switch from the detent on the right side, that is why it snaps shut to the left.
Best Battery Powered Soldering Irons Reviews
Cordless soldering irons with rechargeable batteries
Weller BL60MP – best overall battery powered soldering iron
The Weller BL60MP is the best overall battery-powered soldering iron. It can produce 1,100 soldering joints on one charge. Furthermore, it can be used in a wide range of medium-duty applications at home and on the road. The tool outputs 12 watts of power and can heat up to a maximum temperature of 536 – 950° F / 280 – 510° C.
In general, the device is small, compact, and well-balanced, and heats up quickly. It holds the temperature well in a windy and cold climate. The highlight of the tool is, when you turn it on, the LED glows red and then turns green, indicating it is ready. This soldering gun is the best battery powered soldering iron!
- Power, W: 12
- Solder tip temperature: 536 – 950° F / 280 – 510° C
- Heating time, s: 35
- Run time, min: 45
- Battery type: rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- Cordless, compact, portable solder iron
- One charge offers 45 minutes of continuous soldering
- Round handle designed for comfort
- Soldering iron is simple to use.
- The soldering iron has a cylindrical shape and can still roll along a flat surface
- The cradle for the iron is low-quality and inconvenient.
Milwaukee 2488-21 – for professionals
The Milwaukee 2488-21 soldering iron for professionals provides high working speed, reaching operating temperature in less than 18 seconds, and maintaining optimal temperature throughout the most demanding tasks. The heat indicator uses REDLINK INTELLEGENCE technology to inform customers about the tool’s readiness and safe storage. The soldering iron is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and provides up to 40 minutes.
The small size makes Milwaukee 2488-21 maneuverable in tight spots. The soldering iron doesn’t require any sort of stand, as it is stable enough. When you put it on a smooth surface, the hot tip won’t contact the surface.
- Power, W: 90
- Solder tip temperature: 0 – 1382° F / 0 – 750° C
- Heating time, s: 18
- Run time, min: N/A
- Battery type: rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- Heats up quickly (up to 20 seconds)
- Maintains optimal temperature
- Three locking positions for working in several directions.
- Poor-quality tip collar threads.
Cordless soldering iron with disposable batteries
The HAKKO FX-901 safe standalone soldering device delivers the power needed to create a perfect solder joint for a long time. The soldering iron is equipped with an ON / OFF power switch with an LED indicator, a removable battery container, and a protective cover that automatically shuts the soldering iron down. When the protective cap is put on at the end of the operation the switch is automatically set to the OFF position, and the power is turned off.
Out of the box, it comes supplied with a composite conical head T11-B. Additionally, a T11-D4 paddle head with a width of 4 mm and a thickness of 0.5 mm can be used.
To sum up, this soldering iron heats up quickly and feels natural to use. The back part of the HAKKO FX-901 is that it has an ideally flat construction, making it rest on any surface without the worry of it tipping over. Also, it will lay on its side without the tip touching the work surface.
- Solder tip temperature: 0 – 315° F / 0 – 600° C
- Run time, min: 120
- Battery type: AA alkaline batteries.
- HTip heats quickly
- Uses standard AA batteries
- The tip is supplied with a pencil-type iron for precision work.
- Low battery life.
How to care for soldering tips?
Like any other tool, a soldering iron requires maintenance. Over time, the tip of the soldering iron may burn out, rut, and irregularities may appear on its surface. Burnout, however, can be easily eliminated by sharpening the tip and tinning it. Another issue that may happen with prolonged use of the tool is the appearance of scale, which might slow down the heating time. To avoid scale, the tip needs to be purified as follows:
- Pull the copper rod out of the soldering iron with pliers
- Remove scale with sandpaper
- Apply a layer of graphite to the tip and rubbing the pencil lead against it
- Remove the residue scale
- Install the copper tip and anchor it with a bushing with a screw.
Use high-quality solder
To protect your solder tips, it is essential to use high-quality solder. If you use a poor-quality tool, the tip may get clogged and impede your soldering work. It is equally important to choose the right type of solder.
Maintaining optimal temperature
Don`t forget to maintain the proper temperature of your tips. The tip temperature is directly linked with its life expectancy. Fluxes and cleaners that come in contact with the soldering iron tip at high temperatures can speed up the degradation of the tip coating. Oxidation of the tip is growing at elevated temperatures. At last, the thermal shock on the sting increases with temperature, increasing the rate at which it breaks.
Knowing how greatly the temperature can affect the tip life, many manufacturers produce soldering irons with a sleep mode. This makes it possible to considerably lower the tip temperature when not in use and, consequently, extend its life.
For the temperature to be set correctly, you need to take the solder and lightly touch it with a sting. The temperature must be increased until the solder melts and remains on the tip of the tip. As soon as that happens, the temperature does not need to be increased. What is important here is not to confuse the melting of the solder and its softening. If the solder looks like a gruel, it does not mean that the temperature is sufficient. In this case, you need to slightly increase the temperature and continue monitoring. Since there are different temperature indexes at different soldering stations, the temperature setting will be at different levels.
Keeping tips clean is of crucial importance. Cleaning the tip will ensure that the tip will last longer and perform more efficiently throughout its service life. Ideally, the tip should be cleaned frequently during operation and after each shift. There are numerous methods for cleaning a soldering iron tip.
One method is to wipe the tip with a damp sponge moistened with distilled or deionized water. Change the sponge periodically to avoid re-staining the tip. Alternatively, a brass scrubber can be used to gently scrape off the metallization at the tip of the tip without damaging it. Sandpaper and files should never be used to strip a soldering iron tip due to the high risk of damaging the plating and premature wear.
Flux is a chemical that eliminates the oxidation layer. The coating on the tip may erode and change due to the activated flux as a result of a chemical reaction. More aggressive fluxes such as rosin-based or water-based fluxes can remove the plating from the tip. It is not recommended to immerse the tip in the flux due to premature damage to the coating. Instead, the flux should be applied at the interconnect point at the pad/lead interface and never directly on the tip itself to extend its life.