My new electric soldering iron is my new favorite tool. First off its silent; my propane iron is so loud I that I can't hear myself think. Imagine working in your office with a running motorcycle parked next to your desk.
Second, it holds heat unbelievably well, I can fully solder three panels without having to pause to let the iron heat back up. With its constant and even heat I am able to make more consistent seams with faster production times. With my propane iron I was able to fully solder around forty panels in an eight hour period, with the American Beauty 550W electric iron I was averaging around sixty panels in the same eight hours. This tool paid for itself before lunchtime on the second day.
Third, it is a breeze to set up, all I need up on the roof is a heavy gauge extension cord. Just plug it in, set up your work area and in five minutes the iron is up to operating temperature. With propane or acetylene I need the tank, the hose, the ignitor, something to hold the tank and a nearby fire extinguisher. With the electric iron I don't have to worry about running out of gas, which always seems to happen at 5:45pm on the last two feet of seam to be soldered, that means coming back the next day and that costs money.
Tom P @ Lyons Contraction in Alexandria, VA