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Quality Soldering Irons: What you’ll need to know

Industrial Quality Soldering Irons are manufactured to handle the tough jobs that your average “economical” soldering iron simply cannot begin to handle.

Industrial Quality Soldering Irons are available in Heavy-Duty and Pencil-Style varieties.
The Heavy-Duty Soldering Irons are generally manufactured with outputs of 60 to 550 watts, while the Pencil-Style are usually produced in 20 to 60 watt outputs.
Both varieties are available in several different sizes each of which will usually accommodate a variety of soldering iron tip configurations. This gives you the increased ability to match certain tips and irons together so that you are able to more accurately meet the specific requirements of several different soldering applications.

The Heavy-Duty type of (constant heat) electric soldering irons was first developed in the early 1890’s and has gained steady recognition over the years as a more efficient tool for heavy-duty and industrial soldering applications.

The Pencil Style of (constant heat) electric soldering irons was developed around the middle of the 1930’s. During that time an increasing need arose for the development of soldering tools that could be used for smaller and more specific applications. They are commonly referred to as “Pencil Style” because of their size and the manner in which they are normally held during use.

Both types of soldering iron share the same basic design characteristics.
They use a heating element that is manufactured using special nickel-chromium wire material that is wound around an insulated metal spool. This heating element is used to generate the required heat that gets transferred directly through the tip and into the joints that are being soldered. This special nickel-chromium material is a highly resistive alloy and it is the amount of this resistance that will determine the elements actual out-put, which is generally expressed in wattage. These soldering irons should not be classified specifically by their wattage, because this information when taken alone can be very misleading. Additional information such as the size, mass, style, thermal efficiency, caloric heat content and maximum tip temperature can all be included in the evaluation process, when this information is determined or known. The specific wattage of the soldering irons is not usually considered to be a major factor when determining their maximum operating temperature so much as it tells how well they will be able to maintain their operating temperature during the actual soldering applications. Soldering irons that have a higher wattage will generally have a faster thermal recovery and the ability to more efficiently support soldering applications that require a heavier thermal load.