I need a hot air soldering gun, help me buy a worth it one?

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
511
Hello, I have never used or owned a proper soldering hot air gun, but since I repair a lot of things and electronics, the time has come for me to repair and substitute chips and things you can only work correctly with a hot air gun. Until now I was able to repair everything with my amazing soldering iron station, that I bought by recommendation of one user here and I couldn't be more happy with the purchase.

Now... since I have my new soldering iron station and my old soldering iron, I want one hot air gun that doesn't come with a soldering iron, as that is not needed plus makes the station bulkier than necessary. My budget is $50-130, and I see the sweet spot where a lot of stations are is about $100.

First you have these amazing small design (actually my soldering station looks exactly like that)m but it's only $50... so I don't know how good it is...
1669471974191.png

Then you have a lot of offer in the bulkier more expensive ones, $90-110, but I don't know if that translates to better quality tool...s
1669472017911.png

Here's a bunch of them:
1669471594628.png

Lot of prices, lot of designs... Ideally I want something like the first one, really small and neat, but of course, only if it's good. Also, one of the reasons I bought a new soldering station was efficiency and technology of the heating element. I had a station that was so slow with technology from the '70s or even older, and the new one is SO FAST and the efficiency and technology is ages ahead. I don't mind spending a bit more in a station if the technology or efficiency and design is simply better.

Thank you!
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,495
Here is what I have. Nothing fancy but gets the job done. From Amazon of course. Probably cheaper on AliX. Edit:No, they are not cheaper on AliX, more than twice the price!
1669486993608.png
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
511
Here is what I have. Nothing fancy but gets the job done. From Amazon of course. Probably cheaper on AliX. Edit:No, they are not cheaper on AliX, more than twice the price!
View attachment 281540
That cable... Is it just the copper cables or does the hot air come through the cable from the station to the gun?
 
Last edited:

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,495
There is a heating element and fan in the "Wand" and that is the only thing that gets hot. Once the wand is placed back on the holder the element turns off and the fan goes to max and continues to run for a while to cool the element. The clamp on orifices determines the "Area" of the air flow blast and I typically use the large one for salvaging SMDs and the smaller ones for single component SMDs. The "Wand" is the same one used in quite a few models and replacement elements are available. Not that I've need one but I only use it infrequently for SMDs and the occasional heat shrink tubing. I have a vacuum solder sucker station for the through hole stuff but use copper braided solder wick more often than the vacuum station. Vacuum stations are great for "salvaging" components off of old through hole boards and desoldering chips. That price kinda shocked me as it is much lower than even the cheap heat gun stations and I don't consider mine to be cheaply made and has worked flawlessly for the couple of years I've had it. Also helps to use a tad of solder paste on the component to be removed. I also like the fact that it is a single piece instead of a separate control box and wand holder since it takes less space on the bench. Tony has a unique method of salvaging SMD boards. He heats the board in the oven and when the solder melts take it out and sharply bumps the edge of the board downward and all the SMDs slide off.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
511
So the air does not travel from the station to the handpiece, right?
It's the handpiece itself the one that sucks air and pushes it to its tip?

What would be the different features to look for in a hot air gun station?
How much power?
How many C° degrees max?
How much air speed? (I've read sometimes that some guns, even at minimum air speed, blow components away. I understand that with skill you can avoid this, but it would be ideal of the air speed was finely adjustable)
How many tips and sizes?
 

dendad

Joined Feb 20, 2016
4,251
My particular one has a compressor in the box and an air line running along with the wires in a tube. But, whatever on you get, make sure you can buy replacement heater elements for it, It may even be worth buying a couple up front in case they do go out of production.
A good hot air tool is well worth getting. Mine is used a great deal, even if only on heat shrink tubing. I only use the one small nozzle, all the other special ones are still in the box somewhere.
There are both heat and air adjustment knobs on mine too,
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
6,736
I solder with it set at 350°C for lead-free solder. Someone once told me that the soldering iron tip should be 120°C above the solder melting point, and I chose the same setting for the hot air.
What temperature does everyone else use?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,495
Mine is also set @ 350°C. I don't reball components, never had a need to as yet. The hot air gun is great for removing SMDs but I hand solder SMDs. The air gun tends to blow new unsoldered SMDs around a bit or maybe I just haven't mastered the hot air soldering technique. The wand on mine has a microphone cable type screwed connector to the base unit. You can buy heating elements, the entire wand, or a completely cabled one with the connector as replacements. I'm not using it all day/every day or even every month so I've not seen the need for replacement parts. The vacuum station is a different story. The hand unit has already fallen apart and I've patched it up to the usable point but also bought a replacement for when the patch job gives out. The hand unit also filters the molten solder from the vacuumed air and has a glass tube and filters that are a pain to deal with to empty the solder and requires filter changes from time to time. It requires disassembly to remove the captured solder and filter which is a real pain in the butt.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
511
1669770510431.png

Okay, after a lot of reading, I've come to the conclusion that a nice hot air gun for doing SMD must be at least 800W and a nice quick interface for temp and air speed. The best one I've found is the ATTEN ST-8800D, at about $90-120.

Does anyone have it? Any reviews or opinions about it?
May be other station for that same price?
 

Attachments

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,495
Mine is only 700W and I never have to turn it up all the way to get 350°C. Temp is temp and it gets there fast enough. FWIW Lots of room to turn it up if wanted!
 

dendad

Joined Feb 20, 2016
4,251
When you get one, practice on some old PCBs first as it is fairly easy to cause damage. And you do not need to run it full temp as that can kill some parts.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
511
Mine is only 700W and I never have to turn it up all the way to get 350°C. Temp is temp and it gets there fast enough. FWIW Lots of room to turn it up if wanted!
Those 800W help the station do better in speed and performance. I've read some people say some 700W stations are barely worth it compared to higher end ones, of course not all. Besides, the 800W stations tend to cost about $80-150 or even more, while the 700W stations cost from $30-70, which is kind of cheap in my opinion.
 

Thread Starter

rambomhtri

Joined Nov 9, 2015
511
When you get one, practice on some old PCBs first as it is fairly easy to cause damage. And you do not need to run it full temp as that can kill some parts.
Yeah, I understand that, I need to get the feel and practice, as I've been soldering a lot of years and repaired a lot of devices, I am aware of the temps, how we want the heat to spread, etc...
 
Top