What soldering station up to 300$ should I choose? (list attached)

A better choice in your opinion

  • Pace ST-25E ~ 220 $

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Metkal PS-900 ~ 280 $

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Weller WS 81 ~ 280 $

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ersa i-CON PICO ~ 240 $

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ersa RDS 80 ~ 230 $

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • Hakko FX-888D ~ 220 $

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • Quick 202D ESD Lead-Free

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • None of these

    Votes: 1 25.0%

  • Total voters
    4

Thread Starter

Миронов Орест

Joined Aug 22, 2019
2
Hi, I need help choosing a soldering station. I'm not going to do super complicated things, just a hobby. My budget is up to 300 dollars. The cheaper, the better, but not at the expense of quality. I want a reliable product that will serve for several years without serious problems. So I do not want to buy Chinese stations, such as Lukey, YIHUA, etc. I live in Russia, Amazon or eBay are not suitable because of the difference in AC (we have 220 V) and shipping costs. I found several stations in local stores that fit my budget:

1) Pace ST-25E ~ 220 $
2) Metkal PS-900 ~ 280 $
3) Weller WS 81 ~ 280 $
4) Ersa i-CON PICO ~ 240 $
5) Ersa RDS 80 ~ 230 $
6) Hakko FX-888D ~ 220 $ (the price is too high, on Amazon, the price is 99 $)
7) Quick 202D ESD Lead-Free ~ $ 150 (Chinese company)

I tend to buy the Pace ST-25E, I like the design, simplicity, price is reasonable and I heard the Pace is a reliable manufacturer.
But I have doubts, there are many good reviews about the ST-50, but I can't find anything about the ST-25E.

Quike 202D is my second choice because of price and good reviews.
But some people complain about manufacturing defects. Buying this product is a bit risky.

Metcal PS-900 is in third place. Induction heating technologies and effective thermoregulation (if this is not marketing garbage). But it's expensive, accessories are also not the cheapest, and, as I heard, Metcal have some problems with maintenance after a few years (maybe this is not so)

What is the best choice for a budget of $ 300? Maybe there are some other good models that not on the list? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
 

bug13

Joined Feb 13, 2012
1,708
I have good experience with Weller and Hakko, just be aware that there are many Hakko clone in the market.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
9,121
Why spend so much on a soldering iron for a hobby?

The soldering iron I use the most is a Weller W-TCP. I bought it over 40 years ago and, other than replacing the heating element this year, it has performed well.

My Aoyue 2700+ has a soldering iron, but I like the Weller more. The hot air station, with iron and solder sucker, was around $250. Little to no difference in price for 120VAC vs 240VAC.

I like the Weller so much that I bought two spares on ebay after I repaired my old one.
 

Marley

Joined Apr 4, 2016
286
Weller.
I've got one here that I have used since the 1970s. OK, it's had a few spares in its time but still my favorite. And an almost new one too!
Why spend so much for a hobby? Because if you get something really good it will last you a lifetime and have a good resale value if you do stop.
Same with all tools in fact - always buy the best.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
24,853
I don't know about that particular Metcal model, but I picked up a couple of units when TRW went out of business and I absolutely love the thing. That and the binocular microscope that I got at that same sale are perhaps the two most valuable tool investments I've ever made for electronics work.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
1,319
I bought a Weller soldering station in the 90's but dropping it a couple times took it out. Yeah you shouldn't drop it but I'm clumsy like that. I really should try to fix it... it wasn't visually apparent... so it's in my pile of need time to get it... ugh... so many projects but I actually found a schematic... I should fix it. It cost more than my Hakko... lol.

I got a Hakko about 7 years ago and I'm sure I've dropped it a few times and so far it's going strong! I like the case is small and the only thing that always struck me is that blue and yellow makes it look like a toy, but it performs like a champ.

I like the Weller W1010NA 70W (I wonder if there's a 240 Euro version) but the cheap plastic cases again... ugh!
 

Thread Starter

Миронов Орест

Joined Aug 22, 2019
2
Yes, Hakko's design is a complete disaster! I saw old models they looked really cool and professional. HAKKO FX-888D is ugly, the way it looks is really stopping me from buying it. It's sad that they decided to change the style, I hope one day they back to normal.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,906
When I was a kid I bought cheap Radio Shack irons and put a wet (sopping wet actually) paper towel in a saucer and used the paper towel as a wiping sponge. Worked great except the cheap copper on the soldering tip was gradually eaten away due to the electronic solder flux, no problem as I would file it back into shape, it was just soft copper, this would last up to 6 months, when the iron burnt out I'd buy a new one for $3. Don't over think this, learning to solder is mostly about technique than tools.Professional iron should never be affected by flux, newer alloys and coating mean they will last longer. I liked the Velleman soldering iron but their electronics for temperature control burn out too fast (I had two, it seems to be a design issue).
 
Last edited:

rsjsouza

Joined Apr 21, 2014
211
I have a Hakko FX888 (not D) bought 7 years ago and it works really well. Using the larger T32 tips help gain a bit more thermal mass for the harder jobs. I really like it.

A soldering iron that seems to be quite good as well is the Bakon BK950D - it uses the T12 tips of the more expensive brands and seems to have a good performance according to reports around.

I use Metcal and Hakko (FX951, FM203) at work and I do much better jobs with the Hakko. The Metcal for me is really so-so.

Good luck in your search!
 

narkeleptk

Joined Mar 11, 2019
375
The Chinese rework stations hold up pretty well actually, you just need to buy nice tips for the irons. I have one in my service van which is a pretty harsh environment that I am sure is over 5 years old now with no issue's.
 

narkeleptk

Joined Mar 11, 2019
375
Yea I like Xtronics as well but they don't ship out of the US.
I have the 9020 and 4040 from them. Don't think they sell the 9020 anymore unfortunately. Its a nice unit, the sleep function spoiled me.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
1,295
It's not a bench tool but good for tinning #12 stranded THHN, coax connectors, lugs, and such outdoors where an extension cord isn't handy.
 
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