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How to Choose The Right Tip Size for Your Soldering Iron

How to Choose The Right Tip Size for Your Soldering Iron

When you buy a new soldering iron or want to repair or replace your existing tip, there are different soldering tip sizes and styles from which you can choose.  The most important aspect in choosing a soldering tip is that it is the right size for your job.

A tip that is too small will not be as able to transmit heat to the joint which could cause poor solder flow and excessive tip wear.  On the other hand, a tip that is too big can transfer too much heat to your application.  In this case, it can potentially damage the circuit board and the area you are trying to solder.

Below are some suggestions to help you find the correct tip size:

Use the widest tip possible

Soldering tips work by transferring heat from the soldering iron to your work application or piece.  Look for the widest tip possible that will enable the largest contact area to best transfer the heat.   While the tips come in many different shapes and sizes, the widest tip series that will be best for the job and will make the soldering process much easier and smoother.

Make sure to buy a tip that works with your soldering station

If you want to buy a tip for your current soldering station, ensure that the tips are able to operate with your iron or station. Some tips are better for heavy-duty jobs, while other tips are best for lighter duty and precision work.  Most soldering stations will specify the tip series that is compatible with their equipment.

Chisel tips are the most popular choice due to their wide tip

Chisel tips, due to their wide tip size, are one of the most commonly used tips for soldering components, desoldering, surface-mount and through-hole soldering.  Chisel tips tend to be thicker at the tip so they can store more heat.  The tip should be about 60% the width of the soldering pad which helps to speed up the process.  The size of your chisel tip with depend on your soldering station and application.

Conical tips are the best for smaller areas

Conical tips tend to have a more pointed tip shape and are used primarily for precision soldering.  Due to the cone-shape tip, it will concentrate the heat to a smaller area making it more suitable for smaller tasks and surface-mount components.

The conical tip reaches areas that can be difficult for a larger tip which is why it is most suited for smaller areas.  Conical tips are typically used for wire-connector jobs where the tip can reach the connector more easily than other, larger tips.

Temperature Control Cartridges

If you are using temperature control tip cartridges, choose the cartridge that meets your soldering iron’s lead or lead-free solder specification.  You might need to change the cartridge based on whether your soldering iron uses lead or lead -free. 

While there are many different types of tip shapes and sizes, the wider tips, such as the chisel tip, are best and easiest to use for most electronic circuit board applications.  It can make the soldering process much smoother.

Make sure to wipe the tips clean with a damp sponge when you have completed soldering the joints.

If you have any questions about which tip size is appropriate for your soldering iron, please contact our technical support team and they will be happy to help!