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7 Tips to Extend The Life of Your Soldering Iron

7 Tips to Extend The Life of Your Soldering Iron

The soldering iron is one of the most important pieces of equipment used when soldering.  Similar to any piece of equipment, over time it will underperform and then it’s time to buy a new one.  However, if you take good care of your soldering iron by cleaning and maintaining it properly, it can last a very long time.

Below are 7 tips on how to extend the life of your soldering iron (the picture shown is an example of a soldering iron that has NOT been maintained properly):

1. Buy a High- Quality Soldering Iron

As with most equipment, if you buy a high-quality soldering iron from the start, it will last longer and perform better.  An inexpensive iron will interfere with the heat transfer which will make the soldering work more complicated and the outcome less desirable. 

Look for a reputable brand that has good reviews like the Hakko FX601-02 Adjustable Soldering Iron:

 Click here for more information

Or the Weller W100P3 Heavy-Duty 3-Wire Soldering Iron:

 

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2. Turn Off The Soldering Iron When Finished Or Use An External Control

It is important, not only for safety purposes, but for the life of your soldering iron to turn it off when you have completed your task.  While this might seem like common sense, you might leave it on in-between jobs and that can damage the tool as well as whatever it is you are working on.  

If your iron does not have a temperature control, you might consider buying an external control to turn your temperature down to idle (warm temperature) when you aren’t soldering for more than five minutes.

3. Run Your Soldering Iron At the Lowest Possible Temperature

It is really important to run your soldering iron at the lowest possible temperature to get your job completed.  If you are run it at ultra-high temperatures, it can ruin the iron and is truly the enemy of the soldering iron’s life.

4. Keep the Soldering Iron Cord Safe & Clean

The power cord is one of the more sensitive parts of the soldering iron and needs stay clean and stored correctly away from where you work.  If the cord comes into contact with a hot iron, it will not only damage the cable, but could harm the iron to the point where it no longer works.

5. Adjust The Temperature When Changing Solder Types

Each type or variation of solder requires a different temperature to perform optimally.  Whenever you switch solder, it’s important to adjust your soldering iron to the right temperature.  Otherwise, it can put too much pressure on the iron and ruin it.

6. Keep your Soldering Station & Tips Clean

The most critical and sensitive part of the soldering iron is the tip.  Therefore, you need to make sure the iron’s tip is clean whenever you store it.  By properly cleaning it with a sponge or stainless steel wool, it can help prolong the life of the tip.  The same principal goes for the entire iron.  Make sure this isn’t any unwanted material that is sticking to your iron as this can affect the performance of the iron and eventually destroy it.

7. Be Careful When Changing/Replacing Parts

If you keep the components of your solder iron in good condition, they should last a long time.  However, some parts such as the tips and/or heating elements might need replacing.  If you do need to replace either, make sure to look at the manual or directions to understand how it gets attached to your iron.  If they aren’t attached correctly, it can ruin the iron and its’ performance.

If you take proper care of your soldering iron, it should last you many years.  However, there will be a time when you need to replace it and it’s important to do so at that time.  An iron that is damaged or overused could lead to a fire or a hazardous accident so be mindful to consistently inspect your iron before using it.

If you can't decide which soldering iron is best for your application or job, please contact our technical support team for guidance.