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What Is The Right Solder Wire Diameter for the Job?

What Is The Right Solder Wire Diameter for the Job?

When you are working on a project that requires solder, there are many things to consider.  The best solder for your job, whether you want to use leaded or lead-free solder and even the right flux.  If you decide to use a wire solder, it is also important to determine the right diameter for your specific job.

Choosing the right diameter of solder wire can help make the soldering process easier.  If you use too small a diameter of solder wire, then the dwell time (time under heat) will be too long.

If you use too large a diameter of solder wire, too much solder will be applied to the joint.

Below are a few recommendations to help you find the right diameter size solder for your job.

Stained Glass Soldering

When soldering stained glass, 0.125 inch or 0.062 inch diameter solder could be used.  The best solder wire for flat stained glass is 0.125 inches.

If you are soldering giftware or sun catchers, the best solder wire diameter is 0.062 inches.

Electronic Assembly Soldering

For most electronic work, choose a thinner diameter solder wire ranging from 0.015 inches to 0.062 inches. The best approach is to match the diameter to the size of the connectors or components that you want to solder and that the size works with your soldering iron tip.

0.062" solder wire

The correct solder wire diameter should be no larger than the width of the smallest component that you’re joining, or in the case of a long seam, no wider than the solder seam you are forming

If the diameter of the solder wire is too small, you will leave the iron on the area too long.  If you use too large of a diameter, it can make it difficult to navigate around the PCB which could cause thermal stress.  It could even cause you to solder other parts that weren’t related to your repair.

If you perform a lot of work on surface mounted devices, aim for the lower end of the above range. While there isn’t a specific rule, try to use a solder wire that is small enough so that you don’t leave excess globs of solder on the joint.

Aim for the end of the larger range if you want to solder larger joints.

The bottom line is to choose a solder wire that is easy for you to use and allows you to use just the right amount of solder.  

If you need help deciding which solder wire is best for your job, please contact our technical support team.  They will be happy to assist you.