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I use an old Hakko 936 - this has been my main workhorse iron for 15 years and I like it.
I have an Aoyue 906 which would seem to "borrow" a lot from Hakko. I bought it because it includes a hot air pencil as well as an iron and it was cheap. The iron wore out pretty quickly, although I still use the hot air part of it all the time.
I buy and use lots of cheap tools as well as name brand tools. You need to inspect the cheap tools (and the expensive tools) as best you can because the quality is a bigger risk and you need to factor in that they may not last as long or perform as well.
Would I buy a cheap iron? Maybe if it had all the features I wanted and enough trustable good reviews, but my experience with really cheap ($12) temperature controlled irons has not been good so far. I bought one which sounded too good to be true....and it was. The plastic grip holding the hot iron just melted, making the iron mechanically uncontrollable.
Hi Douglas Wong,
Thanks for your comments!
"...Aoyue 906 which would seem to "borrow" a lot from Hakko" From the small photo on Amazon it looks identical https://www.amazon.com/slp/hakko-936/jsu63pa4ypbf84w
In my search found "EEVblog #1064 - Soldering Irons OLD vs NEW" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scvS2yeUH00&t=81s and was impressed with the "new tech"
"Would I buy a cheap iron? Maybe if it had all the features I wanted and enough trustable good reviews" Beginners Question: Where do you find reputable reviews? Also have you done any reviews? If yes would you please provide links to them.
Did a quick forum search and found your "Weirdest Tool" but nothing concerning soldering iron reviews.
Have also found a lot of items using thermostatic soldering iron (no "...") at https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=144003&initiative_id=AS_20190330065113&origin=y&SearchText=thermostatic+solde…
My problem now is finding websites doing reliable tests for these inexpensive products.
Found Handskit "Soldering Iron EU US Plug 110V 220V 60W Thermostatic Electric Mini Solder Iron Station With 5pcs Soldering Tip Solder Wire Rosin" and also found it on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Soldering-Electronics-Adjustable-Temperature-Desoldering/dp/B06XFT1TPJ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=handsk… Then checked YouTube but most were non English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8Rt_MEckOQ
One exception was "Amazing $30 Soldering Kit - Best Deal For Beginners" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWiUdcWT6mk This was made May 18, 2018 and gave an overview (do not know if is Handskit product) Mentioned will be doing a review but doing a quick check of newer videos have not found it.
Thanks again for your help!
Those kits look useful, but the irons are similar to the one I had that melted. Maybe they have fixed the part that melts - it would seem too obvious that it needed to be fixed. If you want to take a chance on one, try to find a review where they worked for an hour with it. The one I had melted after about 40 minutes, maybe it was melting earlier, I just didn't notice.
I am a beginner concerning the subject of thermostatic soldering irons.
Had thought would buy a basic non thermostatic controlled soldering iron as mentioned in "Inexpensive Soldering Iron?" https://www.element14.com/community/message/273786/l/re-inexpensive-soldering-iron#273786 but since reading the comments and searching the Internet have decided against this.
An unexpected finding was new soldering iron technology like the Hakko 951. While the 951 is way over my budget, am wondering about its clones for light use (mainly upgrading bad caps).
Appreciate any comments concerning either this new tech or experience with either the Hakko 951 or its clones.