Soldering iron: what power is required?

Soldering irons are available in different capacities. Often there is a lack of clarity about which power is suitable for which tasks, and what power you should buy a soldering iron at all. All important information about power and wattage can be found in detail in this article.

How many watts for the soldering iron?

If you want to buy a soldering iron (€ 18.99 at Amazon *), you will find devices with a power of less than 25 W - and devices with a power above that, up to around 150 watts. Some expensive devices are also higher, but this is more the exception.

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Note that this is about electric soldering irons. So-called soldering guns, which are generally not or only slightly suitable for finer soldering work, are excluded from this - their power is usually in the range of 100 W - but this cannot be compared with a soldering iron, since the way it works is different.

An overview of the performance of various electric soldering irons

Soldering iron type performance usage
Soldering needle 5 - 10 watts particularly fine work, such as soldering extremely thin wires, SMD work, repair work
Fine soldering iron 15-20 watts Solder electronic components, very thin wires and litz wires
Universal soldering iron approx. 30 watts for many jobs except for sensitive electronics
Temperature controlled soldering iron around 60 watts Universally applicable (also for electronics) because the temperature is kept constant
Great soldering iron more than 60 watts Working outside of electronics (e.g. soldering sheet metal)

Effects of performance

The higher the power (wattage) of a soldering iron, the hotter the tip of the iron will be. For this reason, only pistons of 15 to a maximum of 25 watts are recommended for electronic components. Even with prolonged use, the soldering iron tip does not get so hot that components could be damaged.

Adjustable power

It is best to buy a soldering station for electronic and electrotechnical work. Here the temperature of the soldering iron tip is kept constant electronically - the iron cannot overheat.

Despite the fundamentally higher output, nothing can happen here, with a suitable tip these soldering irons can also be used for electronics. Soldering stations are a little more expensive to buy, but often pay off. The price differences are approximately:

  • Soldering iron easy from approx. 5 EUR
  • Soldering iron sets from approx. 10-20 EUR
  • Soldering station, digitally controlled from around 50 EUR
Tips & Tricks The purchase of a soldering station pays for itself sometimes quickly: with a fine soldering iron for electronics you can hardly make any larger soldering points sensibly (larger cable cross-sections, larger dimensions).