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The Best Soldering Iron For Stained Glass

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The best soldering iron must be the best and the most efficient tool in your stained glass tool kit. A good soldering iron, unlike just any other get-done-with-the-task soldering iron, offers a faster and enjoyable work experience as per your needs and requirements.

Things to consider before buying

Entering the market you will find all the types, sizes, designs, and the price range when it comes to choosing the best soldering iron that offers a promising performance despite the price tag it comes with.

To make a good value deal for your next purchase for soldering iron, make sure to consider these key features that create the whole difference in working performance, quality, and durability.

Let’s have a look at what must not be overlooked while choosing the best solder for stained glass.

Type of soldering iron

The first and foremost is comfort and convenience. Combining the two with how each solder works to give the best bond, here are three types of soldering irons that you can choose from.

Pencil soldering iron

Soldering pencil is designed in a way that it has an insulated handle along with a cord. You can connect it directly to the wall socket to give power.

The downside of pencil soldering gun is that it does not come with adjustable temperature settings. You can also find the best pencil soldering iron
with adjustable temperature settings in the market, which makes it more versatile.

Cordless soldering iron

As the name specifies, cordless soldering iron does not have a cord, which makes it convenient to use in every kind of space from smaller to larger. Cordless solders enhance the portability factor adding value to the product. Cordless solders for stained glass work with rechargeable batteries.

Gas-powered soldering iron

You must have heard about gas soldering iron for stained glass. These solders have a butane gas as a power source, which has a high-temperature capacity. Being capable of offering the widest range of temperature, gas-powered solders are a bit expensive as compared to other alternatives in the market.

Soldering stations

Well, coming to the very best option to go for small workshops, your home DIY setup, or even for professional use as well. This station for iron soldering for stained glass comes with various parts, such as iron itself with a station. The base of the station offers a holder for the iron along with a dial for adjusting the temperature as per your requirement. Soldering station parts also include a cleaning sponge that significantly affects the quality of the bond.

Construction & Design

Handle type

Especially for professionals, who work continuously, it is important to see what type fo handles they are going for. There are two different types that offer different performance in terms of handling, comfort, and convenience.

In-line design

It is designed in a way that the handle and the heating end lies in one long straight line. It works well for most of the people and is the most common type that is widely used around.

Hatchet design

This design has a heating element at a 90-degree angle to the handle. This design is the best for the people who suffer from joint pains and cannot move their hand freely or for too long. Hatchet design solders offer better leverage and less hand strain.

Element type

The element type of soldering guns for stained glass plays a vital role in the end result, the bond. Different element types for heating offer different performance in terms of efficiency and holding a constant temperature for easy and fast working.
Soldering irons come with two basic types for elements, such as;

Wire wrapped (Nichrome)

It has a thicker metal element that runs back from the soldering tip. Inside the metal is a wound nichrome wire that heats up when the power is applied. As it contains more heating material, a longer time period is taken to heat this type of iron, which means less performance and productivity, but a constant temperature.

Ceramic

Ceramic solders are thinner as compared to nichrome soldering gun, which means that heat up quickly. The issue with a ceramic element for solders is that it is not capable of maintaining constant temperature, which also can be an issue in getting the best performance.

Well, here comes personal preference. Go for the one that offers you the best working experience as per the place and environment you work in.

Soldering Iron Tips

Choosing the tip for solder guns can be daunting as they play an important role in determining the accuracy in the work. Most common and widely used tip for soldering iron is a chiselled tip. It resembles the tip of a flathead screwdriver. The chiselled head soldering tip is convenient to use, especially for the beginners.
Once you are expert enough to differentiate between the tips and how they can potentially affect your performance, you can switch to the one that offers the best working experience.

Technical bits

Power (Watts)

In numeric terms, the higher the numbers, the higher the power will be and the gun will heat up faster. Heating up faster does not determines for how long the soldering gun is capable of retaining the heat if there is a loss of heat or you clean the tip with wet sponge.

How can you determine the performance in accordance with the power (watt)?

Entry level or hobby soldering iron: 65 watts to 100 watts
Regular or moderate use soldering guns: 100 watts to 200 watts
Heavy-duty soldering iron gun: 200 watts to 300 watts range

Temperature Controller

You will find a hand full of solders with a wide temperature range for soldering iron. The best, most efficient soldering iron comes with temperature controller that allow suers to adjust the temperature according to their need and requirement.

Accessories

Speaking the language of convenience and comfort along with performance, the best solder for stained glass must be accompanied by accessories such as;

  • Soldering iron stand
  • Tip clearing brass wire
  • Protective workspace mat
  • Cleaning sponge

Budget

Setting forth how much you are willing to invest in your soldering iron helps you in a lot of ways, such as it narrows down your search to the items that match your budget. A good, high-end stained glass starter kit is not cheap if we talk about accuracy, bonding, operation, and durability.

You can find cheaper solder irons in the market, but they are not promising in terms of performance. They can work perfectly fine with electronics work, but they will not be as efficient as they should be for stained glass.

Top 4 best soldering guns for stained glass

Here are some of the top best soldering iron for stained glass that offer the best performance and durability. You can choose from these without having a second thought as they are the most popular amongst the users and meet all the standards to be in the best.

ImageNameFeaturePrice
Hakko FX601-02Design: Inline design
Item Dimensions LxWxH: 10.1 x 3.9 x 1.5 inches
Item Weight: 8.8 Ounces
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Weller w100pgDesign: Inline design
Item Dimensions LxWxH: 05 x 02 x 12 inches
Item Weight: 10 ounces
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American Beauty 3158-200Design: Inline design
Item Dimensions LxWxH: 16.3 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches
Item Weight: 2.45 pounds
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American Beauty 3178-300Design: Inline design
Item Dimensions LxWxH: 17.9 x 3.4 x 3.4 inches
Item Weight: 3.30 pounds
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1. Hakko FX601-02 – best entry level soldering iron

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Features

  • Design: Inline design
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 10.1 x 3.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Item Weight: 8.8 Ounces
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Head Style: Chisel
  • Heating element type: Ceramic
  • Temperature range: 240/540 degree celsius

Hakko FX601-02 is one of the best solder gun for stained glass for entry level. It has a ceramic core that offers speedy heating and bounce back after cleaning with a wet sponge for better performance. This solder gun is capable of handling pretty much anything that is short of professional level use.

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Pros

  • Adjustable temperature control.
  • Inline design offers neat and clean working performance.
  • Ceramic heating element offers speedy heating.
  • Light weight and compact design offers easy handling and portability.

Cons

  • It is not very durable becuase of its delicate design.
  • It needs proper handling and care to make it last longer.

Included components

  • Lock key
  • Standard tip T19-DS

Best suitable for:

  • Beginners and intermediate artists
  • Any kind DIY and short projects

2. Weller w100pg – best overall solder gun

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Features

  • Design: Inline design
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 05 x 02 x 12 inches
  • Item Weight: 10 ounces
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Head Style: Chisel
  • Heating element type: Nichrome wound
  • Temperature range: 260-480 °C

Weller w100pg make its way to the best overall soldering gun that does not only offer the best work performance, but also durability, portability, and maintenance. Its closed-loop temperature controlling and various temperature settings makes it the most versatile. Besides that, it heats up real quick, saving time and enhancing productivity.

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Pros

  • Various temperature settings adds versatility.
  • Its no base design makes it highly portable.
  • Its nichrome wound heating element maintains constant temperature.
  • It is very light in weight and is portable.

Cons

  • No con to be found yet.

Included components

  • Standard CT6F7 Tip

Best suitable for:

  • Beginners and intermediate artists
  • Any kind DIY and short projects

3. American Beauty 3158-200 – best value soldering iron

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Features

  • Design: Inline design
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 16.3 x 2.9 x 2.9 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.45 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Head Style: Diamond
  • Heating element type: Nichrome
  • Temperature range: 537.78 degree C (maximum temperature)

Rugged and powerful; American Beauty 3158-200 is one of the most durable yet affordable soldering iron for stained glass. In comparison to other mentioned products, this is highly durable. It provide customers easy handling along with portability and high-end construction that makes it last longer than other alternatives that are available in the market.

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Pros

  • Ni-chrome heating element ensures constant temperature in production environment.
  • Pargaon iron-clad lead-free soldering iron tip outlast ordinary solder gun tips.
  • Its plug-in tips desing offers superior heat transfer.
  • It offers easy replacement of consumable parts.
  • This soldering gun is very low-maintenance.

Cons

  • It comes with fewer attractions than Hakko.

Included components

  • Soldering iron (no other component is included in the package)

Best suitable for:

  • Professional tasks

4. American Beauty 3178-300 – best high-end soldering gun

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Features

  • Design: Inline design
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 17.9 x 3.4 x 3.4 inches
  • Item Weight: 3.30 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Head Style: Chisel tip
  • Heating element type: Nichrome
  • Temperature range: 537.78 degree C (maximum temperature)

Talking about a beast performance and durability, American Beauty 3178-300 is the product you are looking for. Its light weight and high-end construction offers the best working for bigger and professional tasks. This soldering iron for stained glass will be overkill for smaller tasks.

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Pros

  • Ni-chrome heating element keep temperature constant throughout the job.
  • Its plug-in tips desing offers easy cleaning and superior heat transfer.
  • Its modular construction offers convenient replacement of consumable parts.

Cons

  • No con to be found yet.

Included components

  • Soldering iron (no other component is included in the package)

Best suitable for:

  • Professional and bigger tasks

Conclusion

Well, by this point you must be aware of what to look for in a soldering gun before making a purchase. Where technical bits, construction, design, performance, and price matters in choosing the best solder gun for stained glass, it is important to keep your personal preference in consideration.

FAQs

Can I use any soldering iron for stained glass?

If the soldering iron you are using is capable of adjusting to various temperature ranges then it can be used for stained glass as well. Along with chaniging temperature, changable tips plays an important role in adding versatiliyt to the soldering gun.

What is the best soldering iron for stained glass?

American Beauty 3178-300 is the most loved and trusted soldering gun for stained glass. It is becuase of its high-end performance, quality assurance, durability, and adjustable temperature controls.

How do you smooth solder on stained glass?

Instead of feeding the solder, drop some blobs, a two or three, on to the seam and then join them up to make a smooth and fine seam. This best can be achieved with a flat soldering iron for stained glass that ensures filling the gaps more perfectly.

What wattage gives the best bond for stained glass?

Depending on the type of work you are doing the wattage falls into three major categories;

  • Entry level or hobby soldering iron: 65 watts to 100 watts
  • Regular or moderate use soldering guns: 100 watts to 200 watts
  • Heavy-duty soldering iron gun: 200 watts to 300 watts range

Choosing wattage as per your work need gives the best results.

What is flux used for stained glass solder guns?

Flux is a substance (liquid/paste/creme) that is applied on to the metal prior to soldering. It cleans the soldering iron and metal tip preventing corrosion. Besides preventing corrosion, using flux offers even heating of the metal. You will find a variety of flux to use with your soldering iron. The most effective and widely used flux is petroleum jelly.

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