If you are someone who is interested in learning to solder electronics, there are a few keys things that might be helpful to learn first. The most obvious task should be learning more about electronic and chip components to understand how they best work in your designs. In addition, it is helpful to learn about electricity in general and, for example, how resistors in parallel versus series work. Another good thing to start doing is to investigate different tools that might be helpful in your process. Whether it is a soldering iron or a workbench, finding the right tools can facilitate your soldering process. Outside of tool options, it is important to use the right materials as not all solder metals are the same. Some solders are better for electronics than others. For example, there is solder that can be used in plumbing which contains acid. Obviously, that is not a good choice for use in electronic soldering.
Types and Forms of Solder
Solder comes in a variety of forms such as bars, paste, pellets, and wire. For electronic soldering, wire is typically the best to use. Wire is easier to apply and work with when tacking smaller components to a motherboard. It also comes in a variety of diameters or gauges. To choose the right size, it mostly depends on what components you are looking to solder and tack down.
There are two major types of soldering wire: lead-free and lead-based. There is not much difference between the two other than one melts at a lower temperature than the other. Lead-based solder is typically composed of some metal mixture like tin and lead and it melts around 370 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most businesses have gotten away from lead-based due to the effects lead has on our health. This does not mean you cannot use this material, but you will obviously need to take proper precautions. Enter lead-free solder. This type of solder has a higher melting point and can be a bit difficult to work with because of that. However, it is safer to use and is just as good in many respects for smaller electronic projects.
Another interesting fact about solder wires is that it contains a flux core in the center. The two types of core material are acid and rosin. As mentioned before, the acid version is better suited to plumbing tasks. Rosin is the type of core users want to get when soldering electronic components together. Now let us discuss some of the best solder for electronics work.
Best Solder for Electronics
American Terminal Alpha Fry AT-31604 60-40 Rosin Core Solder
The Alpha Fry solder with a rosin core comes in a four ounce roll. It is a sixty percent tin and forty percent lead mixture. This particular lead-based solder has a melting point of 376 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has a 0.062 inch diameter. Alpha Fry is made in Mexico.
This product is a best seller for electronics soldering projects. The main reason this is so popular is because it is good quality and easy to use because it is a lead-based solder. These types of solder tend to have a lower melting point, which makes them easier to use with most soldering irons.
One of the biggest cons about this product is that it is lead-based solder. Using any lead products can be hazardous to your health. Proper precaution must be taken when using this product. This product had a few negatives, but they did not compare to the high marks given to it by other buyers. Two of the most common complaint related to the inability to return the product once purchased and that this product had issues with fine soldering projects. Electronics soldering is very fine work so this product worked against that process.
WYCTIN Solder Wire for Electrical Soldering
This product is another lead-based solder with sixty percent tin and forty percent lead. It also has a rosin core and comes in 0.0236 inch diameter. The WYCTIN solder has a low melting point of 361 degrees Fahrenheit.
This wire is ideal for fine soldering programs such as circuit board work. The rosin core helps to oxidize the metal faster once applied to heat so it cools faster. This allows tacking to happen at a much faster rate and prevents movement of the component. The tin/lead mixture also facilitates a smooth finish when applied correctly. The lower melting point also helps to put the product on with ease.
Such as with the Alpha Fry product, this wire is harmful to your health since it is lead-based. Make sure to handle the product carefully and with proper safety gear. This is another top selling brand as with the Alpha Fry. It had few complaints as well, but the ones that were notable included that the product did not seem to consistently melt at the right temperature and the consistency was more paste-like than liquid. Additional complaints included that the wire was too thin to accomplish the job and that the wrong product was sent.
Mudder Solder Wire for Electrical Soldering
The Mudder brand solder comes in several different diameters including 0.023 inch, 0.031 inch, 0.039 inch, and 0.059 inch. It has a melting point of between 419 and 428 degrees Fahrenheit because it is a lead-free wire solder. This solder is composed of mostly tin with additives of copper and silver. It also has a rosin core.
This product is very easy to use and has an even melting point so it goes on smoothly. The fact that it is lead-free is probably one of the major bonuses since no extra safety precautions need to be taken. The Mudder solder wire can be used for a variety of projects including circuit boards and other electrical repairs.
While this product is another popular brand, it does have a few consumer complaints against it. Several complaints stated this wire was not composed of the metals it claimed. In addition, a few other complaints talked to the consistency of the product once melted such as not appearing shiny or smoking when heated.
Kester Solder 32117 Solder Wire
The Kester solder wire is composed of sixty percent tin and forty percent of lead. It comes in a diameter of 0.031 inches and is 44 inches long. In addition, the wire comes in a one pack, two pack, and a full solder kit variety. The Kester solder wire also has a rosin core.
This is an extremely popular product and has no negative reviews. Customers found it easy to apply since it is a lead-based solder and also because it does have a variety of sizes besides the 0.031 inch diameter. This particular diameter works well for small solder jobs. In addition, buyers approved of the great price point for the quality of product provided.
The only con of this product is that it is a lead-based product and therefore additional safety precautions need to be taken when handling this wire.
Kester 82-4000-0000 Solder Pocket Pack
Another popular Kesler solder wire is the 83-4000-0000. It comes in a 0.031 inch diameter and is composed of sixty percent lead and forty percent lead. This wire also has a rosin core for a solid oxidation.
This is unique product since it is pocket size and portable. It also had good reviews overall and worked as nicely as the Kesler 32117 solder wire. It went on smoothly and melted cleanly without clumping. This is due to the rosin core and the fact that it facilitates oxidation for a quick hardening.
This is another lead-based wire so additional precautions must be taken to avoid skin contact as much as possible. Notable complaints for this product included the inability to return and that it does not actually do a good job of tacking down electronic components.
MAIYUM Solder Wire for Electrical Soldering
The MAIYUM is a lead-based wire that contains sixty-three percent tin and thirty-seven percent lead. It has a rosin core as with other models and comes in a 0.031 inch diameter. This product has a low melting point at 361 degrees Fahrenheit.
The MAIYUM has a smooth application since it is lead-based and heats well for circuit board soldering and other electronic products. This is another top seller that has no negative comments.
The only downside to this product relates to the lead-based consistency since it requires extra safety measures to be taken to protect the user against lead contamination.
ChipQuik Solder Paste
The ChipQuik is a slight deviation from the wire products we have discussed up to this point. It is a solder paste that is applied using a syringe along with the soldering gun. It has a low melting point and is lead-free.
This is a lead-free product so extra measures do not have to be taken to protect the user. Users stated this product worked well for larger electronic components and for surface mounts. In addition, it was very easy to work with and clean up.
This product requires refrigeration in order to last longer. It will last 6 months outside of the refrigerator and twelve months in. If you choose not to refrigerate, then it can separate. Consumers complained with this product that it did not work well for pin solders.
TAMINGTON Solder Wire
The TAMINGTON product has sixty-three percent tin and thirty-seven percent lead. It comes with a rosin core and is 0.031 inches wide. It has a melting point of 361 degrees Fahrenheit. This solder wire can be used for a wide range of projects as well.
The rosin core allows a smooth and even flow as it melts. It also has great conductivity for electronic solders. The lead-based aspects of this product allows for a solid finish and it is ideal for small electronic jobs. This is another heavily popular product that has very minor complaints.
As with the other lead-based products, this requires extra precautions so take care to handle properly. There were not any notable descriptive complaints for this product and as mentioned above it is a popular product.
Sywon Solder Wire for Electrical Soldering
The Sywon solder wire comes in a 0.039 inch diameter. It is also lead-based and composed of sixty percent tin and forty percent lead. It has a lower melting point of 376 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has a rosin core. The Sywon solder wire is ideal for small electronic soldering projects.
As with most lead-based solder, it has a low melting point, which makes it ideal to work with. It goes on smoothly and liquefies rather than clumps when heat is applied. This particular product is solely owned by Sywon and totes a solid product that does not have a knock-off cheaper metal composite.
Again, this is a lead-based wire. Please take care when using as prolonged exposure can cause health issues. This had a few minor complaints mostly related to the fact that it claims to be lead-based and also lead-free. Buyers also noticed issues with the application of this product.
We have provided some valuable information about what types of solder is available on the market today. This article spoke mostly to wire solder since it tends to work best for electronic projects, but we did talk about one paste version. The paste version works well for some electronic products, but not smaller, fine-detailed projects. Pay attention to the composite of each of the products as some contain more tin than lead and can be harder to melt. In addition, it is good to note whether or not the wire is lead-based or lead-free. Lead-based wire tends to have a lower melting point and is fairly easy to use and apply smoothly, but lead-free is safer. Almost all of these products had extremely high ratings and seemed to be popular with professionals and novices alike.