Portable Soldering Iron
June 18, 2008 10:07 PM   Subscribe

Recommendation on Portable Soldering Irons?

I'm looking for a portable soldering iron for electronics repairs that works well that I can buy here and take to Europe without getting arrested in the airport. I've read that the butane ones are actually not bad at all, but I suspect if I stick that in my luggage, I'm going to lose it. I've also got the sense that most of the battery powered models kind of suck. What to do?

(My other option is to buy a cheapie 220V one in Europe and a cheapie 110V one for here, but I'd rather spend the money on a nice portable one and use the same one in both places)
posted by sdis to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What sort of electronics repair do you do, and what prevents you from carrying around a bench-top soldering iron? I've never actually seen a portable soldering iron that can handle small surface mount parts, but I've also never really looked.
posted by saeculorum at 10:52 PM on June 18, 2008

A nifty way to find things like this is through a Google image search. It's easier to pick out suitable models and reviews.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:08 AM on June 19, 2008

As far as security is concerned, why not contact the airline and ask them?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:15 AM on June 19, 2008

My electrical engineer(s) ordered the Cold Heat Soldering Tool from ThinkGeek and no longer use anything else. It runs off AA (surprising lifetime given the heat they make - but really, it only runs when it's running and that's it). So, I don't know where your sense is coming from on the battery ones, or if you've not seen this model, but yeah, they've been way happy with it.
posted by whatzit at 3:52 AM on June 19, 2008

Whatzit - I don't have any experience with the ColdHeat personally, but a bench tech I noticed with one when they first came out noted that it worked by a current across the two terminals on the tips, and that he had fried at least one sensitive component when the tip slipped and touched two different solder pads. He said that he no longer used it for detail work, or stuff he couldn't afford to lose.
posted by Orb2069 at 4:40 AM on June 19, 2008

Looks like butane soldering irons are in the same category as torch lighters and are banned from US planes in carry-on and checked baggage.

The Cold Heat seems to get simply terrible reviews...
posted by sdis at 9:08 AM on June 19, 2008

Just yesterday I bought a $20 cordless soldering iron by Weller that came with 3 AA batteries in the package. I haven't used it yet. I haven't read the package beyond "Cordless Soldering Iron". It's listed here.
posted by neuron at 1:13 PM on June 19, 2008

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