If you use a soldering iron, you know how frustrating it can be to work with a crappy station–you discover a scratched or burned surface just as you’ve finished with your hard work. Finding the best soldering station for your projects can easily get you on the right track, but, how do you decide which one to choose?
As there are tons of options on the market it may be a little difficult to find the best model for your unique needs and preferences. Fortunately for you, we’ve rounded up the best soldering stations on the market today and written in-depth comparison reviews to help you find a strong, flexible, and versatile appliance that suits your needs.
Don’t forget to also read our useful buying guide at the end of the article, where we share some essential shopping advice to help you find the best soldering station for your workshop!
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The Best Soldering Stations Of 2020
Our top budget-friendly pick is the SFC Tools – 54-100 Double Third Hand Soldering Station, as the quality and flexibility you get for the price are very impressive. The SFC Tools will allow you to work with most materials and angles efficiently. It’s a great choice for both beginners and professionals working with smaller and lighter pieces of jewelry.
“This SFC Tools will allow you to work with all types of materials and angles efficiently.”
The SFC Tools – 54-100 soldering station has a well-crafted base with two 3rd hands, which allows you to solder efficiently and comfortably.
“You’ll be able to move your piece to any position while having your hands free to work.”
The hands have adjustable steel clamps to hold your work and an Allen wrench with quadruple action that allows you to move your piece to any position while having your hands free.
Additionally, the hands are well-built from ceramic materials, while the base comes with a grey transite high block. The grey transite high block makes the tool great for soldering all kinds of jewelry metals, because it provides a base that can tolerate a lot of heat.
Unlike our best quality pick which weighs almost 4kg, the SFC Tools – 54-100 soldering station is pretty light (0,5kg), which can be a problem if you want to work with large pieces and heavy materials that need a sturdier base for more stability. This is definitely a budget choice.
Another disadvantage of the budget choice is that it doesn’t come with any additional accessories, like a magnifying glass, a LED light, or a soldering iron holder. Having said that, you do get the two third hands included.
Compared to other soldering stations, like the GRS® Tools 004-570 Soldering Station, for example, the hands of the SFC Tools – 54-100 are far more rigid and short, meaning the range of movement is more limited.
If you typically work on large and unevenly-shaped pieces of jewelry, we recommend a pan-style soldering station. Our favorite in this category is the EuroTool 12″ Rotating Soldering Pan W/3rd Hand, as it’s just the right size for most jewelers.
“If you typically work on large and unevenly shaped pieces of jewelry, we recommend a pan-style soldering station.”
The EuroTool 12” Rotating Soldering Pan W/3rd Hand will make your work a lot easier and faster. Thanks to its 360-degree rotating pan, you’ll have easy access to every angle of the piece you’re working on.
This soldering station is perfect for large and oddly shaped pieces that are otherwise hard to hold by clamps. You can anchor your workpiece in the pumice at whatever angle you need.
“This soldering station is perfect for large and oddly shaped pieces that are otherwise hard to hold by clamps. ”
Plus, because the pumice is heat-resistant, it won’t affect other areas of the workpiece. You can work in one specific area of a larger piece without heating the rest of the metal unintentionally.
The EuroTool 12” Rotating Soldering Pan also comes with a 3rd hand attachment with one flexible clamp that allows you to adapt the arrangement of your soldering station to the piece you’re working on.
One big drawback to the pumice-filled, pan-style soldering station is that this kind of surface isn’t suitable for small pieces and tiny details.
We don’t recommend using the EuroTool 12” Rotating Soldering Pan on small objects as they can fall between the cracks and you can lose them. Of course, if you’re using the third hand, you’ll be fine. Just be careful with the pan surface!
The GRS® Tools 004-570 Soldering Station is the model that will give you the most stability, precision, flexibility, and durability. Built from strong and stable materials, with long and flexible hands, the GRS® Tools 004-570 will allow you to easily perform high-quality work on all your workpieces.
“The GRS® Tools 004-570 Soldering Station is the model that will give you the most stability, precision, flexibility, and durability. ”
The GRS® Tools 004-570 soldering station is strong and heavy. It’s built in the USA, and it’s entirely made from metal and non-asbestos solder boards. With this build, it’s guaranteed that you’ll use this tool for a very long time.
The GRS® Tools 004-570 can hold your jewels in the exact position you want very precisely, regardless of their size or weight. Because of its sturdy design, you can work with large and heavy jewels without worry. There’s no doubt this design can handle all kinds of jewelry pieces.
“The GRS® Tools 004-570 can hold your jewels in the exact position you want very precisely, regardless of their size or weight.”
You can hold the jewelry piece from whatever angle you want. The double 3rd hands are long and provide you with a good working space. Also, they have three joints that give you unequaled flexibility when you want to twist, rotate, or bend the piece in each direction.
Unfortunately, the GRS® Tools 004-570 doesn’t come with additional accessories like a magnifying glass, LED light, or a soldering iron holder.
It’s expensive. However, we think the exceptional build quality and precise adjustments make it worth the extra investment.
Which soldering station is the best choice for your workshop?
The best choice on a budget is the SFC Tools – 54-100 double third-hand soldering station as it offers great value for money. It’s quite flexible and will get the job done for a variety of materials. Plus, it’s small and suitable for jewelers with limited working space. However, it is lightly built and doesn’t perform as well with large and heavy pieces.
“Unlike the 3rd hand soldering stations, this pan-style tool can work a lot better for oddly shaped pieces that are otherwise hard to be held.”
The EuroTool 12″ Rotating soldering pan is a wonderful choice for most jewelers, particularly those working with large pieces of a variety of materials. It’s the best bet if you want to go for the pan format. Unlike the other 3rd hand soldering stations, this pan-style tool can work a lot better for oddly shaped pieces that are otherwise hard to hold. It’s not the best bet for small, fiddly pieces, though.
“The GRS® Tools 004-570 is the best choice for professionals soldering many different pieces of jewelry a day. ”
With its sturdy, strong design, long hands, and impeccable precision, the GRS® Tools 004-570 offers the best quality. You can use it on small, delicate pieces, as well as on large and heavy projects. It’s the best choice for professionals soldering many different pieces of jewelry every day.
How To Choose The Best Soldering Station
The foundation of your soldering station should be sturdy and made of high-quality materials. You’ll want your pieces to stay firmly in place while you work on them, otherwise you might make mistakes and ruin delicate pieces.
“Two product specifications to check for in a good foundation are weight and the materials from which the product is built.”
Two product specifications to check for in a good foundation are weight and the materials from which the product is built. Heavier soldering stations are more stable and harder to tip over. They also last longer. Steel or iron cast designs are stronger, more durable, and will keep your piece fixed just as you need it.
However, more solidly-built stations come at a higher price. For example, even though sturdily-built, our budget choice, the SFC Tools – 54-100, weighs only 1.1 lbs. On the other hand, the priciest model, the GRS® Tools 004-570, weighs 4.15 lbs.
One of the reasons why a soldering station is highly beneficial to jewelers is because it’s a great way to organize, store, and safely use all of your soldering supplies without taking much of your benchtop space. Most soldering stations are small enough to stay out of the way, while also giving you a dedicated spot for your projects.
“Soldering stations come with a heat resistant base where you can safely leave your soldering iron.”
The SFC Tools is (LxWxH) 9 x 6 x 7 inches, the EuroTool is 12 inches, while the GRS® Tools is 6 x 6 x 12 inches. So, if you factor in the size, you can find the perfect soldering station that will make your workflow much faster and help you be more efficient depending on how much space you have.
The layout of your ideal soldering station will completely depend on the scale of your work. For example, some stations come with two third hand attachments, while others come with just one. You can choose how many elements you want on your station and which are the most important for you depending on how much you’re going to use the station and how much space you have. Remember that you can usually tack on accessories later, as long as they’re compatible!
3rd Hand Attachment
A 3rd hand attachment is a solid stand with a flexible clamp that conveniently holds the jewelry piece for you, leaving your own hands free to work. As a general rule, you should always look for a soldering station that comes with a 3rd hand attachment. Be aware that you can usually add more on later, but it’s easiest to simply buy everything as a complete package.
“While shopping, pay attention to how the flexible arm (or 3rd hand) is constructed.”
While shopping, pay attention to how the flexible arm (or 3rd hand) is constructed. Quality soldering stations should be designed from strong materials, like steel and iron, and have at least two or three joints for added flexibility.
We hope you enjoyed our best soldering station selections and that you’ve already found your perfect match among our recommendations. If you haven’t, don’t worry! With our detailed buying guide in mind, you have all the information you need to make the right decision.
Plus, you can always follow the title links to find out more about the in-depth specifications, customer reviews, and specific prices of each of our reviewed products.
You can also check out our other buying guides that can help you get everything you need for a thriving career in jewelry-making.