You want at least a 40W iron. Is the iron you are looking at temperature controlled or adjustable heat?
All irons will be at least 600 degrees F, which is considered cool. What you get with a higher wattage iron
is more heat, for soldering larger work. A potentiometer case does not need to be any hotter than one of
the pot's terminal lugs to solder it. But it requires more heat (wattage) to bring it up to temperature and to
bring it up quickly.
A higher wattage iron is not necessarily hotter (temperature wise). It depends on the physical size of the
heating element and tip.
Also, there is a difference between temperature regulated irons and adjustable heat irons. Temperature
regulation will automatically vary the heat in order to maintain the tip at a constant temperature. The iron
will increase it's heat output when the tip is touched to the work. These are the best irons in my opinion,
but also the most costly.
My weller TC201 for example is temperature regulated and the temperaure is selected by changing the tip.
600, 700, and 800 degree tips are available.
I also have a Weller WLC100 adjustable heat iron. A problem with these is that the tip will burn more easily
if the iron is left idling for a while without turning down the heat. A heat setting high enough for soldering is
also a bit too high for idling. For casual use though, that's a minor problem.
Last edited by megafiddle : 09-17-2013 at 09:52 PM.