How often do you find yourself needing a soldering iron for gutters or flashing? It’s a part of being a sheet metal worker and having the right equipment is a must. A clear sign that sub par work is on its way is using an open flame torch for a soldering job. Not only is it harder to control and a fire hazard, the copper will become discolored and the joints are often false/weaker and less likely to holdup through years of expansion and contraction. This post will go over a few of the finer points of each soldering iron. You can read about prior information we’ve shared on our soldering iron buying guide as we are going to try not to duplicate info.
Propane Soldering Irons
Reaches heat to melt 50/50 solder in 57 seconds
The German made Perkeo soldering iron is made out of stainless steel, solid brass, and Teflon. The iron heats up like a rocket and you will blown away by the heat produced from such a simple unit. It maxed the temperature gun’s reading we were using. The only downside of the unit is that it’s an open flame, but this is what you trade with heat efficiency. There are 2 types of tips in pointed and hammer styles, with 3 different weights (250g, 350g, 500g), and in both copper and long life styles. The Perkeo is a nice iron if you’ve tried all of the others and are looking for something different.
Reaches heat to melt 50/50 solder in 1 minute and 15 seconds
The Express Self Igniting Soldering Iron is our most popular soldering iron because it brings value to go along with professionalism. The accessories are also readily available and you can choose among 4 different style soldering tips in both copper and long life. The iron is lightweight and is user friendly. That means that once you connect your iron to a propane tank, all that’s left is tinning your tip and you’re ready to solder.
Reaches heat to melt 50/50 solder in 1 minute and 45 seconds
The SIK1-10 is an expensive soldering iron but as they say, you get what you pay for. From the minute the iron ignites, you can tell you’re getting an intense gas flow. The iron itself weighs a bit under 2.3 lbs and has a comfortable ergonomic handle. The enclosed flame allows for safe soldering and the feel of the iron makes it easy to control for quality workmanship. The lengthy heat time is mainly because the soldering tip is 14oz and has more mass than the others.
Electric Soldering Iron
Reaches heat to melt 50/50 solder in 7 minute and 45 seconds
The American Beauty Electric Iron has been added so that you understand what you are getting with an electric iron. The start up time for this iron was over 7 minutes. This iron should primarily be used in indoor situations as running an extension cord outside is not convenient. A nice feature is that the iron makes zero noise. This can be a main selling point if you’ve heard the hum of propane for 8 hours straight. This model tested was the 300 Watt so it’s possible the 550 will heat up quicker. This is a quality iron that performs as it is supposed to.
Acetylene Soldering Iron
Acetylene soldering irons have a following due to the high temperatures that can be reached using acetylene as a gas. Acetylene will burn far hotter than propane, but this comes at the cost of a more expensive and less stable gas. A safety caution when using Acetylene is to be certain the regulator will not exceed 15 PSI. Used appropriately, acetylene irons serve their purposes in cold weather and high altitudes, as well as being a nice all-around soldering iron.