How to Use an Electric Soldering Iron

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Understanding how correctly solder and operating an electric soldering iron is a fundamental technique you need to master. When opening an electronic device with a circuit board, you will come across components that have been attached using the soldering technique. Usually, when solder cools, it creates a strong bond between two parts. 

Despite the fact that soldering creates a permanent connection, it can well be reversed using a disordering tool. Using a soldering iron is relatively easy. In this article, we outline the basics of how to use an electric soldering iron. As a newbie, this article will be best for you. 

The Basics

When it comes to soldering, the fundamental of the whole process is often consistent across all types of projects. Below, you will come across vital information about the basics of soldering, equipment used in soldering, and the basic step-by-step guide on how to use an electric soldering iron. 

What is soldering?

Soldering is a vital technique used in joining two metals together. The process involves melting solder into a space that is between two metal parts. As the solder cools and hardens, it creates a permanent connection between the two parts. The solder tends to act as metallic glue that aids in joining different metal components together.

The most common or the primary function of an electric soldering iron is to connect electric components. However, you might as well consider using it on a pipe for plumbing, arts and crafts, as well as engine components, among other projects.


This article focuses on how to use an electric soldering iron; however, the iron itself is not the only vital item you will require. Therefore, when it comes to using an electric soldering iron, you will require the following equipment for any soldering project:

· Electric soldering iron. The primary function of an electric soldering iron is to supply heat that will help in melting your solder. It comprises of a tip whereby you will apply the metal parts that you would like to join with a solder.

Along with an insulated handle that allows you to hold the iron in place. Usually, electric soldering iron tends to vary significantly. Since they are electric, they come equipped with an electric cord or battery. 

· Solder. This is the metallic substance that melts and creates a bond between two different metal components. Usually, it is a thin wire that is made up of one of the various tin alloys. The alloy will consist of either lead and tin or copper and tin.

Lead-free solders are growing in popularity, and this trend helps in promoting safety regulation and both environmental and health benefits. In addition to that, some solder is equipped with flux, which helps to get rid of the oxidized layer on the metal parts hence allowing your solder to adhere better.

· Soldering station. This tends to act as a control station for the soldering iron for individuals with an electric soldering iron that adjusts the temperature,

· Soldering iron stand. It offers safety and a sturdy place for storing your iron whenever you are not using it. Usually, the station is equipped with controls for adjusting the temperature of your iron along with other vital settings.

· Cleaning pad. It is vital for the proper performance of your electric soldering iron as you use it. Brass wool, damp sponge, or steel can be used as a cleaning pad.

· Safety glasses. This is vital when it comes to protecting your eyes from accidents and keep off the toxic fumes from irritating your eyes.

· Fume extractor. Since there is fume production during this process, you will need a fume extractor that will help to get rid of these toxic fumes.

AdobeStock 186451022 1

How To Use An Electric Soldering Iron To Join Parts

Using an electric soldering iron is relatively easy. Take your soldering iron and hold it using your dominant hand and the piece of solder on the other hand.

As you solder two different components together, you should consider touching the area where they will connect with a soldering iron. You will then hold it in place for about one sec and then slide your solder underneath your iron’s tip as you sandwich it to a PCB.

Once that is done, hold it for approximately a sec or two as you continue to add more solder if necessary. The amount will vary significantly depending on your project, diameter as well, as application.

You will then pull your solder first as you continue holding on to the iron for an additional one sec. By doing so, you will allow your solder to continue melting and pool, which will end up forming the perfect joint. Once that is done, you can now remove your iron. The whole process should not take you more than 5 seconds; therefore, you should try and aim for approximately 3 to 4 seconds.

Once the whole process is done, you should wait for a few seconds and try your best not to disturb the solder. Usually, solders tend to cool very fast; however, when you move or blow on the joint, it causes the joint to deteriorate.

Any bad solder connection will look pretty much oxidized, very dull and grainy. It will always look like a ball of solder that has formed on the joint. On the other hand, a good connection has to be smooth and relatively uniform, and the sides will have a concave shape. It should not look like a raised ball; however, it has to look flat and smooth.

Final Thoughts

An electric solder is a vital tool, and mastering its use is critical. You can always use an electric soldering iron to create joints on different projects. Furthermore, you should always keep in mind that soldering is not incredibly difficult; all that is required of you is to focus, have a sturdy hand, and still be safe.

There is no doubt that an excellent electric soldering iron is a worthy investment. Now that you have all the vital information required on how to use an electric soldering iron, you are ready to show off your skills.