Need a New Soldering Iron? Here’s Why You Should Go With a Butane-Powered Model
Whether you’re a professional plumber or just the home handyman, you may rely on a soldering iron for quick repairs, installation, or electronics assembly. Although there are many types of soldering irons to choose from, there are a few reasons why a cordless butane-fueled model might be the best tool for the job.
What is a Soldering Iron?
Multi-purpose soldering irons are used across fields and professions to melt the solder, which is the malleable metal alloy that joins metal pieces together. Solders work because they have a lower melting point than the surrounding pieces of metal, so that they can be used to join together pieces that need to stay intact. Soldering irons have a heated metal tip that melts the solder and an insulated handle. Traditionally, simple soldering irons have been composed of a copper bit that was heated in a flame prior to use. Although many soldering irons are electric, some portable soldering irons are heated by the combustion of butane gas, which is stored in a small tank. Soldering irons are commonly used for:
- Electronics assembly
- Sheet metal soldering
- Pyrography (decorating wood with burn marks)
- Plastic welding
Cordless soldering irons are ideal when electricity is unavailable. These small irons can be powered by either a rechargeable battery or refillable butane gas that combusts to heat the tip. Although the temperature of these irons is not controlled directly, users can adjust heat settings by controlling gas flow. Many butane-fueled soldering irons have interchangeable heads to fit a wide variety of purposes and situations. These may include different sized soldering tips, a sharp knife for cutting plastics, a blowtorch with a small flame, or a hot air blower.
Why Choose a Butane-Fueled Soldering Iron?
Depending on the type of job you need to perform, you might want to utilize a different or even multiple soldering irons. For most jobs, however, multi-purpose butane-fueled cordless soldering irons are the best hand tool for soldering tasks that require more precision and control than a larger butane torch can provide.
- Accessibility – Cordless soldering irons powered by refined butane are ideal for reaching into difficult and inaccessible areas; situations where a trailing power cord might usually render access impossible. Because cordless soldering irons don’t need an electrical source, you can take them to out-of-the-way locations, use them in buildings where the electricity might not be turned on, or utilize them where there isn’t a main power supply available.
- Portability – Butane-fueled soldering irons are typically lighter and less bulky than electrical ones. They also help you to avoid those frustrating and inevitable tangled cord and wire predicaments that modern electronics are prone to causing.
- Versatility – Gas-powered soldering iron kits include a set of interchangeable tips so that one iron can perform a wide range of jobs. Complete kits often include a soldering tip for repairs, a hot air blower for heat shrink tubing, a higher temperature Bunsen tip that melts or warms metal parts, and a heated knife that can seal, cut, or shape plastics.
- Efficiency – While electrical soldering irons require set up and time to warm up, butane-fueled irons are ready to go right away, getting your job done quickly.
- Cheap Refills – Butane is a relatively inexpensive power source, and butane refills can be bought in bulk for even deeper discounts.
- Wide Range of Prices – Although some butane-fueled soldering irons are constructed for professional use, others are designed for less frequent and occasional users, which gives them a lower price point. More expensive models might have several catalysts, which help to control the heat, and work using convenient single-touch piezo spark ignition. Less expensive versions feature a cigarette-style ignition instead.
- Availability – Butane-fueled soldering irons are becoming increasingly popular as more companies release their own versions. A few popular soldering iron brands include the classic Weller, Blazer, Iso-Tip, and Wall Lenk.
- Extra Features – As gas-powered soldering irons become more common, they have also started to include more features and options for customization. These include snap-on lids or stands so that the hot iron won’t ruin other surfaces when it’s not in use, a sponge for cleaning the tip after each job, and a carrying case that packs all of your soldering iron tools together.
While butane-fueled soldering irons used to be affordable only to the professionals, they are becoming increasingly available to the casual hobbyist or occasional repairperson, and it’s easier to find great deals on high-quality kits online.
When your butane soldering iron is running on empty, visit Butane Source to stock up on butane refills. We offer all of the best brands such as Puretane butane, Colibri, and Newport at some of the lowest prices around.