How to Choose Soldering Iron Tips

by Andy on September 15, 2010

Because the soldering iron tip is the key piece that transfers heat from the iron to the actual piece being soldered, it is imperative to choose the right tip for your activity. Selecting the correct tip will also improve the quality of your solder joints. So before choosing your soldering tip, consider the following:

  1. Soldering Iron Tip Tip Type – The type is chosen based on what type of soldering iron you use. You may need a screw type tip that screws onto or into the soldering iron, a slip on type that slips over the iron, or a plug type that slide inside the iron.
  2. Tip Configuration – Configuration is dependent upon your application. Examples of basic tip configurations include chisel (top right), conical, pyramid (bottom right), and spade. Though less efficient, a more narrow configuration is often needed to attain desired results.
  3. Soldering Iron Tip Tip Size – As with tip configuration, tip size is also depends on your application. The tip body should also always correspond with the soldering iron you want to use. Modified working diameters within standard tip size families are referred to as turned down tips. These are less efficient but may be necessary to access difficult areas.
  4. Choosing the Tip – Because thick, short tips store more heat and transfer it more efficiently than long, narrow ones, the standard chisel and diamond configurations are usually the most popular choices. The chisel tip is typically used for joining components to through-hole PCBs or connecting flat seams. The diamond shape, on the other hand, is most often used for connecting corner seams to heat both at the same time.

Also learn how to care for your soldering tips to increase production quality and decrease solder joint failure.

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