Many people consider soldering iron and soldering gun as the same thing. But do you know they are different? Well, if you didn’t and want to know, we can help. In this article, you’ll find a detailed comparison between a soldering iron and a soldering gun. You’ll also find which item is used for what purpose. So, if you’re interested, let’s begin the Soldering Iron vs. Soldering Gun comparison.
Soldering Iron Vs. Soldering Gun: Definitions
You can think of soldering iron as a hand tool. As the name tells, it is used for soldering purposes. It is an electric equipment that heats the tip to melt the solder to join two work pieces. There’s typically a solder tip and a plastic handle involved in a soldering iron.
A soldering gun operates much like a pistol. Similar to the soldering iron, the soldering gun is also electrically powered. It uses a tin-based solder for joining metal surfaces with good electrical contact. It’s in the shape of a gun and uses a trigger for easy operation.
What is a Soldering Gun and How is it Different from a Soldering Iron?
A soldering gun and iron may sound similar, but as discussed above, they’re different. In this section, we’ll talk about how a soldering gun is different from a soldering iron.
A Soldering Gun is a pistol-shaped device with a copper tip used for soldering joints. Soldering guns come with a step-down transformer but lack a high-frequency converter. Apart from this, there’s not much difference between a soldering gun and a soldering iron.
Soldering guns are more effective as they don’t need frequent breaks like soldering irons. Usually, soldering guns are used for large electrical appliances. You can use it for home appliances, gadgets, radio circuits, etc. However, for other mall jobs, soldering iron is used.
Here are the main parts of a soldering gun:
- Holder: the holder is used for gripping or holding the gun. It’s similar to the holder of a gun, which is relatively easy to handle.
- Tip: The tip is the most crucial part, which touches the part you want to solder
- Heating element: It delivers heat to the tip of the soldering gun
- Shaft: It’s the part at the end of the tip
- Cord: It is an electrical wire that is used to supply power to the device.
The heating system in most modern-day guns is usually made from chrome and nickel. It uses an electric current to heat the device at a temperature at which the solder melts. The core material in soldering guns is copper. It’s because copper is a good conductor and heats up pretty quickly.
Soldering guns work on low voltage current. This is what makes these devices effective and efficient.
Usually, the small soldering irons are used on circuit boards or light electric jobs. It is a better choice if you have to deal with soldering jobs that require minimal heat. However, different sizes can be used for other applications. So, check for the type of soldering iron before you choose one.
A soldering iron is easy to work with as compared to a soldering gun. It’s because a soldering iron is light in weight. There are numerous different sizes available, which you can choose from according to your requirements.
You can also find soldering iron with different tips. However, most tips are made from iron. And as iron stays hot for a long interval, you need not to heat it repeatedly. So, a soldering iron offers a smooth flow.
Now, soldering iron is good for small jobs. But when it comes to dealing with large jobs where high wattage is needed, soldering iron becomes inefficient. Also, the soldering irons heat up slower as compared to soldering guns.
While performing large electrical jobs, the soldering gun is what you should prefer. It is because of the high wattage and the heat they produce.
You can also use a soldering gun for small electric jobs, but you need to be more careful. It is because these guns can sometimes damage the surrounding areas you’re working on.
Soldering guns come with a higher wattage. The typical the range lies between 100-240 watts. It means you can use it for heavy jobs. Also, it is quite flexible to work with because of the loop-shaped tips it comes with. This loop-shaped tip helps in working in narrow spaces. However, this becomes hard when it comes to soldering tiny components.
The soldering guns heat up more quickly as compared to the soldering iron. The soldering guns come with step down transformers that convert the power from mains to low voltage current. It helps in the quick heating of the tip. Now, as the tip heats quickly, you’ll save on electricity. And this makes it efficient.
The soldering gun comes with a copper tip. And this tip slowly dissolves after use. So, you have to replace the copper tip quite frequently. Also, it is heavier when compared to the soldering iron, which makes it hard to handle. So, when you’re dealing with small jobs, you need to be extra careful.
Which is the Best for You?
This depends mostly on the purpose you need the device for. So, if you consider the facts, soldering iron is cheap, light in weight, and easy to handle. With soldering iron, you can manage those small jobs perfectly. And on the other hand, soldering a gun is heavy, costly, and hard to handle.
It’s the reason why electricians prefer soldering iron over soldering gun for small projects. So, if you want to deal with small electrical projects, you can choose soldering iron. Otherwise, you can go with the soldering gun.
Soldering Iron vs. Soldering Gun: Comparison Table
Here’s a brief comparison of soldering iron and soldering gun: –
|Soldering gun||Used for large electrical components.|
It’s meant for soldering elements, which require high heat
|Good power voltage up to 240watt.|
Heats and cools quickly
|Copper tip is not durable
Hard to handle
Not good for handling small components
|Soldering iron||Does not produce too much heat|
Good for light equipment
|Lighter and easy to handle|
More verities are available
Soldering Station vs. Soldering Iron vs. Soldering Gun: Temperature Control
Whenever you’re choosing a soldering gun, soldering station, or a soldering iron, make sure to select the one with temperature control—the intensity of hotness the equipment can reach based on what settings you choose.
You should go for a soldering station if you need a stable high temperature. It’ll ground the tip and will help you in temperature regulation. You can also find variable transformers to regulate the temperature.
In soldering iron and soldering guns, you won’t get much opportunity to regulate the heat and temperature. So, choose a soldering station for temperature regulation.
Things to consider in Soldering Irons and Soldering Guns
- Wattage: The range of wattage decides which jobs you can do with the device. The soldering iron comes with 20-50 wattage. However, if you need something for bigger operations, you can find a soldering gun with more wattage.
- Soldering Tips: Look for replaceable tips in the soldering iron and guns. In the guns, the copper dissolves after time. So, you’ll be needing a new one frequently.
- Temperature Regulation: If you want to solder regularly, you may need a device that offers temperature regulation. Soldering stations and powerful guns can help you with temperature regulation.
- Price: Soldering irons are quite cheap and affordable. However, soldering guns and stations cost 2-3 times the amount of a soldering iron.
- The thickness of tip: Make sure to check for the tip thickness and shape before buying a soldering device.
By now, you would have known it’s majorly the application that makes the soldering iron and soldering gun different. So, make sure to lay your requirements before investing in such a device.
If you need a soldering device for dealing with small components, a soldering iron will do. Otherwise, you can go for high-quality soldering guns or soldering stations.