Basic Soldering Tools for Beginners


You’ll need a few basic tools to complete your first project, however you should not buy all the tools available in an electronics store. The most essential tools you will need for a simple DIY electronic project are a soldering iron and some soldering wire – most of the electronics kits do not come with solder. You will also need some wire-cutters, wire-strippers and a pair of small pliers.


Soldering iron – An 18Watt or 25Watt soldering iron should work for you basic electronics projects. Some soldering irons come with a temperature controller device and those are bit expensive. If you are a beginner, just go with a cheap one.

Soldering fume absorber: The soldering fumes are highly toxic, therefore, you will need a smoke absorber/fan that absorbs the smoke particles.

Solder – Solder comes in different thicknesses, 22SWG is thinner than 18SWG and is better for small joints. New legislation (RoHS) prevents the use of lead based solder in most commercially built electronic equipment, but you can still use it for home project construction. However this does mean some suppliers no longer stock leaded solder, but a small tube of lead-free solder should be fine.  Click here for more details on the RoHS directive.

Wire Cutters – Also called ‘side cutters’ these are used for cutting component leads close to the circuit board after soldering.

Wire Strippers – These are used to strip the insulation off wires you connect to your circuit.

Pliers – Used for bending wires on components to fit into circuit board. These MUST be small – not the ones you use for plumbing! The range of pliers available is vast – I suggest the ‘Miniature Long Nose Pliers’ or similar.

Optional Extras

Screwdrivers – Needed for some kits, not for others. A small straight type and Medium cross – point type are most useful. You might well already have some suitable ones, so check what you need before buying

Soldering iron stand – Stops you burning yourself, the lead or the table when the iron is not in use! Also has a sponge to clean the iron.

Desoldering tool – Useful when you need to remove a solder joint for whatever reason. They work by sucking the molten solder into the pump, away from the joint.

Wooden board – If you don’t have a workbench, use an old piece of shelving or similar to protect your table. If you don’t have a board, buy a piece of chipboard or conti – board.

Test equipment – The only item of test equipment that’s worth considering for a beginner is a multimeter. A basic kit shouldn’t require you to have one, although if it doesn’t work one can be useful to find out what’s wrong. If you do get one, choose a reasonable model so you don’t ‘outgrow’ it too soon!  Basic multimeters are available for under $10.

Basic soldering tutorial from Sparkfun

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