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Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Soldering Iron Tip Cleaners
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For best results, you should make sure that you never leave the soldering tip without a solder. The solder protects the solder tip from oxidation and thus also from loss of productivity. In order to increase the life of your soldering tip, you can choose between many forms and cleaning options.
Why is cleaning so important?
If you take care of the soldering tip care, you can usually work longer with it. The service life can therefore be extended. Oxidation of the soldering tip is also counteracted.
What is so bad about an oxidized soldering tip? You can no longer pick up the solder so well with it and the thermal conductivity drops significantly. This reduces the amount of work you can perform and also the quality of result. This, it is always necessary to keep the iron tip clean.
Important note: Never leave the soldering tip without solder when the soldering iron is in use. Otherwise, the tip will oxidize very quickly. This often happens if you do not put new solder directly onto the soldering tip after the cleaning process during soldering.
Positive effects of cleaning
Cleaning the soldering tip also has other direct advantages when soldering. So it is not only used to prevent oxidation and to increase the service life. You have much better heat transfer after the cleaning process and the solder melts better. Besides, the soldering tip is easier to wet with solder.
Hakko 599B-02 – Best for Dry Cleaning
The shavings are impregnated with a special deactivated white flux based on rosin to improve the efficiency of the cleaning process.
Brass has a lower density than the material soldering iron tip coating, but higher than the oxides on the tool surface. Therefore, to remove the oxide film, it is enough to immerse the soldering iron tip in the shavings.
It has a nice design of the same color as brass. It does not require a lot of space and can be placed on a working surface. The brass wire sits firmly inside and you do not need to worry about falling it out while cleaning the tip.
- Cleaning can be performed with one hand;
- Easy to replace the brass sponge;
- The tip does not lose temperature during cleaning;
- It does not require water for cleaning.
- The housing is not very thick and reliable.
Thermaltronics FBA_TMT-TC-2 – Best for leaving fewer residues after cleaningIt helps not only to clean the tip effectively but also to pre-tin it, for next uses.
To get the maximum effect it is recommended to heat the tip to melt the substance in a small area and then turn around it to cover all the area. Customers do not need to press it heavily for cleaning.
The design of this cleaner is very simple. It is a metal housing that contains the cleaning substance. As the iron tip does not stick, you can perform cleaning with one hand. After each time it is better to close it with a lid and wash hands properly before eating.
- It easily deals with old oxidations;
- Cleans iron tip very fast;
- It has a nice combination of quality and price.
- There should be proper ventilation during cleaning.
Aoyue TY-98 – Best for high quality low abrasive brassA very big advantage over the classic sponge is that the wool is always ready for use. You do not have to moisten it. The sponge also works by wiping off one side of the soldering tip on the sponge. Just like the classic sponge, this soldering tip cleaner is a consumable product. The more solder there is in the wool, the worse the cleaning performance. However, it has a long life expectancy of exploitation.
Spiral wool is located in the metal cylinder, which can also be used as a tray for the soldering iron. If you want to clean the soldering tip, you simply stick the tip into the wool. The wool then soaks up the solder and thus cleans the tip. Besides, solids and deposits are removed from the soldering tip by the wool. The metal sponge consists of 85% bronze and 15% steel.
- Rubber coating that prevents it from slipping on the workbench;
- Brass sponge easy to replace;
- The open upper part allows to perform cleaning from different sides;
- It does not cool the tip.
- It clogs up fast.
Horsebiz Tip Cleaner – Best for Affordability of PriceThe brass wire wore out with time, but with this unit, you will not have difficulties replacing it.
The base is made of reliable materials, which is durable against heat. It has a black color that looks very nice. The bottom part has a rubber to prevent tip cleaners from movies, and it improves stability. Thus, you can perform cleaning with just one hand.
- It has a nice design, which makes it a good gift;
- A nice option for such a price;
- A wonderful tool for beginners.
- The manufacturer’s quality control could be better.
XOOL Tip Cleaner – Best Combination of Quality & PriceIt does not reduce the life expectancy of tips and it does not influence tip temperature. It performs cleaning fine without water.
The ball shape design perfectly enhances the cleaning process. Brass keeps being dense, and it covers iron tips effectively. The whole unit is made of reliable metal, which easily withstands high temperatures. Moreover, you do not need to worry about residues flying outside of the unit during the cleaning process.
- High-quality brass;
- It deals with old oxidations;
- Convenient to use design.
- It may slide over the working surface.
The Buyer’s Guide
With a great variety of tip cleaners, it is not that easy to find the one you actually need. Still it is important to find a suitable cleaner as you cannot start working while it is dirty. With a time, oxidations appear on iron tips what reduces the conduction and heat you receive for soldering. Here you will learn about types of cleaners and their strong and weak sides.
Types of Cleaners
When caring for the soldering tip, many come up with quite creative ideas. With more or less success, you can do a lot of wrong things when cleaning and quickly damage the tip. Here are the two most common types of cleaners are simple and gentle.
Cleaning Brass Wool
For this somewhat more expensive type of cleaning, you need brass wool with an appropriate container. The application is very simple. All you have to do is dip the soldering tip into the brass wool and then turn it. When turning, the unwanted solder is simply removed and remains in the container in which the wool is located. Since the soldering tip is not heated in this process, there is no cooling effect. Besides, this method is particularly recommended for soldering without lead.
- Advantages: good for lead-free soldering and no cooling effect
- Disadvantage: relatively expensive
This type of cleaning only incurs low costs, as you only need lime-free water and a cellulose sponge. When buying, make sure that the sponge is free of sulfur. With this method of cleaning, the cooling effect is present because you have to heat the soldering tip. The sponge is now moistened. Be careful not to take too much water, as there is a risk of oxidation.
- Advantages: very cheap
- Disadvantage: The soldering tip cools down very briefly.
Another way to effectively clean iron tips is to use chemicals. It is a bit complex method, as you need to know the materials used for tips. Quite often, such substances have ammonium chloride. It is a very effective composition that easily deals with oxidations.
In order to use it for cleaning, iron tips have to be heated up. Then, you just put it into the substance. The cleaning process is very fast. It easily deals with the heaviest contaminations on tips. However, a bit of steam appears during this process and proper ventilation is required. In the end, you simply wipe the tip with a cloth or sponge. It is important to make them wet before.
Among other chemical materials, cleaning is ammonia phosphate. It is very similar to the previous one. It is also good for fast cleaning of oxidations. However, corrosive acid vapors appear, which users should not breathe.
The flux-off is also a fast and reliable option to clean iron tips. It is sold as an aerosol and easily removes the dense decomposition products of consumables. It is necessary not to use flux-off against plastic materials.
- Advantage: fast cleaning;
- Disadvantage: requires proper ventilation.
During the process of soldering, the tool’s tip is very often contaminated with flux and residue. Special sponges and bars are the best cleaners for soldering iron tips.
These special cleaners are made of natural materials (usually cellulose), which most effectively remove the residue of “solder’s waste” from the tip. Basically, they are expensive analogs of ordinary copper stings, which have a multilayer structure, but they also require careful care – it is forbidden to sharpen them and clean only with sponges.
Why are special soldering iron tip cleaners better than standard sponges?
Cleaning with such accessories does not require water – a special cleaner does not reduce the working temperature of the tool. It is used to remove the solder from the tip’s surface and to remove the working surface from oxidation products, which prolongs the durability of the instrument.
The best material for these cleaners is high-quality brass and extra-strong stainless steel. A cleaner resembles the ball of spiral-shaped brass fine chips. Brass has a lower density than the solder’s tip coating material but is higher than the oxidation products on the tool surface. It is sufficient to immerse the soldering iron’s tip in the chips to remove the oxidation. The chips are placed in a separate container or special compartment under the soldering iron stand.
Such cleaners are used for removing solder from the tip’s surface and cleaning the working surfaces from oxidation products, which prolongs the life of the tool.
Such cleaners are made of non-corrosive material and do not require the use of water – as a result, do not reduce the tip’s temperature of the instrument and does not require additional time the tool’s reheating.
One of the main advantages of any professional cleaner is a slight decrease in stinger temperature during the soldering process.
Personal advice: always store the cleaner for soldering iron tip in an upright position.
Make your tool cleaner: check top 5 best soldering iron tip cleaners
After a few tests and reviews, I’ve picked several models that can cope with cleaning the instrument’s tip. Look at my choice of top 5 cleaners for your working stations and tools for soldering:
- Hakko is a metal-based cleaner that requires no water;
- Thermaltronics is a lead-free cleaner that can remove oxidation and leaves minimal residues;
- Aoyue uses low abrasive brass and no water to clean any soldering iron’s tip;
- Horsebiz is very safe and affordable. Also, it requires no water for cleaning;
- XOOL is my personal favorite cleaner due to high quality;
Video Tutorial: How to clean Soldering Tip
To Sum Up
In order to select appropriate and fast cleaners, you should know the specifications of your iron tip. Depending on them, you will be able to define what materials are compatible for cleaning. The next important point is the quality you expect and the price. Finding a good balance leads to higher satisfaction after purchase.
Do you find this review useful? I hope that you will apply these cleaners because they can really effectively and gently remove any dirt from the instrument’s tip. Share your methods of cleaning soldering irons’ tips. Thanks for reading SolderingIronGuide!