In order for a soldering iron to work properly, it needs to be heated to a very high temperature. Not waiting long enough for your soldering iron to reach the necessary temperature will cause it to function, poorly. For this reason, it is important to know how long it will take for a soldering iron to heat up.
It takes approximately 30 to 90 seconds for a soldering iron to heat up. Since there are many variations of soldering irons, the wattage will determine how long it takes for each different iron to warm up. The higher the wattage is, the quicker the iron heats up and stays heated.
While you may feel like you have your quick and easy answer, there are a lot of things to know about soldering irons and their different temperatures and wattages. In this article, you will learn how long it takes for soldering irons to heat, different wattages of soldering irons, and other important information you need to know about soldering irons.
How Long for Soldering Iron to Heat Up
If your soldering iron is not heated up for as long as it needs, then it will not work the way you want it to work—it needs to be very hot to actually be able to fuse the solder properly.
Different soldering irons have different maximum temperatures and wattages, which will determine how quickly your soldering iron will heat up.
For most soldering irons, you will only have to wait up to 90 seconds before you can start working on your next project.
Wattages in Soldering Irons and How it Affects Heating Time
When you are searching for a soldering iron, wattage is one of the most important features to consider.
If your soldering iron has a higher number of watts, then it heats up faster. The higher wattage is also going keep your soldering iron hot for a longer amount of time because it has the ability to reserve power.
Here are the average wattages in common soldering irons:
- 20 to 40 Watts- For the most basic tasks, projects, and small electronics, this is the most common wattage. You could also likely make do with a little less wattage for small projects.
- 40-60 Watts- Soldering irons with a higher wattage range are best. They can regulate their heating power more easily, and they take, on average, only 30 seconds to heat up.
The reason higher wattages are the best, even for smaller projects, is because they are able to reserve more power for a longer amount of time and your soldering iron will not start to cool down suddenly while you are in the middle of working.
Understanding the wattage in your soldering iron is the key to knowing how long it will take for your soldering iron to heat up.
How Long Does It Take for a Soldering Iron to Cool Down?
Once you are completely finished with your soldering iron for the day, you will need to let the iron cool down completely so that you can store it in its proper place in order to prevent fires or damage to other tools.
For mostly all soldering irons, it only takes about 3 minutes for it to cool down to the point where things will not catch on fire if they come into contact with the tip of the soldering iron.
It is recommended, though, that you wait a full 30 minutes minimum before putting it away in a closed area, especially next to other tools or anything flammable.
If you do not have the time to wait around for your soldering iron to cool down completely, then you can purchase a stand that will keep the soldering iron’s hot tip safely away from tools and surfaces.
You should also keep in mind that it is not safe to try and cool your soldering irons down a quicker way, such as using a fan or dipping the tip into cold water. Not only is this unsafe, it’s also very bad for the soldering iron itself. Just be patient and get a stand so that you know you are being completely safe with your soldering iron.
How Do I Know If My Soldering Iron Is Hot Enough?
Since we know that having your soldering iron at the appropriate temperature is critical for it to work properly, you will want to know exactly when it is hot enough for you to use.
This is a very simple task and can be accomplished in a couple of different ways.
- Test the soldering iron before using it on your project. One way to test your soldering iron is to wipe the tip, very quickly in one swipe, with a wet towel or wet sponge. If you hear a hissing sound, then your soldering iron should be ready to use.
Another way to test it is to use some scrap pieces, that are not a part of your project, to see if the soldering iron is hot enough to melt the solder. It should take between 1 and 2 seconds for
the solder to melt. If it takes longer than that, then it is not hot enough.
- Check the digital display, if you have it, on your soldering iron. You can purchase soldering irons with temperature controls or LED indicators that will light up when the appropriate temperature is reached. If you have a soldering iron like this, it will tell you when it is hot enough.
These quick and easy tests will ensure that your soldering iron is ready to do some work.
Why Isn’t My Soldering Iron Getting Hot Enough?
Unfortunately, sometimes soldering irons can wear out or become damaged.
Here are some of the main reasons why your soldering iron is not getting hot enough:
- Electrical connections could be loose. Over time, electrical connections within the soldering iron can become loose. You should carefully take your soldering iron apart to check each connection. Then, put it back together and test it out.
- Your tip is damaged. Once you have used your soldering iron for a while, the tip will start to get dirty. If not regularly cleaned, oxides will begin to build up on the surface of the tip. The only thing you need to do to fix this is to use a wet sponge and clean the tip thoroughly while it is cold. If this does not do the trick, you may just need to buy a new tip.
- Your soldering iron has been used too much, and it could be time for a new one. Sometimes it is essential that we say good-bye to our gadgets. If you have tried all of the tests above to no avail, then you should buy a new soldering iron. Be sure not to buy one that is too cheap because you absolutely get what you pay for with a soldering iron.
Hopefully, however, the soldering iron can simply be fixed and you can avoid purchasing a new one..
Thankfully, it only takes 30 to 90 seconds for your soldering iron to heat up. Keep in mind that the more wattage your soldering iron has, the faster it will warm up and longer it will stay heated.
For the most part, they are not very complex machines, but you should always remember to handle your soldering iron safely and cool it down properly.
Once you learn the ins and outs of your specific soldering iron, like the heating time, you can work it like a pro!