Soldering Iron Tips

Soldering iron tips transfer heat from a soldering iron into solder so that it melts and can flow into the joint between two components or workpieces. They’re also sometimes referred to as ‘bits’.

To protect your soldering iron tips, you should tin your tip before and after soldering to create a protective layer between the air and the soldering iron tip. Tinning prevents oxidisation and allows for a more efficient heat transfer.

Optimal operating temperature

Putting your soldering tips through excessive temperatures will shorten their lifespan. The temperature of the tip will decrease as the soldering iron is used more. There is the temptation to increase the idle temperature to compensate for this temperature drop – but don’t as this will shorten the life of the soldering iron tip. If you aren’t actively using your soldering iron think about turning it off or setting it to a low ‘idle’ temperature to maximise tip life.

How do you clean a soldering iron?

To keep your tip in perfect condition you should aim to clean before, during and after use. Before you solder, ensure that you have cleaned the surfaces which are to be soldered with an alcohol wipe.

To clean your tips, use either brass wool (less abrasive) or stainless steel wool (more abrasive). Try to avoid using a sponge as doing so rapidly cycles the tip through a hot and cold cycle. Doing this repeatedly will cause metal fatigue and tip failure. Once you have cleaned the tip ensure that you cover the tip with fresh solder so as to present oxidisation.

Using flux

When metals come into contact with oxygen an oxide layer is formed on the surface of the metal. This oxidisation prevents solder from wetting the joint correctly and impacts the quality of the solder joint. Flux dissolves this oxidisation layer.

Reactivating your soldering iron tips

If a soldering iron tip becomes oxidised it will appear darker in colour and you may not be able to tin it. If your tip is oxidised you can use a tip activator to remove the oxidisation as it will break down the oxide layer. Once cleaned and refreshed tin the tip again to protect it from oxidisation.

Soldering iron tip shapes

Most soldering irons have interchangeable tips that have slightly different shapes to allow for different tasks or precision levels. For example, conical tips are used for fine electronics work. Other common tip shapes include:

  • bevel (aka hoof)
  • chisel
  • concave
  • pyramid
  • bent

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Description Price Model Number Tip Shape For Use With Tip Size Tip Series Tip Angle Priced to Clear Soldering Accessory Type
New
RS Stock No. 202-4529
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 4 mm AT 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4511
BrandRS PRO
£12.16
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Station (7998941) 2.4 mm DS 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4532
BrandRS PRO
£2.43
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Knife RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 2 mm AT 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4548
BrandRS PRO
£3.04
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Irons 1.2 mm ST - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4520
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 1 mm AT 60° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4516
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 1.6 mm AT - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4544
BrandRS PRO
£3.04
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Irons 6.5 mm ST 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4554
BrandRS PRO
£4.05
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Irons 3 mm ST 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4500
BrandRS PRO
£5.07
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Station (7998941) 4.6 mm DS 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4522
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Conical RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 0.2 mm AT - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4528
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 3 mm AT 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4510
BrandRS PRO
£24.32
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Knife RS PRO Soldering Station (7998941) 2 mm DS 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4547
BrandRS PRO
£3.04
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Irons 2.4 mm ST - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4518
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Hoof RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 0.8 mm AT 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4527
BrandRS PRO
£2.03
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Conical RS PRO Soldering Irons & Stations 0.2 mm AT - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4509
BrandRS PRO
£12.16
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Station (7998941) 3.2 mm DS 45° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4546
BrandRS PRO
£3.04
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Irons 1.6 mm ST - -
New
RS Stock No. 204-9688
BrandRS PRO
£3.04
Each
Units
- Chisel RS PRO Digital Soldering Irons 3.2 mm - 50 → 55° - -
New
RS Stock No. 202-4508
BrandRS PRO
£12.16
Each
Units
RS PRO Straight Chisel RS PRO Soldering Station (7998941) 1.6 mm DS - -
New
RS Stock No. 204-9687
BrandRS PRO
£4.05
Each
Units
- Straight Hoof RS PRO Digital Soldering Irons 5 mm - 50 → 55° - -