Everyone knows to use a soldering iron to make electrical connections, but what to do when they go wrong and you want to start over? That’s when you need a desoldering pump — a small, spring-loaded pump that, when released, quickly vacuums up solder that you’ve softened with your iron. (Of course, we always called ’em “solder suckers.”)
They usually look like big syringes, except the plunger is “cocked” into a ready position before use. When you’re ready to desolder, just position the nozzle over the molten solder and hit the button; the plunger shoots up, creating a vacuum that sucks the solder into an aluminum tube where it can cool down out of the way of your project. Later you can empty the waste solder by unscrewing the nozzle and shaking out the contents.
The best part, though, is that they’re super cheap — around $4 a pop. Of course, if you do a lot of desoldering, you might consider picking up a “desoldering iron” which combines both the soldering iron and desoldering pump (pre-mounted into the perfect operating position) for convenience.