Toolmongers who find themselves tackling electrical work on a regular basis are probably familiar with the six-dollar Radio Shack soldering iron, a plug-in hot stick without even an on/off switch. If you’re ambitious enough to tackle a large project like an entire automotive wiring harness, or just use your iron frequently, those get frustrating fast.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Weller’s WES51D digitally-controlled soldering station. The user can set the temperature (which is displayed on a bright three-digit display) with a simple dial, and the unit automatically maintains that target. As an added bonus, the iron stand has a slick little grooved sponge which makes tip cleaning a dawdle, and this feature is available on Weller’s full range of irons. There are four different models covering a wide price range, and all deliver even heat and top-notch construction. As usual, Amazon has excellent prices on these fine tools at around $118 for the kit.