I've been making guitar pedals for the last few months and have completed four projects succesfully with three circuits to debug. I've been using a 60 watt cheap soldering iron with a tiny tip but my guess is that one of my problems has been far too much solder leaking accross the stripboard gutters because the soldering iron was too hot and delivered heat too fast.
Advice on line seems varied and sometimes contradictory but there were a few votes for a lower wattage soldering iron and this model had a lot of good reviews for the price.
My soldering improved immediately. Stripboard is pretty unforgiving for clumsy hands and while I still run a knife allong the gutters, by eye there seems to be no overspill.
I didn't think that the chisel tip was ideal as a defult but gave it a go and actually it's good because the flat delivers heat to the strip and the tip heats up the component leg quickly and safely (I'm expecting to find some blown components in my debugging pile because of excessive heat from my old iron). In the count of two the solder flows into the heated intersection neatly.
I haven't tried the model without the silicone cable but the soldering iron is very light and I wouldn't want any excessive pull on it from behind so I can see why this has been highlighted as a feature.
This was the same price on Amazon as it was on the Amtex website but there were additional charges there for shipping if you want to save money.
I bought this as an upgrade - i was using an old 30w iron and wanted something more up to date. With all the positive feedback i opted for this Antex XS25 which came straight from Antex (I bought the matching stand too). I am impressed with the feel of the iron - its very comfortable to use. I agree with other reviewers - the silicone cable is a must! Its soo much easier to work with. I will need to order more tips as the one it comes with is a angled flat tip which isnt ideal for detailed soldering. The tips just pull off (well i slowly twist it off gently) there is no thread. This also means if you do stick to the fitted tip you can turn it to face the way you want (with the iron off and cold obviously!). I was a bit disappointed to see the tips are around £5 each so what you think is a cheap iron can soon become premium if you need different tips fitting. Overall i am extremely pleased with this and would recommend it.
I can't even remember when I got my previous Antex XS25 soldering iron - I think it must have been some time around 1987. I stood on it some time in the 90's which cracked the body, but I taped it up and it continued to work fine. Even up until recently I was still on the original bit, with no signs of wear. I decided it was time to treat myself to a new one, and with many choices around - too many - thought I'd pay up and get another Antex. This new iron seems to heat up and solders ok. However, it's missing the hook that the previous iron had, which allowed it to be hung from anything convenient nearby while in use (i.e. empty tea mug). I was interested to try the silicone cable given positive reviews elsewhere but I actually found it's too floppy: with the old style cable you could kink it into place, and it would stay there - handy for keeping the iron where you need it. I just found the silicone cable annoyingly floppy. In all it does the job of soldering very well - just didn't quite meet my (high) expectations.
I like the product because it did the immediate job intended of repairing some dry circuit board joints. I can't love a soldering iron for 5 stars. Used a smaller tip tho having purchased 3 different tip pack. May have been able to do it with standard tip but best be on the safe side as heat needs to be applied quiet accurately. You may need less heat for some applications and more for larger joints so make sure you pick the right wattage. Recommeded for diy's. IMPORTANT - strongly recommed the silicone cable over the PVC. May cost a couple of quid extra but you have much better control over the tip as your not hounded by a cable that wants to go somewhere else. Also make sure you use the cradle when resting and don't touch the spring wire it rests in as it gets hot!
The difference between the silicone cable cover and the normal PU cover is incredible. The cable is so flexible which means this soldering iron is so easy to manipulate it is unreal. No need to fight against a rigid cable that won't let me angle the iron the way I want. Such a good quality iron also, works perfectly even on the most delicate jobs. I bought this for PCB/motherboard soldering, it is accurate and superb.
Gets up to temperature surprisingly fast, easy fits on solder joints and the increased power helps when soldering (less time needed to solder, solder melts more easily etc). The silicon cable is a must if children are using it, really helps protect against accidental cable melting if knocked or just by accident.
A tried and trusted product unchanged by the march of time except for the introduction of a silicon rubber flex. I remember using these 30 years ago in the field and still the same. Well worth the money.
Bought to replace a Maplin solder station. So much better! Gets to temperature quickly and very efficient tool. Well worth paying a little extra and getting this. Go for the XS25/S with burn-proof silicone cable - the cable is more flexible and the iron therefor easier to place - and of course, it's burn proof! Excellent build quality and looks like it will last forever! Highly Recommended.
Excellent iron, bought to replace my cheap one. I was advised to buy it by somebody who know all about soldering. I have used it a lot now and am still pleased. It does a very good job on thick wire considering it's only 25W. Silicone cord worth the extra for safety and, especially, being tangle free.