My favorite brand of solder

My favorite brand of solder has always been whatever I have on hand, or whatever my hand lands on in the store. Now that I have a nifty new solder/desolder/hot-air station, I want to use “the right kind” of solder.

What what solder should I use for

  1. Fine PCB work
  2. Joining wire leads (power, etc), at 14-22 ga (I presume I’ll use nasty rosin-core leaded and a big iron for heavier gauges of wire).

I already have some leaded and un-leaded solder pastes, but feel free to suggest your favorites there too.

Help me start off on the right foot here, please.

Thanks in advance!

I love my Sparkfun Special Blend


I’ll need to give this a try as I find that normal lead free solder is awful to work with.

Is all leaded solder “rosin core”? That seems to be all I see on Amazon. I did order some ‘special blend’ - thanks @ John Smith

I’ve only ever purchased one spool. I guess it was a bad idea to for them to sell so much of it at once.

You are aware of “acid core” solder? (For the plumbers among us)

I’ve never tried that “special blend”. Sounds interesting.

My advice is unless you plan to assemble boards for sale in Europe then stick with leaded solder. Lead-free is a recipe for frustration. For normal occasional use the health risks are practically non-existent.

I primarily use Kester “44” rosin core (0.80mm). And I keep a dropper bottle of Kester 951 no-clean flux in near proximity. I’ve never wanted for more.

It generally is. Further, unless you have some actual need to be RoHS, there’s no benefit to lead-free, I’ve been told. I’ve never used SparkFun’s special blend, though.

Fine. 0.7mm is my go-to at the moment, and I much prefer it to my .8 or 1.0mm. It also happens to be a 60/40 SnPb rosin core. It is not a brand name, but if I wasn’t a cheapa$$ I would go to Newark/Element14 and search for a fine rosin core Pb solder in a recognised brand and buy.

@ Brett - Skip the 60/40 stuff and go for the Sn63/Pb37 stuff. It’s easier to work with.

Like Ian said, you can never go wrong with too much rosin, so you might be interested in rosin core:

I have been using this with a real cheap solder station and do not miss the lead

@ Brett - Skip the 60/40 stuff and go for the Sn63/Pb37 stuff. It’s easier to work with.[/quote]

That stuff works very well, too. We bought several (~20) rolls of that a couple years ago when Sparkfun had it on clearance for about $1/roll. That’s what we use in our soldering workshops at Maker Faire.