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Soldering isn’t just about the iron itself. You’ll need wire, strippers, tweezers, a stand, different tips—it’s a whole thing. But soldering is easier than you’d think, and there’s nothing more rewarding than crafting an electrical connection all by yourself.

With a handsome carrying case, you can keep all your gear organized. Anbes

Before we really get into these soldering kits, first things first: safety. Yes, it’s boring, but soldering is all about melting literal metal, so make sure you work in a well-ventilated room, hold wires only with clamps or tweezers (never with your fingers) and make sure to prop the solder in a stand when not in active use.

This compact kit is easy to transport and has a temperature readout on the front. Hakko

One key to soldering irons is making sure they can maintain their temperature. Lesser soldering irons will drop their temperature after use, meaning you have to wait for it to heat back up before you can melt anything.

This unit actually allows you to set how hot it gets—a unique feature for a budget-friendly model. Plusivo

Soldering kits are vital for makers or others tinkering in electronics. That’s more common now than ever before, thanks to inexpensive, accessible products like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. But gamers may also need one to pop out components on their PC rigs. They make a great gift for this sort of hobbyist.

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