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I solder for a living and this “deal”/discussion got my attention.
After some research I found the real problem with the kit to be that it pairs a modest priced soldering Iron with over-the-top expensive extras. I’ll start with the Larson diagonal cutters: These are apparently amazing cutters but appear to cost $50-$60, which is completely ridiculous for a learn-to-solder kit; I have used a $10 pair of Xuron shears at work for tens of thousands of solder joints and they are holding up just fine; in a hobbyist setting, a $10 pair will last for years. The solder sucker is a similar story; the Edyson sucker is supposed to be the best on the market but sells for about $20. Solder suckers are difficult to use well and in some cases just can’t be used for the joint you want to de-solder, I personally wouldn't pay more than $10 for one.
To break it down: The soldering iron sells for about $56 elsewhere, seems pricey for a single temp iron to me but it is supposedly good quality so ok. The snips/shears: replace the ridiculous Larsons with a good pair of Xuron 410 shears for $10. The solder sucker sells for about $20, too much but I'll leave this one. The solder is a tiny sample size worth no more than $5. Throw in an extra $5-$10 to get a decent pair of tweezers.
Add this up, replacing the overly expensive Larson shears with Xuron shears, and it is less than $100 to buy equivalent bits; less if you go with a generic solder sucker.
What should you get if you are serious about soldering? Get either a Weller WES51 ($94) or a Hakko FX888D ($91), a pair of Xuron 410 clippers ($10), a $5-$10 solder sucker, a roll of Desoldering braid ($2), a pound of Kester 44 solder in .02” or .031” thickness ($30). This will cost you less than $150 with all free/prime shipping.
For anyone who plans to do even a moderate amount of desoldering (e.g. wants to remove all the switches from a keyboard), I highly recommend sticking to the Soldapullt instead of a generic $5–10 solder sucker. It makes a very dramatic difference.
I agree. That plus a desoldering wick will get the job done nice and neat every time.
As someone with a cheap generic solder sucker, I wish I had started with something nice like this.
Overall, I wish I had started with a nice kit like this. All the old-timers on here talking about how they started with a $20 iron have forgotten that not everyone learns the same way. Starting off with nice, but simple, tools gives a much better experience than just going with the cheapest option.