This USB-powered soldering iron is amazing

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TS101 USB-powered soldering iron

The TS101 USB-powered soldering iron is a superb bit of kit.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

For soldering jobs where I’ve not had access to wall power, I’ve previously turned to a gas-powered soldering iron. While it gets the job done, it’s big and bulky and noisy, sometimes spits out flames, and needs regular topping up with gas.

The other day I upgraded to a new USB-powered soldering iron, and this one is amazing and is everything I’ve ever wanted from a soldering iron.

Also: How to solder: Tools, tips, and tricks to get you started

The TS101 USB-C-powered soldering iron is a portable, professional soldering iron that comes in a kit with everything you need — the soldering iron, a USB-C power supply, a heat-resistant silicone cable, and even some solder. 

TS101 tech specs:

  • DC and PD dual power input with DC 9-24V (up to 65W) and USB-C PD power input up to 45W
  • 128 x 32 pixel OLED screen
  • 50-400°C/122-752°F adjustable temperature range
  • Accurate temperature adjustment
  • Fast heating
  • Auto sleep, auto screen off
  • Kit includes:
    – TS101 Controller
    – Soldering BC2 Tip
    – Anti-slip Cap
    – USB-C Silicone Cable
    – USB power supply
    – Bracket
    – Tube Solder Wire
    – User Manual
TS101 soldering iron kit

The TS101 soldering iron kit.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The TS101 needs a tiny bit of assembly when you get it — you need to insert the heating element into the handle and tighten the retaining screw.

Tightening the screw at the end of the iron's base

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

A handy feature of the TS101 is the dual-power option, so you can use DC input or USB-C, which gives it extra versatility.

Two power inputs in the handle

DC and USB-C power inputs.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The TS101 is offered with three different tip options: B2 (conical), BC2 (45° angled tip), and I (pointed). I find that the BC2 tip is the best for general soldering tasks as it’s fine enough for general work and yet can carry enough heat into the joints to properly melt the solder.

BC2 soldering tip

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The soldering iron has two buttons — one for setting and one to adjust the temperature. The OLED display does a great job of clearly showing the temperatures, as well as allowing you to scroll through the myriad of settings.

OLED display saying 229 degrees C in a serif font

The OLED display on the TS101 soldering iron is nice and clear.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

On power-up, the OLED display reminds you what the two buttons do.

The OLED display showing icons of a soldering iron and a wrench

The OLED display gives you a reminder of what the buttons do.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The TS101 is small and light, and really comfortable to hold in the hand, even for extended periods. 

The iron held by thumb and forefinger, resting against middle finger

A comfortable hand position.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Another nice feature is that even after being on for an extended period of time, the handle remains comfortably cool to the touch. Here the tip is at 350°C/660°F, but the handle is 11°C/52°F.

The iron, purple, with light yellow near the tip, and crosshairs showing the purple represents 11.8 degrees C

The tip of the TS101 is at 350°C/660°F, but the handle is 11°C/52°F.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The TS101 USB-C-powered soldering iron is a super bit of kit. It’s reliable, heats up fast and accurately to the set temperature, and is comfortable to use. 

Also: This $11 gadget is a must-have for aging eyes

And the option to use both USB or DC power gives me far more flexibility than a wall-powered or gas-powered soldering iron can offer. With a power bank that can output more than 45W — such as this excellent Baseus 100W power bank — I can take a soldering station with me anywhere I go.

This is an excellent addition to any repair toolkit!

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