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The Best Solders for Circuit Boards: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted:10:31 AM April 27, 2023 writer: ​NextPCB

The solder serves as the essential component that binds multiple elements in an electronic assembly. The primary function of solder is to join components on printed circuit boards (PCBs). It is often mistaken for a wire, but in reality, it is a metal tube shaped like a wire that melts to connect disparate elements. Though seemingly simple, there is often confusion about the ideal solder type to choose. Options include lead-based or lead-free solder, as well as various price points. In this article, we will explore the best solder for circuits and some of the top solder choices for electronic projects.

What is Solder for Circuit Board?

Solder is a metal alloy used to create a strong, conductive bond between electronic components and the circuit board. In the context of printed circuit boards (PCBs), soldering is the process of melting the solder alloy and applying it to form a connection between the component leads or pins and the copper traces or pads on the board. Once the solder cools and solidifies, it establishes an electrical connection and mechanically secures the components in place.

There are different forms of solder available for various applications:

Solder wire: A thin wire made of solder alloy. Typically used with a soldering iron for manual soldering of components onto PCBs.

Solder paste: It is a mixture of tiny solder particles and flux, used in surface mount technology (SMT). Solder paste is applied to the board using a stencil or dispenser, then the components are placed. Then the assembly is heated in a reflow oven to melt the solder and create the necessary connections.

Types of Best Solders for Circuit

1.1 Tin-Lead Solder (SnPb)

Once the industry standard, tin-lead solder is a reliable and cost-effective option. This alloy boasts a low melting point, making it easy to work with. However, due to environmental concerns, its use has diminished in favor of lead-free alternatives.

1.2 Lead-Free Solder

As the name suggests, lead-free solder eliminates the use of lead, reducing the environmental impact. Common lead-free alloys include tin-silver-copper (SnAgCu), tin-copper (SnCu), and tin-bismuth (SnBi). These alternatives typically have higher melting points and may require adjustments to your soldering process.

Section 2: Exploring Solder Forms and Their Applications

2.1 Solder Wire

Solder wire is a versatile and user-friendly option ideal for manual soldering tasks. Commonly used with a soldering iron, it's perfect for through-hole component soldering and touch-up work on surface-mount components.

2.2 Solder Paste

Primarily used in surface-mount technology, solder paste is a blend of fine solder particles and flux. Applied using a stencil or dispenser, solder paste allows for the precise placement of components before being heated in a reflow oven to establish secure connections.

2.3 Solder Bars

Designed for use in wave soldering machines, solder bars are melted in a solder pot, creating a "wave" of molten solder that flows over the underside of the PCB, soldering through-hole components in place.

8 Best Solders for Circuit Board

Soldering is an essential skill for any electronics enthusiast. Choosing the right solder makes all the difference. It can be daunting, but we're here to help. We've done the research and compiled a list of the top eight best solders for circuit boards.

Solder Brand 1: Kester 44 Rosin Core Solder

Kester 44 Rosin Core Solder

A frontrunner in the soldering world, Kester 44 Rosin Core Solder, is a force to be reckoned with. Its 63/37 composition ensures a low melting point and a solid, sturdy bond. Perfect for both hobbyists and professionals, this solder delivers consistency and reliability.


Low melting point

Strong, durable bond

Suitable for various applications


Higher cost than alternatives

Solder Brand 2: Alpha Fry AT-31604

Alpha Fry AT-31604 shines in versatility. Its 60/40 tin-to-lead ratio makes it perfect for electronic work. This solder's rosin core prevents the need for additional flux. You can count on Alpha Fry for a clean, quality connection.


No extra flux needed

Works well on various surfaces



Not ideal for lead-free applications

Solder Brand 3: MG Chemicals 63/37 No Clean Solder

The MG Chemicals 63/37 No Clean Solder is a dream come true for neat freaks. With its no-clean formulation, you'll never need to clean the residue again. It provides a strong bond and works wonders on a variety of applications.


No residue clean up

Strong bond

Versatile usage


Slightly more expensive than others

Solder Brand 4: WYCTIN 60/40 Solder Wire

WYCTIN 60/40 Solder Wire offers a unique blend of affordability and performance. Its 60/40 composition guarantees a low melting point and smooth soldering experience. Excellent for DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists alike.


Low melting point


Suitable for hobbyists


Not as strong as other options

Solder Brand 5: SRA Soldering Products Rosin Core Solder

SRA Soldering Products Rosin Core Solder shines in its lead-free composition. A safe, eco-friendly choice for those concerned about lead exposure. It offers a solid bond and is ideal for sensitive electronic components.




Suitable for sensitive components


Higher melting point

Solder Brand 6: Cardas Soldering Wire

Cardas Soldering Wire is a premium choice for audio enthusiasts. It boasts a high-purity composition, ensuring the best signal transfer. It's perfect for audio equipment and other high-end applications.


High purity

Ideal for audio equipment

Premium performance



Solder Brand 7: Harris Stay-Brite Silver Solder

Harris Stay-Brite Silver Solder offers the benefits of silver soldering without the drawbacks. Its low melting point makes it a breeze to work with. It's perfect for high-temperature applications and delivers a strong, reliable bond.


Low melting point

Strong bond

High-temperature application


Higher cost

Solder Brand 8: Worthington 60/40 Solder Wire

Worthington 60/40 Solder Wire delivers a balance of value and quality. Its rosin core ensures a smooth soldering experience. A reliable option for DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike.


Rosin core


Versatile usage


Not suitable for lead-free applications

Difference Between Lead and Lead-Free Solder

Soldering is an essential technique in the world of electronics. A key decision in the soldering process is the choice of solder material. The debate between lead-based and lead-free solder is ongoing, with each offering its own set of advantages and drawbacks. In this article, we will compare these two types of solder in a concise table format, making it easier for you to understand the differences and choose the right option for your needs.

Attribute Lead Solder Lead-Free Solder
Composition Tin-Lead alloy (usually 60/40 or 63/37) Tin-Silver-Copper alloy (commonly SAC)
Melting Point Lower (around 361°F or 183°C) Higher (around 423°F or 217°C)
Wetting Properties Excellent Slightly Inferior
Strength Strong but can suffer from tin whiskers Stronger and less prone to tin whiskers
Health Impact Contains toxic lead; not RoHS compliant Lead-free; RoHS compliant
Cost Generally cheaper Slightly more expensive
Applications Traditional electronic assemblies Modern electronics and environmentally conscious projects
Attribute Lead Solder Lead-Free Solder
Composition Tin-Lead alloy (usually 60/40 or 63/37) Tin-Silver-Copper alloy (commonly SAC)
Melting Point Lower (around 361°F or 183°C) Higher (around 423°F or 217°C)

Tips for Consider While Soldering Circuit Board

The art of connecting components with a strong, conductive bond is vital for ensuring your projects are reliable and long-lasting. Let’s look at the collection of essential tips to consider while soldering circuit boards.

Choose the Right Tools

Using appropriate tools is the backbone of successful soldering. Equip yourself with a soldering iron of suitable wattage, a soldering stand, a sponge for cleaning the iron's tip, a high-quality solder wire, and a pair of wire strippers or cutters. Investing in good-quality tools can make a world of difference in your soldering experience.

Maintain a Clean Workspace

A cluttered workspace can lead to accidents and errors. Keep your work area clean, tidy, and well-lit to ensure a comfortable and efficient soldering experience. Organize your tools, components, and circuit boards systematically to avoid misplacing or damaging them.

Prepare Your Components

Before soldering, prep your components by bending the leads at a 90-degree angle to fit the circuit board holes. This allows for a stable connection while you work on soldering the joint.

Ensure Proper Temperature

Selecting the correct temperature is critical for effective soldering. Too low, and the solder may not flow properly; too high, and you risk damaging the components. Aim for a temperature between 350°C and 375°C (662°F to 707°F) to achieve optimal results.

Clean the Soldering Iron Tip

A clean tip ensures efficient heat transfer and better soldering results. Wipe the soldering iron tip on a damp sponge frequently to remove oxidation and excess solder.

Inspect Your Work

Examine your solder joints for quality and consistency. A good solder joint should appear shiny and have a smooth, volcano-like shape. If you encounter a dull, grainy, or poorly-formed joint, reheat and apply more solder to improve the connection.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Solder

Here are the critical factors to consider when choosing solder for your next project.

Composition: Alloy Matters

The solder's alloy composition plays a significant role in its performance. The most common solder types are lead-based and lead-free. While lead-based solder has long been the standard, growing environmental concerns have led to a shift towards lead-free alternatives. Both options have their pros and cons, so it's essential to assess your project's requirements and regulations.

Melting Point: A Delicate Balance

A solder's melting point is the temperature at which it becomes liquid. This factor is crucial as it directly impacts the soldering process. High melting points can cause damage to sensitive electronic components, while low melting points may result in weak solder joints. Striking the right balance is vital for a successful outcome.

Flux Type: Cleaning the Way

Flux is a chemical agent that cleans and prepares surfaces for soldering, ensuring a reliable bond. There are three primary flux types: rosin, water-soluble, and no-clean. Each has its advantages and drawbacks, so select the one that best aligns with your project's needs and your personal preferences.

Diameter: Size Does Matter

The solder's diameter is another crucial aspect to consider. It determines the amount of solder applied to each joint and affects the overall soldering process. Thin solder is ideal for small and delicate components, while thicker solder works better for larger connections. Choose the appropriate diameter based on the scale of your project.

Safety Precautions When Working with Solder

In a world where tech advancements are on the rise, soldering has become an indispensable skill. But with great power comes great responsibility. To ensure you're not endangering yourself or others, it's crucial to follow safety precautions while working with solder. Let's dive into the key safety measures every solderer should know.

Gear Up

Suit up with safety goggles to shield your eyes from rogue solder bits, and wear a respiratory mask to prevent inhaling toxic fumes. Gloves provide a barrier against burns, while closed-toe shoes prevent injuries from falling tools.


Fumes from soldering can be harmful. Make sure your workspace has proper ventilation, such as a fume extractor or exhaust fan, to whisk away those noxious gases.

Clamp It Down

A secure workpiece prevents accidents. Use a soldering stand or vice to hold your project steady, keeping your hands free to maneuver the soldering iron and solder.

Precaution while using Iron

A soldering iron is a hot, potentially dangerous tool. Always place it on a heat-resistant stand when not in use, and never touch the tip directly. Treat it with caution, as you would a loaded gun.

Unplug and Cool Down

When you've finished soldering, turn off and unplug your iron. Allow it to cool down completely before handling or storing it. This simple step can prevent burns and fires.

Educate Yourself

Before diving into a soldering project, understand the materials and equipment you'll be using. Familiarize yourself with their potential hazards, and learn how to mitigate them.


Soldering may seem daunting at first, but with practice and persistence, you'll soon master the technique. As you explore this world of intricate connections, you'll find that soldering is not just a technical skill but a gateway to limitless innovation and creativity in electronics. So, grab your soldering iron, gather your components, and let's embark on this electrifying adventure together.
Ready to take your electronics project to the next level? Choose NextPCB for high-quality, reliable PCB manufacturing and assembly. Get started now and elevate your creations with NextPCB's expert services. Visit today!

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