Frustrated by your soldering? Having trouble making good connections? Chances are your iron is not hot enough or its corroded. The #1 killer of soldering irons and soldering projects is oxidized/corroded tips. If the tip of the iron is oxidized it is useless, and you will only damage your project if you try to use it. Really! Don't even think about it! Much like trying to remove a stripped screw, the more you try the worse it will get. The best thing to do is replace the tip or iron, usually getting a new tip is cheaper
There are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:
As you can see, unplugging the iron or turning it off when not in use. is really important. Part of the reason people pay for better irons is that the heat up faster, so you can turn it off when not in use and flip it on 10 seconds before you want to solder
For the most part, soldering irons are
Pen irons are 'stand alone' tools, they basically have a heating element, a handle and then a plug that goes straight into the wall. They don't have a temperature control (for the most part) and take a few minutes to heat up. These are low cost, but easy to store and use.
If taken care of they can last a long time.