Weller is still the champ when it comes to soldering electronics. They show that once again with their WES51 and WESD51 soldering stations. These rugged workhorses are designed for daily use in an industrial environment; imagine how long they’d last on your workbench.
These are basically the same soldering station, with the same pencil and most of the same features. The only real difference is that the WESD51 has a digital temperature readout, where the WES51 doesn’t. For those that need to know exactly what temperature they’re soldering at, that digital readout is nice to have. It will display both the set temperature and the actual temperature measured at the tip.
If you’re not that fussy, then the analog unit will work just fine. The control circuitry, pencil and stand are exactly the same between the two models. The stand can be attached to either side of the control unit, or left separate. I personally prefer this, as it allows me to have the stand close, while keeping the control box out of my way.
I’d say that these irons are a step down from the Weller WD1002, which has a few features, like presets, that this unit doesn’t have. On the other hand, it’s a large step up from Weller’s consumer irons, like the WLC100. This is a true industrial unit, designed and manufactured for constant daily use.
While there are other soldering iron manufacturers out there, Weller is definitely the big kid on the block. Their extensive line of temperature controlled soldering irons far outreaches anyone else. Their reputation for quality units that last is excellent as well. Looking at the price and features, you wouldn’t go wrong with either one of these units.
- Irons are grounded to provide circuit protection from shock
- Precise temperature control, measured at the tip
- Iron stand can attach to either side or be free-standing
- Comes with: soldering pencil, stand, and sponge
- Like any manufactured device, there’s always the chance of getting a lemon. Weller has had a few with these models
- The pencil doesn’t hold up well under lateral pressure; watch out for that
- Accurate temperature at a reasonable price
- The pencil is very ergonomic, easy to use
- Compared to my old Weller station, I like having the pencil stand separate
If you’re ready to step up from a consumer grade soldering iron, then the Weller WES51 Analog or WESD51 Digital soldering irons are the direction you should be looking. Reasonable price, temperature control and quality all add up to two great units that will add a lot to your workbench.