This compact but 50W-powerful stationary soldering iron is a great entry-level soldering station, and we've been using it around Adafruit for soldering with a lot of success. It's not much more expensive than the chunky 'all in one" irons, but comes with a separate power supply and pen. Heats up fast and solders both lead and lead-free solder like a champ!
The powering station is equipped with a temperature control knob lock. After setting the desired temperature, tighten the hex nut on the underside of the knob mount using the supplied hex wrench. Turn the nut clockwise to tighten the knob lock. The heater light blinks on and off when the iron tip reaches the set temperature.
Please note that it comes with a blunt conical tip which is good for bigger through-hole parts. We found its OK for beginner projects but you'll likely want to pick up some alternative tips. You can use any "Hakko style" soldering tips to quickly change from through hole to SMT to drag-soldering and back. We strongly recommend picking up a screw-driver style tip for better THM results, and a fine-point tip for SMT work.
The included metal iron holder provides a safe way to put aside your soldering iron while still hot, and also includes a cleaning sponge with sponge tray. With proper care it will last for many years. Turn it off when not in use and clean the plated tip with a slightly damp sponge (no filing or sanding!)
Plug is 110 US-style and can only be used in 110V countries! Do not attempt to use a plug-converter with this soldering iron to use in 220V countries.