Electronic – Should I use lead free solder


I have been a hobbyist solderer for about 6 years now, and my skills are very proficient. I have always used lead solder because my experience with lead free solder is awful. But I'm going to college in a few months and I just upgraded to a very nice digital soldering gun because I am making and selling aviation cables online. I am hoping to expand my little cable business in college and if I am going to be soldering often I would like to get away from lead solder.

Are there lead free solders that can be used as easily as lead solder, and if so, if there really any health benefit from lead free solder? Are the fumes from solder toxic, and does lead free solder solve that problem?

Best Answer

Use leaded solder if you can. It is easier to work with, requires lower temperatures, and there are less quality issues with the joints. The only reason to use lead-free solder is if it is not allowed in your jurisdiction or you are want to sell soldered goods someplace (like Europe) where this is forbidden for practical purposes.

No, lead in solder doesn't pose more of a health risk to you when soldering. The vapor pressure of lead is so low that there just aren't significant numbers of lead molecules in the air as a result of soldering. The predominant health danger from soldering is inhaling the vaporized flux. This is made more dangerous by lead-free solder since the temperature required for a good joint is higher. Even that is a small issue compared to different types of fluxes. If you are worried about this, use a fume extractor. In any case, avoid breathing the immediate vapors from soldering, whether leaded or lead-free and regardless of the type of flux.