It’s not about brands … I would take a Hakko FX-888(D) over a Weller WTCPT any day. It’s about marketing and price points.
The T12 is probably the best iron under $100 and it’s probably debatable if it’s the best under $200 as well. But the reality is that Hakko would not manufacture a product (the T12) that sells for a much lower price and with the same level of features and quality as a more expensive model (the '888). Companies don’t self-cannibalize.
I’m looking for the next level up from amateur. Something in the range of $200 to $500. Probably an entry level or mid-level professional tool. The Pace ADS200 is a great deal and has good reviews by reputable people. However, timing for the ADS200 is poor as it got hit with the Trump Tariffs in mid-December increasing in price by $50USD.
I agree that the Weller WT1013 is a poor investment considering it’s price and the fact that it uses conductivity to heat the tip.
I’m seriously considering the Quick 3205 for two reasons: It’s an inductive heating system which means the tips are cheap as they are passive metal components, yet it doesn’t rely on conductivity to transfer heat, and second, the company, Quick, has been in business for a long time manufacturing assembly line soldering systems. I’m still puzzled by the lack of serious reviews of their soldering stations hence why I’m not pulling the trigger yet.
So, I’m not willing, because of personal reasons, as small as it is, to pay the Trump tax. So I’m going to hold off on buying the ADS200 at this time. I’m also not willing to spend $300 on the Quick soldering iron with no reviews, regardless of the manufacturer reputation.
Since I need a soldering iron … I’m just going to buy a T12 as it’s the cheapest iron with a reasonably good reputation, and that should give me some time for the Trump tax to be reverted or the Quick 3205 to get more reviews.
Thanks all for your feedback!