There has not been much innovation in the soldering iron category recently however that is all about to change with the launch of the Milwaukee M12 Cordless Soldering Gun 2488-20 ($69, bare) and 2488-21 ($129, kit). With this tool you get 18 second heat up time and up to 40 minutes runtime with an M12 Compact Battery which is pretty increasable. We had a brief chance to use this tool at the New Product Symposium, see video below, but it will be hitting the market this month (November).
Until now you had corded or butane options for soldering irons, neither of those options were really ideal for electricians on the job. Milwaukee is really pushing this tool as a combo with the new M18 Heat Guns to repair damages wires. Use the M12 solder gun first, then use the M18 heat gun to apply heat shrink. Many applications where vibration is a concern you simply cannot use a wire nut so this process is required. With these tools readily available and simplifying the job we wonder if we won’t seem many more applications become solder and heat shrink repairs. Certainly would make for much cleaner more durable electrical connections.
Of course soldering circuit boards will be another huge application for this cordless soldering iron but Milwaukee Tool is not really in that business, they’ll take your money, but that is not the main focus here. This unit will compete with most hand held and desktop soldering guns of course, the M12 unit has a max output of 90 Watts which is more powerful than many. It don’t not have temperature settings, it goes 0 to 750° and when it hits that temperature the green light comes on so you know it’s ready to work. When finished the red light stays on to indicate it is still hot until the tip cools to safe to storage temperatures. We have not gotten a look inside the case to see if the tip touches plastic if you put it away too quickly, could be a concern there.