A soldering fume extractor, also known as an extractor fan, or soldering fume hood, is a system designed to clean the air of harmful chemicals and particulates that are produced while soldering. The best soldering fume extractor will be one that’s quiet, compact, and will include replacement filters (Source).
Soldering smoke is a very hazardous fume that is generated from the process of heating flux, a required component of soldering, beyond its boiling point. Most of the particles released are half a micron or smaller, and therefore require a filtering system capable of filtering down to that size (Source).
Fume extractors used to be large and expensive pieces of equipment, but modern innovation has yielded a new class of air-filtering devices. These devices consume far less power and take up almost no space. They are also much easier to implement, as they are desktop devices, and therefore require no installation procedure.
A soldering fume extractor is an essential piece of equipment for anyone that solders on a regular basis. Before you go out and buy your new soldering fume extractor, consider the size, noise level, effectiveness, and dependability. It’s also important to consider cost, and the particle size it is capable of filtering.
In this write-up, we will take a detailed look at all the top soldering fume extractors. All of the soldering fume extractors in this article will keep the air clean while you are soldering, whether you are a professional circuit board repair expert or a casual electronics hobbyist.
What Are Solder Fume Extractors?
Solder fume extractors act as a significant aide for sucking the fumes rising while doing soldering work. Upon soldering metals, toxic fumes rise in the air. These fumes can lead to health hazards.
These fumes rise due to the achieved vapor state of the flux, which is a chemical agent needed for preventing oxidation during a soldering application. The hazardous metallic smoke that comes out needs to be correctly taken care of before inhaling it.
For dealing with the issue, it can be taken care of with the help of a solder fume extractor. The smoke absorber consists of a powerful fan that sucks the soldering fumes present in the airstream and filters it through its ventilation system.
For ensuring safety, the hazardous particles have to be within a secure size range for keeping the person using the soldering equipment safe. With the extracting unit, the proper size is achievable for the overall safety of the person.
How Much Does a Solder Fume Extractor Cost?
A decent solder fume extractor can cost you anywhere between $25 to $800. A high-quality unit will offer a better range at sucking the fumes from the air without the need to place the device close to the soldering operation.
Comparing The Best Solder Fume Extractors
|KOTTO Solder Smoker Absorber Remover Fume Extractor||Works efficiently in different environments|
Can be used while sit or standing
Lightweight and easy to carry
Durable, sturdy build
|Xytronic 426DLX Fume Extractor||Fully made of metal|
Cord is long enough to use comfortably
Operates in a very stable manner
Efficiently disposes any inconvenient odors
|Kulannder Handy Carry Solder Smoker Absorber||Made of aluminum – sturdy but easy to carry|
Filter replacement system is very straightforward
Manages to absorb smoke easily
|Aoyue AO486 486 Benchtop Solder Smoke Absorber||Doesn’t make much noise|
Prevents electric discharges
Includes a stand to support the device
|Soldering Smoke / Fume Extractor Absorber by Zhongdi||Albeit loud, it is extremely powerful|
Filters can be replaced and it comes with a few included
1. KOTTO Solder Smoker Absorber Remover Fume Extractor – Best Overall
You have to keep it close to your work station in order to properly extract all the smoke. But apart from that, the product seems to be an electronics assembler’s best friend.
We know that one common problem with these devices is that they tend to take up a lot of room. This isn’t the case with KOTTO’s solder fume extractor. Its small size allows workers to keep it close to themselves without occupying too much space.
Furthermore, the device is very effective and its filter might get clogged up quickly. Although these filters aren’t that expensive, the package still includes a couple of additional filters that can be quickly swapped with one another.
Keep in mind that this device tends to work better if you keep it laying down on its face. Some workers might prefer having their extractor standing, but this one does a way better job when laying down.
This position creates a better way for the fan to suction the fumes, which in turn greatly improves its effectiveness.
- Works quietly when compared to other similar devices
- Interchangeable filters are included with your purchase
- Smaller than other smoke extractors
- Can be placed standing or laying down
- Extremely effective when placed close to your work station
- Doesn’t work as well if the device is a bit too far from the fumes
- Performs better when laying down
2. Xytronic 426DLX Fume Extractor – Best Budget Solder Fume Extractor
In any case, it would be better if you kept it close to the smoke as it’ll work better that way. This extractor also includes three different carbon filters, which can be changed easily as the owner pleases.
Its build is also one of its strongest selling points. Therefore, it can withstand a few falls and minor damage – clumsy solders might want to check this one out!
Some extractors tend to be very light and move easily, but this one manages to stay in one place thanks to its weight. The cord of this extractor is also very long – you can plug it meters away from your work station without having to worry about the cable’s length.
- Very sturdy build
- Effective and powerful extractor
- Has a long cord. Powering the device isn’t really an issue
- Offers good value for money
- Takes care of odor generated by soldering
- Small but effective extractor
- The device is a bit too noisy
- Although the extractor is powerful, it can’t be too far away from the fumes if you want it to properly suction them
3. Kulannder Handy Carry Solder Smoker Absorber – Best Solder Fume Extractor for Large Rooms
The Kulannder Solder Smoke Absorber is also made from a very solid aluminum alloy. The build is incredibly sturdy, and as compact, as it is, the filters are still very easy to replace. In fact, if you purchase your own charcoal filter material you can easily make your own filters for this device.
There’s only one issue that owners might not like about this product – otherwise, we would place it higher up this list. The wires are not directly connected – they use a wire nut. Wire twists connections aren’t as practical as straight wires, which could prove to be a bit inconvenient for some owners.
Regardless, Kulannder’s product is a very solid solder smoke absorber which does exactly what you need these devices to do: absorb any annoying fumes which could be hazardous for your health.
- Powerful and effective device
- Doesn’t make too much noise
- Ideal for large rooms thanks to its power
- Can be placed a foot away from the work station without negatively impacting its performance
- Built sturdily with aluminum alloy
- The filter included in the package is a bit too thin
- Wire connection might be inconvenient
4. Aoyue AO486 486 Benchtop Solder Smoke Absorber – Best Quiet Solder Fume Extractor
As a bonus, this extractor isn’t only effective with fumes. It does a good job when absorbing particles that might be in the air after crafting or sculpting.
This device also includes a stand that easily links up with the extractor to improve its effectiveness. Furthermore, it also includes one additional carbon filter, but these can be bought separately as well in case you need a couple more of them.
Ideally, you should keep this absorber as close to the work station as you can. This device doesn’t work very well at a distance. If you want it to be as effective as it definitely can be, make sure to keep it close to the fumes.
If you plan to keep the device in a single place, this might be the unit that you’re looking for. It has a stiff power cord. This means that the cable itself is pretty resistant, but it also feels very stiff when you try to move it.
- Has one additional filter included in the package
- Includes a stand, which can be easily linked with the absorber
- Keeps the work area free from flux and coat
- Greatly improves apartment ventilation
- Good air flow
- Has to be kept close to the fumes for it to work correctly
- The stiff cord might be an issue for some owners
- The smell it produces isn’t at all pleasing
5. Soldering Smoke / Fume Extractor Absorber by Zhongdi – Most Powerful Solder Fume Extractor
The extractor is pretty loud, but that’s just a little side effect of its engine’s power. It’s not as small as you might think, but it isn’t too large either. In fact, the fume extractor comes in a pretty standard size. It should fit right in your work station without causing any inconvenience.
It can effectively remove smoke and its odor without any issues. As an additional bonus, this soldering smoke extractor isn’t as expensive as others, which makes it another great budget option for you to consider!
- The device is very powerful and does wonders extracting smoke from congested areas
- Has a standard size – not too big or too small
- Its design is very user-friendly. It’s made to be used while standing
- Includes a couple of filters which are easily interchangeable with one another
- Makes a bit too much noise when in use
- Some solders might feel like the absorber could be bigger
- You might need sound-cancelling headphones when you turn on this device
How Do Solder Fume Extractors Work?
Most soldering fume extractors are box-like devices that can be plugged into a power outlet to make them work. As for its operation, an extractor uses a fan, programmed with a negative draft or pressure, to suck the smoke and other particles through it.
These particles are then passed through the filtration unit present in the solder fume extractor. While in the filtering section, it eliminates the hazardous particles present in the air.
The air that passes out through the filter is much cleaner to breathe. With usage, the dust that is trapped by the filter settles in a tray. Some of the particles stick to the filter as well.
With time, the filter becomes dirty, which is why it requires cleaning or changing — using a smoke absorber that has a dirty filter for too long, maybe hazardous.
So, it is essential that you keep replacing the filters from time to time to avoid health risks.
Is It OK To Inhale Solder Fumes?
Absolutely, not. Inhaling solder fumes, which comprise of toxic residues, such as Rosin or Colophony and flux, can create problems for you.
If you are not using a solder fume extractor to take care of the solder fumes present in the air during soldering applications, then you might face the following medical issues:
- Asthma – Respiratory problems are the primary disorders that can affect a person who is exposed to these toxic fumes for prolonged periods. They might notice frequent chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing while using the machine and inhaling the smoke.
- Allergies – The elements released from the smoke are too dangerous for the body, as they can even lead to hypersensitive allergies. Ignoring these allergic symptoms may cause them to affect the person throughout their lives.
- Irritation – Coming in contact with the flux resin directly or indirectly, can even cause irritation on the skin and other organs. People may face severe skin diseases due to these fumes if they stay in contact with them for too long.
- Severe illnesses – Ignoring these fumes can also cause the body to develop severe medical disorders, such as chronic bronchitis, which is painful and uncomfortable to have.
For avoiding such hazards, a solder fume extractor must be implemented to filter the lead solder fumes.
Before Purchasing a Solder Fume Extractor
Solder fume extractors are very complicated devices that offer an array of different features. It helps to remove harmful chemicals and fumes when working on electronics.
If you are an electronic guy, you should buy the best thermal wire stripper as it allows for easy removal of the tougher wire insulator in a precise and fast manner.
Before making any purchase, you should consider the size of your work station and the size of the room where you’ll place the device.
Once that’s settled, move on to the following list of features:
Fume Extractor Size
One thing to note with these devices is that their size isn’t really correlated to their actual power. Some smaller devices can have very strong engines, while larger devices might fall short in performance.
Size is usually important depending on how much room you have in your work station. If you have a lot of room left, you could consider purchasing a larger fume extractor, while owners with less spare space in their work station should opt to get a smaller absorber.
A good solder absorber is the one that can capture a lot of toxic atmospheric particles. The effectiveness of a solder fume extractor is determined mainly by two things; the quality of its filters and its absorbing power.
Both of these features determine how good the device is overall, so they’re arguably the first ones you need to take a look at.
As a customer, you always need to concern yourself with the performance no matter what product is in question. When it comes to solder fume extractors, pay particular attention to absorbing power, blowers, and cleaning filters.
They all have a strong influence on the performance of a fume extractor. Additionally, some outside factors also play an important role in performance. For example, a breeze passing through the window can increase the extractor’s airflow.
As far as flexibility is concerned, a solder fume extractor is supposed to capture fume particles in any soldering or welding situation. Whether you’re dealing with electronics, arts, and crafts, or any other activity that involves soldering iron, your extractor should keep the fumes away from your lungs.
That’s why you should opt for a flexible smoke absorber that easily adapts to any kind of welder. Not only will this protect your lungs but it will also improve efficiency in your budgeting over time.
The power of a solder fume extractor determines how effective it is, as well as the distance you need to place it for it to function correctly.
Just keep in mind what we’ve just told you: the size doesn’t really influence the device’s absorbing strength. Don’t judge a book by its cover!
Another aspect of utmost importance to consider when you’re purchasing a solder smoke absorber is how good the filters are. Most of them come with regular carbon or charcoal filters, which are often interchangeable. They are equipped with a fan that removes the contaminate by forcing the air through the filter.
If you plan on using your new fume extractor often, you might want to consider buying some additional filter fabric. Therefore, you can then cut pieces by yourself and create your own filters!
Solder fume extractors might get really noisy. This is often correlated to how much power they have, but lower quality products could still have a very loud sound and little-to-none absorbing power. The best devices offer the best of both sides.
Overall Build & Durability
Make sure that building materials are sturdy and high-quality. That determines whether the solder fume extractor is capable of standing the test of time or not. Most of these products are made of very solid heavy-duty materials.
You need them to be as strong as they can as this usually translates into a longer product lifespan. A sturdy build can keep a product in good condition after months of usage.
Look for a stainless steel fume extractor with welded seams to prevent leaks. Keep in mind that leakage is the enemy of clean air.
The Use of a Stand
Some fume extractors come with their own stand. This allows you to direct it better, which massively improves its effectiveness. If the absorber that you want doesn’t include a stand, check its other features; it might still offer good ways to direct its power without needing additional support.
Solder Fume Extractor FAQ’s
What Needs to Be Extracted from Solders?
The solder may contain different levels of metals such as zinc, antimony, arsenic, and cadmium. It should be noted that metals used for solder construction don’t vaporize at all during the soldering process. What should be extracted are actually the toxic fumes in flux smoke, which are generated by an organic activator.
What is The Flux?
It is a cleaning chemical agent used together with the solder to eliminate any oxidation from the metals associated with soldering. That process can drastically improve the airflow and efficacy in the metals merging.
Why and Where is Fume Extraction Important?
Solder gases and fumes are blamed for health issues in people working in industrial workplaces. An extraction system can ensure the safety of operators that involves soldering iron. Fume extraction plays an important role in protecting the health of employees in such an environment.
Soldering ventilation is very important for the medical, pharmaceutical, and electronics industries in particular. Fume extraction is also useful for workplaces that include labs, clean rooms, beauty salons, jewelry, art, and craft.
What Kind of Health Problems are Associated with Flux Fumes?
Keep in mind that extended exposure to flux fumes increases your health risks. Solder flux fumes can affect your respiratory system if you breathe them for prolonged periods of time.
The most common health problems caused by flux fumes include headache, sore throat, as well as respiratory tract, and eye irritations. Asthma and allergies are also associated with flux fumes.
Ready To Buy The Best Solder Fume Extractor?
Finding the perfect balance between absorbing power, noise, filter quality, and build quality should be your main task when you first consider purchasing a solder fume extractor.
Most of these smoke absorbers play a key role in an electronic assembler’s job because they aid the worker’s health by keeping the environment free of smoke and lead solder fumes.
We’ve given you some of the best smoke extractors that you can find in the market, but not every single one of them might work for you. Our list will help you get a better idea of what you need, though!
Are you looking for something that will be able to keep electric tools and accessories well organized? Consider buying the right electrician tool pouch as it will make accessible wherever you go. And, if you need to check electrical connections, see this guide.
If you are using a solder fume extractor, you should buy the right desoldering pumps as it helps to remove solder from a circuit board for the purposes of troubleshooting, repair, replacement, and salvage.
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