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best soldering practice kits - soldering projects that hone your skills

Best Soldering Practice Kits: 12 Soldering Projects to Hone Your Skills

Soldering is a practical skill that you can use to repair electronics, create art, or prototype your own circuit boards and devices. Whether you want to learn to solder or you’ve been soldering for years, soldering practice kits are an excellent way to sharpen your skills!

Below, we’ve outlined some of our favorite soldering project kits. These electronic soldering kits not only hone your skills, but also leave you with a fun or practical gadget when you’re finished!

Before You Start: Soldering Tools and Best Practices

At the most basic level, all you need to start soldering is a soldering iron, solder, and flux. We also highly recommend a fume extractor, which absorbs the toxic smoke the solder gives off. At the very least, solder responsibly by wearing a mask and working in a well-ventilated area. 

For best results, opt for a soldering station, which typically offers temperature control and a higher wattage. However, you may be able to find a portable temperature controlled soldering iron. Just make sure you have a soldering stand to place your portable soldering iron while it’s not in use! 

If you plan to do a lot of surface-mount soldering, consider using a hot air rework station—or get a soldering iron station with a hot air gun, so you have options for both. If you have limited range of motion, you might also want to consider third hand tools or a soldering gun with built-in solder wire feeder, which makes it possible to solder one-handed. 

When it comes to selecting solder, lead solder can be easier to work with since it melts at a lower temperature, but lead-free solder has fewer health hazards. Solder flux is also a must, because it removes and prevents oxidation and improves the wettability of the solder. Without it, you run the risk of creating poor soldering joints. 

It’s always good to have a solder wick (desoldering braid) or desoldering pump (solder sucker) on hand so you can fix any mistakes. A tool like a desoldering gun or desoldering iron can both melt and suction solder away.

12 Best Soldering Practice Kits

1. DIY Retro Game Console


Difficulty: Beginner

Up first is one of our favorite beginner soldering kits, the DIY retro game console! The project involves through-hole soldering a handful of components, including pushbuttons, a capacitor, and an integrated circuit. The completed project leaves you with a handheld gaming device with retro games like snake, tetris, race cars, and space invaders (the device will even store your high scores!). 

2. DIY Bluetooth Speaker with Flashing LEDs

DIY bluetooth speaker soldering practice kit


Difficulty: Advanced

The DIY bluetooth speaker is one of those rare soldering practice kits that doesn’t look like a project at all. Instead, the final product looks like a bluetooth speaker you’d buy at the store, except better because this one comes with LED lights that flash and dance to the music!

This project is great for practicing surface-mount or SMD soldering. The surface-mount LEDs take a lot of patience, but are well-worth the effort!

3. DIY Ultrasonic Distance Sensor

ultrasonic distance sensor soldering project


Difficulty: Intermediate

The DIY ultrasonic distance sensor is both a ranging alarm and measuring tool. Once all the pieces are soldered together (around 35 components in total) and the kit is assembled, the gadget will be able to “sense” objects in front of it and then measure and display the object’s distance in centimeters. 

Users can program the device to set off an alarm buzzer when objects reach or breach a certain distance away from the sensor. The device can measure from 5 cm to 400 cm away and relies on AAA batteries or USB charging cable to operate. 

4. DIY Acoustic Levitation Kit 


Difficulty: Beginner

This soldering practice kit also involves ultrasonic components, except in this case the power of acoustics are being used to levitate objects! The palm-sized device can suspend objects, such as a drop of water or small styrofoam ball (included in the kit), for 24 hours or as long as it’s hooked up to power. 

This project involves surface-mount soldering (SMD). While it’s still possible to complete with a soldering iron, consider using a hot air rework station, which is more suited to SMD soldering. 

5. DIY Signal Generator


Difficulty: Intermediate

Most function generators cost well over $100, if not thousands! While not quite up to spec with your typical function generator, the DIY signal generator still provides both soldering practice and a cost-effective, useful tool at the end of the project. The assembly and soldering is fairly straightforward, but pay extra attention to the capacitors, which have polar leads.

Please note: The function generator does require a separate oscilloscope to operate once complete. But don’t worry! That’s where soldering practice kit #3 comes in…

6. DIY Oscilloscope


Difficulty: Intermediate

That’s right! You can practice soldering and get a new oscilloscope! This soldering project comes with a  2.4-inch color TFT display and test leads, so when you’re finished you can use the 12-bit 200KHz oscilloscope in tandem with the previously mentioned DIY signal generator.

This project requires soldering well over 50 components and offers the most soldering practice of all the kits we’ve mentioned so far. 

7. Elenco Resistance Substitution Box / Elenco Capacitance Substitution Box


Difficulty: Beginner

Elenco provides a variety of electronics starter kits that teach basic electrical and mechanical knowledge in a fun and engaging way (Elenco is also the creator of Snap Circuits!). Elenco’s unique resistance and capacitance substitution boxes are part of their learn electronics kits, offering fantastic soldering practice while also providing a practical and educational tool in the process.

The Elenco resistance substitution box requires soldering 24 or so standard value resistors. Once complete, users can hook up the substitution box to a breadboard, dial and adjust to the desired resistance, and effectively use the device as a resistor substitute. 

The Elenco capacitance substitution box acts the same way, but for capacitors. Users solder around 24 standard capacitors from 100pF to 0.1μF, assemble the rest of the kit, and can then use the box as a substitute capacitor.

8. OSEPP Spinning Wheel Kit


Difficulty: Beginner

This nifty soldering kit for electronics is the perfect entry-level project for beginner solderers. Users solder LEDs and a few other components to a circular PCB, and once complete, the lights flicker in various patterns depending on the option you choose. The kit, which was designed specifically as a soldering practice kit, includes instructions on how to solder and desolder. We've also got a blog that walks through how to solder OSEPP's LED spinning wheel. 



9. OSEPP DIY Hourglass Solder Kit


Difficulty: Beginner

DIY LED hourglass is another popular learn to solder kit from OSEPP. This project requires you to solder about twice as many LEDs as the spinning wheel kit, except this time the LEDs are soldered in the shape of an hourglass. 

Once completed, you will be able to use the project as a timer, and when you tip the hourglass, the LEDs will flash on and off in such a way as to look like sand falling through an hourglass. 

Bonus: For a sneak peak, check out our blog where we show step-by-step how to complete the OSEPP LED Hourglass

10. DIY LED Canton Tower


Difficulty: Advanced

This one-of-a-kind electronics kit offers a unique approach to soldering. Instead of soldering LEDs to a PCB, users solder the LEDs together so as to create a model LED Tower in the shape of the famous Canton tower. The project will test your engineering and coordination skills, perhaps challenging your soldering skills in a new, creative way. 

The project requires a significant amount of patience, but the stunning LED display at the end is well worth all the soldering to get there!

11. Elenco AM/FM Radio Kit


Difficulty: Intermediate

Elenco’s FM radio kit is one of the great original soldering practice kits. The massive through-hole soldering project comes with detailed instructions and a 56-page training course divided into 9 lessons that teach you about FM and AM radio. You’ll walk away with enhanced soldering skills and a new perspective on radio and the components that go into creating one. 

12. DIY FM Radio Kit


Difficulty: Intermediate

If you’re looking for a more modern looking DIY radio kit, we’ve got you covered. While compact in size, this solder kit project packs a lot of practice into one project, requiring users to solder over 50 components. The completed project includes flashing LEDs and a modern LCD display.

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