Shop for quality hot-air rework stations with features including mechanical arms, suction pens and wands, and built-in soldering irons.
With everything from compact rework centers to deluxe CPU-controlled, ESD-safe SMD hot-air rework stations with sixteen nozzles, you're bound to find the right desoldering and rework station. We also offer combination soldering and hot air stations.
A hot air rework station is a type of soldering equipment that uses tightly controlled hot air to desolder or rework components on a printed circuit board (PCB). A rework station’s heat gun typically offers temperature ranges of 100°C to 480°C (212°F to 896°F) and multiple types of hot air nozzles.
Hot air rework stations can both remove the solder and resolder components together. By contrast, desoldering stations can only desolder components but cannot resolder or rework PCBs.
You might hear hot air rework stations referred to as a hot air soldering station, rework station, SMD rework station, reflow station, or hot air station.
Like hot air stations, desoldering stations allow you to melt and remove solder from circuit boards. Desoldering stations are typically smaller and less expensive than hot-air soldering stations.
However, desoldering stations are not able to resolder or rework projects, whereas hot air stations can do both—making your rework station a desoldering and soldering station in one!
Hot air stations use specialized heat guns that provide controlled, hot air to melt and rework soldered components. The hot air wand is attached to a station that offers real-time temperature readings and often other features.
Standalone hot air wands or heat guns can likewise blow hot air to melt and remove solder from PCBs. While less expensive than rework stations, heat guns don’t often offer closed-loop temperature control, air volume control, and interchangeable nozzles like a rework station would provide.
Overall, rework stations offer more control and functionality than a heated gun. Additionally, hot air wands that are not explicitly made for desoldering components can overheat and damage the boards you’re reworking.
Most hot air stations range between $100 and $300. At just under $100, the CSI8786D digital hot air rework station is a steal—especially when you consider that the station also includes a soldering iron! The station gets bonus points for its compact size and easy-to-read interface.
Our budget rework station pick, the CSI8786D, is fantastic for portability. However, if you’re looking for a compact portable rework station with a few more features, then we recommend the CSI8509 Mini Hot Air Rework Station. The mini rework station includes 3 programmable temperature and setting presets and a digital temperature correction function to better control and monitor the temperature.
Honorable Mention: For ultimate portability, check out the SMD Hot Air Gun with Digital Temperature Control.
The 4-in-1 compact rework station, the CSI948D-2, has everything you’d ever need in a soldering station, let alone a hot air rework station. The station not only includes a hot air gun, but also a desoldering gun, soldering iron, and suction pen for picking up small SMT components.
Now that you know what a hot air soldering station is, how do you choose the best one for your needs? While browsing for a new hot air rework station, keep in mind the following key characteristics to get the best bang for your buck:
SMD rework stations tend to be larger and heavier than other types of soldering equipment. If you plan on keeping your station in one spot, then this won’t be too much of a problem. However, if you plan on traveling with your rework station, consider getting a station between 3 and 11 pounds. The tabletop Hot Air Rework Station, CSI8509 is also a great solution.
Whether LED or LCD, a digital display with current temperature readings is a must for Hot Air Rework stations. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the components you’re reworking.
Temperature control is another essential feature of SMD rework stations. The more precise and controlled your temperature, the better your rework. Consider how responsive the controls are as well, including automatic shut-off capabilities or auto-temperature adjustments.
For example, our popular PCB Pre-heater and Hot Air Rework Station uses a microprocessor-controlled closed loop PID circuit that cycles every 20 milliseconds to detect the actual temperature at the heating element, so the system can rapidly correct the output temperature and maintain a stable and consistent working output.
If you’re going to invest in a hot air rework station (which is inherently more expensive than desoldering stations or standalone heat guns), that means you might need to work with delicate components. For example, the CSI948D-2 rework station comes with a suction pen so that you can handle delicate SMT components. Finally, it might be worth spending a little extra to get a station that includes a soldering iron or other soldering accessories.