Cold Heat Cordless Soldering Tool

Reviewed by: Thomas V. Kappel, December 2004
Manufactured by: COLDHEAT
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $19.95 (dealers may sell for less)

(Ed. Note: You may have seen a direct response commercial—otherwise known as an infomercial—for the Cold Heat Soldering Tool. If so, you've seen some of the hype which precedes this little device. Reviewer Tom Kappel wanted to take a crack at the Cold Heat Soldering Tool in real rather than controlled and scripted circumstances. Because we're constantly soldering small computer parts, soldering lengths of wire to extend connections, removing old solder from fan contacts and so on, we thought you'd like to hear our take on the product.)

The Cold Heat Cordless Soldering Tool is a battery operated soldering iron with patented, interchangeable split-tips. It's powered by four AA batteries. The device heats to 800 degrees instantly, cools to the touch remarkably fast and weighs about 10 ounces. Available tips include conical, beveled and chisel shapes, all of which are made with a proprietary, patented material called Athalite. The unit has a work light which illuminates the area to be soldered and an indicator light to tell you the tip is heating or hot. Cold Heat recommends the use of 18AWG to 20AWG acid or rosin core solder.

The uses claimed by the manufacturer include small household appliance repairs, computer building and modifications, model trains, garage door openers, car stereos, speaker wires, broken lamps, door bell ringers and building models from kits. This soldering tool does work—as long as the tool and the guidelines for its use are understood. The most important thing to note is that it's a tool intended only for hobby or light professional use with small or medium sized components.


In my tests on a computer motherboard I found that small resistors and components could be individually removed quite easily with the Cold Heat tool. However, the use of solder wick to remove small IC chips or components did not work. The wick appeared to be too much of a heat sink for the Cold Heat tool. Slightly larger components also could not be removed. I tinned some small speaker wires, but found that soldering and splicing wires is questionable depending on the size of the wire. A PC board from Radio Shack— the type used in building electronic kits—and a couple of quarter watt resistors were also used in some of my testing. The resistors soldered to the board contacts quickly and with good conductivity.

The marketing materials, TV ads and the infomercials all emphasize that the working tip cools instantly. Some of the advertising shows people touching the tip immediately after a soldering operation. In reality it does cool quickly, but not exactly instantly. If you've had the iron hot for a couple of minutes while soldering wires or trying to desolder a medium or large sized component, don't touch the tip immediately. It will still be very hot depending on how long you've been powering the unit. Power and heat are power and heat even though the tip does cool incredibly fast compared to traditional soldering guns or irons.

Cons: Those of us who have soldered for years using either the big, powerful Weller Soldering Station or similar temperature controlled irons know that power is the big thing. It takes power to generate enough heat to melt solder, especially when connecting or desoldering large components and when using solder wick. So it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the four AA batteries powering the Cold Heat tool can only supply a comparatively limited amount of energy (however hot the tip gets). Consequently, the Cold Heat tool is good only for small tasks such as those suggested by the manufacturer.

Pros: It works. Although the usage list is somewhat limited, it gets the job done. The Cold Heat tool is also portable and wireless, will fit into your tool box and carry easily, and it certainly cools quickly, all of which are definite pluses especially for quick, small, emergency repairs. Besides the tasks listed above, the Cold Heat tool can be used on remote controlled (RC) cars, to repair or make jewelry, on fishing gear, car stereo wiring and repair, repairs to amplifiers, radios, computers, audio cables and building Christmas ornaments.



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