About ColdHeat Soldering Tool
Powered by four AA batteries, ColdHeat is a cordless soldering tool that remains cool to the touch until metal is applied to its replaceable, beveled Ceramic-Tip. Once this occurs, it promises to quickly heat up to 800° and cool down again when you’re done, making it “incredibly safe.”
Because it’s battery powered, the manufacturer claims ColdHeat is 20X more efficient than conventional plug-in soldering tools, allowing you to do over 700 joints from one battery pack. This, combined with its ergonomic design, rubberized grip, red LED heat indicator, and built-in work light, means that ColdHeat is great for repairing electronics, mending jewelry, creating arts and crafts, and more.
Or so the company would like you to believe. In other words, you’re here because you want to know if ColdHeat will deliver on its promises, or if it’s just a waste of time and money. Here’s what we uncovered during our research.
What Is Soldering? What Is it Used For?
Like welding, soldering is simply the process of joining metals together. Although welding is intended to create ultra-strong bonds by melting metals, soldering is typically used to create a good electrical (versus mechanical) connection on things like circuit boards and wires.
However, soldering can also be used to create watertight seals on pipes, repair jewelry, create stained glass, and as joints on food cans, roof flashing, rain gutters, and more.
To solder a joint, a small portion of metal wire—usually composed of a mixture of tin and lead, although it can also include copper, zinc, silver, cadmium, or bismuth—is exposed to direct heat from the tip of a soldering tool. This quickly melts the metal, which can be applied wherever needed. The metal then quickly cools down to form a semi-permanent bond.
The basic premise behind soldering has been around for millennia. Considering this, is ColdHeat a unique product, or does it have some stiff competition?
Is ColdHeat Soldering Tool a Unique Product?
Type “cordless soldering iron” or “cordless soldering tool” into Google, and you’ll quickly learn that ColdHeat is not a standalone product. In fact, as long as you’re not concerned about price (more about this next), you have dozens of options, from amateur level to full-on professional, with all kinds of different accessories.
Granted, none of these are designed quite like ColdHeat, so it’s not like we’re comparing apples to apples here.
What about ColdHeat’s beveled Ceramic-Tip? Ceramic heating elements are almost as common as soldering irons themselves, so there doesn’t appear to be anything especially unique in this aspect, either (keep this in mind, because we’ll come back around to it shortly).
Finally, according to this soldering tool buyer’s guide, interchangeable tips and wattage and temperature control are options that many users prefer, which aren’t available with ColdHeat.
How Much Does ColdHeat Cost?
Despite these considerations, one area that ColdHeat really shines is in regards to price. At $19.95 plus $4.99 S&H, ColdHeat comes in as much as 5X less than some of the competition.
At checkout, you can upgrade your order to the Deluxe Version of ColdHeat, which claims to provide “contractor grade power output, high/low power settings, and an extra-durable polycarbonate shell” for an extra $5.
Regardless which option you choose, your order will include a protective carrying case and replaceable ceramic tip, as well as a bonus universal wire stripper.
All ColdHeat orders come with a 30-day money back guarantee, less S&H charges. In order to request one, you’ll need to call Allstar Products Group at (866) 438-8842.
Considering its lower price, are customers pleased with ColdHeat’s performance?
What We Learned From ColdHeat Customer Reviews
Important note: It appears that ColdHeat has been around since 2004, originally manufactured by a company bearing the same name. However, as we learned in the previous section, this new version is manufactured by APG, so there’s no way to know how they compare as far as quality and performance (they do, however, appear to feature identical designs). The reviews you’ll find here are all for the original version.
The largest group of online customer reviews we found for ColdHeat was on Amazon, where the device had an average rating of 3.3 stars, based on 65 customer reviews. There, common compliments referenced ease of use (even for beginners), the fact that the tip cools down quickly, and great results.
On the other hand, most complaints referenced failure to work (whether as advertised or at all), inconsistent heat, fragile tip, and poor quality.
Elsewhere online, it seems that the ColdHeat Soldering iron received lower reviews, with many on this Head-Fi.org forum calling it “worthless,” claiming that it “sucks,” and stating that it isn’t worth the money. Eham.net users claimed it’s “total junk,” a “joke,” and “totally non-functional.”
It’s important to note here that, in many cases, it seems like these complaints arose because ColdHeat doesn’t work like a traditional soldering iron. Let’s continue this thought into the next section before wrapping things up.
What Is a Resistance Soldering Tool?
Without going into too much detail, ColdHeat irons use a specialized tip that is split down the middle, creating two prongs (similar to a fork). The four AA batteries send current to each prong in the tip, but no heat is generated because the circuit isn’t complete.
However, once you place solder in between this gap, the circuit is complete and heat is quickly generated, melting the metal. For an in-depth look at how this happens, be sure to read this HowStuffWorks article (including a link to instructions on how to build your own!).
Returning again to the Eham link above, this vastly different soldering method seems to have thrown a lot of (even long-time) solderers for a loop:
“Just for laughs, I did hand this, without explanation, to someone else whom I know can solder well - but they were completely unable to do anything with it until being shown the "trick" - that is, allow the device to heat up the piece being soldered and to NOT try to apply any solder to the tip!”
Given this, as long as you know the proper technique, more than one of these users claimed that ColdHeat might be useful in very specific circumstances, such as RF connectors, small pads and joints, and other smaller connections.
Is ColdHeat a Non-Starter?
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: When it comes to ASOTV products—based on our research and feedback from readers like you—your expectations are largely what dictate your satisfaction.
With ColdHeat, do you think it’s going to replace a professional soldering station that costs hundreds? Are you expecting it to perform as well as devices with twice the power (or more)? In these instances, based on customer reviews for the original version, it appears you might not end up satisfied.
On the other hand, if you frequently solder very small connections and are constantly on the go, then ColdHeat might be right up your alley. Just remember two things:
- First, although ColdHeat might be 20X more efficient than a plug-in soldering tool, efficiency isn’t necessarily a benefit in this case. Instead, more power means more heat and (probably) better results, so keep your expectations realistic here.
- Second, if you take advantage of the company’s 30-day refund policy, you could end up losing half your refund in S&H charges.