I had some troubles with mine: no support to put it when I busy doing something else than soldering, which can be quite dangerous if it falls or burn something. Moreover, the power cord was quite short and not very flexible, so it was not always easy to find a good "spot" for it in order to be perfectly comfortable. Finally, it takes a long time before getting hot enough to solder, and 30W is sometimes a bit low to solder big potentiometer or jack legs.
So I decided to invest a bit in a soldering station.
After reading a lot on the web, I have found this little gem: the Hakko FX888D, a Japanese soldering station that you can find for $96 on Amazon.
Here is mine:
Soldering stations have many advantages. They include a support for the iron, the temperature is usually adjustable (good if you want a high temperature for heavy soldering), and the power cord is separated from the soldering iron cord, making it easier to handle.
They are many soldering stations available out there, and their prices range from $50 to almost $1,000 or more! Choosing the right station for you is thus not always easy.
In the US, Weller soldering stations are top notch quality, but they are quite expensive. In Europe, they are even more expensive because of customs duties, and it is very hard to find one used. So the Hakko seemed like a very good deal!
Note that there was a gray version for Europe at one point, but I receive the nice blue and yellow one :). The soldering iron is very nice, easy to handle, and the grip is quite good:
It can look a bit like a toy, but it is very high quality: all the blue and yellow parts are metallic. There are 4 presets of temperature that you can select quickly with the "up" button. Useful if you want to switch to a standard setting to a more powerful one for heavy soldering.
The station goes from 0 to 350°C really, really quickly! That really a nice touch compared to my old 30W soldering iron. I can easily switch from populating the boards to soldering, without letting the soldering iron on. Here is a small demo with an animated gif:
The only downside of this soldering station are the controls that are not always very easy to use. For instance, if you press "up" for too long, it will reset the unit to factory controls! (instead of changing the temperature for instance...) So be careful and read the manual before trying to change anything!
Here it is! It is really a nice tool to work with, I highly recommend it.