A soldering iron is composed of a heated metal tip and an insulated handle. Heating is often achieved electrically, by passing an electric current (supplied through an electrical cord or battery cables) through the resistive material of a heating element. Another heating method includes combustion of a suitable gas, which can either be delivered through a tank mounted on the iron (flameless), or through an external flame.
Soldering irons are most often used for installation, repairs, and limited production work. High-volume production lines use other soldering methods.