Solder Sucker Not Sucking Enough?

Sometimes solder suckers lose their suction even though nothing appears to be clogging the tip. By cleaning and re-lubing the O-ring inside, this simple tool can oftentimes be brought back to life. Click the title for more pictures and steps.


If you hold your finger against the tip and release the plunger, the vacuum should be enough to keep the spring from extending. If you don’t feel any suction and the plunger pulls back with little hesitation, it’s time to clean the innards…

First, make sure the tip isn’t clogged. Most solder suckers have an internal rod that automatically pushes out any debris when the plunger is pushed in, but a drill bit will work if the rod isn’t doing it’s job.

Now unscrew the main cylinder and pull out the plunger.

Clean out the inner tube and O-ring with paper towels.

Before reinserting the plunger, lube up the O-ring with a few drops of oil.

Before screwing everything back together, check to see if the suction works again by manually pushing the plunger in and out while sealing the tip with a finger.


CuriousInventor launched in late 2006 (pre-arduino era!) as a place to enable hobbyists, students, and musicians to create their own technology. We sold open-source kits and tools, and offered numerous guides & videos on things like soldering, metal working, screws, electronics, and more. 

The store is now mostly empty, but we’ve kept the product pages and guides up since they have useful information. Many of our guides and videos still rank on the first page of google searches and have been seen millions of times. Content on this site and the CuriousInventor YouTube channel produced by Scott Driscoll.

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