People will say that Weller produces the best soldering stations out there. I know a few professionals that solder and swear by Weller. I do not solder professionally, so I did not want to pay that much for a Weller. I settled for the Hakko FX-888 as my backup iron. I have owned this station for about a year now and have to say that it is my favorite so far. This soldering iron is very compact. I cannot think of many places that you would not be able to set this solder station up.
One of my favorite features is the small light on the front that indicates the iron’s heating status. It lights up steady when the iron is warming up, then blinks when it has reached the heat that has been set. This solder iron heats up fast too (less than a minute). Additionally, this iron comes with a very sturdy stand for the iron which includes not only a high quality sponge cleaner for the tip. It also includes the steel wool tip cleaner. This iron is also ESD safe.
Part support in the US is top notch as well. There is a huge variety of replacement tips in an array of sizes. Hakko wastes no time with shipping an order either. I have ordered items by noon one day and received the shipment the following day with standard shipping. Absolutely a great buy if you are looking for an a realiable solder iron and are on a budget. Although the FX-888 can still be found on Amazon and Ebay it has been replaced with the FX-888D.