Although PEX piping is a new and modern system for water delivery, many people still prefer copper pipes for their homes.
For copper piping to work properly, you have to put them together in an inseparable bond.
The bond is quite important as this is the part that prevents leaking.
A foolproof way to combine copper pipes is by using solder.
Solder is an alloy that is often wrapped around pipes to join them together.
The best solder for copper pipe is one that prevents leaking, creates a strong bond between the pipes, and most importantly, is safe and non-toxic.
There are many solder options available in the market. How will you know which one is the right fit for your pipes?
That is where we jump in to help you. Here is everything you need to know about types of solder for copper pipe.
What Solder for Copper Pipe?
Copper pipes are usually used in households for carrying drinking water. That is why the pipes need to be connected with something safe for us.
Solders that are non-toxic and lead-free are better for connecting copper pipes. These solders do not contain any material that might harm the human body if consumed.
Solders that have a low melting point, say, 50/50 solders, are better for copper pipes. This gives a stronger bond and lasts a lot longer as well.
10 List of The Best Copper Pipe Solder in 2022
1. Canfield 50/50 Solder
If you’re trying to buy the best solder for copper pipe, you have to focus greatly on the melting point.
The Canfield solder is a 50/50 type solder. This means that the product has a low melt point.
A great benefit of this is that, after the solder comes in contact with hot water, the product will return to its solid state as quickly as possible.
As copper pipes are usually installed as water pipes, this is a great feature to have.
Made with a combination of 50% lead stained glass wire and 50% Tin, the solder can be considered a durable one. By durable, we mean that the solder will stick to the pipes no matter how hot or cold the water gets.
The combination of Tin and lead stained glass wire is also less likely to get corrosion. This solder will never be the cause of any rust problems.
Melting temperature of 361° – 421°F does not make it hard for you to liquefy the solder. Any good-quality flame torch can be used to melt the solder.
However, this temperature also means that the solder can return to its original solid state much faster.
- 50/50 type solder that quickly returns to solid-state.
- Melting temperature of 361° – 421°F.
- 50% tin and 50% lead stained glass wire formulation.
- Does not cause rust or corrosion.
- Gives a durable bond.
2. Oatey 50684 Safe-Flo Silver Plumbing Kit
Solder that is going to be used for pipes that are associated with drinking water needs to be lead-free, like this Oatey 50684 one.
No need to worry about any toxins or chemicals getting into your drinking water when you are using this solder.
With your purchase, you get the Oatey safe-flow solder, an application brush, sand cloth, and also no. 95 tinning flux. You could say, that this is somewhat of a kit. It has all the things you need for a proper solder application.
Unlike any other solder that you will see in the market, this one comes with a solder powder added flux. Hence, adding the solder to your pipes significantly improves the heat transfer.
Copper, tin, silver alloy, and bismuth have been combined to give the solder a low melt point. With a 420°F – 460°F melting range, the solder does not stay in its pasty stage for too long.
We always say that the Oatey safe-flow is the perfect solder for beginners. Why you might ask? It’s because of the amazing texture that the product has.
The solder is not too runny, so during application, you won’t create a mess. This also decreases the risk of you ruining the soldering with an overheated pipe.
- Made with copper, silver alloy, tin, and bismuth for a low melt range.
- Comes with sand cloth, application brush, and ample amount of flux.
- Flux has solder powder added for better heat transfer.
- The texture is not too runny; easy to apply.
- Lead-free formula.
3. Harris Solder Kit SB861 & SCPF4
The wrong kind of solder can harm copper pipes severely. Harris Solder Kit is compatible with copper pipes, and won’t weaken the system either.
When applied correctly, the solder is capable of holding copper pipes together at approximately 700PSIg. A strong bond like this means that there is no possibility of any leaks.
For application, you won’t have to get your pipes too hot. The solder applies very smoothly onto moderately hot pipes. Users have said that a propane torch will work just fine to melt the solder.
When the solder melts, it leaves no lumps. The product spreads evenly and gets into every free edge between the pipes. If you’re a beginner, this is surely the best solder for plumbing for you.
Besides copper pipes, the solder can also be used on steel, stainless steel, and brass. Because this product is silver in color, it looks great on stainless steel pipes.
As silver is one of the major components in the formula, the solder has a low melt point. This gives the product its workable texture and hence, makes it a great alternative to brazing.
- Great solder for beginners.
- Melts smoothly with no lumps.
- Can be used as an alternative to brazing.
- Mostly made of silver, which gives it a low melt point range.
- Reaches every open edge between pipes, preventing leakage.
4. Forney 38060 Solder
The Forney 38060 is a solder that has a very tight hold. Once the solder cools down after application, the product has a very strong hold that is quite hard to remove.
If you plan on using this solder, you need to be very careful about how much and where you apply this product. To put a number on things, the solder can hold pipes together at a strength of 6000 PSI.
Because of the stronghold, the solder is often used for water pipes. You can rest assured that this product will leave no room for leakage.
The solder is mostly made of tin and antimony, and so, you can safely use the product for pipes that carry drinking water.
A melting point of 464 degrees Fahrenheit makes sure that the solder goes back to solid-state efficiently.
The solder is made with a thickness of 0.125 inches. When melted, the solder flows at a manageable rate. If you move the solder around your pipes at a moderate speed, the product will disperse itself evenly.
- Gives a very strong hold.
- Available at a thickness of 0.125 inches.
- Can give a permanent bond that does not need maintenance.
- Flows evenly at a manageable speed.
5. Oatey 29024 Safe Flo for Copper, Bismuth, Tin and Silver Alloy.
Many of us have trouble trusting the solder we use on our copper pipes. What if they are not lead-free, and have toxins that could harm our pets and children at home?
We understand your concern, so here is the best solder for copper pipe that you can truly trust.
The Oatey 9024 safe flo has been made in compliance with the Safe Water Drinking Act. It also meets the B-32 ASTM standard.
This is the best plumbing solder for safe water drinking. Made with copper, bismuth, tin, and silver alloy you also don’t have to worry about lead. The formulation gives the solder a great flow when melted. It won’t just drip off of your pipes.
Home users will find the solder very comfortable to use. You won’t have to buy any fancy equipment to heat your pipes.
The combination of the metals gives the solder a melting range of 420 – 460 degrees Fahrenheit. A regular propane flame will be more than enough to melt this solder.
- Melts easily with a propane flame.
- Made in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Meets the ASMT B-32 standard.
- Non-toxic, lead-free, and safe for children and pets.
6. Canfield 85311 Flo Safe Lead-Free Solder
Solder, if it’s the right kind, can be used for many different things. Its usage is not only limited to connecting pipes.
The Canfield 85311 is an example of such a versatile solder. Besides using the substance for connecting pipes, you can also use it for filling, coating, or sealing metals.
Therefore, you can also use the product on cars, equipment, or anywhere around the house. What a great product to have at hand for emergencies!
The tensile strength of 5500 PSI is one of the main features that allows the unit to be so versatile.
A formulation of 97% tin and 3% copper makes the product lead-free, and safe to be used on water pipes.
The solder has been made from virgin metals. Because the solder has not been adulterated, you can use it without having to worry about your health.
There are 1.04 lbs of solder in the package. This amount is ample for a piping system. You might even have some leftovers after your first plumbing work!
- Can be used for filling, coating, and sealing metals.
- 5500 PSI tensile strength for strong, unbreakable hold.
- It has 3% copper in the formulation.
- Ample amount of solder provided for a full set of pipes.
- Made from virgin metals.
7. Oatey 22004 95/5 Wire, 0.117-Inch for Plumbing use
A lot of areas have high temperatures, and weather conditions that induce a lot of vibration in pipes. Just any sort of solder won’t be able to handle stuff like this.
Oatey 22004 is a solder that has been prepared for these situations. The product has a formulation that can withstand harsh temperatures and vibrations.
As the solder is durable, you can rest assured that it will hold your pipes in place for a long time. The strong bond also means that there is no leakage.
When it comes to melting range, the product has a 450°F – 464°F range. Even if you use extremely hot water regularly, the bond between the pipes is not affected.
The lead-free alloy construction is safe to be used for drinking water pipes. If you live in an area that has a supply of water that you can drink straight out of the tap, this solder will be a perfect choice.
While most soldiers are silver in color, the Oatey 22004 is a unique grey-toned product. When melted, the solder flow is easy to detect. You can check which parts the solder reached and which parts it didn’t.
- Stays intact even with a regular flow of hot water.
- Grey color solder flow is easy to detect.
- Safe to be used with drinking water pipes.
- Affordable pricing.
- Perfect for use in pipes that have to go through a lot of vibrations.
8. Oatey Silver Lead-Free Pipe Solder
This pound of lead-free solder can be great for copper pipes. The solder acts as an adhesive to bond the pipes together. There is no gap left, so there is no leakage.
A lot of people love to use this solder from Oatey for sweating or brazing copper. Getting a proper finish with the Oatey solder is quite easy. There is a small slot of time just before the solder hardens, for you to fix your mistakes.
After application, you can use steel wool or sanding paper to clean and the edges.
Most Oatey soldiers are made in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Also, the solder is completely lead and toxin-free. Therefore, you can use the solder with water pipes without any doubt.
One thing to know before you purchase the solder is that it does not come with a flux. Flux for the soldering has to be bought separately.
Thankfully, the solder will work just fine with flux from any brand. So buying the flux separately should not cause too much trouble.
- Compatible with flux from any brand.
- Does not contain any lead or toxins.
- Can be used for sweating or brazing copper.
- Can be cleaned with steel wool before the solder sets.
- Great for beginners.
9. Lucas Milhaupt Silva-Brite 100
A solder that can be used on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals is always a better option. The solder by Silva Brite is a great example of that.
Because the product can be used with both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, the bond that the solder offers is impeccable.
No matter how hot the water flowing through the pipe is, the solder won’t come off. The specially designed formula will reach a pasty stage when heat is applied, and return to a solid state within a few minutes.
With controlled heat, the solder flows at a smooth and easy to maneuver rate. Even if you don’t have experience with soldering copper pipes, you could give this product a try.
Since the liquid stage is so manageable, the solder will not overflow or slip out of the pipes. The solder also does not get inside the pipes and causes any restriction in water flow.
Lastly, the melting range of the solder allows you to use the product both on wide and narrow pipes.
- Easy to maneuver.
- Returns back to solid-state within a few minutes.
- Does not slip off or lose bonding strength even with regular contact with hot water.
- Can bond both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
- Compatible with both wide and narrow pipes.
10. Worthington 85325 Sterling Lead-Free Solder
Worthington 85325 is a solder that has it all. We always recommend getting 95/5 range solder for pipes that are going to be used for drinking water. This is because it has a low melt point and is mostly lead-free.
The Worthington 85325 is a solder that has an ever lower melt point than its 95/5 range counterparts. This feature calls for an even better capability to return to the solid-state from the pasty state.
Besides this amazing feature, the solder can be used in various projects, just like 50/50 range solders.
That is why we say that this solder has the best of both worlds. Using the solder for water pipes and plumbing is easy and recommended. But you can also use it for other decorative or equipment uses.
The solder holds pipes together with a strength of 7130 PSI! This is a huge number for a solder available at such a price.
For your safety, the product is made in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. ASTM B-32 alloy TC specifications are also met, so the solder does not contain anything that might harm you.
- Meets ASTM B-32 Alloy TC specifications.
- Tensile strength of 7130 PSI.
- Lower melt point than 95/5 range solders.
- Can be used for various plumbing and decorative projects just like 50/50 range solders.
- Does not require high heat to melt during application.
Type of Solder For Copper Pipe: Comparison Table
361° - 421°F
50% Tin 50% Lead Stained Glass Wire
Oatey 50684 Safe-Flo Kit
420°F - 460°F
Harris- SB861 & SCPF4
Forney 38060 LF
Grade 95/5 Tin/Antimon
Oatey 29024 Safe Flo
420°F - 460°F
Copper, Bismuth, Tin, And Silver Alloy.
Canfield 85311 Flo
97% Tin, 3% Copper
Oatey 22004 95/5
450°F - 464°F
95% Tin - 5% Antimony
Silver Wire Solder By Oatey
Copper, Bismuth, Tin And Silver Alloy
Solder Silva Brite
Silver, Copper, And Tin
85325 Sterling Solder
Things to Consider Before Buying The Best Solder for Copper Pipe
To buy the solder wire for copper pipe, you need to keep a few factors in mind. Take a look at these features, and match them with your needs.
If you are planning on buying a solder to be used on pipes that carry drinking water, you need a lead-free solder. This is so that no toxic substance comes in contact with water that you might drink.
But, if you are buying the product for decorative purposes, you can go ahead with a solder made of any kind of metal.
Solders that you are buying for piper that will carry drinking water need to have lower melt points.
For sweating copper pipe efficiently, the material needs to meet at a reasonable speed. This is so that the solder melts and attaches itself to the pipe quickly.
Quick Settling Time
It is important to get a solder with a low melting point so that it does not stay in the pasty consistency for too long. Therefore, investing in a 95/5 type solder is better than buying a 50/50 solder.
95/5 type solders are faster at transforming from liquid to solid-state. The low melting point encourages quick setting time and therefore makes the installation process quicker.
How Do You Solder Copper Pipes Together? 3 Tips And Caution
Do you want to solder copper water pipes just like professionals? Well, for that you need to follow a few tips. Here are some of them that plumbing professionals swear by.
1. Use The Right Amount Of Solder
If you want to achieve a cleaner look on your pipes, you must use the right amount of solder. Copper pipes cannot take too much solder. Adding more than what is needed, might cause the material to drip and solidify on the outside. This makes your pipes look wonky.
You can use sanding paper to fix the uneven texture that adding too much solder can cause. But it’s better to add just the right amount of solder that your pipes need and avoid this whole sanding process.
2. Control The Heat
For the soldering process, you first need to heat your copper pipes. Usually, a flame gun or torch is used to do this. Be careful not to heat the pipes too much. A copper pipe that is too hot will melt the solder too fast.
At that rate, the solder might not even get into the joints properly. It will just melt and drip without creating the bond that the pipes need.
3. Don’t Use Too Much Flux
Flux is used in between the pipes before adding the solder. Adding too much of this substance might make it hard for you to connect the pipes. Clogged-up flux inside the pipe will also create restrictions in water flow.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Why Is My Solder Not Sticking Properly?
One of the main reasons why solder does not stick to pipes is that it is not hot enough. Before adding the solder, you need to ensure that the pipes are red hot.
Be careful with the heat though, solder tends to slip off of pipes that are hotter than they should be.
2. Can You Solder Water Pipe Without Removing It?
If there is no way for you to get the pipes open, then, yes you can solder without removing the piping.
To do this, get your pipes really hot and add an ample amount of flux. After that, add the solder all around the pipe so that there is no leakage.
3. Is There A Thing Called Too Much Flux?
Yes, there is. If the excess flux is added to pipes, the product will crystalize and cause a restriction in water flow. When flux settles on the outside of the pipes, you have to remove them using sanding paper.
Also, flux can sometimes be corrosive, which can harm your pipes.
4. What Can Be Used Instead Of Solder For Copper Pipes?
You could use a copper press fitting for copper pipes if you do not have access to solder. But to attach pipes properly with a copper press fitting, you need a hydraulic tool. This tool will press connectors and join your pipes.
As you can see, getting the best solder for copper pipe is not that tough after all. If you have a clear idea about the usage of the pipe and your requirements, you can find the right solder for you quite easily.
No need to call in a plumber, with the right tricks and the right solder, you can get a professional-grade pipe fix on your own!