Tweezers or Vacuum Pen or Other for Picking and Placing Parts?


What do people use for picking and placing small parts? I’ve been using tweezers, but they’re always getting sticky with flux and half the time I don’t get the part flush to the board because of the way I’ve grabbed it, the other half if I try to let go of the part before it’s soldered it sticks to the fluxy tip and the other half I drop and flip the part (yes I know that was three halves).

I’ve looked at vacuum pens but the cheap ones understandably have horrible reviews and I’m not sure if more expensive ones are any better.

Thoughts? Experience?


I recommend titanium and ESD safe plastic tweezers. A lot of what seems like “stickiness” is actually magnetism :slight_smile:


I found that a pair of Rhino tweezers (I think Adafruit stocks them) helped a lot. I suspect, as @jonathan stated, that much of the stickiness with my old tweezers was due to magnetism. Are you using a sticky flux? I’ve used a Chipquik super-sticky flux for really hard-to-manage parts (it will even hold parts onto a board upside down). However, at @ChrisGammell suggestion I switched to a non-alcohol mildly activated no-clean flux pen, and have never looked back. It doesn’t make anything sticky, but everything solders well. It even helps to add some when trying to clear solder bridges on fine-pitch pins. I have also built a home-brew vacuum pen based on a design - it worked but using tweezers is faster.


Tweezers. Adafruit.

These work great:

I have a pair of the Rhino ones, but haven’t opened the package yet! I just keep going back to mostly the curved $3.95 ones. Habit, I guess.


These are the ones I have:

They seem decent, I’m starting to think it’s just user error then.


I have to be careful with the Rhino SW-11 tweezers - they have such a fine point on them I’ve managed to stab myself a few times.


The Vetus tweezers have a coating that dissolves if exposed to certain solvents - even isopropyl will start the coating peeling. Kyzen fluid finishes the job :frowning: FYI!


@ALeggeUp, I’ve found that some tweezers that are advertised as anti-magnetic can still become magnetic. You might try a different brand and see if it helps. My tendency to be fumble-fingered and drop tweezers onto a concrete floor “pointy end down” has given me the opportunity to try a few different tweezers until I was happy with a set.


Got it, drop the tweezers on the ground pointy side down and everything will be fixed… I’ll have to experiment tonight :smiley: