Tinning Flux vs Regular Flux: What Makes Great Flux?

Today, we provide insights into the tinning flux vs. regular flux debate. We aim to educate you on their benefits to any typical soldering process. 

The questions you probably have include; 

Is any type of flux good enough for all soldering applications? What are the upsides of standard fluxes over tinning flux? 

If those are some of your concerns, hold your nerves, and let’s provide precise answers to each in this article. 

What is Tinning Flux

It is a flux material important in the preparatory phase of metal surfaces before soldering commences. 

The particular role of tinning flux is to enhance the tinning processes (coating surfaces with tin) in metal soldering. 

What are some of the benefits of the tinning process? First, it acts against the possible oxidation of metal surfaces during the soldering process, which can inhibit the formation of a strong bond. 

Secondly, it is essential to improve the aesthetics of metallic surfaces. 

Chemical Composition of Tinning Flux

Rosin is one of the major flux components. 

Rosin is one of the major flux components. 

The materials responsible for the primary characteristics of tinning flux for plumbing applications are as follows: 

The first two are important in removing all foreign substances on the metal surfaces to prepare an ideal platform for good adhesion. 

On the other hand, the rosin is responsible for the fluxing of metals, basically removing the oxide layer from the surface. 

It also enables uniform solder flow. 

The Benefits of Tinning Flux

Cleaning Copper before flux application. 

Cleaning Copper before flux application. 

Here are some of the top reasons why tinning solder paste flux is important: 

  • This type of soldering flux enhances the solderability of the surfaces by facilitating the removal of an oxide layer on the surfaces. The material is, therefore, imperative in enabling the adhesion of the two metal surfaces together. 
  • The flux also enhances the solder flow, which is cardinal to creating strong joints. 
  • It is a common choice for an extensive range of soldering applications because it’s readily and widely available. 
  • It also meets all the standard solder content regulations and hence poses no significant health hazard during application. Primarily this is because it is a lead-free solder flux. 

Tinning flux Disadvantages

  • While we have highlighted that tinning flux is safe, it can be dangerous if you mishandle it. The material has the potential for corroding surfaces, while it is also toxic if inhaled. 
  • It leaves some residue on the metal surface, destroying the metal’s glow or affecting the subsequent welding processes. 
  • Using the material in extreme heat applications can be challenging, primarily because it is unstable. 

Applications of Tinning Flux

Preparing copper by application of flux. 

Preparing copper by application of flux. 

  • It is the ideal plumbing flux; hence you’ll often find it in works involving the joinery of metal pipes. 
  • Also, besides plumbing applications, it is a perfect fit for other metalwork soldering works. 

How to Use Tinning Flux?

You primarily need to assemble the following materials before commencing on a tinning paste flux job:

  • A flux brush
  • A piece of cloth
  • Lead-free solder wire
  • Soldering torch
  • Steel Wool
  • Tinning paste or flux

Run the cloth over the surfaces you intend to combine for softening and ensuring a clean surface ready for soldering. 

Next, take up the following processes for a clean metalworks combination job. 

Test if the pipes fit.

Perfectly soldered joints. 

Perfectly soldered joints. 

First, you need to test if the pipes can make a good coupler joint, so start by bringing them together. 

One of them should fit into the other. So put one inside and mark approximately one inch of the coupling joint. 

The mark is the point whereby you’ll limit the application of the tinning flux. 

Clean the Joint Area

One sure way to ensure that the pipes perfectly fit each other is to thoroughly clean them using steel wool. 

Since they are both metallic, this should be straightforward but don’t be in a rush. Take your time to clean both of them until you expose their metallic luster. 

Wipe off the Clean

Once you’re confident they are perfectly clean, wipe off the surfaces using a clean cloth to remove the small metal particles. 

At this point, you can apply the tinning flux via a flux brush for a thorough application. 

You must apply the flux on the smaller piper’s outside and the bigger one’s interior. 

Next, insert the smaller pipe into the larger one up to the point where you made the mark. 

Prepare the Solder Wire

A Solder wire with flux. 

A Solder wire with flux. 

Make a solder wire that fits the circumference of the larger pipe and cut it off from its roll. 

You’ll use this material to create the perfect joint between the two surfaces. 

Heat the Joint

You will require even high temperatures to facilitate the connection of the two pipes, so heat it before laying the solder wire.

Next, place the wire around the joint and heat it gently along the circumference while it melts. 

Let the diameter solder wire melt gently for a perfect job, so place the soldering torch slightly outside the joint. 

It will allow an even spread of the solder wire onto the joint while sealing any existing gap between the two. 

Finish it Off

Once done, allow the solder to cool off and check the bond physically to see if it is a perfect connection. 

You can also run water into the joined pipe to see if it leaks at the point of the bond. 

Your soldered bond is excellent if all is perfect and you see no leaks. 

Can I Use Tinning Flux for Electronics?

Applying Flux to electronics. 

Applying Flux to electronics. 

Using tinning flux for electronics soldering is okay, and it will work perfectly as with any other suitable circuit board flux material. 

Keep off corrosive flux for soldering electronics, as such a substance will be counterproductive to apply. 

It could damage the delicate parts of the circuit board. 

So why is it not popular for electrical circuit bonds like regular flux? The primary reservation is that tinning flux is quite pricey. 

Hence, many people are not open to using it. Also, this is because it’s not readily available as regular flux. 

But those who can afford it find it excellent for soldering electronic components. 

Alternatively, you can go for the non-tinning flux options for electrical circuits soldering, such as: 

Most importantly, always confirm from the container if your coat of tinning flux will corrode the electronic components. 

Can I Use Tinning Flux with a Soldering Gun?

Using a soldering gun. 

Using a soldering gun. 

Not really. Say you have an H2o Tinning Flux and would like to apply it on surfaces you’d want to combine. 

The ideal application procedure is to smear it on the pipe’s interior to create a perfect joint with another pipe. 

But a soldering gun works quite differently from this. First, it doesn’t use the typical types of tinning flux. 

Rather, it is an electrically powered device that uses tin-based solder, which, although quite similar in composition to the flux, is different in physical form. 

The similarity is that both facilitate the combination of two metal surfaces. 

However, the tinning flux applies the chemical reaction mode to realize this, while a soldering gun uses heat energy from electricity. 

If you don’t have tinning flux, you can use a soldering gun as a viable alternative, as this comes with several upsides. 

  • First, the method works pretty quickly, and it’s less corrosive as it lacks active chemicals to facilitate its action. 
  • Like the tinning flux, the soldering method also aims to apply a coat of tin to the surface, and its bond is strong because of the presence of heat. 
  • The cooling process is also fast, leaving you with a clean, perfect bond in no time. 

Does Tinning Flux Go Bad?

A bottle with a shelf life inscription. 

A bottle with a shelf life inscription. 

The material, like other fluxes, has a maximum shelf life duration, after which it goes bad and reduces its effectiveness. 

Note that two important time factors determine if your flux stays in top condition. 

One is the shelf life, and the other is the service life. 

The first denotes the duration tinning flux stays active before opening, and the other is its average use time after you open it. 

The shelf life is often approximately one year, and the service life is shorter than this. 

Nonetheless, the service life varies depending on several factors, such as the storage conditions, presence of contaminations, and degree of dilution. 

Always use all of your flux quickly after opening it for the best results since quality deteriorates rapidly. 

What Does Regular Flux Mean?

Welding Paste/flux. 

Welding Paste/flux. 

It represents rosin soldering fluxes that are useful for general-purpose soldering applications. 

Among its key perks is that you can easily apply it. Also, it’s a versatile flux that you can use to enjoin different materials such as gold, copper and iron, amongst many other metals. 

Here are some of its key features: 

  • We often apply regular flux under dry conditions. Therefore, it’s the ideal non-tinning flux material for creating perfect insulation. 
  • Regular flux does not corrode parts as, unlike the regular tinning flux, it doesn’t have a high concentration of acids. This property makes the flux perfect for enjoining circuit boards. 
  • It is a RoHS-compliant flux perfect for electronic chip welding applications. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Soldering Flux 

Soldering flux bottle. 

Soldering flux bottle. 

Soldering flux comes in varying qualities and types, so it makes sense if you know which best suits your application. 

Primarily, two main factors should guide you when picking up any type of soldering flux. 


First, check if the flux’s weight best fits the application you intend to use it for, especially for electrical connections. 

For instance, the cheap and low-duty flux will do the job in simple DIY soldering. 

But manufacturers require heavy-duty flux for other uses, such as making PCB for military work. 


Again this consideration comes in handy, especially when you’re dealing with electronic components soldering

You should ask yourself whether the flux is compatible with the parts without destroying them. 

If it is not compatible, then refrain from using it. Also, the rule of thumb is to go for RoHS-compliant flux, as it’s always top quality. 

Standard Flux vs. Tinning Flux: Which is Better?

Soldering copper pipes. 

Soldering copper pipes. 

Given a choice between standard and tinning flux, which of the two would you pick up for your soldering job? 

Both are ideal, but tinning flux delivers better results, especially because it guarantees a better bond quality than the standard fluxes. 

But the primary challenge of relying on tinning flux is its pricier than the standard clean flux. 

So you’ll have to make a tradeoff between the two types, depending on your budget and the results you want to get. 


Now you can start your pipe joinery work with our detailed flux guide. We have also covered the best type of flux for electronics applications. 

And in a nutshell, we reemphasize the significance of tinning flux as the ultimate solution for most joinery works. 

Thanks for your time. For more on soldering, don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our other content.