Hi - I'm looking at purchasing a high end soldering station for my employer. In my professional career - I've only used Weller irons. At my last job, my iron was a WD1002 and I found that to be a good iron, though the collet that holds the tip in place had a tendency to get loose at times (severely impairing thermal conduction) so that was a nuisance.
In my personal life - I've had a Hakko 936 for about ten years and it works great. Zero complaints.
However - I've also heard great things about Metcal. Metcal seems to inspire fanboyism that no other soldering company can generate.
If I get a Weller, I'd probably get the WD2000M. If I get a Metcal, I'd probably get a MX-5041. If I got a Hakko, I'd get the FM-203.
How can I go about comparing these? It seems fairly impossible. Availability of tips seems one good measure - Weller tips are readily available while Hakko and Metcal tips are more scarce. I'm trying to arrange demos of the units but have not made much progress with the local reps. Still trying though. I guess they don't care much about a $1K sale. Can't blame em.