Desoldering Pump vs Desoldering Wick
The two methods of removing solder are to use either a desoldering pump or a desoldering wick. Both are effective can be used easily by anyone. Though for the most part, both methods can be used interchangeably, it is often advisable to use a desoldering pump to remove large amounts of solder and a desoldering wick to remove smaller amounts of solder like what is used to tack a wire to a board, for example.
The desoldering pump is a cylindrical tube with a cone shaped end and a plunger at the back. It is similar looking to a caulking gun. The plunger in the back can be depressed until it locks into place. With the tip of the cocked soldering gun near the solder, you melt the solder you want to be removed and then press a button on the side of the desoldering pump. When you press the button, the plunger on the pump quickly shoots back to it’s original position, causing a large suction of air into the device and sucking up the molten solder like a vacuum.
This is a wick or string made from a woven braid of copper material. You can press this copper wick down on to the actual solder you wish to remove. When heat is applied by the soldering gun, it melts the solder underneath, which is then absorbed by the copper braid, thus "wicking" the solder away from the area.