by Joshua Thomas
The tap and die set are tools that allow you to make screw heads or form nuts in various materials. This process is known as threading. In the tap and die set, you will find various tools of different sizes that will allow you to form a female nut using the tap and cut the male portion (the bolt) using the die.
Additionally, the tap and die set include chasers that allow you to perform chasing. Chasing is simply cleaning up old threads in such a way that they become new again. If you need to perform any of the above tasks, then the tap and die set is an absolute must-have in the workshop.
In order to help you find a quality model, we have hand-picked a selection of some of the best tap and die sets on the market and give you our impressions below. Let's see how they perform!
1. Gear Wrench 3887 (Best Overall)
2. GearWrench 3886
3. GearWrench 82812
4. Tekton 7561
5. Irwin Tools 24605
6. Neiko 00911A
7. Tekton 7559
The Gear Wrench 3887 has for years been a reference for semi-professional users. This set comes with no less than 75 taps and dies pieces made from durable carbon steel.
You get 34 taps and 34 dies in this set. Moreover, it employs both the metric and SAE measurement system for flexibility.
In addition, the carry case is made from a hard plastic that will allow you to easily carry and store your tap and die pieces. You get a heavy-duty and comfortable T-wrench handle with this purchase. Best of all, as a complementary accessory, you also get a heavy-duty screwdriver.
If you need high-quality threading tools for day to day use, the Gear Wrench 3887 is a good tap and die set for the money.
Best of all, this model comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind. This is a purchase where you cannot lose even if the price is slightly pricey compared to the competition.
The GearWrench 3886 is a little more modest tap and die set at a more attractive price.
Indeed, you get only 40 pieces with this set as well as a high-quality T-handle and a screwdriver. This may be a limited number for semi-professionals and professionals.
However, for beginners, it is simply perfect. In addition, we find the same high-quality case as the model we have just reviewed above.
You also get a quality screwdriver as well as a metric measurement system with this set. The carbon steel construction of the tap and die will ensure that this is a heavy-duty threading tool that is very durable and will last you a long time.
Moreover, since it is more affordable, it is also more value for money because all the tap and die tools in this set are standard sizes that are most frequently used by most people. In addition, this is a complete set that will allow you to get started right away with threading.
If you do not currently own any threading tools, then this model from GearWrench is definitely one of the best taps and die set for the money. We highly recommended even if it uses the metric system exclusively and comes with 40 pieces only!
The GearWrench 82812 is a professional tap and die set that comes with 48 taps and 48 dies for the ultimate versatility in threading. Indeed, this model uses the SAE measurement system and will be able to perform any type of industry standard threading, both internally and externally.
Moreover, the build construction of both the tap and die in this set is excellent. Indeed, they are made from a carbon steel that will ensure that there will not break or crack easily. In addition, you get no less than 2 T-handle in this set for better ease-of-use.
The case is the same as the 2 other models we have reviewed above, which is a molded case that will allow you to easily carry or store all your pieces safely.
Bottom line is, if you're looking for a professional model, the GearWrench 82812 is definitely one of the best professional tap and die sets you can buy.
The only caveat we note with this die and tap set is that it is a little bit pricey and uses SAE measurements only.
The Tekton 7561 is a popular tap and die set used by many professionals and beginners alike. The pieces in this set are hardened with a tungsten alloy for maximum durability. Indeed, those pieces are very durable and long-lasting and can be used for heavy-duty threading, no problem.
Best of all, the price of this tap and die set is very competitive, especially considering that you get no less than 45 pieces in this set. Therefore, it is also quite value for money. But what we like the most about this set is definitely its long and comfortable handles.
Indeed, you get 2 handles in this set, both coated with a tungsten allow for durability as well. One handle is for the dies and the other for the taps.
Moreover, the handles are comfortable to hold as well as anti-skid, which is advantageous especially for those planning to thread for long hours. The only caveats are that this set comes in only metric measurements and for the price, it could have come with more pieces.
The Irwin Tools 24605 is a basic and yet highly functional tap and die set. It comes with only 12 pieces with regular thread sizes of 6-32 NC up to 1/4"-10 NC. Even if it does not have the most number of pieces we have seen, this is still a high-quality tap and die set that is very easy to use by any beginners.
The carbon steel build material ensures that the taps and dies of this set will last a long time. Moreover, you also have the ability to buy different sets that have different sizes and a different number of pieces.
Best, this set comes 2 handles for the taps and dies that will allow you to start threading right away.
Additionally, this set also includes chasers for you to repair or rebuild worn out threads quickly and easily. Since the number of pieces in this set is limited, it is best used as a beginner threading set.
Furthermore, if you have never used a threading tool before, the Irwin Tools 24605 is a great way to get started because of its ultra-affordable pricing. It is definitely one of the best tap and die sets on the market.
The only problem is that this is not a heavy duty die and tap set so is only meant for amateur threading tasks.
The Neiko 00911A is a series of 40 taps and dies that are coated with a layer of titanium for durability. The build construction of this set is very good, and it has a deep attention to detail.
In addition, this top-rated tap and die set comes in a hard case made from a quality ABS plastic that will allow you to store and carry your taps and dies easily everywhere. We also find various accessories like a screwdriver, T-handles as well as a measurement metric.
You will be able to easily thread almost any type of material using the pieces in this set. However, many customers have noted that despite being made from a steel alloy and coated with titanium, many of the pieces are simply not heavy-duty enough to be used for threading in tough materials like steel.
However, threading in aluminum, wood or plastic will be more than satisfactory. All in all, for casual threading use, the Neiko 00911A is an affordable tap and die set that brings a lot to the table, both in terms of functionality and value.
The only problem is that you get only 40 pieces so it may not be the most versatile solution in this tap and die set review.
Like the Neiko set above, the Tekton 7559 is an affordable tap and die set intended more for casual threading by beginners than heavy-duty threading by professionals. The good thing is that despite its highly affordable price, it still does not sacrifice quality.
Indeed, the pieces of this set are made from a milled alloy steel so they are durable and will not corrode over time. In addition, you also get a quality molded case with this purchase.
The handles for the taps and dies are definitely not the most comfortable we have seen. However, they are still ant-slip and easy to use. This set comes with a wide variety of pieces, including chasers for rebuilding worn threads.
You can also quickly and easily make both coarse and fine threads ranging from 3 x 0.5 for course threads up to 12 x 1.5 for fine threads.
Suppose you occasionally need to make threads or need to rebuild a few worn out threads. In that case, the Tekton 7559 is definitely one of the best metric tap and die set, especially considering how affordable this threading set it.
On the other hand, for heavy-duty threading, look elsewhere because this model is not intended for heavy-duty use.
Taps are metal shaft-like tools that are made from a hardened and tempered steel. They have a fluted edge for cutting deep into the material and creating internal shapes for the threading.
In short, the tap looks quite a bit like a screw and the top has a square shape for fitting into a wrench.
There are several types of taps and each intended for a different purpose.
Taper Tap: The taper tap looks like a screw and is usually used for initial threading. The diameter of the taper tap will result into the diameter of the resulting thread on a 1:1 ratio.
Usually, the taper tap is the first tap tool to use when you need to thread a hole or create a thread in the material.
Second Tap: As its name suggests, the second tap is used just after the taper tap so as to deepen the thread. It has a tapering angle that is very similar to the taper tap and has even a similar look to it.
In the second tap, only the first six threads are fully functional as this is a tool used to deepen or carve the thread and not to create it, unlike the taper tap.
Plug Tap: The plug tap is a type of tap used to finish the threading process's edges. It makes the threads more refined and polished thus easier to bolt into.
Of course, the plug tap is the last threading tool to use before the thread is fully ready to accommodate a bolt.
The die is the contrary of the taper tap, both in look and in functionality. Indeed, the die is used for threading externally unlike the taper tap that is a tool for threading internally.
The die is also made from a heavy-duty hardened steel for durability and comes in different shapes.
Circular Die: The circular die is the most common type of die you will find in the set. It is used for threading material in a single clockwise motion.
The only disadvantage of the circular die is that there are not many adjustments you can make, and it is quite springy. However, it is by far the easiest type of die to use.
Two-piece Adjustable Die: As the name suggests, this type of die is a two-piece die that can easily be adjusted so as to deliver a custom threading.
For example, some people may need a refined thread at the start of the bolt and a deeper thread after. You can quickly make custom threads with the two-piece adjustable die.
Die Nut: The die nut looks similar to the circular line but it is actually a chaser. While this type of die is used for is for sharpening existing threads and not creating new ones.
First and foremost, before getting a top-rated tap and die set it is important to identify your purpose.
Since the tap and die set usually comes in unequal numbers of tap or die, understanding your purpose will allow you to better choose the correct type of set for you.
For example, if you mostly need to tap, it is more logical to invest in a more taps set than dies.
The tap and die are usually made from either carbon steel or high-speed steel (HSS). Both materials are usually heavy-duty and highly durable.
However, carbon steel is more affordable than HSS and intended for casual use. On the other hand, if you own a workshop and need to create a lot of taps and dies, then investing in a high-speed steel set, even if it cost a little bit more makes more sense.
The handle is one of the most important parts of the tap and dies set. Ensure that the handle is made from a durable material like steel and that it will not rust.
Moreover, the handle must also be fairly economical and have grooves so that you have a better handling position during usage. Many taps and die sets are shaped with a T-wrench.
However, for better flexibility and ease-of-use, some handles can be adjusted and will fit tightly with no play. Indeed, a tight handle will provide you with better accuracy and ease of use.
Threads usually have a strict measurement. They are measured in either metric or SAE standard. This is to ensure the thread will be able to function with any standard bolts or threads.
Therefore, it is important that your tap and die set comes with a metric that uses either a standard metric or SAE.
Since the tap and die set usually comes with multiple units of taps and dies, it is important that this set is also delivered with a durable and quality carrying case.
Most of the time, this carrying case is made out of a heavy-duty plastic that will not break easily.
Moreover, it is also a good idea to ensure that the carrying case comes with a handle for better portability.
The tap and die set is an excellent investment especially in the long term since those are very durable accessories.
When purchasing a tap and die set online, you can expect to spend anywhere from $25 dollars up to $250 to get a high-quality tap and die set. More expensive tap and die sets usually have more tap and die pieces as well.
However, you may not use all of them if you only need a tap and die set for casual threading use.
Therefore, it is important to find the right balance between the number of pieces in a set and your willing budget.
Some manufacturers deliver above and beyond in the tap and die set. Some even include extra accessories like drill bits or even a screwdriver. In this instance, more is always better since you get more bang for your buck.
It is almost next to impossible to repair the tap and die pieces in case of damage. For this reason, it is important that you go with a model that comes with a manufacturer warranty.
This warranty will bring you peace of mind and ensure that you will always be able to get a replacement in case of damage. This is especially important for those who own a busy workshop and need to use the tap and die set every day.
The tap and die set is a quick and easy way to perform threading. Without this set, threading in the material will require factory equipment that is not very practical to the average person.
Thankfully, with the tap and die set, you can make nuts, bolts or make worn threads brand new again in a matter of seconds.
Best of all, this tool set is affordable and build from a high-grade carbon-steel which means that it will last a long time. You have no reason not to get one!
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.