Best Tap and Die Set – Reviews and Comparisons

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Tap and die sets are an important tool for professional tradespeople, especially those in the automotive industry, but can be just as effective in a home DIY toolkit as well. The catch is that there are a lot of different options available. While the variety of options is nice, it can make it difficult to narrow down the best tap and die set to buy.

Today’s guide serves to eliminate that problem by showing you everything you need to know about these tools to make a smart purchase. Here’s our guide to the best tap and die sets.

Quick Look: 5 Best Tap and Die Sets

Image Product Price
IRWIN Tools Hanson Machine Screw/Fractional/Metric Tap and Hex Die and Drill Bit Deluxe Set, 117 Piece 26377Irwin Tools 26377 Tap and Die Set
  • $264.99
CLICK HERE TO BUY
GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive Tool Set SAE/MetricTOP RATEDGearWrench 3887 Tap and Die Set
  • $99.99
CLICK HERE TO BUY
Best Choice 40-Piece Tap and Die Set - SAE Inch Sizes | Essential Threading Tool with Storage CaseBUDGET PICKBest Choice 40-Piece Tap and Die Set
  • $27.99
CLICK HERE TO BUY
Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Large-Diameter Titanium Tap & Die Set (45 Piece)Neiko 00916A Tap and Die Set
  • $84.85
CLICK HERE TO BUY
Craftsman 75 pc Inch & Metric tap and die SetCraftsman 75-Piece Tap and Die Set
  • $117.96
CLICK HERE TO BUY

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The tap and die process is quite complex.

Most projects require several taps, dies, and sometimes even other tools. For this reason, most people buy a complete set of these tools.

Here are five of the best tap and die sets available now.

1. Irwin Tools 26377 Tap and Die Set

IRWIN Tools Hanson Machine Screw/Fractional/Metric Tap and Hex Die and Drill Bit Deluxe Set, 117 Piece 26377
  • Ideal for rethreading fasteners and fastener holes for auto and machinery repair
  • Constructed of high carbon steel for durability
  • Puts commonly needed taps, dies, drill bits, and extractors at your fingertips

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Irwin Tools 26377 Tap and Die Set is one of the most robust options available.

Constructed from high-quality carbon steel for the ultimate in strength and durability, this set comes with all the taps, dies, drill bits, and fasteners you need for your project.

In fact, this tap and die set comes with 117 total objects, mostly variously sized taps and dies as well as T-handle wrenches. A plastic carrying case ensures all of the tools are neatly arranged.

Another notable highlight is that this set includes both SAE and metric sizes, so you always have the right sized tap or die that you need.

The only downside to this Irwin tap and die set is the price – it’s very expensive.

What We Like:

  • 117 total pieces
  • Durable carbon steel construction
  • SAE and metric sizes

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

2. GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die Set

Sale
GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive Tool Set SAE/Metric
  • Kit features the Ratcheting "T" wrench and adapters
  • Sturdy blow mold case
  • Index holders for taps

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die Set is an excellent value option.

Although it’s far from the cheapest available, it’s still an incredibly high-quality set for a price that most homeowners and DIY enthusiasts will consider reasonable.

The kit includes 75 total pieces (ranging both SAE and metric sizes), including a ratcheting “T”-handle wrench. The case itself is rugged and durable. Each tap and die locks firmly into place.

GearWrench tools are notable for their high-quality construction with heavy-duty materials, including, in this case, carbon steel.

Unfortunately, the ratcheting “T”-wrench isn’t nearly as high quality as all of the other components in this otherwise top-notch tap and die set.

What We Like:

  • Great value
  • SAE and metric sizes
  • Rugged carrying case

What We Don’t Like:

  • Ineffective ratcheting “T”-wrench

 

3. Best Choice 40-Piece Tap and Die Set

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Best Choice 40-Piece Tap and Die Set - SAE Inch Sizes | Essential Threading Tool with Storage Case
  • PREMIUM MATERIAL AND DURABILITY: Industrial grade GCr15 bearing steel construction ensures durability and tool longevity
  • EXCELLENT CUTTING PERFORMANCE: All cutting teeth are precisely CNC machined and accurately heat treated to Rockwell hardness 60 HRC for best...
  • TAPERED TEETH DESIGN: Tapered coarse and fine taps and dies start threading more easily and smoothly, and prevent overthreading

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best Choice 40-Piece Tap and Die Set is an excellent budget option.

Those that plan to use their taps and dies on an infrequent basis, but still want the tools around when they’re needed, will love this kit’s affordable price.

The kit includes 40 total pieces made from industrial grade steel for increased strength and longevity.

Note that this tap and die set from Best Choice only comes with SAE sizes – no metric sizes are included.

You must also remember that this kit isn’t nearly as high of quality as the others on this list, but it’s still excellent quality when you consider its low price.

What We Like:

  • Affordable price
  • 40 pieces
  • Industrial grade steel construction

What We Don’t Like:

  • Only SAE (no metric sizes)

4. Neiko 00916A Tap and Die Set

Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Large-Diameter Titanium Tap & Die Set (45 Piece)
  • Titanium cutting edges hold sharpness up to 20x longer than steel, making it perfect for any small or large projects
  • Effortlessly cut new material or repair damaged threads, saving time purchasing new threads
  • Equipped in a heavy duty molded case for easy identification, storage and portability for all on the go jobs

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Neiko 00916A Tap and Die Set is another top-notch option.

It’s available with either SAE sizes or metric sizes. No combination kit is currently available.

Both sets come with a total of 45 pieces in a rugged carrying case. Each tap and die snaps firmly into place for easy storage and transportation.

A notable highlight is the titanium construction. According to Neiko, this ensures that the tools hold their sharpness for up to 20 times longer than stainless steel.

There’s little to complain about as far as this kit goes, although it would be nice if a SAE and metric combo kit was available.

What We Like:

  • Great value
  • 45 pieces
  • Titanium construction

What We Don’t Like:

  • No SAE/metric combo kit

5. Craftsman 75-Piece Tap and Die Set

Craftsman 75 pc Inch & Metric tap and die Set
  • Combines inch and metric sizes in 1 convenient kit
  • Set includes: 7 drive tools with accessories, 17 inch plug taps, 17 inch hex dies, 17 metric plug taps, 17 metric hex dies & sturdy storage...
  • Hardened, precision-ground and polished carbon steel surfaces make chip removal easy

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Craftsman 75-Piece Tap and Die Set is another mid-range option.

This great value combo kit is a good bang for your buck with 75 total pieces, although there are some minor problems.

Case in point: some of the taps and dies don’t fit well into the ratcheting “T”-handle wrench, although this problem is minor.

Other than that, highlights include the rugged carrying case, durability of each tap and die, and the rust-resistant finish for superior longevity.

This Craftsman tap and die set includes both SAE and metric sizes.

What We Like:

  • Great value
  • 75 pieces
  • Rust-resistant finish

What We Don’t Like:

  • Some taps/dies don’t easily fit into wrench

Tap and Die Crash Course

A tap and die set might seem simple at first glance.

But there are a huge number of factors that influence its quality. In addition to the type, size, and number of tools included, you must also consider construction materials, handle design, and maintenance requirements.

To make matters more confusing, quality ranges widely between brands – with many of the most popular brands not all they crack up to be.

Today, I’m going to show you the most important factors and features to focus on during your search so that you buy the best tool set for your individual needs and preferences.

Here’s what you need to know about tap and die sets.

Tap and Die Benefits

There are a lot of good reasons why you should have a tap and die set.

First and foremost is that these tools are always smart to have on hand. While a professional tradesperson might use them on a regular basis, even a homeowner might have them come in handy on their DIY projects.

Best of all, many tap and die sets are quite affordable. At under $30, there’s no reason not to add a budget set to your tool kit.

Other benefits include the ease of use and versatility. Almost anyone can quickly and easily learn how to effectively use a tap and die set.

Although you can buy taps and dies separately, it’s best to start with a tap and die set, adding or replacing individual tools as required.

How to Use Tap and Die

Using a tap and die might seem overwhelming at first.

But the process is actually very simple to learn. It consists of a few basic steps that anyone can follow.

First, you must select the right die. It must correspond to the threads per inch (TPI) of the bolt you’re fixing. Install this die in the wrench to guide the tool.

To create a die, place the bolt in question in a bench vise. Next place the correctly-sized die over the bolt and turn the wrench.

You can utilize this same technique to use a die to turn a plain steel rod into a bolt.

Using a tap is slightly different but follows the same logic. Start by selecting a tap that matches the size of the hole you want in the nut or similar object.

Place the object you’re cutting in your bench vise. Use the special wrench with the correctly-sized tap to make the cut.

Most experts recommend using cutting oil or lubrication to make the cut easier.

This video from New Metalworker outlines how to use taps and dies.

Tap and Die Sets: What Buyers Need to Know

Buying a tap and die set is relatively straight forward. But there are still a number of factors you must keep in mind.

The most important factors to consider include:

  • Number of Accessories – Select a set with an ample number of taps and dies (at least 12 to 24 of each).
  • Handle Type – A T-handle not only makes the process easier, but it also gives you much more precision during each cut.
  • Construction Materials – Your tools must be able to stand up to a lot of abuse during use, so ensure your set is made of a tough, durable material such as carbon steel.

Beyond these three factors, the most important thing to look for is a quality brand.

Because quality directly influences durability, it often pays off to select a tap and die set from a brand with a solid reputation.

In addition, a reputable brand likely has the most extensive customer reviews, so you can further ensure that the set in question matches your needs and preferences.

Best Tap and Die Set Brands

A lot of different tool brands sell tap and die sets.

Of course, like any other hand tool, the quality varies widely from brand to brand (as well as from model to model).

Here are the top tap and die brands available:

Irwin Tools

Irwin Tools got its start back in 1885.

Short for Irwin Industrial Tools, the Ohio-based tool company makes a wide range of hand tools and power tools. One of their most popular products is their vice-grip locking pliers.

Irwin Tools is now owned by Stanley Black & Decker.

Craftsman

Craftsman was founded in 1927.

Originally sold exclusively at Sears, the brand is now owned by Stanley Black & Decker and sold at Lowes.

In addition to their tap and die sets, Craftsman is notable for a wide range of other hand tools and power tools, including circular saws.

GearWrench

GearWrench has been a top name in the business since 1996.

Unlike many other brands that sell tool and die sets, GearWrench focuses specifically on automotive and industrial tools, particularly ratcheting tools.

In fact, they’re one of the most popular brands among automotive technicians to this day.

Vermont American

Another innovative American tool company, Vermont American has been in the game since 1947.

Since then, they’ve grown by leaps and bounds, adding new hand tools and power tools to their product lineup on an almost annual basis.

Today, Vermont American is known not only for their tap and die sets, but also their saw blades and many other products.

Tekton Tools

Tekton Tools is a tool manufacturer committed to hand tools.

Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, this brand still retains the family atmosphere that it had when it first opened for business.

In addition to tool and die tools, they’re also well known for their top-quality wrenches, drivers and bits, and pliers.

FAQ

Here are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about tap and die sets:

Q: What do you do with a tap and die?

A: A tap and die is used for threading (creating screw threads).

Q: When to use a tap and die?

A: A tap and die can be used whenever you need to create screw threads or clean up existing screw threads.

Q: How does a tap and die work?

A: A tap cuts the female portion of the screw thread (nut) while the die cuts the male portion of the screw thread (bolt).

Q: How to maintain a tap and die set?

A: Most tap and die sets require little maintenance, other than occasional oiling and lubrication.

Q: How long will my tap and die set last?

A: A quality tap and die set should last a lifetime with proper use and regular maintenance.

Wrapping Up

There’s no single tap and die set that’s best for everyone.The best set depends largely on your needs and preferences, particularly your budget, what you’ll use the set for, and how often you’ll use the tools. That said, it’s hard to beat the GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die Set.

Sale
GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive Tool Set SAE/Metric
  • Kit features the Ratcheting "T" wrench and adapters
  • Sturdy blow mold case
  • Index holders for taps

Last update on 2019-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As the best overall value tap and die set available now, it’s certainly not the cheapest available, but it’s also far from the most expensive. This GearWrench tap and die set boasts carbon steel construction, a sturdy carrying case, and ratcheting “T” wrench handles. It comes with 75 total pieces, including 34 dies and 34 taps.

Those looking for the best bang for their buck should go with the Best Choice 40-Piece Tap and Die Set. It’s not durable enough for professionals but works well for occasional use by homeowners. Finally, the Irwin Tools 26377 Tap and Die Set is a no-brainer for professional tradespeople and others that need to use taps and dies on a near daily basis. It’s by far the most expensive set on our list but the quality and durability are second to none. Which tap and die set tops your list? Sound off in the comments.

 

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