A good tap and die set is an essential part of the toolbox of any mechanic, handyman or do-it-yourselfer. If you want to repair any old nuts or bolts, or if you want to craft a few of your own from scratch to your personal specifications, a tap and die set is something that you really ought to have.
Going out blind and searching for your own tap and die set can be a tad overwhelming and disorienting, given the many options that are out there. So we’ve decided to help you out by compiling a list of 7 of the best tap and die sets that you’re likely to find for sale these days. In addition to examining the important features of each of these sets, we thought it best to throw in a helpful buyer’s guide chock full of information about tap and die sets that every prospective shopper and burgeoning handyman should have. With this information, we hope to make you a smarter and more aware shopper, so that you can find what you need more easily and get to work.
Best Tap and Die Sets Reviews
|Set name||Pieces (quantity)||Metric||SAE|
|Neiko 00915A and|
|Irwin Hanson 1813816||75||Yes||Yes|
1. Muzerdo 86 Piece Tap and Die Set – Most Versatile Tap and Die Set
This tap and die set contains 86 pieces, giving it the diversity and versatility that you’ll need to either either fix up or create as many threads as you might need. The case is well-organized and durable. The taps and dies are all made of high-carbon steel, ensuring excellent overall quality and longevity. In addition to the taps and dies, the set comes with one adjustable tap wrench, one T-handle tap wrench, and one long handle adjustable tap wrench, as well as two die stocks – one long and one regular – and two screw pitch gauges, one for Metric and the other for SAE.
- extremely large quantity of tools
- parts made of high-carbon steel
- multiple tap wrenches and die stocks of different sizes included
- parts coated in chromium to improve corrosion resistance
- somewhat expensive
Verdict. This set has everything that a handyman could want and each tool is excellently crafted. It is a bit pricey, but well worth it nonetheless.
2. GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die 75 Piece Set – Best Quality Parts
Thought this set comes with a fairly hey price tag, once you inspect it, you’ll know what it is you’re paying for. This is a 75-piece set featuring 34 taps and 34 dies, so the range of sizes and sheer versatility that this set can boast of is already something to be reckoned with. You should be aware, however, that as large as this set is, it doesn’t offer quite as wide a selection of different sizes as some still larger sets do.
It comes with taper and plug taps, making this an overall great set for beginners. It also comes with an excellent T-wrench with a 5-degree ratcheting arc, which makes the wrench easier to handle than many other tap wrenches. Every part is made of high-carbon steel, so you can be confident in the set’s quality and durability.
- parts made of high-carbon steel
- large selection of taps and dies
- high-quality tap wrench that is easy to use
- a little expensive
Verdict. This is an excellent, versatile and high-quality tap and die set. There’s really nothing to complain about here. Even though the price is not low, it’s reasonable when you consider the set’s quality.
3. Neiko 00916A and Neiko 00915A – Best Tap and Die Sets for Beginners
These two tap and die sets each comes with 45 pieces. In addition to the 10 UNC and UNF taps and 10 UNF and UNC dies of different sizes, the set comes with a T-handle tap wrench, an adjustable die stock, a screwdriver and a thread pitch gauge to make sure that your threads are just the way you want them to be. The set’s pieces have titanium cutting edges that can maintain their sharpness 20 times longer than steel, making for excellent longevity. We are considering two sets here because there is both a Metric and an SAE version. Unfortunately, there is no single version that is dual compatible.
- made of high-quality steel and pieces have titanium cutting edges
- excellent tap wrench and die stock included
- pitch gauge included
- includes wide range of tap and die sizes
- only SAE or Metric kits available – no dual compatibility
- somewhat flimsy and weak case
Verdict. This set is affordable and has excellent cutting power. If you are a beginner, we highly recommend it. Though you should know in advance if you’ll need metric or SAE sizing.
4. IRWIN HANSON 1813816 – Best Quality Tap and Die Set
This 75 piece tap and die set is exquisitely crafted with high-carbon steel and comes with T-wrenches and a die stock that are ergonomically designed, so that you can use them comfortably. The parts all stay firmly in place and don’t require any set screws to keep things aligned thanks to the set’s performance threading system. Furthermore, the set features self-aligning dies and taps so that you can start threading quickly, easily and with minimal exertion. The many plug taps even come with special chip breaking technology to cut away chips and help you make only the highest quality threads. And if the impressive variety of sizes of the dies in this set isn’t enough for you, there is even die adaptor included in the set that accommodates 1-inch hex dies.
The only drawback to this set is that it’s expensive. Trust us, though, when we say that it’s worth it.
- extremely well-designed high-carbon steel parts
- many T-wrenches and die stocks included
- very versatile parts list
- die adaptor to increase versatility further
- self-aligning dies and taps
- the plug taps are made with chip breaking technology
Verdict. If you can handle the price tag on this set, there’s absolutely no reason not to get it. It has everything you could need in a tap and die set.
5. ABN 60-Piece Tap and Die Set – Best Cheap Tap and Die Set
This is a cheaper tap and die set that consists of 60 parts, all of which are made of hardened alloy steel. Since they’re made of alloy steel, the parts are not of quite the same quality as parts made of high-carbon steel would be, but this is to be expected given the set’s surprisingly low cost. This shouldn’t induce you to ignore this set, though, as it is surprisingly durable and versatile for it’s price. It’s also compatible with both Metric and SAE measurement standards, which is extremely valuable and useful. Even though it’s not as large as some other sets, 60 parts is still plenty of resources for a wide range of simpler threading jobs.
- durable for its price
- fits both Metric and SAE standards
- parts made of alloy steel – of lower quality than high-carbon steel parts
Verdict. Though this set isn’t as large exquisitely crafted as some of the other sets we’ve considered here, it’s still an excellent tap and die set for those who are on a budget and have simpler ambitions.
6. Vector Tools Tap and Die Set – Good Cross-Measurement Compatible Set
This is really two 40-piece tap and dies sets sold together as one: one SAE set and one Metric set for a grand total of 80 pieces. Although 40 pieces per set is less than many of the other sets we’ve been considering here, it’s very easy to start threading with these sets’ plug taps. The set includes both UNC (coarse) and UNF (fine) taps and dies, so it does have a decent amount versatility and does covered the required bases with a variety of different sizes. Since you’ll have both SAE and Metric sets, so won’t need to worry about measurement incompatibility.
- relatively inexpensive
- includes both a Metric and SAE version of the set
- each of the sets has only 40 pieces each
- made of alloy steel, so the quality is not the highest
Verdict. This set is cheap compatible with both measurement types, but not especially large or versatile, since it’s really two 40 piece sets. Buy it only if you’re on a budget and have simple projects to work on.
7. Craftsman 75-Piece Tap & Die Set – Best Metric and SAE Sized Set
Craftsman is a well-respected makers of all kinds of tools and with this set, the company only further demonstrates why that reputation is so richly deserved. This 75 piece tap and die set includes both Metric and SAE sizes. With these two features alone, the set is virtually sure to have just the tool you need to help you in the threading projects you choose to undertake. The set includes 7 drive tools – among them T-handle tap wrenches and die stocks – 17 SAE plug taps and hex dies, 17 metric plug taps and hex dies – all of them made of high-carbon steel. The hex-shaped dies also make it easy to use wrenches of all kinds.
- high quality carbon steel construction
- great versatility and large quantity of tools
- includes both SAE and Metric size
- somewhat expensive
Verdict. This is an excellent and versatile tap and die set. We wholeheartedly recommend it.
Though we’ve now discussed a number of excellent tap and die sets available to you for purchase. We know that self-reliance is at the heart of every do-it-yourselfer and that you would want to have as much information as possible before making your choice. So that you can find exactly the set that caters to your particular needs. After reading the preceding reviews, you may already have your eye on a particular set, or you may not. Either way, we want to devote the upcoming section to addressing a few general concerns and answering a few common questions about tap and die sets that we think every handyman should know.
As always, out aim is only to make you into a smarter shopper and give you a deeper understanding of these products.
What is a Tap and Die Set?
It’s only natural that we should answer the most basic and foundational of all questions first before moving forward. After all, we may have some beginners here who aren’t quite clear on what a tap and die set is and just what it’s meant to do.
In its essence, a tap and die set is a collection of tools used to create threads for bolts and screws. A tap wrench is meant to make internal threads in metal sheets or blocks, that you may then fasten or drill bolts and screws into. A die stock and die are meant to create threads around metal rods onto which you can fasten nuts. You can also use them to add new threads to old screws or bolts, as well as to repair their existing threads.
Taps and dies vary according to their diameter, pitch and hardness. Diameter must vary because the diameters of holes in metal sheets and bolts, as well as of rods and nuts, vary. Pitch also makes a difference to the kind of threads created. Varying levels of hardness are also appropriate, depending on the type of metal that you are tying to work.
Types of Taps and Dies
There are a number of different taps and dies available, and not every set includes all of these types. It’s therefore important to know which types you need, what each type can do, and the strengths and weakness of each type before making your decision about which set to buy. Here are some of the different varieties of taps and dies:
- Taper Taps. These taps are best for beginners because they are the easiest to use. They have small, flat threads and require the smallest application of force to get them going, which is why they are often called starter taps. It is relatively easy to start a blind hole with them. Should you so desire, you can use other taps to perfect and refine threads that you started using a taper tap.
- Bottoming Taps. Because taps of this variety have no flattened threads at their beginning. They can be relied on to help you create high-quality thread all the way down your hole. The downside, however, is that this very feature also makes bottoming taps much more difficult to handle for beginners. With proper care, however you can use them to finish the threads that you started using a taper tap and work them until they’re just right.
- Plug Taps. Plug taps are meant to strike a balance between the features of both taper and bottoming taps. They have some flattened tapered threads at their beginnings, but not as many as taper taps do. This means that the difficulty of using them to start is somewhere between that of a taper tape and a bottoming tap. Plug taps do have one significant advantage over taper taps, though: they are better to use into blind holes because you can get complete threads with them sooner.
- Circular Dies. Circular dies are intended to give you a complete thread in a single operation. They are also tapered, making them the rough die equivalent of taper taps. Circular dies are easiest for beginners to use.
- Two-Piece Adjustable Dies. These are best if you want to create a long thread, but they require a relatively elaborate series of cutting operations where the die must be closed after each and every thread. This makes them somewhat unwieldy for beginners.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Tap and Die Set
This seems like it should be a rather obvious point to emphasize, but strangely enough, it’s something that is sometimes forgotten precisely because it’s so obvious. You should want your tap and die set to be sturdy, durable and to have longevity. This means that you should select sets that are built from high-quality steel. Though again, the precise level of quality that you should shoot for will depend on your needs.
If you want to make industrial-quality nuts and bolts, for example, simple alloy steel won’t cut it. However, if you’re just an ordinary consumer looking to carry out some repairs in your garage, look for tap and die sets whose parts are made of high-carbon steel – or carbon, as you’ll often hear it referred to. High-carbon steel sits somewhere alloy steel and the expensive high-speed steel that’s used in major industrial work. Though a high-carbon steel set will cost you more than a simple alloy steel set. You’ll feel the difference in quality almost immediately.
Diversity and the Number of Parts
Generally speaking, it is a good thing if a tap and die set has more parts. After all, more parts of various sizes enable to complete a more diverse and wider array of jobs. However, you should remember that part quantity alone is not the be-all-end-all. Not only does part quantity have to be balanced with part quality – which we mentioned above – but different sets may include different tools. That means that, given your set of needs and the kinds of jobs that you want to do, you should have a look not only how many tools a certain tap and die set contains, but which tools it contains.
The relations between the price of and the number of parts in a set vary widely. One set can be more expense than another because it contains more parts. Or because it is of higher quality, even if it has fewer parts. Always keep an eye out for these things and use multiple factors and features in deciding which set to buy. Don’t make a one-dimensional decision.
Sizes and Measurements
Different sets may be denominated according to the Metric system, based on European sizes, or according to SAE, which is based on U.S. sizes. If your set isn’t denominated in the right way, you won’t be able to fit your holes and threads to your nuts or bolts. If possible, try to find a set with dual Metric and SAE compatibility.
To decrease the chance that you’ll face trouble going forward, try to make sure that your tap and die set comes in a sturdy and reliable case. After all, you want this whole thing to last as long as possible.
That wraps up what we have to tell you about some of the great tap and die sets that you can go out and buy. We hope we’ve given you a taste of what’s out there. And armed you with the information that you’ll make the wisest decision for you. So that all of your threads turn out perfect. Now that you know what you know, the only thing left to do is to grab a tap and die set and get to work.