Best Tap and Die Set (Small and Large) – Comparison

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A good tap and die set is a must-have for any serious craftsman or advanced DIYer. It’s important to have a set with consistent quality that’s capable of working with a variety of surfaces.

Best tap and die set

Since many taps and dies are broken out in frustrating moments of your projects, it’s important to have the best tap and die set that won’t add to the overall frustration. We’ll look at ten of the top sets, examining the key features of each and recommending whether or not it’s a good purchase.

Then there will be a brief buyer’s guide at the end with key features to look out for.

 

Best Tap and Die Set of 2018

ImageNameNumber Of PiecesMeasurement SystemMaterial 
IRWIN HANSON
(Editors' Choice)
117MetricSteel Alloy
Neiko 01924A40MetricAlloy steel with a titanium coating
Gino Development 02-055460SAE/MetricAlloy Steel
TEKTON 756045InchAlloy high speed steel
IRWIN Tools Metric Tap and Hex Die Set41MetricAlloy Steel
Neiko 00916A45SAETitanium
Lang Tools 258126SAEAlloy Steel
5/8 - 24 Tap and Die Set1InchHigh-Speed Steel
Micro SAE Tap and Die Set16SAEAlloy Steel
TEKTON 755939MetricHigh-quality milled alloy tool steel

IRWIN HANSON – Tap and Die Set with Drill Bits

tap and die set irwin
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The Irwin fractional and metric set come with a variety of different options, including the number of pieces (ranging from twelve to one hundred and seventeen) and whether you’d like fractional, metric, or fractional and metric.

The one hundred and seventeen piece set is the one to choose for the greatest variety, as it comes with many different dies and taps in a variety of types. There are six machine taps and dies, ten SAE taps and dies, two pipe taps and dies, and sixteen metric taps and dies.

The rest of the set includes the handles, adjusted and not, a two in one wrench, a drill bit set, a screwdriver and a small set to extract screws as well.

The Irwin is fairly well reviewed for moderate use. It works with a variety of metals, and the only real customer complaint is that the handle tends to loosen up a little bit over time, causing some slippage. For the most part, the Irwin handles delicate work well but is durable enough that it can be used on more robust projects as well. The fact that it works in metric and standard is also a huge selling point for many, eliminating the need for another set.

The Irwin is recommended for anyone who needs a comprehensive kit for light or hobby use, like car renovations, hobby work, etc. It might prove a little frustrating for professionals or someone who uses it every day.
Pros
  • One hundred and seventeen peices
  • Durable but still suited for delicate work
  • Metric and Standard taps and dies
  • Adjusted and non-adjusted handles
Cons
  • Handles may wear down over time

Neiko 00912A Titanium Coated Tap and Hexagon Die Set – Well-made and conveinent for threading

Neiko 00912A
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The Neiko tap and die set comes in either standard or metric. The entire set is made of GCr15 alloy steel and coated with titanium.

The metric set comes with 10 coarse taps and dies and 6 fine thread ones. There’s also a 1/8″ tap and die, and then the wrenches that come with them. Neiko also includes a screwdriver and pitch gauge.

Neiko’s set includes everything needed for threading, meaning that you won’t have to bring another kit along. This set is generally well reviewed, with customers pleased for the amount of value they receive for the price.

Overall, most people using this set on softer metals and plastic, not on harder metals like cast iron. The Neiko holds up well to weekend or hobbyist use but might wear down quicker under the constant strain of a professional application. All in all, most buyers are pleased with the value for their money.

The Neiko 00912A set is easy to recommend for light users, or for someone who might only need to use a tap and die set occasionally. It’s also important to consider what types of materials it will be used on since it seems to work best on soft metals and plastics.
Pros
  • Well made and machined
  • Everything nessecary to repair or make threads
  • Works well overall
Cons
  • Works best on plastic/soft metal
  • Not reccomended for professional use

Gino Development 02-0554 – Cheap Tap and Die Set

best tap and die set for the money
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This sixty piece set includes both coarse and fine taps and dies. There are fractional dies as well as an NPT and some metrics.

The taps and dies that the set comes with are:
Numbered: #4 -40 to #12 -24
Fractional: 1/4″ – 28 to 1/2″ – 20
NPT: One 1/8″ -27
Metric: M3 x .5 to M12 x 1.75

There’s also a gauge, two handles, and a chuck.
The entire set is comprised of alloy steel and comes in a protective case. Unfortunately, the tap list is incomplete and some of the taps in the range above are not included.

The Gino set is pretty well reviewed, with most reviewers taking on a “you get what you pay for” mindset. some people had issues with receiving the right taps and dies or with the taps and dies being stamped incorrectly or not at all. Most people view it as a good starter kit, or for people who might only need the set once or twice.

The Gino set is not recommended. The fact that some people have a hard time receiving the set completely, and have pieces that are mismarked or not marked at all. Of course, given the incomplete listing and lack of information of what they will be receiving, it’s little wonder many are confused. Many people seem satisfied with the set in regards to the amount of money they’ve spent, and that’s fair, but for our purposes, we need a little bit more of a recommendation that, “You get what you pay for”.
Pros
  • Well-priced
Cons
  • Listing is vague/poor
  • Taps are incomplete/unmarked
  • Some people recieive duplicates or are missing peices

TEKTON 7560 Tap and Die Set, Inch, 45-Piece – Good price point and well made

tap and die set advance auto parts
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This Tekton set comes in either Inch or Metric options. The set is made up of tungsten steel alloy, and it has 3,4,5 and 6 flute tap and dies.

There are both coarse and fine threaded taps, ten of each. There’s also two t-handle wrenches, a die stock, and an adapter. The set also comes with a screwdriver, and the entire set comes in a nice storage case. The dies themselves are rated for alloy steel, carbon, cast iron, aluminum, brass, and bronze.

This Tekton set is fairly well rated. The few complaints have been based on the handles themselves and not the dies. The dies themselves are durable and long-lasting, but the handles get looser over time, leading to damage if the handle slips off in the middle of a project.

The Tekton set is recommended for anyone who’s willing to put in a little work to make the set work for them. The taps and dies themselves are good quality, though the handle might create some frustration. However, if you’re willing to work a little bit to get it to work, it’s a useful tool with a good value for the price.
Pros
  • Varied sizes of taps and dies
  • 3,4,5 and 6 flutes for more projects/uses
  • Taps themselves are sturdy and durable
Cons
  • Case feels cheaply made
  • Handle itself does not hold tight, slips off

IRWIN Tools Metric Tap and Hex Die Set, 41-Piece (26317) – Best Choice for Wood

IRWIN Tools Metric
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This Irwin set is forty-one pieces, with one three millimeter tap and then all four to twelve-millimeter taps coming in both fine and course size.

This makes for nineteen taps in all. Ther set comes with a manufacturer’s inventory and three wrenches, a TR-88, a TR-73, and a TR-50. It also comes with a pitch gauge and a screwdriver. It comes with a plastic case that’s neatly organized.

The set is fairly high reviewed, with high-quality taps and dies, as well as handles that seem to perform better than some of the other contenders on this list.

This set seems to fulfill the mid-range need that many people have when they’re looking for tap and die sets. They need something nice enough that it will last for a while, but not too expensive since they’re only using it every so often. The Irwin set also comes nicely packaged and organized, with two trays to hold everything nicely.

This Irwin set is recommended for any light hobbyists and people who need a serviceable set to use every so often. We’re not sure if it would stand up to the everyday wear-and-tear or professional or shop use, but it’s a nice set and an easy recommendation for anyone who’s looking to move up in quality from their starter kits.
Pros
  • Wide variety of both coarse and fine taps
  • Nicely organized set and durable case
  • Taps and dies are high quality, with the handle working well too
Cons
  • Only one three mm tap

Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Large-Diameter Titanium Tap & Die Set (45 Piece) – Best for Stainless Steel

complete tap and die set
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This Neiko set is made up of large gauge taps and dies. There’s ten UNC taps and dies, and ten UNF taps and dies. The set is made of titanium and seems to be well made.

The overall reviews are positive, with most people pleased with both the price and the additional number of sizes. The taps themselves are durable, with no concerns of them shearing off or wearing down over time.

The only issues some people had was the lack of plug sizes large enough for all of the sizes. Others mentioned that they needed to use a bit more lubricant than they had originally expected.

There isn’t much more information available on this set, which is normally a red flag for us. However, the reviews are so good, and the ratings are excellent as well, so this may just be a case of very little needed to say or extras to explain. The set performs as intended, and there are few to no customer issues, so that very well might be the case.

We do recommend the Neiko large gauge set at this time, since what information we do have is positive, and reviews are good. Since large gauge taps and dies might be a little off the beaten path for some craftsman, it’s a good option to have available, and a well-made recommendation.
Pros
  • Variety of larger sizes
  • Titanium taps and dies are well made and long lasting
  • Good price for the set
Cons
  • Not enough plugs for all sizes
  • Needs more lubricant than expected

Lang Tools 2581 26-Piece Thread Restorer Tap and Die Set – Vehicle restoration specialty kit

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This Lang tools set is billed as a set primarily for car restoration. The set itself is SAE, with both fine and coarse threaded taps. There are six fine thread and six coarse thread sizes, with the corresponding dies to match.

There are seven of each type of die, however. The set is rated to work on car restorations, including engine blocks, and is indeed what most reviewers seem to have purchased it for.

The reviews are very good on this set. Customers like the sizes of taps and die available, and enjoy the good quality and durability of this set. The overall impression is that for car restoration, this smaller kit is absolutely worth the money and perfect for dealing with the issues that arise during a car rebuild.

The only real complaint seemed to be that the packaging was disposable, meaning that someone would have to purchase a new case or box to keep everything together eventually, as the plastic would break down over time.

This Lang set is recommended for anyone who’s looking to renovate or restore an old vehicle. The set itself is designed with this in mind, and provides the key tap and die sizes that you would need to accomplish most of the tasks a restoration would require.
Pros
  • Durable and well made components
  • Taps and Dies are meant for restoration/geared towards that
  • No breaking, warping or otherwise wearing down of rhe metal
Cons
  • No permanent packaging

5/8 – 24 Tap and Die Set – Single Tap for specific uses

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This Merlintools tap and die set includes one 5/8 tap and the corresponding die. The tap is high-speed steel and the threading is extra fine.

This is a single die, meant for those who know what die they need. If you’re doing a special project that requires a certain type, or if you’re just trying to fill some gaps in your collection, this is certainly a good choice.

This 5/8 die reviews very well with customers happy with their overall purchase and the way it performs.

Many were pleased with its durability, even cutting through stainless steel. The few complaints there were had to deal with the die itself is a little too tight, but this didn’t inhibit the function of the product or otherwise damage the tap. Customers also felt that it was fairly priced for a single die.

If you’re just looking for a tap and die for a particular project, or need to replace the one you already have, this Merlintools is a great recommendation. The one die set is a minimalistic and elegant solution for those who only need a particular bolt or thread size.
Pros
  • Only the size you need
  • Durable and long lasting
  • High Speed Steel
Cons
  • Die can be tight
  • No coarse thread

Micro SAE Tap and Die Set – Specialty kit for small work

small set
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This SAE set is for smaller work like electronics and models. The sizes measure #0-90, #1-64, #2-56, #3-48 and #4-40 UNC and #0-80, #1-72, #2-64, and #3-56 UNF. There is one handle for both the taps and the dies. The set comes in its own storage case and is rated for use in metal and plastic.

This set reviews well. It’s obviously meant for very delicate work, which means the taps can be easier to break if there’s pressure on the sides, but this is a set meant for micro work, so some care will need to be taken.

Some people are also frustrated with the two-in-one handle since you have to really tighten it to get it to grip the taps. The actual taps and dies themselves stand up well, though a few people have had issues with dulling over time.

The set as a whole stands up well though, and for a few small delicate tasks should serve you well.

This set is recommended for any sort of fine work, that needs more delicate tools. The tools themselves are good quality, though long-time users might want to invest in a new handle.
Pros
  • Suited for small work
  • Taps and dies and strong/high tolerance
Cons
  • Handle is difficult to use
  • Few instances of taps dulling slightly, being diccifult to grab or start holes with

TEKTON 7559 Tap and Die Set, Metric, 39-Piece – Wide range of sizes

tekton7558
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This TEKTON 7559 set comes in either metric or inch options, so you can choose the best fit for you. The 39 piece set contains seventeen taps and seventeen dies.

Both range from three to twelve millimeters. Along with the taps and dies, you will also receive a long handle and a T handle tap wrench, a die stock, a 1/8 inch flathead, and one gauge for thread pitches. The taps and dies are both tapered plug style.

These are good for handwork and can be used on a variety of metals, including cast iron, brass and bronze, aluminum and alloy varieties of carbon and steel.
The Tekton set is pretty poorly reviewed, with many customers expressing frustration about the poor handle quality and the fact that the bits are difficult to work with. Many had bits or handle break off in the middle of their first project, and their frustration is understandable.

The overall product is a little bit Jekyll and Hyde, with some customers reporting a nice experience, but others not even getting through one task or project without experiencing problems. Tekton’s customer service is involved online, and quick to offer replacements to belay any frustration, but the overall effect is still concerning.

The Tekton is not recommended. Too many inconsistencies in the product mean that there’s no quality control, and that means that there’s no possible way to guarantee a good product or good customer experience. With this many poor reviews, it’s impossible to recommend the set.
Pros
  • Variety of taps and dies, both coarse and fine
Cons
  • Inconsistencies in product
  • Poor handles/taps
  • Metal is brittle/poor quality

Best Tap and Die Set – Buyer’s Guide

Now we will look at a few separate selling points or main features of the sets we’ve covered above. Hopefully, this guide will help you narrow down exactly what you’re looking for so you can know where to start with your shopping.

Since Tap and Die sets will be a very project and user-specific type of tool, we’ve started with very broad categories, so you can decide which big feature is most important to you, then narrow your options down from there.

If you need a variety of pieces with more than one measurement system:

If you need a set with more than three & four flutes:

If you need a set with both coarse and fine threaded taps:

If you need a specialty set:

Check our article: How to Remove a Broken Tap

Conclusion

The basic function of taps and dies haven’t changed over the years, and neither has their design. However, the components have changed a little bit, with alloys and titanium coatings becoming more the norm. Fortunately, there are still options out there for people who like good-old-fashioned steel.

Wrench style has also changed, with some toolkits changing to two-in-ones and some staying with more traditional T-handles. It’ll be up to the buyer to decide with the version they like more, or simply find less frustrating.

tap and die set for wood

Specialty kits are on the rise also, meaning that you won’t have to buy an entire tap and die kit for the few taps or dies you actually need to use to finish a project. We’re seeing this with specific sizes like larger gauges or micro kits for electronics work. There are also specialty kits for restorers too, so they can just buy the tools they need for their specific projects. And of course, you can always just buy single dies if you only need just one.

This focus on customer needs and no extras are becoming more and more the norm with tool companies, and it leads to our next trend, not segregating measurement systems anymore.

The mixture of metric and SAE is also becoming more popular, with more users needing tools that fit into more than one measuring system. Often times people own things that aren’t just metric or SAE.

The old norm used to be having to buy two separate sets, but these days more and more companies are combining them for customer convenience. The overall effect is tools that are more suited for more people, and allow users to choose the best experience for them.

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Mark

Mark

Hi, I am the main redactor of ToolsDuty. I hope my guides will help you to choose the best tools for your purposes.
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