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.
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 January, 2020
GearWrench 82812 114-Pieces Tap and Die Set – Editor’s Choice
The GearWrench 114 piece tap and die set includes a good selection of handles and adapters that you’ll need to use all of the taps and dies that come with this set.
Anyone that wants to do their own repairs or modifications is going to love the selection of taps and dies that you get with this kit.
The number of popular SAE and metric threads sizes covered by this is a little different if you look at some of the other kits on the market. This often really should cover virtually anything you’re gonna do in home-based or even a small pro workshop.
The two ratcheting handles that come with this kit really do make everything about this outfit work easier. All of the adapters simply plug right into the handles, and once they click in, they don’t fall out until you want them to come out.
The smooth chrome surfaces and the oval shape of the handles make them very comfortable to use. And to make sure you have plenty of leverage, they give you a 7 1/2 inch and 14-inch handles. This ratcheting handles work so well, and they even throw in a 3/8 inch square drive adaptor that you can use with your standard socket sets. Once you use these things a couple of times, you’re gonna find all kinds of uses for them.
And to make sure that you know what size pilot hole’s needed for all 48 of the taps, metric and SAE, they include a chart that makes that very easy to find out.
GearWrench 3887 75PC Ratcheting Tap and Die Set – Best Choice for Wood
If you need help fixing a broken bolt or screw, try using a tap and die set. The dies add or repair threads on bolts or screws and taps add or repair threads in nuts or holes.
With the GearWrench 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Set, you get 34 dies and 34 taps, providing a wide range of sizes. Here is a closer look.
75-Piece GearWrench Set Overview
What’s in the box? The GearWrench set includes the standard assortment of pieces. Everything comes neatly packaged in a hard-shell case with cutouts for each piece.
In the center of the case is the ratcheting T wrench. You also get two tap adapters, a die adapter, a screw pitch gauge, and a screwdriver.
The selection of taps and dies helps this set stand out. It includes a total of 64 bits.
How Does it Perform?
Most modern tap and die sets come with a wrench for attaching the taps and dies. Unfortunately, most wrenches are not comfortable.
GearWrench solved this problem by introducing an ergonomic ratcheting T wrench. Using a ratcheting wrench eliminates the need for hand over hand turning when manually tapping or dying.
As with many budget sets, the bits are made from carbon steel. You can cut or thread most materials, but hardwood and hard alloys may shorten the lifespan of the taps and dies.
Is the 75-piece ratcheting tap and die set from GearWrench a good buy? Compared to other sets in the same price range, you get a wider selection of taps and dies. You also get a comfortable wrench with large ergonomic handles.
If you’re looking for your first tap and die set, this is a good introductory package. It is affordable, easy to use, and suited for a variety of tasks.
Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Tap & Die Set (45 Piece) – Best for Stainless Steel
This Neiko set is made up of large gauge taps and dies. There are 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 issue 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.
Neiko 00912A Titanium Coated Tap and Hexagon Die Set – Well-made and conveinent for threading
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 ten coarse taps and dies and six 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.
TEKTON 7559 Tap and Die Set, Metric, 39-Piece – Wide range of sizes
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.
IRWIN HANSON – Tap and Die Set with Drill Bits
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 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.
Gino Development 02-0554 – Cheap Tap and Die Set
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.
TEKTON 7560 Tap and Die Set, Inch, 45-Piece – Good price point and well made
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.
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.
Lang Tools 2581 26-Piece Tap and Die Set – Vehicle restoration specialty kit
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.
5/8 – 24 Tap and Die Set – Single Tap for specific uses
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.
Micro SAE Tap and Die Set – Specialty kit for small work
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 tap and die set from Klutch include 45 pieces, precision-machined, to cut and fix threads on nuts and bolts.
The metric set includes 20 adjustable dies and 20 plug taps in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 3/4 of a millimeter to three millimeters.
Each set is made of heat-treated, rust-resistant Tungsten steel, with a Rockwell hardness of 58-61 HRC. A satin finish gives it long-lasting durability for years to come. Each set also includes a die handle wrench, a die adapter, an adjustable tap handle wrench, a stubby screwdriver, and a T-handle tap wrench.
It all fits in a convenient blow-molded storage case. When you need a tap and die set for your next project, check out these 45-piece sets from Klutch.
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:
The Neiko 00916A (For large gauge work)
The Lang Tools 2581 (Vehicle restoration kit)
The Micro SAE Tap and Die Set (For small work)
Check our article: How to Remove a Broken Tap
What’s the Difference Between a Tap and Die?
A tap is a long, thin tool used for cutting a thread on the interior of a hole. This enables a screw or bolt to thread through the hole. A die is round and squat and is used to cut the bolt or screw, giving it a threaded surface.
Why Use a Tap and Die Set?
A tap and die set can help with converting a typical bolt into a threaded screw or to clean up and perfect an already existing screw. An alternative to tap and die sets is to use machine tapping, which can help to reduce human error and speed up the process.
What Are the Different Types of Taps?
There are a few distinct options when it comes to choosing a tap. First of all, a plug tap is commonly used at the end of a hole and achieves a neat, polished finish. A second tap is used after the first tap (whatever it is) and is responsible for deepening the threads. People use taper taps if they want to initiate a thread. A form tap disperses the material to create a thread form.
What Are the Different Kinds of Dies?
A circular die can produce a thread in one application. Also, the die tapers one side of the thread to make it easier to use. A two-piece adjustable die takes a longer process to make lengthier threads. The procedure calls for closing the die after every thread. If you come across a hex die, this is for applying an exterior thread.
What Materials Make up the Tap and Die Set?
Typically, a tap and die set is made of steel, although the quality of the steel will vary. Less expensive tap and die sets may use lower-grade steel, which is prone to more damage. The majority of the steel used is carbon steel. Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and reliable, making it another common choice. You may also see alloys made of chromium, molybdenum, and nickel.
What Size Tap and Die Set Do I Need?
A tap and die set may come in metric units or standard American units. Typically, the metric units are used in tap and die sets around the globe while SAE units are used within the United States. SAE International, or the Society of Automotive Engineers, is a professional organization focused on engineering in various industries. They often use SAE to indicate the United States customary units (USCs). An SAE indication is a surefire sign that the tools do not use the metric system. That being said, a decent tap and die set will most likely include a variety of sizes for both the taps and the dies. For example, the plug taps might range in size from 3 x .50 to 12 x 1.75. Different projects will require specific sizes so it helps to get a tap and die set that includes multiple sizes.
How Much Does a Tap and Die Set Cost?
The price is going to depend on several factors. These include the brand, how many accessories and tools are in the set, the quality of the materials used, and the range of sizes within the set, among other things. Because of this, there are large variations in price. Some sets are just $25 while others are several hundred dollars.
How Do You Use a Tap and Die Set?
A tap and die set is used to create new interior threads within a hole. To do that, you first need to choose the correct drill bit to create a new hole that will fit the bolt you want to use. You can drill into any piece of metal that you have lying around. This metal piece is referred to as the “female” part since it is the portion that the bolt is inserted into. Once you have drilled the hole, you can try to tap it, or thread it. You can use a thread pitch gauge to see how far apart the threads should be. Keep in mind that the threads should be a little bit bigger than the hole so that the bolt or screw can fit in. When you have chosen your thread size, you can attach the tap to a manual drill bit and place the tip of the tap into the hole. Press it into the hole, keeping the tap perpendicular to the hole. You should see bits of metal come off to form the threads as you twist the tap carefully. You’re essentially cutting into metal so use caution and be patient.
Can I Remove a Broken Bolt with a Tap and Die Set?
Yes. First, you need to drill a hole into the center of the broken bolt so choose the appropriate drill bit size. Once you drill the hole in the center, you should be able to lock a pair of vice grips into the broken bolt. From there, insert the tap and use a counterclockwise motion to screw it into the hole that you created. When the tap is tight enough, you can start using the extractor to unscrew the broken bolt and get it out of its metal surface.
What Is the Best Brand of Tap and Die Sets?
If you are in the market for a new tap and die set, then you may be wondering which brands are the best. Well, the term “best” is a bit subjective because it depends on several factors such as what your price range is and how big of a set you’re looking for. That being said, some of the most reputable brands out there include Irwin, Tekton, GearWrench, and Neiko but there are plenty of others. For those looking for an inexpensive tap and die set, Gino Development and Neiko have some sets under $40. Irwin and GearWrench have some deluxe sets that include over 100 pieces. It just depends on what it is that you’re looking for.
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.
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 buy the tools they need for their specific projects. And of course, you can always just purchase 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, people own things that aren’t just a 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.