Tap and die sets come in a variety of different styles. While they’re mainly for creating screw threads, they can also be used for forming or cutting materials. If a person is forming threads by using a die, then the process is known as threading, and if a person is cutting or forming threads using a tap, then that process is called threading. In any case, if the consumer is going to need to do this sort of work, then they’re going to need to purchase the best tap and die set that they can find. One that has all of the tools that they need, has everything nicely organized, and doesn’t cost a small fortune. We’ve found three such models, and we’d like to introduce them to all of our readers who are looking to purchase a new tap and die set.
Quick Summary of Tap And Die Sets
Gearwrench Ratcheting SAE/Metric Set
Gearwrench is a company that’s been making quality tools for quite some time, so we knew that they were capable of delivering a great tap and die set. What we didn’t know at the time, however, was just how good it was going to be until we actually reviewed it. This product is a model that has most of the taps and dies that the consumer is going to need for non-professional use.
Now, let us clarify our statement. We say it has most of the taps and dies, we mean it contain most of the ones that the consumer is likely to need. However, it’s not a big enough set to contain some of the more esoteric pieces that some of the professional sets. That’s okay in our opinion because if this set did have every single piece that many professionals would need, then it would be a set that costs well over $200.
What this 75-piece tap and die set has, however, is a handy case that keeps everything safe and organized. This plastic blow-molded case keeps each piece in place and the dies are accurately marked so the consumer can easily identify the parts they need. In this set, the consumer is going to find 34 taps, 34 dies, a #5 screwdriver, a medium tap adapter, a die adapter, a sliding “T” adapter, and the most impressive part of the set—the ratcheting “T” wrench. The T-wrench gives the consumer a five-degree ratcheting arc with a reversible lever that allows for quick changes from the forward position to the reverse position. This can help the consumer from hand turning too much while they’re working.
All of these features come together to make this product one of the best tap-and-die sets available. Yes, this isn’t a professional set, but it isn’t marketed as one either. It’s designed for DIY and semi-professional workers who need a set that has many of the taps and dies they’ll need. And in that category, it’s a huge success.
- This set has ratcheting T-handles.
- This set’s case keeps everything organized.
- Has the right amount of parts
EFFICERE Threading & Rethreading Kit
Another tap and die set that we’d recommend is this one from EFFICERE. Although we wouldn’t rate this 60-piece set as a professional toolset, we do think that it will serve the needs of most people. We believe that this set is good for a wide variety of different applications including plumbing, auto repairs, machinery repairs, and the fabrication of metal. It’s a set that can be used to chase threads that already exist or to cut new threads.
All of the cutting teeth on these tools are heat treat and CNC machines so that the consumer gets the best threading performance every single time. Its versatile design is just what the doctor ordered for repairing or creating new threads on a variety of materials including stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, cast iron, brass, and aluminum.
This set comes with an adjustable tap handle; a slotted screwdriver; two thread pitch gauges; a small T-type tap handle; an adjustable die handle and a storage case. The case is made from plastic and is designed to not only protect the tools but also keep them organized. And on both counts, it does that quite well.
Additional pieces found in this set include twenty metric taps and dies from M3x0.5 through M12x1.75; twenty SAE fractional taps and dies for coarse threads from 4-40 NC through 1/2-13 NC; and twelve fractional taps and dies for fine threads from 10-32 NF through 1/8-27 NPT. And because these tools are made from Gcr15 bearing steel, the consumer can rest assured that it’s a durable set ready for just about anything.
This set might not have all of the tools that professionals need, for consumers who are performing DIY activities at home, this is a reasonably priced tool and die set that will get the job done. And it’s for that reason we’ve decided to put it into the number two position on our list.
- This is a very inexpensive tap-and-die set.
- The case keeps everything nice and organized.
- Contains many of the popular sizes.
- This is not a professional set.
Neiko SAE Large-Diameter Titamium 45-Piece Set
The last tool and die set on our list is this one from Neiko. This is a set that we think has many of the tools that DIY enthusiasts are going to need for home use and even many of the tools that some people are going to need for their jobs. And all of these tools are made from high-quality alloy steel that’s been coated with titanium for added durability. All of these facts allow it to make it on our list of the best tool and die sets, but one thing kept it from reaching our number one spot. That one thing is the fact that it’s a little expensive for a 45-piece set.
With that said, we do think that it will work well for most people. This set contains ten UNC dies that range from 1/4-20 through 1-8; ten UNF dies that range in size from 1/4-20 through 1-14; ten UNC taps that range from 1/4-20 through 1-8; and ten UNF taps that range from 1/4-20 through 1-14. It also comes with a T-handle tap wrench, adjustable die wrench, a screwdriver, and a thread pitch gauge. Each piece has also been engraved with its size, so the consumer never has to worry about if they have the right size. And finally, it comes with a case that keeps everything organized and ready for use.
We think this is a good selection of tools that are useful for most people—we just don’t think that it has enough of the pieces that professionals might need. It’s a good 45-piece set, albeit a little expensive, that should serve most DIY enthusiasts and home mechanics well.
- These tools are made from high-quality Alloy steel.
- Comes with a blow-molded plastic case.
- Each piece is engraved with its size.
- This costs more than other DIY sets.
A Guide To Buying The Best Tap And Die Sets
Although we feel that the three tap-and-die sets that we’ve selected are the best ones on the market, we do understand that some of our readers might be looking for something different and merely need some information to put them on the right path. To help our readers find the tap and die sets that work for them, we’ve decided to write a guide on the subject. We hope that this guide is one that will help our readers navigate all of the sets out there and choose the one that suits them the best.
How Versatile Are The Taps?
One of the most important things that consumers should think about is how versatile is the set that they need. Some of the large professional tap and die sets that are used for metalworkers can contain well over 125+ pieces, and this is especially true if the set not only contains SAE pieces but also metric pieces as well. When we mention versatility, we not only mean a variety of different sizes, but also a variety of other tools. Below are some of the common tools that can be found in tap and die sets that increase its versatility.
These taps are designed to finish a thread pattern. They’re designed to cut all the way through the material so that bolts can be threaded properly. Their small unthreaded ends make them unsuitable for starting a tap, which is why they’re for finishing taps.
These are called taper taps because they taper down to a smaller diameter. These taps are designed for initial threading and make anyone’s job of starting a thread easier.
Plug taps are probably the most versatile of all of the taps we’ve mentioned thus far. These can be used for both starting and finishing threads in a pinch. With that said, however, taper taps are best for starting a thread and finishing taps are best for finishing threads, but plug taps can be pressed into service when needed.
How Versatile Are The Dies?
It’s also important for the consumer to think about the dies. When it comes to tap and die sets, there are three basic dies to think about. These dies are Die Nuts, Circular Dies, And Split-Circular Dies. Let’s examine each one briefly before moving on to wrenches.
Die nuts are designed for sharpening existing tools and not for manufacturing new ones. That makes them an important tool finishing up the threading process.
Circular dies are used to cut threads into a bolt’s exterior. As such, they’re one of the most well-represented dies in any toolset.
These dies are designed for cutting shallow threads initially and then to cut the threads deeper as the die is tightened around the bolt.
Let’s Talk About Wrenches
Now that we’ve covered taps and dies, it’s time to turn our attention to wrenches. A basic tap and die set is going to need a Tap Wrench and a Die Wrench. Those two tools are the minimum for any set. Some of the professional sets not only contain these but also contain a Ratcheting Tap & Die Wrench. Let’s look at these three wrenches briefly before moving on.
As we stated, tap wrenches are the basic wrenches needed for one of these sets. These are thin bars that have adjustable teeth and a rectangular opening. They fasten around the taps’ end so it can be used to cut threads without the user worrying about it slipping.
These wrenches are similar to tap wrenches, but their opening is in the middle. This allows them to accept dies. These dies are usually attached to the wrench with a set of screws.
Ratcheting Tap & Die Wrench
These wrenches kind of automate the cutting process. They allow the user to cut clockwise, but won’t loosen if it’s used counterclockwise—not unless the consumer releases it first. This allows it to operate very much like a socket wrench.
Other Features To Consider
As we cruise towards the end of this guide, we’d like to list some of the other accessories and features that consumers might want to think about before purchasing their tool and die set. The following features and accessories listed below are just as important as other things that we’ve talked about so far, we just don’t have the space to go into them in detail.
- Metric & SAE Sizes
- The Construction Of The Tool Set
- The Quality Of The Storage Case
- Whether The Taps & Dies Are Engraved With Their Sizes