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If you are doing a lot of work in your home shop or garage, a tap and die set might not be the first tool that pops into the mind or even the first one that will find its way into your shop. But if you are looking to round out your shop, having one of these sets will be a great addition.
And if you are looking to get one, you might as well look into picking up the best tap and die set on the market. Though, since this is a toolset that most people are not overly familiar with, allow us to add a little bit of information to your quest to pick out the best tap and die set for your needs.
In this article, we’ll first take a look at the top six sets that are currently on the market. While we will, of course, look at the reasons each of these choices is great, we’ll also point out a few areas where they come up a little short, if applicable.
After that, we’ll launch into our buyer’s guide. Since some people might not know all the ins and outs, this will help give you a diving off point, so if you have no clue what these tools do you can figure it all out.
Best Tap and Die Set – Our Top Picks Compared
|Irwin Hanson Machine Screw/Frational/Metric Tap and Hex Die and Drill Bit Deluxe Set
|Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel SAE/Metric Tap and Die Set
|Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Large-Diameter Titanium Tap & Die Set
|GearWrench 82812 Large Combination Tap and Die Set
|Craftsman Tap & Die Carbon Steel Set
|Mirco SAE Tap and Die Set
Tap and Die Set Reviews
Let’s start off by going over our top picks for top tap die set. Each of these is a solid contender in their own right. While we have highlighted both our picks for the best product and the best value, you will want to look at each product as one could be the just right option for your particular set up and needs.
We’ve ticked off each of the basics for these choices then launched into a more in-depth review of the set. Remember that picking the right set from the very beginning can save you a good chunk of money in the long run.
IRWIN HANSON Machine Screw/Fractional/Metric Tap and Hex Die and Drill Bit Deluxe Set
- Number of Pieces: 117
- Case: Yes
If you are looking for our pick for the best tap and die set on the market, you’ll need to look no further than our choice for the best product in the category, the Irwin Hanson Machine Screw/Frational/Metric Tap and Hex Die and Drill Bit Deluxe Set. All of the pieces in this set were made from high strength carbon steel and are designed to be a long lasting set.
The set stores all 117 pieces in its molded plastic case making sure that you not only have access to the most commonly needed size pieces, but they are also easily stored so that you can quickly find just the one that you want.
In addition to taps and dies this set also has a number of screw extractors, so that if you need to get a broken piece out of a hole then make a new bolt to fit the hole you’ll be able to do so easily.
Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel SAE/Metric Tap and Die Set
- Number of Pieces: 60
- Case: Yes
Of course, not all sets have to cost you a lot of money. Our pick for the best value for the money is a great tap and die set that won’t break the bank.
The Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel SAE/Metric Tap and Die Set is a great one if you know you need to do some tap and die work but don’t need everything under the sun. This set will cover both SAE sizes as well as metric. These pieces have been crafted from a hardened steel and are made in China.
This is perhaps the best tap and die set for the money and it helps keep you organized by keeping everything in its hard place case so it will be easy to find just the size that you are looking for. While this kit is a great one to start with, if you find yourself using it heavily it may be time to upgrade to a kit that is a bit sturdier.
Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Large-Diameter Best Titanium Tap & Die Set
- Number of Pieces: 45
- Case: Yes
If you are looking for the best tap and die set for large gauge work the one that really stands out is the Neiko 00916A SAE Pro-Grade Large-Diameter Titanium Tap & Die Set.
These pieces are all made from professional grade steel so that you won’t have to worry about them wearing out or breaking on you. These larger gauge pieces are a fantastic choice if you are looking to do custom work, as it can be rather hard to find the pieces that are just the right size for your need.
One thing that you will notice from the name of the kit is that this is a kit that is only sized for SAE increments. If you are looking to work with metric sizing Neiko does make a similar kit with those sized pieces in it. This kit has pieces for both coarse and fine threads so that you get just what you need.
GearWrench Tap and Die Set 82812 Large Combination
- Number of Pieces: 114
- Case: Yes
If you love GearWrench’s products there is no need to fear, as the best GearWrench tap and die set has made our list as well, the GearWrench 82812 Large Combination Tap and Die Set.
This set sports 48 taps and 48 dies. Another great perk of this set is that it features two sizes of ratcheting T handles that means all of your operations using this set up will be that much faster as you won’t have to keep repositioning your hands. All the pieces are crafted from top quality carbon tool steel, so they should be with your for a good long time.
The blown plastic case has a place for each piece to snap into place, meaning that you will be able to quickly find the right sized pieces when you need to as well as see at a glance if you have all your tools put away when the job is done.
Craftsman Tap & Die Carbon Steel Set
- Number of Pieces: 75
- Case: Yes
Some people will swear by there Craftsman tools and the legacy behind them. With that in mind, there is no way that we could leave off the Craftsman Tap & Die Carbon Steel Set, the best Craftsman tap & die set on the market.
This set as the name clues you into is crafted from carbon steel, so you won’t need to worry about this set wearing out or breaking down on you. And they are all brought up to a satin finish, this extra detail makes cutting new threads or repairing old ones quick and easy.
This kit includes both SAE and metric sizes, making sure that you are ready for just about anything that your car might throw your way. And they are all easily stored and ready at a moments notice in the Craftsman red and black case.
Micro SAE Best Tap and Die Set for Small Work
- Number of Pieces: 30
- Case: Yes
If you are looking to do precise work, you’ll want the best tap and die set for small work. In our eyes that would go to the Mirco SAE Tap and Die Set.
This set, as the name would tell you, is sized in SAE increments, but they do offer a metric set as well. All of the pieces are made for small scale work.
The dies are all labeled HSS, denoting High Strength Steel. One thing to note is that with taps of this size they are able to break easily if you don’t have everything lined up properly.
This set does come with a case that can be quite handy for keeping everything organized, due to their small size. Another thing to keep on your mind with any set this small is that you might have trouble starting with the smaller sized dies.
Tap and Die Sets – Buyer’s Guide
What is Tap and Die Set and What is it Used For?
The first thing that needs to be considered is what is it that a tap and die set can do for you:
- A tap is a tool that is used for cutting threads into a hole. If you had a hole that you needed to screw something into, a tap like this is just what you need. To be clear, this isn’t a drill for making the hole, just the tool to add threads.
- A die tool on the other hand cuts the matching threads onto a rod. This allows you to make bolts that are just the size that you need. Additionally, a die can be used to fix a bolt or screw whose threads have worn down over time.
In the garage, this means that you can fashion new bolts and fix old ones so that you can make sure the everything on your ride is secure. Also, these are fantastic additions if you are looking to get into restoring older cars.
How to Use Tap and Die Set?
Using a tap and die set is rather simple, but you’ll want to be precise while doing it. You’ll use the tap for adding threads to a hole that is drilled and the die for adding threads to a section of metal to make a bolt.
For the Tap
This set up won’t drill a hole for you, so if you don’t already have a hole you’ll need to drill it. Be careful to drill your hole at straight as possible.
- Select the right size tap and put it into your systems holder
- After placing the tip of the tap in the hole, ensure that you are in line with the hole (straight up and down)
- Begin turning clockwise with even pressure on both handles to ensure that you keep going straight
- When you reach the bottom of the hole you’ll turn the tap the otherway
Now you hole has threads and is ready to have things screwed into it.
For the Die
This will add threads to a piece of metal so that it can be used as a bolt. You’ll need to size the die that you are using for the size of your metal rod as well as if you need course or fine threads.
- After selecting the size, make sure that your die is mounted properly
- Turn your rod through the die (or die around the rod) clockwise being sure the keep the bolt level
- At the end turn the system counter clockwise to ensure that all your threads are properly cut.
Now you should have a bolt the size you needed.
If you need further tips, Wikipedia has a nice article on tap & die sets, here.
What to Look for When Considering Purchasing?
If you are looking to figure out which set you should look at picking up, there are a number of features and details that you should keep on your mind.
Sizes and Measurement Systems
The first thing to look into is the variety of sizes and which measurement system is used. If your car’s parts are measured in either all inches or millimeters you can look for a set that just covers one system (like SAE). On the other hand, you might want to look at a set that supports both systems to give you a wider usage.
Number of Pieces
Another consideration to keep in mind is to look at the number of pieces that come with the set. In that number of pieces you want to look for both one that covers a good deal of sizes that you might want to work with, but you should also look at one with a few copies of the smaller size taps.
If you aren’t careful the small ones can break off, so having a few spare on hand is never a bad idea. You’ll want to have the ability to do both coarse and fine threads as well.
How Much is and Where to Buy a Tap and Die Set?
When you are looking at a tap and die set there is quite a range of prices. Don’t think that just because one is more expensive that makes it the best set out there though. There are some quality sets that can run you about $40 or so (like out best value choice: Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel SAE/Metric Tap and Die Set). While some other sets can cost up to $300 or more.
A lot goes into the price and while one piece is quality another is how many sizes and options your set contains. If you just need a few a lower price option could be a good choice, while some of the bigger sets can help future proof your needs.
Another question that might come up is where to purchase one of these sets. Generally, you aren’t going to find these at a lot of the big box stores, so you’ll have to go to a more specialty store and even there you aren’t guaranteed to find a particular set that you are looking for.
You’ll want to order online, probably from a site that offers a wide selection. And since these tools can get a bit heavy, somewhere like Amazon that has a great shipping policy would be a fantastic choice.
This is a tool that you want to be able to buy a quality item for. Starting off if you break a piece of your set or need to add additional sizes, going with a well known company will give you more of a chance to easily add sizes and pieces to your set as needed. Also, a more solid set will be less likely to break or give you poor threads for those one shot uses, like restoring a classic car.
Tap and Die Sets – The Bottom Line
And with that, you should have everything you need to know on selecting the best tap and die set for your particular needs. While this is a tool that might not need to be in everyone’s shop just to change the oil and filter, the fact of the matter is that when you need one, nothing else will do.
We started off by going over 6 of the best sets that are currently on the market. While any of these might be a great option, based on your particular needs and goals, we felt that the true stand out was the best Irwin tap and die set that we’ve come across, the Irwin Hanson Machine Screw/Frational/Metric Tap and Hex Die and Drill Bit Deluxe Set. We feel that this 117 piece set covers just about everything that you might need.
After that, we took a look at a bit of a buyer’s guide for these tools. While they aren’t the most complicated tools on the market, it does help to get a bit of information on them when you are first starting your quest to find the set that will work well in your garage.
Lastly, we’d love to hear from you. What set did you end up going with? Let us know in the comments section below.
Last update on 2024-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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