Top 3 Best Tap And Die Sets 2021:
- Best Overall Value – GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die Set
- Best Budget Option – Efficere 40 Piece Tap and Die Set
- Premium Pick – GearWrench 82812 Tap and Die Set
Screws and bolts are the most essential parts of every machine, but the element that holds them together so well is the thread.
No matter whether you are a DIY handyman or a professional mechanic, you know just how badly you depend on these little metal objects. Today, we’re not going to talk about buying screws and bolts; no, we’re going to talk about making your own.
In this article, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the best tap and die sets – the tools used for cutting threads into pieces of metal.
It’s understandable that such a delicate job requires the best of equipment, and that’s where our reviews jump in. We’re going to scrutinize some of the top brands on today’s market and help you choose the best one for you.
Let’s get into it!
Factors To Consider When Shopping For A Tap And Die Set
As with all other products, there is a great variety of brands to choose from when going out to buy a tap and die set. Naturally, it’s easy to find yourself confused amidst this vast offer, but you can solve this problem by learning exactly what to look for.
Which material should you choose? How much does the price influence quality? These are just some of the dilemmas that we’ll address in this section.
Read the following passages carefully, and you’ll be equipped with the necessary knowledge of what to look for when buying a tap and die set.
1. Tap And Die Types
As you’ve probably assumed, there are several different kinds of taps and dies within each set. Each of them is used for a specific purpose, so the greater the variety in your set, the more versatile it will be. Let’s take a look at them:
- Taper taps – This type is the easiest to use, which makes it perfect for beginners. Taper taps’ threads are quite small and flat, and you don’t need to use a lot of force with them. They are also known as starter taps because they can be used to start a blind hole which can then be refined with other kinds of taps.
- Plug taps – Plug taps can be seen as a kind of a “second-level” in terms of difficulty of use. The reason for this is that they don’t have as many flat tapered threads as taper taps do on their tip, so it’s going to be harder to get them going. However, they have a significant advantage over tapered taps when using them on blind holes – they get the job done quicker.
- Bottoming taps– Unlike the previous two types, bottoming taps do not have any flattened threads at the beginning, which means that you will be able to get a full, quality thread all the way down to the bottom of the hole. Bottoming threads are what you “graduate to” when you get good at using the set. They can be used by themselves, which can be a bit difficult, but their main purpose is to finish the threads started with a taper tap.
- Circular dies – Circular dies can be used to make complete threads in a few simple motions. They are slightly tapered, so you can think of them as the die counterpart of a tapered tap. Also, they’re the easiest to use, which makes them suitable for beginners.
- Two-piece adjustable dies – This kind is used when one needs to make a long thread. However, this requires several sequences of cutting operations, so only a skilled handyman will be able to use them properly.
The last thing that you need to know is that all of these tools come in different sizes, so you can look for the ones that you need.
2. Number Of Parts
Tieing into the previous factor is the number of parts that a set contains. What you need to realize is that the rule “the more, the merrier” doesn’t necessarily apply here.
Here’s what I mean.
If you take two sets of a similar price, and one set has many more parts than the other, know that something suspicious is going on. It could be that the set with fewer parts is overpriced, or that the set with more parts is of lower quality.
How do you know which case it is? It’s tough to tell. Your best bet would be to check what other users have to say about it online.
On the other hand, some folks might be looking for many different parts on purpose because they need a versatile set. If you’re one of those people, make sure always to check the quality of the set on multiple levels.
Check if the many elements that you will get are actually useful. For example, a company might be offering a lot of “filler” parts that do not add much value to the kit (screwdrivers, etc.) just to increase the part-count.
It might seem like a minor detail, but trust us, it isn’t, especially if you’re going for a set with a lot of parts. Given that taps and dies are made from steel, the purpose of the case isn’t necessarily protection, but keeping the tools organized.
With this being said, it’s best to get a set with a hard plastic case as it does an excellent job of keeping all the parts in place. A well-designed case will save you a lot of time and frustration when using the set, and will also make it convenient to transport the tools wherever you need them.
Quality is sometimes an ambiguous term that often gets overlooked by shoppers. What exactly determines “quality” when talking about tap and die sets?
Well, you might have guessed it already – it’s the material. It goes without saying that the sturdier the material, the more durable and thus more quality the set will be, but this will also increase the price.
For example, the sturdiest material used to make taps and dies is high-speed steel. It’s great for heavy-duty industrial-scale jobs, so you can expect that it costs a lot.
If the price is all you care about and you don’t plan to do a lot of volume with your set, then you might want to consider steel alloy. This is the cheapest and the least quality option out there, so you can expect it to get worn out quickly.
A golden middle between high-speed steel and steel alloy is definitely carbon a.k.a. high-carbon steel. It’s durable, hard, and should last a long time if not used for industrial purposes. Also, it’s price-to-quality ratio is more than satisfying.
See Also: The Best Case Trimmer
10 Best Tap And Die Sets In 2021: Detailed Reviews
Ok, so now that we’ve learned all the crucial factors, it’s time to move on to some tap and die sets that we liked a lot. Check out the reviews and chances are that you’ll find something suitable for you!
Finding a fully functional, high-quality set with a lot of different parts is probably the greatest challenge a buyer faces today. Luckily, we might have found a set that fits this description, and it comes from GearWrench.
This tap and die set is suitable for both professionals and those who need a good kit for personal use. It’s a multitude of parts guarantee that you’ll be able to resolve any screw and thread-based obstacle that comes your way.
The GearWrench 82812 includes an amazing 114 carbon pieces, thus encompassing all that you’ll ever need for this particular purpose. When speaking of tap and die types, it has several sizes of taper and plug taps, a total number of which is 48. It also has 48 corresponding circular dies, but none two-piece dies.
What’s unique about GearWrench’s products is their patented Twist Lock Guide System which minimizes back walk and keeps dies centered while you’re using them. If you’ve ever worked with these tools before, you know that this feature can save you a lot of frustration.
Another great thing about this set is that it really doesn’t have any filler parts, as one could expect from such a high number of pieces. Besides taps and dies, you’ll get some wrenches, adapters, and that’s pretty much it. Rest assured that all of the components can be put to good use.
Now, if we could find a flaw with this kit, it would definitely be its case. It’s well designed, organized, and all of that, but it feels a bit brittle and cheap as if it doesn’t belong with such a good set.
All in all, there aren’t any other issues with GearWrench 82812 that are worth mentioning. The set comes at a reasonable price and is suitable for beginners as well as pros.
Those in need of an affordable yet quality option will discover Efficere is hard to beat.
This set is rather small but might be just what a beginner or a home-based mechanic needs, and you won’t have to break the bank to buy it.
This 40-piece set includes all the essentials such as tapered taps and circular dies, each of which come in 17 different sizes. They are all made from industrial grade GCr15 bearing steel, which is a high carbon bearing steel with less alloy content.
All of the components are cut out using a CNC machine and heat-treated for optimal performance. So yes, you can expect it to be quite durable.
Now, having only 40 pieces, it does lack some components such as plug or bottom taps which might be a turn-off for certain potential customers. However, if you consider it’s low cost, this is quite understandable.
Besides the taps and dies, two wrenches are included in the kit, as well as a few neat little extras.
A possible downside with Efficiere’s set is the fact that it’s made according to SAE standards which are only relevant in North America. If you’re from the US, then don’t worry about this, but Europeans might not find these tools very useful.
Besides this, the tools are not ergonomically designed, so it might be a bit difficult to handle them for some users. Folks who do a lot of volume with these tools will probably find this problem to be serious.
Our overall impression of this set is more than good – it offers excellent value for the money, but might limit your options a bit. If you’re OK with the latter, then look no further than Efficere.
If you’re looking for a big and diverse tap and die set with many extra parts, then you’ll want to take a closer look at Irwin Tools.
This set includes an astounding 117 pieces which makes it by far the most abundant kit on the list. However, that also means that it’s rather big and bulky, so keep that in mind when making your purchase.
Now, what are the parts that are included here? Of course, you’ll get a bunch of taps and dies (34 pieces each, to be precise), as well as several different wrenches.
When you do the math, you’ll realize that taps, dies and wrenches amount to around 72 pieces, so what are the remaining parts?
This might come as a disappointment to some, but the rest are all drill bits. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you already have a good power set at home, you’ll hardly be needing this.
All of Irwin Tools are made from high-grade carbon steel, which is undoubtedly a good thing. As for the compatibility, this set is made according to the metric system standards.
One other potential downside is the price, which is the highest on today’s list. Don’t get us wrong, this is a quality set, but it can’t offer you more than what GearWrench 82812 does for much less money.
Overall, if you want a large set with a lot of drill bits, feel free to get Irwin Tools.
Bigger isn’t always better right? Certainly not; especially if you know exactly which sizes you need. In this case, meet Neiko 00916A, a mid-sized set that’s built to last.
The first thing that you need to know about this one is that it is made from high-quality materials. It has professional-grade steel construction and titanium edges, which gives it more durability compared to tools that only use steel.
Besides improved durability, titanium also cuts very well and stays sharp for a long time.
Second, the set isn’t very big, which is, again, good or bad depending on what you need. It includes 20 taper taps and 20 circular dies, but unfortunately no plug/bottom taps. Also, inside you’ll find a tap wrench, a die wrench, a thread pitch gauge, and a screwdriver.
The set that we’re reviewing is made according to SAE standards. You can also find a metric one, but there isn’t a combined set as far as we know.
Third, the case of Neiko 00916A is alright but isn’t perfect. It’s well-designed in terms of organizing the
tools, but the plastic molds that hold the parts weaken with use, so eventually you’ll have pieces falling from the top section when opening the case.
Finally, the cost of this set is definitely one of its pros. It is more than reasonable considering the quality of the materials that were used to make it.
With that being said, Neiko’s set offers a great value for the price and should be a good choice for anyone who needs a simple, no-fuss, quality tap and die set.
Not everyone intends on using their tap and die set to the fullest. Some people only need it for occasional works, and in this case, the price is usually more important than quality.
Tekton 7559 is a very affordable set with a decent selection of parts, but, as you could guess, it isn’t super durable. Let’s see what it can do.
The set includes 17 tapered coarse and fine plug taps, as well as 17 corresponding dies. This means that you can start the job with the coarse one and make it more smooth with the fine one.
Along with the above mentioned, you’ll get just the basics – two wrenches, a screwdriver, and a thread pitch gauge.
Ok, so what’s the catch with this one, why is it so cheap? The catch is in the material (steel alloy) which is the cheapest and least durable one used for this purpose.
Again, this doesn’t mean that the set will fall apart after several uses, as this is certainly not the case, but it just won’t last as long as carbon. So yes, it’s suitable for occasional use, but not for a lot of volume.
Aside from this, there aren’t any other serious issues with this one. The case is pretty good, and the price is hard to beat.
As we mentioned, Tekton 7556 will be good for folks who don’t need a high-quality set and need something that’ll just get the job done for when they need it. If you’re fine with the limited tap selection, then we see no issues with buying it.
If you are looking for an all-in-one, be all end all tap and die set, then ABN’s product could be what you need.
This large and expansive set is compatible with both metric and SAE systems, so you can easily switch between standards. It sounds impressive at first, but let’s dissect it a bit more.
The entire set includes 60 individual pieces. It has metric taps and dies ranging from M3 x .5 to M12 x 1.75, and SAE (or fractional) taps and dies from ¼” – 28 to ½” – 20, so this should give you a clearer picture of its arsenal.
The taps and dies are all tapered, which might not be ideal for everyone as it limits your possibilities. Another red light is the fact that the tools are made from steel alloy, but a hardened version, which is sturdier than the regular one.
The case isn’t so great either as it sometimes fails to hold all the pieces in place, and also the numbers are hard to read, so it’s challenging to put the components back where they belong.
Having said all this, who is ABN’s set for? Well, it is for people who don’t need it for professional, high-volume use, but want to have both metric and SAE taps and dies in one package.
Also, the price is more than acceptable, and you definitely won’t be breaking the bank if you decide to purchase it.
Here we have another GearWrench set which surely tells you that this is one of the leading brands currently on the market.
The set that we’re about to review can be seen as a mini version of the previous one. It basically has all the same parts as 82812, but not as many (75 pieces total). Inside you will find 30 tapered/plug taps and the same number of dies.
A nice thing is that both SAE and metric measurements are included, which gives it points for versatility.
The other parts include a wrench with tap and die adapters. There have been a few complaints regarding the ergonomics of the wrench, but this shouldn’t be a big problem unless you use the tools very frequently.
The case is, as we’ve said in the previous review, not top-notch so it won’t satisfy people who find this factor important.
So what’s the selling point of GearWrench 3887? It is definitely its price, which sometimes goes under a hundred dollars. This is significantly lower than the cost of 82812, and you’re getting the same quality just a smaller quantity.
All in all, this is a great set for beginners and those who don’t intend to use it professionally.
The following set comes to use from Gino Development, and it is a solid option for users who need decent versatility at a low price.
The 02-0553 set is compatible with both metric and SAE systems, so yes, that’s what we meant when we talked about versatility. Also, there are 60 pieces within the kit, all purely functional, and no fillers at all.
The material used for making these tools is hardened alloy steel. It is the lowest quality choice, but it will last you reasonably long if not overused. All of this points to the fact that it’s not great for professionals.
Another potential problem with this one is that it is made in China. Of course, this fact doesn’t have the same weight as in previous decades since we now have plenty of top-notch products from China, but this set does have certain quality control issues.
This means that faulty parts could be expected here and there, and that durability is sometimes questionable.
On top of this, the case is quite bad as it doesn’t hold the pieces well, and the numbers are quite hard to read in some spots.
Still, the set will do what it needs to do fairly well, and it’ll do it for a price that’s truly a bargain. With all this in mind, 02-0554 is worth buying if the cost is your primary concern.
Here’s something a bit different from what you’ve seen on this list so far. CTA Tools brings us a high-quality rethreading set, so let’s see what it is all about.
As you’ve just read, this set can only be used for rethreading, meaning that it won’t be able to cut new threads on its own. However, rethreading is needed at times, and if you face this task often, then this is the set for you.
A thing that instantly caught our attention is how organized the set is. All the taps and dies are color-coded, so finding the one that you need is be a breeze. In total, there are 53 pieces here, and all the taps and dies are compatible with metric and SAE systems.
What’s also important to mention is that this set is universal, meaning that it’s got all the essential sizes in the automotive industry covered.
The tools feel well-built and strong, which is what ours, as well as experience of other users, showed to be true. There have been complaints about the durability of the set, but these were mostly due to improper use, which is not something we would recommend.
A big plus for the case is that it is very compact and holds all the pieces well. You couldn’t ask for a better combination if you’re interested in having a portable set.
The price of CTA 8240 is not something that many customers will like. It’s quite expensive, and for what it offers, we feel that the price is a bit inflated.
To sum up, this is a great set for rethreading purposes only and will satisfy anyone who needs to switch between metric and SAE standards.
We’ve saved one more budget option for last. The Performance Tool W4001Db is the ideal set for someone getting into taps and dies for the first time and can be used for skill honing.
The set includes only 40 pieces, which makes it the smallest one on this list. It covers all the basics including 17 taps and 17 dies, a die wrench, a tap wrench, a screwdriver, and a screw pitch gauge.
As for the build, well, it’s not exactly great as it uses a softer variant of steel which simply isn’t able to cut through tougher variants of this material. You’ll be able to use it for thin sheets of metal and just about any plastic.
The set’s storage case is pretty neat. It’s long but narrow, which makes it very compact and easy to carry and store. The components are stored only in the bottom part, while the top is reserved for instructions on how to use the tools, which is a cool addition.
The main reason to buy this set is undoubtedly its price, as you probably won’t find anything cheaper online.
As we’ve said, this is far from a professional set, or even a set for an experienced home mechanic, but a very good training tool for beginners or those who need it for small and light jobs.
Final Thoughts & Recommendations – The Top 3 Tap And Die Sets Available
If you’re looking for a tap and die set that’s going to serve you well and last a long time, then it’s time to pick the three most suitable sets for the job.
After close consideration, here’s what we picked:
Best Overall Value – GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die Set
- If we had to pick the best product on the list, it would be the GearWrench 3887. The reason for our decision is the price to value ratio which we found to be unbeatable. You’ll get a fantastic, durable, and functional set for a price that’s more than fair.
Best Budget Option – Efficere 40 Piece Tap and Die Set
- Spenders who are on a budget will be thrilled with Efficere’s set. Not only is it ridiculously cheap, but the quality that it offers is unmatched in this price range. Just keep in mind that it is only compatible with SAE standards.
Premium Pick – GearWrench 82812 Tap and Die Set
- What’s this, another GearWrench in the top 3? Yes, you read it right! Like we mentioned before, GearWrench 82812 is like the older brother of 3887, only bigger and more expensive. It’s compatible with both SAE and metric systems and has all pieces to cover the needs of professionals.