Best Tap and Die Set Review and Buying Guide [2019]

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A quality tap and die set is an important toolkit for any handyman, mechanic, or DIYer. If you intend to repair any old bolts or nuts or want to craft new ones to your preferred specifications, this is a tool that you cannot do without.

However, searching for the best tap and die set can be overwhelming, given the many options available out there. In this review, we have compiled some quality tap and die sets to help you compare the features and prices of different products.

Our Top Tap and Die Set Reviews

Brand
Best Overall
GearWrench 3887
Best for the Money
IRWIN 26377
Best Cheap Pick
Gino Development 02-0554
Product
GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive...
IRWIN Tap And Die Set with Drill Bits, Machine...
Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel...
Quantity
75 pieces
117 pieces
60 pieces
Material
Metal
Steel Alloy
Steel Alloy
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
GearWrench 3887
Product
GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive...
Quantity
75 pieces
Material
Metal
Rating
Best for the Money
Brand
IRWIN 26377
Product
IRWIN Tap And Die Set with Drill Bits, Machine...
Quantity
117 pieces
Material
Steel Alloy
Rating
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Gino Development 02-0554
Product
Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel...
Quantity
60 pieces
Material
Steel Alloy
Rating

Best Overall Tap and Die Set: GearWrench 3887

GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive...

The GearWrench 3887 tap and die set is very affordable. It gets the job done and performs well. It is perfect for people that prefer making their own screws.

The set consists of 75 tools to give you flexibility and a lot of choices. This includes a ratcheting T wrench, 34 taps and dies, small and medium adapters, a sliding T, and a metric screw pitch gauge.

Moreover, the 3887 tap and die set is made from carbon steel. The material makes the set strong enough to create threads and force its way through hard surfaces as well as light to medium steel.

The set features a twist-lock guide system that minimizes back walking of die guard. It also has an auto-lock mechanism that ensures the tap adapter is removed safely. The 5-degree twist ratchet makes it easy and comfortable to use the tool, even in tight situations.

It also comes with the taper and plug taps, which means you will have the variety you need at any time. The set boasts of a sturdy and durable storage case, and it holds each tool securely in place.

With this set, you will have plenty of options because it has tools in both SAE and metric sizes. It can accommodate 0 to ½ inch tap ranges and weighs 7.55 pounds making it bulky. The product comes with a lifetime warranty that covers defects and materials.

What We Like

  • Twist lock guide system for reduced back walking
  • Auto-lock mechanism that makes it safer to use
  • Reversible lever for efficient work
  • Wide range of taps and dies
  • Durable protective case
  • Fairly priced

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy T handle snaps tap bits
  • Carbon steel construction
GearWrench 75PC 3887 Ratcheting Tap and Die Drive...
  • Die adapter works on round and hex shaped dies
  • Ratcheting T-handles wind dies with a 5° swing arc and have a reversing lever to eliminate...
  • Twist Lock guide system reduces the “walk back” of the die guide and keeps the dies centered...

Best Professional Tap and Die Set: GearWrench 82812

GearWrench 114PC 82812 Ratcheting Tap and Die...

The GearWrench 82812 is a versatile tap and die set that has 48 taps and 48 dies. The set uses the SAE and metric measurement system and can perform different types of industry threading, including externally and internally threading.

The 114 piece kit is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to repair or create any bolt or nut. The set has fixtures for every threading. With all the different bits that come with this set, you will have what you need when working on your projects.

In addition, the carbon steel tap and die set is durable and equipped with all the GearWrench gadgets, adapters, and warranties. The sturdy blow-molded carrying case will keep the 48 pieces of taps and dies sorted neatly in place.

This makes your pieces easy to carry, find, and organized. The case is easy to pack and is designed with a sleeve to enable you to fit all 114 bits.

The 82812 tap and die set has a 5-degree ratcheting arc and superior grip for reducing hand turning. With auto locking handles, you will be able to remove the tap adapters safely.

The twist-lock guide system will enable you to work in tight spaces as it reduces the back walking of the die guard. The set has a lifetime warranty and weighs 1.3 pounds, which makes it lightweight. This is an excellent set if you are shopping for a professional and larger die kit.

What We Like

  • Uses both SAE and metric measurement system
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Pieces are built from carbon steel
  • Durable carrying case
  • Twist lock guide system for working in tight spaces
  • Lightweight and portable

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit expensive
  • Unsuitable for large industry use
GearWrench 114PC 82812 Ratcheting Tap and Die...
  • Ratcheting T-handles wind dies with a 5° swing arc and have a reversing lever to eliminate...
  • Twist Lock guide system reduces the “walk back” of the die guide and keeps the dies centered...
  • Die adapters work on round and hex shaped dies

Best Tap and Die Set for Machinery and Auto Repairs: IRWIN 26376

IRWIN Tap And Die Set, Machine Screw/SAE/Metric,...

IRWIN is a well-known tap and dies set brand. The IRWIN 26376 tap and die set is a reliable tool for both amateur and professional work. It is ideal for lightweight machinery repairs and everyday auto repairs.

The 26376 set comes with 76 pieces which include 5/8 inch dies and machine screw plug taps, 1 inch dies and fractional plug taps, 5/8 inch dies and metric plug taps, and 1 inch dies and metric plug taps.

Every tap and die is built from carbon steel for strength and maximum durability.  The set comes in a carrying case that stores your tools neatly in compartments. The unique storage case has a little cabinet that opens up making this set convenient.  

The tap and die set is great at both private and industry standards. The tool has both metric and SAE measurements to enable you to thread any material with great precision while adhering to industry-standard sizes. All pieces are also crafted accurately.

One remarkable feature about this tap and die set is the 2-in-1 handle that is anti-skid and comfortable to handle.  It also retrofits as a T-handle wrench as well as a tap wrench on demand. The set is heavy as it weighs 7.52 pounds.

The IRWIN set comes with self-aligning dies and taps to enable them to start threading easily, quickly and with minimal exertion. The different plug taps are equipped with chip breaking technology that cuts chip away to allow you to make quality threads.

What We Like

  • Durable and portable  
  • Great choice of taps and dies
  • Pieces built from high carbon steel
  • Metric and fractional measurements
  • Perfect for auto repairs
  • Chip breaking technology

What We Don’t Like

  •  Packaging duplicate parts or incomplete sets
  • Issues with thread alignment
  • Heavy
IRWIN Tap And Die Set, Machine Screw/SAE/Metric,...
  • This tap and die set is great for auto repair and machinery
  • High-carbon steel taps and dies provide durability
  • Machine screws: 4 - 40 NC, 6 - 32 NC, 8 - 32 NC, 10 - 24 NC, 10 - 32 NF and 12 - 24 NC

Best Tap and Die Set for the Money: IRWIN 26377

IRWIN Tap And Die Set with Drill Bits, Machine...

The IRWIN 26377 tap and die set is the best tool you can purchase on the market. It features 117 pieces to cover any tap and die tasks you plan to carry out.

The tools include metric and fractional hex dies and plug type taps, machine screw, plastic case, an adjustable wrench, and spiral screw extractors. You will also get 36 steel drill bits when you buy this set to make your work easier.

When it comes to quantity, the 26377 tap and die set offers 10 SAE taps and dies, 16 metric taps and dies, two pipe taps and dies, six machine screw taps and dies as well as the drive tools you will need to complete your projects.

It is a good-sized set that will give you plenty of sizing options. You will have the size you need to carry out a wide variety of jobs. Also, all the tools come packed nicely inside a storage case.

The case is made from high-quality, durable plastic built to last. In addition, the set is designed for both mechanics and craftsmen. It is perfect for maintenance and repair work as well as creating new threads.

The tools can work on different materials such as hard, stainless steel. The main components are made from carbon steel to offer the accuracy and durability that is needed to meet the high demands of threading applications.

Besides, the IRWIN tap and die set is ideal for making fastener holes for machinery and auto repair. It uses both the fractional and metric measuring system and weighs 10.35 pounds.

What We Like

  •  Good selection of taps and dies
  • Metric and fractional measuring systems
  • Durable carry case
  • Steel alloy-built tools
  • Can be used for heavy-duty threading
  • 117 pieces

What We Don’t Like

  • Unsuitable for large industry use
  • Some quality control issues
  • Expensive
IRWIN Tap And Die Set with Drill Bits, Machine...
  • Ideal for rethreading fasteners and fastener holes for auto and machinery repair
  • Constructed of high carbon steel for durability
  • Puts commonly needed taps, dies, drill bits, and extractors at your fingertips

Best Budget Tap and Die Set: Gino Development 02-0554

Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel...

Next, on our list, we have the Gino Development 02-0554 tap and die set. This one is more basic and a bit smaller than the previous kit. It is perfect for beginners and people who are on a tight budget.

The 02-0554 comprises of 60 pieces of tap and die tools that include a die handle, a tap chuck, a tap handle for holding the bit in place, and a thread gauge for precise measurements.

Moreover, taps and dies, as well as the other accessories, are built from hardened alloy steel which is durable and robust enough to handle various light-duty projects around the job site or home.

The set weighs 4.37 pounds and comes with a molded carrying case for storing the tools and safety while transporting the tap and die set. It is a great tap and die set for aluminum, stainless steel, and other soft metals.

However, it is not effective for hard metals such as steel because the alloy used is not durable enough.

The Gino set has fine and coarse threads with both SAE and metric sizes printed on the individual taps and dies. If you are looking for a tap and die set that renews or cuts internal and external threads accurately, you should consider this set.

What We Like

  • Carrying case for transporting and storing the set
  • External and internal threads that cut to exact standards
  • Hardened alloy steel for maximum strength
  • SAE and metric sizes
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit heavy
  • Not effective on hard metals
Sale
Gino Development 02-0554 TruePower Alloy Steel...
  • Long lasting Hardened alloy steel for maximum durability
  • Cuts and renews external and internal threads to exacting standards
  • Manufactured in China

Best Tap and Die Set for Beginners: TEKTON 7559

TEKTON 7559 Tap and Die Set, Metric, 39-Piece

The TEKTON 7559 is another affordable tap and die set just like the Gino Development set above. It is intended for casual threading by first-time users than the heavy-duty threading done by professionals.

The good thing about this set is that despite its affordable price, it does not compromise on quality. Moreover, the pieces that come with this set are constructed from milled alloy steel to give you the much-needed strength.

The 7959 tap and die set is equipped with 39 pieces, which includes a die stock, a thread pitch gauge, handle tap wrench, 1/8 inch flat screwdriver, a T-handle tap wrench and chasers for rebuilding worn threads. All the pieces are in metric sizes.

In addition, you will get 17 plug taps and 17 dies and a good selection of pipe threads, fine threads, and coarse threads. The taps include three flutes and four flutes.

With this purchase, you will also get a quality case for keeping your tools neat and organized. The taps and dies handles are anti-slip and comfortable to use.

If you occasionally need to rebuild worn-out threads or make new threads, the TEKTON tap and die set is one of the best metric tools to get, especially considering the affordability of the set.

The set weighs 3.05 pounds while the warranty of the TEKTON tools is guaranteed.

What We Like

  • Tapered fine and coarse taps and dies
  • Great selection of taps and dies
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Durable carry case
  • Affordable
  •  Ideal for occasional use

What We Don’t Like

  • Unsuitable for heavy-duty use
  • Uses only metric measurements
  • Quality control issues
TEKTON 7559 Tap and Die Set, Metric, 39-Piece
  • High-quality milled alloy tool steel
  • Cut new material or chase lightly damaged threads
  • 3- and 4-flute plug taps and dies for hand threading applications

Tap and Die Set Features and Considerations

It can be challenging to choose the best tap and die set, especially if you are purchasing the tool for the first time. Here are the most important factors to consider:

Metal tapping and die set sits on a wood shop table

Tap Variety

There are many different types of taps and dies available. Therefore, it is critical to know the type you need, the weaknesses and strengths of each type, and the kind of jobs each type can do before deciding the set to buy.

Here are the different types of taps and dies:

Tapered Taps

These types of taps are tapered from the bottom and are ideal for beginners because it is easy to use. They have flat threads that are very small and require little force to keep them going. That is why they are usually called starter taps.

It is easy to start a blind hole using these taps. You can use them to initiate new threads or cuts. You can also use other taps to refine and perfect the threads you began using a taper tap.

Bottoming Taps

You can rely on taps of this variety to help you make high-quality thread down your hole. This is because they do not have threads that are flattened at their beginning.

However, this feature makes bottoming taps more difficult for beginners to handle.  With proper care, you can use them to complete the threads that you started with a taper tap and work on them until they are right.

Plug Taps

You can use these taps to find a balance between the bottoming and taper taps features. They have some tapered flattened threads at their beginnings. This means that the difficulty of using them to begin lies between a bottoming tap and a taper tape. Plug taps are good to start blind holes because you’ll finish threads with them faster.

You should consider plug taps if you desire to have clean and neat results at the end of a hole.

Two-Piece Adjustable Dies

This is the type to consider if you want to make a long thread. However, they require several cutting operations in which the die should be closed after every thread. This makes them unsuitable for beginners.

Circular Dies

These types of dies are easy for beginners to use. They are also tapered, which makes them the rough die (the equivalent of taper taps). They’re meant to give you complete threads during a single operation.

The Second Tap

This is the type of tap you need to use after cutting to deepen it. 

A close up of a person tapping a metal screw

Carbon Steel vs. High-Speed Steel

The type of steel used to construct the saw is directly linked to the build quality. Low quality steel will not be as strong as steel made using sturdy materials. The type that is available on the market is between carbon steel and high-speed steel (HSS).

You will find high-speed steel in industrial settings and professional workshops. This is because the best quality of tap and die saws are made from HSS steel. However, this does not mean you should ignore carbon steel sets.

They are ideal for carrying out repairs at home due to their affordability. Carbon steel taps and dies are also reliable when chasing threads than cutting new ones.

HSS taps and dies require less force and remain sharper for longer, which extends their shelf-life. The decision to buy high-speed steel or carbon steel will depend on the type of projects you plan to do and your budget. 

Carrying Case

You should also look for a tap and die set that has a sturdy storage case. With a sturdy plastic case, you can store all your tools safely in one place. The case will also protect your tools when not in use.

Additionally, you’ll have the tools organized neatly for use when you’re busy working on a task. This means you should look for a carrying case that is designed well. You should also check the layout of the pieces inside the case.

Some cases have markings for every component, which is important if your tools do not have the sizes. Simple labels will wear off eventually, so you will have to check on the storage box to know the size.

You should also ensure the fastening element of your box is reliable and strong. This is because it is frustrating when removing the tools from a drawer only to find the contents have spilled all over the place.

Number of Parts

This is another factor you should consider when buying a tap and die set. Generally, choosing a product with more parts is a good thing. However, you have to watch out for a decrease in quality.

If two sets from different manufactures are priced the same, and one has more parts, you will have to check whether the set with fewer parts is of good quality, or just overpriced. 

On the other hand, the set that has more parts could be an incredible option, or of low-quality. That is why it is crucial to analyze the set’s quality. You should also note that different sets come with different tools to make the job easier.

For instance, how the taps and dies turn can make a big difference. The included ratchets can make it easier to get good results in little time.

Another thing you should look out for is the part-count inflation. Most manufacturers usually include small extra parts that add little value to the kit. To avoid getting a set that has inflated numbers, read the detailed list before buying.

Metris Sizes and SAE

The tap and die set size is significant because selecting taps and dies that are incorrectly sized can render the entire set useless. The SAE size (quarters, eighths and halves) is widely used in the USA.

You are going to need these specifications if you work and live in the United States. However, you also need to be exact when it comes to threads. This means you should choose a tap die set with many different sizes included in the kit.

With this in mind, a quality tap die set will have a combination of standard metric sizes and SAE. The combination will enable you to work with the accuracy required and result in quality results.

Making female thread by die tool

Accessories

You can use dies manually. However, you cannot do the same with taps. This is when the accessories come in handy. You should shop for tap and die sets that are equipped with ratchets and wrenches.

For instance, a wrench or T-handle can make using your tap and die set more comfortable and much easier. They will also help you to do you work more efficiently and produce clean threads.

A wrench is a must-have for you. Other useful accessories that are not mandatory include the drill bits, thread gauges, and adapters.

Handle Type

The type of handle your selected set utilizes is crucial, especially for first-time users. If the handle is uncomfortable to use, you may end up making a lot of mistakes.

For instance, you may benefit from the increased torque if you choose a tool that has a long ratcheting handle. However, you will have to control the effort you exert because you may strip threads or break your taps and dies.

On a positive note, you will not have to re-position your hands while you turn when using the ratchet. So, when starting, choose tools with smaller handles. This will stop you from rushing the job or applying excessive force and give you more precision control.

Construction

The build quality of the different components is one of the most critical factors to look out for when shopping for a new tap and die saw. Most of the time, there is usually a strong relationship between the quality you are expecting and the purchase price.

In other words, buying the cheap full sets shouldn’t be an option for you. While they may seem like an excellent value for money, you may end up frustrated when the threading apparatus breaks halfway while working on a project.

The Threading

You should test the tap and die set to see the threading quality the tool makes. The threads should be straight and clean with no burs. The nuts and bolts should be solid and be able to support what they’re made to support. 

Also, the wrenches should be durable and robust without falling apart after several applications. It should have minimal walk-back, eliminate hand overturning, and easy to use.

Warranty

It is not possible to repair the taps and dies when they are damaged. For this reason, you should opt for a product that comes with a warranty. The warranty will ensure you’re given a replacement in case of defects or damage.

This is very important for those people who own a busy woodshop and need to use their tap and die set regularly.

Price

Your budget is worth considering and you should have a price range of the product you want to buy. This will help you save a lot of time while shopping. You’ll also narrow down your search for a quality product.

Cheaper taps and dies have bad designs and are usually poor in quality. On the flip side, expensive taps and dies come with extra features to make cutting easier and are of high-quality.

That said, highly-priced tap and die sets are ideal for professional use. You will also find such sets useful if you engage in heavy work while at home. However, you should not spend a lot of money if you will be using the set for occasional home use.

Wrap Up

The tap and die set is an easy to use tool that enables you to perform threading quickly. The products we have featured in this review are reliable, functional, and durable.

You can make clean and quick threading jobs for all your metal work tasks using any of our reviewed products.