Best Tap and Die Sets: Cut New Threads and Holes
Fix the threading on your worn-out tools with these best-rated taps and die sets
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 10, 2019
Tap and die sets are a collection of taps and dies put together in a well-organized casing. They help you repair old bolts and nuts and fix the threading on screws. If you are a mechanic, you will find this toolset very useful, but only if you get the right one. We have put together some of the best taps and die sets in our buying guide below.
- Best OverallGearWrench Tap and Die Tool SetSummarySummaryA 75-piece toolset with both SAE and metric indexes and a convenient ratcheting T wrench.ProsProsSecure twist and lock guide system. Durable carbon steel construction. Ideal for working in tight spaces. Organized using index holders. The case includes a convenient carrying handle.ConsConsNot large enough for frequent thread cutting. Fragile case. Doesn’t offer as many size variations as larger sets do.
- Best ValueTEKTON Tap and Die SetSummarySummaryA neat and well organized 39-piece metric toolset with fine taps and dies designed to prevent over-threading.ProsProsIt comes well-stocked at an affordable price point. High-quality steel construction. Protected from over threading. Includes a collection of coarse and fine tap and die sizes. It also includes a T wrench, dies stock, and screwdriver.ConsConsOnly calibrated in the metric system. Fragile plastic casing. Not strong or versatile enough for heavy-duty jobs.
- Honorable MentionIRWIN Tap and Die SetSummarySummaryA 117-piece toolset that offers all the taps, dies, drill bits, and extractors for professional craftsmanshipProsProsErgonomic design. Calibrated in both SAE and metric system. Includes many versatile parts. It has almost all sizes covered. Self-aligning dies and taps. Includes spiral screw extractors.ConsConsExpensive. It’s a bit bulky and feels heavy. The set doesn't hold all the pieces in place.
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- When cutting threads into a rod, it’s good practice to clean the threads by backing out three turns per every three turns you cut. It helps you maintain a clean cut.
- If you are cutting into a worn bolt, remember to lubricate the rod to have an easier time cutting through the material. The lubricant will also reduce overheating caused by metal-to-metal contact.
- A die may not work well on a flat-ended rod. You need to use a grinder to make a beveled end on the rod.
Q: Will the die break an old bolt?
A: You may break an old bolt if you are not gentle when threading it on a die. You should make the turns slowly to allow the rod to seamlessly take the threaded design. Remember to reapply cutting oil to keep the bolt from overheating or sparking.
Q: How do I know which is the right tool to use?
A: Tap and die sets come in casings that are labeled either SAE or metric. You will find the label on the case or on the tool itself. Keeping your set organized is the only way you’ll know how to select the right tool for the job. You typically select a tool that matches the size of your bolt or steel rod.
Q: Is it difficult to turn a tap wrench?
A: It may not be something you can do with one hand, but it’s not any more difficult than using a lug wrench. If you are using too much force, then you may need to upgrade to a longer T-handle. Also, lubricating the hole makes the tap glide in easier.
Our top pick is the GearWrench Tap and Die Tool Set. It's ergonomically designed and has every tool strategically laid out.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a toolset, then you should choose the TEKTON Tap and Die Set.