LAST UPDATED: October 10, 2019
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
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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.
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Despite its name, the ABN 60-Piece Metric and SAE Standard Tap and Die Rethread Set not only rethreads damaged hardware but helps users create new threads when needed. Each tap and die is made with a hardened steel alloy to maximize their strength and durability. This set includes metric and SAE taps and dies, tap and die handles, a small tap chuck, and a thread gauge, all stored in a heavy-duty blow mold plastic case for easy organization and transportation. Mechanics, machinists, and DIY enthusiasts can easily repair threads and threaded fasteners in steel, cast iron, copper, aluminum, and plastic. The ABN 60-Piece Metric and SAE Standard Tap and Die Rethread Set comes with a one-year warranty to give users peace of mind. This tap and die set is best for thread repair and non-professional thread cutting due to fewer size options and the occasional durability issue.
Titanium is a tough metal, and the Neiko 40-Piece SAE Tap and Hexagon Die Set takes full advantage of its properties to cut or repair threads on bolts, screws, and more. Each cutting component is constructed with high-strength GCr15 alloy steel and uses a titanium coating to give it extra bite and durability. Easier thread items made of carbon steel, cast iron, brass, or aluminum with both coarse and fine thread taps and dies. This set includes 16 fine and coarse thread taps and dies, an NPT tap, an NPT die, two tap wrenches, an adjustable die wrench, a screwdriver, and a screw pitch guide. The Neiko 40-Piece SAE Tap and Hexagon Die Set can fix or create threads from size 4-40 up to 1/2"-13. Of course, it is limited to SAE sizes only which can be a pain for a mechanic who specializes in import vehicles.
If you're looking for high-quality and efficiency, the GearWrench Tap and Die Tool Set may be the best product on the market. This 75-piece tool set is made from heavy-duty carbon steel. The secure twist-and-lock system makes this set extremely easy to use. It is ideal for working in tight spaces, and the included case has a convenient carrying handle. The ratcheting handles and adapters allow for simple back-and-forth movement while cutting threads on either taps or dies. The 5-degree ratcheting arc with reversing lever of the GearWrench set eliminates hand-over-hand turning while working. The die adapters work with the 3/8-inch drive pass-thru ratchet and socket system, as well as socket accessories. An auto-locking feature allows the tap adapters to be removed safely. One downside of this tap and die tool set is that it is not large enough for frequent thread cutting
When looking for a tap and die set, consider picking up the Efficere 60-Piece Premium Tap and Die Set. This set can cut and repair both SAE and metric threads with little effort. Each tap and die is made with industrial grade GCr15 bearing steel to enhance durability and longevity in professional settings. All cutting teeth are CNC machined then heat treated to a Rockwell hardness of 60 HRC. This set of tools is perfect for threading most kinds of metal, including stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron, brass, copper, and aluminum. The set also includes 40 taps and dies, two tap handles, a die handle, two thread pitch gauges, a screwdriver, and an organized storage case. The Efficere 60-Piece Premium Tap and Die Set uses dies with tapered teeth for easier starting. Probably the biggest frustration for some users is the lack of instructions with this kit.
Get the best bang for your buck with the TEKTON Tap and Die Set. This tap and die set is made from high-quality milled alloy tool steel. The 39-piece set is very well organized with fine taps and dies designed to prevent over-threading. Available at an excellent price point, the TEKTON tap and die set includes 17 taps and 17 dies in a variety of coarse and fine sizes. The value set also includes a long handle tap wrench, "T" handle tap wrench, die stock, 1/8-inch flat screwdriver, and thread pitch gauge. One downside of this set is that it is only calibrated in the metric system. The included storage case keeps everything neat and organized, but it is made from a fragile plastic casing. This tap and die set may not be strong enough or versatile enough for heavy-duty jobs.
- 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 ABN 60-Piece Metric and SAE Standard Tap and Die Rethread Set. Its SAE and metric taps and dies easily repair threads of any kind.
To avoid spending extra cash, then go with the Neiko 40-Piece SAE Tap and Hexagon Die Set (or its metric twin).