When working in a garage, you will occasionally find that the threads of your screws are not as good as you would like. A tap and die set comes in handy during such times. By using this tool, you can cut threads on holes where fasteners are placed. Mechanics will find this tool very useful. Since the market is saturated with tap and die sets from different manufacturers, many mechanics will get confused when trying to purchase one. The subsequent reviews should clear up your mind regarding the subject.
Best Tap and Die Set 2017
|GearWrench 3887 Editor Choice||75||premium S2 alloy steel||Taiwan|
|Neiko 10288A Editor Choice||32||Carbon steel||Taiwan|
|Irwin 24640||12/41/53/66||Steel ||Unknow|
|CTA 8240||53||Steel ||China|
|GearWrench 3880||5||Carbon steel||Thailand|
|TEKTON 7561||45||steel ||China|
|TruePower 02-0554||60||Steel for Maximum Durability ||China|
GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die 75 Piece Set – Twist Lock Guide System
The GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die 75 Piece Set can be described as both high-end and fairly priced. The product is made of carbon steel, and comes with 75 tap and die sets. Its taps are well organized using index holders. Because of their presence, you will find storage quite easy. The construction makes use of the patented twist lock guide system. This keeps the dies centered as you cut the threads and also reduces the back walk of the die guide.
It also has an autolock feature that helps you remove the taps safely. To make your work more efficient, the manufacturer included a reversible lever. This product is great for people working in places with little room. The set also has a T-wrench feature that gives a 5 degree curve.
Neiko 10288A Master Hex Bit Socket Set – Quality Construction
This tap and die set is made of premium S2 steel alloy, which means it is durable and will not break because of heavy use. Due to the hardness of the construction material, wear outs should also not be expected. The sockets of the set are made of chrome vanadium steel, a strong material that will provide you with the torque you need for powerful turns. It also has a mirror chrome finish to prevent corrosion; and therefore, ensure durability of the product.
The machined bits of the Neiko 10288A Master Hex Bit Socket Set are precisely made for higher accuracy. Because of this, the bits and fasteners will not have damaged edges. It also comes with a storage and carrying case. This set has most of the hex sizes you need, so you will probably not need to purchase larger or smaller additional sets.
This set is almost perfect. However, it still has a few flaws, one of which is the plastic material used to make the case. The latches of this case are bound to fail after some time of use, given the quality of the material used in its manufacture. The foam backing is also very thin.
Irwin Industrial Tools 24640 Machine Screw – Resistant to Rust
Irwin is known for its dedication to quality. This tap and die set is manufactured in the USA, so you can expect it to be of very high quality. All Irwin products are designed with an aim to solve fastening challenges in innovative ways. It is made of steel. However, for heavy use, this equipment is bound to bend or get deformed as the steel used is rather mild.
The Irwin Industrial Tools 24640 Machine Screw comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It is worth mentioning that the guarantee does not cover the normal wear and tear of the product. For those who have trouble staying organized with their tools, this tap and die set comes with a plastic case to help you. The lid has a plastic slip too that organizes all the drills according to their sizes. The case has spots for all the tap and dies in the set. Also, the taps and dies are coated in oil to make them resistant to rust.
Although it is a great product, this set is not meant for the cutting of existing threads since it works best in the cutting of new ones. This is mainly because of the design of the product and the hardness of the material used in its construction. When using it to clean up threads, you need to be very careful.
CTA Tools 8240 Universal 53-Piece Rethreading Set – Complete Rethreading Tool Set
This product comes with a complete set of rethreading tools. Again, this particular set is made in the USA, so you shouldn’t expect it to have construction flaws. Many people use it frequently for heavy work, and it still holds up after a long time. The set covers all normal automotive sizes. Many people use this set wrongly for cleaning up corroded or messed up threads. This is actually the root of almost all negative comments on the product. If you don’t want to experience issues with it, you should always use it for rethreading purposes. The case for this set is very compact. If you have limited storage room, you will appreciate the way it saves you space.
The setback in this product is its price. For many people, the cost of the set will be too high. That said, the manufacturer gives you exactly what you pay for.
GearWrench 3880 – Best Overall Tap and Die Set
Another highly rated product is the GearWrench 3880 Tap and Die Ratcheting Wrench. The product is manufactured in Thailand, but is designed well enough to warrant the praise it receives from mechanics. It has a spring-loaded cap that allows you to release large tap adapters easily. It also makes use of the twist lock guided system. This feature will reduce backwalk of the die guard, and will, therefore, make your work more efficient. The manufacturer also made the product safer to use by adding an autolocking feature. The adapter works on round and hex shaped dies. It also uses a reversible lever to reduce hand over hand turning. Efficiency is further enhanced with the 5 degree ratcheting arc on the reversible lever.
Your purchase will include a strong blow mold case. The tool set is made of carbon steel, but is strong enough to withstand normal use. It can be used for professional work or home use, and should be able to work without getting damaged. The manufacturer of the set offers a limited lifetime warranty on the product.
TEKTON 7561 Tap and Die Set – Hardened Tungsten Alloy
Tekton is among the most reliable brands in this industry. The Tekton 7561 tap and die set is one of their best products, and is among the best of its kind in existence. The product is made of hard tungsten alloy, which simply means that it is strong and will last for a long time.
Your purchase will include 20 taps, 20 dies, three T-wrench handles, a die stock adapter, and a screw driver. The T-wrench handles range from an inch to two inches in size. You will also get a case for the storage of components. The taps and dies cover coarse and fine sizes, from 6 to 24 mm. The plug taps and dies have a tapered design, which makes them start easily when you need to use them.
Overall, this is a high-quality product that should exceed your expectations. Among its flaws are the die stock adapter. Many users find it to be low in quality. If you need it for heavy cutting, it is important to use an appropriate lubricant to prevent damage.
TruePower 02-0554 Alloy Steel SAE – Accurate Cutting Machine
This product features a hardened steel construction. It is designed to cut and renew internal and external threads to exact sizes accurately. It is meant to be an entry-level tap and die set, and that warrants its very low price. If you don’t have a lot of heavy cutting work to do, this set will serve you perfectly. In case you overuse it, you are likely to experience breaks on the machine. Also, you shouldn’t use it to cut new threads. This set is very versatile and well-stocked.
This product has a few disadvantages. The first is the poor design and material used in its construction. It is not very strong, and as such, will easily break when subjected to constant and heavy use. That said, the TruePower 02-0554 Alloy Steel SAE is only meant for occasional use. Professional mechanics should find a stronger product. You will also find your work slow with this product. Cutting harder threads will take you a long time since the product is not very well designed.
Tap and die sets can be challenging to select, especially if it is your first purchase. The reviews above should point you in the right direction. In addition, you should read reviews left by users on sites such as Amazon. If you are still uncertain of what product to go for, this buyer’s guide will help clear things up for you.
Types of Tap and Die Sets
There are many types of tap and die sets, and each is meant for a different purpose. Here are the five types of tap and die sets:
- Tapered tap- These are usually tapered from the bottom. Typically, they are used to initiate new cuts or threads. The tapered design makes them start easily when you need to use them.
- Plug tap- If you want to have neat and clean outcomes at the end of a hole, this is the type you should go for.
- Second tap- After making the cut, you need to deepen it, and this is the type of taps and dies you use.
- Circular dies- These are used to produce complete threads in operations.
- Two piece adjustable dies- This type is used for making longer threads.
Once you have established the type of tap and die set you need, you should also check the quality of the product.
The quality of tap and die sets is usually determined by the design and material used in construction. For steel tap and die sets, you should consider the type of the said material. Low and high-quality steel are very different in function and durability.
As a general rule, cheaper products tend to be of poorer quality. That does not mean you should entirely avoid low quality tap and die sets. If you only use the product occasionally, then a high quality tap and die set will only be more expensive without adding the value obtained.
Some people also consider the country of origin in order to make a judgment on the quality of the product. This is not always accurate and can easily lead to major inconveniences.
The carrying case of the tap and die set should not be ignored. If you go for a poorly-designed case, you will easily lose your taps and dies. It is best to go for those made of hard plastic as they are designed to hold the components securely. If your taps and dies are neatly organized, you will also get to save a lot of time when working.
Choosing incorrectly sized taps and dies can render the whole set completely useless. The sizes are metric and SAE and a good set should cover both sizes for versatility. On the other hand, if you only need a specific size, you can simply choose one that satisfies your needs.
Expensive tap and die sets are typically of high-quality and have extra features to make your cutting easier. This adds convenience to your work. On the flip side, cheaper tap and die sets are usually poor in quality and have bad designs.
That said, the expensive tap and die sets are meant for professional mechanics. People who engage in heavy work at home will also find the expensive tap and die sets useful. If you only need the set for occasional home use, then there is no point in spending more money.
Your budget is also worth considering. At every price range, there are better and worse products. Considering your budget early can help narrow down the search for a suitable product. It will also save you a lot of time.
Depending on your specific situation, some extra features might be worth paying for. As an example, if you find back walk a big problem in your work, consider using the GearWrench 3887 Tap and Die 75 Piece Set. This product uses the twist and lock feature to reduce back walk when using taps and dies. The same product would be ideal if you consider safety an important part of your work. If your workplace contains lots of elements that encourage rust, you can choose to oil the parts of the taps and dies yourself, or simply go for the Irwin Industrial Tools 24640 Machine Screw. The components in this set are coated with oil to make them resistant to rust.
Buying tap and die sets is not an easy job. However, it can be made easier if you stick to the tips in this article. In summary, you need to consider the quality of materials used, the carrying case, the type of tap and die set, price, the sizes covered, and the extra features offered. In online forums and stores, you will find lots of reviews and different ratings given for the products. That should not be the only way you choose a product. You should consider your specific situation and needs and select a product that satisfies you completely. We have also reviewed the seven best tap and die sets that are currently on the market. So, it is easy to find one to suit your requirements.