If you are working on a detailed job that involves works of nuts and bolts, a tap and die set should be among the desirable tools. Although many ignore the significance of a set, I suggest you shouldn’t because you never know when these small elements will come into play. The best tap and die set are not necessarily the most expensive or lavish ones on the market either.
As there are so many sets to choose from, you can easily end up getting the wrong or inappropriate set. So, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of top ten tap and die sets with critical reviews of them plus a practical buying guide.
Why Should You Trust US?
You will find a great team of metalworkers and woodworkers on this platform. We developed this platform around 5 years ago with the sole intention of providing real-life information in forms of how-to articles and power tool reviews. Our audience includes both pure beginners and the professionals that come here to help expand their capabilities and skills. We are keen on getting people's ideas and opinions as well, which is why we also request our audience to share their expertise with us right here at Drillly.
Aside from that, we often give tool reviews like this one to help metal and wood enthusiasts like you to find their best match. We developed a comprehensive tool testing method (described below in the How We Picked These Products section) that we strictly follow in order to make our effort unbiased and reliable. We have no affiliation with any power tool manufacturer out there, so we have no intention promoting their products for monetary gain. However, we do get a little amount of commission when one buy's products from eStores like Amazon from this platform that helps us bear the maintenance costs of this website.
So, you can be sure that this is the most thorough and well grounded review on tap and die sets you might find online.
How Did We Pick These Products?
The preparation of this list involved hours of research work, testing and reviewing. The very first thing we did was going online to have some idea about which tap and die sets were commonly being sold and used by the homeowners and professional mechanics in the USA. After close to 15 hours of research, we were able to locate 20 such products.
Then we had managed to get all of those top quality tap and die sets and begun our review process immediately. Our team also consulted some of the expert mechanics in our locality to get their valuable feedback. Our volunteer team, mostly consisting DIYers that like to handle home improvement projects and repairs themselves, also did their best to check how useful every set was.
It took around 4 months for us to finish our testing procedure and finally prepare a top 10 list. We made sure that this best tap and die set list is as comprehensive and well grounded as possible by going through real-life user reviews, rating, and comments on these products online. Here at Drillly we can confidently say that whenever we review a particular product, be it a benchtop planner or a cloning machine or any other tool, we try to make it the best review on the internet with any means possible.
Our Top 10 Best Tap and Die Set
We have put together a comprehensive product list and review of each set. This will make it easier for you to compare and decide upon the right choice.
Understanding the Tap and Die Set with Its Types
A tap and die set are used for making either a screw head of a nut. The process is done by using various materials and is called threading. A tap and die set will come with an array of tool sizes as well as a device called a chaser. The chaser is the tool used to make old nuts and bolts new and usable again. This process is called chasing!
Tap (Taper Tap, Second Tap, Plug Tap)
The tap is what creates the nut or female portion of the set. They are the long metal shafts with a fluted edge. They cut into the material to create a thread and are made from tempered steel. The top of the tap has a square head where the wrench is fitted onto.
There Are Different Types of Taps:
This would be the first tap a person would use to for the initial threading. It looks like a screw and is what determines the size of the thread being made
This is the second tap that would be used in creating the thread. It does look very similar to the Taper Tap but only the first six threads are usually functional on it. It also has more of a tapering head as it is used to deepen the thread.
This tap is the final tap stage of the process and is used to polish up the thread in readiness for the bolt.
Die (Circular Die, Two-piece Adjustable Die, Die Nut)
This type of die is the easiest of the three to use. It is also the most common of the dies in the tap and die set. The use of this dies is for threading in a clockwise way and is usually a single motion. This die does not have a lot of adjustments.
This die allows for quick and easy custom threads with this two-piece die that are easily adjusted.
This die is a little confusing as it is actually used as more of a chaser. The die nut refines and sharpens an existing thread. They are not used to make new threads.
You may find the necessary clues for writing this section from the given reference link.
Why Use a Tap and Die Set?
There may be old bolts that need to be removed. Or you may want to breathe new life into some old ones for being reused. A tap and die set can be used to both remove old bolts and get them into a state that they can be reused. If this is all you are needing the tap and die set, there are sets for this purpose.
Anyone who has every bought bolt knows that they come manufactured in set sizes. There may not be a size that fits your particular project. With a tap and die set you can create your own customized from a metal rod.
There are times when you need to have threaded holes in various places to accommodate a bolt. For instance, on the car for fitting a custom trailer hitch. The tap and die set is the kit you will need to do this with.
Things to Consider When Seeking Taps and Dies
The following factors are what seriously matter as you start looking around the market for a high quality set.
1. Build Material
The tap and die set need to be made out of sturdy steel. You can get a good quality tap and die set for a good price. I may mean going for a smaller set to start off but at least you can add on and your tools will last. Buying tools made of inferior materials will only cost you in the long run. The best tools to go for are made from steel alloy or Titanium which is a popular choice for many other tools.
You are going to want to get a set that has multiple sizes in order to use it on multiple applications. When buying the kit check that they have parts for it or at least generic parts that are made from the same material. They must fit your kit and be readily available when you need them. There is nothing worse than buying a kit only to find there are no extra parts for it.
3. Tap Variety
Make sure the set comes with at least the three basic taps i.e. the tapper taps, second tap, and plug tap. These are important for making clean and clear threads.
If the set does not come with a wrench you are going to need to buy one. A good gear wrench will fit most of the taps.
Some kits come with SAE measurements this is mostly United States measurements whilst Europe uses the metric system. The best is to look for tools that do both Metric and SAE that way you are never caught out of having to convert measurements.
6. Carbon Steel or High-Speed Steel
Carbon Steel is about the best bet for tools that are going to be the most durable as it very strong steel and will not bread easily.
High-Speed Steel is excellent for creating nuts and bolts but more on an industrial scale. This steel can get very expensive to use.
Carbon Steel is the best for non-industrial use.
7. Quality of the Case
You are going to want to check out the case and make sure it is made of strong durable material. The case, as explained above is really important with this. Each part has a place, so it not only keeps them organized but in one safe place too.
You are going to want to get a T-Handle and a tap wrench. Makes sure that both are made from the same strong materials that the set is made of.
Always make sure the product has some form of warranty. That way if anything goes wrong with the set that is not your fault you have a bit of a guarantee on the product. Most of the high-quality tap and die sets come standard with these.
Check the price range of the products and buy the best quality at the price you can afford. As stressed before, it is better to buy a smaller kit and don't compromise on the quality of your kit.
Each tap and die set is tested to see the quality of the threading it makes. The threads must be clean and straight without any burs. The bolts and nuts must be solid and able to hold what they are made to hold in place. The wrenches must be strong and durable without falling apart after one or two applications. It must be easy to use and eliminate hand over hand turning as much as possible as well as having minimal walk-back.
12. Carry Cases
The carry case must be able to take the knocks and bumps it is going to endure. The seal must be tight enough to keep the items securely in the case but also not a problem to open. The plastic must not fall apart after a short time and we prefer cases that do not have any Perspex windows as these tend to break.
You should choose a thread maker tool set based on your individual needs. You should focus on quality and budget to be able to figure out the best tap and die set for you. The big fancy sets are not always what you are going to be use. Rather, go with what you need and then add on if the need arises. No use of getting something you are not going to get any use out of.
A smaller set may mean you are getting better quality that is going to last longer. It will also be better for your budget just make sure the set is one that you can expand on. Remember to find out how readily available spares and other parts are for the set.
We would also like to mention that the Drillly team picked products based on our experiment. But that does not mean that those models and brands that could not take a place in this list are of the poorest quality. They were simply not good enough to be our top 10 choice. However, brands like Greenfield, Craftsman, Norseman, Cobalt, Volkel, Dormer, and Blue Point are also known to manufacture quality tab and die sets.
Symbols for Thread Form
ACME 60° - STUB 60° Stub thread form
ACME STUB - Stub Acme thread form
ACME-C - Acme thread – centralizing
ACME-G - Acme thread, general purpose
ANPT - Aeronautica National Form taper pipe thread
AWWA - American Water Works Association
BA - British Association Standard thread form
BSF - British Standard Fine thread series
BSPP - British Standard Pipe Parallel
BSPT - British Standard Pipe Taper
BSW - British Standard Whitworth
MM ISO - Metric thread form
N BUTT - American Buttress screw thread
NC - American National Coarse thread series
NEF - American National Extra-Fine thread series
NF - American National Fine thread series
NGO - American National gas outlet threads
NGT - American National gas taper threads
NH - American National hose & fire hose coupling
NM - National Miniature thread series
NPS - American Standard straight pipe thread
NPSC - American Standard straight pipe thread in couplings
NPSF - American Standard internal straight pipe thread (dryseal)
NPSH - American Standard straight pipe thread for hose couplings & nipples
NPSI - American Standard intermediate straight pipe thread (dryseal)
NPSL - American Standard straight pipe thread for locknuts
NPSM - American Standard straight pipe thread for mechanical joints
NPT - American Standard taper pipe thread
NPTF - Dryseal American Standard taper pipe thread
NPTR - American Standard taper pipe thread for rail fittings
NS - Special threads of American National Form
PTF - Dryseal SAE Short Taper pipe thread
SGT - Special Gas Taper thread form
SPL - PTF Dryseal Short Taper Pipe thread
STI - Special Threads for Helical Coil Wire Screw Thread Inserts
UN - Unfied and American thread series
UNC - Unfied and American Coarse thread series
UNEF - Unfied and American Extra-Fine thread series
UNF - Unfied and American Fine thread series
UNIV - Unified Miniature Thread Series
UNJ - Unified Thread Series with Controlled Root Radius
UNJC - Unified Coarse Thread Series with Controlled Root Radius
UNJF - Unified Fine Thread Series with Controlled Root Radius
UNR - Unified Constant Pitch thread series with Controlled Root Radius
UNRC - Unified Coarse Thread Series with Controlled Root Radius
UNRF - Unified Fine Thread Series with Controlled Root Radius
UNS - Unfied and American threads of selected special diameters and pitches