Best Tap and Die Sets

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Best Tap and Die Sets

Tap and die sets are one of those things that you never think you are going to need – until you do. Admittedly, if you are completing simple DIY around the home then it probably isn’t going to be something that you use very often. But if you are into more serious hobbying, mechanics, or really any bigger DIY jobs then they are going to be a handy set to have ready to be used!

Regardless of the metal that you are working with, you will be able to find a tap and die set that will be able to create a thread for you, making your life so much easier. There is nothing more frustrating than having an old, rounded thread on a bolt or screw that is stopping you from getting a job done, or needing to create a new specific bolt but not being able to…so get reading our tap and die set buyers guide so that you can find the best tap and die set on the market at the moment!

What Is The Difference Between a Tap and a Die?

If you are thinking of purchasing your first tap and die set then it is important to understand the difference between the two and why you may need them! A tap is there to make an internal thread in a hole that you have created, so that it can then be used for a screw. This is essentially the female part of the pair. Whereas a die is there to make an external thread, on a rod for example, which is the male part of the bolt pair!

A tap and die set is going to allow you to make both sides of the mating pair so that you can get the job done yourself without relying on purchasing various different items yourself! It also allows you the flexibility to work with whatever size of material or type of material that you need – providing you have the tap and die size that you need! Not only that, but if you are working with older materials with worn threads then you can use a tap and die set to just cut in a new thread! It’s that simple!

Best Pick – Sealey AK3033 Metric Tap and Die Set

Sealey AK3033 Metric Tap and Die Set, Split Dies/UNF/BSP, 218mm x 297mm x 40mm, 33 Pieces
722 Reviews
Sealey AK3033 Metric Tap and Die Set, Split Dies/UNF/BSP, 218mm x 297mm x 40mm, 33 Pieces
  • Contents: Taps & Dies; 3 x 0.5, 4 x 0.7, 5 x 0.8, 6 x 1, 8 x 1.25, 10 x 1.5, 12 x 1.75, UNF 1/4"-28, 5/16"-24, 3/8"-24, 7/16"-20, 1/2"-20, BSP 1/8"-28, 1/4"-19, Tap Wrench, T-Bar Tap Wrench, Die Holder, Thread Gauge, Screwdriver
  • Height: 218mm
  • Width: 297mm
  • Length: 40mm

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Only Got 5 Minutes?

So you know that you need a tap and die set, but you don’t really know exactly WHAT you need? Plus you’re in a rush? If that sounds familiar then THIS is the part of the article that you need to be reading! We have checked out all the best tap and die sets that are on the market at the moment and took the hassle out of the search for you.

Tap and Die Set Features

Here are some of the main features that you need to consider before purchasing a tap and die set so that you know you are going for the one that is right for you!

Tap and Die Construction Materials

Taps and dies are made from different types of metals. The most common taps are made from carbon steel for softer materials that you might be working with and high speed steel for harder materials. It is important that taps and dies are harder than the material they are working with if you want them cut effectively and not become worn and damaged. Watch out for using a tap or die that isn’t strong enough as if they do become brittle and break then they will be near impossible to remove.

The Taps

We now know that taps are there to create the thread on the inside of a hole or to repair existing internal threads. There are two types of tap that you will find….progressive threading or a hand tap (otherwise known as a power tap). Progressive threading involves using three types of tap to steadily bore out the thread that you are working with, first with a bottoming tap, then a second tap and then a taper. This method takes more time but ensures that the materials do not become damaged and a high quality thread is created.

  • Taper taps are what we would recommend if you are new to creating your own threads as they are the easiest to use and they require the least force to start the job. This is why they are also the best to start the job, as you can then move onto other taps from there.
  • Bottoming taps don’t have any flattened threads at the beginning like you find in taper taps, which can make them harder to work with, however it does ensure that you can get a high quality thread all the way down the rod that you are working with!
  • Plug taps are the perfect middle option! They have some flattened threads at the bottom to make your job easier to start with, but not as many as you would find with a taper tap.

Hand taps, or power taps, are quicker ways of working as they can also be used with a mechanical drill if you aren’t wanting to work manually with a tap wrench (but you do also have that option if its better for you). Different taps work with different drill bits and it can be quite difficult to work out which drill bit is the one that you need, so many manufacturers offer “ready to tap” boxes that have the taps and correct drill bits together to save you a load of time and hassle!

Admittedly the taps are important, but arguably more important is the tap wrench that comes with the set for you to complete the tapping – without this, you just aren’t going to be able to get the job done! The tap wrench is also there to look after the taps that you are working with, so without a decent one you could end up with broken taps and holes that are then made redundant!

TOP TIP: Make sure to go for a tap wrench that matches the tap as if you end up with too much torque then your tap will break in the pipe that you are working with!

The Dies

Onto the dies…these will have 3, 4 or 5 holes drilled into the centre and then filed to make them sharp enough to create an external thread on any type of rod that you are working with. There are two main types of dies that you will find; circular dies which are there to give you a complete thread. They are also by far the easiest to use. Your other option is a two-piece adjustable die which is better for if you are wanting to create a long thread but they do require a lot more work and require a number of steps to create one thread, which can be a bit off putting if you don’t need such a long thread!

Dies comes in different sizes so that you can work with different rod sizes, these tend to include:

  • 8 x 13mm
  • 12 x 17mm
  • 15 x 21mm
  • 21 x 27mm
  • 26 x 34mm
  • 33 x 42mm
  • 50 x 60mm

You will find that some sets also come with a mechanical die stock which is there to hold dies, whilst providing you with two handles to control and work the die along the material.

The Sets

There are various different tap and die sets on the market depending on what you need and are looking for, so it is really important to look around at the different options. There are die kits which will usually contain between 4 and 10 dies plus a die stock or wrench that allows you to use the dies effectively.

Make sure to opt for sets that are made out of high-quality steel as these will be long lasting and durable, this includes high-carbon steel. These are more expensive than alloy sets but they will be much more long lasting so will more than pay for themselves over time. If you know that you are working with some seriously strong metal then you might even have to go for high-speed steel which is the best quality that you are going to find.

Although what is actually in the case is the important part, you are going to struggle if you don’t consider purchasing the tap and die set with a good case – as this is what is going to be holding all of the parts together. Look out for cases that are made of heavy duty plastic or even metal, with high-quality locks and clasps. It is also worth going for one with a comfort grip handle as this will make it much easier to move your taps and dies around between jobs that you are completing! There is nothing worse than starting a job and realising that you have lost the tap size that you need – so it is so important not to scrimp on the case!

The main difficulty with buying a tap and die set is working out a fair balance between quality, quantity and price. Don’t just opt for a set with the most pieces if those pieces are of poor quality as you will quickly find yourself having to replace equipment pieces.

Best Budget – neilsen CT1467 TAP Wrench Set

Neilsen CT1467 1467 TAP Wrench Set M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8 M10 M12 DIE Metric RETHREADING Tool 10 Piece, Black
413 Reviews
Neilsen CT1467 1467 TAP Wrench Set M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8 M10 M12 DIE Metric RETHREADING Tool 10 Piece, Black
  • 10pc tap set
  • Taps - M2.5. M3. M4. M5. M6. M7. M8. M10. M12
  • Tap wrench
  • Item package quantity: 1

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Top Tips for Tap and Dies

Now that you know what you need to look for when purchasing a tap and die set, here are some top tips to look for not just with your purchase but when you are working too!

  • Make sure to keep the tap and the material that you are working with well oiled. This will make the job easier and give you a better quality finish.
  • Chip removal is crucial to remove the little bits of metal that have been chipped away otherwise your thread won’t be as easy to use! All taps will have a number of flutes to collect the metal chips. Make sure to clear these so that pressure doesn’t build leading to the tap breaking. The best way to do this is to complete a half turn backwards for every full turn forward to collect and remove those excess chips.
  • Thread gauge – A fantastic extra tool for working with damaged, pre existing threads. A thread gauge is a set of bars with notches that identify the style and size of thread that you are working with.
  • Size compatibility – Make sure to check that your tap and die sizes are going to be compatible with UK equipment and material sizes. Some come in metric measurements and others are based on US (SAE) or European sizes. The best sets to go for include dual measurements to make it easy to know what you are working with!

Best of the Rest

Sale
Hi-Spec 39 Piece SAE & Metric Tap & Die Set. Complete M3 to M12 / #4 to 1/2in Fine & Coarse Tools to Cut, Chase and Thread with Screw Pitch Gauge in a Tray Case
847 Reviews
Hi-Spec 39 Piece SAE & Metric Tap & Die Set. Complete M3 to M12 / #4 to 1/2in Fine & Coarse Tools to Cut, Chase and Thread with Screw Pitch Gauge in a Tray Case
  • CLEAN CUT RESULTS: Start DIY garage and workshop tapping and threading with the Hi-Spec 39 Piece SAE & Metric Tap and Die Tool Set. Whether its internal or external rethreading, cut new material, chase damaged or old screws, repair rusty nuts, bolts and spark plugs
  • 34 PIECE SAE & METRIC SIZES: Most popularly used coarse and fine thread sizes and pitches of three and four flute tapered and plugged taps and dies. SAE & Metric Tap and Dies: 16 thread sizes from M3 to M12 and #4 to 1/2in with 16 pitch sizes plus NPT (1/8-27)
  • GOES THROUGH METALS: For materials such as carbon alloy steels, cast iron, aluminium, brass and bronze. Using premium GCr15 Alloy steel, a high carbon chromium bearing steel with high Rockwell hardness, contact fatigue performance, and corrosion resistance
  • 3 TAP & DIE WRENCH HANDLES: Just fix the tap or dies tools into the steel alloy wrench handles with adjustable fittings and get turning. Includes a handy mini-screwdriver to assemble and fix the dies
  • SCREW PITCH GAUGE: Easily and accurately measure the pitch or lead of a screw thread with the 16-Blade Screw Pitch Gauge. All tools and accessories are kept tidy and organised in a slimline case for simple storage and carry

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

TOPEX 14A426 M3 - M12 Tap and Die Set (32-Piece)
393 Reviews
TOPEX 14A426 M3 - M12 Tap and Die Set (32-Piece)
  • Tungsten steel
  • DIN 352 / DIN 233
  • Metal case for storage
  • Thread gauge
  • Screwdriver for dies fixing

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Sealey AK3015 Metric Tap and Die Set, Split Dies, 41mm x 270mm x 130mm, 32 Pieces
353 Reviews
Sealey AK3015 Metric Tap and Die Set, Split Dies, 41mm x 270mm x 130mm, 32 Pieces
  • Contents: Taps (Taper, Second, Plug) & Dies; 3 x 0.5, 4 x 0.7, 5 x 0.8, 6 x 1, 8 x 1.25, 10 x 1.5, 12 x 1.75mm, Tap Wrench, Die Holder, Screwdriver, Metric Thread Gauge
  • Height: 41mm
  • Width: 270mm
  • Length: 130mm

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need any special tools for tapping?
You will need at least a tap and die set to be able to create threads on a rod or pipe that you are working with, as it would be impossible to get the job done without them. It is important to look for a tap and die set that will fit the material that you are working with. However, if you are wanting to get the job done quickly, or are looking for a more powerful tool, then there are tapping machines or blind hole taps that allow you to get the job done much quicker!

Can you use tap and die sets on wood?
If you have purchased a tap and die set that is for steel then it is unlikely that you will be able to use it with wood, this is because the nodules in the thread will just be too sharp and will damage the wood right from the beginning! You can purchase specialist sets though that will work with wood so if you know that you are completing a lot of woodwork then this may be worth considering.

How do I use a tap and die set to remove a broken bolt?
To remove a broken bolt you need to attach a small bit to your power drill and create a drill hole in the bolt. Then get a larger bit to make the hole bigger and keep repeating this until you only have 25% of the bolt left. At this point you can use your tap tool in the hole to cut into the bolt and remove it!

  • Performance
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  • Ergonomics
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