A good tap and die set is an essential part of the toolbox of any mechanic, handyman or do-it-yourselfer. If you want to repair any old nuts or bolts, or if you want to craft a few of your own from scratch to your personal specifications, a tap and die set is something that you really ought to have.
Going out blind and searching for your own tap and die set can be a tad overwhelming and disorienting, given the many options that are out there. So we’ve decided to help you out by compiling a list of 7 of the best tap and die sets that you’re likely to find for sale these days. In addition to examining the important features of each of these sets, we thought it best to throw in a helpful buyer’s guide chock full of information about tap and die sets that every prospective shopper and burgeoning handyman should have. With this information, we hope to make you a smarter and more aware shopper, so that you can find what you need more easily and get to work.
5 Best Tap and Die Sets – Reviews 2020:
1. GearWrench 114 Piece Tap and Die Set – Best Overall
The GearWrench 82812 114 Piece Set is the best choice for anyone who wants to be able to create or repair just about any nut or bolt on the market today. While manufacturers often use the number in front of a set to over-inflate what’s included, the 48 sets of taps and dies represent a good ratio of useful parts to extras. It also comes with two great ratcheting T wrenches, which have a 5-degree ratcheting arc, which means you can make meaningful progress even in tight spaces where you don’t have a lot of space to move around.
The taps and dies are made from carbon steel, which is one of the most durable and strongest metals available on the market, making this set a great choice for people who want tools that will last a long time. The taps also come in both plug and taper configurations, giving you the option to use whichever option is better suited to the task at hand. The only problem with this set is that it comes with an underwhelming, cheap-feeling case, but that’s a flaw worth overlooking if you want to get the best rap and die set on the market.Pros
- 48 taps and dies
- Carbon steel
- 5-degree ratcheting arc
- Plug and taper taps
- Underwhelming case
2. IRWIN Tools 117-Piece Tap & Die Set
The IRWIN Tools 117 Piece Set 26377 is a good tap and die set, though it has some small problems that keep it out of first place. Like the first entry on our list, these taps and dies are made from carbon steel, which gives exceptional strength and durability, which leads to high-quality nut and bolt machining, and a long expected lifetime. This set is expansive enough to include sizes for both metric and customary sizes, so you’ll never be stuck wishing that you had the other kind. It also includes a great set of spiral screw extractors, which gives you greater value for the money.
However, it has fewer taps and dies than the top model on our list, which costs it some spots. And the ratchets in this set, while good, aren’t as good as GearWrench’s. Overall, it’s on the expensive side relative to the other sets on our list, which means that you don’t get as much value as you could. It also has some quality control problems, which means many sets come with a piece or two that break prematurely. As is, many people will like this kit, but many will like others more.Pros
- Carbon steel
- Includes spiral screw extractors
- Works with metric and customary
- Some quality control issues
3. GearWrench 3887 75-Piece Tap and Die Set
The GearWrench 3887 75 Piece Set is our top model’s little brother. It comes with many of the same parts, just less of them, and if you’re looking to get into the tap and die game without spending an arm and a leg on parts, this is a good place to start. It comes with one of the same great ratchets included in our top model, that ratchets with as little as a 5-degree twist, making it easy to use, even in tight situations. It also comes with both plug and taper taps, which means you’ll have the variety that you need at any given moment.
However, the absolute best thing about this set is its price. It costs about half of what you would spend on our top two models and contains more than half the number of parts found in those sets, which means that you’re getting a great deal. The only quibble is that the reduced selection is missing some common sizes, so you’re not getting the full variety like you would on larger sets. Still, this is one of the better value buys on the list, and most people will be happy with their purchase.Pros
- Great ratchets
- Plug and taper taps
- Weird selection
4. Neiko 00912A 40-Piece Tap & Die Set – Best Value
The Neiko 00912A 40-Piece Set is great for beginners and also the best choice for the money. It only comes with 40 pieces, but you can get it for about a third of what you’d pay for the third-place model on our list, so you’re getting more pieces per dollar than in any other set on our list. That means it’s a great starter kit that has enough pieces to try things out and experiment, and if you break or lose something, you’re not out a lot of money. It’s also a great kit for rethreading bolts, so if you’re looking to learn to do that, this may be the set for you.
However, this set only contains metric-sized tools, though you could buy the SAE set if you wanted to, instead. All the pieces are made from alloy steel instead of carbon steel, which means they’re not as durable as the others on our list. The case is also cheap, which means it doesn’t hold up well in the long run. Overall, this is the best set for the money, but if you’re looking for a lot of variety or something that will last forever, look elsewhere.Pros
- Good kit for beginners
- Rethreads well
- Only metric
- Crummy case
- Cheap metal
5. TEKTON 7559 39-Piece Tap and Die Set
The TEKTON 7559 39-Piece Set is a set that doesn’t have much going for it save a very low price. It’s the cheapest on our list, and that shows in both quality and quantity. While you’re technically getting a better per-tool deal than the previous model, the quality is far more suspect. The only real reason to buy this set is when you need a tap and die and want to buy in a manner that is more economical than buying each size when you need it, which can be very expensive.
Consequently, this set is best for someone who will use it very sparingly. If you think that you’re not going to use your tap and die set all that often, then this is a good one to buy that won’t cost you a lot of money but can still get the job done. The steel quality is overall very low, and it suffers from quality control problems in the casting, meaning that parts break randomly. You also have to choose between metric and SAE when you buy, so make sure you get the one you need. Overall, this set’s just not great value.Pros
- Good for occasional use
- Alloy steel
- Only metric
- Quality control issues