A pipe threader, also known as a pipe tapper, or pipe groover, is a tool used to cut grooves, or threads, for both male and female pipe fittings. The best pipe threader will be able to thread multiple sizes, will be easy to operate, and will be made of heavy-duty steel construction (Source).
Pipe threaders are designed to cleanly and precisely thread steel pipes. You could always go to your local hardware store and buy pre-threaded pipe, but there are many situations where that might not do the trick. You may be working on a long pipe that is already in place, or the hardware store may not have a pre-threaded pipe in the length that you need (Source).
There are two main types of pipe threaders. Manual hand tools, and automatic pipe threading machines. Manual pipe threaders are great for small jobs, such as a household repair, or occasional plumbing work. Automatic pipe threading machines are great for large scale repair work and for use on job sites, where much more pipe will need to be threaded.
There are many types of pipes and pipe threaders out there, so it can be somewhat difficult to decide which pipe threader is best for you. Before buying one, you should consider it’s build materials, price, ease of operation, and whether it’s manual or electric. You should also consider its warranty.
In this article, we will take a look at all the top rated pipe threaders. All of the pipe threaders in this review will precisely cut and thread pipes, whether you are a construction worker installing a new pipe on a job site, or you are a plumber installing a new water fitting at a customers house.
What Is A Pipe Threading Die?
Pipes are of various sizes and diameters. To cut or thread them, you need to have proper alignment of the tool over the pipe’s end to thread it. It is also needed to ensure an appropriate mating joint for the pipe.
To cut the costs of designing individual threading wrenches for every particular size, engineers came up with threading dies. These tools are modular brackets that can be attached to the threading tool.
By using dies, it becomes easy and flexible to create threads on pipes of all sizes. Dies are also capable of cleaning the threads present damaged pipes. Additionally, pipes whose diameters need to be reduced can also be threaded with dies.
How Much Does a Pipe Threading Machine Cost?
Pipe threading machines come in a variety of sizes and with varying features. Their costs also vary based on manual and automatic models.
Features can increase the cost of the machine. However, you do not have to invest a threading tool whose particular feature is useless for you. You can purchase a decent manual pipe threading machine for as little as $50.
If you need a full-fledged pipe threading machine with automatic features, you might have to spend up to $4000. You can get plenty of options in automatic models as well.
Just make sure to study the models and their features properly to suit your needs before purchasing.
Comparing the Best Pipe Threaders
|Klutch Pipe Threader|
|Ridgid 36475 Exposed Pipe Threader|
|Wheeler-Rex 7991 Sidekick II Pipe Threader|
|Ridgid 38540 Manual Pipe Threader|
|Steel Dragon Tools 600 Pipe Threader|
1. Klutch Pipe Threader – Best Overall
The tool features a fore and rear chuck for securing and removing a pipe from the pipe threader once you are done. All gears are made of hardened steel for noiseless and high speed operations. This machine is built with high standards materials and workmanship.
The tool can be used with a gas pipe between half and two inches die with no adapter required. However, make sure you keep away from the gas supply whenever threading a gas pipe to prevent fire and explosions.
- Threads different sizes form a half an inch to two inches
- High quality die material
- Has the ability of threading schedule 80 pipe
- Easy to operate
- Aluminum alloy used is lightweight
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Burn out is a major concern
2. Ridgid 36475 Exposed – Best Manual Pipe Threader
The tool box is created for organized on-the-job use. The set has ratchet assembly, ratchet handle die heads and alloy dies for threading conduit or pipe. Such a set that contains different tools makes it easy for usage and safe-keeping hence will last for long.
Al components in the threading kit are designed to RIDGID’S standards, including ductile cast iron die heads, assuring durability and maximum strength. This not only assures you value for your money, but also ensures safe-keeping for all the pieces.
- Effective for threading pipes and conduit
- Lightweight carry case yet has high strength
- Convenient labeled compartments for clear identification
- Ductile cast iron die heads
- Pipe capacity of a half to 2 inch NPT
- Requires the use of an oiler for efficiency
3. Wheeler-Rex 7991 Sidekick II Pipe Threader – Most High-End Model
It is easier to operate and also features a self-oiling head. All in one compact size, it can cut, thread and rim pipe.
The Wheeler-Rex 7991 sidekick pipe threader is a full featured pipe threader for a quarter to one inch pipe. It features front and rear chucks, safety auto shut off, cutter handles, one blade reamer and auto-oiling notch carriage.
- Auto open notch die head
- Safety auto shut-off
- One-blade reamer
- Shorter pipe threading time-16 seconds
- Large scrap tray
- Light in weight-about 58 pounds
- Good safety and low noise
- Low expenditure on maintenance
- The machine may require purchase of a stand to work better
4. Ridgid 38540 Manual Pipe Threader – Most Affordable
It also allows fast, clean pipe threading by hand. This ensures that the job is done efficiently and quickly. The extra-long handle gives you an increased leverage to do work easily.
This tool is designed to give reliable performance and maximum efficiency under server conditions of service. It has minimum maintenance costs. All of the necessary requirements have been combined in this model forming basic fundamentals of correct threading.
- Easy to access ratchet knob on the head of the ratcheting tap for forward and reverse
- Die heads snap in from either side locking in place for fast size changes
- Convenient reversing knob
- Ratchet handle for increased leverage
- It is corrosion resistant
- Ideal for fast and efficient clean pipe threading by hand
- The tool requires thread cutting lube for efficiency
5. Steel Dragon Tools 600 – Best On-Site Pipe Threader
The package also includes carrying case and steel dragon tools support arm. It also has a set of six alloy steel dies: half inch, three quarter inch, one inch, one and a half inch and two inch.
It is easy to carry around, more so if you are working in multiple floors or doing different projects in multiple places. All in one compact size, steel dragon tools can not only cut and thread, but also rim pipes. It is an easy decision especially when threading one to two inch diameter pipe.
This machine makes threading a one man job and eliminate the time lost sending the job to the shop, it is done on the spot. In its construction, all unnecessary weight has been eliminated, enabling it to be easily operated in decidedly restricted areas.
- Has forged-aluminum gear housing, assuring extended operating life
- Steel dragon tools 11-R Die Head works well with RIDGID dies
- Has an adapter with locking nut for a half inch to one and a quarter inch pipe
- Industrial-strength gear box with reverse
- Paddle type switch that separates forward and reverse switches
- The dies work with 11-R and 12-R die heads
- The heads may be problematic when working with ridged dies
Why Do You Need A Pipe Threading Machine?
With a pipe threading machine, especially an automatic one, you can increase your productivity of several operations related to pipes, such as cutting and threading.
To give you a better idea of this machine’s worth, you can go through the below-mentioned advantages:
- Symmetry – With an automatic pipe threading machine, you can quickly get a symmetrical custom design. Moreover, the string outlines on the pipes look cleaner.
- Productivity – Automatic pipe threaders have the efficiency to cut, thread, and ream pipes at a much faster rate than manual ones. That makes them more efficient for commercial purposes.
- Accuracy – These threading machines can create the most tedious threads accurately, and that too – on both ends of the pipe.
- Portable – These machines, both manual and automatic ones, can be carried around by just one person. The automatic ones might be heavier, but still portable.
- Simple to use – You do not have to learn many technical details to use these. That makes it more accessible and efficient to use.
How Does A Pipe Threading Machine Work?
Pipe threading machines are divided into two types – manual and automatic. Despite the classes, the fundamental technique implemented by a pipe threader is the same. The primary difference is the list of features.
To thread a pipe, you will first need to select the desired tube. To get a suitable length for the pipeline, you might have to cut it first. Most automatic pipe threading machines have this feature.
On the other hand, a manual pipe threader might not necessarily cut the pipe. Once the tube is cut as required, it can be placed in the vise jaw of the automatic threader.
If you are using a manual one, then you might need to lock the pipe in place using an external vise. Now, depending upon the diameter of the pipe, you will need to use the relevant threading die.
For the automatic threading machine, you need to switch on the motor to let the pipe be threaded to the desired length. Whereas, for the manual one, you need to use its ratchet-based mechanism to rotate the die over the pipe’s head.
The high-end ridges on the threading die apply pressure over the pipe’s end to create the threads efficiently.
Things You Need To Consider When Buying a Pipe Threader
Whether you are threading a virgin material or repairing a damaged thread, there are certain factors to look into when purchasing a pipe threader. This will help you produce the best job with least extent of wear and tear on your tooling.
Threading is divided into two: internal and external. Internal threading requires a tool called TAP while external requires a DIE. Most projects require both tools applied to a given diameter of rod.
Also, consider the given pitch and size of threads you intend to cut. Both tap and dies may be used in cutting new or damaged threads.
Dies come in various materials and configurations. The most common is high speed steel for soft materials and cobalt for harder materials like stainless steel. Some materials may be coated to increase the cutting ability of the die making it easy for you.
Major Factors to Consider
When it comes to quality, you buy what you get. Cheap quality may cost you more. It is better to pay a little more to get a reliable tool. An economical set may be able to fill your present and future needs, saving you on money.
In order for the dies to cut, they ought to be harder than the material they are cutting. It is best you use a good quality tool to avoid breakage at all costs. The low quality ones may put stress on the tool while working on a project, causing it to go off center or break.
A threading machine is composed of units like a bed, apron and saddle. So, when purchasing the one that you require, it is important you ascertain that they are fabricated using materials that are of high quality to offer extended durability for reliability in the long run.
2. Thread Type
There are many different types available that are meant for different tasks. Hand threading dies are available in two types: round and hex die nuts. The Hex die nuts may be used with regular hand tools while round types are designed to fit into a T-handle
Hex die nuts are mostly used as chaser to repair existing threads while round dies are the best choice when it comes to cutting new threads. The hex die nuts do not require a handle to use while the round dies require a holder.
3. Thread Size
It is important for you to understand the size you need to get the job done. Standard thread sets are measured in threads per inch. There are two pitches for each diameter of threads. There are those tools that can thread a pipe to a given inch. Select one according to the requirements of your project.
Many of the tools will indicate the inches it will be able to thread, helping you to make the right choice. Also, you ought to know the required size drill bit for the hole you should drill. Using the ideal size hole is very crucial on two instances.
If the hole is too small, it may cause the tap to bind and even break as it cuts too much material. If the hole is excessively large, the root of the threads may be too shallow and insufficient, hence can strip out or fail.
4. Manual or Electrical
You have to consider whether you want the manual and electric types. The project to be completed determines the type of threader you should buy. Manual types are favorable for easy operations especially at home, workshop or other simple tasks.
The electric types come in handy for industrial and mining operations. For the electric types, ensure that the production speed per given hour is apt and the machine will not consume excess power than is actually required.
5. Other Considerations
Another aspect you ought to keep in mind when selecting a pipe threader is the features and difference of specifications it has. Make sure that the tool can be availed with varying threading capacities, spindle speed ranges and saddle movements.
Look for a machine that you can easily get spare parts for replacement. Instead of buying a new unit when the die wears off, all you have to do is replace. The guides and die should be interchangeable to save on cash. This also applies to other power tools you may have, including Best Electric Die Grinders.
Ready To Buy The Best Pipe Threaders?
Pipe threader machines have been evolving over the past with the portable ones being inexpensive and easy to acquire. You can use them over an array of activities rather than hiring. Relying on rental tools may be time wasting and cost ineffective over time, especially when you are trying to get the job done quickly.
Most of the discussed above models have features that make operations easy. Machines now have the capability of threading pipes made from different materials, including different types of plastic, metal or resin.
Therefore, they contribute towards increasing level of production for industrial purposes and making your work easy at home when doing repairs.
Whatever your threading needs are, you should select an equipment that not only matches your budget, but also planned usage. As always, it’s important to get best tool for the job.
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