Broach Cutters: TCT vs HSS?

Posted by Piers Crane on

One of the many questions discussed amongst the metalworking industry – which is the ultimate broach cutter? The traditional HSS? Or contemporary TCT?

Preferences and opinions on which is best vary widely, but as leaders in cutting tool innovation, we’re here to state the facts.

So, let’s breakdown the broach cutter dilemma from definitions to conclusion and resolve any quandary one might have about selecting the perfect tool for the job.

Broach Cutting


Refers to High Speed Steel.

As the name suggests, these cutters are made of steel and are able to cut through – or broach – most materials except alloy metals such as stainless steel.


Refers to Tungsten Carbide Tipped.

Tungsten Carbide is one of the hardest materials utilised in cutting tools which gives TCT cutters many advantages over HSS.

The Comparison

One of the main advantages using a TCT broaching tool is speed and productivity.

TCT broach cutters operate at an RPM much higher than that of HSS cutters and can therefore produce more holes in equal periods of time. The rate of broaching will differ depending on the tool being used so we’ve put our TCT cutters to the test. In our latest speed test – Watch Here – our CARBIDEMAX™ annular cutter broached 64% faster than the leading competitor.

In terms of physical properties, tungsten carbide is approximately twice as stiff and dense as steel. This allows a TCT tool to comfortably broach alloys such as stainless steel, cast iron and specific grades of structural steel – something HSS cutters are not designed to do.

The robustness of tungsten carbide also means a longer life expectancy. As leaders in cutting tool innovation, we have designed and developed TCT broaching tools offering an increased life expectancy of up to four times that of HSS tools.

The last difference between the two, and perhaps the most important when making a buying decision, is price. With TCT cutters being the premium option, the price is higher, making HSS cutters the cheaper, more popular alternative.

But, cheaper does not mean cost effective. In fact, HMT’s tungsten carbide cutters will reduce the cost of hole broaching by half!

The Verdict

At HMT, the approach into developing our range of TCT broach cutters meant innovating – cutting edge – products at affordable prices and uncompromised quality.

With that being said, it is unquestionable that TCT cutters stand superior to HSS, so to those weighing in their options: invest in your tools wisely.

Intrigued? Browse our range of CARBIDEMAX™ TCT Broach Cutters today.

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