Find The Correct Tile Saw For Your Project
There is no shortage of tile saw products out there. From small, DIY hand cutters, to large industrial tile saws, you’ve got plenty of options. Whether you’re a seasoned tiler, or you’re just getting started with your first tile installation, you may be wondering which one to choose.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of tile saw. We’ll help you understand the differences between each type. We’ll also give you some basic tips on picking out a tile saw, so that you can make the right decision. Finally, we’ll discuss which saws may be appropriate for your project, based on the scale of your project, and the different types of tile that you’ll be using.
Need help picking out a tile saw? Read on, and learn with us – you’re sure to learn a thing or two.
Understanding The Most Common Types Of Tile Saw
First, we need to discuss the differences between the most common types of tile saw. Let’s take a look at all four of the most common types of tile saw.
Snap or rail cutters
Snap or rail cutters are not technically a “saw”, but they are used for some small-scale DIY projects. It works by using a scoring wheel to make deep grooves in the tile material, weakening it across a “shear line”. After the tile is scored, it can be broken or “snapped” into shape, hence the name.
Snap cutters are extremely cheap and easy to use. However, snaps do not usually result in very straight lines, which is not ideal unless your tiles are being cut to fit against a baseboard.
Handheld wet tile saws
Handheld wet tile saws use a diamond-coated cutting wheel in a hand-held casing, similar to a circular saw. Usually, an on-board container or hose keeps the tile wet. You can cut dry, but this will mean you’ll broadcast quite a few dust particles – so wear a face mask.
Handheld wet tile saws are usually used for touch-ups during tile installations. Cordless and corded models are available, and they can be used for specialty cuts like L-cuts and U-cuts. However, they are not ideal for extended use.
Tabletop wet tile saws
Many tile saws fit into this category. This type of saw uses a cutting wheel mounted underneath the table. The wheel rotates in a water pool, keeping it cool and eliminating dust.
Tabletop wet tile saws are self-contained units, such as the Rubi ND-180 Tile Saw. They tend to be smaller and more portable than overhead units, but they’re smaller, so they are less suitable for large-scale projects.
Overhead motor wet tile saws
This category makes up the vast majority of professional-grade tile saws. This type of tile saw uses a table and a rail system to guide the tile through the wheel, which is mounted on the top of the table.
These units usually are built with an adjustable stand, allowing them to be used standing up. Specialized pumps are used to supply water to keep the wheel cool, and decrease dust levels.
Examples of this type of saw include the Rubi DX-350-N Tile Saw, Rubi DC-250 Tile Saw, Rubi DU-250 Tile Saw, and Rubi DS-250 Tile Saw. These saws are preferred by professionals, as they combine durability and portability with a powerful design that can cut most ceramic materials.
If you are tiling more than a small bathroom or another small area, you will likely need either a tabletop wet saw, or an overhead motor wet tile saw. A hand-held model or a “snap” cutter simply will not provide the power and versatility you need for a larger project.
Factors To Consider When Picking Out A Tile Saw
Now that you understand the basics about the distinct types of tile saw, you should also learn a little bit about the other factors you should consider when picking out a tile saw. In this section, we’ll discuss everything you should take into account.
Dimensions and portability
The portability and dimensions of a tile saw are very important when selecting a tile saw. You don’t want to get a tile saw that’s too big, but a tile saw that is too small can be quite inconvenient.
As a rule, you’ll want to pick a saw that can cut 1000 mm – about 39 inches – in a single pass. The overwhelming majority of tiles you’ll cut will fit in this range.
However, if you’re cutting smaller tiles, you could get a smaller and more portable tile saw. It all depends on the largest dimension of the tiles you’re cutting.
You’ll want a saw that can bevel tiles (cut them at an angle). Beveling a tile helps you create a more smooth, attractive transition. All Rubi Tile saws support beveling, so you can’t go wrong, there!
Horsepower is a key consideration for tile saws. Simply put, the more dense and tough your tile is, the more horsepower you’ll need to cut it cleanly. A thin masonry tile won’t need much power – but a thick porcelain tile will.
As an example, a DC-250 Tile Saw from Rubi may be perfect for a smaller kitchen, as it has a 1.5 HP motor. But if you are cutting thicker, durable tiles, you may need a DX-350-N, which has a 4 HP motor.
Cutting capacity and accuracy
A longer table makes it easier to expand your cutting capacity, and make more accurate cuts on long materials. In addition, some tile saWs like the DX-350-N from Rubi include precision features like a laser level. This makes it easier to create perfectly straight, true cuts.
Blade size is a key consideration for tile saws. As a rule, you should choose a 10” blade. While an 8” blade is okay for some projects, 10” blades can cut more deeply, and are more appropriate for diverse projects.
Water and anti-dust features
Any good tile saw will use water to help keep the blade and tile cool, and reduce the dispersal of dust in your work area. A controllable water pump is ideal, as you can adjust the amount of water used.
If you keep all of these factors in mind, you’ll be able to pick out the right tile saw for your project.
What Tile Saw Is Right For My Project?
Still need a recommendation for which tile saw to use for your project? We’re here to help. Let’s discuss the right tile saw for each project you may be taking on, based on size.
Small, DIY Projects
For a smaller, DIY project, you likely won’t need to make many tile cuts, and you’ll be using more thin tiles, such as bathroom or kitchen tiles. This means that a smaller tile saw like the Rubi DU-250 Tile Saw or Rubi ND-180 Tile Saw will be the right choice for you.
These saws are versatile and powerful enough for all DIY projects, and are much more affordable than their larger counterparts.
If you’re renovating a larger house to “flip” it, or you’re tiling a large room and need to make complicated cuts – or you’re using diverse materials – you’ll need a more powerful and sizeable tile saw.
For these types of projects, a more powerful saw such as the Rubi DC-250 Tile Saw is a good choice. If you want a laser leveler, the Rubi DS-250-N Tile Saw is also a great choice. With powerful engines and advanced anti-dust features, these saws can help you make short work of your next project.
For larger commercial projects, you’ll need a high-powered tile saw that can operate for several hours continuously, and that can cut even the most thick, long, and durable tiles. In addition, accuracy is a key concern, so you will want a laser level.
This means the Rubi DX-350-N Tile Saw is the best choice. It has a powerful 4 HP motor and can operate for 3 hours continuously, and can be used on all types of ceramic tiles, from porcelain to marble, granite, and even fireproof bricks and facade bricks.
In addition, it supports a lateral stop for repetitive cuts, and includes a 2mW laser plotter to help you cut your tiles cleanly and effectively, and a foldable stand and circle level make it easy to set it up on just about any kind of terrain.
No matter what kind of project you’re taking on, there are Rubi tools available that can help you work more efficiently. From DIY projects to commercial, industrial renovations, you can find a Rubi tile saw that will be perfect for the job.
Find The Right Tile Saw Today – And Get To Work!
Tiling is hard work, whether you’re a novice tiler, or an experienced contractor. But the right tools go a long way, and can make things simpler. By investing in a high-quality tile saw from Rubi and learning more about some common tile installation tips, you can make quick work of your next project, and ensure that you get absolutely stellar results.
Makita 18V LXT Brushless 5-Inch Wet Dry Masonry Saw | XCC01
The Makita XCC01 18V LXT Brushless 5-inch Wet Dry Masonry Saw provides a portable, lightweight cutting solution for tile, thin pavers, and more. Billed as a “powerful cordless saw designed for demanding applications,” this tool looks geared for tile Pros and stone masons. It tackles both wet and dry cuts with integrated water delivery and Makita AWS compatibility for use with compatible dust extractors.
What’s the Big Deal?
The 5-inch blade on the Makita Brushless Wet Dry Saw spins at up to 8,800 rpm for fast and smooth cuts in a variety of material. It features Makita’s Automatic Speed Change technology that adjusts the speed and torque of the saw under load. Since it supports both AWS and a water supply, the saw maintains OSHA compliance in both wet and dry cuts.
For wet cuts, the Makita XCC01 features an integrated water delivery system with an adjustable flow, which continuously feeds water for OSHA Table 1 compliance when cutting masonry. Makita includes a bottle for use when you don’t have ready access to a supply of water or only require a limited number of cuts.
For dry cuts, Makita has included the Auto-Start Wireless System, using Bluetooth technology for wireless communication between the tool and an AWS-equipped dust extractor.
But what’s even more helpful is the cut capacity we’re seeing from the Makita Brushless Wet Dry Saw. At 90º, you can cut material up to 1-9/16″ thick. It features bevel cuts up to 45º, at which point, you get a maximum cut capacity of 1-1/16″.
- Electric brake
- Soft start
- Integrated overload indicator
- LED work light
- Optional 1-3/8″ dust extraction port swivels 360º
- Attaches to optional guide rail with guide rail adapter for straight, accurate cuts
Makita plans to release the 18V Brushless 5-inch Wet Dry Masonry Saw in Q4 2021. We expect it to hit your local retailers sometime this Fall. Pricing has yet to be disclosed, but it will come with a Makita 3-year warranty.
New Makita 18V Cordless Diamond Saw for Tile and Masonry
Over on Instagram, our primary source for Makita news since they blacklisted us (seemingly for asking too many hard questions), Makita has announced a new 18V “diamond cutter” – a 5″ mini circular saw designed for cutting tile and masonry materials.
The Makita 18V tile cutter, DCC501ZX1 (bare tool, international SKU), has a 5″ diamond grit blade that can cut materials up to 40mm (~1.57″) deep.
It looks like the new Makita masonry/tile will include a water reservoir accessory, as well as a supply hose.
In addition to being able to wet-cut materials, users can switch to a different dry-cutting guard for use with a dust extraction system.
Key Features Specs
- 5″ blade size
- 8,800 RPM (no-load)
- 0-45° bevel capacity
- Water supply attachments
- Electric blade brake
- LED worklight
- Optional guide rail attachment (198673-2)
- Weighs 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs)
- Replacement diamond blade: A-95152
At this time, there’s no word as to if or when this will be available in the USA, or if it will also launch as part of Makita’s 40V Max XGT cordless power tool platform.
See Also: Makita 12V CXT Tile Cutter
Makita also has a similar 12V Max CXT tool.
User reviews for the 12V Max tile cutting saw on Amazon seem to be mixed, but it seems to be a moot point given the drastically different designs.
One thing I find curious is that the 12V Max saw is a blade-right design, and the 18V diamond saw has a blade-left design. The 12V Max version always looked like it was retrofit, with how the water reservoir is attached and suspended above the tool, whereas with the 18V saw the guard is specially designed around the water supply accessories.
It’s also interesting to compare Makita’s two saws with respect to speed. A couple of user reviews mention that the 12V Max saw isn’t very fast or powerful. That saw is rated at 1,600 RPM and has a 3-3/8″ blade.
This new 18V version has a 5″ wheel and operates at 8,800 RPM.
It’s not just that the 18V tool is faster with respect to RPMs, but a larger blade will usually have a faster linear cutting and material removal rate than a smaller blade spinning at the same RPM.
Based on the specs, I would assume that the 18V tool cuts significantly faster than the 12V Max versions.
Whereas Makita describes their 12V Max saw as a tile and glass saw, the Makita DCC501 18V saw is described as being a diamond cutter for use on tile, masonry, and concrete.
There are many handheld cordless multi-cutters that can be used to cut tile and other such materials, but I haven’t seen many others that have a built-in water supply system.
Ryobi used to have an 18V wet-cutting saw (P580), but it doesn’t look like you can still buy that today.
Makita’s first 12V Max cordless tile and glass saw came out 6 years ago. Why haven’t other toolmakers come out with similar tools since then?
Do users have a stronger preference for larger wet-cutting tile saws?
If you’re looking for a different cordless wet tile-cutting solution, there’s always Craftsman and Porter Cable have portable benchtop-style tile saws.
Here are some other recent Makita tool releases:
At the Bigger and Powerful End of the Spectrum
Milwaukee Tool has their high-powered MX Fuel 14″ cut-off saw, and there’s an onboard water connection for use in wet and dry cutting applications. But, this is not the type of tool for use on tile materials.
Several brands also have 9” saws.
It has been more than 3 years since OSHA silica rules went into effect. There are a lot of dust extraction solutions today, but it’d be good to see more wet-cutting solutions as well.
Why haven’t there been many other solutions in the space between Makita’s 12V Max saw and 9-14” saws? I’ve seen angle grinders used on masonry materials, and it’s often a dusty and dirty mess.
Is Makita’s new saw the first 18V cordless wet-cutting tile and masonry tool, or is there a whole category of these tools that I seem to have missed? And if it is, why is that?
30 Комментарии и мнения владельцев
Seems odd you mention the Milwaukee MX power cutter, but not the 9″ Makita X2 power cutter? Wouldn’t try that on tile either though!
The MX FUEL was top-of-mind with respect to larger masonry saws with built-in water connection. I’m not familiar with the X2. I know there’s a Milwaukee M18 Fuel 9” saw, and can add those in if you’d like. My point is that there are higher power solutions, but still not a lot in this space of 3” to 7” cutters.
I have no experience with tile. I would have thought the one-handed version would be better. Would you really freehand cut a granite countertop like that? Neat tool though.
Maybe if it’s going to be a hidden edge? There’s also supposed to be a guide rail accessory, but there are images of it.
I recently picked up Milwaukee’s M12 cutoff tool which is quite versatile in that it comes with a removable dust shield/foot and the blade direction is reversible. Just tiled a large laundry room with just a Montolit tile cutter and the little Milwaukee with a diamond blade with a Festool vac attached for the L-cuts and oddball cuts. I’ve got three tile saws: a large DeWALT, medium MK 7 and a small Ridgid tabletop, but the Milwaukee cutoff saw worked great, and the Montolit of course is just effortless. My main system is Makita LXT though – I’d buy one of these if a deal came around
When Makita sort of ruled the small cordless power tool field they had a 9.6V NiCad version of the 12V CXT saw. Like now – Makita makes one (SH02Z) for cutting wood and the other (CC02Z) with water for glass/tile. The 3-3/8 inch diameter saw blade form factor was once very popular (when paneling was the rage) and can still hold up well for light sheet goods. As best as my eyes can tell – the new tools are almost the spitting image of the old ones as far as form factor goes – water bottle placement etc https://www.amazon.com/Makita-4190DW-8-Inch-9-6-Volt-Cordless/dp/B00004YODG
Oh, the placement absolutely made sense, but to me both 12V Max saws always looked “converted” from same-voltage wood-cutting saws. There’s nothing wrong with that, a lot of brands have shared components between compact drills and impact drivers. This 5″ saw looks completely different and with its dedicated design and guard(s). The 12V Max tools are still unique given their water supply capabilities, but this 18V model doesn’t just look to be a voltage step-up conversion. Whereas the 12V Max tools looked perhaps adapted to me, this looks more like it was designed from scratch. Maybe this isn’t the case, but I couldn’t find anything like it.
I see where you’re coming from. Water control could be a big deal on wet cutting saws. That’s true even with professional grade rail-guided saws. The class acts like Imer do well – protect the motors and preserve longevity. BTW – there are starting to be some mixed reviews about this (and other issues) with the Milwaukee 2786
8800 RPM is surprisingly fast – I don’t know if I’ve seen cordless saws with that high a speed before.
Done buying anything Makita 18v until we see the fate of 40v. Although credit is due for releasing more 18v tools. Excited they finally released a grease gun.
XGT is almost a year and a half old and in that time Makita has been more prolific with new LXT products than ever before.
Here’s my prediction: 18v will be sold for the foreseeable future. 5-10 years minimum. However- 40v will replace it eventually. My thinking: The entry level 40(36v) battery is currently a 10 cell 18650 format, at 2.5Ah. (Same as the 18v 5Ah.) Even today, those 5Ah batteries are expensive, and you’ll only find them bundled with Makita’s flagship 18v products. Basically there’s no way for Makita to sell cheap, compact 40v batteries (and thus affordable combo kits) until battery technology makes a BIG leap. Think AAA-size lithium cells with outputs similar to current 18650 cells. Or some sort of solid state battery? Either way, the technology doesn’t yet exist to offer affordable products in 40v. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that 40v is designed to be a complete solution. (Evidenced by the existence of small tools like the impact driver.) I can’t see why they would introduce a new complete solution if they didn’t intend for it to be their main system eventually. However 18v will continue to be supported for a LONG time. So how will they differentiate the systems? I think they will continue to develop 18v tools of all levels, from entry level to professional grade. (Like this tile saw.) The market and their existing user base is just too large to abandon. Their 40v tools will be very similar to their pro-grade 18v tools, but with a bit of extra power, and a some extra features. These features may even trickle down to 18v, but 40v will get them first, and remain a premium option. There will be no entry level 40v tools for the foreseeable future. Is this a winning strategy for Makita? I don’t know. Time will tell.
The lack of TPE overmolding could mean it’s part of the industrial line. Price goes way up in that case.
DO NOT BUY A TILE SAW THAT RUNS ON A 12V PLATFORM (caveat below). They will never be strong enough for any serious cutting. Now, if you need the size for little holes, or glass mosaic, then they’re fine. Just don’t expect to cut a full piece of tile.
Complete Your Project with Ryobi Tools
This saw has “wrong” disc spindle direction.For its intended use for stone,tiles,etc, disc should rotate oposite,so that doesnt cause face tear and chips.Disc “attack” should be on top of material,not the other way arround.My opinion based on experience.
blacklisted I’ve seen you use this term a few times. It makes me feel icky. Other industries are moving to “denylist”, could you consider switching copy in the future? As a bonus it’s fewer characters to type. Either way, good luck getting off that list though. I hope it’s only temporary.
Slist is another term. It’s common in the computer industry too where reviewers get omitted from receiving samples. In the automotive industry, it’s losing access to press vehicles — and a reason why many car reviews are so glowingly positive. Getting off the list usually happens when their PR team realizes the competition is getting much more coverage and/or a change of staff.
I looked into it recently, and the origins don’t seem to be controversial. If you explain what you don’t like about it, I’ll absolutely consider your request. I’ll send you an email.
Sounds good. I assume you can see the emails from Комментарии и мнения владельцев. It’s less about the origins and more about the implications. Thanks for your consideration.
I forgot to mention that they’ve offered LXT dry cutting tile cutting saws in Japan for some time but I don’t believe I’ve seen them elsewhere.
Ahhh. Well, we know how Makita do. We’ll have no idea if and where else they plan to release it until it ships to those retailers. I’m grateful that the little drill style polisher showed up in one of this month’s product dumps. Not so grateful that it’s in subcompact black. If police get called on me in for a Festool drill, what do you think a black pistol shaped tool will get me in a gang heavy neighborhood?
Pursuant to the discussion about Festools new track saw versus the Makita and the Makita offerings, they should’ve made this base track compatible.
They have a track attachment accessory for it. Speaking of which: Makita have more products that ride on a Festool track without an accessory than Festool do.
They don’t exactly show this in any product images that I’ve seen, and I had to dig for the accessory info.
The 9 Best Tools for Cutting Tile of 2023
Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.
Deane Biermeier is an expert contractor with nearly 30 years of experience in all types of home repair, maintenance, and remodeling. He is a certified lead carpenter and also holds a certification from the EPA. Deane is a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board.
There are several tile cutting tools—both manual and electric—to choose from when planning out different tiling projects around the home. We’ve spent countless hours researching the best tile cutting options available online, considering ease of setup and use, durability, accuracy, and value. Johnathan Brewer, a general contractor and member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board, notes, “When it comes to tile saws, the use of a diamond tip blade, in addition to a constant application of water to the blade, will aid in cutting the tile with less effort and less tile damage.”
Here are the best tools for cutting tile, from wet saws to nippers.
Porter-Cable PCE980 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
A tabletop wet tile saw is one of the top tools for cutting tile, since it’s easy to use and provides straight, accurate cuts and the ability to bevel tile edges as needed. The Porter-Cable PCE980 offers plenty of power, helpful features, and accuracy to make any project involving tile cutting quicker and easier.
The 1-horsepower motor spins the 7-inch blade at speeds up to 2,850 rpm for easy cutting of ceramic, porcelain, or stone tiles up to a depth of 1-3/4-inch. The metal table has an overall 17-inch cutting capacity, and allows you to cut tiles up to 12 x 12 inches on a diagonal with accuracy that’s within 1/16th of an inch. A built-in miter square helps you to make accurate, repeatable miter cuts for tiles that will wrap around corners. And the enclosed water reservoir keeps the blade cool and dust to a minimum while the splash guard helps prevent the user from getting wet. When you’re finished, just pull the drain plug to release the water into your bucket waiting underneath.
This accurate, powerful saw is reasonably compact, and has a roll-cage handle for easy transport to your jobsite. At 27 pounds, it’s not too heavy, and its 21-inch by 8-inch size is easy to handle or store.
Price at time of publish: 190
Type: Benchtop wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 17 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 12 inches | Cutting Depth: 1-3/4 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
SKIL 3540-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
If you’re looking for a capable tabletop wet saw for cutting tiles but don’t want to spend several hundred dollars, then pick up the popular SKIL 7-inch Wet Tile Saw. This compact tabletop wet saw costs less than a typical saw rental from your local big box store, which is a good reason to buy over rent. It makes quick work of cutting tiles for your flooring or décor project.
This budget wet saw includes a stainless-steel tabletop, blade cooling reservoir to prevent overheating of the 7-inch circular blade (but no water pump), and an adjustable rip fence to ensure straight cuts. A miter gauge also allows bevel cuts up to 45 degrees. This reasonably priced saw is a great tile cutting tool for basic home projects or DIYers. While it can cut a variety of tile types and sizes, you should know that this saw cannot handle tiles as large as many other models. You can only cut a maximum of 12 inches straight, or 7 inches on a diagonal, which means the saw isn’t suitable if you need to cut large tiles. The saw weighs a mere 18 pounds.
Price at time of publish: 93
Type: Benchtop wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 12 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 7 inches | Cutting Depth: 1-3/8 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Handheld Wet Saw
Ryobi TC401 4-Inch Tile Saw
If you’re looking for a portable tile cutting tool that still packs plenty of power, the Ryobi 4-inch Tile Saw is a popular option. This handheld wet tile saw uses a 12-foot plastic tube to keep a continuous stream of water on the blade as it cuts through tile material. Impressively, this compact tile tool has 12 amps of power and can cut material up to 1-5/32 inches thick at a 90-degree angle and up to 3/4 inches thick at 45 degrees. With a blade that spins up to a maximum of 13,700 rpm, you can quickly cut through tile of any size or shape, and you can cut bevels up to 45 degrees.
This tile cutting tool is a good choice if you need to remove previously installed tile, since you can operate the tool wherever needed—including on floors, backsplashes, and tub surrounds. It’s also an option for anyone that wants a saw for cutting tile that is easy to transport and simple to store. Just keep in mind that a handheld tile saw will require a steady hand, since it lacks the sturdy surface of a tabletop wet saw. The overall weight is 8 pounds.
Price at time of publish: 113
Type: Handheld wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 4 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: Unlimited | Max. Diagonal Cuts: Unlimited | Cutting Depth: 1-5/32 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Snap Tile Cutter
QEP 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter with Tungsten Carbide Scoring Wheel
Also called a rail cutter, this is a basic but valuable manual tile cutting tool. This 24-inch snap tile cutter from QEP has a 7/8-inch tungsten carbide scoring wheel that creates a scored line enabling the breaker bars to produce a clean, effective snap. Models with even larger rails are available, but this model usually meets the needs of most tile projects. You can use it to cut up to 24 inches straight across a tile, or to make cuts up to 16 inches diagonally. The maximum cutting depth is 1/2-inch.
The primary purpose of this type of tile cutting tool is to make straight cuts; you cannot use it for miter or bevel cuts. While it can be used on a variety of tile types, it is best suited to cutting ceramic tiles. While the handle is ergonomically designed and large enough to reduce strain, keep in mind that you still need to exert your own muscle power to use the tool. Still, this is a great choice if you don’t need to cut a lot of tiles, or you need to cut large tiles.
Price at time of publish: 136
Type: Rail cutter | Power Source: Manual | Blade Size: Not applicable | Max. Straight Cuts: 24 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 16 inches | Cutting Depth: 1/2 inch | Miter Cuts: No
Best Tile Nipper
M-D Building Products Compound Tile Nippers
- Excellent for mosaic or other irregular shapes
- Designed to reduce effort and hand strain
Tile nippers might be one of the most basic tile cutting tools, but this pair of compound nippers from M-D Building Products is a hands-down favorite of tiling pros and DIYers. These tile nippers deliver twice the force of conventional tile nippers, thanks to an ergonomic design and strong tungsten carbide tips. They are particularly effective on porcelain and ceramic tile, but take extra care if cutting glass tiles, because it is easy to shatter or crack them if you are just learning to use this tool.
Designed for nipping off small pieces of tile, this isn’t the tool for cutting a long, straight line, nor is it the right choice for bevel or miter cuts. With experience, however, you can use these nippers to create curves, notches, and other irregular shapes around the piece of tile, which is invaluable if you are tiling around fixtures, creating a mosaic feature or art project, or tiling an area with curves or an uneven shape. Note that reviews say the nippers won’t work on tile thicker than about 1/2 inch. The nippers weigh 2.25 pounds.
Price at time of publish: 34
Type: Tile nipper | Power Source: Manual | Blade Size: Not applicable | Max. Straight Cuts: Not applicable | Max. Diagonal Cuts: Not applicable | Cutting Depth: Not applicable | Miter Cuts: No
Best Wet Tile Saw With Stand
RIDGID 9-Amp 7-inch Wet Tile Saw with Stand
A wet tile saw is one of the best tools for cutting tile, but without a stand, the task can become tiring, as you’ll need to crouch on the floor or find a nearby countertop or table. Plus, to make straight and accurate cuts, a stable surface is needed for wet saws when working with different types of hard tile materials. A model like this one from RIDGID solves these problems by pairing a well-equipped, 9-amp wet tile saw with a very sturdy folding stand that gives you stability and a level surface on any project or jobsite. The 1 3/4-horsepower motor and 7-inch blade mean that it can make 24-inch rip cuts and 18-inch diagonal cuts with a depth up to 2-1/4 inches and speeds up to 5,700 rpm. It also cuts bevels and miters up to 45 degrees and can even make plunge cuts into the center of the tile.
In addition to the folding stand that is easy to transport and set up, this professional tile saw includes a die-cast aluminum tabletop with sealed ball-bearing rollers for a smooth gliding action. The included submersible water pump keeps the blade cool and functional, and it is designed to prevent excessive water spray or mess. It also has a laser guide system for extra precision. All in all, if you need a professional-quality tile saw, this is a great choice. The tool weighs 45 pounds.
Price at time of publish: 329
Type: Wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 24 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 18 inches | Cutting Depth: 2-1/4 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Benchtop Tile Saw
SKIL 3550-02 7-Inch Tile Saw with HydroLock System
Cutting tile with a wet saw often means a considerable amount of water spray on nearby surfaces, which can mean damage to floors or walls, particularly if you’re working on projects like a tiled fireplace or kitchen backsplash. For this reason, many tile cutters prefer to do their cutting outside, and then bring the cut tiles indoors. However, with the SKIL 3550-02, you can go right ahead and cut your tiles indoors without fear of splash thanks to the HydroLock System, which keeps the water contained near the blade, not all around the room. But that’s not all this saw has to offer.
The 7-inch diamond blade spins at speeds up to 3,600 rpm, easily cutting through ceramic, stone, or porcelain tiles. You can use this tool to cut straight across tiles that are up to 18 inches, or cut through 12-inch tiles on a diagonal. If you need an angled cut, this saw adjusts for miter or bevel cuts at 22.5 or 45 degrees. It has a built-in miter gauge for accuracy. The saw weighs 24 pounds, so isn’t too heavy to carry wherever you need it, although it lacks a handle.
Price at time of publish: 149
Type: Benchtop wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 18 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 12 inches | Cutting Depth: Not specified | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Cordless Wet Tile Saw
Craftsman CMCS4000M1 20V MAX 7-Inch Cordless Wet Saw
Most wet tile saws are corded, requiring you to work within a few feet of an electrical outlet. But with batteries becoming ever more powerful, you’ll now find a few cordless tile saws. Our favorite is the Craftsman CMCS4000M1, which runs off an included Craftsman 20-volt battery. Craftsman claims the battery life is up to 130 cuts of 3×6 inch ceramic tile per charge, so don’t worry you’ll run out of juice too quickly. Plus, this saw’s water containment system is better than many others, meaning you won’t have to deal with much splash or spray.
The 7-inch blade spins at up to 2,800 rpm, and you can cut straight across tiles up to 17×17 with this tool, along with cutting tiles up to 12×12 on a diagonal, which makes it good for both wall and floor tiles. On straight cuts up to 12 inches, the saw delivers accuracy to within 1/16th of an inch. The saw cuts to a maximum depth of 1.25 inches, but note that this saw doesn’t tilt for making miter or bevel cuts. It weighs 27 pounds.
Price at time of publish: 273
Type: Cordless wet saw | Power Source: Battery | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 17 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 12 inches | Cutting Depth: 1-1/4 inch | Miter Cuts: No
Best for Large Tiles
DeWALT D24000S 10-Inch Wet Tile Saw with Stand
If you need to cut large tiles, such as those used for flooring, then you’ll need a tile saw with maximum capacity. The DeWALT D240000S has a 10-inch blade that can cut straight across tiles as large as 24×24 inches or cut 18×18-inch tiles on a diagonal. Its cutting depth is an impressive 3-1/8-inch, and it even has a plunge cut feature, which allows you to make cutouts in the middle of a tile. With a 1.5-horsepower motor that spins the blade up to 4,200 rpm, you’ll have no problems cutting through different types of flooring tiles.
Two adjustable nozzles spray water from the reservoir onto the blade, but don’t worry about overspray; this saw has an excellent water containment system that lets you use it indoors without fear of water splashing everywhere. You can make 22.5 or 45-degree miter cuts, and the edge guide helps you keep your straight cuts perfectly aligned. At 69 pounds, this isn’t a light saw, but its included stand makes it convenient to use wherever you need to work.
Price at time of publish: 999
Type: Wet saw | Power Source: Cordless | Blade Size: 10 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 24 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 18 inches | Cutting Depth: 3-1/8 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
If you’re looking for a precise, powerful tile cutting saw that handles the most common sizes of tile, then it’s hard to go wrong with our top pick, the Porter-Cable PCE980 Wet Tile Saw. But if budget is a concern, you can save money and still get excellent results on smaller tiles with the SKIL 3540-02 7-inch Wet Tile Saw.
What to Look for
Manual vs. Electric
Tile cutting tools include both manual and electric options. Manual options cost much less, but require a fair amount of exertion, and so are best for small jobs only. Electric tile-cutting tools can handle large jobs, but are of course much more expensive. There are a few different types of both manual and electric options.
Manual snap tile cutters, like rail cutters, have a wheel to score the tile and then rails that apply pressure to snap the tile along the scored line. This type of tile cutting tool is less intimidating for beginners to use but requires more physical exertion and can result in rough cuts that must be sanded. You can only make straight cuts with a rail cutter.
Tile nippers are another manual option. These tools, which resemble pliers, “nip” off small pieces of tile, allowing you to create a curve, a notch, or trim a tile to fit into an oddly shaped spot. Like rail cutters, you need to use your own exertions to power the tool, which can be tiring if you face a big job, and you can only nip a very small chunk of tile at a time.
For electric tile cutting tools, you’ll typically be considering tile saws. These come in both tabletop and handheld versions. Also known as wet tile saws, these tools are equipped with a water pump or reservoir that keeps the blade wet in order to reduce friction and dust as you cut tiles. Electric tile cutters are better suited for harder materials like stone and also can be used to make angled cuts or follow a curve after a little practice. These saws are your best choice if you’ll be cutting a lot of tile, you need to make curved or angled cuts, or you’ll be cutting stone.
Other electric options that can be used for cutting ceramic tile include oscillating tools fitted with a tile-cutting blade and angle grinders with a diamond-tipped, smooth-edged blade. You won’t get as smooth of a cut with either of these options, but for a small job, or where a bit of roughness isn’t an issue, these could be fine choices if you already own the tool.
The density and hardness of tile varies depending on the material. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are both made from clay, but porcelain is harder and more brittle. In general, manual tile cutters can be used for straight cuts on these types of tiles. For granite, marble, and stone tiles, you’ll need to use a tile cutting saw that offers the power and precision necessary to cut these dense, heavy materials without breaking them.
Consider what is the largest size of tile that you plan to cut and choose a tile cutting tool that can handle the job. While you may be able to use a large tile cutting tool for small tile, don’t expect to use a small tile cutting tool for large format tiles.
The typical tile saw has a 7-inch blade, which can handle tiles up to 12 x 12 inches. This covers the majority of tiles used for covering countertops, backsplashes, and tub surrounds. However, for working on larger tiles up to 18 x 18, which are sometimes used as flooring, you’ll need a tile saw with a 10-inch blade.
Dewalt Tile Saw Vs. Harbor Freight Chicago Electric Tile Saw
To use a snap tile cutter, you’ll first need to mark the top and bottom of the tile (on the face) to indicate where you want to cut. Next, lay the tile face side-up on the cutter underneath the cutting wheel and pressure pad. Slide the tile snugly against the end-stop. Then, position the cutting wheel near the edge of the tile. Lower the wheel and use firm, even pressure as you roll the wheel across the entire surface of the tile. You may need to make one more pass to effectively score the tile. Then, lift the tile cutter handle so that the pressure pad rests on the tile itself. Apply firm, even downward pressure to snap the tile along the scored line. To use a tile saw, you should also start by marking the face of the tile with a cutting line. After preparing the saw and work area and putting on PPE, you’re ready to cut tile. Place the tile on the bed of the saw, pushing it close to the rip fence or miter gauge. Check that the blade is in line with your cutting line. Then, bring the tile back in front of the blade. Turn the saw on, allow it to come up to full speed, and then slowly push the tile under the blade. You should keep one hand on each side of the tile, as far from the blade as possible. As the blade reaches the end of the tile, push the tile even more slowly. Once the tile clears the blade, turn the saw off, wait for the blade to come to a complete stop, then retrieve the tile.
A grease pencil is often used for marking tiles since they offer good visibility but can be wiped away after the cut is made. A lead pencil or felt tip marker are two other alternatives.
Porcelain tile is very dense but brittle, so minimizing the chance of the tile chipping is a top priority. One key way to prevent chipping is to use a wet tile saw. The water over the blade reduces friction and heat, allowing the blade to glide through the tile more easily. The cutting technique you use may also help to prevent chipping when cutting porcelain tiles. Two methods are often suggested: First, make a shallow cut no more than 1/2 of the thickness of the tile. This requires the use of an adjustable saw blade. After making this initial cut, run the blade across the entire tile, cutting it completely on this pass. The second method is to make a notch in one end of the tile, about an inch or so deep. This is the start of your cut. Then, cut the tile from the other side. The cutting line should match your notch, resulting in a complete cut of the tile.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Michelle Ullman is the home improvement/tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.
For this roundup, Ullman considered dozens of tile-cutting tools, evaluating each for effectiveness, ease of use, and overall performance, as well as value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, and received further input and advice from Johnathan Brewer, a general contractor and member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board.