Tile Saws

Tile cutter 
Most tiling jobs require making cuts on tiles so they will fit properly where they are being installed. This guide and our associated tile saw video will help you understand the different types of tile cutters and how to choose the best cutter for your project.

Selecting a Tile Cutter

When choosing a tile cutter, consider the size of the job and the types of materials being cut (thickness and area). This can help you determine the functionality and specifications to look for in your cutter. For relatively small projects using ceramic or porcelain tile, a snap cutter may do the job. However, for larger projects that require many cuts or detailed cuts, you may want to consider a more powerful tile cutter to make the job easier

Tile Cutting Options

Snap Cutter or Rail Cutter Models

Snap and Rail cutters are the least complex and least expensive tools to cut tile. Snap cutters are manually operated and work by placing a tile on the machine and dragging a scoring wheel across the tile. After the tile is scored, the foot of the heel assembly is pressed against the tile to snap the scored pieces apart. Snap cutters are ideal for smaller do-it-yourself projects where simple cuts are all that are needed.  Because snap cutters rely on manual cuts, there is a chance that you’ll break a few tiles until you get the hang of it. Be sure to purchase some extra tiles to practice your technique. Snap Cutter or Rail Cutter Models

Points to consider:

• Most snap or rail cutters are rated by the size of the tile they’ll cut. Make sure you purchase the appropriate 
  tile cutter for your job.
• Snaps will not result in perfectly straight lines. In most cases, this does not matter because the cut side will 
  be against the wall and under baseboards.
• No specialty cuts are possible.
• Snap cutters are not suited for stone tiles.

Handheld Wet Tile Saws

Handheld saws use a diamond powder coated cutting wheel to grind away the tile it contacts and are used in a similar fashion to a circular saw. Water is supplied by a hose connection or by an on-board container. Dry cutting is possible, but broadcasts dust particles through the air. Handheld wet tile saws are capable of most jobs performed by table top or overhead models with the ability to make specialty cuts on all natural and manmade tile materials.

Handheld wet tile saws are advantageous for jobs where portability is necessary such as jobs with large or heavy tiles. For smaller jobs, make sure that you have the ability to secure the tile before cutting for safety purposes.

Handheld Wet Tile Saws

Points to consider:

• Convenient for touch up and specialty cuts.
• Dust masks are recommended for dry cutting.
• Corded and cordless models are available from popular manufacturers.
• Snap cutters are not suited for stone tiles.

Table Top Wet Tile Saws

Table top wet tile saws are similar to table saws used for working with wood and composite materials. Tiles are pushed across the table through a diamond cutting wheel mounted below the table. The wheel rotates in a pool of water which keeps the wheel cool and eliminates flying dust particles. Table Top Wet Tile Saws

Points to consider:

• Line of sight from cut line to cutting wheel is not always accurate.
• Friction from pushing the tile on the table can inhibit smooth cutting.
• Depth of cut is typically too small to cut pavers.
• Consider a miter attachment to help with specialty cuts.

Overhead Motor Wet Tile Saws

Overhead motor wet tile saws provide the most control for precise cuts. Material travels on a table and rail system through the cutting wheel and because the cutting wheel is located above the tile, lining up the cut line and cutting wheel is an easier visual task. Many units come with stands or have stands available separately. Water is often supplied by submersible pumps or by fresh water delivery systems. Overhead Motor Wet Tile Saws

Points to consider:

• These are the largest tile cutting machines and require some assembly.
• Many saws are limited to water delivery by pump alone.

Additional Features To Consider

Snap or rail cutters

• Larger tiles will require large cutters.
• Chrome plated steel rails offer the smoothest cutting action.
• Titanium coated cutting wheels provide the best cuts.

Handheld wet tile saws

• Lock-on switches help reduce user fatigue.
• Cordless models provide the most portability.
• Lithium-Ion battery packs help the saw perform at maximum capability and duration.

Table top models

• Larger tables allow cutting of larger material.
• Rust resistant tables will result in longer tool life.
• Drain plugs make water disposal much easier than tipping the unit on its side.

Overhead models

• Specialty cuts are easier if the saw includes a plunging or beveling head. Lasers and LED lights help to 
  ensure cut accuracy.
• Fresh water delivery systems deliver continuous clean water on the cutting wheel resulting in the very best 
  quality of cut.
• Tile saws that provide support all the way through the cut result in much less waste than those that do not.
• Easy draining of water is a huge benefit. Choose a saw designed for easy draining.