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Which tile cutter is best for DIY projects?

Unless you work with tile for a living, it might not seem like a good idea to invest in a tile cutter for DIY projects around the house. However, doing a job correctly means having the proper equipment.

Thankfully, tile cutters are easy to use and not very expensive. The money spent on this specialized tool is well worth the time you save and the accuracy you will achieve by resisting the temptation to cut tile hastily with an angle grinder or glass cutter.

How does a tile cutter work?

Manual tile cutters work by scoring a straight line across your material with the tool’s tungsten carbide wheel. Once the scoring is complete, you can snap the tile perfectly along the line you’ve created. Some tile cutters allow for more adjustments than others, but they all let you score and snap tiles repeatedly so you can work as efficiently as possible.

If you are familiar with how a manual paper cutter works, you will find that tile cutters look and operate similarly.

What materials can I cut with a tile cutter?

You should use manual tile cutters on thin porcelain, granite and ceramic tiles. Vinyl flooring should be cut with a knife, as the material is too flexible to be scored and snapped. Tile cutters are also not suitable for use on wood.

Tile cutter vs. tile nipper

You should use a tile cutter if you need a piece of tile cut in a straight line. However, when it comes time to make curved cuts or trim tiny backsplash tiles to fit around kitchen fixtures or corners, you need to use tile nippers.

These handheld tools let you snip small pieces of tile away until you have achieved the shape you need to fit your design. Supplementing your tile cutter with a pair of tile nippers ensures you’re prepared for any type of modification you may need to make.

Tile cutter vs. wet saw

Wet saws are for more advanced tile work. These power tools use a stream of water to lubricate a rotating diamond blade as it cuts through granite, brick and stone. While wet saws are required for jobs that demand miter cuts or make use of especially thick materials, you likely won’t need one for DIY jobs.

Messy, loud and challenging to master, wet saws are best left to contractors and professionals, although they generally guarantee better cutting results with less chipping and cracking. 

Best tile cutters

Top small tile cutters

VonHaus 24-Inch Tile Cutter

What you need to know: This tile cutter is great for small jobs like backsplashes and bathrooms.

What you’ll love: The cutter’s tungsten carbide blade can score materials up to half an inch thick. The cutting surface is coated in rubber to prevent your tile from slipping, and the cutter only weighs 16 pounds.

What you should consider: This cutter is best for small, smooth tiles without deep or ornate textures.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

QEP 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter

What you need to know: With its ergonomic handle and aluminum construction, this tile cutter is comfortable enough to use all day long.

What you’ll love: This tile cutter’s handle is long, letting you achieve leverage without much elbow grease. Thick rubber feet keep it in place while you work, and it can accommodate materials up to 24 inches in length.

What you should consider: Buyers find this cutter is hard to use on small pieces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top large tile cutters

Zelcan 48-Inch Manual Tile Cutter

What you need to know: This 48-inch tile cutter is great for serious DIY projects.

What you’ll love: This tile cutter is ideal for jobs that require long, precise cuts because it has two extendable feet for added support. It features a laser guide to help you perfectly measure your scores.

What you should consider: Some buyers recommend using a wet saw instead to cut material of this size.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Rubi 36-Inch Tile Cutter

What you need to know: This cutter has two guides to ensure accurate scoring.  

What you’ll love: This tile cutter comes with a durable case to keep it clean and protected while not in use. You can switch out its scoring wheel to accommodate various materials and thicknesses.

What you should consider: This cutter is more expensive than those offered by competitors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top tile nippers

Goldblatt Glass Tile Nippers with Pro-Grip Handle 

What you need to know: When it comes to making very small cuts and fine adjustments to your tile, these nippers deliver.

What you’ll love: These tile nippers have ergonomic grips to prevent hand fatigue and blisters. They’re the perfect tool for trimming glass tile pieces to fit around pipes, fixtures, light switches and more.

What you should consider: Buyers have noticed that the wheels on these nippers wear out quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

QEP Compound Tile Nippers

What you need to know: These basic nippers make short work of intricate cutting tasks.

What you’ll love: Thanks to their textured grips, these nippers make it easy to perform precision work even while wearing gloves. They’re made from steel and carbide and easy to clean with just a quick rinse in clean water.

What you should consider: The oversized grips on these nippers can make them difficult to use for people with small hands.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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