Plunge cut option very useful for special cuts. Rubberized table keeps tiles stable. Water recovery and return trays minimize mess.
Larger cuts can be misaligned. Cart sometimes wobbles, making accurate cuts a challenge. Heavy and bulky, not easily portable.
Rugged construction makes it ideal for professional contractors. Powerful motor and blades will cut through marble and granite. Laser guides make accurate cuts easier.
Laser mounting can become loose, requiring frequent adjustments. Too heavy for a one-man operation. Difficult to make adjustments to factory-set tolerances.
Compact enough to perform masonry cuts in place. More economical for small jobs than renting a wet saw. Very lightweight for less user fatigue.
Dry saw blades generate a lot of dust and chips and no dust collection system is included. Prepackaged diamond blade not durable and will need to be replaced.
Cordless design means it can be taken directly to the project. Cuts both tile and glass. Only weighs 4 pounds, including rechargeable battery.
Motor speed is on the slower side. Cutting jobs may take longer than expected.
Has many of the same guides and guards as higher end models. Can handle hard marble tiles. Easy to assemble and carry to the work site.
Quality of original blade is variable – upgrade to diamond blade recommended. Motor speed is slow, cutting projects take time. Difficult to clean out debris after use.
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When it comes to laying tile on walls or floors, there's no better tool than a good tile saw. Fast, accurate, and easy to master, a tile saw is an excellent solution for the DIY or professional user.
Choosing the right one, however, can be a challenge. There are enormous variations in size, portability, power, and, of course, price. Unless you know what you're doing, you could end up with a poorly made, ineffective tile saw or an expensive tool you never use.
BestReviews is here to help you avoid the pitfalls and choose precisely the right tile saw for your needs. We do it by reviewing and testing products, consulting experts, and evaluating customer feedback. We never accept free products from manufacturers. The result is an unbiased guide to tile saws.
The five tile saws above made the final cut, if you'll excuse the pun. They offer quality and value for a range of different tasks. If you're ready to buy, we'd recommend any one of them.
If you'd like to know more about tile saws in general and the specifics you should look for, please read the shopping guide below.
There are several types of tile saws available, each suited to different ways of working. There are three basic categories:
Handheld tile saws
Table tile saws
Rail tile saws
Handheld tile saws come in two configurations. Many of the manufacturers of these tile saws will be recognized by woodworkers and do-it-yourselfers.
Tile/masonry saws: The first type of handheld tile saw has a cutting disk on the end of a powerful, horizontally mounted electric motor, a molded handle above, and a guide plate below. It looks much like a circular saw.
Tile/glass saws: The second type of handheld tile saw is smaller and looks a little like a cross between a circular saw and an angle grinder.
Two hands give you better control of a handheld tile saw, so it’s recommended that you use clamps with soft jaws to hold the tile on the bench.
Very portable (particularly cordless models)
Considerable power (motors range from 4 to 12 amps)
Good for detail work and repairing small areas
Battery life criticized
Table, bench, and/or clamps needed to support tile
Expensive (some cost as much as budget table tile saws)
Impractical for tiling large areas
Wet tile cutting can be messy. Water mixes with the tile powder to create a slurry, which the spinning blade can spray around. It’s a good idea to wear an apron and to work outside when practical.
These tile saws look like a woodworker's table saw, and several well-known manufacturers make both. With a handheld tile cutter, you take the blade to the tile. With a table tile saw, you make the cuts by pushing the tile into the blade. Table tile saws have the following features.
A water bath cools the blade while it’s running.
These saws include a seven- or ten-inch blade.
The guard above the blade is a safety device, but it also keeps the saw from spraying dirty water everywhere.
Fences allow you to make clear and easy measurements.
Miter guides make it easier to cut diagonals.
These saws offer variable bevel cutting (some with presets at 22.5° and 45°).
Entry-level table tile saws are bench-top models, usually with a seven-inch blade. You can use them on the floor, but that can get uncomfortable if you’re working for long periods.
Pricier models usually come with a folding stand and a ten-inch blade. They are comfortable to work at and convenient to move. Several also have the ability to plunge cut, enabling you to cut square or rectangular holes within the tile area, where you might otherwise have to first cut a tile in two.
When using a table tile saw, keep a cloth handy to wipe away the slurry. If it builds up, it obscures the measuring guides and can cause tiles to slip when you’re cutting.
Large, stable working platform
Good for big tiling projects
Good value for the money (even some budget models)
Heavy (20 to 90 pounds)
Too small to cut pavers (less-expensive models)
Expensive (professional quality)
Your hands can get cold using a wet tile saw, and wearing gloves isn’t practical. If you can't feel your fingers properly, accidents will happen, so it’s a good idea to stop periodically and warm up.
A rail tile saw is like a circular saw on rails. Two parallel beams support a powerful motor and ten-inch blade, which run backward and forward over a large table. These are designed for commercial use.
Extremely powerful motor
Large work area (excellent for large tiles)
Comfortable work height
Robust and durable
Table removable for transport
Cuts stone (some models)
Heavy; not easy to transport
May require separate water pump
Not for detailed work
Table doesn’t fold
Never use a wet tile saw without water running over the blade. It will overheat rapidly, and it could shatter in extreme cases.
Wet or dry blades: For occasional detailed work or small repairs, dry is fine. For everything else, wet produces a cleaner cut with no danger of the tile saw overheating. Dry blades can be used wet, but wet blades should never be used dry.
Motor power: This varies considerably, from four amps on small handheld tile saws to two horsepower on some rail tile saws. Manufacturers do a good job of providing adequate motors, whichever model you choose. Occasionally, a tile saw motor will stall, but that's more likely to be a question of material or technique and not a weakness in the motor.
Cut depth: This is important, and it varies a great deal from one tile saw to another. If you're cutting floor tiles, which can be much thicker than wall tiles, make sure that the depth of cut exceeds the tile thickness by at least 1/16 of an inch, or you can get break-out at the end of the cut, ruining the tile.
Cutting capacity: Cutting capacity (maximum tile size) varies enormously with table tile saws. Cheap tile saws might offer around seven inches of cross cutting and a similar length of diagonal cutting. Note that a standard six-inch wall tile is more than eight inches on the diagonal. Large table tile saws can handle 18- or 24-inch tiles.
Table material: For table tile saws, water runs across the machine continuously, so you want a table that won't corrode or rust. Zinc and stainless steel are popular options.
Guides: To make cut-line alignment easier, look for a high-end table tile saw with LED or laser guides.
Drain plug: Table tile saws with drain plugs are much easier to empty when you're finished. Without a plug, you have to tip the saw to drain off the dirty water.
When cutting tile diagonally, damage occurs most often at the end of the cut, when small pieces can split off. Slowing down the feed rate helps prevent this.
Tile saws come in a vast range of prices. That's good news if you're looking to buy one because there are plenty of choices for every budget.
When cutting small pieces on a tile saw table, use a spare piece of tile or scrap wood as a “push-stick” to keep your fingers out of harm's way.
Small, handheld tile saws are particularly useful for detail work like cutting notches to go around doorways or other moldings.
When dry cutting, do so for short periods, such as ten seconds at a time, to prevent the blade from overheating. Running the blade at full speed away from the tile helps it cool down.
The ability to plunge cut adds great versatility to your tile cutting, allowing you to make holes for vents, sockets, or drains. Square holes are often sufficient for things that are actually round, such as a toilet drain. The toilet base is far bigger than the drain hole required, so it will easily cover the hole.
If you're going to be cutting both floor and wall tile, think carefully about the depth of cuts you'll need to make. Remember that if you need to cut bevels, you'll need greater depth than if you are only cutting at 90°.
Q. What size tile saw should I buy?
A. It depends on the kind of jobs you do. Portable tile saws are easy to transport and great for small jobs and modest repair work. Tabletop and stand-mounted saws give you a convenient, stable platform and a larger blade. If you're doing whole rooms or a lot of floor work, they are the recommended option. Check that they have the depth of cut you need and can accommodate your maximum tile size.
Q. Do I need to worry about which tile saw blade to use?
A. Most tile saws come with a general-purpose diamond blade. They're usually very effective at cutting standard ceramic tile. Glass, marble, masonry, and mixed material tiles can be difficult to cut, and they can chip or crack in the process. A specialist blade is recommended for these materials, and there are many choices available. Manufacturer and good do-it-yourself websites are valuable sources of information.
Q. There are plenty of cheap manual tile cutters around. Do I really need an electric tile saw?
A. If you have the skill and patience, it's possible to produce similar results with a manual tile cutter on ordinary ceramic tiles. However, manual devices don't actually cut. They score the surface of a tile, which you then break. It takes practice, and it can cause surface damage and uneven edges. If you have masonry, glass, or marble tiles, or any material with inclusions, the manual “score and snap” method may not work at all.
Dry-Cut Masonry Circular Saw ( 4 inch)
This dry cut masonry saw can handle a variety of materials, but is not designed for high volume tile cutting. We appreciate its portability, but urge users to wear eye and respiratory protective gear because of the dust. Ideal for do-it-yourselfers.
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