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Best Tile Saws

Updated November 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 9 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 137 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best tile saws

    Last Updated November 2018

    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.

    Whatever kind of tile saw you use, cutting slows the blade. Always make sure the blade is running at full speed before you start the cut. Let the blade cut at its own rate; never force it.

    Types of tile saws

    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

    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.

    • Dry- and wet-cutting models (reservoir or hose attachment)
    • Four- or five-inch blade
    • Cutting table with some models (extra cost)
    • Can usually cut bevels up to 45°, as well as 90°
    • Harder to make precision cuts
       

    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.

    • Dry- and wet-cutting models (small water bottle)
    • Three-inch blade
    • Can usually cut bevels up to 45°, as well as 90°
    • Some cordless models

    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.

    Pros

    • Very portable (particularly cordless models)

    • Relatively light

    • Considerable power (motors range from 4 to 12 amps)

    • Good for detail work and repairing small areas


    Cons

    • 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.

    Table tile saws

    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.

    Pros

    • Large, stable working platform

    • Greater accuracy

    • Good for big tiling projects

    • Good value for the money (even some budget models)
       

    Cons

    • 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.

    Rail tile saws

    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.

    Pros

    • Extremely powerful motor

    • Large work area (excellent for large tiles)

    • Comfortable work height

    • Robust and durable

    • Table removable for transport

    • Plunge cutting

    • Cuts bevels

    • Cuts stone (some models)
       

    Cons

    • Heavy; not easy to transport

    • May require separate water pump

    • Not for detailed work

    • Table doesn’t fold

    • Expensive

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Never use a wet tile saw without water running over the blade. It will overheat rapidly, and it could shatter in extreme cases.

    What to look for in a tile saw

    • 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.

    • Blades: All tile saw blades are diamond powder-coated blades, but not all blades are the same. Many complaints about poor performance concern using the wrong blade for the tile material.
    EXPERT TIP

    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.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tile saw prices

    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.

    • $100 to $150: You'll pay about this much for a small tabletop tile saw with a seven-inch blade or a portable tile saw with a three- or four-inch blade. A handheld cordless model will be about this price, too, but note that the price doesn't include the battery.
    • $250 to $2,000: Ten-inch tile saws, either tabletop or stand-mounted, fall in this price range. The extra cost pays for better quality and extra features. It's important to check the specifications carefully. There is no point in paying for capabilities you don't need and won’t use.
    • $2,000+: Rail tile saws can easily exceed $2,000.
    EXPERT TIP

    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.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips

    • 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°.

    Always wear eye protection when using a tile saw. Keep your hands as far away from the blade as possible.

    FAQ

    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.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Michael
      Michael
      Writer

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