Retiling is one of those home projects that can make a significant impact relatively quickly. Whether laying a new ceramic tile bathroom floor or installing a glass backsplash in your kitchen, good tile work has the power to transform the room.
However, installing tile does require some specialty tools, especially when it comes to cutting the tile. Tile is a strong, durable material, but it’s easy to cut to size if you have the right tile cutter. If you’re unsure how to choose the best tile cutter for your retiling project, this guide is here to help.
- BEST OVERALL: Sigma 2G 37cm Metric Tile Cutter
- RUNNER-UP: QEP 10630Q 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: QEP Tile Cutter, ½ in Cap, 14 in
- BEST WET TILE CUTTER: DEWALT Wet Tile Saw with Stand
- BEST FOR VINYL: ROBERTS 10-63 13″ Flooring Cutter
- BEST FOR CERAMIC: VonHaus 24 Inch Tile Cutter Manual
- BEST GLASS: SKIL 3550-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
- BEST FOR PORCELAIN: QEP 10220Q 20″ Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Cutter
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tile Cutter
There are a few points to understand about the best tile cutters before shopping. Below is a list of the main considerations to keep in mind while choosing the right tile cutter for a particular retiling project. Reviewing these items should provide better insight into how a tile cutter works and which style will be best for which project.
After choosing the right tile for a retiling project, the second consideration should be how to cut it. The right tile cutter or saw is based on the material with which the tile is made:
- Manual tile cutters are ideal for porcelain and ceramic tiles. These tiles score and snap easily, and the cleanup is a breeze, making the installation process much more enjoyable.
- Cut materials like slate, marble, and other stone tiles on a wet tile saw to produce the desired results. These materials can be harder to snap cleanly, so a wet saw is an ideal option for the job.
- Score and snap vinyl tiles by hand, but vinyl tile cutters make the job faster and more precise. They work like tile guillotines, slicing through the tile quickly and accurately.
- Use a manual tile cutter for glass tiles, as they snap quite easily. Just beware, there will be small shards of glass left behind. To avoid those sharp slivers, a wet saw will do the trick as well.
Manual vs. Electric
Picking the best tile cutter for a retiling project may come down to a choice between a manual cutter or an electric saw. Deciding on the right option takes some consideration since, for example, porcelain, ceramic, and glass tiles can be cut with either an electric saw or a manual tile cutter.
Manual tile cutters are fast, quiet, and relatively neat. They don’t use water or electricity. The snapped edges of the tiles will be rougher when using a manual tile cutter, and glass tiles can leave behind shards, so keep those points in mind.
Electric saws—also referred to as wet saws—have spinning blades that cut tile. They also use water to lubricate the blade, which can be a bit messy. (Some saws do a better job of containing the mess than others.) They can also be loud, but they make smoother cuts than manual tile cutters and can handle all tile material with just the swap of a blade.
Push vs. Pull
Some manual tile cutters work by pushing the scoring wheel across the surface, while others require pulling the wheel instead. Choosing between the two options is largely a matter of preference.
Push tile cutters are the most commonly available option. To cut the tile, simply lower the cutting wheel to the closest edge of the tile and push the handle across to the other side. Then, lower the snapping foot onto the surface at the far edge and push down until the tile snaps.
Logically, pull tile cutters work the opposite way. Instead of pushing the wheel outward, pull it back. The change in leverage can make a pull tile cutter a bit less stable when lowering the snapping foot, but they work much the same way as a push tile cutter.
It’s important to choose an electric-saw model that provides enough power for the job at hand. Plenty of inferior options are available, but they can do more frustrating than cutting. For a saw that will tackle most jobs, look for a model with at least 1 horsepower. These saws will work quickly and consistently, slicing through stone, glass, porcelain, and ceramic with ease.
To save on costs—or if a big, burly wet saw just won’t fit—there are other options. Just be sure to work slowly if the saw doesn’t have a ton of power. Jamming a tile into the blade of a less powerful wet saw can lead to chips and inconsistent cuts.
Cutter Size & Thickness
When working with larger tiles (more than 14 inches), be sure to size up to a tile cutter that can handle these bigger pieces. Even with smaller tiles, cutting them at a 45-degree angle requires more cutting capacity. Be sure to size the saw or cutter to the length of tile the project calls for.
Porcelain and ceramic floor tiles tend to be thicker than wall tiles, so they’re slightly more difficult to cut with a manual tile cutter. A wet saw will work much better on thicker tiles, as its diamond-grit blade and lubrication can easily cut through these tiles, though there will be a bit more mess and noise.
Extra Features & Accessories
When choosing the best tile cutter, keep an eye out for some extra features that will make the job that much easier. Many models feature legs that swing out from the cutter and provide extra stability for both the tile and the cutter. These legs can be particularly helpful when cutting wide tiles off-center.
Purchasing a few extra accessories to make the task at hand more manageable is also worth considering. A fine-point permanent marker or wax crayon can help make an easily visible cut line on a tile, especially on darker tiles on which pencil marks can disappear. A large speed square can also make marking tiles squarely easier. Also, be sure to wear safety glasses, as both electric wet saws and manual tile cutters can send small particles flying.
Our Top Picks
With the need-to-know information about tile cutters complete, it’s time to start shopping. Below is a list of some of the best tile cutters on the market to review and compare.
Looking for a manual tile cutter that has the capacity to handle almost any tile? Check out the Sigma 2G 37cm Metric Tile Cutter. This pull-type manual tile cutter can make straight cuts on tiles up to 14 inches wide and 45-degree cuts on tiles up to 10 inches. It can handle several tile thicknesses without making adjustments, with a maximum thickness of 15 millimeters.
The angle guide of this tile cutter swivels up to 45 degrees in either direction, allowing the user to make the angled cuts required for the job. It uses a Tungsten steel scoring wheel that can handle a variety of materials, including glass, porcelain, and ceramic, while also snapping stones that are harder to cut, such as marble and granite.
For tile projects that require a bit of extra capability and capacity from a tile cutter, QEP’s 10630Q 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter is a viable option. This manual tile cutter has the ability to handle straight cuts on tile up to 24 inches wide and diagonal cuts on 17.5-inch tiles. It also boasts two legs that swing out from the body, providing extra stability.
This tile cutter also features an adjustable stop for tweaking and registering tile to ensure perfectly sized or repetitive cuts. It offers a titanium-coated Tungsten carbide scoring wheel, making it an optimal choice for projects involving ceramic and porcelain tiles of most thicknesses.
QEP’s 14-inch tile cutter is an affordable tile cutter appropriate for a small flooring or backsplash project. This manual push-style tile cutter has a straight cut capacity of up to 14 inches and a diagonal capacity of up to 10 inches. It can handle tiles up to ½-inch thickness as well.
While it won’t break the bank, the QEP still boasts plenty of nice-to-have features to get the job done. It provides heavy-duty rubber pads to keep it from slipping or marking the surface on which you’re working. The tile cutter also offers a rubber-padded handle for comfort and a padded snapping foot for snapping tile without scratching it. It includes a ⅞-inch titanium-coated Tungsten carbide scoring wheel as well.
DEWALT’s Wet Tile Saw with Stand is worth checking into for achieving accurate, smooth cuts on a retiling project. This 10-inch wet saw has a straight-cut capacity of up to 28 inches and creates 45-degree cuts on tiles up to 18 inches, with a maximum cut depth of 3-⅛ inches. It tilts up to 45 degrees, good for crafting perfectly beveled corners. It also features a 1.5-horsepower electric motor and a submersible pump to keep the blade cool.
The wet tile saw includes an easy-to-transport stand, which means no needing to bend over to make cuts. The wide tray underneath the saw helps contain any messes or splashes, removing some of the concern of working with a wet saw.
This model comes with a porcelain blade, which can upgrade to a diamond-embedded blade for tougher stone tiles.
When tackling a vinyl tile project, consider a high-quality flooring cutter that can get the job done both quickly and accurately. The Roberts 10-63 13-inch Flooring Cutter is a guillotine-style cutter that can handle materials like vinyl tile, vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, and engineered flooring up to ½-inch thickness. It can chop excess material off those vinyl tiles in no time.
This cutter from Roberts features a long handle, which can apply plenty of leverage for quick cutting without straining. It also boasts a built-in angle gauge, good for making repeated cuts at a consistent angle.
The VonHaus 24-inch Tile Cutter is worth a look when searching for a push-style manual tile cutter for large ceramic tiles. It offers a 24-inch straight-cut capacity and a 17-inch diagonal capacity for tiles up to ½-inch thickness. It also features a Tungsten carbide-tipped blade for quick and easy scoring of ceramic or porcelain tile.
This tile cutter provides some features worth noting, including an ergonomically designed, rubber-padded grip for comfort and two rubber legs for stabilizing both the tile cutter itself and the oversized tiles. It also boasts a nonslip rubber surface for holding the tile in place when scoring its surface. The built-in adjustable measuring guide ensures quick, accurate, and repeatable cuts.
When working with glass tiles, beware of stray shards. While manual tile cutters can cut glass tiles, the SKIL 3550-02 7-inch Wet Tile Saw will reduce the chances of injury from a chipped piece of glass. It features a water-containment system underneath the saw and a spray-catching clear blade guard to keep messes under control. It also uses a 7-inch blade that can switch out with other blades suitable for different tile materials.
This wet saw can handle tiles up to 18 inches wide on straight cuts. It boasts an adjustable tilting deck for making 22.5-degree and 45-degree bevels for miters. It also offers an adjustable fence that provides a consistent guide for straight and even cuts.
For a manual tile cutter that will snap porcelain tiles, give the 10220Q 20-inch Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Cutter from QEP a look. This tile cutter can handle floor and wall porcelain tiles up to 20 inches long, with a 14-inch diagonal-cut capacity on tiles up to ½-inch thickness.
This tile cutter boasts several features to make finishing the job easier. It can make accurate and repeatable cuts with the built-in measurement guide. It also includes two foam side pads for holding the tile in place during scoring while also compressing a bit when the tile snaps.
FAQs About Your New Tile Cutter
Do you still have some questions about cutting floor or wall tile with your new tile cutter? This next section will help. It’s a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about tile cutters. Be sure to check this section to see if there’s an answer to your question here.
Q. How do I use a tile cutter?
To cut a tile, lower the cutting wheel onto the surface of the tile. Push the wheel into the surface of the tile and roll it across the surface. At the other end, lift the handle so the snapping foot drops onto the tile surface. Press down until the tile snaps.
Q. What type of tile is easiest to cut?
Porcelain and ceramic tiles are the easiest to cut. They’re fairly brittle, so scoring and snapping usually yield a clean result.
Q. How can I tell if my tile is ceramic or porcelain?
Porcelain tile has a consistent color on both the front and back of the tile. Ceramic tile typically has just a glazing, which means the front and back will potentially be different colors.
Q. Why doesn’t my tile cutter cut straight?
It might have a bent scoring wheel, or it could be the result of applying uneven pressure. If it’s an electric tile cutter, check if the blade is warped or slow down while pushing the material through.
Q. Why is my tile cutter breaking tiles?
The scoring wheel may be dull, or it may need more pressure. Change the blade and adjust the cutting technique to avoid breakage.