When it comes to renovating, the bathroom and kitchen are the most expensive rooms in a house, per square foot, to revamp. So it’s common for DIYers to be drawn to doing some of the work themselves, to try and stretch the budget further. Taking on the job of tiling, for example, makes a lot of sense because saving on labor means you can likely spring for better-quality tiles or allocate to things like better cabinets or fixtures. It’s also a rewarding project that yields results about 24 hours after setting the last tile.
From ceramic penny rounds for a backsplash to chunkier 24×24-inch stone tiles in a foyer to trendy porcelain planks in a bathroom, every tile job requires making cuts. With some jobs, like a backsplash of basic subway tiles in a running bond pattern (where each tile starts at the center of the tile below it), you might get by with a manual tile cutter and a pair of nippers, but for mosaics, larger tiles, or making more advanced cuts, a tile saw is an easier time saver.
Fortunately, the price of tile saws has come down and manufacturers offer smaller models aimed at homeowners. But renting is still a popular option. Here’s what I say: If your tile job will take more than a long weekend or you’ve got a long-term plan that includes multiple projects, buying a saw, as opposed to renting one, can be a better deal in the long run.
Here, we’ve selected the seven best tile saws, representing a range of features, capabilities, and prices. If you’ve got a sizable floor or wall that needs tiling, one of these is sure to fit your needs.
What to Consider
There are two predominant ways to cut tile, the most basic of which is with a manual score and snap-style cutter. This type of tile cutter typically cuts tiles between ¼-inch and ⅞-inch thick, and up to 36 inches wide. And as mentioned above, for simple tile jobs—like a small backsplash with minimal cuts—it might suffice. Pros still use these because they’re inexpensive, easy to fix, quick, clean, and quiet—and ideal for thinner ceramic tiles. A thicker stone or hard porcelain, however, might be a challenge.
But a pro’s bread and butter is a tile saw, sometimes called a wet saw, because it’s faster for repetitive cuts, it leaves crisp edges, and it helps with complex cuts around outlets, plumbing penetrations, and floor vents. For the uninitiated, a tile saw is similar to a table saw with a blade that comes up through the middle of the table. Some tile saws have a head that moves toward and away from you, while others have you slide the tile, sometimes on the moving table, through the blade. All tile saws use a diamond blade, which doesn’t have teeth like a typical saw blade, so they are much less intimidating. Instead, the rim of the blade is embedded with synthetic diamonds, which are harder than the material any tile is made out of, so they grind, using friction to cut through porcelain, ceramic, stone, and glass.
Unlike cutting wood, which creates a cloud of dust, a tile saw uses water to keep the air clean. In more expensive machines, a small pump sits in the basin and pushes water over the blade. On basic machines, the blade passes through the water basin as it rotates underneath the table. That water cools the blade as it cuts, prolonging its life, but also wets the dust, keeping it out of the air, which means you can usually work inside near the project as long as you protect the floor and walls from overspray. Still, this is a power tool, and you should treat it accordingly and wear eye protection.
Today you can buy an inexpensive tile saw for less than $100, with everything in the box you need to start cutting. But these budget-friendly machines have mostly plastic parts and weak motors that are easily overwhelmed. That means the harder and larger your tile is, the greater the chance you’ll fry the motor, be running back and forth to reset the breaker, or ruin fragile tile like glass or marble. If your projects involve more than just a couple dozen quick cuts through some thin ceramic subway tile, you should look into purchasing a higher-end saw or renting one from a home center, which typically stocks quality models. These come with better parts, and usually better-quality blades, meaning you’ll end up with cleaner, more accurate cuts. The poor-quality blades that come with sub-$100 saws can chip your tile, slow down the process, and cause more headaches than the initial savings are worth.
How We Selected
To find the best homeowner-grade tile saws, I evaluated a wide range of models based on price, capacity, durability, and my personal experience over decades as a DIYer and writer. If your project is mostly square cuts, just about any of these saws will do. If you plan on taking on multiple projects around the house, it can be worth investing in a better saw with more capacity, a stronger motor, and a better pump in the event you want to start cutting pavers for outdoor projects as well. I considered these key features when choosing these seven tile saws: capacity (how big and thick a tile the saw will cut), motor size, and any other features that make cutting easier and more accurate.
Ideal for Backsplash With 90-degree Cuts
Skil 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw 3540-02
Weight: 15.81 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to 1 3/8 in. thick; rip cuts up to 7 ¾ in. long; up to 5×5-in. tiles, diagonally
Motor size: 1/2 horsepower
At under 20 pounds, the Skil portable wet saw is ideal for beginners working on simple square cuts with a handful of diagonal cuts in tiles up to 1 3/8 inches thick. The setup is simple: Add fresh water into the base, and as the 7-inch blade spins down into it, it gets wet, which keeps the metal cool and dust under control—though you will have to keep an eye on the water level and quality and refresh it as it depletes and fills with sediment. The stainless-steel top resists corrosion and has a ruler on each side to help align the fence accurately as it holds tiles up to 12×12 inches. A bird’s mouth jig rides along the fence holding square tiles at a 45-degree angle as you feed the work into the blade, and the entire table tilts to bevel at 45 degrees. With a better blade that cuts smoother and lessens the strain in the motor, this saw should last through a few small tile jobs.
Great for Mitering Corners
QEP 7-Inch Power Pro Tile Wet Saw 22900Q
Weight: 33.3 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to 1 1/8 in. thick; unlimited rip and diagonal cuts
Motor size: 1 horsepower
QEP is a popular manufacturer of tile saws, and this one is a step up from the most basic wet saw. It has some of the same features of a homeowner-grade saw—an easy-to-fill and clean basin and a simple fence system—with a few upgrades. The oversize aluminum top is ribbed to make sliding the tile easier, and the fence locks in with a sturdy cam lock. The rubber feet keep the saw steady on your work surface, and a bench stop grips the end of the table so you can push the tile through the saw with confidence. At 1 horsepower, this tile saw is more robust than true beginner saws and can cut material up 1 1/8-inch thick. If you’re expecting to do a lot of outside wall details, the table tilts up at various degrees to make mitering those corners easier.
Best for Large Tiles and Long Planks
Porter-Cable 7-Inch Table Top Wet Tile Saw PCE980
Weight: 32 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to 1¼ in. thick; rip cuts up to 17 in. long; up to 12×12-inch tiles, diagonally
Motor size: 1 horsepower
The table on the Porter-Cable is what stands out from the rest. The half of the table on the right side of the blade moves, making it easier to slide bigger tiles or long planks through the blade. The generous size of the table makes supporting larger tiles easier. Like all good benchtop tools, this one is adjustable so that over time if it goes out of square you can dial the cut in just right by tweaking a few screws. Those details mean this saw will be accurate to 1/16-inch over a 12-inch cut. An onboard miter square helps hold tiles on the diagonal. The 1 1/4-inch depth of cut is enough to handle just about any interior tile you’ll be working with. A roll cage keeps all the critical parts protected in storage, and the plug in the pan is a great time saver when it comes to cleaning up—place a 5-gallon bucket underneath and empty the wastewater into that instead of schlepping a full pan of water outside.
Ideal for Complex Cutouts
DeWalt 10-Inch Wet Tile Saw With Stand D24000S
Weight: 69 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to 3 1/8 in. thick; rip cuts up to 25 in. long; up to 18×18-in. tiles, diagonally
Motor size: 1 1/2 horsepower
Pricey? Sure. But if you plan on tiling inside and tackling landscaping paver projects outside, this DeWalt tile saw will make short work of any material up to 3 1/8-inch thick, which means you can cut concrete pavers and bricks. What sets this saw apart from others is the plug head that enables you to more easily position cutouts for outlets, water supply lines, or HVAC registers in the middle of larger tiles. The 1 1/2 horsepower motor is powerful enough for just about anything you want to cut, and the pump has a filter on it to ensure a supply of clean water flows over the blade. What makes this an excellent and accurate cutter is the sliding table that glides on stainless steel rollers and bars, with no side-to-side wiggle. Together, the stand, wide water table, and relatively lightweight saw (just under 70 pounds), are easy to set up and break down quickly, ideal for projects that span a weekend or several days.
Craftsman V20 7-Inch Cordless Compact Wet Tile Saw
$272.79 (17% off)
Weight: 34 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to 11/4 in. thick; rip cuts up to 17 in. long; up to 12×12-in. Tiles, diagonally
Motor size: 3/4 horsepower
Features: Cordless design runs off a 20-volt battery
Very similar to the Porter-Cable saw—Stanley Black & Decker owns both brands—this Craftsman saw is less powerful but more portable. The 20-volt battery that runs Craftsman’s other tools gives you enough juice to make a handful of cuts through some thinner tile. Comes with a hefty 4.0 amp-hour lithium-ion battery
Makita 12v CTX Cordless 3 3/8-Inch Tile/Glass Saw
Weight: 6.5 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to 1-in. thick; unlimited rip and diagonal cuts
Motor size: About 1/4 horsepower
The Makita is a trade-off of power for portability, letting you take the saw to work wherever you are. At just over 6 pounds, the 12-volt Makita cuts a good number of floor and wall tile with an almost 17-ounce water bottle that sends water to the blade to keep it cool and manage dust. Like a standard circular saw, it can miter up to 90 degrees.
Light and Compact
QEP Torque Master 3/5 HP Wet Tile Saw
Weight: 33.3 lb.
Capacity: Tiles up to ¾ in. thick; unlimited rip and diagonal cuts
Motor: 3/5 horsepower
Pros might consider this a disposable saw, considering all the plastic parts, but a DIYer might get at least a couple of projects out of it using thinner tiles. While you can’t do the whole house with one, your basic tile backsplash is the right project for this saw where you’ll be making mostly simple miters and 90-degree cuts. The plastic surface prevents rusting and is textured to encourage water to flow into the base.
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