What Is Tile Cutter?
A tile cutter is a tool for cutting tiles to fit into spaces where they will eventually be grouted and provide even edges that can be aligned neatly with adjacent tiles.
Tile cutters come in both manual and power-assisted versions and can handle most types of nonporous material such as ceramic, porcelain, glass, slate, marble resin, and some natural stone.
Tile cutters are available as hand tools or table-mounted machines.
There are both manual and powered versions of this tool – the main difference being the addition of electric power to reduce user fatigue on larger or more intricate jobs.
When using a manually operated tile cutter, you must apply enough pressure on the tool arms to keep it pushed down against the work surface; an electric tile saw, on the other hand, is self-propelled and does not require pressure from your end.
Tile cutters are available in both manual and electric versions which use diamond-impregnated blades that rotate quickly across the surface of the tile, scoring it with a line then breaking it cleanly by snapping across the scored mark.
Types Of Tile Cutter
- Manual Tile Cutter
- Electric Tile Cutter
Manual Tile Cutter
A manual tile cutter is a hand tool, similar to a very large pair of scissors with two arms hinged at the back of the cutting head.
The bottom edge of each arm is serrated and presses against the surface on which you are cutting tiles.
A foot pedal near the hinge lets you lock the arms in place before pushing it down on your work area to hold it steady while you slide a tile through it.
Then, by releasing that foot pedal, you can move it across the face of an individual tile as many times as needed to create clean cuts on all sides.
Manual Tile Cutter Advantages :
Lightweight tools for easy transport Less expensive Easier on your hands No need for additional power source Portable Able to cut small tiles quickly Provides clean precise cuts and a large variety of cuts.
Manual Tile Cutter Disadvantages :
The basic manual tile cutter features two arms hinged at the back of its cutting head.
The bottom edge of each arm is serrated, while the top has an adjustable bar that exerts pressure against that serrated surface.
Most models include a foot pedal near the hinge which you depress to lock down one arm across your work area, then use to slide your tile across the other arm’s serrated surface.
Electric Tile Cutter
An electric tile saw is self-propelled, meaning that it delivers its power to move the cutting wheel across the surface of the tiles.
This eliminates the need to apply pressure by pushing down on a handle or knob at the end of a long arm.
An even greater amount of sustained pressure would be necessary if you were using a manual cutter with an exposed blade; this causes fatigue and strain to build up in your body over time because you are exerting yourself much more than is necessary.
Electric-powered tools like these can make work easier for anyone who does not like applying all that pressure.
If you have a job where you need to cut a lot of tiles, or if your hands are weaker than they used to be due to age or injury, this is a real benefit.
Electric tile cutters can work fast and accurately enough for any purpose.
Electric Tile Cutter Advantages :
Greater ease of use Less user fatigue from applying continuous pressure Requires less physical strength to complete the task Easier on the hands Larger variety available in terms of blade size and length.
Can accommodate different types of blades for different materials More efficient at breaking through difficult materials such as porcelain Greater productivity when cutting multiple tiles.
Must reset the tool for each new tile Automatically advances blades after each cut..
Electric Tile Cutter Disadvantages :
Requires an additional power source More costly Debris will be dispersed everywhere during the cutting process.
Care must be taken when handling to avoid injury Accessibility can be limited for certain jobs.
Not suitable for use by anyone without experience in tile cutting Can be large and heavy Cutting head exposure can limit vision
What Is Wet Saw?
A wet saw is used for making precise cuts in tile, stone, marble, concrete pavers, and other masonry materials.
As its name implies, a wet saw requires water as part of its operation – whether as a continuous spray or intermittent misting depending on the specific type being used.
In this way, debris from cutting jobs is minimized as much as possible so it does not contaminate molds or adhesives during fabrication processes.
Even though a wet saw produces cleaner cuts, it is still a good idea to have a broom at hand for sweeping up dust.
Wet Saw Advantages :
Easier on your hands Greater ease of use Less user fatigue from applying continuous pressure Requires less physical strength to complete the task.
Easier on the hands Larger variety available in terms of blade size and length.
Can accommodate different types of blades for different materials More efficient at breaking through difficult materials such as porcelain.
Greater productivity when cutting multiple tiles Must reset the tool for each new tile Automatically advances blades after each cut
Wet Saw Disadvantages :
Requires an additional power source Debris will be dispersed everywhere during the cutting process Care must be taken when handling to avoid injury.
Accessibility can be limited for certain jobs Not suitable for use by anyone without experience in tile cutting
Wet Saw vs Tile Cutter
A wet saw is needed to cut stone, marble, concrete pavers, and other masonry materials.
A tile cutter is used for cutting ceramic tiles such as floor & wall tiles, mosaics, and bricks.
A wet saw is much more appropriate than a tile cutter because there are very few hard materials that a tile cutter will work on properly or cleanly.
Wet saws, however, will work well on those types of material and also slice through softer materials like porcelain and glass much more easily and with less chipping than a tile cutter would leave behind – an important consideration if you happen to buy low-quality products for your tile.
Tile Cutter vs Wet Saw – Which is better?
Both a wet saw and a tile cutter can cut through tiles, but it’s important to understand that the two devices are not interchangeable.
In short, a wet saw is a proper choice for any professional flooring installer and homeowner who wants to save money and time by doing it themselves.
A tile cutter, on the other hand, is great for people that only need to do small jobs now and then – such as an amateur that just needs to replace one broken bathroom tile or someone that would like to add colorful tiles around their pool.
Another option for homeowners interested in adding decorative tiles around their home would be to purchase unfinished porcelain tiles and use a wet saw with one of our diamond blades.
This way they can complete the job without needing any additional power tools or water sources.
Simply put: if you on cutting through anything harder than porcelain, use a wet saw.
If you need to cut through porcelain and softer materials such as ceramic tiles, glass, and smaller stones then a tile cutter will work just fine.
Here is a comparison of a wet saw vs tile cutter:
Tile Cutter Pros:
Ideal for small jobs Can be used by anyone A solid choice for any DIYer Respects the blade life Electric powered options are available.
Tile cutter Cons:
Requires an additional power source Produces large amounts of dust Can only accommodate longer blades Suitable for ceramic tiles only.
Wet Saw Pros:
Ideal for flooring professionals whether at home or on construction sites Works great with stone, marble & concrete pavers.
Also works well on porcelain & glass Safe to use even in professional settings.
Wet Saw Cons:
Requires a water source Additional accessories needed to complete the job Not ideal for small jobs More costly Does not produce dust Requires a concrete slab to use.
What should you Get?
If you are doing relatively small jobs around your home or commercial building, then clearly a tile cutter would be the better choice since it’s both cheaper and easier for an average person who does not know how to operate one of these machines to work with successfully.
However, if you’re planning on installing flooring or other projects that involve larger tiles or natural stones, you should invest in a wet saw.
If your budget will only allow one of these tools for now, then make sure it’s the saw because these machines are designed to be much more helpful when working with thicker materials that may not fit well into a tile cutter’s hands.
There’s no way around it: both devices are essential tools if you plan on doing any amount of flooring tile in your home.
But knowing the difference between the two and understanding their strengths and weaknesses is vital when choosing which one is right for you.
Wet saws offer far more versatility than basic tile cutters, so they’re usually the better long-term choice if budget isn’t much of an issue.
They’re also much safer to operate since they don’t require an additional power source (such as a battery or cord) and most of them can be used with a water source.
If you’re only interested in cutting through softer materials then a tile cutter will suffice without the need to buy additional equipment — but it’s also important to realize that they’re not as versatile as wet saws.
Ultimately, what is best for one person may not necessarily be best for another.
That said, we hope this article has helped make things a bit clearer on how to choose the right tool for the job!