The 10 Best Tile Saws
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Whether remodeling a bathroom or tiling an entire house, construction professionals, home renovators and committed DIYers will find the perfect saw for their next project from our comprehensive selection. Our picks for this category run the gamut from budget-friendly models to heavy-duty options, and we've ranked them based on power, price, durability, ease of use and portability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 06, 2020:
It ended up being a fairly eventful round of updates, with the QEP 650XT being removed due to availability issues and quality concerns, while the discontinued Lackmond Beast was replaced by the Delta Cruzer 96-110 —a comparable offering from the same parent company. The DeWalt D24000 was also replaced by the DeWalt D24000S – which is essentially the same tool, only packaged with a matching stand – and the portable MK Diamond 370EXP maintained its position on our list, but was joined by its industrial-grade big cousin the MK Diamond MK-212 — which is powered by a totally-enclosed, two-horsepower, direct-drive motor that pulls 18 amps. Our other new additions this time around are the Imer Combicut 250VA — a 1-3/4-horsepower model with a 3-3/4-inch cut depth, and the IQ Power Tools iQTS244 — a dry-cut model that stands out in this category with its vacuum-cooled cutting wheel, although its limited by its 1-1/2-inch cut depth.
A few things to think about for this category:
Cut Depth: This is an important consideration, as it dictates a hard limit in terms of the thickness of materials the tool can handle. Most top-end models have ratings in excess of three inches, although the Husqvarna TS 70 falls just short of the mark. Out of all the saws we ranked this time around, the Imer Combicut 250VA was the best equipped, with a 3-3/4-inch cut depth, while the dry-cut IQ Power Tools iQTS244 was the most restricted, with a shallow cut depth of 1-1/2 inches.
Rip Capacity: Much like cut depth, rip capacity is another important consideration that dictates a hard limit in terms of the type of material you’ll be able to work with, only in this case we’re talking about how wide/long of a tile, not how thick. While relatively light-duty, portable models – like the Skil 3550-02 and MK Diamond 370EXP – are frequently specced to accommodate up-to-18-inch tiles, the battery-powered Porter Cable PCC780LA has a notably small 12-inch capacity.
Models with mid-range rip capacities include saws like the DeWalt D24000S, which boasts a 28-inch rip capacity when plunge cutting, and the Imer Combicut 250VA, which does one better and features a 28-inch standard rip capacity, while it can cut up to 31 inches when plunge cutting. Our top-rated rip capacities are the Husqvarna TS 70 — which can make a cut up to 32 inches long, the Delta Cruzer 96-110 — which can make a cut up to 34 inches long, and the MK Diamond MK-212 — which can make a cut up to 36 inches long.
Portability: For the most part, although their weights vary, tools in this category are designed to be reasonably portable, and appeal to the average tiling contractor who spends a lot of time migrating between job sites. One notable exception is the MK Diamond MK-212, which weighs 226 pounds and pulls 18 amps current during operation — which means that it can’t be powered by a standard wall outlet, although there are some portable generators that would be up to the task.
Although it certainly isn’t the most capable saw we ranked, the Porter Cable PCC780LA, which is powered by a 20-volt lithium ion battery and weighs just 27 pounds, might be the most portable option we ranked. The dry-cut IQ Power Tools iQTS244 also gets a nod, as it’s the only model we ranked that doesn’t need to be set up on a driveway or garage, where you can afford to make a big mess with slurry, which makes it more portable in the sense that you can set it up more places —ideally spots closer to where you’re working.
April 09, 2019:
When installing flooring or backsplash, it is important to use a high-quality tile saw. Lower quality units won't produce clean cuts and may constantly chip your marble or tile, resulting in a lot of unusable pieces. We've spent the time to find the best models for both DIYers and commercial contractors. The home consumers out there who only plan on doing a few small jobs would do well with the Skil 3550-02 and QEP 650XT. However, if you have a larger job in mind, say like tiling the entire living room floor, you would be better served with a slightly more powerful, yet still affordable option, like the Porter Cable PCC780LA, Chicago Electric 10-Inch, or MK Diamond 370EXP. Despite its relatively low price, the Chicago Electric 10-Inch is actually powerful enough for many contractors too, though if your main job is tiling you will probably still want to opt for one with a slightly better build quality, such as the Lackmond Beast, DeWalt D24000, Husqvarna TS70. All of these three models can stand up to heavy daily use and should still last for quite a few years.
Tile: A Surprisingly Versatile Material
Tiles are often used as an object in and of themselves, such as a tile used as a coaster for a beverage or a trivet to protect a surface from a hot dish or pot.
Tile has been one of the most popular building materials for centuries. In fact, the earliest use of glazed brick, a forerunner to more advanced engineered tile, was used as long ago as the 13th century BCE. Tile adorns the walls of ancient mosques, churches, and palaces, and it lined the floors of forums, the roofs of homes, and everything in between.
Tiles can be made of ceramics, stone, glass, and a range of other materials. Most types of tile are hard and durable, providing excellent water resistance. Thus the common use of tile on top of buildings and in spaces where water is prevalent, such as in and around swimming pools and in showers and bathrooms. Tile is a time honored flooring material as well, thanks to its durability. Few materials can stand up to the constant foot traffic of a busy lobby, kitchen, or public space better than tile. Tile is also one of the easiest materials to keep clean, as most variations are not porous and resist staining.
When handled by a skilled craftsman using the right tools, tile can be cut and trimmed into almost any shape, making it a perfect material for decorative use. Thus its popularity in the mosaics of antiquity and for use by architects and interior designers even today. Beyond use as wall covering, roofing or flooring material, tile can also be used to create durable and attractive countertops, tabletops, or other surfaces both fixed and mobile. Tiles are often used as an object in and of themselves, such as a tile used as a coaster for a beverage or a trivet to protect a surface from a hot dish or pot.
Decorative tiles also need not be permanently installed in a wall or floor. Tiles, often hand printed or digital printed, can be framed and hung or perched on a stand just like any other two dimensional artistic medium. Decorating tile is no easy task; cutting tile also takes a degree of skill and experience, but the right tools can help make that work easier.
Choosing The Right Tile Saw
There are two basic approaches to choosing a tile saw that's right for your needs. The first approach is to choose a tile saw that's small enough to move around a work site, bringing the saw to the location where the tile will be installed. The other option is to choose a large tile saw that will be set up in one place and have the tiles to be cut brought to it. Both the smaller, more portable tile saw and the larger fixed saw carry positive and negative aspects.
The other option is to choose a large tile saw that will be set up in one place and have the tiles to be cut brought to it.
Placing a mobile saw right into the room, patio, or pool where the tiles are to be installed, you can immediately ensure that each tile you trim is a proper fit for the design since all the mechanics are within range of one another. Not to mention, it saves time from trundling heavy tile up and down stairs or back and forth across a work site.
However, a larger tile saw is often more powerful and efficient than its smaller counterpart, and the speed with which you cut through a stack of tiles may compensate for the time you spend transporting them to the site of installation.
If you're considering a tile saw to be permanently installed in a shop, then size is no issue. Choose the largest, most powerful tile saw you can based on budget constrictions. However do also take into account the water supply needs of your prospective new saw.
While many tile saws have water reservoirs, others saws hook up to a common garden style hose, so using a tile saw in a shop may require some adapters or placement near a door or window with access to an exterior tap. Thus even when you are considering a tile saw to be used at a shop, you might still consider a smaller one that can be temporarily set up outdoors if you will only be using it occasionally.
Using Your Tile Saw
Cutting tile can be messy business. There is dust, debris, and flowing water to be dealt with in tile cutting, and so whenever possible, it's a job best done outdoors and away from other tools and building materials. Make sure to at least spread out a waterproof tarp under your tile saw if you must use it indoors, and watch out for any drywall, paint, or other nearby materials that could be compromised by exposure to liquid.
To make the cleanest, straightest cuts through tile, you should work slowly and steadily.
As with any power tools (and saws especially), the responsible tile saw operator will always wear gloves and glasses or safety goggles as a minimum level of protection. One should also consider wearing ear protection during use of such power saws, and protective clothing, such as a thick apron or overalls, is never a bad idea if you want to stay clean and safe.
Cutting tile can be tricky work: tile is strong and durable once properly installed and grouted in place, but it is brittle and prone to cracking and shattering when mishandled. Take the time to practice using your tile saw and getting to know how to cut tile by using damaged, discarded, or excess pieces of tile. As tile is also often one of the more expensive building materials around, you don't want to risk damaging the inventory intended for installation.
To make the cleanest, straightest cuts through tile, you should work slowly and steadily. Feed the piece of tile to be cut into the blade at a constant speed and let the blade "pull" the tile through. You should never feel like you are forcing the tile past the blade, but rather easing it along with minimal effort. This patient approach provides smooth cuts and minimizes damaged or ruined tile.