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How to Choose the Right Tile Saw

When it comes to tile installations, getting the right tool for the job is extremely important.

One of the most important tools for your tile project is undoubtedly the saw to cut them. While there can be a lot of factors such as the type of tile, in this post I'll go over the various types of tile saws so you can get the perfect and fastest cut.

A good start when you need a tile saw is first asking yourself: should I buy or rent a tile saw?

In short, for small jobs where you'll only be doing one room or backsplash, renting is a great choice. For starters, you can rent a large table tile saw (pictured below) for the fraction of the price of buying the smallest table tile saw.

To find out more information to see about renting a tile saw at your local Home Depot, please click here. Remember that there are more than one type available to rent. The larger/thicker the tile you need cut, the larger the tile saw needed to cut it.

And by tiles, I am referring to ceramic, porcelain, mosaic, glass, or natural stone tiles in this post. Other substrates like vinyl, wood  or laminate will NOT work on these saws.

Large Tile Saw

However, if you are planning on doing several installations throughout your home, or you intend to use a tile saw frequently for jobs, consider purchasing one. Just like with renting a tile saw, getting the right size is important.

Too small or wrong of a tile saw can lead to tiles getting damaged or not being cut at all. Too large of a saw isn't necessarily bad, but it isn't necessary and is larger to store than smaller versions.

Also, depending on your tile will determine what kind to use. Almost any motor-powered saw is great for 12" x 12" or smaller ceramic/porcelain tiles. This chart below best illustrates the 4 main types that I'll briefly go over below it.

Manual Tile Cutter

Manual Tile Cutters

The first type of tile saw is the least expensive and only non-motorized version. These are great at quick straight cuts for thin (3/8" or less) porcelain and ceramic tiles. With practice, they can get the job done for simple cutting where needed in the installation.

Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight

Cons: Can break tiles easier than powered saws, requires practice to get the right cut

Handheld Tile Saws

Handheld Tile Saws

This type of saw acts much like a circular saw, but with it being water-cooled to reduce wearing and damage on its blade. Most pros use these, as it takes a good bit of practice to use. However, its best usage is for existing installed tiles on floor or walls for easier removal. It's also great for cutting tiles in hard to reach spots.

Pros: Great for cutting out existing tiles, smaller than other powered tile saws

Cons: requires a lot of practice for accurate cuts

Tabletop Tile Saws

Tabletop Tile Saws

For the price and convenience, a table top saw is a great choice for cutting almost all kinds of tile. The main image in this post was yours truly cutting mosaic tiles using the QEP 3/4 HP Table Top Saw. Except for the hand-held tile cutter, this is the smallest version to do straight cuts on tiles, which makes it great for storing later.

Pros: Cuts almost all tiles regardless of size, small and compact vs. other table saws

Cons: not the best choice for heavy-duty, every day tile cutting

Overhead Tile Saws

Overhead Tile Saws

When most people think of motor powered tile saws, this type usually comes to mind. Just like their other motorized versions, these spray a mist of water onto the tile cutting blade to assist in the cutting. 

This version is also the ones available for rent, mainly due to their power and efficiency in quick cuts. While these are the heaviest and most expensive of all tile saws, they also have the most options of any too. 

For example, a lot of the higher end models can provide bevel and plunge cuts, which may be needed for backsplashes or edges where a smooth edge is required. For professional tile installations, it's the hands down best tile saw type out there. 

Pros: The best and fastest tile cutter to buy and rent

Cons: The most expensive and heaviest tile cutter to buy and rent

All tile cutters and saws have one thing in common, they can get the job done, but only after careful practice and knowing how to use it. Even if you have previously cut tiles before, always use extra pieces of tile to ensure the blade and machine works perfectly. 

Safely is important as well, so make sure all water trays in the tile saws are clean and any electrical connections are done with the GFCI provided or is directly plugged into one. Also, wear gloves and goggles when cutting tiles, so as to reduce the chances of injury.

In short, based on the tiles you need cut and budget, you can get the perfect tile saw for the job!


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Posted 2015-08-01T18:00:29+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL