There are several tile cutting tools—both manual and electric—to choose from when planning out different tiling projects around the home. We've spent countless hours researching the best tile cutting options available online, considering ease of setup and use, durability, accuracy, and value. Johnathan Brewer, a general contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board, notes, "When it comes to tile saws, the use of a diamond tip blade, in addition to a constant application of water to the blade, will aid in cutting the tile with less effort and less tile damage."
Here are the best tools for cutting tile, from wet saws to nippers.
Porter-Cable PCE980 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
Cord winder for storage
Setup can be a bit complicated
A tabletop wet tile saw is one of the top tools for cutting tile, since it’s easy to use and provides straight, accurate cuts and the ability to bevel tile edges as needed. The Porter-Cable PCE980 offers plenty of power, helpful features, and accuracy to make any project involving tile cutting quicker and easier.
The 1-horsepower motor spins the 7-inch blade at speeds up to 2,850 rpm for easy cutting of ceramic, porcelain, or stone tiles up to a depth of 1-3/4-inch. The metal table has an overall 17-inch cutting capacity, and allows you to cut tiles up to 12 x 12 inches on a diagonal with accuracy that's within 1/16th of an inch. A built-in miter square helps you to make accurate, repeatable miter cuts for tiles that will wrap around corners. And the enclosed water reservoir keeps the blade cool and dust to a minimum while the splash guard helps prevent the user from getting wet. When you're finished, just pull the drain plug to release the water into your bucket waiting underneath.
This accurate, powerful saw is reasonably compact, and has a roll-cage handle for easy transport to your jobsite. At 27 pounds, it's not too heavy, and its 21-inch by 8-inch size is easy to handle or store.
Price at time of publish: $190
Type: Benchtop wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 17 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 12 inches | Cutting Depth: 1-3/4 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
SKIL 3540-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw
Very reasonable price
Light and easy to transport
Only handles smaller tiles
If you’re looking for a capable tabletop wet saw for cutting tiles but don’t want to spend several hundred dollars, then pick up the popular SKIL 7-inch Wet Tile Saw. This compact tabletop wet saw costs less than a typical saw rental from your local big box store, which is a good reason to buy over rent. It makes quick work of cutting tiles for your flooring or décor project.
This budget wet saw includes a stainless-steel tabletop, blade cooling reservoir to prevent overheating of the 7-inch circular blade (but no water pump), and an adjustable rip fence to ensure straight cuts. A miter gauge also allows bevel cuts up to 45 degrees. This reasonably priced saw is a great tile cutting tool for basic home projects or DIYers. While it can cut a variety of tile types and sizes, you should know that this saw cannot handle tiles as large as many other models. You can only cut a maximum of 12 inches straight, or 7 inches on a diagonal, which means the saw isn't suitable if you need to cut large tiles. The saw weighs a mere 18 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $93
Type: Benchtop wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 12 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 7 inches | Cutting Depth: 1-3/8 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Handheld Wet Saw
Ryobi TC401 4-Inch Tile Saw
No limit to size of tiles you can cut
Must be attached to faucet for water supply
If you’re looking for a portable tile cutting tool that still packs plenty of power, the Ryobi 4-inch Tile Saw is a popular option. This handheld wet tile saw uses a 12-foot plastic tube to keep a continuous stream of water on the blade as it cuts through tile material. Impressively, this compact tile tool has 12 amps of power and can cut material up to 1-5/32 inches thick at a 90-degree angle and up to 3/4 inches thick at 45 degrees. With a blade that spins up to a maximum of 13,700 rpm, you can quickly cut through tile of any size or shape, and you can cut bevels up to 45 degrees.
This tile cutting tool is a good choice if you need to remove previously installed tile, since you can operate the tool wherever needed—including on floors, backsplashes, and tub surrounds. It’s also an option for anyone that wants a saw for cutting tile that is easy to transport and simple to store. Just keep in mind that a handheld tile saw will require a steady hand, since it lacks the sturdy surface of a tabletop wet saw. The overall weight is 8 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $113
Type: Handheld wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 4 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: Unlimited | Max. Diagonal Cuts: Unlimited | Cutting Depth: 1-5/32 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Snap Tile Cutter
QEP 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter with Tungsten Carbide Scoring Wheel
Cuts large tiles
With practice, very quick and easy to use
Can crack delicate glass or porcelain tiles
Has a bit of a learning curve
Also called a rail cutter, this is a basic but valuable manual tile cutting tool. This 24-inch snap tile cutter from QEP has a 7/8-inch tungsten carbide scoring wheel that creates a scored line enabling the breaker bars to produce a clean, effective snap. Models with even larger rails are available, but this model usually meets the needs of most tile projects. You can use it to cut up to 24 inches straight across a tile, or to make cuts up to 16 inches diagonally. The maximum cutting depth is 1/2-inch.
The primary purpose of this type of tile cutting tool is to make straight cuts; you cannot use it for miter or bevel cuts. While it can be used on a variety of tile types, it is best suited to cutting ceramic tiles. While the handle is ergonomically designed and large enough to reduce strain, keep in mind that you still need to exert your own muscle power to use the tool. Still, this is a great choice if you don't need to cut a lot of tiles, or you need to cut large tiles.
Price at time of publish: $136
Type: Rail cutter | Power Source: Manual | Blade Size: Not applicable | Max. Straight Cuts: 24 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 16 inches | Cutting Depth: 1/2 inch | Miter Cuts: No
Best Tile Nipper
M-D Building Products Compound Tile Nippers
Excellent for mosaic or other irregular shapes
Designed to reduce effort and hand strain
Can shatter delicate tile
Time consuming for anything more than a few tiles
Tile nippers might be one of the most basic tile cutting tools, but this pair of compound nippers from M-D Building Products is a hands-down favorite of tiling pros and DIYers. These tile nippers deliver twice the force of conventional tile nippers, thanks to an ergonomic design and strong tungsten carbide tips. They are particularly effective on porcelain and ceramic tile, but take extra care if cutting glass tiles, because it is easy to shatter or crack them if you are just learning to use this tool.
Designed for nipping off small pieces of tile, this isn't the tool for cutting a long, straight line, nor is it the right choice for bevel or miter cuts. With experience, however, you can use these nippers to create curves, notches, and other irregular shapes around the piece of tile, which is invaluable if you are tiling around fixtures, creating a mosaic feature or art project, or tiling an area with curves or an uneven shape. Note that reviews say the nippers won't work on tile thicker than about 1/2 inch. The nippers weigh 2.25 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $34
Type: Tile nipper | Power Source: Manual | Blade Size: Not applicable | Max. Straight Cuts: Not applicable | Max. Diagonal Cuts: Not applicable | Cutting Depth: Not applicable | Miter Cuts: No
Best Wet Tile Saw With Stand
RIDGID 9-Amp 7-inch Wet Tile Saw with Stand
Handles large tiles
Can make plunge cuts
Laser alignment system
Handful of complaints about blade wobble
A wet tile saw is one of the best tools for cutting tile, but without a stand, the task can become tiring, as you'll need to crouch on the floor or find a nearby countertop or table. Plus, to make straight and accurate cuts, a stable surface is needed for wet saws when working with different types of hard tile materials. A model like this one from RIDGID solves these problems by pairing a well-equipped, 9-amp wet tile saw with a very sturdy folding stand that gives you stability and a level surface on any project or jobsite. The 1 3/4-horsepower motor and 7-inch blade mean that it can make 24-inch rip cuts and 18-inch diagonal cuts with a depth up to 2-1/4 inches and speeds up to 5,700 rpm. It also cuts bevels and miters up to 45 degrees and can even make plunge cuts into the center of the tile.
In addition to the folding stand that is easy to transport and set up, this professional tile saw includes a die-cast aluminum tabletop with sealed ball-bearing rollers for a smooth gliding action. The included submersible water pump keeps the blade cool and functional, and it is designed to prevent excessive water spray or mess. It also has a laser guide system for extra precision. All in all, if you need a professional-quality tile saw, this is a great choice. The tool weighs 45 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $329
Type: Wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 24 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 18 inches | Cutting Depth: 2-1/4 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Benchtop Tile Saw
SKIL 3550-02 7-Inch Tile Saw with HydroLock System
Not nearly as much water spray as many other tile saws
Fence is not sturdy
Best for lightweight jobs
Cutting tile with a wet saw often means a considerable amount of water spray on nearby surfaces, which can mean damage to floors or walls, particularly if you're working on projects like a tiled fireplace or kitchen backsplash. For this reason, many tile cutters prefer to do their cutting outside, and then bring the cut tiles indoors. However, with the SKIL 3550-02, you can go right ahead and cut your tiles indoors without fear of splash thanks to the HydroLock System, which keeps the water contained near the blade, not all around the room. But that's not all this saw has to offer.
The 7-inch diamond blade spins at speeds up to 3,600 rpm, easily cutting through ceramic, stone, or porcelain tiles. You can use this tool to cut straight across tiles that are up to 18 inches, or cut through 12-inch tiles on a diagonal. If you need an angled cut, this saw adjusts for miter or bevel cuts at 22.5 or 45 degrees. It has a built-in miter gauge for accuracy. The saw weighs 24 pounds, so isn't too heavy to carry wherever you need it, although it lacks a handle.
Price at time of publish: $149
Type: Benchtop wet saw | Power Source: Corded | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 18 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 12 inches | Cutting Depth: Not specified | Miter Cuts: Yes
Best Cordless Wet Tile Saw
Craftsman CMCS4000M1 20V MAX 7-Inch Cordless Wet Saw
No need for a nearby electrical outlet
Excellent water containment system
Best for lightweight jobs
Most wet tile saws are corded, requiring you to work within a few feet of an electrical outlet. But with batteries becoming ever more powerful, you'll now find a few cordless tile saws. Our favorite is the Craftsman CMCS4000M1, which runs off an included Craftsman 20-volt battery. Craftsman claims the battery life is up to 130 cuts of 3x6 inch ceramic tile per charge, so don't worry you'll run out of juice too quickly. Plus, this saw's water containment system is better than many others, meaning you won't have to deal with much splash or spray.
The 7-inch blade spins at up to 2,800 rpm, and you can cut straight across tiles up to 17x17 with this tool, along with cutting tiles up to 12x12 on a diagonal, which makes it good for both wall and floor tiles. On straight cuts up to 12 inches, the saw delivers accuracy to within 1/16th of an inch. The saw cuts to a maximum depth of 1.25 inches, but note that this saw doesn't tilt for making miter or bevel cuts. It weighs 27 pounds.
Price at time of publish: $273
Type: Cordless wet saw | Power Source: Battery | Blade Size: 7 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 17 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 12 inches | Cutting Depth: 1-1/4 inch | Miter Cuts: No
Best for Large Tiles
DEWALT D24000S 10-Inch Wet Tile Saw with Stand
Handles large tiles
If you need to cut large tiles, such as those used for flooring, then you'll need a tile saw with maximum capacity. The DEWALT D240000S has a 10-inch blade that can cut straight across tiles as large as 24x24 inches or cut 18x18-inch tiles on a diagonal. Its cutting depth is an impressive 3-1/8-inch, and it even has a plunge cut feature, which allows you to make cutouts in the middle of a tile. With a 1.5-horsepower motor that spins the blade up to 4,200 rpm, you'll have no problems cutting through different types of flooring tiles.
Two adjustable nozzles spray water from the reservoir onto the blade, but don't worry about overspray; this saw has an excellent water containment system that lets you use it indoors without fear of water splashing everywhere. You can make 22.5 or 45-degree miter cuts, and the edge guide helps you keep your straight cuts perfectly aligned. At 69 pounds, this isn't a light saw, but its included stand makes it convenient to use wherever you need to work.
Price at time of publish: $999
Type: Wet saw | Power Source: Cordless | Blade Size: 10 inches | Max. Straight Cuts: 24 inches | Max. Diagonal Cuts: 18 inches | Cutting Depth: 3-1/8 inch | Miter Cuts: Yes
If you’re looking for a precise, powerful tile cutting saw that handles the most common sizes of tile, then it’s hard to go wrong with our top pick, the Porter-Cable PCE980 Wet Tile Saw. But if budget is a concern, you can save money and still get excellent results on smaller tiles with the SKIL 3540-02 7-inch Wet Tile Saw.
What to Look for
Manual vs. Electric
Tile cutting tools include both manual and electric options. Manual options cost much less, but require a fair amount of exertion, and so are best for small jobs only. Electric tile-cutting tools can handle large jobs, but are of course much more expensive. There are a few different types of both manual and electric options.
Manual snap tile cutters, like rail cutters, have a wheel to score the tile and then rails that apply pressure to snap the tile along the scored line. This type of tile cutting tool is less intimidating for beginners to use but requires more physical exertion and can result in rough cuts that must be sanded. You can only make straight cuts with a rail cutter.
Tile nippers are another manual option. These tools, which resemble pliers, "nip" off small pieces of tile, allowing you to create a curve, a notch, or trim a tile to fit into an oddly shaped spot. Like rail cutters, you need to use your own exertions to power the tool, which can be tiring if you face a big job, and you can only nip a very small chunk of tile at a time.
For electric tile cutting tools, you'll typically be considering tile saws. These come in both tabletop and handheld versions. Also known as wet tile saws, these tools are equipped with a water pump or reservoir that keeps the blade wet in order to reduce friction and dust as you cut tiles. Electric tile cutters are better suited for harder materials like stone and also can be used to make angled cuts or follow a curve after a little practice. These saws are your best choice if you'll be cutting a lot of tile, you need to make curved or angled cuts, or you'll be cutting stone.
Other electric options that can be used for cutting ceramic tile include oscillating tools fitted with a tile-cutting blade and angle grinders with a diamond-tipped, smooth-edged blade. You won't get as smooth of a cut with either of these options, but for a small job, or where a bit of roughness isn't an issue, these could be fine choices if you already own the tool.
The density and hardness of tile varies depending on the material. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are both made from clay, but porcelain is harder and more brittle. In general, manual tile cutters can be used for straight cuts on these types of tiles. For granite, marble, and stone tiles, you'll need to use a tile cutting saw that offers the power and precision necessary to cut these dense, heavy materials without breaking them.
Consider what is the largest size of tile that you plan to cut and choose a tile cutting tool that can handle the job. While you may be able to use a large tile cutting tool for small tile, don't expect to use a small tile cutting tool for large format tiles.
The typical tile saw has a 7-inch blade, which can handle tiles up to 12 x 12 inches. This covers the majority of tiles used for covering countertops, backsplashes, and tub surrounds. However, for working on larger tiles up to 18 x 18, which are sometimes used as flooring, you'll need a tile saw with a 10-inch blade.
How do you use tile cutting tools?
To use a snap tile cutter, you'll first need to mark the top and bottom of the tile (on the face) to indicate where you want to cut. Next, lay the tile face side-up on the cutter underneath the cutting wheel and pressure pad. Slide the tile snugly against the end-stop. Then, position the cutting wheel near the edge of the tile. Lower the wheel and use firm, even pressure as you roll the wheel across the entire surface of the tile. You may need to make one more pass to effectively score the tile. Then, lift the tile cutter handle so that the pressure pad rests on the tile itself. Apply firm, even downward pressure to snap the tile along the scored line.
To use a tile saw, you should also start by marking the face of the tile with a cutting line. After preparing the saw and work area and putting on PPE, you're ready to cut tile. Place the tile on the bed of the saw, pushing it close to the rip fence or miter gauge. Check that the blade is in line with your cutting line. Then, bring the tile back in front of the blade. Turn the saw on, allow it to come up to full speed, and then slowly push the tile under the blade. You should keep one hand on each side of the tile, as far from the blade as possible. As the blade reaches the end of the tile, push the tile even more slowly. Once the tile clears the blade, turn the saw off, wait for the blade to come to a complete stop, then retrieve the tile.
How do you mark a tile for cutting?
A grease pencil is often used for marking tiles since they offer good visibility but can be wiped away after the cut is made. A lead pencil or felt tip marker are two other alternatives.
How do you prevent chipping when cutting porcelain tile?
Porcelain tile is very dense but brittle, so minimizing the chance of the tile chipping is a top priority. One key way to prevent chipping is to use a wet tile saw. The water over the blade reduces friction and heat, allowing the blade to glide through the tile more easily.
The cutting technique you use may also help to prevent chipping when cutting porcelain tiles. Two methods are often suggested: First, make a shallow cut no more than 1/2 of the thickness of the tile. This requires the use of an adjustable saw blade. After making this initial cut, run the blade across the entire tile, cutting it completely on this pass. The second method is to make a notch in one end of the tile, about an inch or so deep. This is the start of your cut. Then, cut the tile from the other side. The cutting line should match your notch, resulting in a complete cut of the tile.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Michelle Ullman is the home improvement/tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.
For this roundup, Ullman considered dozens of tile-cutting tools, evaluating each for effectiveness, ease of use, and overall performance, as well as value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, and received further input and advice from Johnathan Brewer, a general contractor and member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board.