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Whether you are tiling a new wet room or just refreshing your kitchen splashback, a tile cutter is an essential piece of kit.
Easy to use and fairly inexpensive, tile cutters are a great way to give a professional-looking finish to your home tiling project. But if you’re new to tiling, you may be feeling a little confused about which model is the best tile cutter for your needs.
To help you to avoid the pitfalls of purchasing a tile cutter, we’re going to examine the two main types: electric tile cutters and manual tile cutters.
We’ll advise on the most important features to consider when making your purchase, how to use each type of tile cutter and take a look at the best models on the market.
If you don't have time to read our full guide, below are our favourite tile cutters from each category:
Electric tile saws use a rotating diamond blade to cut through your tiles. They are useful for precision cutting with a smooth finish and are ideal for large projects.
Also known as “wet saws”, electric tile saws use water to keep the blade cool and lubricate the blade’s passage through the tile. Without the water, friction and heat could cause your tiles to break or chip.
There are plenty of factors to bear in mind when choosing an electric saw tile cutter. Here are the essential features that you’ll need to consider when making your purchase.
Powerful motors with a wattage of at least 400 are essential for cutting through a variety of different types of tile smoothly, while preventing chips and cracks.
Always check the manufacturer’s maximum recommended tile thickness and dimensions to ensure that your tile cutter will be able to cut your tiles with ease.
You should also double-check the table dimensions including any extensions to be sure that you can safely accommodate the tile cutter close to a power source.
If you are cutting large format tiles, for example, floor tiles, you will want a model with extensions. Fold out extensions increase the cutting table area and allow you to comfortably cut and support tiles of larger sizes.
Most electric tile cutters have a water recirculation system. This will keep the cutting blade cool and lubricate the blade’s passage, thus reducing friction and the chances of your tile breaking.
A water recirculation system also saves you from having to top up your water reservoir as often, as well as reducing your water usage.
Selecting a cutter with pre-settable table tilts allows you to accurately perform mitre cuts without any hassle. We recommend opting for a model that has both 22.5° and 45° tilts for maximum convenience.
Pay close attention to the table surface. If it is coated, be sure that it is with a durable coating that will adequately protect the steel from the circulating water in the cooling system.
At first glance, electric tile cutters appear more complex to use. However, they do offer numerous advantages over other tile cutting methods, such as providing a smooth finish and the possibility to accurately achieve special cuts such as internal cutouts and L-shapes.
In this section, we examine some of the main benefits of using an electric tile cutter.
For a professional, smooth finish, an electric tile cutter is essential. Score and snap methods work well; however, in many cases, they can lead to slightly ragged edges.
Electric models provide a smooth edge for tiles that are ready to use straight off the cutting table.
Thanks to their sharp blades and cutting guides, when you use an electric tile saw you get precise straight edges to your tiles. This can make a huge difference to your tiled wall or floor’s look once complete.
Once you’re familiar with its workings and have set it up to your requirements, using an electric saw tile cutter takes much less effort than scoring and snapping your tiles manually. The diamond blade almost effortlessly glides through all types of tile for quick and easy cutting.
Electric tile saws are much more precise than manual ones. For example, if you need to cut out part of a tile for a switch, or make mitre cuts, then you’ll need an electric model.
Creating L-shaped tiles or cutting out sections to fit around your shower fittings are all possible with an electric saw tile cutter - unlike manual models which can only cut in straight, continuous lines.
On a large project such as tiling a wet room, you will certainly appreciate the speed at which you can cut your tiles using an electric tile cutter. Also, as they are much more precise, you will waste less time recutting than you may do with a manual model.
Thanks to their diamond blade and powerful motors, you can cut a greater variety of tile types, sizes and thicknesses with an electric tile saw, making them a more suitable choice if you plan on undertaking many different projects.
Although all electric tile cutters work in a very similar fashion, you will find that there are several differences between the various models available.
You should always look out for the differences in capacity. Some models are able to cut large format tiles, while others are designed primarily for smaller ones.
Motor power is another major factor. If you are going to be cutting thick tiles, you should definitely opt for a model with a high powered motor.
Blades also differ between brands and models, although they can be changed to better suit your cutting needs.
Lastly, guides, splash guards and table surfaces can all vary from one model to the next. You should carefully consider your needs and anticipated usage before deciding upon which model to purchase.
As with any power tool, it is important to use your electric tile cutter in accordance with the manufacturer’s safe usage instructions.
Here are the basic steps you need to follow:
Find an appropriate place to set up your tile cutter. You will need a sturdy, stable work area that is near to a power source
Fill it up with water. Ensure that you fill it up to the level indicated on the reservoir side.
Mark your tile where you want to cut it. Position it on the cutting table, aligned against the fence with the cutting line positioned so that it lines up with the blade.
Once you’re lined up and ready to cut, turn on the cutter. Ensure that the blade is fully operational and water is spraying before moving the tile.
Move the tile slowly but firmly towards the blade, paying particular attention to the edges as not to break them.
Once your tile is cut, turn off the power before carefully removing it from your tile cutter.
For further information and helpful animations, take a look at this guide to using your electric saw tile cutter.
Manual tile cutters are a popular choice, providing an efficient and effective way to cut your tiles with less mess.
Manual tile cutters consist of a hardened wheel that you use to score down a straight line where you want to cut your tile. Then, pressure is applied to directly below this line and each side on top in order to neatly snap your tile to size.
Read on to find out all you need to know about choosing and using your manual tile cutter, as well as why it could be the right choice for your tiling project.
When you’re choosing your manual tile cutter, there are several features that you should pay close attention to:
Make sure that your tile cutter is compatible with the thickness of the tiles that you need to cut. Check the manufacturer’s recommended maximum tile thickness, as well as the tile size.
If you are purchasing a tile cutter for several different jobs around your home, you may want to look for one that can take larger tiles than the ones you currently have.
When cutting tiles, you’ll most likely make the same size cuts again and again. Having a built-in adjustable measuring guide will allow you to achieve uniform cutting results without the hassle of marking and measuring every individual tile.
Simply adjust your measuring guide for your first tile and confirm it cuts perfectly to size. Once confirmed, set the guide adjustments as your template for the rest of your tiles.
Opt for a durable metal construction for a long-lasting tile cutter that will see you through many projects. Rubber coated surfaces provide a non-slip grip that will help keep your tile securely in place when scoring and snapping.
One of the main advantages of manual models is their portability. If you’re planning to take your tile cutter with you to various jobs, then you should take its weight into account.
However, bear in mind that while lightweight models are much easier to move, transport and store, you may find that you prefer to clamp it down when cutting heavy or large tiles.
While manual tile cutters require you to put in a little extra effort, they do come with their own advantages over other tile cutting methods.
One of the main advantages of using a manual tile cutter is that you don’t need a power source to use one. This gives you the freedom to cut your tiles wherever you like.
Without a heavy motor, manual tile cutters are a lot lighter than their electric saw counterparts. This makes them easier to transport and store when not in use.
Manual tile cutters create much less mess than electric tile saws. This means less dust, a healthier working environment and less time spent cleaning up.
With their simple score and snap cutting method, manual tile cutters are extremely easy to use. Simply score along your cutting line, snap and your tile is cut to your specifications
While most manual tile cutters operate in the same manner, there are some differences between models that you should keep an eye out for.
For a start, you should always check that the dimensions are sufficient to cut your tiles, especially if you are looking for a cutter for thick or large format tiles.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s maximum tile thickness and size for your cutter before purchasing.
When you are choosing your manual tile cutter, you may also find that different models can be differentiated by their table surface. Some models have a durable steel surface that will stand up to rugged tiles and extensive use, while other models come with rubber-coated cutting surfaces.
Rubber-coated surfaces have excellent non-slip properties to hold your tile securely in place while scoring and snapping. However, rubber is less durable which could be an issue with frequent, heavy use.
Manual tile cutters are simple to use. For the best tile cutting results every time, follow these basic steps:
Firstly, start by marking your tile where you want to cut it. You can either draw a straight line or just mark the top and bottom.
Pull back the wheel and handle to the bottom of your cutter and insert your tile.
Move the wheel and handle up to the edge of your tile and line the tile up. Make sure that it is flush with the top edge to ensure that you get a straight cut.
With the scoring wheel up against the edge of your tile and your tile correctly lined up, push down firmly on the handle and push the wheel to the other end.
For clear cuts, only score once. When you have scored your tile, make sure that the wheel is in the cradle and press down hard on the handle to snap. Make sure that your tile does not move prior to snapping.
If you are cutting several tiles to the same size, using the adjustable guide on your cutter will ensure that your tiles are all uniform while reducing the time spent measuring.
To see the above steps in action, please watch the short video below:
If you’re looking for a professional quality, durable electric tile cutter, one of the very best is the Vitrex Power Pro 650 - our top high-performance recommendation.
With its powerful 650 watt direct drive motor, it can cut tiles up to 30mm thick, making it suitable for a wide variety of jobs whatever your choice of tiles.
Thanks to its double extensions, you’ll have no problem cutting even large format tiles and the pre-set 22.5° and 45° tilts allow for precision mitre cuts with ease.
Complete with a 180mm continuous rim diamond blade, this model is ready to take on all of your tiling projects, even heavy-duty cutting and precision cuts. The water recirculation system saves you time refilling, reducing the amount of water lost during cooling.
While this is a fantastic model, there are nonetheless a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, the guide is made from poor quality, flimsy plastic which detracts from the general ease of use of this cutter.
Secondly, for the price of this model, we were disappointed by the table surface. The aluminium finish is not very durable, especially when cutting more rugged tiles, potentially exposing the underlying metal which could then easily corrode.
However, these drawbacks aside, this powerful electric tile cutter is a true workhorse that will make light work of your tiling project, especially when using thick and large format tiles.
650 watt, direct-drive motor
Poor quality plastic guide
22.5° and 45° pre-set table tilts
Table surface not very durable
180mm continuous rim diamond blade
Water recirculation system
Looking for a budget electric tile cutter? Our best value pick, the Vitrex Diamond Blade Tile Cutting Saw, provides excellent performance and usability at a low price.
With a high-torque 450 watt motor, you can use it to cut through tiles up to 25mm with ease, making it suitable for the vast majority of DIY tiling projects.
The double extensions are ideal for accommodating large format tiles, complete with pre-settable table tilts of 22.5° and 45° for your mitre cuts.
Aside from its cooling water recirculation system that prevents frequent refills, this model also benefits from an adjustable height splash guard to reduce the chances of you ending up soaked while cutting.
On the downside, it is fairly lightweight, so if you’re cutting heavy tiles, you may want to clamp it down. Also, the guide fence is rather flimsy and can stick, slowing down your progress.
However, in spite of these minor negatives, this tile cutter offers unbeatable value for money.
High torque 450 watt motor
Double extension tables
Flimsy guide fence
22.5° and 45° pre-set table tilts
No mess water recirculation system
Adjustable height splash guard
Suitable for tiles up to 500mm square and 12mm thick, the Vitrex Heavy-Duty Tile Cutter can also be used for diagonal cuts on tiles up to 350mm square. This makes our top performing manual tile cutter plenty capable for the majority of your home tiling needs, be it your kitchen, wet room or bathroom.
This model uses a simple score and snap operation, complete with an integral angle cutting guide. Thanks to its rigid steel construction, this is the one to go for if you are looking for a long-lasting manual tile cutter.
While this is a good heavy-duty model, bear in mind that this makes it fairly heavy and bulky, so it’s not a great choice if you’re looking for something more portable.
However, it’s main drawback is its end guide. Unfortunately, it’s not perfectly square, meaning you have to pay close attention when positioning your tile. That said, this is a solid model that will see you through numerous tiling jobs.
Professional heavy-duty tile cutter
End guide not quite square
Simple score and snap operation
Integral angle cutting guide
Rigid steel construction
Suitable for diagonal cuts
If you are looking for a budget model, take a look at our best value pick - the VonHaus Manual Tile Cutter. Ideal for home DIY, this inexpensive model is easy to use and benefits from a highly portable, lightweight construction.
Using a simple score and snap operation, the non-slip rubber cutting surface helps to keep your tile firmly in place.
Suitable for tiles up to 500mm long, this tool can be used for a wide variety of tiling projects and comes complete with a built-in adjustable measuring guide.
While this model is an excellent budget choice for easy manual tile cutting, it is less suitable for jobs where you need to make precision cuts. Too much play on the cutting wheel will prevent you from making highly accurate straight lines.
Also, if you are working on a project involving large format tiles, be aware that you may need to score larger tiles several times before snapping. This will, of course, slow down your progress.
However, on the whole, this is a great budget choice when high-precision and speed is not critical.
Portable, lightweight construction
Not suitable for precision cuts
Score and snap operation
Need to score multiple times for large tiles
Rubber non-slip cutting surface
Built-in adjustable measuring guide
Two-year manufacturer's warranty
Vitrex Power Pro 650
Vitrex Diamond Blade
Vitrex Heavy Duty 50cm
Note: scroll left/right to view the entire table above
Providing excellent performance at a great price, we think the Vitrex Diamond Blade 450W is the best tile cutter on the market right now.
The Vitrex Diamond Blade 450W has all of the advantages that come with an electric saw tile cutter, enabling you to make even complex cutouts with precision, as well as straight lines for a professional-looking finish to any tiling project.
With its double extension, you can cut even large format tiles and the two pre-set table tilts make mitre cuts quick, accurate and easy.
Additionally, the adjustable splash guard helps to ensure your working environment stays dry with its no mess water recirculation system.
Offering unbeatable value for money for a high-performance tile cutter, this truly is the best model to go for - whatever your home DIY tiling project entails.
Kelly Rowett is a full-time writer and digital marketer who is passionate about creating high-quality content. When she’s not typing away at her laptop, you’ll find her up-cycling furniture, cooking Thai food or enjoying a clifftop hike with her dogs