A tile saw is the tool to use when you have a home renovation project that calls for accurately cutting tiles. Tile saws are machines specifically designed for tiles—hence the name. For this reason, they’re run by very powerful motors, and they hold incredibly sharp blades.
With the help of a tile saw, you can make any cut you need, whether it’s straight, angled, etc.
The reason you need a tile saw versus using a regular blade for the job has mostly to do with convenience and accuracy. The power of a tile saw’s motor and sharp, precision blade is what allows you to make precise cuts with minimal physical effort.
Sure, you can use a regular woodcutting saw. As long as it’s circular and has a diamond-tipped blade; however, it’s not the safest route—or the most accurate. It’s also rather messy.
So, if you have an upcoming project involving cutting tiles, you’re going to want to invest in the best tile saw.
The Best Tile Saws for Every Job
Now that you understand why you need a tile saw, you must choose the right one for the job. There are plenty available on the market, but not all tile saws are created equally. The type of tile saw you need will depend entirely on the job you’re doing and your preferences.
To get you started, these are our top picks:
- Wet tile saw
- 17.69 pounds
- 120 Volts (corded electric)
- 0 to 45-degree bevel angling
- 7.75-in cross-cut capacity; 7.25-in diagonal cut capacity
- Portable and easy to store
- Generously adjustable bevel
- Has water cooling reservoir
- Rust resistant
- Difficult to clean
- Water from reservoir tends to splash onto work surface
- Water from reservoir runs dry quickly
- Both miter gauge and bevel come loose easily
- Entire unit is on the flimsy side
The SKIL 3540-02 wet tile saw offers excellent value for its price. It’s equipped with a stainless steel tabletop, an adjustable bevel, an adjustable rip fence with a miter gauge, and a cooling water reservoir. The adjustable bevel allows for angled cutting anywhere between 0 and 45 degrees.
The rip fence and miter gauge allow for precision cutting. The cooling water reservoir keeps both the blade and the motor temperature protected, and the stainless steel provides a robust work surface resistant to rust.
It’s important to note that this wet tile saw also has some deal-breakers. It’s lightweight, which can work for or against you. It can cut up to 12 inches deep, but the blade must be tightened and reset every so often.
While its portability is a convenience, there’s no anchoring this bad boy down. You’ll have to depend on the rubber footing to keep it from sliding across your workspace.
- 10-in porcelain blade
- 120 Volts (1.5 peak Horsepower)
- 18-in diagonal cut capacity; 3 ⅛-inch depth cut capacity
- 0 to 45-degree bevel capacity
- ⅝-in blade diameter
- Portable and easy to clean
- Accurate and suitable for professional jobs
- Allows for deep cuts
- Compact and easy to store
- Very expensive
- Porcelain blades wear down easily
Despite weighing around 69 pounds, the Dewalt D24000S is considered a portable, lightweight tile saw. The saw comes with a stainless steel rail system, a removable cutting cart, rear and side water attachments, and an impressive cutting range. It also comes with a built-in table stand for added convenience.
The stainless steel rails allow for precision cutting while also providing the necessary strength and durability that gives DEWALT its stellar reputation on the tool market. The removable cutting cart allows for easy cleaning, and the saw itself is incredibly versatile. It can cut up to a depth of 3 and ⅛ inches as well as multiple angles. The rear and side water attachments collect runoff and overspray, and the dual nozzles can be adjusted.
This saw also comes with a porcelain blade, which has both its advantages and disadvantages. Porcelain remains much cooler than steel and remains corrosion-free. However, they are known to chip and wear down quicker.
- Patent-pending HydroLock water containment system
- 120 Volts (corded electric—with cord wrap)
- Rust-resistant aluminum tabletop
- 18×18-in slide extension
- Adjustable bevel at 0, 22.5, and 45 degrees
- Lightweight and portable
- Strong immersible water pump
- HydroLock system is known to fail
- Adjustable rip fence tends to cause blistering
The SKIL 3550-02 wet tile saw is nearly identical to the 3540-02 in its setup.
It has an aluminum tabletop rather than steel, which is also rust-resistant. The bevel can be tilted at 0, 25.5, and 45 degrees making it more versatile than most wet tile saws of similar size. It also comes with a patent-pending HydroLock water containment system to keep the water contained near the blade where it should be. This also makes the entire unit easier to clean compared to its steel-topped counterpart.
This wet tile saw also has a rip fence with an adjustable miter gauge, just as the 3540-02, and rubber fittings on the legs to prevent slippage. You can say this wet tile saw is the upgraded version; however, it’s not without its pitfalls. Unfortunately, by design, the trough doesn’t always catch water as it should. The HydroLock system also tends to fail at keeping the water contained around the blade.
- 10.8 amp motor powerful enough to cut through granite
- 4 and ⅜-inch diamond-tipped blade for precision cutting
- 0-45 degree beveling
- 13-foot water line
- Lock button
- Cuts up to 3 centimeters deep, wet or dry
- Extremely powerful motor
- Diamond blade included with saw
- Lightweight, durable, and portable
- Comfortable grip
- Controls water spray well
- Very loud when operating at maximum capacity
- Blade guard doesn’t completely protect the blade when face-down
- Does not cut as deep as other tile saws
The DEWALT Wet/Dry Masonry tile saw is a very unique and versatile tool. It’s 100% hand-operated, unlike the other tile saws on this list. Therefore, it does not come with a stand, making it all the more portable.
Also referred to as a “sliding tile saw,” this wet/dry tile saw is equipped with a mighty motor, allowing the blade to cut through virtually anything. It takes time to get the job done with this saw; however, it provides a smooth cutting process that won’t get bogged down like other sliding tile saws.
The water system is designed to supply the water through a small side-hose. Thanks to this little guy’s powerful motor, there’s the perfect amount of pressure to rinse off the debris and keep the blade cool while you cut—without creating a mess. Additionally, this tile saw boasts cool features such as a special button lock to take the pressure of your hand during production cuts, and it’s adjustable so you can make deeper cuts when needed.
- 6.9 pounds
- 12 Volt—contains two lithium-ion batteries
- 3 and ⅜-inch diamond blade
- 16.9-ounce water supply reservoir
- 0 to 45-degree bevel tilt
- Lightweight, compact, and extremely portable
- Ergonomic design
- Comes with rechargeable batteries
- Versatile applications
- Tends to leave rigid edges
- Not suitable for heavy-duty jobs
- Insufficient water delivery/pressure
The Makita CC0R1 Tile/Glass saw kit has a compact design and a powerful motor that allows for faster precision cutting. Unlike the rest of the tile saws on this list, the Makita is battery-operated. It also comes with rechargeable batteries and a battery charger.
This tile saw is equipped with a nickel-plated base to prevent rust, an ergonomic design to reduce hand fatigue, and a bevel that tilts from 0 to 45 degrees for an excellent cutting capacity range. It also comes with a 3 and ⅜-inch blade that can cut up to a maximum depth of 1 inch. It also comes with a 16.9-ounce water supply reservoir for wet cutting applications.
This tile and glass saw kit is versatile and can be used for dry cutting and woodcutting. Despite this little Makita motor’s power, it takes longer to cut through tile compared to other handheld saws. It also tends to leave rigid edges, and the water pressure doesn’t seem to deliver.
Best Tile Saw Buyer’s Guide: What to Look For
As we’ve mentioned, the type of saw you need will depend entirely on the job you’re attempting to complete. So, how do you know which tile saw one is right for the job?
First thing’s first, there are four different types of tile saws:
Snap and rail cutters are among the most affordable tile saws. They’re also more DIY-friendly since they’re small, operated manually, and don’t extend their use to specialty cuts.
Snap and rail cutters allow you to score the tiles rather than cut right through them. Once your tiles are scored, you’ll have to position the heel assembly against your score marks to snap the tile in half. The downside is that if you’re working with heavy-duty materials, such as stone or granite, snap and rail cutters won’t get the job done.
Handheld Wet Tile Saws
Handheld wet tile saws work well for specialty cuts and are operated 100% by hand. These saws typically come with a diamond-coated cutting wheel, which can cut through all kinds of tiling. They also come with a water reservoir and pump that works to keep the blade cool and debris-free.
You can use these saws dry. However, it’s not recommended because of all the dust they create.
Tabletop Wet Tile Saws
Tabletop wet tile saws, much like handheld wet tile saws, are named for how they work. These tile saws operate via a sliding table, allowing you to cut your tiles by sliding them through that saw rather than manually bringing the saw down on the tiles.
Tabletop wet tile saws can also be used dry, but once again, it’s not recommended because of all the dust and debris that will cloud the room.
Overhead Motor Wet Tile Saws
The overhead motor wet tile saws work by bringing the tile to the blade, much like the tabletop tile saws. However, you don’t need to push your tile through the blade with these machines. Instead, they’re equipped with a rail system that delivers the tile to the saw for you, which is arguably more accurate than the above.
They also allow for more specialty cuts.
In addition to the type of saw you’re looking at, you also want to consider things like:
- Water Source/drainage
- Blade Type and Capacity
- Overload Protection
All of these things will come into play while you work, so you must understand how each saw functions and how well they function.
Tile Saw FAQs
Still got questions about tile saws? We’ve got answers for you:
Can I Use a Wood Blade on My Tile Saw?
Technically, yes. It depends on the type of saw and the blade capacity that the machine allows for. As long as you’re using a blade that fits correctly, you should have no problem. Just remember to turn off the water supply because soggy wood is no good.
Can’t I Just Use a Table Top Saw to Cut My Tiles?
It’s possible, but not recommended. The dry blade will likely cause chipping, and if it’s not diamond-tipped or porcelain, it won’t cut through all types of tiles.
Are Wet Tile Saws Safe?
Wet tile saws are indeed safe for their intended applications. The saw blades used for tile cutting depend on the friction of hard materials going against each other. The blade is also typically cooled by the water system. Therefore, they’re unable to cut through the skin or cause burns for that matter.
Can You Use a Wet Tile Saw Without Water?
Yes, you can—but it’s a bad idea. The water system is in place to keep the blade cool and lubricated as it cuts. It’s also there to wash away the dust and debris caused by grinding down the tiles. Using tile saws dry will also cause the blade to wear down quickly.
Even If you’re new to the world of tile saws, finding the right one for your project shouldn’t be too difficult. Now that you have a better understanding of the different tile saws, how they function, plus our top picks to get you started, you should be able to walk into your local hardware store and make a confident purchase.