When you're doing tile work, you need a tile saw — it's that simple. It's possible to spend more than $2,000 for a model with all the bells and whistles, but if you're not planning on making a career change, you should be looking for a simpler tile saw that meets your needs.
The best tile saw does what you need it to do with accuracy and without chipping the tiles. Our top pick is from DeWalt. It's a heavy-duty wet saw with its own stand that incorporates a number of features to help get the job done right. For more information on this and other quality tile saws, keep reading.
Considerations when choosing tile saws
Types of tile saws
Handheld: A handheld tile saw is a light, portable tool that can be great for smaller areas and repair work, though it's not the best choice for accuracy or larger cuts. Additionally, you're limited by battery life on cordless models.
Table: Whether fastened to a stand or resting on a tabletop, these types of tile saws feature a larger workspace, so you can make longer cuts with greater accuracy. They are not as portable as handheld models, but most come with a larger blade and features that make them a more versatile tool. Some lower-end models are too small to cut pavers.
Rail: These tile saws feature the largest work area and the most power. They're durable and can handle any tile job. In most instances, these models should only be considered if you anticipate doing a great deal of tile work or you don't have a limited budget.
If you do anything more than light-duty repairs, you want a wet saw. Dry blades are fine for about 10 seconds of operating time, but they need to cool down between cuts.
Tiles vary in thickness and tile saws vary in cutting depth. If your tiles are thicker than your saw can cut, it will not meet your needs.
Tile saws are not one-size-cuts-all. If you anticipate needing to cut larger tiles, make sure the model you purchase can accommodate the size.
There are a number of cuts you can make using a tile saw, such as straight, beveled, and plunge. Be sure the tile saw you purchase can make the types of cuts you need.
If you are only doing light-duty, occasional tile work on thinner tiles (1.5 inches), a small tabletop tile saw or a handheld model for less than $150 may do the trick. If you cut tiles often and need a larger standalone model, it's better to look in the $200 to $800 price range to find a tile saw for heavier duty use. If you need the heaviest duty tile saw, you can spend up to $2,000 or more on a professional model.
Q. How does a tile saw work?
A. Tiles are fragile and can easily break. A tile saw works by grinding through the tile rather than by cutting it. There is a great deal of friction involved, so to keep the blade cool, you need to either work in very short, 10-second sessions or use a wet saw.
Q. Are there any safety procedures to follow when operating a tile saw?
A. Yes. Always wear safety glasses and make sure you don't have any loose clothing, hair, or jewelry. If you're using a wet saw, you might want to wear an apron to protect your clothing. Keep your hands as far away from the blade as possible and use a slow feed, letting the machine do the work for you when cutting.
Tile saws we recommend
Best of the best: DeWalt's Wet Tile Saw with Stand, 10-inch
Our take: A powerful 10-inch wet tile saw with stand that weighs only 69 pounds, making it potentially portable, if needed.
What we like: This tile saw features a stainless steel rail system as well as rear and side water attachments to help catch over-spray. The nozzles can be adjusted for optimal placement and the plunge feature facilitates making internal cuts.
What we dislike: There can be some wobble to the tray, which can lead to inaccuracy when doing longer cuts.
Best bang for your buck: SKIL's Wet Tile Saw, Seven-inch
Our take: A budget-priced tabletop wet saw with a number of appealing features for the DIYer.
What we like: This seven-inch wet saw has a corrosion-resistant stainless steel tabletop, an adjustable rip fence, and can perform bevel cuts at up to a 45-degree angle. The design uses a cooling water reservoir to keep the blade cool while working.
What we dislike: The cutting speed can be slow on this model, so be careful not to rush your cuts.
Choice 3: Makita's Lithium-Ion Cordless Tile/Glass Saw Kit
Our take: A handheld, cordless tool that can come in handy for lighter-duty applications.
What we like: This compact, ergonomic, handheld wet saw has a cutting depth of up to one inch. The unit weighs only four pounds to help combat user fatigue and it is capable of performing bevel cuts at up to a 45-degree angle.
What we dislike: This model does not have the raw power of a corded tabletop saw, so patience is needed when cutting.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.