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Most tile cuts are simple horizontal or diagonal lines, quickly and easily done by manual tile cutters. Provided that your tiles aren’t too tough, like very thick ones, stone, textured ceramic or pure vitrified porcelain. Save the very slow, noisy, messy, dangerous, electricity draining power saws for the rare tile cuts that can’t be done with a manual cutter, like L shapes, curves and holes. They use diamond blades and two types are used for tiles. Angle grinders are very dusty. Wet saws use water for cooling, which mixes with tile dust, forming dirty water that’s messy, and risks electrocution.
For common traditional sized tiles around 14 inches, unless you’re only cutting a few tiles with a masonry bladed angle grinder or wet saw, you might as well get a manual cutter. Those that are sized around 14 inches, are only just over $20. You could easily spend more on masonry discs. So it might be worthwhile buying a manual cutter for small tiles. For those in the construction industry where tiling is involved, don’t settle for angle grinders like some small firms do. A manual tile cutter is a must, for professional, perfectly-cut tiles, with energy efficiency and portability.
With large tiles at around 24 to 36 inches in size, these cutters range between $100 to $200 for the best reviewed here. If you’re only DIY, and can’t borrow or rent a cutter, you might settle for an angle grinder. But if you cut tiles for a living, you need something with better results and efficiency, unless you’re doing tiles too hard or too thick for manual cutters. Large tiles are thicker than small tiles, so consider that if you want to use an angle grinder or wet saw, because they’ll really slow you down and make a mess.
You don’t need much strength with this manual tile cutter. Just move the wheel as it smoothly roles along the railings pressing down gently on the cutting wheel toward the tile. If you push down on it with excessive force, you risk chipping your tiles. This cutter can take off lengths of tile as short as 1.5 inches. At least one person said they successfully used the cutter for 36 inch tiles, which is 1 inch over the intended maximum size limit by the manufacturer. It is fast cutting, saving time and energy compared with a tile cutting electric saw.
This cutter is easy to move around and light to carry. It’s easy to clean with an air pressure hose or even soap and water. The handle has a rubber grip like a bicycle, and this rubber handle cover can come off sometimes. A number of people have commented about the uneven spine causing problems, which can be compensated for by using the device in a slightly different way then a tile cutter would normally be used. There’s supporting arm stands, that swing out from the base, which aren’t necessary and they don’t clip in well sometimes when in transit.
This cutter allows you to check cutting wheel alignment through a peep hole designed just for that purpose. It easily cuts score lines across tiles with the smooth gliding wheel. You only need gentle pressure when moving the wheel along the rail bars. If you apply too much force it will make a wider score, but with small chips along the edge of the tile. A gentle narrow score won’t force the edges to give way as tiny edge chips. That narrow score is all you need to snap off the unwanted tile portion, for a nice professionally cut edge.
It can cut some tiles with cut off pieces as short as 1.5 inches. Each wheel can cut over 30 tiles. Unlike some cheap disposable tile cutters, you can easily replace the cutting wheels on this rugged quality cutter. You really need to know how to use it properly to avoid a pile of garbage. It works fine with porcelain, but you need to apply a different amount of pressure compared with ceramic tiles. A buyer said it doesn’t work on porcelain tiles that have texture because the snap screws up. But glossed porcelain and ceramic tiles have great results.
This cutter does porcelain and ceramic tiles up to half an inch thick, and supposedly up to 14 inches in size. You might make an effort measuring those sizes on the cutter, because it only has measuring markings on a black background with no color for contrast. The handle is nice and comfortable though. The tungsten carbide cutting wheels are replaceable, so you won’t have to feel guilty about adding an environmentally unfriendly, use-once, disposable cutter to a landfill. A buyer said they couldn’t get a chip free cut with Talavera tiles, but it was fine with larger common tiles.
It can even cut tiles as small as 2 inches, but you’ll need to polish the slightly jagged edges. The snapping cut nature of this type of tile cutting, has the disadvantage that very small portions simply cannot be snapped off. Some people found they couldn’t cut tiles bigger than 12 inches, despite the 14 inch advertised maximum size for this cutter. But nonetheless it makes cuts with fine precision. It can be used with vinyl tiles and even glass tiles to a limited degree. Without affecting the low cost, this device has steel quality parts where they’re needed most.
M-D Building Products 49194
This 14 inch tile cutter has aluminum sides and a plastic bottom. There’s contradicting accounts from buyers over its’ ability to hold tiles firm and steady when cutting. It does the job well for ceramic and can cut some porcelain, and some types of glass. It’s good for DIY, but if you’re looking for something to earn money, you need a professional grade cutter, not something for home users. You get what you pay for. A lot of buyers were pleased with it as a budget cutter, but there were complaints about quality and performance from a number of buyers.
This manual tile cutter seems unintended for commercial use, but rather for once in a blue moon home users. It’s not versatile for all types of tiles. For DIY it might save you money, but you’re making a gamble if you don’t test your tiles in store before you buy. Definitely gambling if you’re buying online. Some people were well satisfied with their results, whereas others had experiences of breakdowns even after successfully cutting a small number of tiles. Some people commented that it didn’t work with stone and some porcelain, no manual cutter does stone or pure vitrified porcelain.
This brute little beast is the most costliest cutter in the top five, exceeding the nearest rival by almost $70, yet coming short by four rankings down and 12 inches less on the maximum tile size. It cuts diagonals up to 18 inches, and tiles up to half an inch thick. It has a wide aluminum alloy base, shaped like an aircraft carrier deck. Underneath it are tough lasting rubber bumpers. The cutting wheel is 7/8 of an inch, and at this price it’d be outrageous if it weren’t replaceable. The wheel’s compatible with the QEP brand’s number 21123 wheel.
A mixture of highly polarized testimonies from owners of these cutters, can make you wonder about the manufacturing quality control. There were many complaints, but most testimonies were good. If you’re lucky enough to get a good quality device, you’ll have a professional tile cutter that quickly cuts through ceramic, and even easily cuts porcelain, which is hard stuff. Some people had trouble with 24 inch tiles, but they found smaller tiles were fine. It can also cut 1 inch pieces. There’s only a 30 day guarantee, despite being the most expensive cutter in the top 5, and lowest ranking.
What to Look For
Some manual tile cutters can be environmentally friendly in different ways. One such way is by saving on nonrenewable energy consumption such as nuclear power, which produces radioactive waste that can render a habitat uninhabitable for hundreds of thousands of years. Don’t forget the harmful emissions from burnt fossil fuels. But your environmentally conscious efforts can end up in vain, if you buy a cheap disposable cutter, with cutting wheels that can’t be replaced. That’ll really be environmentally helpful ending up in a landfill. A lousy cutter can give you a pile of broken tiles to add to that landfill.
The top three cutters were all made by QEP. A lot of people have been dissatisfied with manual cutters, often because they don’t know how to use them properly. Compared to a saw they’re not noisy, dangerous, energy draining, slow and messy. An angle grinder can cover you with unhealthy tile dust, a wet saw can cover you with dirt water and please be careful not to electrocute yourself. Except for rare cuts like very small pieces or shaped cutouts, a manual tile cutter is more efficient for time, energy and performance. Manual cutters should especially be owned by professionals.