The Best Manual Tile Cutters

If you’re looking for a new tile cutter, this article features a list of the best tile cutters on the market for 2020. It also discusses some alternative options for cutting tiles such as a wet saw. However, the main focus is on the best manual tile cutter. At the end of the article is also a short guide on what to look for when buying the best manual tile cutting tools.

Manual Tile Cutting Tools

Manual tile cutters are still cool tools. But it was a close one there for awhile.

When laminate flooring hit its peak with all of its stunningly realistic designs, many predicted the demise of more traditional flooring, like tile, vinyl, hardwood and even carpet, to some extent. But guess what. That didn’t happen.

In the tile flooring segment the competition from laminates spurred a wave of design and material innovations that regenerated excitement for the medium in a big way. Now we have new concepts, like 3D tiles and slim tiles and new ways of installing them.

This puts renewed pressure on flooring installers and general contractors to deliver the look of a genuine tile floor on time and on budget, so they had better have their tools sharp and ready. While it’s not necessarily a make-it, break-it element, a good tile cutter is going to be an essential tool to have in order to get the work done.

So let’s take a look at what we found to be the best tile cutters for the money.

7 Best Manual Tile Cutters

1. Sigma Pull Handle 26” Tile Cutter – Overall Best Tile Cutter

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Best Feature: Extreme Accuracy

Pros
  • Can cut heavy tiles.
  • Solid construction.
  • Place for guide bar when not in use.
  • Wide base for stability.
  • Guide is straight and accurate.
Cons
  • None.

Almost any tile cutter can cut wimpy ceramic tiles, so when you see a TV ad showing how “amazing” their $19.95 tile cutter is, keep in mind they’re showing it cutting the weakest, thinnest, most pathetic square of ceramic tile they could find. In the real world, you need a tile cutter with a lot more chutzpah. 

This Sigma has it. Engineered from solid aluminum alloy and high-density steel, this cutter can be used on a variety of materials of varying thickness, including glass mosaic, porcelain, pavers, quarry, saltio and even heavy stone, like marble and granite.

Greater accuracy means fewer spoiled tiles and time saved, which is the same as money saved. The Sigma comes with a measuring bar that rotates 45 degrees in either direction. Plus, it’s easy to use, so greenhorns can catch up quickly.

This is a pull-type cutter with a wide base for good support. Now, there is some talk among pros that the pull-type cutter is passé, but this is a proven winner. It’s extremely popular at rental stores, and is a fixture for many professional flooring installers.

The cutter mechanism rides on a solid rail with adjustable heights to accommodate different thicknesses of tiles. The guide bar swivels at angles to the base, which has tick marks to help align the cutter for the desired angles, with detents for the most popular angles. For storage or transport, the guide sits in a holding bracket parallel to the main body of the cutter, so that it’s not hanging out, asking to be bent, tripped over or otherwise damaged.

This unit is also equipped with a side guide that you can set for the width you’re cutting, making repeated cuts of the same size tile much easier, while achieving consistent results every time. It’s a score-and-snap cut, but it’s a smooth cut with no jagged edges.

The overall length of this cutter is 36 inches, but the cutting portion measures 26 inches. It’s a generous 13 inches wide, which provides a stable base when making cuts on heavier materials. The weight is 10 pounds, light enough for easy transport and set-up.

Many people are looking for the best way to cut porcelain tile and a good cutter to do that. Well, as mentioned above, this cutter handles porcelain and nearly every other material as well as a wide variety of material thickness. And it also cuts them all extremely accurately. That’s what makes this the best tile cutter on our list.


2. Rubi Tools TX-1250 Max Professional Tile Cutter – Best Tile Cutter for Professionals

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Best Feature: One-handed Operation

Pros
  • Solid and sturdy.
  • Two types of cutting wheels.
  • No-mark plastic spacer protects delicate and light-colored tile.
  • Ratcheting handle delivers the perfect amount of down pressure for breaks.
  • Carrying case.
Cons
  • Weight.

With as many types of tiles available for floors, walls and countertops, it’s hard to find a cutting tool that can handle all the possibilities equally well. Typically, a tile cutter will work fine with one type of tile, but maybe struggle against another. Or do well with short cuts and not so well with longer ones.

The Rubi TX Max tile cutter comes as close as any as a takes-on-all-comers tool. It ships with two scoring wheels – 8 mm and 22 mm – for more adaptability and precision. The TX Max can cut tile as long as 49 inches in a straight cut, or as long as 33 inches in a diagonal cut.

The breaker pad takes a firm but gentle approach to breaking the tile into two pieces after the scoring. It includes a plastic protector to prevent leaving black marks on light-colored tile, and to prevent making an indentation in delicate, textured tile surfaces.

This is a push-type cutter, utilizing a handle that’s at an easily-accessed angle. When cutting a piece of tile, the operator makes a very short scribe, moving the handle backward, to make sure the end section is scored, then pushes forward to the opposite end of the tile. Then he lifts the handle up. 

The handle ratchets up as it goes, building force for a downward push that separates the sections of cut tile. This is a one-handed operation. In fact, getting both hands into the action increases the risk of misalignment and a miscut.

The TX Max is made for daily use. It’s got the right amount of mass in the right places, and has outriggers that provide a wider footprint for even more stability. It all packs in a sporty carrying case that makes the 77-pound weight a little easier to handle.

Another one of the best tile cutters on the market and a good choice if you’re planning on cutting larger tiles.


3. Montolit P3 Masterpiuma Manual Tile Cutter – Best Tile Cutter for Push Cutting

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Best Feature: Oil Fed Incision System

Pros
  • Titanium cutting wheel.
  • Oil applied to the cut in progress to reduce friction.
  • Easy to use.
  • Easy to transport.
  • Solid steel construction.
Cons
  • None.

Push or pull. Over or under. Sweet or unsweet. Life is full of decisions, and that includes the tile laying business. For years, the pull-type tile cutter was the top choice of professionals, providing strength, accuracy and smooth cuts on a multitude of tile materials.

But then, tiles changed. They got bigger, longer, thicker, denser, underlaid with a corrugated flipside, made from synthetic material, etc. And the best method of cutting them changed as well. Or did it? Well, the jury’s still out on that.

Be that as it may, the Montolit Masterpiuma makes a strong case for the “push” method of tile cutting. For one thing, the push method is easier on the back and hips when cutting long pieces of tile. The Monolit Masterpiuma employs a large, heavy handle that matches the angle of the arm, and becomes an extension thereof. This allows the user to put all of his weight on the cut as he pushes forward. Angled cuts and oddball cuts are likewise easier, but the risk of applying too much pressure with the forward motion is greater.

When adjusted to the proper height, the cutting head will leave a nice, clean score mark on the tile. The Masterpiuma is the first tile cutter in the industry to use an oil fed incision system. As the wheel digs in to the cut, a tiny amount of oil is released to ease friction and ensure a smooth, clean cut. To finish the cut, the user simply “bounces” the handle gently, and the tile pieces break apart cleanly.

Changing the wheel blade is easy. No tools needed. You simply lift a tab, pull a pin and remove the wheel. Speaking of cutting wheels, the Masterpiuma uses a long-life titanium wheel. You can also use a variety of other wheels, depending on the desired cut and the material being cut.

You can cut tiles up to 3/4 inch thick and 36 inches long. Now that’s a serious piece of tile! This cutter has proven to be a reliable partner when working with textured tile, stone and heavy porcelain.

Transporting this machine shouldn’t require a beast of burden. It weighs just 29 pounds. So, if you’re looking for the best tile cutter in a portable form-factor, the Montolit manual tile cutter is a great option.


4. Sigma Max Push Handle Tile Cutter – Best Tile Cutter for Long Cuts

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Best Feature: Makes Long Cuts

Pros
  • Ability to perform cuts up to 49 inches.
  • Durable cutter wheel for thicker material.
  • Easy to convert from storage mode to work mode.
  • Solid, stable base.
Cons
  • Weight.

This is the pushmi to Sigma’s pullyu. (Dr. Dolittle not included.) Hoping to replicate the phenomenal success of their 3B4 line of pull-type cutters, Sigma came out a couple of years ago with a line of push-type cutters to accommodate longer pieces of tile, and they’ve proven to be up to the challenge, producing some of the best tile cutters we’ve seen.

This is the 3E4 line of tile cutters, featuring a spring-loaded scoring wheel that makes consistent scores on thick, textured or uneven tile. It’s unfazed by stone and heavy composite materials, and with the spring-loaded handle, snapping the cut pieces apart is, well, a snap.

The base is exactly the same as Sigma’s 3B4 series, meaning it’s wide, sturdy and able, not only to cut the tile, but also to support the weight of the user as he pushes the handle along its path. You can cut pieces of tile as long as 48 inches in length. 

When in storage mode, the handle on the 3E4 actually faces away from the guide bar. It’s simple to configure it for work. The rail comes unhinged at the back and lifts up, allowing the operator to remove the handle, flip it around and place it back on the rail. The guide bar stores alongside the rail, secured at both ends, which protects it from damage while being transported. 

Moving the guide rail into position is just as easy as moving the handle into position. You just loosen a hold-down bolt and remove the guide, insert it at the end of the rail, and you’re good to go. The guide bar pivots 45 degrees in either direction, with deep detents in the base to hold it in place for the most popular angles.

For straight cuts, you can cut tile up to 49 inches long (Why 49 inches instead of 48 inches? We don’t know.) For diagonal cuts, the maximum length is 36 inches. Either way, these are astounding numbers for a manual, portable tile cutter.

Since it’s longer than the 3B4, the 3E4 weighs more. It’s nearly five feet long and tips the scales at over 50 pounds. So when we say portable, we mean it, but it’s not an easy portage.


5. Rubi Tools TZ-1300 Manual Tile Cutter – Best Lightweight Tile Cutter

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Best Feature: Makes Long Cuts

Pros
  • Can perform long cuts.
  • Lightweight but sturdy.
  • Precise machinings on the guide bar and rail.
  • Carry bag.
Cons
  • Price.

If you need to cut a piece of tile that’s over 50 inches long, this is the tile cutter for you. If you need to cut a piece of tile that’s over 50 inches long, why didn’t you try to talk the customer into something a little shorter?

On the odd chance that you are installing tile that’s in excess of 50 inches, the Rubi Tools TZ-1550 tile cutter won’t flinch. The maximum straight cut you can make on this tile cutter is 61 inches and change, and that’s a mighty long trip. What’s equally amazing is that this tool can cut tile on a diagonal for a maximum of 35 inches.

This should come as a great comfort to contractors needing to cut a big, expensive piece of tile without any cracks, chinks or errors. And we’re not not even talking about thickness or density of material. The TZ-1300 can handle almost any material in almost any thickness, including ceramic, porcelain, stone, composite and textured.

The cutter and breaker mechanism can apply a maximum of 3306 pounds of pressure on the tile. You’d think that would smash the tile into oblivion, but the pressure is precisely applied by the cutting wheel during the forward thrust, and focused on the perfect spot to get a clean break. Like nearly all the tile cutters on our list, the TZ guide bar swivels 45 degrees left or right and has stops on the guide plate that correspond with the most popular angles.

Rubi has combined traditional steel with alloys to construct a framework that is strong, yet not oppressively heavy. The rail and guide bar are expertly machined to be flat and true, allowing the utmost in precision cuts. It’s designed for one-handed operation.

It comes with a zippered vinyl bag for transport to and from the job site.


6. Bellota Pro 55 22-inch Ceramic Tile Cutter w/Case 

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Best Feature: Consistent and Smooth Cutting

Pros
  • Best for ceramic tile and porcelain tile.
  • Extremely durable.
  • Cuts tiles up to 0.6 inches thick.
  • Comes with carrying case.
  • Self-lubricating bushings.
  • Lightweight.
  • 5-year warranty.
Cons
  • Best for ceramic and porcelain tiles only.

If you’re looking for the best ceramic tile cutter, the Bellota Pro 55 is an extremely high quality ceramic tile cutter. It works well for both large ceramic and porcelain tiles, and even those thicker ceramic tiles that other ceramic tile cutters have trouble with. With its strong steel blades and steel surface, it cuts through ceramic tile and porcelain tile smoothly and accurately every single time.

One of the best features on this ceramic tile cutter is its breaking mechanism which allows for both right and left hand use. This allows you to easily apply more force during one-hand operation. And with the solid steel rail bars and self-lubricating bushing, you get a smooth slide and smooth cut. Also, its scoring wheels are 15/64 inch and 25/64 inch tungsten carbide, and easily adjusts to tiles up to 0.6 inches thick.

The aluminum frame keeps this ceramic tile cutter light at 34.6 lbs. Though it has a steel surface which gives it added durability. It has a maximum tile cut size of 22″ and up to 16″ for diagonal cuts. It also has a metal cutting guide, perfect for repetitive 45-degree cuts as well.

The generous 5-year warranty gives you added peace of mind when buying this tile cutting tool. It also comes with a tough and durable hard carrying case. Overall, one of the best ceramic tile cutters on the market and a great choice if you’re looking to cut mainly ceramic and porcelain tiles.


7. QEP 10900Q 35-Inch Tile Cutter

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Best Feature: Tungsten Carbide Cutter Wheel

Pros
  • Low cost.
  • Sturdy aluminum base.
  • Titanium coated cutter wheel.
  • Easy to transport.
Cons
  • Inconsistent cuts when cutting dense materials.

Moving on to smaller, less pricey solutions, this QEP tile cutter might find favor in your pickup truck for small jobs or jobs with smaller pieces of tile. Despite its petite size, it can still cut a straight line up to 35 inches and diagonally up to 24 inches.

The problem – if you want to call it that – is that this cutter can’t handle extra thick pieces, stone or textured tiles. The product literature lists the maximum thickness at 1/2 inch, but 1/2-inch thick porcelain or glass would likely test that limit. If your work consists of basic layouts with basic ceramic tiles, this might be all you need. (And let’s face it, basic jobs are the meat of any contractor’s business. Fancy, high-end jobs are nice, but not nearly as common.) For the occasional job with heavier and thicker tile, you can always rent a bigger cutter.

This tool uses a 7/8-inch titanium-coated cutting wheel for accurate scoring and durability. And when the wheel gets dull, changing it out is a breeze. It’s a push-type cutter, with a handle that glides on the rail with the assistance of steel ball bearings.

Now just because this isn’t one of the “big boys” don’t get the idea that it’s not durable, or that it can’t support the weight of an operator who’s a “big boy.” It can. It’s made of light but sturdy aluminum alloys. It has rubber tipped feet and swing-out extensions to stabilize the cutter when big tiles are being cut.

As long as you don’t ask the impossible of this tool, you should be quite pleased with its performance. It is what it is, and what it is is a good tool for the money.

This tile cutter isn’t going to win any awards, but if you’re looking for a good budget tile cutter, this is going to be the best tile cutter that you can use for light to medium duty projects at this price range.


Best Wet Tile Saws

Wet saws are not typically the tool of choice for tile cutting, primarily because of the mess they make with water. Yet they do a good job of making clean cuts on tiles of varying thicknesses, and they can cut things other than tile. So for their versatility, some professionals prefer a good wet saw for multiple purposes.

We’re not going to spend much time discussing wet saws, but here’s one worth considering:

SKIL 3540-02 Wet Tile Saw

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Best Feature: Does Bevel Cuts

Pros
  • Lightweight.
  • Portable size.
  • Can cut more than tile.
  • Low cost.
Cons
  • Limited to 12-inch tile squares.
  • Messy.

This is consumer-grade, but it’s a good quality saw that a pro could put to use on an occasional basis. 

The cutting surface is corrosion-resistant and machined to be true and reliable for accurate cuts on tiles up to 12-inch squares. The rip fence is adjustable and has a miter gauge to help with miter cuts, plus you can do bevel cuts up to 45 degrees on this.

The motor on this SKIL wet saw is not particularly heavy, drawing just 4.2 amps, but it does generate 3600 RPMs without a load, and with the water cooling the seven-inch blade, there is plenty of cutting power available. The maximum cutting depths on this tool are 1” (for a 45-degree cut) and 1 3/8” (for a 90-degree cut).

But make no mistake. This is a wet saw, and you have to fill up the reservoir and clean up (or protect the area around the saw) after the saw has been used. But don’t dismiss it right away. The water not only cools the cutting blade, it helps mitigate the dust. Dust from things like ceramics, porcelain, glass and stone is harmful to your health, so having it damped down by a mist of water is a good thing.

At 18 pounds, this saw isn’t going to be a burden to anyone. It measures 18 inches long by 14.5 inches high and 7.8 inches wide. No carrying case is supplied, but you can buy one as an option.


What to Look For in the Best Tile Cutter

If you’re looking for the best tile cutter, it’s important to know what factors make one tile cutter “the best” versus one that’s just a run-of-the-mill tile cutter. Here are some of the factors to consider when looking for the best tile cutter:

1. Ability to Cut Long Sizes

Floor tile now comes in sizes as large as 36×60 inches, and in textures and materials that pose challenges to cut, fit and take care of. While a few legendary professionals still swear by the pull-cut types of tile cutter, push-cut styles appear to be the better choice for long cuts. It’s easier on the back, shoulders and arms, plus the weight of the user becomes a factor in applying force to the cut.

2. Portability

If you’re cutting stone tile at the job site and you own a tile cutter, you want to take it for granite. (Pun intended.) But seriously, you don’t want a tile cutter so cumbersome that it becomes drudgery to transport. Some of these cutters are surprisingly strong for their lightweight. There’s really no need to go beyond 50 pounds for a tile cutter.

3. Break Point

The cutters are not really cutters. They’re more like score-and-break machines. You run a straight score across the surface of the tile and at the end, you lift up on the handle (or some push down) and it applies a “punch” that separates the two pieces of tile. The tile cutters on our list do a great job of breaking the tile, but they use different techniques. It’s just a matter of determining what break technique fits the user’s workflow best.

4. Cutting Wheels

It really may not matter what cutting wheel the tile cutter ships with. You have to replace them often enough that you’re going to need a supply of them, and you can get whatever type you want (and still fits the cutter).

How To Cut Tile

Whether you decide to go with a manual tile cutter or a wet saw, it is important to know hot to cut tile. In order to learn how to cut tile effectively, we recommend this handy guide from Home Depot to learn more about how to cut tile.

Below is a video from this great how-to guide:

How To Cut Tile

If you’re looking for manual cutting tools for siding, check out these fiber cement shears.

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