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Tile Saw vs. Tile Cutter

Choosing whether to use a tile saw or a tile cutter for your next job can be tricky.  Many installers have even sworn off tile saws, since they are a pain to breakdown and cutting outside in the extremes can also add undue discomfort.  One of the fastest ways to do cuts on site is keep a good manual tile cutter close by for straight cuts, while using an angle grinder with a good blade to do curved cuts and cuts for doorways.

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Using Tile Spacers (or not)

The use of tile spacers are a sore subject for some installers.  Some old school installers tend to deride those that use tile spacers as “amateurs” or even as “cheating” on an installation.  For my two cents, installation and materials have changed quite a bit from yesteryear and it’s becoming exceedingly rare (except on commercial jobs) where the old 1/4″ grout joint is common.  Having a larger grout joint, like 1/4″, gives installers more room to play around with tile to achieve an even spacing even when the tile sizes are not uniform.  In these installations tile spacers are not as necessary for an experienced installer to achieve a uniform look.  Unfortunately for these fans of old school methods, many of the installations today are designed with a 1/8″, 1/16″, or even 1/32″ grout joint.  With these thinner grout joints, even a small variation in spacing can make a large difference visually.  In these cases, using spacers (and often a tile leveling system) becomes more of a necessity than a luxury to achieve a clean finished product.

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What Size Tile Cutter Should I Choose?

Tile Sizes are Getting Bigger

As far as tile sizes go life used to be simple in years past.  The largest size that most floors would use would be 12 x 12″ while 8 x 8″and 4 x 4″ were often used for tub surrounds and backsplashes.  Unfortunately in today’s world there are a lot more variety of sizes that installers will have to contend with than their fathers or grandfathers.  In the old days installers would be able to do almost any tile on the old school “piano board” cutters.  If they did happen to get anything larger it would be cut on a wet saw.  However, many of the most popular wet saws on the market are only designed to cut a maximum length of 24″ tiles.  This can be a problem as it is becoming increasingly more common for wood-look plank tiles to come in 6 x 36″ and  8  x 48″ varieties.  A larger manual tile cutter can provide a valuable niche in an installer’s tool arsenal so they that they can have a method of cutting tile without resorting to buying a costly and hard to transport large format tile saw.  Here are a couple links to a few good 36″ and 48″ tile cutters:

RUBI TX 900 37″ Tile Cutter

 

(Click picture to check price on Amazon)

RUBI TX 1200 N 50″ Tile Cutter

(Click picture to check price on Amazon)

Rubi Tools TX-1200-N 50″ Tile Cutter 17977

 

Which Tile Cutter Size Should I Choose?

As far as what size tile cutter you should get there is no easy answer.  It is highly dependent on what material you are coming across for certain jobs.   For example, if all you do is commercial kitchens with 6×6″ quarry tile you can get away with a smaller tile cutter.  However, since most installers have a variety of different materials they work with from job to job, I would recommend going no smaller than a 24″ tile cutter.  Since 12×24″ tile is the standard these days for many residential installs you want a tile cutter than do a  24″ rip cut but can also handle smaller subway tiles and quarry tiles.  Here are some links to a couple good 24″ Rubi Tile Cutters:

Rubi TS 66 26″ Tile Cutter

(Click picture to check price on Amazon)

Rubi TR 600 24″ Tile Cutter

(Click picture to check price on Amazon)
RUBI TOOLS TR-600 Magnet Tile Cutter with Case Ref.17907

RUBI TP 66 T 26″ Pull Tile Cutter

(Click picture to check price on Amazon)

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Why should I choose a Rubi Tile Cutter?

The very first tile cutter that I ever used on a job was a Rubi.  The venerable Rubi TS-43 17″ was able to tackle any of the tile we used.  We were doing renovations on some apartments and the property management company I worked for wanted entryways in tile.  The company made a wet saw and the Rubi available for us for  when we needed to make cuts.  I absolutely hated the wet saw.  It was noisy, splashed water like a hurricane, and was time consuming since we had to go down two flights of stairs to use it.  The Rubi Tile Cutter on the other hand could be used inside the units and also gave cleaner cuts without chipping than the cheap wet saw.  That Rubi saved me a lot of time running up and down stairs that hot summer.

Top 10 Rubi Tile Cutters

Rubi Ts-43 17″ Tile Cutter

(Click picture to check price on Amazon)