Whether you are cutting porcelain tiles, ceramic tiles or natural stone tiles, there are two factors which need to be considered before selecting which type of tile cutter to use. One is what type of tile are you trying to cut, and its thickness, the other is what type of cut are you trying to achieve i.e a straight cut or something more intricate. Depending on the answers to these questions you can decide whether it's best to use a rail cutter or a wet wheel cutter.
For example if you are planning to cut mostly straight cuts on ceramic or porcelain tiles, up to a certain thickness, a rail cutter will be ideal for you. Sometimes called ‘score and snap’ cutters, these achieve a cut by scoring the surface of the tile and then applying pressure, by pushing down on a handle, either side of the score line causing the tile to ‘break’ along the scored line. Using this method is not ideal for cutting natural stone. Due to natural faults in the stone the chance of getting a very straight cut is unlikely.
With the correct rail cutter and the correct scoring wheel (some models have interchangeable scoring wheels) you can achieve straight cuts on porcelain tiles up to 20mm thick. Most professional tilers will use a rail cutter to achieve most of their cuts as they are quick to set up and use whilst producing very little mess.
Should you wish to cut more intricate shapes, such as cutting pieces out of the edge of a tile, or be cutting natural stone or very thick tiles then an electric cutter will be the better option. This consists of a diamond coated blade which rotates at very high speeds. The blade is partly submerged in a bath of water, which is used to cool the blade. The blade cuts the tile away as you push the tile into the blade. Using this method you can cut part way through a tile and then rotate the tile to cut it from a different angel. This allows you to create different cut out shapes such as rectangles. When used in conjunction with nippers even semi circles can be cut from tiles. This type of cutter is ideal for cutting natural stone of all thicknesses.
Professional tilers will use these for cutting around pedestals or light switches. Due to the water involved these can create some mess so take that into consideration when planning where to use an electric cutter. Electric cutters come in many different sizes from a simple DIY cutter to very large bench cutters capable of cutting the thickest of natural stone or porcelain tiles.
When using any type of tile cutter care must be taken. Appropriate safety equipment must be worn at all times.
You can view our range of cutters here.