Tiles have been an essential part of building and renovating houses from ancient times. From terracotta tiles of ancient times to glass tiles of modern times, we can not think about building, renovating, and decorating our homes without tiles. But, when it comes to cutting the tiles properly, this is when most of us face the most problems.
The invention and the further advent of tile cutters have come to our rescue. These tile cutters come in two different types, Manual and electric. As with most other tools with manual and electric variants, there is a debate of manual vs electric tile cutters is prevalent here as well.
In the following write-up, I will try to put an end to this debate once and for all, all the while putting forth some of their pros and cons as well.
Manual vs Electric Tile cutter: A Comparative Analysis
Manual Tile Cutters
These tile cutters are a must-have for every worker. They are easier to set up and the setting up process is faster than their electrical counterparts. They look like a car jack and are used to cut tiles in a straight line. They come with interchangeable scoring wheels and can cut tiles up to 22mm thick, but are mostly used to cut thinner tiles. It is recommended to use this tile cutter to cut 6 to 8 mm thick tiles.
Where and how to use manual tile cutters?
Manual tile cutters are used to cut tiles which are to be used to fill up smaller gaps on the outer side of floors and walls. These cutters are equipped with interchangeable scoring wheels, which enable you to cut different types of materials.
To cut a tile with a manual cutter, you have to place the tile inside the device which will then score it. Scoring means a wheel will penetrate the tile and put a mark on it, along which the tile will then be cut.
Ensure that the tile is placed faced up in the device and the scoring is done from bottom to top. Keep the tile straight using the guide. After that, use the breaker to snap the tile along the scoreline. To cut harder porcelain tiles, use an extreme or endure scoring wheel.
While scoring glass, use a 6 mm scoring wheel and gently score it, otherwise, it will break.
Pros and Cons of Manual Tile Cutters
Looking at the above discussion, it is easy to think that the manual tile cutters are a flawless piece of tool. Although it is an excellent tool to have, it does have some flaws.
Pros of Manual Tile Cutters
- They are cheaper than electric ones
- They are easier to use
- These cutters are very practical
- Manual tile cutters are portable
- No need to use water while using them
- Perfect for smaller construction sites
- Ideal tool for cutting thinner tiles.
Cons of Manual Tile Cutter
- Can not be used for cutting shapes other than a straight line
- Using for a long time takes a toll on the worker’s body
- Can not always cut deep.
Electric Tile Cutters
There are some tiles that even the manual cutter can not cut. That’s where the electric cutters come in. They are also called wet saws and for good reason. They have to be used with water as the friction created when operating this tool produces too much heat for a worker to work safely. And the saw part of its name comes from it looking exactly like a table saw.
This device comes with a blade covered in minuscule diamonds which through the tiles. To keep the temperature to a minimum, water either sprays from around the blade. Some models have the water coming out of a reservoir in the table while others can be connected to a source of water nearby.
How to use an electric tile cutter and where to use it?
Whether you are using manual or electric tile cutters, safety is paramount. Before using these, make sure to wear protective gear such as chain gloves and goggles. Then like you did with the manual ones, place the tile that has been previously measured and marked, into the tile cutter and move it slowly from bottom to top.
Sometimes the tile can be raised because of the blade’s movement, so keep in mind to press down on the tile. This will make sure the cut is a straight one. Also, keep the protective cover on the blade.
You can use an electric cutter for cutting tougher tile materials by the diamond blade. One of the examples of such tiles is the natural stone ones.
You can also use them to cut in various shapes and curves which was impossible to do with a manual cutter. These are also the perfect tools for larger setups.
Pros and Cons of Electric Tile Cutters
An electric tile cutter can be compared to a double-edged sword. On one hand, they have a myriad of advantages that gives you an edge, while on the other hand, they come with some drawbacks that make you think twice.
Pros of Electric Tile cutter
- Makes straight cuts with extreme precision
- Can be used to cut in intricate shapes like L and U shapes
- Can cut materials that are too hard for manual cutters
- Best for larger projects.
Cons of Electric Tile Cutter
- Large size means it takes up much more space than you sometimes are comfortable with
- Takes a lot of skill to be able to work with it
- Needs more safety measures to be taken which can be a pain in the rear
- Makes the surrounding area messy and dirty
- Are high maintenance.
Manual or Electric Tile Cutters: Last Thoughts
Both manual and electric tile cutters have their specific functions. If there is anything that we have learned from the above comparative analysis of manual vs electric tile cutters, it’s that manual cutters are used for cutting in straight lines and cutting the thinner tile materials, while electric ones are used for cutting thicker tiles into more complex shapes. So it is better to use these two tools for these particular purposes.