For more professional and higher quality cuts, look for a wet tile saw with a sliding tray and overhead motor. Instead of pushing the tile directly across to the blade, the tile is placed on tray fitted with rollers. The tray is then pushed to the cutting wheel where the blade cuts the tile from above. With the cutting wheel positioned above the tile, it is often easier to visually line the tile up correctly for precision cuts.
As with other wet tile saws, a sliding tray tile saw requires the use of water during operation in order to cool and the blade and material and reduce dust and debris. Heat buildup can cause the tile to break easily as well as cause damage to the blade or motor. There are both pump and pumpless models available.
Wet tile saws with a pump supply water to the blade by recirculating and filtering the water in the water pan or onboard container. As the water gets dirty from use with dust and debris, the water pan will need to be cleaned. The water pan will likely need to be cleaned occasionally throughout the work day. Water pans with the plug on the bottom will be the easiest to drain.
A pumpless design requires a constant connection and flow from a water source, such as a water faucet. While the pumpless design allows for clean water to be constantly supplied, it also greatly limits the mobility of the saw by requiring a water source to always be nearby. Additionally, a bucket is necessary for the waste water, which will need to be emptied as it becomes full.
Regardless of the water delivery system, the saw’s performance specifications need to match with the material and types of cuts you will be doing. For example, if you will be cutting stone and tile that is particularly thick, 3 inches or more, you will want to make sure to get a saw with a powerful, high torque motor that can handle that depth of cut.
You will also need to take into account the length of cut and diagonal cut that you will be performing. A tile saw with a larger conveyor cart will help to support larger tiles for easier cuts. Also, if you will need to be making specialty cuts, look for a saw that has the capability to do plunge cuts and miter cuts. Additional features that you may want to consider is the ability to use different size blades and profile wheels.