Table Of Contents
Tilers Place is reader-supported. When you buy through links on this page, I may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases.
THE CHEAPEST TILE CUTTER ON THE INTERNET
Qep 13-Inch Tile Cutter
Cheap tile cutters – their a plague that have been killing millions of innocent tiles since the first shipment rolled out of China.
Today I look at the King of Cheap Tile Cutters and teach you why to avoid them altogether. I also show you which cheap tile cutter is worth your time, effort and money.
When it comes to tile cutters, you get what you pay for – there’s no way around it.
Tiles are very tough yet fragile in specific ways and cutting them cleanly is NOT EASY.
Rubi tile cutters are professional tile cutters and can cut and score tiles cleanly – whether it’s porcelain, ceramic or glass.
Tile Cutter Review – The Cheapest Tile Cutter On The Planet
Taking a break from reviewing the very best tile cutters for professionals, I take a look at the cheapest two bar tile cutter that never should have been made, the QEP 13-Inch Tile Cutter.
Costing about the same price as a couple pizzas and a beer, all I can think of is:
“you get what you pay for”
We may potentially have a wonder of engineering on our hands, a white unicorn, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What QEP have managed to achieve is incredible.
They managed to create a tile cutter and sell it for a fistful of dollars. While other companies like Rubi and Sigma sell their tile cutters for hundreds of dollars, QEP have managed to create a tile cutter that can be sold for a hundredth of the price. Why this story never appeared in CNN or New York Times, I’ll never know.
Will my suspicions come true or will this small tile cutter prove a professional tiler wrong and make me include it in my arsenal of tile cutters?
Grab some snacks, your favorite brew and come with me as we take a closer look at this wonder of cost-cutting engineering.
Welcome fellow truth seeker and tile aficionado and welcome to my review of the cheapest tile cutter known to man.
For the past 20 years, I have been tiling professionally and have owned a wide array of professional tile cutters in that time.
More recently I have started reviewing the best tile cutters I have found and sharing my experiences with the global tiling community.
I know what to look for in a great porcelain tile cutter and with my standards only accepting the best; it’s time I review the other end of the spectrum with this QEP tile cutter.
The Cheapest Tile Cutter on The Internet – Specifications
QEP 13-inch Tile Cutter
Cutting Length: 13 Inches (30cm)
Diagonally: 8 Inches (20cm)
Weight: 2.8 Pounds (1.3kgs)
Separating Power: (Insert hopes and dreams here)
Carry Case Included: Depends if you count a thin cardboard box as a case.
•Very light – a child could carry it.
•Compact size – Can fit it in a handbag for those tiling jobs on the go.
•Very basic learning curve – anyone can use it to Ruin some tiles.
• It’s very cheap. (Which directly causes the cons list to be twice the size of the pros.)
• Extremely cheap materials.
• Incapable of cutting anything except thin Ceramic Tile. Forget cutting Porcelain with this.
• No slide stop to set a size and cut multiple tiles in the same size.
• Metal rusts from exposure to air.
• The scoring wheel is too small, the breaker bar catches on some tiles while scoring.
• The screws holding it all together need retightening.
• Multiple scores are required to break a tile – every scoreline is different even if the tile is clamped in place.
• A lot of pressure is required to break any tile.
• Cannot buy replacement scoring wheels.
• Breaker bar can only be used at the very top of the tile otherwise it catches.
• There are too many cons.
The Cheapest Tile Cutter on The Internet – Introduction
There Is Time To Kill Today.
I know what you are thinking, why is the guy that reviews professional tile cutters wasting his time writing about, and taking photos of this dirt cheap tile cutter?
I know my time can be used more wisely by reviewing tile cutters or tile tools that someone may actually use but this review could come in useful.
Some poor guy might be taking on a tiling project in his kitchen after his wife fell in love with the idea of a brick-style splashback in the kitchen.
With the threat of no banana in the fruit salad until it’s done, he jumps online and learns the basic principles of tiling and what tiling tools he would need.
Since the tiles already cost him a fortune, he wants the cheapest tiling tools available and Wham-O, he discovers that the QEP 13-Inch Tile Cutter is cheaper than a haircut.
He does what every net-savvy person does these days and Googles it. He finds my very informative and brilliant review and learns the truth about the cheapest tile cutter ever made.
He then goes and buys the second cheapest tile cutter available at Amazon, the splashback ends up looking like something out of Renovation Realities and he ends up hiring a professional tiler to tear it out and do it again.
Some say the banana never saw the fruit salad again.
But at least the splashback looked great after the tiler used a professional tile cutter 😉
(And not the one pictured here, it’s just as bad as the QEP.)
At this point you may have realized I have allowed my professionalism in review writing to slip in comparison to my previous two bar tile cutter reviews.
I’m not sure if you can even call me a professional reviewer anyway, professional implies I’m actually getting paid to write reviews and someone actually asked for them…
Money aside, I always aim to provide factual and well-written articles about tiling tools and the tiling trade on this website. The internet is overflowing with junk and fake reviews so this is my way of fighting back.
One honest review at a time.
In this case, however, I am loosening my belt a bit, pouring myself a drink and talking to you like the buddies we are.
Let’s have some fun with this one, we all know this tile cutter (*spoiler alert*) isn’t worth anyone’s time anyway.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving.
Remember earlier how I went on at length about the guy that has been forced to tile his kitchen splashback?
I bet you thought that was just a far-fetched example I cooked up for the sake of this review, well you’re wrong on two counts:
One: You’re giving my imagination far too much credit.
Two: You seriously didn’t think I actually paid for this dirt cheap tile cutter did you?
How do you think I got my hands on the cheapest tile cutter known to man?
You see I was the professional tiler in that story, I tore out the ruined splashback with lovely chipped and crooked tiles and relaid it properly with neat, precise cuts.
The guy gave me his leftover tiling materials as he had learned his lesson and threw in the still new Qep tile cutter as well. Since I wouldn’t dream of using such a marvel of technology, I dumped it in my storage shed.
I actually forgot all about it until last weekend when I was doing a little spring clean and stumbled upon it.
Amongst the rat droppings and buckets of glitter grout that no one uses, I found this little gem of a time waster.
After taking it out and laughing at it like a bully, I decided to review the sucker. No one else on the internet had, plus the review could be useful to someone.
The world’s a big place and there’s bound to be someone out there that will fall victim to the siren song of a cheap price.
The older age of this tile cutter will explain why mine one comes in a snazzy blue colour and with a different handle over the modern Qep tile cutter that’s on sale.
Advances in technology and breakthrough’s in tiling have resulted in the blue colour being ditched for a radiant black colour and the contoured handle being replaced with a round blob.
As you can see, the blue paint didn’t do much in terms of rust prevention.
The cheap tile cutter managed to start rusting from sitting inside a box in a dry storage shed.
Apart from that, the tile cutters are identical with all the parts (minus the handle) being the same.
Chances are that they are even made from the same melted down sardine cans, which would explain the lack of any breaking power in this tile cutter.
Okay, now you know why I own the cheapest tile cutter ever sold and why I even wrote this review for it, so how about I actually review it and stop blabbering!
The Cheapest Tile Cutter on The Internet – Review
The Qep 13-Inch tile cutter features the standard two bar tile cutter format that is commonly seen on proper tile cutters like those made by Rubi Tools.
It follows the design cues with a combination scoring wheel and breaker bar design for the handle.
The QEP comes packaged in a standard cardboard box featuring optimistic slogans about the tile cutter being “heavy-duty” and featuring a “hardened tungsten carbide scoring wheel”.
There are two images displaying how to use the tile cutter and how to cut tile with it. This clever use of the packaging material saves money on printing instructions on a seperate piece of paper.
The instructions consist of two images which help reinforce the fact that this is a very simple tile cutter with only two functions;
Scoring and snapping.
Or in this case; scratching and breaking.
Things like setting a size for multiple cuts, crucial in the brick-style format or setting up diagonal cuts, is beyond this tile cutters pay grade.
Keep the cardboard packaging handy as it also doubles as this tile cutters carry case.
My carry case failed to do its job as the cheap tile cutter managed to rust inside of the box, despite not having exposure to water and being kept in a dry environment.
Upon opening the packaging/carry case and sliding the tile cutter out, I am first amazed at the light weight of the two bar tile cutter and how small everything is.
The QEP website says this tile cutter can cut floor and wall tiles up to 13 inches long.
Further digging on the internet shows that it can only cut ceramic tile.
This fact significantly restricts the use of this tile cutter as ceramic tiles were rendered obsolete after porcelain tiles saw mainstream use.
As soft as ceramic is, it still takes an effort to penetrate the glaze during a score and breaking the tile and the size and weight of this tile cutter don’t fill the user with confidence that this can be done.
The base of the tile cutter is advertised to be of reinforced steel but in reality, it appears to be some sort of composite resembling that of cast iron.
This same “reinforced steel” is used in the construction of the support struts and breaker bar with the guiding rods appearing to be made from a polished steel which helps add some overall strength.
In terms of support, the ceramic tile cutter comes with thin foam padding that is commonly used in mouse pads or tool chest liners.
This foam is the shock absorber that helps break the tiles by compressing during the break and forcing the tile over the raised centrepiece.
Other tile cutters like the Rubi Magnet have a spring mounted aluminium base that offers 10 times the deflection and breaking power. Comparing the two in this review, however, is extremely unfair as the Rubi Magnet is a professional tile cutter that actually cuts tiles cleanly.
One interesting part of this cheap tile cutter is the combination scoring head and breaker bar.
It’s a hybrid of an idea based on systems used by Sigma and Rubi tile cutters but is sadly blighted by the need for simplicity/cutting costs.
The breaker bar does not spring away during the scoring so it drags during the cutting, it can also prevent scoring altogether as it sits lower than the scoring blade.
One can alleviate this problem by holding the breaker bar up during a score with one hand, stabilizing the tile cutter with another and with a third arm, using the handle to score a line.
If you cannot afford to graft a third arm onto your body, you can try duct tape the breaker bar in place during each score and then tear it away to use it or have a helper hold it up for you and synchronize your movements with theirs.
*Duct tape, third arm and synchronized helper; each sold seperately.*
The raised and obtrusive breaker bar can only be used to break tiles when the whole head assembly is at the very top of the tile cutter, otherwise, it cannot sit flat with the tile.
Not having the breaker perfectly flat with the surface of the tile will cause it to ruin even more tiles than usual.
Overall, the first impressions of this cheap tile cutter remind me of those toolkits for children.
They have the general appearance of useful tools designed for real work but are constructed of cheap and inferior materials that won’t complete any task aside from entertaining kids.
The QEP tile cutter has the appearance of a real tile cutter but the concessions to make it cheap render it nearly useless hence the comparison to children’s toys.
You will get more use from it but the children’s toys may outlive the tile cutter.
Cutting With the Qep Tile Cutter.
I feel I need to mention the fact that QEP is no pushover when it comes to making tile cutters.
Afterall, their bigger tile cutters like the QEP 35-Inch tile cutter have won every single tile cutter review on the internet.
I fail to see how those “reviewers” ever came to that conclusion as I purchased one and it ended up breaking a whole box of tiles while I was trying to set it up.
While on a bigger scale, it had a lot in common with this 13-Inch tile cutter by sharing many cost-cutting practices and cheap materials.
Take what you want from that statement but it severely calls to question some reviewers in this field and whether or not you should take their word as gospel.
I’m not gonna say that they just chose random products that seemed most popular at Amazon and rewrote the sales page in their reviews..oops, silly me.
The Qep tile cutter is easy to setup in that there is nothing to setup.
Just tear open the box and you are ready to use the tile cutter.
There is no sliding stop to insert or outrigger arms to fold out, in that aspect this tile cutters a winner.
If you can call lack of features a winning aspect.
Which tiles you can cut with this QEP 13-Inch tile cutter is limited to just ceramic and glazed tile; the pressed dust kind that often come as wall tiles.
If you are looking for a cheap tile cutter to cut porcelain tile you will be disappointed to learn it simply won’t do it.
Scoring with the Qep Tile Cutter.
The scoring wheel is unable to score a line in the glaze and the tile cutter overall is too weak to provide enough breaking power to pop the tile.
The scoring wheel is just barely able to score lines in softer tiles and leaves a scratch barely distinguishable to the naked eye.
You can try retrace the line a few times but this will only result in a multitude of lines around the general vicinity of where you want the cut.
It appears the scoring handle is too loose and meanders during and in between scores.
Considering that tile cutters are meant to be precision tools made to perform consistent cuts, this is very alarming.
Once you do manage to get a consistent score across the whole tile, you need to slide the breaker bar into the top of the tile cutter in order for it to sit flush with the tile.
Breaking with the Qep Tile Cutter.
The overall weak construction of the tile cutter means that you will be doing all the work of breaking the tile and don’t expect the foam base or narrow breaker bar to help any because they won’t.
With a sharp pop, you’ll break the tile and discover how well the tile cutter managed to cut the tile.
Let’s just say that most of the time I had cuts that could only be used in corners where they would be hidden by another tile or use of silicone.
If you will be using these cuts in visible areas then you better hope your family has some sort of vision impediment.
It was the terrible cuts that forced my client to tear the tiles out and start over. When you have a piece of chrome edging butting up against crooked tiles, each one a different size, every defect is visible down to the smallest fraction of an inch.
These cuts were made on small subway tiles, can you imagine the results if you tried cutting a 12-inch floor tile with it?
So in summary, with enough coaxing and effort, you can make the cheapest tile cutter actually cut tiles.
It will do it.
But it won’t do it to any standard your client nor your spouse will accept.
It might also completely break after about 6 cuts – as reported by other users.
The Cheapest Tile Cutter on The Internet – What Others Had To Say
I had a look around the internet what others had to say about the Qep 13-Inch Tile Cutter, just in case it was only me that was having a bad time with this tile cutter.
Since no real reviews about this tile cutter exist (I wouldn’t believe them anyway) I read customer reviews written by people that sadly spent money on the QEP.
It’s a telling fact that there are no 5-star reviews about this tile cutter, with an average being about 1.05 stars out of a possible 5.
Ratings are not enough to base a decision on, let’s see what these folks had to say about their Qep 13-Inch Tile Cutter.
A common fault reported by a number of users was the “hardened tungsten carbide” would go blunt within a number of cuts.
With a blunt scoring wheel, your cutter is rendered useless as each break will be random and crooked.
It’s funny, because the scoring wheels on my Rubi tile cutters also feature hardened tungsten carbide wheels and they don’t go blunt for at least 6 months or more.
Yet these Qep scoring wheels go blunt within 10 cuts…
One user reported the support brackets that are advertised as being made from reinforced steel, snapped off within a couple uses.
The unanimous vote by all these reviews I read was that it was junk, lacking any positive qualities and to spend your money on something better.
From what I have seen with my own tile cutter, I’m inclined to agree.
The Cheapest Tile Cutter on The Internet – What To Buy Instead.
So you came here looking for a nice cheap tile cutter for subway tiles or for tinkering around the house doing small tile projects, you read my review, saw the light and are now thinking: what now?
Well just because the cheapest tile cutter on the internet has failed doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road!
Let’s look at some pricier but ultimately more cost-saving tile cutters out there that will cut more than a couple tiles.
I will not be recommending any more QEP tile cutters or their similar counterparts like Brutus, HomComm or M-D Building Products as the reviews are simply too poor and with the price they sell at, it’s no surprise.
From what I’ve been reading and seeing, the problems on cheap tile cutters that sell for pennies are all the same.
Weak parts, poor results and a lot of time and tiles are wasted.
I respect you more than that, you came here looking for proper answer to a question and I refuse to shill stuff that will waste your time and hard earned money.
This is Rubis answer to the cheap tile cutter.
In case you don’t know who Rubi is, they are the original inventor and one of the global leaders in tile cutters and tiling tools for professionals.
I have owned Rubi tile cutters for over 20 years and cannot recommend them enough.
This model is a DIY orientated model so it’s lacking some of the features of its professional brothers but it still features Rubis patented scoring wheels that stay sharp for months.
This scoring wheel is also height adjustable, simply turn the handle and raise or lower the blade accordingly.
If you are looking for an affordable tile cutter for small projects like a simple backsplash or cutting tiles for mosaic artworks, this one will do the trick.
The one feature that this tile cutter is lacking is the sliding bump stop that allows you to set a size and cut multiple tiles to the same length.
If this is a deal breaker for you then look below at the next tile cutter I have to show you.
Overall, it’s a nice no-frill tile cutter that offers versatility and entry-level features that overs like QEP do not offer.
It’s a few bucks more than a QEP but since this one will actually work, it’s worth the price.
If you are looking for a full-featured tile cutter for subway tiles, small floor tiles and general tile work, then the Rubi Star 21-Inch tile cutter is the way to go.
While costing a bit more than the Rubi Practic, it offers all the professional features required for all tiling while still being affordable.
It comes with an adjustable bump stop to set a size to cut multiple tiles, folding-out arms that help support larger tiles and a more heavy-duty base to support cutting thicker tiles.
For the price, it truly is a bargain and cuts incredibly well while still being small and light.
It also uses the Rubi scoring wheel system so you can be sure you will be making sharp and accurate scores, tile after tile.
I believe it truly is the best cheap tile cutter for your money and since you are purchasing a quality brand, you can be sure it will perform for years to come.
If you would like to read more about the Rubi, I wrote a Rubi Star Review here, click on the link to learn more about it.
Alternatively, you can check it out for yourself using the link below.
The Cheapest Tile Cutter on The Internet – Conclusion
When I set out to review the cheapest tile cutter at Amazon and the internet in general, I knew full well what the outcome would be.
There are a few truths of life that apply universally to everything and the one that the QEP 13-Inch tile cutter made abundantly clear today is:
“If it looks to good to be true, it usually is.”
and even more importantly:
“You get what you pay for.”
I do admit that some things have gotten much cheaper in comparison to a couple decades ago. You can get smartphones for less than $50 now, clothes for a few bucks, and of course, tile tools for spare change.
Stuff is cheap now but what do all those cheap things have in common?
They won’t last as long as their more expensive counterparts and nor are they expected to. When I buy something from a dollar store, I know full well I’ll probably be throwing it away next week.
Why is it that when we buy a niche product, we forget these things and expect them to work just as well as the multi-hundred dollar versions?
Why do manufacturers even make such useless products and even sell them in the first place?
Answers to those questions will never be answered but I suspect supply and demand have something to do with it.
As long as some sucker buys em, they’ll keep making em.
Hopefully, I have managed to do my job here and turned you from being a sucker into an informed buyer.
By resisting the call of those low-cost tile cutters that sell for chump change and opting to purchase a tile cutter that will actually cut ceramic tiles, you are saving money in the long run and lessening the demand for cheap products.
Okay, enough backroom philosophy. Yesh, I’m starting to sound like my father-in-law.
This review helped illustrate the flaws and usability issues with the cheapest tile cutter on the internet; the QEP 13-Inch Tile Cutter.
Frankly, the cost savings were simply to extensive and ultimately rendered a machine useless after a couple tile cuts.
The quality of the tile cutter also seemed to be a luck of the draw type thing with users reporting total breakages within a couple tries.
Even the simplest backsplashes will require a dozen cuts or more so purchasing this tile cutter for even the smallest of jobs could very possibly result in a broken cutter or lots of broken tiles.
Poor design of the breaker bar causes it to get in the way during cuts of some tiles and the same quality extends to the carbide scoring wheel.
Multiple scores are required to make a scratch in the tile glaze and since the whole head moves around, you end up scratching the tile instead of scoring one straight line.
Lack of any features like a sliding backstop, folding out arms or even some degree of adjustability render this tile cutter close to useless for even DIY use.
We know full well that this isn’t a professional tile cutter, nor is it even a tile cutter for handymen, but even tools designed for home use should at least perform the task.
The Bottom Line.
If you are searching for a cheap tile cutter for subway tiles, a tile cutter for ceramic tiles for floors or walls, then the basic Rubi Practic or more feature-laden Rubi Star tile cutters are a far better choice.
Manufactured in Spain by tiling legend Rubi, you are getting tile cutters that actually work and are made to a much higher standard than any cheap tile cutter from the internet.
Remember: no matter where you lay those new tiles, you will be seeing them every day.
Make those days start off great with a job you’ll be proud of, not one you’ll regret every time those jagged tiles look back at you.