by Jess Buskirk
A wet saw is a useful power tool for anyone who will be cutting tile. Wet saws achieve a clean cut without breaking the tile by using a diamond-encrusted blade that rotates the saw through a pan of water as it cuts. The water keeps the saw blade cool, which prevents tile breakage and helps protect the saw's motor. Some wet saws are also capable of cutting through dense metals and brick. For a single weekend project, renting a power tool such as a wet saw may be more economical than purchasing one, but if you'll be cutting tile more than a time or two, owning one of these handy power tools is worth the investment.
Choose a blade size. For most home-improvement projects, a 7-inch blade is ideal, but 10-inch blades are also commonly used. When you select a blade size for your tool, make sure the blade is designed specifically for use with wet saws.
Look for wet saws that allow the blade to be adjusted for both mitered and beveled cuts. This option increases convenience, usability and safety.
Find a wet saw with an appropriate rotational speed and horsepower rating. There's no reason to pay for more machine than you'll ever use, but it's also important to get the quality and features that you need. A wet saw that turns the blade at 3,600 rotations per minute is typically sufficient for home projects, although saws that turn up to 5,500 rpm are available for large-scale projects. The saw's rpm is controlled by the motor's horsepower.
Protect your wet saw's motor from overheating. This can be done by purchasing a saw with thermal overload protection. This option is particularly important for wet saws with direct-drive motors.
Narrow your options down to wet saws that are sold with warranties. Many manufacturers offer one- or two-year warranties, and additional protection against damage or defect is often available in the form of product insurance for a small additional charge.
Consider purchasing safety goggles when you buy your wet saw. Although most wet saws use a protective guard over the blade, it's possible for debris to be kicked back beyond the guard's area of protection.