There is a wide assortment of tools that can be used to cut tiles, but when it comes to accuracy and efficiency, nothing can beat a wet tile saw. This type of saw differs from the standard saws you commonly find in woodworking by using a water basin and jet streams to cool the blade as it penetrates the tile’s surface.
PORTER-CABLE is a well-known presence in the power tools industry, and it’s fair to say that they’ve got an assortment of wet tile saws to help you chop through porcelain, ceramic, and even stone tiles. Today, we’re going to take a look at their PCE980 wet tile saw and see how it fares in dimensioning tiles.
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The first thing we noticed is that the PCE980 is made of durable, rust-proof stainless steel which is important since wet tile saws are exposed to water. Overall, this is a solid unit that’s easy transport (weighs roughly 30 pounds) and easy to use.
This tool comes with two tables – one stationary table and one sliding table – to support your workpiece. To cut your tiles down to size, place half the tile on each of the tables and push the sliding table forward to pass the tile through the spinning blade. The thing we and other customers have noticed about the sliding table is that it’s not completely even with the stationary one. The sliding table is just shy of 3/4 of an inch lower; this means you could end up cutting your tiles at a slight bevel, rendering it completely useless.
Even though the unit we tested was perfect out of the box, there have been some complaints about the sliding table’s rollers being bent and requiring a bit of tampering to get the table working perfectly. This is just something to be wary of if you decide to get a PCE980.
Accurate Miter Square
The PCE980 supports simple miter cuts thanks to the miter square that comes in the box. The square clamps onto the ruler channel located on the edge of the sliding table closest to the operator. The square helps make diagonal, repeatable cuts with extreme precision. As long as the square is clamped tightly, you should get accurate cuts every time.
The power of the motor will determine how well a wet saw will cut through dense tiles. We obviously want a powerful enough motor to do so without going overboard (larger motors cost more). The PCE980 is equipped with a 6.5-amp motor that generates up to 2,850 RPM.
Rip and Diagonal Capacities
The making ripcuts through tiles, the PCE980’s work table can support tiles as wide as 17 inches. If you position the tile diagonally, this wet tile saw can support 12 x 12-inch tiles effortlessly. This should be more than enough space and support for any tile you plan on using.
One of the only issues we have with the PCE980 is its limited cutting depth/tile thickness capacity. Due to the position of the blade and splash guard, you can only cut tiles with a maximum thickness of 1-1/4 inches. Granted, this will be more than enough for most tiles, but it won’t do well on stone pavers or thicker tiles.
If you purchase the PCE980 kit, you get a neat 7-inch blade designed to cut porcelain. We found that the blade works well most of the time, but there will be some instances where the blade will cause chipping on the edges of your tiles. In our opinion, if you get this tool, the best thing would be to invest in a higher-quality blade.
One thing that’s really amazing about the PCE980 is its water management system. The blade guard prevents water from splashing up and into the user’s face, while the sliding table has grooved channels that let water and tile debris fall into the waiting basin below. Despite being so great at capturing dirtied water, cleaning the basin of debris is not a breeze and takes quite a bit of time to do thoroughly.
So after testing out this tool, we found that for the most part, the PORTER-CABLE PCE980 a pretty great wet tile saw. For smaller jobs, this tool could work pretty well, provided the blade doesn’t go on a tile-chipping streak and ruin every tile you have. The motor seems to work fine when the tool is equipped with a different blade, so it appears that the included blade is at fault.
Either that or the position of the tables (stationary table is higher than the sliding one) could be the culprit behind it all. Honestly, the only thing this tool has going for it is its water management system in how it disposes of water and prevents water from splashing all over the user.