Wet tile saws are a must-have tool for professionals to cut tiles down to perfect size. Most models utilize a submersible water pump which sucks water from a tray or basic and sprays it onto the diamond-coated blade.
The jet of water serves to keep the blade thoroughly lubricated as to prevent chipping, as well as prevents tile dust from going airborne. Wet tile saws are the best tools for cutting tiles since they don’t cause burn marks on your precious marble or ceramic tiles.
In this article, we’re going to compare two of SKIL’s best-rated wet tile saws – the 3540-02 and the SKIL 3550-02 Wet Tile Saw. Both of these wet tile saw models are great choices for DIY-enthusiasts and professionals alike since they’re lightweight, easy to use, and come with all the features you’ll need for basic home projects and professional tasks. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Motor Power and Speed
The motor’s power determines how efficiently quickly the blade spins. Typically, the faster the blade’s spin, the less likely your tiles will crack or the blade will residual burn marks. The 3540-02 comes with a 4.2 amp motor that spins the 7-inch blade up to 3,600 RPM.
This model also features a 7-inch blade, but this model uses a 7.0 amp motor to rotate the blade up to 3,600 RPM. It may seem like the 3550-02 uses more energy to deliver the same amount of speed as the 3540-02, but there’s more to it than that. Although the speed delivery is the same, this model’s beefier motor delivers more consistent cutting speeds on all sort of materials, including granite and stone.
Conclusion: If you plan on cutting through thin tiles, the 3540-02 would be the more cost-efficient choice. However, if you need to cut through tiles or other tough materials of thin to medium thickness, the more powerful motor of the 3550-02 would come in handy. Ultimately, it depends on what you plan on doing with your wet tile saw.
Since we can’t rely on tile manufacturers to make square-edged tiles every time, the next best thing we can do is to make bevel cuts on to make tiles fit seamlessly over the adjacent tiles. Although cutting bevel angles in tiles may not be an everyday task, it’s a great feature to have. The 3540-02’ table has two bevel angles stops – 0° and 45°.
On the other hand, this model’s table has three bevel stops – 0°, 22.5°, and 45°. As we mentioned earlier, a common angle used to make bevel cuts in tiles is half the 45° for uncommon floor designs.
Conclusion: Although in most cases – IF you bevel the edges of tiles – you’ll bevel the head or table of your saw to 45° before cutting the blade. But on the off chance that you want to make a more acute bevel cut in tiles, the 3550-02 can do what the 3540-02 cannot (unless you purchase bevel stands, sold separately).
Rip capacity refers to how much space is between the edge of the table and the side of the blade. In the 3540-02, the rip capacity allows for tiles as large as 12 x 12 inches (no miter) to pass through the blade. This model doesn’t come with an extendable table so your work is limited to only 12 x 12-inch materials.
The 3550-02 comes with a larger table which also extends outwards. When fully extended, this model allows for tiles as large as 18 x 18 inches to sit comfortably on the table and push towards the blade.
Conclusion: Tiles come in all sizes so you’ll typically want a wet tile saw that can cut every tile size you need. Generally speaking, the larger the rip capacity, the better the tile saw, and we see that the 3550-02 is just that. Users can feed tiles as large as 18 x 18 inches to the blade.
How the water hits the blade and tile is important since it reduces the risk of burn marks as well as keeps the blade cool and smooth for perfect cuts every time. Both of these models come with a water basin fixed under the table where the blade is submerged for proper cooling and lubrication.
The difference between the 3550-02 and the 3540-02 is that the 3550-02 uses SILK’s proprietary HydroLock water guard that keeps water from splashing below and above the table. Although it does almost nothing to keep the blade “extra” wet and cool, it helps tremendously in keeping your room free from unwanted water splashes.
Conclusion: We like that the 3550-02 comes with a water guard that protects both the saw table and your workstation or floor from spurts of water that exit from the top of the table. The guard that protects the upper portion of the blade means there’s a reduced risk of mess and clean-up time.
Weight and Portability
The weight of the wet tile saw determines how easy it is to lift and how portable the machine is. Users typically want more portable tile saws since they want to cut tiles down to size at the exact location they want to plant them. This unit weighs only 18 pounds (dry weight) so it’s extremely easy to carry and place on your worktable.
This model is only slightly heavier – about 24 pounds (dry weight) – but the added guard (HydroLock system) keeps it from splashing water all over your precious floor and workspace. The added weight is mainly a tradeoff for the extendable table we get which lets the unit cut through larger tiles.
Conclusion: These models are both extremely lightweight. Honestly speaking, nobody’s going to complain about the 6 extra pounds that the 3550-02 is carrying, especially since you get a greater rip capacity and a reduced risk of splashing.
SKIL 3540-02 vs 3550-02: Bottom Line
It’s easy to see why the 3550-02 is so popular – for such a compact and portable wet tile saw, it comes with a wide number of features that most DIY-ers would ever need. None of these models are exactly fit to be used in industrial or commercial settings, especially since their rip capacity is rather limited. However, for home-use and even light-duty commercial settings, we feel that the SKIL 3550-02 wet tile saw would be one of the best wet tile saws you could get.