Toolipedia: Tile Nipper

Everything you wanted to know about Tile Nippers

A nipper holding a piece of tile | Construction Pro Tips
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What is a tile nipper? 

A nipper is a hand tool used to bite off small chunks of tile in order to cut along curved lines. A nipper resembles a pliers in that there are two handles connected at a pivot point. The main difference is that the jaws on a nipper have cutting edges. Nippers are used by tile installers most often on smaller jobs where setting up a saw or running a grinder is not practical.

How is a tile nipper used?

Remove as much of the waste-side of the tile with whatever tool you’re cutting the straight lines with. Clamp the cutting edges of the nipper down onto the tile and squeeze. The tile should break off right at, or just in front, of the cutting edges. Never start cutting right at the line; instead, work your way up to the line by incrementally removing the material in front of it. Nippers leave behind a jagged edge which can be cleaned up with a rub brick. Always wear safety glasses when working with tile nippers.

What are the different types of nippers?

Nippers vary in size. Some have extra leverage points which increases the power at the jaws. The cutting edges are made out of varying types of materials. A separate type of nippers is required for cutting glass.

What makes a good tile nipper?

  • Carbide cutting edge
  • Comfortable grip
  • Spring loaded handle

QEP makes a good nipper. 

Tile nipper tip:

Cutting a groove in tile | Construction Pro Tips

You can achieve a crisper cut line if you score first.

Learn more about cutting tile. 

More tile tools