Installing laminate flooring is a popular DIY job, but it can be a frustrating fail without the right cutting tool. Here are top laminate floor cutters in three classes that deliver dependable performance.
1: Bestselling Laminate Floor Cutter
This is our top recommendation for homeowners because it delivers precise, near-effortless cuts for all laminate flooring up to 12mm, or about ½”. Plus, it is versatile enough for materials from vinyl to fiber cement. Here’s what else we like about it and a few cautions too.
Exchange-a-blade 2100005 laminate flooring cutter advantages:
- It’s built with steel where it needs strength and aluminum where saving weight is preferred.
- The high-carbon steel blade keeps its edge longer than stainless steel.
- The blade can be sharpened to bring back its edge.
- A quality replacement blade costs just $30, though the average DIY homeowner who knows how to sharpen the blade probably won’t ever need one.
- Handles material up to 9” wide, and that covers most plank-style flooring and siding.
- Suitable for high-volume cutting of laminate, LVT, vinyl tiles, linoleum, rubber and foam and more limited cutting of solid wood, engineered wood and fiber cement.
- Adjustable protractor/guide swings from 0 to 45 degrees.
Exchange-a-blade 2100005 laminate flooring cutter disadvantages:
- Makes perpendicular cuts only, unlike chop-saw types, so we recommend a jigsaw or small handsaw for lengthwise rips.
- Some cheap laminate flooring chips at the edge when cut by the EAB 2100005 (and similar tools), though this problem can be reduced by cutting the material upside down.
- There are two ease-of-use issues some users have that are easily solved: 1). To free the blade from locked/safety position, loosen the yellow knob, compress the handle slightly and slide the knob to the middle. You might need to tap it gently with a mallet or hammer to move it. 2). If the handle doesn’t easily rise after a cut or grinds slightly, loosen the yellow knob further.
- Putting excessive force on the lever to cut material that is too thick or too hard or when the blade is dull will eventually crack the handle or housing.
The bottom line is that this is a well-built, versatile tool with a super-sharp blade that might last forever.
2: Best Semi-Pro Laminate Cutter
Do you love laying laminate and similar resilient flooring? The Roberts 10-64 flooring cutter is ideal for installing a house full of your own floors, helping friends and family with theirs and picking up the occasional paid job too. It’s priced between DIY and Pro models with excellent quality to match. Here are the pros and cons of the Roberts 10-64 flooring cutter.
Roberts 10-64 Pro flooring cutter pros:
- Easily cuts laminate, vinyl flooring, VCT tiles, engineered wood, rubber or foam tiles and vinyl siding.
- Has a 13” cutting range and is rated for materials up to 16mm (5/8”).
- Blade can be sharpened indefinitely and replaced if needed.
- The heavy-gauge extruded aluminum base and body will last forever.
- A tough plastic platform gives each plank good support during cutting.
- The handle is extendable for cuts that require extra leverage.
Roberts 10-64 Pro flooring cutter cons:
- Makes cross cuts only.
- The replacement blade costs $60-$70 from various sellers, so learning to sharpen it will reduce your long-term costs.
- Overuse of the handle extension, especially attempting to cut thicker and or harder materials (ceramic or stone tile, solid hardwood) than recommended, will eventually lead to stress cracking.
- This cutter weighs 24lbs because of its pro-grade build, but that’s a lot of weight to move around a home or jobsite.
- While it’s rated for engineered flooring, if the solid wood layer is very hard (Janka hardness rating above +/-2000), you might find it easier to use a power saw.
The Roberts 10-64 laminate cutter with 13-inch blade is the tool of choice for hardcore DIY enthusiasts whose installation efforts extend to friends and customers.
3: Best Budget Laminate Cutter for Small Jobs and Tight Budgets
If you have just a few rooms of laminate to install and don’t want to spend a lot on tools, the QEP 10-35 laminate cutter is dependable and budget-friendly. Here’s the good and bad about this flooring cutter.
QEP 10-35 laminate cutter benefits:
- It costs less than half the price of most homeowner-grade flooring cutters.
- Cuts laminate up to 8” wide and 12mm thick (almost ½”), specs that cover a good range of plank and tile flooring options.
- The tubular steel frame is very sturdy (the unit weighs 12lbs).
- The “comfort grip” handle provides adequate cushioning.
QEP 10-35 laminate cutter drawbacks:
- Since the cutting surface isn’t sharp – more a bar that snaps the material than a blade that cuts – it crushes and tears softer materials, so isn’t designed for vinyl, LVT, linoleum and similar flooring.
- Makes cross cuts only.
- A significant amount of force is required. You might have to stand up and/or use two hands on the handle to cut thicker materials.
- There’s no built-in platform. Instead, the set includes a loose, inverted V-shaped stand that can be set at a distance from the unit to provide support. It can be difficult to properly position the stand when cutting planks over about 5’ long. We solved the issue by stacking a pair of 2×4’s about 4’ from the cutter to support longer planks.
In summary, if you’re willing to put up with the positioning and force-requirement issues, the QEP 10-35 will save you money and get small-to-medium jobs done.