The best glass cutter
Cutting glass can be a pretty intimidating task to undertake, but some craft and DIY projects around the house require it. Whether you're framing artwork, replacing a window, or making your own tabletop, you may need to cut glass to get the job done. But there's no need to stress, even if you're a beginner. With a high-quality glass cutter, you can do it safely and easily.
A glass cutter is a handheld tool that's roughly the size of a pen and usually features a carbide or steel head to score the glass. Once you've scored the glass, you can easily snap it along the line to cut without injury. Read this buying guide to learn all the facts necessary to choose the best glass cutter for your workbench or crafting table. We even offer up some specific product recommendations, including our top choice from CR Laurence, which features a carbide steel cutting wheel and a durable metal handle that doubles as an oil reservoir.
Considerations when choosing glass cutters
The size of a glass cutter can determine how easy and comfortable it is to hold. If you have small hands, a large cutter may feel too bulky and awkward in your grip. If you have large hands, a small cutter may be difficult to control. Most models are five to seven inches in length. Make sure to choose the option that best fits your hand size.
A glass cutter needs oil for lubrication, so it can glide across glass easily. Some cutters are self-oiling, which means they have an oil chamber in the handle that you can easily fill. You can choose from two types of self-oiling glass cutters:
Gravity-fed glass cutters use gravity to distribute the oil. They can leak fairly easily, though, if you don't store them with the head side up, and you always have to remember to replace the cap.
Pressure-fed glass cutters distribute the oil when you press on them. They don't leak like gravity-fed cutters, but it can take some time to learn how to use this type. They're a better option for experienced glass cutters.
Traditional glass cutters have a pencil grip, so you hold the cutter between your fingers the same way you would a pencil or pen. Other glass cutters have what's called a pistol grip: a molded grip that's similar to the body of a gun. This type allows you to control the cutter with your full hand. You can also find some cutters that have a custom grip, so look around to see what type you like best.
Multi-blade cutting wheel
Some glass cutters have a hexagonal multi-blade cutting wheel. It has six sides that all function as a cutting surface, so as you turn the wheel, a new blade moves over the glass. If you frequently have to cut glass in different thicknesses, a multi-blade cutting wheel is a great feature to have. Keep in mind that cutters with multi-blade cutting wheels aren't self-oiling, so you'll need to oil yours manually.
Snapping notches make it easier to snap the glass after scoring. These notches usually vary in size, so you can snap glass in different thicknesses.
Some glass cutters feature a knocking head, which is a metal ball on the bottom end that allows you to tap the glass along the score line to make sure that it breaks cleanly.
Some glass cutters have adjustable heads, so you can hold the cutter at exactly the right angle for each cut. Most rotate 360 degrees, giving you maximum flexibility.
Self-oiling cutters usually have a brass handle that holds the oil chamber, though you can find some that are plastic. Glass cutters that aren't self-oiling typically feature a steel or aluminum handle with a rubberized grip, but a few have handles made of wood.
Most cutting heads are made of tungsten carbide or hardened steel. Carbide heads tend to last longer, but you'll pay less for a cutter with a steel head.
You can expect to spend between $5 and $50 for a glass cutter. Lower-quality cutters typically cost less than $6, but you'll pay between $6 and $20 for a self-oiling or multi-blade model. Professional-grade models may have a price tag of $20 or more.
Q. What safety precautions should I take with a glass cutter?
A. Proper safety procedures are crucial, especially when you're new to glass cutting. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any errant shards that might fly when you're cutting and use protective gloves to prevent cuts and other injuries.
Q. How should I clean the glass I'm working with before using a glass cutter?
A. If the glass is extremely dirty, wash it with a sponge and soapy water. If the glass isn't that dirty, spritzing it with glass cleaner and wiping it with a paper towel will probably suffice.
Glass cutters we recommend
Best of the best: CR Laurence's Straight Head Oil Cutter
Our take: A pro-grade cutter that's precise enough to use on stained glass.
What we like: Features a replaceable carbide steel cutting head and a durable metal handle with built-in oil reservoir. Narrow blade for more exact cuts. Makes straight cutting in bulk a breeze.
What we dislike: Doesn't work as well on thicker glass. Oil reservoir isn't always reliable, so you may need additional oil.
Best bang for your buck: AGPTEK's Professional-Grade Glass Cutter
Our take: A slim, budget-friendly glass cutter with a multi-blade wheel that allows you to cut multiple types of glass.
What we like: Offers six cutting blades for scoring glass in a variety of ways. Two snap notches in thick and thin options. Wooden handle helps prevent hand fatigue. Can cut multiple glass surfaces.
What we dislike: May not come with an instruction manual.
Our take: A versatile glass cutter with a comfortable, pencil-style grip.
What we like: Pivoting carbide cutting head can cut glass from five to 15 millimeters thick. Metal knocking head encourages clean breakage. Metal handle is ergonomically designed and anti-slip.
What we dislike: Some buyers receive damaged or empty oil cartridges. Requires heavy pressure to use.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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