Let’s start by traveling a few hours into the future to when you’ve finished tiling your bathroom floor. You stand back, survey your work and think, “My god, what horror have I unleashed?” You think that you should have purchased a tile leveling system. You are correct. You should have used a tile leveling system. You think that you should have started this project by reading some reviews. You are correct. You should have read some reviews of the top picks.
Hey, look. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 products on the market right now! We’ve even included some tips on how we reviewed these tile leveling systems to help you figure out which one is right for you. Best of luck, time traveler.
|Perfect Level Master 1/32″ T-Lock ™ Complete Kit|
|Raimondi RLS 100pcs||4 lbs||4.6/5|
|Yaekoo 400 Clips + 200 Wedges|
(Best for the Money)
|ATR Resolution 20S100||1 lb||4.2/5|
|QEP 99720Q||1 lb||3.9/5|
The Perfect Master T-Lock kit is flat-out the best performer among the tile leveling systems we reviewed. It’s as close as you’re going to get to fire-and-forget accuracy, where you lock the spacers in place and don’t have to worry about tiles shifting around.
But there’s a catch. We are about to complain—loudly—about the price. In the larger scheme of things, your average tile leveling system is still very affordable compared to, say, a lobster dinner at your local high-end restaurant.
That said. Ye gods, the price. If money is no matter, that’s one thing. But, the truth about tile leveling systems is that there isn’t really a significant difference in quality between systems. The basic model isn’t such a great return on your investment that it should necessitate paying a lot.
But, again, the T-Lock eliminates slippage and holds tiles together until they’re dried into place.
We had no complaints with the Raimondi RLS. It did its job, and did its job very well. It wasn’t particularly hard on tiles and there wasn’t a lot of shifting that we had to adjust for. Everything that a tile leveling system is supposed to do, this one performed as advertised.
We also liked it because it came as a complete kit. No need to spend additional dollars on a wrench to hold it in place. And, yes, if you’re going to go to the trouble of buying a tile leveling system, you shouldn’t try to move the clips into place with your thumbs. The other similar tile leveling systems we reviewed do not include pliers.
This also means that the system has a greater upfront purchase price. You can choose a different system for less money. The wrench accounts for much of the disparity in price, but not all of it. Even removing that from the equation, this is expensive.
Yaekoo’s tile leveling system wins in the best value category for pretty basic reasons—it delivers the most bang for your buck. It doesn’t offer any new, interesting quirk or design. It’s a tile leveling system that can do the basic job it’s asked to do for relatively little money. You can pay more and get better results, but doing a basic, competent job doesn’t require that much to start with.
This Yaekoo costs just a little bit of money and gets a basic job done. The question is whether you want a basic job, or whether you want something that will deliver exceptional results. If you want the latter, you’ll need to invest a little more money.
On the negative side, the clips require a little extra physical work to get the tiles lined up. Also, they tamped down so hard when tightened that we broke a couple of tiles. If you pay out the little bit of money required to buy this tool, make sure the tiles you use are hardy.
First, the positives. The ATR Resolution 20S100 tile leveling system’s screw-down clips do a great job of keeping tiles in place and reducing slippage. It also achieves this with fewer clips and less intrusion into the grouting profile. You’re also screwing the clips down, which means that you don’t have to use physical force to release the system. So, you can have a little faith that you won’t accidentally dislodge a tile.
It does this, but at considerable cost. Not necessarily in terms of money—although the corner under-tile clips tend to be pricier for subsequent uses—but also in time. It takes a considerable amount of time to prepare the corner screw-downs before you even get to laying tile. If you’re short on time, you’ll have difficulty getting large jobs done with this tool. That prep time is really what prompted us to lower this system in the rankings.
There are two ways that a tile leveling system can create a bad experience for the user. It can make the process laborious, and the clips can break at the wrong time. QEP’s 99720Q does both of these things. As a result, it was a pretty easy choice to give it the bottom ranking in our review.
Flat clips would make this system a lot easier and more stable to use. But the clips are bent and that makes connecting and flattening everything a bit of a challenge. We were also dismayed that some of the clips broke when we didn’t want them to, and some were difficult to remove at the end. This is basically an advertisement for not using a tile leveling system in the first place. And there’s probably a reason for that.
On the plus side, this model is cheap.
This isn’t a comprehensive review of tile leveling systems on the market, and maybe you want to shop around. We can get behind that, although we should warn you that spending a lot of time doing comparative shopping for these will eventually prove a waste of time because they’re not all that expensive. So, here are a few handy pointers to help you out.
Normally, we start a buyers’ guide by suggesting that consumers be honest about their needs—both now and in the future. That’s less of an issue here since these systems tend to work as well on small tiling projects as they do on large ones. The question is, how much do you want to pay?
To be perfectly honest, even a cheap tiling system is going to deliver good results. Most of the quality is paid for upfront, and the per-dollar punch that you get beyond that diminishes the price. So, you can start out with a budget in mind. Just remember that more expensive systems have better clips and hold tiles in place better.
Really, the thing that sets each system apart is how easily you can detach the clips that will remain under the tile. The best systems have clips that break off with an easy tap of the mallet; other than that, they don’t break. That’s the kind of thing that gets a tool ranked last. QEP 99720Q, we’re looking in your direction, fella. Other systems have clips that actually make it harder to get the tiles to line up and stay in place.
We really wanted to rank ATR’s innovative corner-clip design higher. Really, we did. But the point of using a tile leveling system is to save you money in getting your tiles level and even. However, it takes so much time to get their Resolution 20S100 ready for use, that if you have a large space for laying tile, you might find that it’s actually faster to skip using a tile leveling system.
In addition, you’re going to want to figure out how much planning time each system will require for the job you want to do. You’ll need this not just to have a template to follow, but also to know if you’ve got the right number of clips to complete the job.
Reviews of tile leveling systems all agree that they are a great tool to have to save time and help make a DIY job look better. They diverge, however, on which ones are the best. We liked Perfect Level Master’s T-Lock system because the results were the best and it was the easiest to use. Raimondi’s RLS wasn’t far behind in terms of quality, and came as a complete system—but it was also pretty pricey. While there isn’t a substantial drop-off in quality with the corner clips of the ATR Resolution 20S100, it required so much prep time that we just couldn’t rank it higher. Yaekoo will deliver basic competence at the best dollar value, and QEP’s 99720Q was cheap in terms of price and quality.
We hope you find all this helpful. If you don’t prefer a system we reviewed, we hope that you’ll read our buyers’ guide to help you find the one that does meet your needs.