Mortar tool / trowel - this is your main tool for setting tiles. You are not so much making lines for ventilation of air as you are trapping pockets of air. Either way this is needed for the mortar to dry and cure.
Small level - this will be needed mainly to measure the slope of a shower damn, shower bench, tile window sills and tile shower shelves or boxes.
Large level - this will be necessary to check framing to make sure its plumb and straight as needed for your cement board or drywall. This is only needed for new construction, additions or full-blown remodels.
Tile saw - if your looking at a 50 or even say a 100 dollar tile saw, it would be more beneficial for you to just rent a good one from Home Depot Tool Rental. A good saw is the difference between a good experience or a very bad and frustrating one. Not to mention an underpowered saw will be cutting extremely slowly and may even crack tiles near the end of your cuts. If you have a soft stone like travertine, or a low grade ceramic tile, you may be okay with a low-end tile saw.
Some small towels or hand towels
A Grinder, Makita makes a great one. Dewalt, Hitachi and some models of Rigid are also good. Most Ryobi's will do well too. A grinder is needed to finish off cuts a larger tool like a tile saw would take to long to do. It also gets into corners, can mark a tile as to have it crack or brake a certain way, and is handy for finishing edges. Its more of an experienced tool and technique to have on your tile jobs, so this one is up to you. By the way, you want this particular tool to be plug-in and not battery powered.
Water - will need a faucet or hose for your tile saw, or just water for the pump (depending on your type). Also need water to mix mortar and grout.
Large sponge or two - this come in very handy. You may want to have one by your tile saw to quickly wipe off the tile after cutting it.
Mortar - Use a gray thinset mortar if you plan to use a dark colored grout and white thinset mortar if your using light colored grout. Avoid Fast Setting thinset unless you are an experienced tile installer. Almost any thinset mortar (Multi Purpose and polymer modified thinsets) will be adequate for installing ceramic tiles on cement substrate (concrete floor such as in a batsmen or commercial building or cement backerboard). (1) 50 pound bag of sanded thinset mortar will install roughly 75 to 100 square feet of ceramic flooring. Most manufacturers will have the product specifications printed on the bag. Acrylic latex admixture can be used to increase the mechanical bond of your thinset.
For installing ceramic tile over vinyl flooring or wooden substrates you will need a high quality latex modified thinset mortar. These may be labeled as Full Flex, Super Flex, or Multi Flex thinset mortars.
We recommend a minimum of a 1/4" (3/8" recommended for most jobs) thick thinset mortar bed installed using a square notch trowel.
Grout - grout can be sealed after it has cured. Grout is just like cement and needs 28 days to fully cure. Honestly, you should be safe sealing most grouts after about a week. Non-sanded grout will need to be used for tile joints (tile lines, spaces) less than 1/8th inch thick.
Cement board - your tile needs to be as rigid and firm as possible. If you are installing on cement slabs you obviously do not need a cement board. Cement board should always be used when setting tile over floor boards. You can also use a framing nailer and air compressor to attach cement board with nails. As much as some tile installers swear by this, Brunetti Tile would recommend at least still using 20% screws for your cement board fasteners.
Cement board screws - you can get away with using drywall screws sometimes. Depending on your substrate however, you may find that they will be braking (heads of screws snapping right off) about 1 out of 7 or 8 screws you put in.
Red Guard - if making a mortar bed; A lot of contractors are still used to using plastic lining. But Red Guard is applied directly onto your cement board covering every square inch in rubber polymer. And Red Guard doesn't have any folds or flaps which offer up a weakness in water proofing.
Drill with mixer attachment. Do not use your 18v or 24v drill to mix mortar. Even if on your torque setting its only a matter of time before your nice Dewalt drill over heats and burns out if you use it to mix cement. Experienced are we? Any 18v Dewalt, Rigid or Hitachi cordless drill will work wonderfully for you for just about everything else, including putting in your cement board screws. Also bring your charger to your job with a spare battery.
Bucket or two - one to mix mortar, and unless you clean it out very very well, bring another one to mix grout.
A camera to take before and after pictures
Several construction pencils to mark tiles for cutting. Think your going to be clever and use a sharpy? The ink will wipe right off under your tile saw. Pencil markings will not.
Rubber Gloves - these might feel like they are in the way, but you will get used to working with them. If you do a decent size tile job without them, grout WILL eat little holes in the tips of your fingers.
Knee pads or a knee board - these, knee pads, are not something I, Dustin, can personally stand. Mainly the straps on the back of my knees, no way no how. I love to use a knee board.
A diamond tip Hole Saw drill bit or Holesaw Kit.This can be a very tedious thing to have to do, especially if porcelain tile!
A grout trowel - it doesn't really matter what kind you use. All grout trowels are basically the same and very easy to use.
An extension cord
Wrench/s to remove toilet hose and possibly toilet itself or sink if doing counter-tops
Masking tape will come in very handy. Use it in little strips to hold tiles in place while they dry.
Some weights will also be handy to keep certain stubborn floor tiles down and in place until they dry.
A new wax-ring for your toilet - sometimes you can probably get away with using the same wax ring over your drain where your toilet sits. But its usually not worth the risk and better to just replace it when replacing the toilet.
An extended water hose for the toilet - you may not always need to replace this. If your doing a tile floor in a bathroom, first look at the toilet and if the hose is straight with little to no flex then you will need to buy a longer one. Make sure you turn off the water valve before un-tightening anything!