Best Nail Files

Filing nails
Not all nail files are created equally. Not only do we break down the different types and the different grit levels of nail files, but we also provide a list of our favorite nail files on the market.

You don’t know how much you rely on a great nail file until you need one. When a nail breaks, snags, or just looks crooked, the best nail file can help you smooth it down and return it to an appealing shape. There are many different types of nail files and each one is designed with a specific purpose. To help you find the best nail file for your needs, we have compiled this complete guide!

Different Types of Nail Files

Emery Boards

Emery boards are what everyone thinks of when they hear the word nail file. They are easily the most popular and can be found in nearly every store, pharmacy, and gas station. Emery boards consist of multiple layers of compressed cardboard coated with grit on each side. Usually, the grits differ and can be used on either natural nails or acrylics.

Glass/Crystal Nail Files

Many professional manicurists and salons use glass or crystal nail files. This is because they are very durable and can easily be sanitized. This type of nail file isn’t tough on nails. Its gentle nature can help seal natural nails and smooth acrylic nails.

Ceramic Nail Files

Ceramic nail files, like glass or crystal, are very gentle on nails. This makes them a great choice if your natural nails are weak. They aren’t as durable as glass or crystal but they are pretty strong. They can be sanitized and are considered hygienic for use in salons.

Metal Nail Files

Metal nail files are tough on nails. They are commonly made of etched stainless steel. A metal nail file may be suitable for acrylic nails but they may not be recommended for natural nails. They can cause natural nails to break or chip if used too aggressively.

Electric Nail Files

Electric nail files are popular with manicurists who work with acrylic nails. This is because while their electricity-powered file makes it very easy to shape your nails, it also takes skill. Electric nail files make quick work of smoothing and filing nails, but there is a learning curve when it comes to mastering them.

Nail File Grit

While some nail files may have a cuticle pusher or a pointed tip for cleaning under nails, their biggest feature is the grit. Nail files come in various strengths or grits. Some, like buffing blocks, contain more than one grit. Remember, grit is the abrasiveness or strength of the file. A lower grit value means a rougher or coarser nail file.

80 and 100

The most coarse grit you can get is 80, followed closely by 100. These are very abrasive and are only suitable for artificial nails. They are not recommended for natural nails.


180 is as coarse as you want to go if you are filing natural nails. If your natural nails are weak, splitting, or brittle you should not use this grit level. 180 is acceptable for acrylic nails.


A 240 grit is a great choice for natural nails but it may not do much for acrylic. You can file down, shape, and even buff your nails safely with this level of grit.


500 is quite fine. It won’t do much to file down or shape natural nails and isn’t generally used with artificial nails. However, 500 is perfect for polishing and buffing natural nails.

The Best Nail Files

GERMANIKURE Czech Crystal Glass Nail File

The GERMANIKURE Czech Crystal Glass Nail File is a durable and hygienic glass nail file that comes with its own leather case. Its chemically etched surface seals nails as it files and shapes them. This makes it ideal for weakened nails as it won’t cause them to split or break. It can easily be cleaned and will last you a long time as long as you are careful not to drop or crush the 3MM glass file.

GERMANIKURE Czech Crystal Glass Nail File in Suede Leather Case, Original Black Branded, Professional Manicure & Pedicure Products for Easy Shaping of Natural Nails
  • HANDMADE IN CZECH REPUBLIC – Genuine GERMANIKURE bohemian crystal glass nail file in original manufacturer packaging. Hand crafted and inspected for quality by fairly paid adult artisans.
  • RECOMMENDED BY PROFESSIONALS FOR HEALTHY NAILS – Chemically etched filing surface seals carotene nail layers, promoting strong nail growth. Perfect for thin, brittle fingernails & toenails. (We heard they work great on dogs too!)
  • FILING SURFACE GUARANTEED – Some glass files are made by gluing harsh abrasives to the surface. Not only is that bad for nails, they WILL wear out and need to be replaced! The surface of our files is permanently etched and guaranteed for life.

KISS Nail Files

If you are prone to losing your file, or just want a bulk supply, check out KISS Nail Files. This set of twelve will ensure that you always have a file on hand. You can even keep one in your car, office, and travel bag! It is excellent for natural nails as it includes medium to extra fine grit levels. With different sides and textures, this four-way file can shape, buff, and polish. Follow the effortless four easy steps outlined on the file to achieve ultra glossy nails.

KISS Nail Files Wide Board Grinder (12 pieces) F103N
  • For grooming perfection
  • For grooming perfection
  • 1 Coarse, 18 Medium

Orly Nail Buffer

The Orly Nail Buffer is the perfect tool for getting a high shine on your nails. Its ergonomic design keeps it easy to hold while allowing it to glide over all your nail surfaces. Thanks to a fine grit level you will be able to smooth out bumps without damaging your nail bed. The sturdy yet flexible construction makes buffing your nails simple and painless.

Orly Nail Buffer, 1 Count
  • Our multipurpose Buffer gently polishes the nail surface, leaving the nail bed perfectly smooth
  • Smooth operator
  • High quality nail care

4 Way Nail File and Buffer

Looking for an all-in-one tool? The 4 Way Nail File and Buffer has color-coded grit levels that walk you through an at-home manicure. Each side is designed with a purpose, whether it be to file, buff, or shine. The adhesive grits are securely fastened to the board and won’t peel away. They are also virtually shed-free so you won’t have a mess to sweep up after each manicure. This file is washable and disinfectable and has quite a long lifespan. However, should you lose it this twelve-pack ensures you will always have a backup!

4 Way Nail File and Buffer, 7 Inches Long, All Purpose, Best For Natural Nails, Save Time and Money, 4 Fingernail Files in 1, Professional Care Manicure Tools By Iridesi, 12 Pack
  • GRITS AND COLORS. WHAT YOU GET. Each grit has been carefully selected so you will be able to file, buff and shine your fingernails with just one nail file. Step 1 is a beautiful medium blue 240 grit, Step 2 is a pink 320 grit, Step 3 is a white 1000 grit and Step 4 is the grey 3000 shiner grit. Your order will come with a bulk set of 12 emory boards that are 7 inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide. Perfect buffers for men and women or a valentines day gift for best friend girl.
  • ADHESIVE DOES NOT PEEL AWAY FROM THE BOARD. This 4 sided nail file has an adhesive that will keep the sand paper attached to the foam and other parts of the salon board tool. These items can even be used on the feet for a pedicure or other toenail grooming care needs on your foot. Your toenails will have a natural shiny glow. Heavy duty enough to work on large or small dogs. Your dog will have a natural looking shine without a chemical polisher which is good for you and safe for your pet.
  • NOT TOO COARSE FOR NATURAL NAILS, WILL NOT TARE OR BREAK NAILS UP. With a disposable nailfile that is too rough you could end up doing more harm them good. When other finger nail filers start at 100 or 180 we start out at a fine 240 grit and move up the finer grit scale to a smoother 3000. This four way fingernail file is perfect for natural nails & glides away material instead of shredding it to pieces. It has a convenient size which allows you to take your new shiners with you when you travel.

Crystal Glass Nail File

The Crystal Glass Nail File may be the only nail file you ever need. You can wash it, sanitize it, and use it again and again without it wearing down. Composed of high-quality tempered glass it is extremely durable. Double-etched sides are gentle yet effective on both natural and artificial nails. The surface seals as it file’s which may lead to healthier nails. It comes in a sleek box and includes a hard case and a cleaning cloth, and would make a wonderful gift!

Crystal Glass Nail File - G.Liane Professional Double Sided Etched Crystal Nail File Set For Nail Art & Nail Care Alternative To Metal Nail files Emery Boards & Buffer (Rainbow Black).
  • 🆒 PERFECT NAIL CARE: 🌈 Perfect solution for shaping the natural nails and artificial nails with a lighter touch in any direction. It can help your nails more healthier and avoid the jagged nail edge
  • 🆒 SUPER DURABLE &EFFECTIVE: 🌈 The abrasive filing surface is gentle and effective and never wears out or becomes blunt. It gives nails smooth without ragged ends. Experience the difference of the quality of this genuine glass nail file
  • 🆒 PREMIUM & SAFETY : 🌈 Made in high quality tempered glass by double-sided etched technology, not sand-blasting. It won’t be breakage easily

3 Pieces Diamond Nail File Set

The ultimate manicure set, the 3 Pieces Diamond Nail File Set has everything you need to achieve flawless nails. Durable stainless-steel construction combined with sapphire flakes results in a file that won’t wear down or break. There are three different sizes and thicknesses, each with a different feature. One includes a cuticle pusher while the other offers a pointed nail cleaner. There is even a foot file for when you want to try your hand at a pedicure. They are effortless to clean, making them ideal for home or salon use.

3 Pieces Diamond Nail File Set Stainless Steel Double Side Nail File Metal Sapphire Buffer File Manicure Files for Salon Home and Travel
  • Quality material: these steel nail files are made of stainless steel with sapphire flakes, strong and durable for long time use
  • Package include: come with 3 pack diamond nail files, include compact double-sided small nail file, large nail file cuticle pusher and cutter; and sapphire foot nail file, can meet your different needs
  • Safe and double-sided design: these stainless steel nail files feature round tips, double sides and comfortable handles, grits on them are fine enough to leave smooth finishes to nails, helping to buff and shine nails

MelodySusie Portable Electric Nail Drill

Interested in an electric nail file? Consider the MelodySusie Portable Electric Nail Drill. This drill has so many features it is perfect for nearly any type of nail or manicure. The set includes six metal bits, six sanding bands, and an adjustable speed that extends up to 20,000RPM. You can carve, cut, grind, shape, and perform cuticle removal all with this single tool. It is portable and light so you can take care of business while on the go. Low noise and low heat allow you to safely use it for up to twenty minutes at a time. Plug it in and you will have salon-quality nails in no time!

MelodySusie Portable Electric Nail Drill, Compact Efile Electrical Professional Nail File Kit for Acrylic, Gel Nails, Manicure Pedicure Polishing Shape Tools Design for Home Salon Use, Purple
  • Multifunctional: Designed with 6 kinds of metal bits (also works with all kinds of 3/32” shank bits) and 6 sanding bands, which are used for grinding, carving, cutting, polishing for all nail arts as well as cuticle removal.
  • Adjustable Speed: 0-20,000RPM with a speed control button, which makes this electric nail file easier to polish your nails.
  • Low Noise and Low Heat: This electro file is with a powerful yet quiet motor. Also, the smart heat dissipation can avoid overheating efficiently. (no more than 20 minutes of continuous use each time is recommended).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best nail file for weak nails?

If you have weak nails you will want to stay away from coarse grit. Generally, glass or ceramic nail files are better for weak nails. This is because they seal as they file, which can prevent your nails from splitting or breaking further.

Are nail files bad for your nails?

Nail files are not bad for your nails, but if used improperly they can cause damage. Be sure to select the right type and grit level for your nails. When shaping and filing your nails you should always move the file in the same direction to avoid snags and rough edges.

How often should I file my nails?

How often you should file your nails is up to you. Some shorter designs call for nails to be filed frequently while longer nails and less intricate shapes don’t need to be filed as much. It also depends on how quickly your nails grow. In most cases, people don’t need to file their nails more than once a week.

Can I wash my nail file?

Only some nail files can be washed and sanitized, like glass or metal files. Reading your nail file instructions or manufacturer’s directions can guide you on how to clean your nail file.

Final Thoughts

The nail files we have covered are excellent for a wide variety of manicure uses. However, the best nail file for you depends on what purpose you plan to use the file for. Be sure to carefully decide on the kind of file and the grit before attempting your manicure. It also doesn’t hurt to read your file instructions or watch a few videos concerning how to safely file your nails. With the right nail file grit and type, you will be able to flaunt your perfectly manicured nails.

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