Best Nail File

Best Nail File

Best Nail File of 2020

Comparison

Image Product Size Weight Price
OPI Crystal Nail File OPI Crystal Nail File

13.9 x 13.9 x 146.6 inches

1.1 ounces
$
Crystal Glass Nail File & Buffer Set by Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File & Buffer Set by Malva Belle


1.1 ounces
$
Makartt Zebra Nail File Washable Double Sided Emery Board Makartt Zebra Nail File Washable Double Sided Emery Board

7.1 x 1.1 x 0.2 inches

0.32 ounces
$
ClassyLady Professional Glass Nails File ClassyLady Professional Glass Nails File

5.3 x 0.1 x 0.4 inches

0.32 ounces
$
MAKARTT Professional Nail Files Black Washable Double Sided MAKARTT Professional Nail Files Black Washable Double Sided

7 x 0.8 x 0.2 inches

0.32 ounces
$
Glass Nail File - Crystal Nail File by Bona Fide Beauty Glass Nail File – Crystal Nail File by Bona Fide Beauty

5.8 x 0.8 x 0.2 inches

0.16 ounces
$
Mont Bleu Premium Set of 3 Crystal Nail Files in Velvet Pouch, Rainbow Colors Mont Bleu Premium Set of 3 Crystal Nail Files in Velvet Pouch, Rainbow Colors

3.54”, 5.31” & 7.68” inches long

4 ounces
$

Nail files are essential tools for any nail kit, and honestly, they are a must-have for absolutely anyone. Whether you like to get your nails done at the salon, or you are doing them at home, a basic tool that you should always have on hand is a good quality nail file. Actually, not just one. If you aim to always display a flawless manicure, you need to learn about how to choose from different nail files, their purpose and what you can achieve by using each one.

Nail files are not all created equal, on the contrary. Materials, sizes or grits can be different. They can be made out of glass, ceramic or metal and they also have different grits, thus, serving completely different purposes. For example, a course nail file is not meant to be used on natural nails, as it can damage them pretty badly. Instead, it is used to take off the product, like acrylic or fake nails.

We bet you didn’t think you had to educate yourself to buy a nail file, did you? Well, if you want to take your manicure from basic to professional, bear with us.

An essential step in achieving a professional-looking manicure is filing and shaping. This is that part where you really need the right nail file for taking off the product and achieving the desired shape. If you don’t wear any product and you prefer your nails natural, you still have to groom, take care of them and shape them, but in this case, you need entirely different nail files. If you are battling with brittle and cracked nails, there are nail files for sensitive nails as well. So, let’s discover the world of nail files together.

What you need to know before buying a nail file

  1. Types of nail files

As we stated earlier, there are different kinds of files out there. Here are some of them that you definitely know about and some that you might want to learn a bit more about. These are some of the most common and popular nail files.

Emery Boards

These are the most common ones, as you can find them very easily in almost any store. You probably have at least one around the house somewhere. These are made out of cardboard and sandpaper materials and they have different grit grades, from coarse to fine. They can be used to take off acrylic or gel, but also to shape the nails. Some can be used to buff the surface of your nails, but we will discuss grit grades and how to use them later on. However, the downside is that they fade relatively fast. The upside, on the other hand is they are cheap, so you can even buy them in bulk.

Buffing Blocks

We bet you have also heard or seen these types of “files”. These typically have four or more sides with different grits for buffing the nail surface. The majority of people get confused when it comes to deciding which side to use and what for, and we can’t blame them. These buffing blocks, while they can look cool, efficiency-wise, they are not the best option. They are bulky and not made for filing and shaping. So, the only thing you could do with such a tool is lightly buff the surface of your nail.

Metal Nail Files

This type of file was all the rage back in the day, but nowadays, not so much. Sure, they are long-lasting, but they are coarse and not meant to go on natural nails as they can damage their structure and cause them to split and crack. Many experts recommend throwing them away, unless you use them only on acrylics. Even if it says “soft” on the package, take our word, they are not. The abrasiveness of metal cannot be compared to sandpaper or other materials. So, if you still have one of these metal files lying around somewhere, the best you can do is toss it.

Glass Nail Files

These kinds of nail files are a must-have in any nail kit. They have a fine grit and they are suitable for natural nails, not to mention that they are easy to clean, sanitize and reuse. This type of file is made out of glass/crystal and it can smooth the nail’s edges without breaking its integrity. Glass files are the safest and actually the best ones to use, especially if you have sensitive and brittle nails. They cannot take off the length of acrylic nails, though, as they are not coarse enough to do heavy-duty nail work. But that is not their purpose.

  1. Grit Grades

Especially if you are into the disposable emery boards, you need to pay attention to the grit grade. Grit determines how coarse or how fine the nail file is. Maybe you have noticed that most of them usually have a number or two written on them. That number represents the abrasiveness and there is a rule to keep in mind here:

The higher the number, the finer the grit

The lower the number, the coarser the grit

For example, if you see 80/80 written on the file, that means the file has the same grit on both sides and the number 80, in this case, it is the lowest number. So, this file is meant to be used only for removing a heavy product like acrylic, for example.

If you see 150/180 on the file, that means one side is 150 grit, the other is 180 grit. 180 grit files can be used to prep, shorten, or shape natural nails.

Above 180, for example, a 240-grit file is used to buff the nails, eliminate fine ridges and generally smooth the nails.

Now that you know a little bit more about nail files, let’s see which is the best nail file that matches your manicure style. We have researched for the most popular and affordable nail files, as well as some that are used in professional nail salons, so you can choose the one you like the most.

OPI’s reputation as being one of the top brands in the nail art industry might be a factor of influence when it comes to choosing the best accessories and tools for nail shaping. There are many glass files on the market but not all of them are certified. This one is.

It is made out of long-lasting, hardened glass and has a permanent abrasive surface. Unlike other similar products that you might find in beauty stores, this nail file has a surface that is 100% non-porous. It can be easily sanitized using water or special anti-bacterial products. It was designed for professional use, but you can also use it at home safely, as it doesn’t cut, it has a fine grit and it doesn’t have any sharp edges.

This crystal nail file is ideal for brittle nails or nails that are prone to breakage because its filing surface is not going to scratch the nails or leave any sharp points. OPI’s crystal nail file comes in a transparent plastic tube holder that you can use for storage or when traveling. Although this nail file doesn’t have fancy rhinestones or different color choices, you can be sure it is a professional tool that would last for a long time.

OPI’s crystal nail file is translucent, extremely elegant and fits in your palm. Both of its sides have the same grit level. Besides being well designed, practical, healthy for your nails and safe to use, it is also travel-friendly, thanks to its size. Although it is pricier than other glass files, it is worth investing in a premium product that will keep your nails from splitting and breaking. If you are used to emery boards, this fine to medium-grit crystal file will take a bit of patience on your part, but once you see how healthy your nails are, you will fall in love with it.

PROS:

  • It is made out of crystal glass
  • It is durable
  • It is gentle on your nails
  • It can be easily cleaned and sanitized
  • You also get a holder for easy storage and travel
  • It is a great choice for weak and brittle nails (reduces nail breakage)

CONS:

  • you cannot use it on artificial nails
  • the plastic tube holder can easily break if you drop it

See what customers have to say on Amazon

If you are determined to invest in a well-made crystal nail file, this one will make sure your nails are staying healthy and strong. This glass nail file is not only extremely efficient, but it also looks great. It comes in a very girly packaging and you have two color options to choose from: mint green and pink. In the package, you will find the nail file and a case that matches the color of your file.

You know by now that glass nail files are the best when it comes to weak and brittle nails. This one makes no exception. With this one you can shape, clean, and file your natural nails, as well as some artificial nails, like gel, for example. The grit is medium to fine, so you have to have some patience, but once you get the hang of it, you will surely come to love it.

This glass nail file has a thickness of 3mm, which means it is thicker than the majority of the glass nail files you can find on the market. It also means that it is sturdier than others and the chances of breaking it are very low, so you can expect it to last a long time. Of course, this thickness comes with disadvantages for some people. A few customers say that it is hard to get under the nail with this file, but generally speaking, it also depends on the thickness of your natural nail.

Besides looking stunning, this glass file is easy to sanitize and clean and it is dishwasher safe. So, if you don’t feel like scrubbing it, just throw it in the dishwasher and pick it up when the cycle is done.

Unlike many other glass nail files that are just coated with an abrasive material, this one is the real thing. That means it won’t get dull over time. Customers seem to love this file and so do we. It helps weak nails become stronger while looking beautiful itself. It is a bit on the pricier side, but it could last you a lifetime, so we say it’s worth the extra dollar. Moreover, if you ever encounter a problem, you have a lifetime “Feels like the first time” warranty! So, if it breaks or it doesn’t perform the way you imagined, you can get a full refund.

PROS:

  • Salon-quality crystal nail file
  • Stunning design and packaging
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Two colors option
  • It comes with a sturdy case
  • It can work on artificial nails
  • A great choice for weak nails
  • It is thicker than others, so the chances of breaking it are low

CONS:

  • it’s pricier than others
  • due to its thickness, it can be hard to get under the nails for some people
  • it takes a long time to file artificial nails with this crystal nail file

See what customers have to say on Amazon

If you are used to emery boards, then you know that after some time, you need to replace them. Well, the time has come to change your regular emery boards with this set of 10 files that are washable and higher in quality than what you had before (we assume). Moreover, you get to choose your grit grades. So, you can select between 100/100, 100/180, or 240/240. The 100/100 means that both sides of the file have the same grit, in this case, a very coarse one, being able to remove acrylics and other fake nails. The 100/180 has one side dedicated to artificial nails, and you can use the other side (180) for filing natural nails as well. The last one, 240/240 is used for finishing touches on both artificial and natural nails.

These files have a curved design that makes it easy to follow the natural shape of the nail. They also don’t have any sharp edges, so they are easy to travel with and store in your purse or backpack. The price is also great, given the fact that you get 10 emery boards.

This set of 10 emery boards comes in handy wherever you are. You can use them for a pedicure too, and the best part is that they are all washable. So, after each use, gently wash them in warm water to remove any dust. However, keep in mind that no matter how good quality an emery board is, they are eventually going to wear down at some point. They are disposable, after all, so don’t expect them to last forever, and don’t continue to use them after they have worn down, as you can damage your nails by putting too much pressure.

PROS:

  • Good price point
  • Pack of 10 emery boards
  • You can choose your grit grade
  • Curved design (easy to use)
  • Washable

CONS:

  • They tend to wear down and lose their grit fast
  • They seem coarser than their corresponding grit grades

See what customers have to say on Amazon

If you are a fan of glass nail files, try this one out. If it’s your first time purchasing a glass nail file, you could also try this one out. Why? Because, just like its name says, this is a classy glass nail file. You can choose the color you want, as you have seven different options in terms of colors. This glass file is ideal for natural nails or if you want to improve the condition of your nails. Whether you experience chipping, peeling, or breaking, this nail file will definitely make you forget that you ever had these problems.

It comes with its own case that is equally as elegant, making the file easy and safe to store or take it with you while traveling. In the production process, this file goes through an extra-hardening step to ensure durability, so you can expect this file to last you years, if not forever.

The price is higher than what you usually find, but it the long run, you end up saving money from not buying additional files every few weeks, as you would do with emery boards.

This glass nail file is easy to clean by just submerging it under water, or by cleaning it with disinfectants or other anti-bacterial solutions. People are very pleased with the purchase and say that their nails have been growing out so much without chipping, peeling or braking since they used this file. Overall, this is a great nail tool to have on hand, and one that can truly take your nails from being fragile to getting longer and stronger.

PROS:

  • Durable glass file
  • Extra-hardening production process
  • Classy design
  • It comes with a case
  • Multiple color choices
  • Easy to clean and sanitize

CONS:

  • It is on the pricier side
  • You don’t get any warranty

See what customers have to say on Amazon

Even if you own a glass file, if you wear acrylics or gels, you would eventually need to use emery boards to get off the product on your nails. So, why not use a higher-quality emery board? This is a set of 10 double-sided emery boards that you can use on both natural and artificial nails. You have three choices in terms of grit grades: 100/180, 120/240, and 180/240. In this case, we chose 100/180, as these are great for removing hard products like acrylic or gel.

They are also great for shaping and filing natural nails (using the 180 side) and you can use them for grooming your pet’s nails as well.

The great thing about these professional nail files is that they are water-resistant and can be cleaned easily, so that you can remove bacteria. However, they are not completely waterproof, so don’t expect them to perform like a crystal nail file. You can wash them a few times, but they would start to peel after some time. After all, they are emery boards, thus, disposable.

The value for money is far great, the price per unit reaching only a dollar. They have a straight shape with rounded top and bottom to allow easy access for the cuticle area or if you want to smooth some edges. In short, if you are going to level up to a higher-quality emery board, this pack is definitely what you need to be looking at.

PROS:

  • Great value for the price
  • They are washable (they are water-resistant)
  • You can choose your grit grade
  • Rounded top and bottom for easy access

CONS:

  • Some users say they are coarser than what the grit grade says
  • Because they are wide, it is hard to do fine work like getting underneath the nail

See what customers have to say on Amazon

Yes, another crystal nail file. Why? Because it is simply the best nail file for weak nails and your best nail filer companion that you can ever get. This is another beautifully designed glass nail file that comes in six color choices with matching cases. This glass file is made in the Czech Republic and if you haven’t heard yet, Czech tempered glass is considered the best one out there. We are not sure exactly why, but it is just like with a secret ingredient in a delicious recipe – if they would reveal it, then it would not be so secret anymore, right?

This glass file is strong and wear-resistant, so you should expect it to last a long time. You can use it for your toes as well. You may think that all glass files take longer to file and shape, but this one doesn’t. In fact, some users said that it took them less time compared to filing with emery boards. That is also because this file has a fine to medium grit, which allows it to get the job done quicker.

You can easily clean it and sanitize it, either by using soapy water, or an anti-bacterial spray of your choice. Most users said that they could clearly see an improvement after using this file. Nails are stronger and generally appear like they were done in a professional salon. This file leaves a smooth finish and has an affordable price compared to other glass nail files.

Overall, if you are looking to improve the quality of your nails and stop them from chipping, peeling, cracking, and eventually breaking, this nail filer is the best way to restore your nails’ health.

PROS:

  • Beautiful design
  • It comes with a matching case
  • Six colors to choose from
  • Fine to medium grit (great for filing and shaping)
  • It does the job quickly

CONS:

  • Some users say the case is flimsy

See what customers have to say on Amazon

If by now, you slowly but surely became a fan of crystal nail files, here is a set of three. These are three files of different lengths and sizes that come at a fantastic price, specifically, a price that you would have played for a single glass file from another name brand.

This set was created to serve your nails at home, at the office, or on the go. The files are 3.54”, 5.31” & 7.68” respectively. Believe it or not, the largest of all can also be used on your pet’s nails, as it has a fine to medium grit.

The impressive thing is that each nail file is handcrafted from high quality Czech tempered glass. This type of glass is renowned for its sturdiness and durability, so it will not break easily and that’s great news.

Another important aspect is its lifetime warranty. This set comes with a lifetime warranty for each individual crystal file. That is how they are really telling you they are serious about their glass. Every file has a lifetime warranty for the filing surface, meaning that if you drop it and break it, you are not covered by the warranty. Instead, if the filing surface ever degrades, you can claim your refund or a brand-new product.

We love this combo pack not only for the quality, but because having three different sizes of files, you can make sure your nails stay in perfect shape wherever you are. Moreover, it is a way of custom fitting your nail with the proper file dimension. Not everyone has the same nail thickness, so some people found that the best glass file for them was the travel size, for example.

PROS:

  • Excellent price
  • Three different sizes in one pack
  • High-quality double-tempered Czech Glass
  • Each nail file is handmade and goes through a strict quality control process
  • Lifetime warranty for each glass file (for the filing surface)
  • Durable

CONS:

  • The handle can break easily, and it is not covered by the warranty

See what customers have to say on Amazon

Well, now we hope that you gained a little bit of information about the proper way to take care of your nails at home. Whether you are a nail enthusiast and you like to discover new techniques of nailcare, you just want to save up and take a break from expensive nail salons, or you like to take care of your nails at home, a good quality hand file is a must-have.

If you are still not entirely sure how to choose your nail files, here are some answers to help clarify your concerns.

WHAT IS THE BEST FILE FOR NATURAL NAILS?

The best file you can use for your natural nails is the crystal or glass file. When you look at a glass file under a microscope, you can see there are evenly placed indentations that are also rounded. That means that nothing in this file will tear the fibers of your nails, thus exposing them to peeling and breakage. With an emery board, no matter how fine the grit grade is, if you file back and forth, you will likely end up with microscopic tears that will then promote tearing, peeling, and eventually breaking. That is the main reason why glass files are so gentle on natural nails and they are especially recommended for people with weak and thin nails.

HOW DO I PROPERLY USE AN EMERY BOARD?

When filing with an emery board, it is recommended to file in one direction only. Using an emery board back and forth can lead to breaking and peeling in the long term. Be sure to adjust your grit grade when buying emery boards and use them accordingly.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE GRIT GRADE OF MY EMERY BOARD?

Emery boards can be hard to figure out. Nail technicians usually take of heavy products (like acrylic, for example) using an electric nail file because it is a faster process, but they can also use manual files to shape and file the nails. Usually, a coarse file is used to file down the length of acrylic as well as the nail surface (around 100 grit). From 180 to 220 grit you can use files to shape and smooth artificial nails and natural nails (for natural nails, try to stick to a grit over 200 so you don’t damage the nail). After that, they use a fine one, from 400 to 600 grit to finish natural or artificial nails. Anything above the 600 grit is a fine buffer that is used for shine.

Asami

Asami

My name is Asami, and I’ve been an experienced Nail Technician for over 20 years. All started back in college as a simple hobby, while it has become a lifestyle. I worked in various nail salons while I got many degrees and certifications which helped me gain more and more experience. During my career I learnt from the very best people in the industry.

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