The Best Nail Files

A solid nail file can be the difference between the nail shape you want and a shape you absolutely detest. Or it can even mean jagged edges that can scratch anything or anyone they come in contact with. Beyond an aesthetic point of view, a crummy nail file can also damage nails and break down the keratin, which is responsible for strong, healthy nails. Therefore, it’s obvious why such a small item like a nail file can have a major impact. Below are a few options to check out for those at-home manicure sessions or when you need to keep your nails looking great on the go.

TsMADDTs Manicure Tool Kit Nail File

At-Home Mani

Whether you have natural or acrylic nails, this kit will keep your manicure looking on point.
Best Overall

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What makes this the best overall nail file is that it’s just so encompassing of everything you’ll need to buff, file, and chip away at your natural or acrylic nails. The manicure kit includes six pieces of buffing blocks as well as six files, so you’re covered from start to finish. The files are 100 and 180 grit which you can use to file, smooth, and refine to your desired shape. Though you get six files and they’re washable, each of the nail files will hold up for a substantial amount of time so your nails can always stay fresh and fly.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Works on natural and acrylic nails

Cons:

  • Files can bend easily if not handled with care

HeeYaa Double-Sided (10-Piece)

Into the File Cabinet

If you're known to *misplace* your nail files now and again (and by now and again, we mean always), this bulk purchase is a good idea.
Best Value

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For some people, it makes plenty of sense to splurge on the fancy-schmancy premium version of a product. After all, if it’s built well, it’s probably going to last you a long time. This will help justify its cost over time and ensure you’ve got a really good product.

However, if you, like many of us, are prone to losing just about everything (sunglasses, anyone?), then you know that sometimes it’s better to opt for the inexpensive option so you can buy a few at once to have backups on hand. So the thinking goes with this 10-piece pack from HeeYaa. Though they’re not of the absolute best quality, they get the job done and there’s ten of them. Seriously, if you lose ten nail files, you’ve got more pressing things to tend to than your nails. Just kidding – no judgment here.

Pros:

  • They cost very little. Seriously, this cannot be emphasized enough
  • Dual-sided. Each side has a different grit

Cons:

  • The smoother side is still fairly rough

Revlon Dual-Sided Nail File

Two-Faced ... In the Best Way Possible

The sleek design of this nail file is matched by its clever functionality.
Best Design

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Some nail files are designed with a brute-force approach in mind. They only have one coarseness, and with that, you’re expected to file and buff your nails to perfection. Huh? With this one from Revlon, you get a dual-sided nail file that’s designed with subtlety in mind.

Each side of the file is distinguished by pattern so you can tell one from the other Why would you want to do that? Well, on one side of the file, you’ll find a more coarse texture that’s better suited to the more heavy-duty tasks. Flip it over, and you’ll see the smooth side, perfect for finishing those final touches after an at-home manicure. Our fingernails are, after all, a delicate thing, so it makes sense to approach them with sophistication, does it not?

Pros:

  • Will last a long time
  • Made by Revlon, one of the most trusted names in the industry

Cons:

  • Width may be a tad small to use it effectively on your toes

Makartt Zebra Nail Files

From Natural to Acrylic

Some files only work on certain types of nails, but this one does it all.
Most Versatile

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Besides being affordable, the Makartt nail files work whether you have natural or acrylic nails. The 100 grit side of the file is a bit coarser and perfect for gel or acrylic nails, while the 180 grit works best for natural nails. These are cool to have on hand if you like doing your manicures at home or want a quick touch up in between salon visits. The pack, which includes a set of 10 files, means you can keep a few at home, one at work, your gym bag, or just anywhere you might need to do a quick mani or reshape your nails.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to sanitize
  • The curved shape makes holding the file easy

Cons:

  • A single file won’t last long before becoming dull

SixVector Premium Glass Nail File

Out with the Old, in with the Glass

Once you reach the point where you’re ready to ditch the emery board nail files, this glass option is the way to go.
Premium Pick

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Some products are just fashionable. Some products are functional. A glorious few of them are both at the same time. Enter SixVector’s glass nail file. This beauty’s not just pretty to look at, but it also gets the darn job done. Thanks to its unique construction, it’s extremely durable, allowing you to get your nails shaped and manicured perfectly time and time again.

Pros:

  • Available in a slew of lovely colors
  • Protective case included

Cons:

  • More effective at buffering than filing

Frequently Asked Questions

What grit number should I use for my nail file?

Nail files have different grit, or levels of how fine or rough the surface may be. For a lot of nail files you’ll see in stores, they typically can range from 80, 100, 180 or 240. For lighter jobs on natural nails or making edges smoother, a softer 240 grit can be a good option. For heavier duty jobs, try a lower grit number.

Are glass nail files better than emery board nail files?

Glass nail files are a popular option for many people. They can be a bit more expensive, but they’re easier to clean and will last much longer than a cheaper emery board file.

Can you clean a nail file?

Most nail files can be cleaned pretty easily. Shake off any excess dust or particles, run under water and let air dry. Emery board nail files should not be placed in water.