Best Electric Nail Drills

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
159 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best electric nail drills

Last Updated August 2019

An attractive manicure and pedicure can put the finishing touches on your look. But if you’re tired of heading to the salon and plunking down big bucks every time your nails need a touchup, there’s no reason you can’t take care of them yourself. Successful at-home manis and pedis require the right tools, though, and a high-quality electric nail drill is key if you want salon-quality results.

Choosing the right electric nail drill can be confusing with so many models on the market. You’ll need to decide how powerful you need the drill to be, what bits it should include, the type of cord you prefer, and what other features will make shaping and maintaining your nails easy.

Our shopping guide has all the information you need to find the best electric nail drill for your next at-home mani-pedi.

If you plan to use your electric nail drill frequently, it’s best to invest in a higher-end model. A budget-friendly drill won’t hold up to regular use as well, so you’ll usually wind up needing to replace your drill sooner.

What is an electric nail drill?

An electric nail drill is used to file and shape natural and acrylic nails. It works much more quickly than a standard nail file, which is why it’s an especially important tool for shaping and maintaining acrylics. It also works well for fixing cracks in acrylics, removing lifted acrylics, filing nails before applying gel or acrylic nails, buffing natural nails, fixing cuticles, and smoothing calluses or hardened skin on your hands and feet.

Key considerations

Bits

The first thing to consider when you’re shopping for an electric nail drill is whether you’ll be using it on natural nails, acrylic nails, or both. That’s because the type of nails that you’ll use the drill on determines what drill bits you should look for when you purchase a model. When you’re new to using a nail drill, it’s best to stick to a kit that contains just the basics so you don’t wind up paying for bits you won’t use. If you’re experienced at using a drill, you may want some specialized bits to tackle your particular manicure and pedicure needs.

The majority of electric nail drills use a standard bit size that measures 3/32”. Some of the basic bits that all drills should include are:

  • Natural nail bit: As its name implies, this bit is designed to buff natural nails and trim cuticles. It’s usually used to prepare your natural nails for acrylics or other artificial nails and typically features a cylindrical rubber design that’s gentle enough for natural nails.

  • Pedicure bit: This bit is meant to remove calluses from the feet and other hard areas of skin near your toenails. It’s usually a precision diamond bit that can easily remove dry skin.

  • Small and large carbide bits: These bits are used to shape, thin, and shorten acrylic nails. They also aid in cutting acrylics to prepare for backfilling. Having two sizes makes it easier to get as precise as you need.

  • Under-nail bit: This bit features a unique, thin design that fits precisely under the nail to shape it and clean the area.

  • Manicure and pedicure attachments: Some drills include tools that can be attached to the drill in the bit slot. These may include a nail tip polisher, a polishing felt cone, and a callus remover.
     

Power

An electric nail drill’s power is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Most models range from approximately 10,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM, though nail drills usually offer multiple speed settings to allow you to customize the power for each task.

If you plan to use the drill mainly on natural nails, a model that goes up to 15,000 RPM is usually sufficient. However, if you plan to use it for acrylic nails or both natural and acrylic nails, opt for a drill that can handle at least 25,000 RPM.

In general, the slowest speed setting on an electric nail drill should be used for natural nails and cuticles. The medium setting works well for smoothing out acrylics, while the highest speed is best for shortening acrylics.

CAUTION

Always make sure that your electric nail drill is unplugged before you clean it.

Features

Cord

Electric nail drills are available corded or cordless. A corded nail drill must be plugged into an outlet for operation, which may limit where you’re able to use it. However, you’ll get more power from a corded model, and you’ll never have to worry about it running out of power in the middle of a manicure. Corded electric nail drills are usually lighter and more affordable, too.

A cordless electric nail drill doesn’t require an outlet for power, so you can use it almost anywhere. It usually runs on a rechargeable battery, which can run out when you’re in the middle of shaping your acrylics. Most models have a battery life of one to two hours, but you’ll usually need approximately two hours to fully recharge the battery when it runs out.

Corded electric nail drills typically work best for full manicures, while cordless drills work best for touch-ups.

Anti-vibration

Cheaply made electric nail drills often vibrate quite a bit, which can make them uncomfortable to hold and difficult to use. Opt for a nail drill that’s designed to vibrate less so that you can use it more comfortably.

Noise level

Lower-quality electric nail drills can also make a great deal of noise when turned on. You may not mind that as much if you’re doing your own manicure, but if you’re using the drill on others, it’s a good idea to purchase a model that’s mostly silent when in use.

Hands-free operation

Some high-end electric nail drills are equipped with a pedal, which allows you to control the drill with your foot. You can easily turn the drill on and off with the foot pedal, as well as control the direction that the drill spins. This feature makes it easier for both right- and left-handed people to use the drill, and it’s extremely handy when you’re doing manicures on other people.

Dust shield

When you’re using an electric nail drill to shape and shorten nails, you can kick up a great deal of dust from the filing. Some drills are equipped with a shield to keep the dust from flying in your face or getting the drill itself dirty. Other drills have a hand rest with a vacuum vent that actually sucks up dust from filing, which makes your manicures almost entirely dust-free.

Accessories

Some electric nail drills come with accessories to make manicures even easier. Accessories may include a manual nail file, nail clippers, cuticle nippers, and nail brushes.

EXPERT TIP

If the bits from your electric nail drill pick up any nail polish residue, wipe them down with acetone to easily dissolve the polish.


Staff  | BestReviews

Electric nail drill prices

Electric nail drills vary in price based on power. Most models range from $10 to $200.

The most affordable electric nail drills typically offer less than 10,000 RPM and usually cost between $10 and $20. They can work well for natural nails but aren’t an effective option for acrylic nails.

For electric nail drills that offer 10,000 to 20,000 RPM, you’ll typically pay between $20 and $60. These drills are best for natural nails, but they can break down quickly if you use them for acrylic nails.

The most powerful electric nail drills offer at least 25,000 RPM and cost between $60 and $100. They work well for both acrylic and natural nails. However, if you need a drill mainly for acrylics, you may prefer a model that offers more than 30,000 RPM. These models usually range from $100 to $200.

A ball or round-tip bit is effective for trimming your cuticles with an electric nail drill.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Before using an electric nail drill, carefully push back any cuticles so the nail surface is fully exposed.

  • For natural nails, it’s best to keep a nail drill at a speed of approximately 2,500 to 6,000 RPM. Using a faster speed may damage the nails.

  • To repair a crack in acrylic nails, use a speed of approximately 3,500 to 6,000 RPM and hold the nail drill parallel to the nail.

  • Don’t use cuticle oil when preparing the nails for an electric nail drill. The oil can clog the drill, causing it to break down more quickly.

  • Be sure to clean your electric nail drill regularly. Dirt and debris can accumulate in the drill’s crevices, which can impact its performance.

Other products we considered

With so many electric nail drills to choose from, there are plenty of effective options to suit your manicure and pedicure needs. The Madenia Electric Nail Drill is an ideal choice if you have acrylic nails because it can reach up to 35,000 RPM. It’s designed for both right- and left-handed use and is small enough to fit in a makeup bag for easy travel. For natural nails, we love the Beauty Online Portable Nail Art Drill Kit, which includes six different bits for all of your manicure and pedicure needs. It’s also lightweight, so it’s easy to operate and take with you on the go.

The skin beneath your nails can be extremely sensitive, so take extreme care when using an electric nail drill in that area.

FAQ

Q. Is an electric nail drill safe to use at home?

A. Even if you’re not a professional, you can usually safely operate an electric nail drill at home. Be sure to read all the safety instructions that are included with your drill, though, and take any necessary precautions. When you’re just learning to use the drill, start with slower speeds until you get the hang of controlling the tool. Go especially slow if you’re using the drill to file natural nails, which are more delicate than acrylic or gel nails.

Q. Do electric nail drills usually include a warranty?

A. Most electric nail drills do provide some type of warranty protection. However, some models offer as little as six months of protection, while others provide up to two years of warranty coverage. Keep in mind that the warranty usually only covers issues that arise due to material or manufacturing defects, not accidents or operator misuse.

Q. How do I clean an electric nail drill?

A. Remove any dust or dirt from the surface of your nail drill with a brush or can of compressed air. Most drill bodies shouldn’t be submerged in water, so don’t try to clean your drill by soaking it. To disinfect the drill bits, scrub them with soapy water and then soak them for about 20 minutes in a disinfecting solution that’s safe for metal tools. Allow the bits to dry thoroughly and then store them in a covered container until it’s time to use them.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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