Updated May 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Buying guide for best nail clippers

You don’t have to love nail polish and eye-catching manicures to know how important a quality pair of nail clippers can be. They’re an essential grooming tool for every home because they not only help you look more polished but also help treat injuries to your nails.

Whether you have natural or artificial nails, clippers are crucial if you do your own manicures because they help you shape your nails. However, even if you never use polish, clippers can keep your nails neatly trimmed so they don’t get snagged on clothing, furniture, and other fabrics. If you wind up with a hangnail or an ingrown nail, a trusty pair of clippers can also help alleviate the pain and swelling.

If you’re searching for a pair of durable, easy-to-use clippers, start by deciding which type and blade material are best for your needs. Next, figure out which edge shape you want and identify other user-friendly features to make sure you wind up with the best nail clippers for your medicine cabinet.

nail clippers
Trimming nails too often can weaken them. Your fingernails need trimming about twice a month, while you should cut your toenails every six to eight weeks.

How to buy the best nail clippers

Types of nail clippers

Nail clippers might all seem the same, but there are several different types to choose from.

Lever clippers have a horizontal head with blades that can accommodate nails of most sizes. The handle has a lever that, when pressed, closes the blades together to clip your nails. This is the most common type, but it requires considerable force to use, which might lead to broken nails. These work best on fingernails.

Guillotine clippers have blades that form a ring to place the nail through. Pressing the handles together trims the nail. This style is most commonly used for pet nail clippers, but you can find some for people too. These clippers cut thick or overgrown nails well.

Scissor clippers have a design that resembles a pair of scissors and are used in a similar way to trim your nails. This style can work especially well for toenails because it isn’t likely to crack or split the nails. These clippers usually have a rounded edge, making them an effective option for trimming children’s and babies’ nails.

Nipper clippers look like a pair of pliers and have blades that work well for thicker nails, such as toenails. Like scissor clippers, they usually don’t cause broken or cracked nails. They’re typically more expensive than other types of nail clippers.

Blades

Materials: Some cheaper clippers have aluminum or tin blades that can successfully trim your nails. However, these materials aren’t particularly durable, so the clippers often break after just a few uses.

For the most durable clippers, look for those with stainless steel blades. Steel blades are also usually sharper than aluminum and tin blades, so they make clean cuts, preventing broken and cracked nails.

You can also find some clippers with titanium steel blades. Like stainless steel, these blades are hypoallergenic, rust-resistant, and easy to clean, so they aren’t likely to cause irritation or spread infections.

Shape: Clippers typically have blades that are either straight or curved.

Straight blades provide a square cut and work well if you prefer your nails to have a square shape. They’re also ideal if you tend to get ingrown nails because they don’t angle the sides of the nails, which can encourage them to grow into the skin.

Curved blades create a rounded cut and work well if you prefer round, oval, or almond-shaped nails. They do angle the sides of your nails, though, which might cause them to grow into the skin and result in ingrown nails.

Size

While most clippers are a fairly standard size, there is some variation.

Smaller clippers are generally used for fingernails, while larger clippers are typically designed for trimming toenails. However, if you have small or thin toenails, fingernail clippers might work well for both your fingers and toes. If you have large, thick toenails, you’ll do better with a larger, toenail-size pair. Larger clippers offer greater leverage when clipping the nails, so they also work well if you have difficulty bending to reach your toes or have other mobility issues.

Never bite your nails when they need trimming. Biting the nails can weaken them and make them more likely to break.

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Features to look for in nail clippers

Ergonomic grip

Nail clippers with an ergonomic design are easier to hold, letting you effectively access hard-to-reach areas, such as your toenails. The handles often have a textured or ridged grip, so that you can get a solid hold on the clippers. Some handles are even curved to fit the contours of your fingers and improve your grip.

Integrated nail file

Many clippers include a built-in nail file, so you can smooth rough edges after cutting your nails. The file typically pulls out from the handle and slides back into place when not in use for a more compact design. However, keep in mind that these files are typically made of metal and might not be as effective as emery boards or glass nail files.

Case

Some nail clippers come with a case or pouch for storage. That makes it easy to toss the clippers in your purse or bag and take them with you without worrying about the blade or handle getting damaged.

nails
DID YOU KNOW?
Fingernails typically grow an average of 3.47 millimeters per month, while toenails average 1.62 millimeters per month.
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How do I accessorize nail clippers?

Nail files

After trimming your nails, you might need to use a file to smooth the rough edges. If your clippers don’t have a built-in file or the file is low quality, it helps to have a separate nail file. Simple emery boards or metal files are inexpensive and effective, but you might prefer a glass or ceramic file to prevent damage to your nails.

Nail lacquer

Once your nails are cut to the perfect length and shape, applying nail lacquer or polish can help your manicure stand out. Nail lacquer is available in a wide array of colors and finishes, so you can create the perfect look for any occasion.

Manicure kits

Even if you have a quality pair of clippers, you might need other tools for a complete manicure. A manicure kit usually contains clippers as well as other tools, such as a cuticle trimmer, cuticle pusher, nail buffer, and file, so you have everything required to shape, trim, and smooth your nails.

How much do nail clippers cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable nail clippers are usually made of aluminum, tin, or low-quality stainless steel. As a result, they’re not that durable and might not offer features like an ergonomic grip and a built-in nail file. These clippers generally cost $3 to $9.

Mid-range

These nail clippers are typically made of higher-quality stainless steel. They’re fairly durable and usually have such features as an ergonomic grip and built-in nail file. These clippers generally cost between $9 and $18.

Expensive

The most expensive nail clippers are those made of surgical-grade stainless steel or titanium steel. They’re highly durable and typically offer the cleanest cuts of any clippers. In addition, they have features like an ergonomic grip, integrated nail file, and storage case. These clippers generally cost $18 to $27.

High-quality nail clippers can last up to a decade if cared for properly. They’re less likely to get dull than cheap clippers, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your nails.

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Tips

  • Disinfect your clippers at least once a month. Nails can harbor bacteria and fungus, which you don’t want to spread from one nail to another. Soak the clippers in 70% to 90% isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes to kill any germs.
  • Clip your nails after a bath or shower. It’s easier to cut your nails when they’re soft, and exposure to warm water while you bathe can help soften them. If you can’t shower before trimming your nails, soak your fingertips in warm water for a few minutes first.
  • Cut straight across your nails when using clippers. If you don’t want such a square shape, you can follow up with a nail file to round the edges of your nails. Rounding your nails can help prevent breakage and keep your nails from snagging on fabrics too.
  • Don’t cut cuticles with clippers. Cutting into the skin can cause an infection that takes some time to clear up.
  • Take your own nail clippers and tools to the salon for your manicure. Because germs and bacteria spread so easily on nail tools, you’re better off using your own than relying on the salon staff to properly disinfect tools after they’re used on other customers.
nail clippers
Your nails can be a reflection of your health. Report any changes in the color and texture of your nails to your doctor to determine if there are any issues.

FAQ

Q. Do nail clippers damage nails?

A. Clippers can damage your nails if the blades aren’t sharp enough. A dull blade can crush nails, causing splitting and breakage. However, if you replace your clippers regularly, you can trust that the blades are sharp enough to create clean cuts that won’t damage your nails.

Q. What’s the best way to clean nail clippers?

A. To make sure your clippers are clean, gently scrub them with warm water and antibacterial dish soap. Rinse them with clean water and dry them thoroughly. Remember to disinfect the clippers with rubbing alcohol too. Soak them in the alcohol for a couple of minutes, and let them air-dry before putting them away.

Q. Do I need different nail clippers for fingers and toes?

A. Toenails are larger and thicker than fingernails, so they require heavy-duty clippers. Small nail clippers designed for fingernails might not be strong enough to cut through toenails. However, you can use large clippers meant for the toes on your fingers. Some clippers come in sets of small and large, so you can have dedicated clippers for each type of nail.

 

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