How To Choose the Best Nail File?

Date Posted:15 September 2022 

Beautiful nails go hand in hand with a good quality nail file. It’s an easy way to add final touches to your manicure or pedicure. It also helps create smooth and healthy looking nails by removing sharp or split edges. Nail files have three characteristics: Coarseness, Material, and Size. To help you choose the best nail file, let's look at different types and how their unique attributes work with your nails.

How To Choose the Best Nail File? main image How To Choose the Best Nail File? image



Coarseness relates to the abrasive layer on the file surface and is described using the term 'grit'. Grit is the number of coating particles per one square centimetre. The higher the grit number, the smoother the file, and vice versa.

High-count grit is more delicate and tends to be used for detailed filing on natural nails. Coarse files, on the other hand, are used to file away length and shape thicker nails, such as toenails or acrylic extensions.

You need to decide what type of filing you will be doing and choose a file grit to suit the task.



Material plays an important role as it determines the durability of your file and its performance. So, once you have settled on the best grit count, take a closer look at what material the file is made from. The combination of the two will suggest the most optimal nail file for your nails. 

Metal Nail File

A metal nail file comes with a steel blade with an abrasive surface. These files usually have one coarse and one fine coating, so you can use the rough side for forming and the fine side for smoothing. One end is usually non-abrasive and is made to clean the dirt from under the nail tips, while the other end is often shaped as a cuticle pusher – allowing you to do a few tasks with just one tool.

Sapphire nail files are made with a metal base coated with fine sapphire dust. These particles adhere to the blade by a layer of nickel or chromium, which enables the dust to bond firmly and ensures the particles are not dislodged.

Sapphire nail files are better suited for thick and strong nails, as well as acrylic nails and they are distinguished by a long lasting surface.

ZOHL nail files in our collection are made entirely of stainless steel, including the handle, and therefore are unbreakable.

Glass Nail File

Glass files have a great reputation for gentle filing thanks to extra fine and smooth surface. Crafted from ground crystal and specially hardened at very high temperatures, they are made to last, although they require delicate care as they can break like any other glass.

Glass nail files have a high grit count and are perfect for fragile or thin nails. They are not the most practical choice for filing away the length of the nail as their fine blades are not coarse enough to do this task easily.

It's best to trim your nails with nail clippers or nail scissors first, then follow up with a glass nail file to remove sharp edges.

Emery Board

Emery boards typically have cardboard as a base covered with emery. Emery is made of corundum, or aluminium oxide, and represents a fine grain abrasive powder. This structure can vary from fine to coarse and is generally quite gentle on nails.

Most emery boards come double-sided, with two different grits on each side of the file. If you pick a dual-sided file, then you will be able to satisfy most of your filing needs. Emery board is perfect for filing down the length and smoothing out the edge of the nail. But ensure that you are using the correct grit applicable for the task and your nail type.

The disadvantage of emery boards is their short life span. You may need to replace your emery board every couple of weeks before the emery layer wears off, so it’s important to consider this when planning your ongoing nail care budget.



Size is probably the only factor that does not add much into the selection process of the nail file.

The golden rule here – choose a nail file that you are comfortable to hold in both hands. Their overall length usually ranges from 9 cm to 18 cm, and depends on your personal preference.

Remember: good quality nail files won't damage the nail plate, which is important if you want to have strong and healthy nails.


Find high quality nail files in our beautiful collection of professional nail tools for salon and at-home nail care.


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