Using the Right Nail File Is Vital for a Perfect Set—These 11 Meet Our Standards
Have you ever considered how vital the right nail file is to achieving the perfect set? Until recently, I hadn’t. However, I love watching my nail technician gently and thoughtfully file my nails into the perfect almond shape before applying a fresh coat of nail polish. But getting your desired nail shape just right—at home or the salon—starts with one essential tool: the nail file. So what should you look for when adding a file (or two) to your nailcare kit? First, the way a nail file is numbered matters.
"The key point to remember when looking at numbers on nail files is that the lower the number, the coarser the nail file will be," says LeChat educator and brand ambassador Syreeta Aaron. "The higher the number, the finer the grit." If you opt for a nail file with a lower number, you can expect it to have a more abrasive finish best used for nail enhancements like acrylic or hard gel. Alternatively, a nail file with a higher number and finer grit is better for natural nails.
Aaron says glass nail files are the best option for those wanting a durable file that's easy on the nail and easy to clean. "When using nail files on natural nails, I always advise people to use a glass nail file," she explains. "The grit on a typical nail file is much different than the glass nail file. Glass nail files are made to protect the integrity of the nail, unlike regular nail files that may be used for nail enhancements like acrylic and hard gel." With this in mind, scroll to shop 11 of the best nail files.
Shop the Best Nail Files
Housed in a vegan leather case, this kit includes a polisher glass to gently shape your nails and citrus-scented cuticle oil infused with jojoba, castor, sea buckthorn, and grape-seed oils to help nourish cuticles without leaving a greasy residue. Plus, the case keeps the kit ready for travel.
This budget-friendly glass nail file can be easily washed with soap and water. And at $4, you can purchase a few to ensure you're never without one when you need it.
For artificial nail prep, this file is a great choice. Select from six different options.
This Amazon favorite boasts thousands of five-star ratings and has sides that can be peeled off and replaced each time for a super-hygienic filing on natural, acrylic, or gel manicures.
This double-sided glass file has the perfect amount of grit to shape even the most delicate nails without causing damage. Additionally, it's reusable and easy to clean with soap and water.
Nail files don't have to be boring. This neon three-pack proves it. Use these 100/180 grit files on natural and acrylic nails. Bonus: They can be reused for up to three months.
Designed with an inner foam layer for better control and precision, this 100/180 grit file is one of the best for shaping, refining, and shortening nail extensions. Plus, its elongated diamond shape helps you file sidewall areas.
Crafted from poplar wood harvested from sustainably managed forests, this 12-piece set is packaged in a tiny orange Hermès box, making it easy to pop in your bag or carry-on. Use the beige side to shape your nail and the orange side to smooth!
Crafted in Germany from stainless steel, this double-sided nail shaper is finished with diamond-ceramic surfaces in both medium grit (for shaping) and fine grit (for smoothing). Plus, a scratch-resistant coating helps repel water, oil, and bacteria.
For natural nails, reviewers rave about this file. One reviewer shared, "My husband prefers these heavy gauge boards to anything else available. They feel sturdy in your hands. He also uses them on his calluses."
Made for your feet, this stainless steel file is finished with a diamond-ceramic layer that gently softens rough edges. An ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating repels water, oil, and bacteria. For best results, it's recommended to soak feet before filing to help soften the skin.