Nail file

A person filing their nails (Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels)

Chipped polish? Snagged tips? Don’t let these nail emergencies ruin your perfectly manicured moment! The secret weapon in your arsenal for achieving salon-worthy nails at home lies in the humble nail file. But with so many options available, from emery boards to glass files, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Fear not, fellow nail enthusiasts! This guide will navigate you through the world of nail files, helping you select the perfect tool to buff, shape, and strengthen your way to flawless fingertips. Get ready to say goodbye to ragged edges and hello to smooth, healthy nails that will have everyone asking, “What’s your secret?” We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly recommended nail files across nine expert sources. Do you have a staple file you use? Let us know in the comments below.

The List: Best Nail Files, According to Beauty Experts

1. Tweezerman Neon Hot Files

As a beginner, it can be hard to know what kind of file you need. Whether you’re filing natural or faux nails, this Tweezerman set will do the job. “If you want to keep it basic, you can’t go wrong with this three-pack of files,” says Byrdie. “The dual-grit surfaces mean they work on both natural and acrylic nails, and the neon hues make it easy to dig them out of any crowded bathroom drawer or makeup bag.”

Tweezerman Neon Hot Files
Tweezerman Neon Hot Files (

If you want to add a splash of color to your manicure routine, this affordable and versatile pack of files will get you far. “Nail files don’t have to be boring,” writes Who What Wear. “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.”

“These are traditional dual-sided emery boards but in two-tone neon, which makes the whole experience more fun,” says The Independent. “They’re a little thick and cushioned, and have a different grit texture on each side: 100 and 180.”

2. Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator

If you’re ready for a step up from a basic file, this multi-sided tool is a great way to enhance your nails. “This four-sided file has four different grits to do it all—shape, smooth, buff, and shine,” writes Byrdie. “(All four sides are made from a microfiber material that’s gentle on your tips.) Consider it a one-stop-shop nail tool that makes DIY manis easier than ever.”

 Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator
Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator (

“For healthy, natural nails, lead nail technician at Chillhouse Molly Romah told Insider Deborah Lippmann’s Smooth Operator Buffer Nail File is one of the best,” explains Insider. It’s still affordable too, for a tool that will shape, smooth and shine nails.

“This multi-tasking nail tool is perfect to prep your nails for a DIY manicure or for on-the-go touchups. It has four sides with varying uses,” says Makeup by L’Oreal.

3. ClassyLady Professional Glass Nail File

Glass files are great for those who have thinner or more brittle nails that are prone to splitting or breaking. “The highly rated nail file is also loved for how easy it is to clean — all you have to do is rinse it under running water, according to the brand,” says Instyle. “And yes, you should be cleaning your nail file, whether it’s glass or metal (you can toss those disposable emery boards, though).”

ClassyLady Professional Glass Nail File
ClassyLady Professional Glass Nail File (

The smaller grit is great for natural nails but also works on other types of faux nails. “The ClassyLady Glass Nail File is made of crystal glass and works great on all types of nails, like natural, acrylic, gel, and artificial nails. It comes with a nail file case for storing it in your handbag,” writes Style Craze.    

The best thing about glass files is their longevity. “This glass nail file will last for years, is easy to clean and lightweight enough to keep with you at all times,” explains Makeup by L’Oreal.

4. Mont Bleu Premium Crystal Nail Files

Looking for a set of classy glass files to showcase your style? Choose from a variety of elegant colors. “This premium set of three nail files comes in a velvet pouch. The nail files are made of tempered glass and work best for natural nails. The set comes in various color options, like Aqua Cobalt, Blue Purple, Blue-Y-Blue, Bubblegum, Fern Green, Magenta Blue, and Purple Pink,” describes Style Craze.

Mont Bleu Premium Crystal Nail Files
Mont Bleu Premium Crystal Nail Files (

This Mont Bleu set is perfect if you need multiple files for convenience or on the go. “These true blue files come in a set of three in varying sizes, for all your nail needs. I’d throw one on my nightstand, another in my bathroom, and one in my purse for on-the-go touch-ups,” writes a reviewer at Elle.

“Not to mention its luxurious looks, these nail files are crafted from hardened Czech glass alloy with a double tempering process which makes them more strong and durable,” writes Beauty Spark Review.

5. Makkart Professional Nail File Set

If you’re a hardcore DIY manicurist, this set of professional standard files will serve all your needs. “An Amazon top pick, these have both a 100 and 180 grit, making them great for both shaping nails and taking down length (and using on toes, too). They come in a pack of 10—a total steal, we should add—though if you want to reuse them, they are washable,” raves Byrdie.

Makkart Professional Nail File Set
Makkart Professional Nail File Set (

Use either grit level side on natural nails or different types of nail materials. You shouldn’t need more since they’re washable and come in a pack of 10, but if you do, they’re very affordable. “These nail files are perfect for poly nails, extensions, gel nails, and acrylic nails. The double-sided nail files can help file hard fingernails and toenails in 100 grit and smoothens the nail edges with a refined shape in 180 grit,” writes Style Craze.

“If you’re a traditionalist, this value pack of emery board nail files by Makartt is your best bet. At just $8 for 10 double-sided files, it’s a great deal. While emery boards might not be the most effective choice for super damaged nails, these boast a 180/240 grit size that’s safe for fine nails yet sturdy enough to require the gentlest amount of pressure during use,” says Bustle.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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1 Comment

  1. Charlotte Kastelic says:

    This article doesn’t address the need for narrow files – these all look like they have a thick edge. I have short and thin nails. Only metal files are narrow enough. I did once find a large size file that was narrow on the edge but it has a larger type grit.