The best nail drill isn’t always the easiest one for beginners to use. If you’re interested in doing your own manicures and pedicures at home, you should look for a reliable, easy-to-use version of the professional ones you find at salons. We chose some of the best electric nail drills that can give you salon-quality manicures at home, no professionals necessary.
Top 10 Best Nail Drill For Beginners:
What Do Electric Nail Drills Do?
An electric nail file is another name for an electric nail drill. If you’re used to using a manual file, you’ll likely be surprised at how effective an electric drill is to use and how professionally tidy it keeps your nails.
Professional nail salons use electric nail drills to shape both natural and acrylic nails, although they’re more commonly used for acrylics. This video shows the difference between using a standard file and an electric drill file in a salon:
Electric nail files have more uses than just shaping nails. They can also be used to:
- Remove lifted acrylic by filing down the regrown acrylic before you refill
- Repair cracks in acrylic
- Sand the nails to prepare them for a full set of artificial nails
- Remove calluses and other rough spots from hands or feet
- Shape, smooth, and buff the natural nail and fix cuticles
Electric drills for nails, when powered, turn at high speeds to do all the filing for you. There’s no need to go back and forth as you would with a standard nail file because the spinning head does all the work. They may take some time to get used to, but the best nail drill sets for beginners give you everything you need without having to learn like a professional.
Why Use One at Home Instead of Visiting the Salon?
The typical cost of a manicure at a mid-range salon ranges between $20 to $25 – and that doesn’t even include the cost of polish or artificial nails.
And, the manicure process at a salon is typically very involved and can take a good chunk of your day. Add in a pedicure, and you’re likely going to spend at least an hour in the salon and close to $70, without even considering the time and cost for polish or an artificial set.
Pricing is probably a significant factor in your consideration for an electric nail drill. But, convenience should also be at the top of your list. Nails break often and unexpectedly. The last thing you probably want to do is make a special trip to the salon to repair a nail – especially your acrylics – if you can do the same at home. Plus, an at-home electric file can help you maintain your nails consistently to keep them looking their best.
One thing that many people forget about when frequently visiting the salon is the hygiene factor. Are you sure that your salon professionals clean and sanitize their drills and bits properly after every use?
Non-hygienic salons put you at risk for severe bacterial infections if they don’t use single-use tools or spend time cleaning their multi-use tools. When you use your electric nail filer at home, you can ensure its safety and cleanliness by taking care of that yourself.
Comparing Your Options: Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Electric Nail Drill
Trying to find the best nail drill from a pool of many can be confusing. It’s important to know about common features of electric nail drills, so you know the basics and can also distinguish one set from another. Here are some of the most important things to consider when comparing your options:
When you’re buying a beginner electric nail drill set, you should make sure you’re not getting sucked into professional drill prices. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars, which some electric drills for nails go for if you only plan on using the drill for basic nail upkeep and shaping at home.
As you browse, keep an eye on prices. You may notice that some drills are priced way above others but seem to offer the same features and similar bits. The more you browse, the more familiar you’ll become with the price range you should stay in. Most of the nail drills on our list fall within the $40 to $100 range, which is typically a good budget to consider for at-home electric nail files.
Type of Nails
Will you use your electric nail file for your natural nails, acrylics, or both? Your nail needs can influence the type of electric file set you should purchase. Electric nail drills come with different kinds of bits for different purposes, such as buffing and shaping. They also have different power levels. Those with more power are usually more expensive, but they also can shape acrylic nails with ease.
Whether you’ll work with acrylic nails or your natural nails can also be a major factor in deciding the nail bits you’ll need. I’ll go in depth with these in a moment, so take a second to consider what nails you’ll use.
Look at the revolutions per minute (RPMs) of the models you are considering purchasing. You’ll likely notice many of the highest-rated files range between 20,000 and 30,000 RPMs. This power range is what you should shoot for if you’re going to frequently use your file for acrylic nails because it will give you the power needed to cut through them.
If you only need the electric drill for natural nails, you can save some money by purchasing a drill with less power, like 10,000 RPMs or less.
Variety of Nail Tools
The number and type of nail tools an electric nail file comes with are one of the things that makes it most useful – or not. As a beginner user of an electric file, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with several tools you won’t use. Similarly, you want enough options to get the job done.
The standard bit size you’ll see as you browse your options is a 3/32”. This is an important number to keep in the back of your mind because it comes in handy if you ever want to replace your electric file, but not your bits. If you purchase another file that holds 3/32” bits, you can still use the tools that are in good shape with your new file.
Where things get a little more confusing for beginners is understanding the differences between the tools an electric drill file includes in its set. Here are a few of the most important ones that even beginner sets should contain:
- Natural nail bit. This type of bit is made from a rubber-like material and shaped like a cylinder. It helps remove dead cuticles and buff your natural nail before adding artificial nails.
- Small and large barrel carbide bits. These can shape and thin the surface of, and shorten acrylic nails and help you cut for backfilling.
- Pedicure bit. The shape and material of pedicure bits are made to remove calluses and hard spots near the toenails.
- Under-nail cleaner bit. The unique, thin shape of this bit helps clean and shape under the nail. (http://www.nailsmag.com/article/263/what-bits-to-start-with)
- Basic manicure and pedicure attachments. Your beginner electric nail file set should include handy accessory tools that hook right into the bit attachment. Usually, drill sets include callus removers, polishing felt cones, and a nail tip polishing tool.
Frequency You’ll Use It
For home use, you most likely will only be using your electric nail drill for short periods of time, compared to the hours each day that professional manicurists use them. But, if you do plan to use your set several times per week, or even allow others to borrow it occasionally, your electric drill choice should reflect that.
The reason you see salons with high-end, expensive machines that cost hundreds of dollars is that they use them every day for a good portion of the day.
Cheaper, basic models may not stand up to the wear and tear you may give your new device if you’re going to be a frequent user. Price doesn’t always reflect quality, depending on the product, but it does seem to play a major role in the quality of electric nail files.
It may be best to spend an extra $20 or more to get a strong model that can withstand long-term wear and tear, or you may end up needing to purchase a new drill sooner than you hoped.
Corded or Cordless
Another factor to consider with electric models is whether you want a corded or cordless drill. The frequency you’ll use your electric drill can also influence this choice. Corded models are always plugged in, so you won’t need to worry about it quitting in the middle of your manicure.
Cordless electric files, on the other hand, have a time range that the battery will last for, which is usually between one to two hours. Then, they usually need another couple of hours to get back to full charge.
This isn’t typically an issue if you’ll only use your drill for a few minutes at a time to do quick touch-ups or a basic manicure. But, if you spend a lot of time on acrylics, a corded model may not give you enough time to perfect your nails.
Corded models are usually cheaper and lighter than cordless models. The batteries in cordless models can hike up the price and make the drill heavier, bulkier, and a bit less comfortable for extended use.
You may not think an electric nail drill would be uncomfortable, but it can be. Some drills – especially lower-end models – can vibrate a lot, which can be extremely uncomfortable for some people when they hold them for more than a few minutes.
There’s also the noise comfort level to think about. If you’ve been to a salon that uses electric nail drills, you know that they can be extremely loud. That’s somewhat because they have so much power. Drills made for use mostly in homes usually aren’t nearly as loud, but again, cheaper models may be.
As I previously mentioned, cordless models can be heavy. That’s not to say that they’ll feel like your lifting a barbell when you hold them, but if you plan to use your drill frequently, you may notice weight more, and it could begin to feel uncomfortable to your hand, fingers, or wrist.
Be sure to check reviews on a drill before buying it, as customers are usually very honest if a drill’s vibration, weight, or noise was simply too much for them.
I don’t personally recommend brands of electric nail drills for use because brand preference is very subjective. But, I will recommend that you do plenty of research on an electric drill brand before you purchase it.
Your internet search will likely show whether a brand is trustworthy and well-liked. Here are a few things to look for to make sure you’re getting an electric nail file from a brand which deserves your business:
- Unbiased customer reviews. Can you find honest customer reviews from customers who purchased a product from the brand without incentive (such as a special discount)? If there are few to no legitimate customer reviews for the brand from a Google search or browsing its website, then it may not be a trustworthy choice.
- Secure website. Does the brand’s website have security elements, such as a secure checkout so that you can feel safe purchasing from it? The best companies go to great lengths to make sure their customers feel safe making a purchase with them.
- Return/refund policy. No matter where you purchase your electric drill from, the brand should have a clear return or refund policy that can help you feel secure in your purchase. Some brands offer excellent warranties also, should your electric nail drill fail to function properly.
- Contact information. Is the company easy to contact? Does it have clear contact information, including an e-mail address, phone number, and address listed on its website? If not, it may be best to steer clear, because you’ll likely find it difficult to get a hold of someone if you experience any issues.
How to Use an Electric Nail Drill for At-Home Manicures
The key to having an excellent experience with your electric nail drill is not only choosing the best nail drill but also understanding how to use it properly. Here are a few tricks and tips to help you get the most from your electric nail drill for at-home manicures or pedicures.
Prepping Your Nails
Before you use your drill to do anything to your nails, you need to prepare your natural nails, and artificial nails if you’re using them, for optimal results. First, clean underneath your fingernails. You can do this using the cleaning pick attached to most manual fingernail clippers, or use the cleaning bit if your machine comes with one.
Be careful when using the bit that you don’t irritate the skin of your fingertips. Set the drill to its lowest speed and don’t push the bit into your skin too much.
Use a barrel bit to file your nail down to your desired size. If you’re going to use artificial nails, your natural nails should be kept as short as possible. You can also use the barrel bit to shape your nails.
If your drill came with a cone-shaped piece for cuticles, you can use that to gently file and shape them. If you’re not yet comfortable doing this yourself, use a cuticle stick to push back your cuticles by hand.
Lastly, buff your nails to smooth the surface and bring out their natural shine. Buffing can also help artificial nails adhere to your nails better. Be careful not to over-buff them, though, as it can lead to weakened nails.
Using the Machine
Before you start up your drill, do a quick practice run. Read through the instructions and make yourself familiar with its settings and different bits and tools. Also, ensure that you sanitize properly all your bits before use, which I’ll get into deeper in a moment.
As a beginner, you should set your drill to the lowest speed setting until you become more comfortable with it. You should also spend a few minutes holding the drill to learn the proper hand position. The safest and easiest way to hold it is the same way you’d hold a pencil.
You should treat your barrel bits like they have three separate sections. The bottom of it can shape your tips, the middle can smooth and shape the nail bed, and the tip of the barrel can be used near the cuticle area for shaping the bottom of the nail. This technique helps you use the barrel evenly so you can get longer use from it.
Consistent Nail Care
You can use your electric file to perform routine maintenance on your nails as you become more familiar with the machine. Just be sure not to use it if your nails are weakened, cracked, or damaged, or if your skin around your nails is irritated. Doing so can cause further irritation or infection.
For quick touch-ups to your natural nails, like pushing back cuticles or buffing the surface, it’s best to use manual tools. But, your electric nail drill can come in handy for weekly manicures and pedicures and keep artificial nails shaped correctly.
Keeping it Clean
One of the most important responsibilities you’ll have as an owner of an electric nail drill is keeping it clean and sanitized. Unfortunately, beginners – and even experts! – overlook this important step of safe electric drill use, which can lead to bacterial infections. Even if you are the only person using the drill, you still need to prevent the spread of germs.
You can use a can of compressed air to help keep the nail dust off your bits and drill after use. The dust can build up over time in your drill, causing it to become noisy or function improperly. Unplug your machine and use a damp cloth also to wipe down the drill and bits.
Then, it’s time to clean and disinfect your bits. Metal bits can be scrubbed with soap and water and placed into a disinfectant solution that’s safe for metal. But, fabric, cloth, rubber, and sandpaper bits are porous, and you should consider them one-time-use-only tools.
Best Electric Nail Drills for Beginners
Below, we’ve outlined 10 of the best all-around products for those seeking their first electric nail drill.
PureNails 7-Piece Professional Manicure & Pedicure System
PureNails gives beginners an easy start to at-home manicures and pedicures with the 7-Piece Professional Manicure & Pedicure System.
The set includes seven attachments, including a coarse filing disk for shortening nails, a fine filing disk for precision filing, and a felt cone for buffing nails and bringing out shine.
With extra emphasis on giving you the perfect at-home pedicure, this electric nail drill can even help you reach ingrown toenails with its milling cutter bit.
- Seven interchangeable attachment tools for shaping and smoothing nails, removing calluses, and more
- Bits are sapphire-coated for added durability and longevity
- Drill and bits store in a convenient zippered carrying case
- Two speed settings to help you control the results of your manicure and pedicure
- LED light to help you see your work
- Quiet operation despite high power
- Handles both rough and delicate areas
- AC adaptor for consistent power; cord stretches up to six feet
- Reversible motor function
- 2-year warranty
- Uncomfortable vibration for extended use
- May not withstand heavy home use
- Lack of instructions explaining what each drill bit is used for
- Buffer attachment gives nails minimal shine compared to salon-quality attachments
- Bits sometimes become unattached during operation
- Best for natural nails; may not be able to handle the strength of acrylics
KEDSUM Professional Electric Nail Drill Kit
KEDSUM‘s Professional Electric Nail Drill Kit is much like what you’d expect from a salon, yet it can be used right in your home for manicures and pedicures. The set includes six standard-size 3/32″ bits for buffing, shaping, and filing nails, or removing rough skin and calluses, and five buffing heads to perfect the look.
The speed ranges from a low 500 RPM to high 20,000 RPM, giving this electric drill a wide variety of speeds for the beginner to advanced user. This corded model provides lasting power over battery-operated drills.
- Reverse and forward options, making the drill convenient for righties or lefties
- Simple attachment changes to switch between its six bits and five tools; twist the handpiece to lock it in place, and untwist it to unlock it
- Comes with six sanding bands designed for one-time use
- Electric drill is made of aluminum alloy, which helps cool the unit down faster to preserve longevity
- Set includes gloves for added safety from heat during use
- Hand unit becomes hot quickly; for best results, use included gloves and use for only a few minutes at a time
- Short power cord
- Lack of detailed instructions, which may be confusing for beginning users
Professional Electric Nail File for Manicures and Pedicures
This professional electric nail drill offers many of the benefits of a salon-quality drill, but it’s excellent for use in the home. As a beginner, you’ll likely enjoy the wide selection of bits that you can learn to use as you gain more experience.
Additionally, the set includes variable speeds to help you control the drill as you work, with easy adjustments as needed. You’ll also receive three bags of sanding bands, which will set you off on the right foot for frequent manicures or pedicures.
- 30 metal grinding drill bits to do any manicure or pedicure job, from removing dead skin to trimming back cuticles
- Lightweight drill allows you to operate it for longer periods of time without becoming uncomfortable
- 30,000 maximum RPMs, which is a salon-quality speed
- Use the included foot pedal to turn the unit on and off, keeping your newly manicured hands safe from mess-ups
- Low noise and vibration
- Lacks detailed instructions for the drill and its bits
- No warranty in case of malfunction
Belle Electric Manicure Machine
Belle’s Electric Manicure Machine is not only functional, but it’s also aesthetically appealing compared to the usual block-like machines. This rounded, pink tool has everything you’re likely to look for in an electric nail drill, like speed control and convenient storage.
There’s also a setting for foot pedal or hand control and a forward/reverse switch. Its variable speed goes all the way up to 30,000 RPM, which is plenty of power for completing even the most intense manicure and pedicure jobs.
- Variable power settings can handle delicate tasks, like natural nail filing, or those that require extra power, like shaping or filing down acrylic and gel nails
- The twist-lock chuck allows you to remove and insert bits with ease
- Hands-free operation with foot pedal
- Smooth grip pad near the tip to allow a firm grasp on the drill
- Six metal pieces included for grinding, filing, shaping, and more
- Heats up quickly; manufacturer recommends using for short periods at a time and unplugging between uses to allow the machine to cool to a safe temperature
- Sandpaper covers may remove easily during use
Dr. HeiZ 6 in 1 Professional Nail File System
Dr. HeiZ’s 6 in 1 Professional Nail File System has speeds up to 21,000 RPM, yet functions with low vibration and quiet noise. This set may be a good choice for beginners who don’t want to feel overwhelmed with several bit options, as it includes only six bits and six sanding bands.
The manufacturer markets this electric nail drill for occasional home use and therefore created it with a removable case to help dissipate heat in case of overheating from long-term use. Additionally, the aluminum body of the drill helps heat escape faster to cool down the unit and keep it functioning longer.
- Six bits that cover all the basics, from shaping and filing to grinding rough spots and removing calluses
- Corded model that allows consistent power to the drill
- Adjustable speeds to help you control your manicure and pedicure
- Beneficial for gel users, as it is powerful enough to file down the nail
- Confusing instructions that don’t explain, in detail, how to use the drill or its bits
- The drill bit attachment process may be tricky for some to master
- Heats up quickly; manufacturer recommends using the drill for only a few minutes at a time
Beurer Electric Manicure & Pedicure Kit
Beurer’s Electric Manicure & Pedicure Kit offers 10 bits and tools for the perfect at-home manicures and pedicures, plus ten disposable sandpaper attachments.
The corded electric nail drill fits conveniently inside the zippered storage case, which also holds the AC adaptor and bits in place. This set may be best for beginners who want basic function, but also convenient carrying for frequent traveling.
- Comfortable, lightweight drill design that can suit both left-handers and right-handers
- Adjustable speed with forward and reverse function for ease-of-use with either hand
- Includes a dust shield to contain nail dust during use
- Sapphire-built bits are durable for long-lasting use
- Beurer explains the use of each piece, which can be extremely helpful for beginning users
- LED light helps users focus on their manicures and pedicures
- Slowest speed may be too slow for some users to get much benefit from
- Short cord may be an inconvenience for some
- Several tip options may be overwhelming for new electric drill users who want a very basic set
TOUCHBeauty Manicure/Pedicure Kit with UV Light
This kit by TOUCHBeauty may be best for the newest beginner. With only five tool attachments, it’s straightforward to use, yet provides the necessary basics.
You’ll get one cone drill bit to grind the nail edge, a cylinder shaper, a grinder for polishing the nail surface, a felt tool for shining the nail, and a carborundum grinder to remove dead skin cells. The powerful drill can shape and file both natural and artificial nails.
- Nail drill stores conveniently upright on a base, in which each tool sits inside
- Base includes a built-in UV light to help dry nails quickly
- TOUCHBeauty created a unique thin and lightweight drill design for ultimate comfort
- Battery-operated drill for the best on-the-go use
- Simple attachment switching; push until attachment clicks and pull to remove
- The instructions explain each attachment tool’s purpose
- Small but powerful with little vibration and noise
- Bits can be difficult to insert until you become used to the pressure you need to put on them for a secure fit
- UV lamp holds only one finger at a time
- May not be the best choice for people who want a set that grows with them as they gain more experience; limited tool options
- Non-rechargeable; takes two AAA batteries
Vogue Professional Electric Easy to Use Nail File Drill
Vogue Professional’s Electric Easy to Use Nail File Drill is a plug-in drill with seven attachments that can help you take your manicures and pedicures to the next level at home. Its slim design can be great for those with smaller hands to get a firm grip.
The basic instructions can set you on the right foot to learning about the drill, and you can contact Vogue Professional via e-mail to get more detailed instructions about each attachment and overall operation.
This electric drill may be a good choice for travelers. The set includes a convenient storage box that holds the drill, attachments, and power cord to keep its parts secured when you’re on-the-go.
- 10-foot cord
- Variable speed options to fulfill a range of manicure and pedicure needs
- Works in forward or reverse for left-handers or right-handers
- Design is easy to clean with a quick dusting after use
- Stays cooler longer than lower-grade models
- Great for use on natural nails, acrylics, or gels
- Metal bits become hot fast; take extra care when using near your skin
- High vibration that may affect the position of the speed dial during use
- Best for use intermittently; consistent use for long periods of time may wear the drill down faster
Makartt Nail Drill Machine
This electric nail drill could be a great choice for beginners bordering on an intermediate level. With a few basic attachments necessary for most manicures and pedicures, the drill has what you need without being overwhelming.
The user can control the speed and power, and the drill goes up to a speedy 30,000 RPM for the toughest jobs, like pedicures and gel nails. The handy LED display will show the speed you’re on, in case you need a specific setting. Additionally, this Makartt drill has safe ventilation to allow heat to escape, which lets you work for longer without worrying about scalding.
- Place into foot pedal mode for hands-free setting control
- Grip-able hand piece keeps hands in place while working and allows the user to easily turn the drill to remove and attach new bits
- Works in forward and reverse for use with either hand
- Low vibration and noise, even on the highest power settings
- Uses standard 3/32” bits so you can easily find replacements
- Includes detailed user manual to fully explain safe operation
- Comes with only one sanding band, which is meant for one-time use only
- Can be difficult to switch bits until you become more used to the machine
- Limited number of included bits compared to other machines
JCMASTER Nail Drill Machine
This compact electric nail drill from JCMASTER can be simple enough for a beginner, but powerful enough to handle different manicure and pedicure jobs. With an RPM of up to 25,000, you can file and shape natural, acrylic, or gel nails with ease, and remove calluses and dead skin from your feet.
This electric nail drill ensures that your attachments stay attached to the drill firmly with a safety system for adding and removing the bits. The set includes the basic attachments you’d expect with a beginner electric drill to file, shape, and buff your nails to a natural shine. Beginners may also enjoy the low noise and vibration of this drill, and the smooth operation that keeps hands steady as you work.
- Quiet, but powerful, operation
- Safe attachment and unattachment process to ensure that bits stay in place during operation
- Uses standard 3/32” bits for easy replacement when needed
- Forward and reverse options for both left and right-handed users
- Heat dissipates quickly from the drill for longer periods of use
- Covered with a 12-month warranty in case of product failure
- Plugs into an outlet for longer use and consistent power
- Requires an included special wrench tool to insert and remove attachments due to extra safety features
- Only includes four bits and no sanding bands
Conclusion: Best Electric Nail Drills for Beginners
For the beginner electric nail drill user who wants the perfect at-home manicure or pedicure, or is training to work in a salon, one of the best electric drill choices is the TOUCHBeauty Manicure/Pedicure Kit with UV Light. If you’re looking for a quite drill with low vibration for the utmost comfort, this one is it. Still, it offers plenty of power to do what you need it to.
The set is basic, yet it provides the necessities for a full manicure or pedicure and gives you room to grow and learn. The five attachments provide filing, grinding, buffing, and smoothing for a variety of nail types. The drill itself is also powerful to handle different jobs with its 9,000 RPM, which is an excellent speed for a beginner to learn the ropes.
This is the only battery-operated electric nail drill on my list, but unlike other similar drills, TOUCHBeauty’s drill doesn’t run out of juice too quickly. You can use it for several minutes at a time without running out of power or running the risk of overheating.
The drill stores upright on the base and its attachments fit conveniently inside the base, which helps keep your drill and tools clean. The drill’s design also makes it a breeze to clean after use with a quick wipe-down, so you can easily keep it sanitary.