14 Nail Drills for At-Home Salon Results

best nail drills electric manicure files

Jennifer Graylock

From carving out time to pamper yourself to getting a glimpse of your decorated nails amid a bad day, there’s no pick-me-up quite like the perfect mani, or pedi for that matter. For those looking to bring salon results to your home, incorporating nail drills, alternatively called electric nail files, into your manicure process can help you mimic the precision and detail at a salon. While nail drills are certainly not for novices and users should proceed with hefty doses of skill and caution, they’re powerful enough to remove acrylics and gels, cut down on calluses, shape your nails, and trim your cuticles. Be sure to pair the drill with the correct drill tip and select the right speed setting.

Practice makes perfect! If you’re ready to incorporate electric manicure files into your manicure routine, scroll ahead for the best nail drills out there.

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Best Overall

Rechargeable Manicure/Pedicure Device

With a slew of drill styles and lengths to choose from, your nails will be properly buffed, smoothed, and clean with the help of this cordless device. Increase or decrease the speed with the slide of a button to carefully clean artificial or natural nails.


Best For Beginners

Flawless Salon Nails

Flawless by Finishing Touch

  • Battery doesn’t last too long

Don’t let the compact design fool you—this drill packs a powerful punch. Practice your skills with a user-friendly kit that doesn’t break the bank and is strong enough to remove acrylic or gel.


Best for Travel

Portable Electric Nail Drill

  • Battery doesn’t last too long

Offering six drill bits and a reverse motion option, it doesn’t get better than this portable nail drill. One of the nearly fifty thousand reviews gives us the specs, “Nice cord length, rests nicely in the hand, minimal vibration even at the faster RPMs. It doesn’t heat up with use and is very quiet. As a professional nail artist, I am happy to add this to my list of favorite and recommended tools.” Not only that, you just can’t beat the price.


Best For Precision

PureNails Luxe Rechargeable Manicure Set

This cordless, rechargeable nail drill features three speed settings and a built-in lightbulb for a perfect mani or pedi. One reviewer confirms, “It is so easy to use and the accessories it came with were all of great quality. Best handheld and most complete manicure set I’ve ever seen. Has all the right tools you need for a perfect manicure and pedicure. It has a light so you can see what you are doing and has a very comfortable grip.”


Best For Pros

Makartt Nail Drill Electric Nail File Machine

Marked as Amazon’s Choice, this full set up nail drill features a pedal speed control, five drill bits, and thirty sanding bands. One reviewer raves, “I’m a licensed nail tech and I love this drill so far as I’ve only used it for a short time running it around my cuticle area. I love how it doesn’t stall with pressure even at a low or medium speed! I love that it has variable speed and has a forward and reverse! Especially for my own use to do my toes and or right hand! One more thing….I love that it fits all my bits!”


Best Handheld Design

Professional Nail Drill Machine Portable

Let this one reviewer give you the rundown on this professional-grade rechargeable nail drill, “The drill handpiece is slim yet ergonomically comfortable for those who may have dexterity or arthritic problems. It’s compact and portable and perfect for the DIY nail enthusiast or technician. The drill control box is slim and lightweight, cordless and rechargeable, and equipped with a belt clip to allow for freedom of movement.”


Best For Smooth Sanding

4-in-1 Rechargeable Electric Nail File

Gentler than a traditional nail drill, this electric nail file was designed for precise nails and cuticle grooming while eliminating the burning sensation caused by traditional nail drills. One reviewer shares, “I needed a file that had different levels of grit but that was easy and convenient to use. This tool is high functioning but fun, and isn’t complicated. Makes the removal of my gel polish a breeze and doesn’t damage my nails in the process.”


Best For Gentle Smoothing

Nail Grooming Sets

This sweet, sleek tool is a one-stop-shop with 5 interchangeable tools for precision shaping, cuticle pushing, buffing, and smoothing. One reviewer shares, “I can use the gentle shaping tool to file my cuticles more safely than trimming with a clipper. I used it on my older parent’s toenails that have thickened and it helped a lot!”


Best For Speed

Pro Power 520 Electric Filing System

An investment worth every penny, this powerful nail drill is beloved by professionals and amateurs alike. One reviewer gushes, “I love the fast speed of this drill and I have never had any issues with using this drill. I’ve had my drill for well over two years and love it: very lightweight, the many drill bits that you can buy to turn your drill into whatever you want your nails to look like.”


Best For Regular Nails

Nail File Electric 5-in-1 Manicure Pedicure Set

  • Doesn’t have a long lifespan

Labeled Amazon’s Choice, this portable, cordless set has it all. This nail drill offers five tip attachments and even a built-in UV light to set your polish.


Best Complete Kit

Electric Nail Drill Professional Portable

One of 11 thousand reviewers shares, “Really easy for beginners and the instructions it came with are truly helpful. I was able to use it on my feet without cutting myself which I was really excited about. The fact that this isn’t connected to a big bulky machine makes it so much easier to use and maneuver. The cutter helps trim the fake nails really easily, you adjust the settings on the cord to however fast or slow you want it on.”


Best For All Nail Types

Portable Nail Drill Machine

This professional-grade drill hits all the right marks. One reviewer confirms, “Easy to read instructions. Easy to charge, change bits, and use. Fits well in my hands. Not too heavy. The bits that come with it work well and are of good quality.”


Best Attachment Options

Nail Drills for Acrylic Nails Professional Electric Nail File

Coming with eleven drill bits and thirty sanding bands, this portable electric nail file is perfect for at home or on the go. One reviewer of 13 thousand shares, “I picked this up not expecting anything mind-blowing with such an inexpensive price tag. But this little gadget is a lifesaver. Very easy to use, clear instructions, and lots of different drills/attachments. If you wear gel nails, this is a must for removing your polish. Great for smoothing ridges in nails, polishing them, etc. You do need to plug it into a USB charging cube like you use for your phone, which it doesn’t come with. However, it does come with a power cord. It has multiple speeds and endless uses.”

What are nail drills used for?

Before any nail polish or extension application, the nails must be prepped. Nail techs typically go in with a nail drill to “help remove, clean and file the nails,” NYC-based celebrity nail artist Trenna Seney says.

How essential is a nail drill to a manicure?

While buffers and nail files tend to deliver similar results, nail drills are less time-consuming. “It’s essential if you would like to save time as opposed to filing the nails by hand,” Seney adds. Nail drills are also great at providing precision. “It also helps with cleaning cuticles and getting into the sidewalls.”

Are nail drills damaging to the nails?

Seney advises those who opt for at-home use to make sure they actually know how to operate the device properly. “If the person does not know how to properly use the nail drill, hold it properly and understand the different speeds, nails can be damaged,” she says. Nail drills typically come with several attachment heads that vary in length, width, and functions, so understanding which heads to use for your manicures ensures a seamless (and worry-free) process. “You should also know how much pressure to apply to the drill.”

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