15 Best Nail Drills in 2024 for Nail Professionals, Per Experts

PSA: These are not for newbs.

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15 Best Nail Drills in 2024 for Nail Professionals, Per Experts

Looking for a nail drill to DIY your own acrylic nails at home? Take a beat, pls. Nail drills—aka electric nail files—are seriously *professional* tools and a far cry from the manicure sets you can get from any ol' drugstore beauty aisle. They are powerful—as in strong enough to remove acrylics, gel nails, dip powder nails, buff hard calluses, and even cut and shape the thickest of nails—powerful. Got it? Cool. Now if you (1) work with regular clients/are a legit nail expert, and (2) want to make your manicure process way freaking easier, hi, welcome, I found and compiled the best nail drills on the market for you to add to your cart rn.

Whether you're in the market for an electric nail file that's key for mani-pedis, a portable one that's worth the splurge, or a nail drill that's safe for buffing your natural nails (gently!), I've got an option for whatever sitch you may be in. I also compiled expert reviews and tapped board-certified dermatologist Karan Lal, MD, about all the deets on nail drills, and why only a professional should use one, below:

Now, keep reading for the full breakdown of the best nail drills, according to product reviewers and experts, along with tips from a dermatologist on how to choose the best electric nail files and what to look for before you buy.

With a super high-speed rotation to tackle the strongest acrylic nails, an eight to 10-hour battery life, a portable design, and a super affordable price tag, this nail drill is the one to beat. The kit also comes with multiple attachments for buffing, shaping, and cuticle care for your nail needs.

Glowing Customer Review: "I'm a retired nail tech and needed something to maintain my nails. This drill works as good as any expensive one I've used in the past."

Reasons I love this cordless nail drill: It comes with a million little extras (hi 11 attachments and a complete storage case!) and it has a relatively low RPM speed, meaning that if you were to ignore my advice and not leave the nail drills to the pros, this would be the best starting point to remove acrylics at home. It also has the option to rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise which makes it easier to work on both hands.

Glowing Customer Review: "I've been using some other similar products from other brands but found this one to be working the best. Very ergonomically designed and convenient to use. Battery life is also great and the machine has very good attachments supplied with it. My other machine was also Beurer but corded and I was very happy with it too. Very good brand overall."

If you, like me, suffer from thick calluses on your feet, and you're looking to alleviate some of the pain and/or pressure that they cause, consider this electric nail file that comes equipped with an attachment made for the thick skin on the bottom of your feet. However, if you have a severe case or suffer from a skin condition, it's best to see a podiatrist as improper removal (i.e., taking too much skin off) can lead to bleeding, pain, and even infection, Dr. Lal says.

Glowing Customer Review: "I often use the sapphire cone and callus sander to grind thick toenails and callus, they work really great! Speed is adjustable and it is quite sufficient for natural nails."

Here's the thing: Any of the other electric drills on this list are not the safest thing to use on your natural nails if you're not a professional. But this pick right here happens to be the safest option for at-home use on your natural nails. In fact, the RPM is only 2,000, which is a super low, gentle speed. I suggest starting out with the buffer attachment and then working your way up from there to the file attachments when you get the hang of it.

Glowing Customer Review: "Rather than using a nail clipper, I use this to do both hands and feet. The file does a great job of getting [your] nails short without risking any bleeding."

Looking for a heavy-duty drill to keep at your nail desk? This machine includes an easily-accessible area for your drill attachments, a stand for your drill to go in between filing, and a super easy-to-use speed control knob.

Glowing Customer Review: "Retired professional nail tech here, didn't think I would find a drill that matched what I used in salon; this unit is as good or better than professional units I've used in the past, and the price was great!"

Alright, it's definitely on the pricier side, but if you're looking for a professional-grade nail drill that goes above and beyond, you can't go wrong with this pick. It's cordless, the battery lasts for up to 10 hours, it removes acrylics and gels with ease, and, best of all, it's super quiet. Not sure how it works? Peep this easy-to-follow lesson from YouTuber Vee Nailedit.

Glowing Customer Review: "It’s beautiful! It’s a bit on the expensive side, but it’s totally worth it if you are a pro or you're serious about your nail game; it’s a must have."

Coming in with almost 50,000 five-star reviews, this Amazon nail drill favorite has the hype to back it up. The adjustable speed/direction, quiet vibrations, and 11 nail attachment bits are great for prepping, finishing, and polishing nails. Plus, the sleek size makes it v easy to store and hold.

Glowing Customer Review: "I use this as a beginner nail tech and it works great, you can control the speed, and comes with different drill heads."

This high-powered nail drill model comes with a built-in foot pedal, so you can switch between the manual hand mode controls or the foot mode controls. It's also designed with a heat dissipation system meaning that the drill is less likely to overheat during use.

Glowing Customer Review: I’m a licensed nail tech and I needed a [replacement] drill quick. I would definitely recommend this product for the time being as I truly enjoy it."

This professional-grade nail drill operates at a high speed, but don't get it twisted: It's still super quiet and smooth. This bb has a place to store all your nail bits out in the open, a foot pedal and two rotation directions, and a lightweight, low-heat drill for easy shaping and handling.

Glowing Customer Review: "This drill is perfect! Very quiet, easy to hold, does a great job all the way around. Did I mention it's QUIET? Compared to some, the sound is non-existent!"

Looking for a nail drill that's small enough to bring on the go? This teeny design is great for last-minute nail appointments—and it definitely doesn't skimp on the bells and whistles (I'm talkin' attachments on attachments). And, I mean, who doesn't love rose gold?

Glowing Customer Review: "I can now get my nails done in less than ten minutes. I thought it being wireless would make it less powerful, but turns out you don’t need it to be that strong. I use it as instructed and my nails are so smooth and don’t snag on anything."

The 35,000 RPM speed on this nail drill means two things: It's definitely not for newbs, and it's also powerful enough to easily sharpen, grind, cut, buff, and remove gel, dip, and acrylic nails (shout out to its six attachments). If you're working with a lot of clients, you'll be doing yourself a favor by having this powerful cutie on your team.

Glowing Customer Review: "I loved this nail drill, very powerful and quiet. Doesn't get very hot and can handle long workloads. I'm a nail tech and would definitely recommend this nail drill—effortlessly takes off acrylic, dip, shellac—I use it throughout the day and it lasts a long time before I need to charge it."

This nail drill has an LED dial, so you can easily customize the speed (it also makes it a bit bulkier but safety, ppl!). It even has USB plugs—so you can charge your phone, add a curing light, or attach other tools—and the base has its own removable LED light, so you can see every little detail brighter and clearer with a push of a button.

Glowing Customer Review: "Great product! Easy to use. Love that I can actually remove the light when I need to. And I love the option to have the light on or off at the push of a button depending on what I need."

This little aluminum nail drill is compact, lightweight, and super cute. With several drill bits and sanding bands, it's hard to get a better value for your money. It might not have the bells and whistles of other picks on this list, but if basic is what you're looking for—or a drill for touch-ups—look no further. Plus, you can't beat the price.

Glowing Customer Review: "This product is better than most brand names! Very lightweight, compact and simple to use. I love that it has enough power for sculpting acrylics and gels."

The coolest thing about this nail drill is that it comes with an oscillating head, meaning it moves back and forth (rather than spinning in one direction) for a smoother, more gentle approach. It also gives you a bit more control than the average e-file, making it a great pick for the beginning nail tech.

Glowing Customer Review: "The first time I used it, my nails looked so much better and nail polish lasted longer/ Great for touch-ups and it's convenient to use. Easy to change the different discs. I recommend it."

This might look like a boring ol' nail drill, but I promise it's so much more than that. Alongside five interchangeable heads for filing and buffing, it also comes with a built-in UV nail dryer to speed up your manicure process (which, score). The cordless design doesn't hurt either.

Glowing Customer Review: "I had a bigger and more expensive version that plugged in, and this is way easier to use. Quick to pull out when I need it; I've had it two months already and use it so often."

Yes, nail drills can damage nails, especially if you're not a professional. Dermatologist Karan Lal says that just because you can easily buy one online, doesn't mean you should. "Risks of nail drills include thinning out the nail plate too much, which can lead to thin, fragile nails."

Nail drills can also remove your cuticles, which protect your nail beds from foreign substances. Dr. Lal explains that damage to the cuticle could cause damage to the nail beds, which can result in the development of horizontal nail ridges—i.e., ridges that form due to injury, skin condition, or illness. Tl;dr: leave nail drills up to the pros.

And if you are indeed a PRO, here are the specifications you should look for when considering your next nail drill...

The RPM—i.e., rotations per minute—is how fast an electric drill will rotate. It's important to clarify the specs beforehand, as the RPM levels of a nail drill indicate what you can do with it. Here's a general guide:

But again, let's just reiterate: these are pro tools that can do major damage if you're not careful. Know what you're getting into, and don't try them as a beginner with no experience.

As a nail tech, consider if it's most helpful to have a light, foot pedal, easy on-and-off functionality, or other accessories in your day-to-day routine. Also, check out the nail bits and attachments. If you prefer to use your own favorite brand of nail bits, make sure that your drill is compatible with other brands.

Siena Gagliano is an associate editor at Cosmopolitan who writes beauty, with over four years of experience writing in the makeup, skin, and hair spaces. She’s an expert at researching and writing beauty stories, like the best press-on nails and callus removers. She regularly reads reviews on nail drills, while working with the industry’s top experts to assess new products and brands.

Katherine J Igoe was a contributing editor at Cosmopolitan and has eleven years of experience as a freelancer—with nearly five of those years writing about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle, including nail dip powder kits and summer nail polish colors. Her nail drill picks were based on product reviews and ratings along with information from experts.

Siena Gagliano is the associate editor at Cosmopolitan, where she primarily covers beauty, fashion, travel, and lifestyle. Wanna know how to get the best brows of your life? Gotchu. What about how to find the best fashion deals of the season, the softest sheets on the market, or exactly how to use retinol without irritating your skin? Check, check, and check. Before joining Cosmopolitan, Siena was a writer at Bustle and several other media outlets. As her 2024 goal, she has vowed to find the best (extra) dirty martini NYC has to offer—and yes, that means ~attempting~ to try every cute cocktail spot in the city (hit her up with some recs, pls). Follow Siena on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at that magazine life.

Katherine J Igoe (she/her) was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan and is a freelancer covering style, lifestyle, culture, and beauty (she's obsessed with gift guides, best-of movie lists, and beauty products). She's been a freelance writer and editor for over a decade, previously working for Marie Claire (2018 to 2021) and Bustle (2021), with bylines in the The New York Times, Parents magazine, and elsewhere. She lives in Boston with her family, and you can follow her on Instagram or Twitte. It's "I go to dinner," not "Her huge ego," but she responds to both.

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15 Best Nail Drills in 2024 for Nail Professionals, Per Experts

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