What Is a Power Nail File?

Alicia Sparks

A power nail file is a nail file operated by some form of power that isn’t manual. Some power nail files are powered by disposable or rechargeable batteries, and some are powered by power cords plugged into electricity outlets. Similar to other types of nail files, power nail files are available in a variety of shapes and “grits” or “grains,” the designs of which are meant to achieve specific results or be used on certain types of nails. Also known as an electric nail file, a power nail file usually is part of a more complete manicure and pedicure set. Professionals often use power nail files when giving manicures and pedicures, but these nail files and their kits are available to everyday shoppers.

Power nail files can be used to smooth the fingernails during a manicure.
Power nail files can be used to smooth the fingernails during a manicure.

Generally, a power nail file comes in some sort of kit. This kit might include only the electric nail file and its attachments, or it might include a more thorough set of manicure and pedicure tools. Either way, the tool will come with numerous types of nail files, each of which is attachable to the power tool. These files are designed for specific purposes such as filing regular fingernails and thick toenails. Most of these nail files are shaped in ways that make them more effective for their specific purposes, such as flat disks, cones, and barrels.

Filing may help treat toenail thickness.
Filing may help treat toenail thickness.

Not all power nail files come in complete manicure and pedicure sets. It’s possible to purchase an individual power nail file. Those nail files that do belong to manicure and pedicure sets usually are accompanied by a wide variety of other non-file tools. For example, a set might include a power nail file with various file types as well as one or more types of buffers and polishers. Some kits include non-attachment tools, like cuticle sticks and trimmers.

Although they might seem strictly professional, most power nail files and the manicure and pedicure kits that include them are available for sale to the general public. Shoppers can find them at regular department stores, drug stores, and online retailers that sell manicure, pedicure, and other grooming products. Quality varies by manufacturer, so new shoppers might try looking for a power nail file or set made by a brand they already trust. They can also look for customer reviews or talk with salon professionals or other people they know who use power nail files. It’s important to read all preparation and operation instructions before using a power nail file for the first time.

Immersing a foot in warm water containing salt may help treat ingrown toenails caused by improper use of a toenail file.
Immersing a foot in warm water containing salt may help treat ingrown toenails caused by improper use of a toenail file.

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Discussion Comments


@Mae82 - I have a power nail file and it does an amazing job, though I wouldn't say it is any better than a traditional nail file. It is really just another tool that relies on the skill of the person doing the work.

As far as making the job easier, I would say it helps a lot. With a traditional nail file getting the perfect shape can take a lot of work, and a power nail file really cuts down on the time commitment you need to make when doing your nails at home.

I actually have different heads for my power nail file, so not only can I file but I can buff my nails as well. I think that makes all the difference.


I love getting a manicure at a nail salon but I haven't been able to budget for it lately. I am wondering if doing my own manicures may be the solution. Right now I have a really basic nail kit, and a traditional nail file, but I just can't seem to get the professional look that I got when I was getting my nails done by a trained nail artist.

Has anyone actually tried using a power nail file? Did you find that it gave you a better look than a regular nail file, or does it just make the job easier?

I really want to get my nails back to looking in great condition.

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