For more efficient polish removing, nail filing, and shaping, a nail drill machine (or electric file) is one of the most important tools in a nail tech's arsenal. There are two key things to look for when shopping for one of the best nail drill machines, though: That it has adjustable speeds (measured in RPMs) and a 3/32-inch shank, which will allow it to fit all standard-sized nail drill bits. Beyond that, the design of the E-file itself will differ depending on your needs, and for most at-home users, the simpler the better.
The speeds of these nail grooming tools is calculated as revolutions or rotations per minute (RPMs), and the best electric files can be operated at varying levels from 0 to all the way up to 20,000 to 30,000 RPMs. You'll want one that can reach that max range if you plan to use your drill frequently and use it on acrylic nails. Otherwise, for more basic home use on natural nails, or if you're a beginner, you'll find a device with a max of around 10,000 to 15,000 RPMs sufficient for smoothing and shaping.
When it comes to their design, the main thing you'll need to decide is do you want a cordless or corded drill? Corded models will keep you tied to an outlet, but they won't ever run out on you in the middle of a manicure session, and they are also typically the most affordable. With cordless and rechargeable drills, on the other hand, the device will be much more compact and portable, but the freedom they offer also makes them more expensive.
In terms of comfort, some E-files have been updated so that the hand piece is not only lightweight to hold, but also has smart features that make it less noisy and less hot, which will let you work longer without worrying about scalding.
Now that you're ready to shape up your nail filing skills, you can take your pick from four of the best nail drill machines on Amazon below.
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This nail drill has the backing of more than 2,100 Amazon reviewers who have given it a perfect five-star rating. And it's a cult-favorite pick for a reason — it's just so easy to use. Not only do reviewers mention that it's "great for newbies," but there are even plenty of pros who report how impressed they were: "Shocked at how well this product works!" wrote one licensed cosmetologist.
The 3/32-inch shank will fit all standard-sized metal bits (you'll get six with your purchase in addition to six sanding heads) and the speed is adjustable up to 20,000 RPMs. Though it does require a cord to work, it still has the "just right" weight, as one fan put it, adding that it's "not too heavy and not so light that it feels super cheap." It's also designed to evenly dissipate heat, so it will stay cooler in your hands. And perhaps best of all, it's whisper-quiet, so you won't have to deal with that irksome buzzing that you're used to at your local salon.
A slim drill that's easy to hold, like this one, is perfect for those who have never used an E-file before. Its long, weighted handle will feel solid in your hands, so you can practice the proper movements and techniques as you file. There's also an LED light at the tip, so it will give you even greater visibility to see what you're doing. This tool is also completely cordless, and you'll get up to four hours of use on each charge (a USB cable is included for recharging).
Additionally, you'll get six standard-sized bits and six sanding heads. Keep in mind that though it's adjustable, it has the lowest maximum speed of any drill on this list (up to 12,000 RPMs), but for the average at-home manicurist, that is still plenty of power to work up to.
Not only does this model have a fast max speed (up to 30,000 RPMs), but it also has a powerful battery life — up to eight hours on one charge (charging cords are included). For easy movement around your space, you can clip the power bank onto your clothes, and there's a holster for the pen, too. You'll also find the LCD display handy, as it lets you easily identify what your exact speed is, as well as how much charge is left in the unit.
The hand piece itself is constructed from aluminum alloy, which many Amazon reviewers confirm is easy to grip and maneuver. It's also designed with cooling holes to help dissipate heat, and just like the very first pick above, it's less noisy thanks to its low vibrations. It has a 3/32-inch shank, so it can work with all standard drill bits, though with your purchase you'll get six interchangeable bits and a handful of sanding bands.
For the most in-salon-like experience, grab this corded Makartt nail drill, which has more than 3,000 Amazon users signing its praises. In addition to all of the other must-haves for a nail drill — it can hold standard 3/32-inch drill bits, has a max speed of up to 30,000 RPMs, and isn't too noisy — you'll also notice it comes with a foot pedal that gives you the option to control the drill's power without taking your eyes off the nail you're working on. Additional convenient features include bars that light up on the display to indicate what speed you're on and a ventilated design on the pen to allow heat to escape.
If there's one downside to this pick, it's that it only comes with three drill bits and one sanding head. However, many reviewers report that was exactly the right amount to get started.