Being a well-groomed man means paying attention to every detail. While your beard, hair, and clothes may look fantastic, a pair of scuffed shoes or unruly ear and nose hair will ruin the look.
And don’t forget about your fingernails. A well-groomed gentleman wouldn’t think of leaving the house with fingernails that are too long, too short (as if you’ve been gnawing on them with your teeth), or too dirty.
Which leads us to nail clippers.
If you’re serious about grooming, investing in a quality pair of nail clippers – such as the Seki Edge SS-106 Stainless Steel Fingernail Clipper – is a must. Good clippers provide an excellent cut every time and leave your nails looking well-groomed, not ragged.
In this post we’ll discuss the best nail clippers, for both fingernails and toenails, while discussing some nail clipper-buying tips, and even how to use them.
- Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing nail clippers
- 6 Best nail clippers of 2018
- The how-to of using nail clippers (A simple, 6-step illustrated guide)
- Nail clippers or manicure scissors: Choose your tool
- How we compiled our list of best nail clippers
Before You Buy: 7 Things to Consider When Purchasing Nail Clippers
Let’s check out some things you should know about buying nail clippers before we get into our reviews of the ones we like best. While there’s nothing overly complicated about buying clippers, it never hurts to do your research first.
1. Know What You’re Buying
Fingernail clippers are different from large nail clippers are different from toenail clippers. We’ll dig into this a bit deeper later on, but it’s important to know the difference when you’re buying a pair of nail clippers.
- Fingernail clippers are the small-mouthed nail clippers with a curved jaw and the smallest type of clipper there is. Most people have a pair of these.
- Large nail clippers are suitable for your fingernails and toenails. If you’re interested in buying one, do-all pair of clippers, then large nail clippers are worth a look.
- Toenail clippers are larger than regular fingernail clippers and have a straight edge. While, sure, you can use fingernail clippers to clip your toenails, they’re not as effective than straight-edged clippers that help you achieve a perfectly squared cut.
2. What Type Is It?
The type of clipper you use is a matter or personal preference, including what type feels most comfortable to you. Here the most common types:
Don’t worry; this clipper is much too small to chop off heads. The guillotine clipper has a curved shape, excellent ease of use, and sharp edges.
The lever-type clipper features horizontal heads and narrow openings to fit every nail type.
The nipper resembles pliers and has concave or straight blades that cut thicker or trickier nails.
Scissor clippers normally come as part of a manicure set and provide smooth cuts.
3. Is it Made of Steel?
Something to always take into consideration before buying a pair of nail clippers is whether it’s made of steel. Steel is just plain tougher than other materials used to make clippers – such as aluminum or steel “plated” – meaning it won’t dull as fast. Non-steel clippers will also break more easily. While you can still use dull clippers, they’ll lead to your nails becoming brittle and hard.
4. Check the Tension
No, not your tension – and hopefully you’re feeling relaxed today – but rather the tension of the lever on your clippers. It shouldn’t be too loose or too tight because that will negatively affect the quality of the cut. Also, make sure the cutting edges are aligned and that there are no gaps between them.
Hold the clippers in your hand before you buy them. Do they feel comfortable? Are there sharp corners that may dig into your hand? Is there an indentation of some sort to make it easier to grip?
6. Does it Have a Locking Mechanism?
Check to see if the lever locks into one place if flipped open and then snaps shut when finished. You don’t want your clippers to slip closed during your cut or flip open in your kit bag.
7. Other Factors
Some other things to consider when purchasing nail clippers include the blade’s edges (curved for basic trimming, straight for toenail clipping and ingrown nails), and the clipper’s leverage (longer handles provide more leverage and the agility to cut firm nails).
Let’s move on to our reviews of the best nail clippers for 2018.
The 6 Best Nail Clippers of 2018
From the same company that created Samurai swords comes one of the best pair of fingernail clippers you’ll find anywhere. If nothing else, you know they’re sharp.
Indeed, Seki’s Edge SS-106 clippers are sharp enough to leave a smooth clean cut every time, which means no ripping, tearing, or jagged nails. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the blades rusting. Then again, you’d expect nothing less from a company that combines centuries-old craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology to create its many grooming tools.
The Edge SS-106 is another clipper that fits comfortably and easily into your hand to provide ultimate control when cutting your nails. You can cut even the thickest of nails – as well as shape and trim them – with little effort.
The tempered stainless steel edge makes the SS-106 suitable for professional use. Still, you can purchase this clipper at a modest price compared to clippers of far less quality. Meanwhile, the die-cast lever provides extra leverage and smooth cutting action.
- Hand-crafted superior design
- Professional grade
- Smooth, precise cutting action
- Some say the clippers are too small to handle properly
Japanese craftsmanship + modern technology + superior stainless steel = one of the best fingernail clippers you’ll find anywhere. You can’t go wrong with the Seki Edge SS-106.
We mentioned ergonomics above and Harperton emphasizes ergonomics with their second-to-none fingernail and toenail clipper set. And, in this case, sound ergonomics means a unique handle design that allows you to cradle the clipper in your fingers to provide optimal control and a more confident cut.
A more confident cut means a cleaner cut which you and your fingernails and toenails will love.
Ergonomics are just a part of the Harperton clipper success story, however, because there’s so much else to like about this set that includes fingernail and toenail clippers.
- Harperton makes its clippers from high-grade surgical stainless steel that makes for an effortless, smooth cut that prevents nail-splitting and the need for filing after the job’s complete. The sharpness of the blades acts as a safety feature because you need fewer cuts – which is better for your nails and skin.
- The set comes with two unique-sized clippers that are meant for their respective jobs: trimming fingernails and trimming toenails.
- Harperton clippers are durable, built to last, and will give you years of use. Even better, they come with a lifetime warranty and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy with your purchase within 30 days, you’ll get a full refund.
- Both clippers can handle a variety of nail types and sizes. You may even use the smaller clippers on toenails that are too thick to cut with standard clippers. But, make no mistake, Harperton’s kit includes the best toenail clippers for thick nails.
- The blades on Harperton’s clippers are extremely thick, which means a wide jaw opening isn’t as necessary as it is with other clipper types. The clippers are precise enough to enable you to make multiple cuts without worrying about nails crumbling or cracking.
- Stainless steel blades are easier to clean and sanitize than other types of blades.
- The kit comes with a small carrying case that allows you to store them safely without someone risking a cut by reaching for them blindly in a drawer.
- Comfortable, safe grip
- Blades made of stainless steel that will last a long time
- Clean cut every time
- Jaw opening may not be big enough for people with really thick nails
There are plenty of reasons why the Harperton nail kit remains popular among thousands of users, not the least of which is their high quality in every respect. A set of these clippers will last you a good long time.
Don’t worry, Grooming District has you covered with its premium nail clippers set. With your purchase, you’ll get a premium nail clipper – of course – a nail file, emery board, and a case.
But our focus is on the stainless steel nail clipper, which is larger than most and able to cut even the thickest, gnarliest nails. We also like that it has a matte finish and won’t slip from your fingers as you’re cutting a nail.
You’ll like the precision cutting provided by these clippers. The Grooming District clipper has a unique, ergonomic design that helps you make the cuts you need without tearing or splitting. That means you avoid troublesome issues such as in-grown nails
Each clipper comes with a built-in nail file and (built-in) keychain hole that makes for easy transportation. Moreover, the carrying case makes it easy to take with you if you’re traveling or on the road for business.
These clippers are suitable for men and women, and come with an emery board to help you shape your nails the way you want. And, its ergonomic, no-slip design makes it an ideal choice for seniors and kids, as well.
- Made of stainless steel
- Matte finish prevents slipping
- Strong enough to cut the thickest nails
- May take some practice to get used to the design
Grooming District’s nail clippers can handle the toughest jobs, i.e., thick nails that require a strong cut, but are also good for clipping that needs a bit more finesse. Plus, you get other useful tools with your purchase.
Most people think “gadgets” when they think of a Swiss Army Knife. You can’t blame them – there’s nothing quite like checking out all that a SAK can do. While the Victorinox Nail Clip doesn’t have nearly the gadgets of a Swiss Army Knife, it still has more uses than any other pair of clippers.
The most important feature of the Victorinox 580 is its nail clippers, obviously, but it also comes with a screwdriver, nail file, and key ring. Even with the extra goodies, the clipper is small and lightweight and attaches easily to any keychain (or fits nicely in your pocket) so you can access it no matter where you are.
Nonetheless, “extras” don’t ensure that a clipper is good for the job for which it is intended. But the Victorinox is up to the task thanks to a stainless steel clipper manufactured in Switzerland to the highest standards of quality. Moreover, it comes with a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship.
One of the things we like has to do with one of the gadgets, i.e., the nail file. You can file the nails down to the precise level while shaping them as you desire. The stainless steel cutting edge, meanwhile, is precise and makes trimming your nails enjoyable – not that you’re going to host a fingernail trimming party or anything, but still.
The Victorinox 580 design is unique in that the nail file protrudes from one end of the clippers, instead of on the inner level as with some other clippers. Many users find that it’s a more convenient location.
As mentioned, the Victorinox clippers are small and lightweight. But like anything from the Swiss Army Knife line, they’re built to last a lifetime.
- Versatile, with several uses
- Compact and very portable
- Superior craftsmanship
- Cutting strength doesn’t match some other larger clippers
A quick scan of most nail clipper reviews shows that the Victorinox 580 is a popular choice among many men. But, what would you expect from the same company that makes the incomparable Swiss Army Knife?
Well, the name says it all – Ok, maybe not everything – when it comes to Keiby’s Citom clippers with the 360-degree rotating head. The clipping head rotates, which enables you to trim your nails at even the oddest of angles.
The rotating head sways easily, making it easy to turn on a dime – or, in this case, on a rounded nail or to trim a sharp edge. As one reviewer put it, the Keiby Citom clipper is a nail cutter “sent from the future.”
Beyond the unique design, there’s more to like about the Keiby Citom clippers. For one, they’re stainless steel, meaning that they won’t rust and should last you a lifetime. Keiby also processes its clippers through state-of-the-art technology that makes their blades extremely hard and sharp. You won’t need multiple clippings to get the job done right.
The design is also unique in that it comes with two plier-like handles instead of a single lever. The handles provide an extra bit of strength to your cut. The handles also come with specially-designed holes that prevent the clipper from slipping from your hands, as well as providing superior leverage (which also makes it great for seniors).
- Unique design that works
- Good for cutting from all angles
- Easy to grip
- It’s not portable because of its size
Keiby is known for producing quality clippers and this clipper is no exception. From its unique design to the ease it adds to the cutting process, it’s a clipper worthy of your attention.
Comfort is always a consideration when using fingernail and toenail clippers; after all, using a tool that isn’t comfortable in your hand is essential when cutting anything. Clyppi’s clippers are another case of ergonomic-friendly tools that help you get the job done without mishaps.
Indeed, Clyppi clippers are comfortable – and steady – enough for seniors and people with arthritic hands to use without the fear of cutting or nicking skin. They not only fit easily and securely into your hand, but they also won’t slip from your grip thanks to a matte, brushed steel finish.
All of Clyppi’s clippers have a wide, easy to use lever that takes little effort to use. You’ll get a clean cut every time, without splitting, tearing, cracking your nails. Plus, the ergonomic design enables you to see what you’re doing clearly as you’re clipping your nails.
Based in Beaverton, Oregon, Clyppi has received good reviews for all of their products, including their quality nail brushes. The Clyppi Best Nail Clipper Set comes with fingernail and toenail clippers, as well as a nail cleaner/file, and keychain holes for handy portability. The double-side swing-out nail file consists of two grade of roughness that allows you to file your entire nail, including the corners.
The fingernail clipper measures 2.6 inches long while the toenail clipper is 3.4 inches. Makes sense, because you need the additional leverage for trimming thicker toenails, and length provides more leverage. Both clippers look good, too, and are of a comfortable weight.
Your Clyppi clipper set also comes with a carrying case that makes it ideal for travel.
Finally, the clipper set comes with a full lifetime guarantee. The folks at Clyppi stand by their promise of a clean, precise cut every time.
- Easy to use design
- Comes with fingernail and toenail clippers
- Works well for men and women
- Not many, but its rounded design may be awkward for some
The Clyppi Nail Clipper set has a lot going for it, not the least of which is fingernail and toenail clippers that provide a precise cut with every use. They look good, too, which is a nice bonus.
The How-To of Using Nail Clippers
Most of us have a pretty good idea of how to use nail clippers. On the other hand, there are some best practices that many men are either ignoring or haven’t heard before. So, let’s lay it all out: from prep time, to some things you can do after clipping (namely, filing your nails if you’re so inclined).
1. Before you start
OK, so we don’t always have a ton of time to take care of all of our grooming needs and taking the time to properly trim your nails might not be high on your priority list. However, if you want to do the job right, soak your fingernails and toenails in warm water before you cut them. Doing so softens the nails, washes away calcified growths, and makes them easier to trim.
While you can cut your nails while they’re wet, it’s best to dry them after washing. You’ll typically have more control over the cut if you’re nails are dry.
- Another good practice – and perhaps mandatory – is to make sure that your clippers are clean before you begin the trimming process. You can soak them for 10 minutes in a mixture of hot water and dish detergent (or antibacterial soap).
- You can clip your nails just about anywhere, but that doesn’t mean “everywhere” is a good environment. Set up a place for the clippings to go – whether it’s into a trashcan or over an old towel – so you don’t leave bits and chunks of your nails all over the place. And please, please don’t trim your nails in public places. Nothing quite messes with your serenity like a person sitting near you who is trimming his or her nails.
2. Question: How often should I trim my nails?
You don’t want to be overzealous about trimming your nails but you should trim them often. For most people, a once or twice a week trim is sufficient enough to prevent them from growing too long or too wild. Be wary of painful edges around your nails because it’s often a sign that you’re developing an ingrown nail. You might try trimming away the painful growth before it goes too deep, but you may need to see a physician if it grows too deep.
3. Using your clippers
Hold the clippers in your hand with your thumb resting on the lever and base resting against your index finger (if you’re using lever-style clippers, that is). If you’re using clippers with a plier-style handle, grip the two handles in the palm of your hand while wrapping your fingers around them to maintain a comfortable grip. You want to squeeze the handles together without slipping.
Your goal while clipping your nails is to remove the free edges of your nails, which typically consist of the off-white crescents that grow at the tips of your nails. Place the cutting head around the nail you intend to cut but without placing the edges too close to where your nail and skin connect.
Cut your fingernails almost completely straight across while rounding them just a bit at the corners – which helps keep the nails strong. Cutting them straight across also reduces your chances of developing ingrown nails.
In most cases, the best approach is to make a few small cuts rather than trying to snip away the edge with a single cut. Making a series of cuts is especially important for trimming your toenails, which have a natural oval shape. Single cuts tend to flatten out the oval.
4. Cutting your toenails
Your toenails are thicker than your fingernails, so you want to use a pair of clippers that are large enough to do the job. That often means using different clippers for your fingernails and toenails; fortunately, many quality clippers come in a set that includes both. Using different clippers for each job also reduces the chances of transmitting bacteria between your feet and hands.
Cut your toenails straight across and not back inwards at the edges.
5. Don’t cut too much!
Many people are tempted to keep on trimming after clipping away the free edge. Resist temptation! Trimming too deeply exposes the sensitive skin beneath the nail and may increase your chances of an infection. All you’re trying to do is keep the ends of your nails even with the tops of your fingers.
6. File your nails
Your final step in the process is filing your nails. We know, you may not feel like you have the time, but filing is a superb way to keep your nails in the best shape possible. Filing gets rid of the rough edges on fingernails and toenails that can snag on clothing and other items. Nail files have two sides: a coarse, shaping side that you use first, and a finer grade side to smooth out your nails. Filing too deeply into the corners and sides weakens nails, however.
Nail Clippers or Manicure Scissors: Choose Your Tool
By no means are we saying that traditional nail clippers are the only way to trim nails. There are other tools meant for the job – most notably manicure scissors. While more people use clippers, scissors remain a viable option for trimming your nails. Here’s a brief look at each tool but, first, a bit of history.
Before there were nail clippers
The first patent for a clamp-style fingernail clipper was granted in 1881, although the first trimmer – invented by a fellow named Valentine Fogerty – was more of a circular nail file rather than a standard clipper.
Before that, fingernail clippers resembled paring knives more than anything else. In fact, references to nail trimming in the 19th century referred to “paring” the nails, not clipping them. In other words, you pared your nails in a way that closely resembled peeling an apple. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, to be honest.
Of course, there’s always the old tried-and-true method of biting your nails (don’t do it). Although research is sketchy, nail-biting probably dates to the earliest cave-dwellers.
Clippers, which we’ve been talking at length about in this post, represent the most common way of trimming fingernails and toenails. There are clippers specific to fingernail clipping and toenail clipping – toenail clippers are larger and able to handle the thickness of toenails – but many people choose to use the same clippers for both jobs.
Clippers make a standard cut and work best on shorter nails. As mentioned earlier, it’s better to make multiple cuts per nail with clippers rather than a single cut that covers the entire nail.
Critics say that clippers can dull quickly, albeit only those made of soft steel, and uses such heavy force that it leaves an uneven cut. That said, more people prefer clippers over any other type of nail trimming tool.
While nail clippers lead the way in general, overall use, manicure scissors provide excellent control and a more customized cutting job. Additionally, manicure scissors cut more deeply into the nail than clippers and can cut in a curved or straight manner.
Many people choose manicure scissors over clippers when cutting a baby’s nails. The scissors provide more control to reduce the likelihood of cutting the baby’s skin.
A brief word about electric nail clippers
We’d be remiss not to mention electric nail clippers, which provide yet another option for fingernail and toenail cutting, or – for that matter – battery-powered clippers. Both function in the same way: you simply place your finger in the small cutting device and let the machine do the work. Many of them are safe enough to use on your child’s fingernails, and can even file your nails.
There is a variety of electric nail trimmers on the market, including the Roto Clipper .
How We Compiled Our List of Best Nail Clippers
At first glance, most nail clippers seem simple enough: a few parts, cutting edges, a lever, and not much more. You wouldn’t think that there would be much variation between products with such a “basic” design, but that’s simply not the case.
Separating our favorite clippers from all the rest came down to a few things, not the least of which was construction. Clippers made of stainless steel are simply a cut above the rest (pardon the pun) and designed to give you years of quality use.
Other factors included ergonomics – how good it feels in your hand while using it, as well as ease of use – and the type. Lever-based clippers are most popular, but we considered other designs, as well. We have no preference whether a nail clipper set includes fingernail and toenail clippers, but it’s nice to have the option. It’s worth repeating – it’s not a good practice to use your fingernail clippers on your toes and vice versa.
We also considered the price of each clipper. As with all of our product reviews, our goal is to provide a price range of products that fit every budget.
And that wraps up another product review, friends. Do you have a favorite nail clipper or do you use one of the six we’ve listed here? Or, do you have any other comments and suggestions? We’d love to hear from you.