Nail Drill Bits Guide

How To Choose The Best Nail Drill Bits

If you want to take your nail skills to the next level, investing in the correct e-file nail drill bits is a must. These tiny tools can make a big difference in achieving professional results. In this guide, we will explore the different types of nail drill bits and help you determine which ones are best for you. So, let's dive in and enhance your nail game!

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Overview Of Nail Drill Bits and Their Importance

Nail drill bits are essential tools for achieving professional-looking nails. They allow for precision and speed in filing, shaping, removing product, and cuticle work. Investing in high quality drill bits will enhance your nail skills and give you perfect results every time.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Nail Drill Bits

When choosing nail drill bits, consider the following factors:

  • Material: Look for high-quality materials like carbide, ceramic, and diamond for durability and effectiveness.
  • Grit: Different grit levels (fine, medium, coarse, etc.) provide varying levels of abrasiveness.
  • Shape: Every nail drill bit is designed for a different purpose (acrylic nail removal vs Russian manicure). Make sure you choose the appropriate one!
  • Safety Features: If you're a beginner, opt for drill bits with safety features like rounded edges to prevent accidents.
  • Compatibility: Ensure that the drill bits you choose fit into your electric nail file.

Carbide Nail Drill Bits

Carbide nail drill bits are made from a durable material that is stronger than steel. They are known for their longevity and ability to remove acrylics and gels quickly. These nail drill bits come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different nail filing needs. Carbide nail drill bits are ideal for professional nail technicians and nail enthusiasts who have experience, and confidence using e-files.

Different types of carbide nail drill bits

Barrel Shaped

Barrel shaped (flat top) carbide nail bits come in different sizes. This is great if you're working on very small or large nails. This shape is very good for general debulking gel or acrylic nails and taking down length.

Some barrel shaped bits have a a smooth dome top - these are called safety bits. The dome top takes away the sharp edge, making it safer to use especially for beginners.

Diamond Barrel & Tapered Shaped

These carbide nail bits taper towards the tip which allows you to work extra close to (but not touching) the cuticle areas. This is a popular choice for thinning out product near the cuticles or for removing gel polish.

Needle Shaped

This long, slender carbide bit is ideal for getting into tight, small spaces like underneath the nails. It's generally used to clean and remove natural nails under gel or acrylic nail extensions.

Ceramic Nail Drill Bits

Ceramic nail drill bits are known for reducing the risk of heat buildup. If you or a client has sensitive nails, ceramic bits are your best friends! You can easily identify them because they are white in color. Coarser grits can be used to efficiently remove gels, where fine grits can be used with care on natural nails.

Different types of ceramic nail drill bits

Barrel Shaped

Perfect all around shape for reducing the thickness, taking down the length, and removing nail products like dip nails, gel, and acrylic.

You can also find these with a smooth dome top, also called a safety bit. Although ceramic nail bits aren't as sharp as carbide, the edges of a new ceramic bit can cut skin. If you're nervous about this, try using a safety bit first.

Diamond Barrel & Tapered Shaped

Similar to diamond barrel shaped carbide bits, this is used for tapering down gel or acrylic product close to the side walls of the nails.

Needle Shaped

Also called the under nail cleaner bit. Many nail techs like to use this type of drill bit to remove the natural nail underneath extensions to reduce the chances of lifting. 

Diamond Nail Drill Bits

Diamond nail drill bits are the ultimate tools you need for cleaning up dead skin around the cuticles for a manicure or pedicure. They are well loved by nail artists who do Russian dry manicures. When used properly, these bits will clean up cuticles effortlessly, and allow for easy nail product application.

Different types of diamond nail drill bits

Small Barrel Shaped

This super slender cylindrical bit lets you get really close to the sidewalls and buff off skin that is stuck to the nail plate.

Cone Shaped

These diamond bits are more narrow at the top allowing you to get right into any nooks and crannies by the cuticles.

Flame Shaped

Flame bits have a pointed end that helps to lift up cuticles from the nail plate, which can be buffed or trimmed off with cuticle scissors.

Ball Shaped

This funny looking nail bit is typically used at the end of a manicure or pedicure to buff the skin around the nails. This helps prevent hangnails from forming.

Mandrel Bits & Sanding Bands

Mandrel bits are used together with sanding bands. Sanding bands are essentially sanding paper rolled into cylinders and fit onto mandrel bits. They come in a range of grits and need to be thrown out after each client. This combination is perfect for smoothing out the surface of nail products, as well as prepping the nail plate for nail enhancement applications.


Investing in professional nail drill bits is essential for enhancing your nail skills. Take time to learn what each nail drill bit is used for, and how to use them properly. With the right nail tools, you will achieve healthy and beautiful looking nails that last!

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About the Author Catherine

As a kid, I discovered the world of Japanese nail art through a magazine and since then, I haven't been able to stop thinking about anything related to nails! After following a more traditional educational path and earning my Bachelor's of Science in Food and Nutrition, I decided it was time to pursue my childhood passion. In 2015, I earned my diploma from Blanche Macdonald’s Nail Technology Program. After that, I got certified with YUMI Lashes and opened Sunday Beauty Boutique in 2017. These days, I'm focused on providing a 'no rush' experience to a select clientele, teaching as a nail instructor at Blanche Macdonald, as well as providing resources on beauty related topics to clients and estheticians on my blog.

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