Admission: I was a nail-biter, and I only located my nail clippers a year ago for a gnarly hangnail.
Look, I’m not proud of this. But I had never been able to master nail clippers. Dumb? Yup! But it always hurt, or the angle was awkward, or my nail was too strong for my drugstore clippers to cut through. (I get it from my dad’s side of the family.)
So biting, naturally. Because that’s so much better. (This is sarcasm, I am aware that it is disgusting.)
Guess what, y’all: I was using the wrong. Frickin. Nail clippers.
I didn’t even know that was possible. I assumed the $2.99 pair I got from CVS was the only design available, so why spend more money? But I am a fool – there are tons of nail clippers for all types of nails.
I now use nippers, and my poor clubbed toes and fingers are grateful. Don’t know what nippers are? Welcome to the article of a much more knowledgeable Tess! I’m here to give you the lowdown on the different types of nail clippers, plus the highest-quality options out there. Let’s get into it.
These are the standard clippers you’ll see in stores everywhere, selling for mere dollars in drugstores and gas stations, with nicer pairs selling in places like Sephora and Target. They’re the universally-loved type, able to clip any nail you need. And that weird, broken nail that kinda hurts? It’ll slice through without tugging.
On top of this, many come with slide-out cleaners, plus a file. The multi-use tool makes it so easy to clean up unsightly nails and prep you for a mini at-home manicure, so it’s no surprise you’ll find this type of clipper above any other.
It was the lever-type clipper that was responsible for hurting my nails for all of those years. Turns out I just had to invest in higher quality pairs. (Duh, past Tess.)
Angled Nail Clippers
Angled nail clippers. Where were those when I needed them? These nail clippers are the perfect types for those hard-to-reach spots, like that little hangnail on your pinky or that close-to-the-finger rough edge that you just can’t seem to file down.
I personally love these for toenails, because you can clip them super easily. That crossing-your-legs-on-the-toilet position is uncomfortable after awhile, and getting your toes to face the right direction for longer than 20 seconds without cramping up is annoying. Angled clippers make it easy to slice without contortions.
That ingrown toenail hurts like a bitch, right? At least ease the pain a little (if not entirely, if you catch it soon enough and aren’t afraid of digging) with a nipper, which helps clip nails that have curved past the point of no return.
The pointy tip digs in for a precise grab-and-clip, helping to “nip” at those painful daggers. Podiatrists often use nippers when they’re working on ingrowns that aren’t toooo bad or require complete removal of the nail, so you can grab a pair yourself if you know what you’re doing.
If you have super thick nails like myself, nippers are also great to cut through that strong keratin – these are the types I use now for both fingernails and toenails.
Scissor clippers are similar to lever clippers, because they’re both meant to make clean cuts across the nail. Scissor clippers give you more control, and because you go at your nails from the side to cut, you’re causing less trauma to the nail.
When using scissor clippers, make sure it’s one seamless motion across the nail, rather than short, jagged cuts. It’s like cutting wrapping paper – it may not slide quite like scissors against the paper, but we all see what happens when we make choppy cuts. And cut allllll the way to the end – no biting or tearing! – for a flawless finish.
Other Nail Clippers
There are, of course, other nail clippers. Some are for those who need some help gripping; others for those who can’t see as well. If you have thick nails, you might need a wider-opening pair of clippers. And for those with limited mobility, rotary nail clippers can be ultra important for getting a solid slice. There are even clippers for lefties. If you do your research, you’ll find the perfect nail clippers for your needs!
Best Overall: Nail Clippers Set
Five star review: “We’ve bought several pairs of nail clippers recently from Walmart and all of them sucked. We were having the worst luck finding clippers that didn’t break and that didn’t leave the nails torn up from the clip. Bought these and LOVED them. Work perfectly, great price, and came in a convenient little tin that holds both pairs.”
Best Nippers: Best Podiatrist’s Nippers for Thick and Ingrown Nails
Five star review: “Excellent toenail clippers, very sharp blades, even better when they are medical grade. One of the better purchases I’ve made thus far. With conventional toenail clippers it was a chore to clip my toenails. These Fox Medical Toenail Clippers made it a pleasurable experience, it’s no longer a chore.”
Best Angled: Slanted Edge Nail Cutting Clippers
Five star review: “I was looking for a sharp nail clipper for a very long time and I bought several expensive ones and they are not very satisfactory. This nail clipper is the dream machine. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. Works like Gillette.”
Best for Limited Mobility: 360 Degree Rotary Nail Clipper
Five star review: “This clipper is ingenious. I saw something similar advertised from another country. Very expensive. These are very light, have a moving cutting angle and SS cutter. They are longer which makes it easier to hold, and clip with hardly any pressure. Good for people with arthritis.”
Best For Gripping: Nail Clipper with Comfort Grip Nail Catcher
Five star review: “My senior mom was struggling to use regular fingernail clippers because of arthritis and an increasingly debilitating tremor. Good old Amazon to the rescue with these clippers! The top is padded with no-slip silicone so she can get a good grip and accurately clip her thick fingernails without the clippers slipping out of her fingers or popping closed.”
Best Wide-Open: Wide Jaw Opening Oversized Nail Clippers
Five star review: “I love these clippers! I had a thick nail, that not even the pedicurists could cut and these clippers were strong enough to clip it and expanded far enough apart to grab the nail, when regular nail clippers were not wide enough. It is strong but doesn’t hurt. I love these so much, I bought two more pairs.”
Best For Farsightedness: Clear View Nail Clipper
Five star review: “These are the easiest nail clippers to use, especially for us senior citizens that have limited flexibility. Toenails are a breeze with these little clippers and the magnifying glass makes hang nails easy to find and snip.”
Best Multitool: Keychain Nail Clippers
Five star review: “These portable nail clippers are of excellent craftsmanship; very convenient; encased in leather pouch fits easily in your pocket taking up almost no space; extremely easy to use; and has both nail clippers and file in one compact assembly. Will buy another one for my wife.”
Best To-Go Clippers: No Mess Anti Splash Nail Clipper
Five star review: “Love how it clips the nail and captures it in a compartment without the nail flinging somewhere into the rug or into your eyeball. The weight and feel of these nail clippers is just perfect as well. Wish I invented this. Really need to chain it to my bathroom faucet so the kids don’t take it away and lose it.”
Did you know there were so many types of nail clippers? What kinds do you use on a regular basis? Tell us below!