Electric Nail File Bits Explained

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There are so many tool options you should take into consideration when you pick electric nail file bits. In fact, nail drill bits come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and grits, with different uses and purposes for each kind. Here you’ll find all kinds of electric nail file bits explained.

High-quality bits can do so much more than just shaving off the product from your nails. Having the right bit for the job will make your life so much easier and will save you some valuable time when working on a client.

Actually, there are some specifications you need to know before you purchase your electric nail file bits.

In this article, being a nail technician, I explained the right way to choose and use electric nail file bits.

Different Electric Nail File Bits Explained

electric nail file bits explained

Sanding Bands/Mandrel

The Mandrel bit is typically made of metal or rubber. You can slip the mandrel top into the sanding band and you are good to go. Sanding bands cannot be disinfected.

That is one of the reasons why sanding bands are one-use-only paper bits, so you have to change a sanding band after every client.

The sanding bands are commonly used for surface work, removing gels, and pedicures. They come in various grits: coarse, medium, and fine.

Gold/Silver Carbide Bits

The carbide bits are made of carbide metal (which is 20 times stronger than steel). The carbide bits are meant to be long-lasting and they have flute-like cuts on them.

Actually, These cuts enable the carbide bit to shave the enhancement product off and not scratch it like the diamond bits.

The grid scale is determent by the flutes on the bit, deep and large flutes give you coarse grit, while shallower flutes commonly indicate a finer bit.

Carbide bits are great for advanced users and are ideal for removing acrylics. Carbide bits can be cleaned and sterilized easily.

Ceramic Bits

The great thing about ceramic-coated bits is that they are long-lasting. Like carbide bits, ceramic bits also have flute-like cuts, which help them to shave off the product.

You can find the ceramic bits in several grids such as medium-coarse and fine-coarse. The best thing about ceramic bits is the fact they are intended to reduce heat. Additionally, Ceramic bits can also be cleaned and sterilized.

nail drill and electric nail file bits

Diamond Bits

Diamond bits are typically made of synthetic or natural diamond partials. They are strong and long-lasting. Diamond bits come in a variety of grids from fine to extra coarse.

These bits, unlike ceramic and carbide bits, scratch the material off the nails instead of shaving it off. Sometimes, this can be a disadvantage.

Low-cost diamond bits may remove the product unevenly. However, you won’t have this problem with higher-priced diamond bits, which are often of higher quality.

Just like ceramic and carbide bits diamond bits can be cleaned, too.

Expert Tip: If the nail drill is used properly, the client shouldn’t feel the heat with any of the bits you are using

Electric Nail Drill Bit Shapes and Uses.

Natural Nail Bit

This kind of nail bit is commonly made from synthetic rubber. The natural nail bit is used to buff the surface of the nail, remove the dead cuticle on the nail, and smoothen the cuticle area.

Synthetic rubber bits wear down fast, so remember to reshape them with a simple hand file after every use.

The barrel bits are great for doing surface work on the nail. You can also use the barrel bits for backfill cutting, shortening, and shaping the nail, and to make a smile line.

Expert Tip: Make sure you don’t use this bit in the cuticle area! You may cause some damage to the nail (rings of fire).


The UNC bit is an under-the-nail cleaning bit. The shape of the UNC bit is pointed and small. The point size changes from manufacturer to manufacturer.

This particular shape helps the bit to get in tight spaces. The UNC bit is commonly used not only for under-the-nail cleaning but also for sidewalls.

Some nail technicians also use this bit for making designer holes in the nails.

The cone bit has a long, slim, and tapered shape. You can use this cone-shaped bit for several purposes, such as preparing the cuticle area and sidewalls and cleaning under the nail.

You also can use the cone bit on the top of the nail. It is a great shape for toenail surface work, but not the best shape for fingernail surface work.

nail drill bits

Tapered Barrel

The Tapered barrel bit has a flat top and a cone shape to it. It is shorter than the cone bit and is great for surface work, in-fill preparation, cuticle, and sidewall preparation.

These are actually cuticle safety bits and are designed for safe cuticle work.

They are rounded at the top and come in a great variety of shapes. With these bits, you can easily reach the cuticle and sidewalls without damaging the nail. They are great for in-fill cuticle work.

This bit is commonly made of rubber or metal. You can work with the mandrel bit only after slipping it into the sanding band. The sanding band is made of paper and needs to be replaced after you work on a client.

Expert Tip: Take extra notice when working with sanding bands, especially if you are a beginner. Sanding bands tend to heat very quickly. Heat can cause your client some discomfort.

Maintenance Bits/Backfill Bits

The maintenance bits or the backfill bits are great for replacing the white tip powder on a French manicure and correcting and redoing the smile line. There are several types and sizes of maintenance bits.

The 2-week bit is used exactly for what it sounds like. It trenches backfill after two weeks of growth. The size of this bit is a quarter of a large barrel bit.

The 4-week bit is used to trench backfill after four weeks of growth and is half the size of a large barrel bit.

Pedicure Bit

This cone-shaped bit is commonly made of synthetic diamond partials. Some of those bits come with hollow stripes in the center. The hollow center prevents it from heating up too quickly. This bit’s main purpose is to remove dry callus easily.

How to Choose Bits for an Electric Nail Drill?

Knowing the work you need to do on the nail is very important when picking the right bit for you. This includes the grit and material you will need the bit’s compatible with your nail drill shank size.

Shank Size

The standard nail drill shank size is 3/32.″ Remember that the shank size of electric nail files that are for craft use is usually 1/8″ and they will not fit a professional electric file.


You can measure the grit of your nail drill bit by the number of abrasive partials per square inch. The more partials you have, the smaller they are.
In coarse bits, for example, you will see large partials on the bit and the number of grits will be lower.

High-Quality Bits

Buy only high-quality bits (not the $2 bits) which will do the work perfectly. Many times low-quality bits may remove product unevenly and can be difficult to work with. Make sure you are replacing your bits every 3-4 months (depends on how much you actually use them).

Make Sure The Bit Doesn’t “Wobble”

As a nail technician, you should make sure your bits don’t “wobble” when you connect them to your nail drill. If your bit is “wobbling” he might be damaged or the e-file can be damaged.

How to Clean and Sanitize Nail Drill Bits?

electric nail file bits

Proper sanitation of tools and bits is very important whether you’re working on yourself or on others. Good cleaning and sanitation will prevent you from getting or transferring infections such as fungus and more.

You should never work with a dirty bit or tool. Remember to properly clean and disinfect your tools after every client.
There are several ways you can disinfect your bits and manicure pieces.

Follow these steps and get your tools clean and ready for work.

First Step: Cleaning

The cleaning part is super important because it reduces the number of germs significantly. Use a clean, small brush. Then, soak it in a bowl with warm water and soap.

Scrub and clean your tools with the brush from every visible debris or dirt.
Another way to clean your metal nail tools is to put them in acetone for 7-10 minutes.

Second Step: Disinfecting

The easiest way to disinfect your metal tools and nail drill bits will be to use a liquid disinfectant.

Pick a liquid disinfectant that is approved by your state and immerse your metal bits and tools only for the time that is recommended on the disinfectant label.
If you have rubber bits, you need to remove the used portion of the bit.

Use your electric nail file with a coarse bit and very carefully remove the used part of the rubber bit. After removing the outer used layer, immerse the rubber bit in an approved liquid disinfectant.

Hope you loved our electric nail file bits explained guide. Please leave a comment if you have more questions.

2 thoughts on “Electric Nail File Bits Explained”

  1. Fantastic information im a beginer in the nail world and have just finished my nvq level 3 so now im ready to take clients. I have bought a drill and bits but a lot of the bits i have ive no idea what are for is there any info out there that could help me thanks x


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