Electric Nail File Bits Explained – Choose & Use Guide [2019]

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Electric Nail File Bits Explained

There are so many things you should take into consideration when you pick your electric file bits. Nail drill Bits come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and grits. There are different uses and purposes for every bit.

High-quality bits can do so much more than just shave off products from nails. Having the right bit for the right job will make your life so much easier and will save you some valuable time when working on a client. Actually, there are some things you need to know before you finally purchase your electric file bits. If you haven’t bought your nail drill yet check our top best nail drill review & buyers guide.

There are so many nail drill bits you can find online; all this info can make it hard to decide which nail drill bit you should choose for the job. in this Article, you will find the full Electric Nail File Bits Explained – Choose & Use Guide for beginners. All the info you need before choosing your nail drill bits.

Electric Nail File Bits Explained

Sanding bands/mandrel

The Mandrel bit is commonly made of metal or rubber. You should slip the mandrel top over the sanding band and you 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 sending bands are commonly used for surface work, removing gels, and pedicures. The sanding bands come in various grits: coarse, medium and fine.

Gold/silver Carbide Bits

The carbide bits made of carbide metal (20 times stronger than steel). The carbide bits meant to be long-lasting. You can notice flute-like cuts on the carbide bit, these cuts enable the carbide bit to shave the enhancement product off and not scratching it like the diamond bits. The grid scale is determent by the flutes on the bit. Dip and large flutes- coarse grit, shallower flutes commonly indicate on a finer bit. Carbide bits are a great tool for advanced users and ideal for removing acrylics. The carbide bits can be cleaned.

Ceramic bits

The great thing about Ceramic coated bits is that they are long-lasting. The ceramic bit also has flute-like cuts which help the bit to shave off the product. You can find the ceramic bits in several grids such as medium coarse and fine. The ceramic bits intended to reduce heat. Ceramic bits can be cleaned and sterilized.

Diamond Bits

Diamond bits are commonly made of synthetic or natural diamond partials. They are strong and long-lasting. Diamond bits are coming in a variety of grids: fine to extra coarse. Diamond bits unlike ceramic and carbide bits scratching the material off the nails and not shaving it off. Sometimes this can be a disadvantage, low coast diamond bits may remove product unevenly (you don’t have this problem with higher priced diamond bits which often have higher quality). Diamond bits can be cleaned

Tip: If the Nail drill is used properly the client shouldn’t feel the heat with any of the bits your using.

Electric Nail Drill Bit Shapes & Uses.

Natural bit

Natural Nail Bit

This kind of nail bits is commonly made of synthetic rubber. The natural nail bit is used to buff the surface of the nail, remove dead cuticle on the nail and to smoothen the cuticle area. Synthetic rubber bits wear down fast, so remember to reshape it with a simple hand file after every use.

Large barrel

Large and Small Barrel bit

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

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

UNC bit




The UNC bit is under the nail clean 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.

Cone bit

Cone Bit

The cone bit has a long, slim and tapped 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, although you must keep in mind it’s not the best shape for fingernails surface work.

Cone Bit

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, infill preparation, cuticle and sidewalls preparation.

Safety bit

Safety Bits

These are actually cuticle safety bits and 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 get to the cuticle and sidewalls without damaging the nail. Great for infill cuticle work.

Mandrel Bit

Mandrel Bit

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

Sanding bands

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

2 week bit

Maintenance bits/backfill bits

The maintenance bits or the backfill bits are great for replacing the white tip powder on a French manicure and to correct and redo the smile line. There are several types and sizes of maintenance bits.
The 2-week bit is used exactly for what it sounds. trench backfill after 2 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 his size is a half 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 fast. This bit’s main purpose is to remove dry callus easily.

How to Choose Bits for an Electric Nail Drill? 

Actually, knowing the work you need to do on the nail is very important when picking the right bit for you. Then you need to choose the grit and material and to verify the bit is 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 files that use for craft are 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, they are smaller so you have a finer the bit.
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 those 2$ bits) which actually 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).

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How to Clean and Sanitize Nail Drill 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 as it actually reduces the number of germs significantly. Use a clean & small brush and soak it in a bowl with warm water and soap. Then scrub and clean your tools with the brush from every visible derbies 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 which is approved by your state, and immerse your metal bits and tools only for the time that is mentioned on the disinfectant label.
If you have rubber bits you need to remove the used portion of the bit. Use your electric nail drill 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 a liquid disinfectant (approved disinfectant).

If you liked our electric nail file bits explained – Choose & use guide please let us know and leave a comment.


Electric Nail File Bits Explained – Choose & Use Guide [2019]
5 (100%) 3 votes

2 thoughts on “Electric Nail File Bits Explained – Choose & Use Guide [2019]”

    • Hello Joyce,
      Most of the high-quality ceramic bits can be sterilized in an autoclave and liquid solutions. Make sure you read the manufacturers instructions on how to clean and disinfect their ceramic bits before you do so.

      Kind regards,
      Nail Art Gear Team.

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