Which glass nail files are best?

There are several different nail shapes to select when it comes to your manicure, and you need the right glass nail file to shape your nails the way you want them, whether you like a striking stiletto, a sporty square or a classic oval shape. The Bona Fide Beauty Czech Glass Nail File is well loved for its consistently snag-free, smooth results.

What to know before you buy a glass nail file

Type of nail file

There are several different kinds of nail files, including metal files, electric files, ceramic files, glass or crystal nail files and emery boards.

  • Emery board. The emery board is the most common kind of nail file, and it’s sold in almost all mass merchandise stores and drugstores. The lower quality of the emery board makes it inexpensive, but it can often damage your nails.
  • Glass/crystal nail files. Glass or crystal nail files are top-quality files with a fine grit that’s perfect for smoothing the nail’s surface and shaping your nails. Glass files are very high performing and durable, but they can also be expensive.
  • Ceramic nail files. Ceramic nail files are gentle, so they’re the best option for brittle, weak nails. They’re affordable but less durable than crystal or glass files.
  • Electric nail files. Electric nail files use 110/240-volt batteries to smooth, shape and buff the nails.
  • Metal nail files. Metal nail files are typically composed of stainless steel. They’re effective for nail filing, but they can lead to breaking or peeling.

Abrasive material

Nail files use many different abrasive materials to file down the nails, including garnet, aluminum oxide, silicon carbide and silicon carbide with zinc stearate.

  • Silicon carbide is a very hard material that works more quickly than other abrasive materials, but it can also create dust.
  • Aluminum oxide is similar to silicon carbide when it comes to the level of grit, but the material is less likely to damage your nails or create dust. It works well on natural nails in particular.
  • Silicon carbide with zinc stearate has a lubricant that prevents dust from covering the surface of the file.
  • Garnet is very durable and budget-friendly.

What to look for in a quality glass nail file


The grit means the roughness on the surface of the file. Files come in a wide range of different grit levels, and the higher the grit number, the finer the grit.

  • 80 is the coarsest grit level and only works on artificial nails.
  • 100 is also very coarse, so you should only use it on artificial nails.
  • 180 is the coarsest grit you can use on natural nails, but it’s still fairly rough, particularly for damaged or weak nails.
  • 240 is a fine grit that works well for buffing and shaping natural nails.
  • 500 is the finest grit and is typically used for polishing or buffing nails.


The backing of the nail file doesn’t impact performance, but it does affect the durability of the file. Paper is the least durable packing since it’s typically not waterproof. Mylar backing is very durable since you can clean it and it’s waterproof. Cloth backing provides the most flexibility and can keep your nails from being filed too much or too harshly.


The exterior materials are the most crucial parts of a nail file, but the core impacts the durability and performance of the file. Wood cores are very stiff, so files with wood cores can be too harsh on nails. Plastic cores provide more flexibility than wood, but you shouldn’t buy a file that’s too flexible. Foam is firm but also flexible, but you might have to apply more pressure to the file when you’re shaping the nails.

How much you can expect to spend on a glass nail file

Glass nail files range in price from about $5-$15, depending on the quality, materials and features of the file, as well as what’s included in a nail file set.

Glass nail file FAQ

Is it safe for you to share nail files?

A. It’s common for you to see fungus and bacteria around your nails, so each member of your household should have their own nail file. You can spread germs easily back and forth if you share your nail file with other people in your household.

How do you clean a nail file?

A. You can only wash ceramic, metal and glass nail files. Simply add some antibacterial soap to warm water and put your nail file in the wet mixture, then use a nail brush to scrub the whole surface of the nail file. After you clean the nail file, rinse it well, then allow it to completely dry before putting it away or using it again.

How regularly should you use your nail file?

A. This depends on how quickly your fingernails and toenails grow. Most nails grow around 2 to 3 millimeters per month, so you only need to file your nails about once per week. 

You might be able to get away with filing your nails every two to three weeks if they grow more slowly. Or you might have to shape and file your nails two or more times a week if they grow very quickly.

What’s the best glass nail file to buy?

Top glass nail file

Bona Fide Beauty Czech Glass Nail File

Bona Fide Beauty Czech Glass Nail File

What you need to know: This versatile, popular glass nail file is well loved for its consistently snag-free, smooth results.

What you’ll love: This product includes a plastic sleeve and a nonporous surface that’s simple to clean with just a rinse or a wipe. It works well on both acrylic and natural nails, and it’s made from top-quality Czech glass. The file also comes in a diverse array of colors and doesn’t include any jagged edges.

What you should consider: This glass nail file is very thick, so it can be hard to get it under short nails.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top glass nail file for the money

SIMAX Glass Nail File Set

SIMAX Glass Nail File Set

What you need to know: This three-piece crystal glass nail file set comes with varying grit and multiple sizes.

What you’ll love: This product is tempered for durability and created to include a blunt break for safety in case you accidentally drop the files. The small and medium files come with a fine 200-220 grit, while the big nail file has a rough grit that works well for cracked heels, calluses, acrylics and thick nails.

What you should consider: People with smaller hands might find the big size of the file awkward and difficult to handle.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File

Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File

What you need to know: This crystal glass nail file comes with a protective travel case and works well for acrylic, gel and natural nails.

What you’ll love: This file gives you consistently smooth nails without any of the jagged edges you might get from traditional nail files. The finely ridged edges on the files are etched permanently on both sides, so they don’t weaken over time.

What you should consider: This file is not very durable, but the customer service team is responsive and will send a new file right away.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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