Nail cutter attachments - comparison & guide [2021 - 2022]

Would you like to know which attachments you really need for your nail burr and what you should definitely pay attention to? 

Our nail design experts have collected all of your questions about cutter bits and have summarized and answered them for you in this guide.

After you have read this comparison or guide you will know more about the multitude of bits for milling cutters than 90% of all beginners. 

What are you waiting for? Make no more wrong decisions with your nail milling bits and dive into the guide below! 

This is how we built this guide: 

1. First we give you an overview of the most important bits and what they are suitable for. The bits and attachments are sorted by popularity. 

2. After that, this article will cover essential knowledge about cutter attachments so that you are perfectly equipped and there are no unanswered questions.

Good to know: We link every bit to amazon. There you can then read further reviews from users of the respective bit. 

Comparison of the most popular nail bit attachments - the top 10

Name / Suitable for: Link 


Premium 4 in 1 carbide bit: 4 areas of application eg remove gel or work on cuticles

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Premium carbide bit, pear shape, medium: Removal of modeling

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Premium carbide bit for cuticles

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Premium carbide bit, pear shape, coarse: Removal of modeling


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100x sanding sleeves, brown, medium: Removal of modeling, callus

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Premium medium carbide bit: Removal of modeling

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Premium carbide bit taper: Cuticles, details

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Premium carbide bit cylinder shape, medium: Removal of modeling

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Premium carbide bit, fine: Removal of modeling

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Premium abrasive sleeves, green: Removal of modeling, callus

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Also interesting: Find the best nail burr for private and studio use

This saves money in the long term when buying bits 

Bits wear out over time.

We recommend investing 1-2 euros more in any case, so that you can be sure of receiving a high-quality, certified bit that lasts longer and also enables more precise work. 

In this way, you often save money in the long term, since cheap bits have to be bought significantly more often and often the results of a high-quality bit cannot be reached.

Those higher-value bits often have the word "Premium" in their name. 

Table of Contents

Guide: Everything you need to know about nail cutter bits and attachments

Generally speaking, a nail bit is simply a nail file that is used to shape artificial nails with quick twisting movements.

They are attached to an electromotive handpiece in order to carry out various filing work and thus save the nail technician time and effort when working on the nails.

The time saved compared to manual filing is substantial.

Definition: what is a nail bit attachment?

A bit consists of two main parts that are adjacent to each other: a shaft and a head.

The shaft is a small cylindrical rod compared to the head.

The industry standard for the shaft is either 1/8 or 3/32 inch in diameter.

The 1/8-inch shafts are used in older burrs, while the 3/32-inch shafts are mainly used in bench-top or mobile nail burs.

You should definitely keep this in mind: 
Not all bits will fit all handpieces.

Some handpieces come with a twist lock mechanism that can accommodate different sizes, but this is not always the case. 

Attachments should always be attached bomb-proof (!) In the handpiece.

These bits fit, for example, on all commercially available nail burrs that are available in Europe.


The origin of cutter bits for electric nail files

Nail cutters owe their origins to conventional cutters that were used to machine various hard materials such as wood or metal.

One of the first attachments for nails was a simple one Mandrel bit on which a grinding sleeve was put on to give artificial nails the finishing touch.

Over time, more attachments were developed: Either made from better materials or designed for more specific tasks, e.g. B. for filling, removing excess acrylic under a nail or removing gel polish.

How does a nail milling bit work?

The head of the drill has a series of small "cutting edges" that are designed to remove other, softer materials when pressed against them.

Often these cutting edges are shaped in one direction.

Therefore, you can only remove material if the direction setting (left or right) is correctly set on the nail cutter.

You should therefore make sure that the bits you buy can work in both directions or only one of the two sides is suitable for use. 


The different types of attachments and bits explained

In the search for the right essays, various variations are suggested on the Internet, which often cause more confusion than clarification. 

This section works through all the relevant types of attachments for your nailing apparatus.


Mandrel bits and abrasive sleeves


The oldest attachments for working on artificial nails.

The beginnings go back to the late 1980s.

They were and are still used by many nail designers because of their versatility, ease of use and a relatively low price, and are also the only type of attachment that can also be used for natural nails due to their similarity to an emery paper or a nail file.

There are three different degrees of coarseness

Fine, medium and coarse.

Only with these three strengths could the first generation of nail technicians create countless beautiful acrylic designs for their customers when abrasive sleeves dominated the nail design industry in the late 1980s and into the 2000s.

Fine abrasive sleeves: Are used to gently roughen the surface of the natural nail and to create a good connection between the acrylic and the natural nail.

Medium abrasive sleeves: Used to remove excess from around the cuticle, under the nails or around the tips after acrylic has been applied.

Coarse abrasive sleeves: Used to trim or shorten long acrylic nails for refills or new full sets.

Although many nail technicians now own many different types of nail bits, they still use a mandrel with fine abrasive tapes to roughen the nail surfaces before applying gel polish or other artificial nails such as acrylic, hard gel, or dip powder.

One should pay attention to: The differences in quality are often enormous. Very cheap bits run off quickly or sometimes fly off mandrel bit. This can be dangerous and the result of the design is often worse. 

We recommend these premium abrasive sleeves


Carbide bits - basic knowledge

Carbide bits are the second generation of attachments for electric nail files. 

They look very similar to a mandrel bit with an upturned sleeve, but you don't have to put anything on a hard metal bit. 

 Carbide bits are popular mainly because of the high quality materials from which they are made. 

They are made of stainless steel and, depending on the thickness, work even faster and more efficiently than abrasive sleeves. 

The heat development can be felt in some cases, but it also depends on the technology of the application.

They often come in different colors, however color differences are not an indicator of different quality. 

Regardless of the strength, we advise against using it on natural nails and recommend abrasive sleeves.

This is very important to know: The color of the ring around the attachment indicates the strength. 

As with grinding belts, there are usually three different degrees of coarseness with HM bits.

Fine metal nail bits: are mainly used for smoothing the top of artificial nails.

They can also be used to clean or smooth the powder along the cuticle curves.

Medium metal nail tips: are used to smooth out clumped areas accidentally created by acrylic, dipping powder or gel.

Coarse metal nail drill bits: They are very sharp and must therefore never be used on natural nails. Greatest caution!

Coarse HM bits are used to remove gel topcoat, to dilute hard gels or acrylic powder on nails to speed up the removal process.

The edge at the tip of the coarse metal drill bit is also very sharp, so it's often used to repair cracks on acrylic nails.

All drum or barrel shaped bits can have a procurement with the edges rounded at the tip to remove the sharpness.

These variants are safer for working on cuticles.


We recommend these carbide bits

Ceramic bits 

Ceramic bits usually do not warm up as quickly as hard metal bits, which is why they can be used on natural nails. 

The primary difference is the material. They are also lighter.

We recommend ceramic attachments for your electric nail file, especially for longer sessions. 

Attention: Ceramic bits are more sensitive than carbide bits. Therefore, they shouldn't fall off. However, they are very durable.


We recommend these ceramic bits



Special shapes of bits: conical or pointed

These attachments are primarily used to remove excess acrylic or gel that has built up under the nails during use.

They can have a conical shape, a pointed tip, or a rounded tip.

They are very useful for removing excess under the nails as they are relatively small and thin.

Which nail bits for beginners?

As a beginner, you should initially limit yourself to a selection of bits.

Tungsten carbide attachments are more for more advanced users, so ceramic bits or abrasive sleeves are often recommended for beginners.  

 Gel varnish can be easily removed with this ceramic bit set. 

As mentioned earlier, ceramic bits generate less heat when you remove the gel polish from your nails.

The drum and cone bit shape are ideal for removing gel varnish.

Remember, the paint should be soaked with acetone before it can be safely scraped, peeled, or peeled off.

Thin, pointed long bits are intended for cleaning under the nails.

It can remove dirt or gel polish that may be underneath.

Spherical bits are great for cleaning up excess cuticles.

We do not recommend using it until you feel very confident using the nail drill, so that your nails are not accidentally damaged.

With Nagelbit brushes, you can remove dust on the nails and along the hard-to-reach cuticle lines.

Nail drill for advanced users

After six months of regular use of an electric nailer, you can call yourself an advanced user.

In this phase, you can try out various nail strengthening products such as dip powder, polygel, hard gel or acrylic nails.

All of these nail products are much tougher than gel polish and require a different set of bits.

There are two types of nail bits that you should have in your nail tool box: abrasive belts and carbide bits.

The hard metal nail bits can be used to process the various nail products mentioned above.

They are better at removing nail products, and will also help you complete all of the steps of filing and shaping your nails more quickly.

They also last longer, so you won't have to replace your worn HM attachments for a long time.


Nail bits for advanced users

If you've done nails for at least a year and family members and friends are delighted with your results, then you are an advanced user of nail burr attachments.

You can use any nail bits that you bought as a beginner and advanced user. 

There is no one rigid procedure that nail professionals should follow when using a bit.

Rather, they are used in the way that every nail professional is most comfortable with.

This is how a nail professional creates a great looking set of nails that is individual.

What bit for what? An application overview

The different bits are used in different work steps. 

In general, one can differentiate between the following areas of application:

Removing gel polishes:

A medium coarse carbide bit with a rounded edge is very efficient at removing the gel topcoat before the gel polish is softened.

Which bit is best for acrylic nails:

Mandrel bit with high-quality abrasive sleeves in three different degrees of hardness. 

Nail bit for dip powder: 

Mandrel bit with high quality abrasive sleeves in 3 different degrees of hardness. 

Safety instructions for nail cutter bits


For maximum protection, wear safety glasses when practicing with bits.

Never turn the cutter to the highest speed immediately, because the attachment could come loose or break and the splinters could fly into your eyes.

This may be the case, especially with inferior bits.

For beginners, it is safest to practice with abrasive sleeves, as this allows you to get a feel for the device and gain initial experience in using the nail cutter handpiece without accidentally cutting yourself.

Good to know: As a beginner, never test a bit at the highest speed on a natural nail.


How you can tell if a nail attachment is defective

Attachments are bad when the shaft and the head are no longer balanced, so to speak.

If vibrations are transmitted from the bit to the nail cutter and also to the fingernail to be worked on, the bit or attachment is largely worn out.

It is good practice to always remove bits after use.

After cleaning, they should be placed in a suitable container to prevent them from accidentally falling.

Bits often contain extra holders in the scope of delivery. 

How to properly clean bits

If metal or ceramic bits are glued with dried or hardened gel varnish, hard gel, glue or acrylic, soaking them in acetone dissolves these residues and can then be cleaned and disinfected.

Metal objects can be brushed with soap and water and then disinfected with alcohol or a 10% bleach solution, or dipped in a disinfectant solution, or treated in a UV disinfection lamp.


Can nail bit attachments be sharpened or refurbished?


Bits and abrasive belts cannot be sharpened to restore them to their original condition.

When they are worn out, they should be discarded.

Left-handed bits


Many electric nail drills have a forward and a reverse function so that left-handed people can simply shift the drill into reverse so that they can work with their left hand.

As for the drills, the sanding belts can be used either way, but most metal drills are designed for right-handed use.

If you are left handed, make sure the drills are left handed before buying because it is not easy to tell the difference just by looking at them.


How long do bits for electric files last?

Nail bits should only be used for artificial nails.

With the exception of sanding belts, which are only used once, metal drills can withstand hundreds of uses or up to six months of daily use because these high quality drills are used on relatively soft materials rather than hardwood or metals.

This is how you care for nail bit attachments

Remove the drill from the handpiece after each use.

Brush off the nail dust, wash it off with soap and water, dry it, and disinfect it with alcohol or a disinfectant.

Keep them in their own or an appropriate case.
Never use nail drills for materials that are harder than acrylic glass, as they wear out faster and can be unbalanced by excessive pressure on the workpiece.


How to: How to Use Nail Mill Bits: A Guide

The handling of a milling cutter should be acquired with the utmost care. 

There are numerous YouTube videos, training courses (online and offline) and books, which can be purchased on amazon, for example.

This section briefly summarizes essential tips.


 Dealing with the nail cutter handpiece

About dealing with milling cutters to practice, one should first practice being able to hold the handpiece comfortably.

Hold the handpiece like you would hold a pen.

Improve the mobility of your fingers, hand and wrist by moving or rotating the handpiece in your hand.

Use a pen (e.g. highlighter) that is similar in size to the handpiece and use it to train the mobility of your hand. 

This is a proven and risk-free way to get used to the handpiece.

We strongly advise against "practicing" on the real nail!

Practice hands for nails

The best DIY practice hand to practice on is a piece of white PVC pipe.

You will need about four pieces that are 5 inches long and 1 inch in diameter.

You can get them at your local hardware store. There they are usually sold by the meter. The local staff can also cut the pipe to size.

Alternatively, you can also find practice hands very cheaply on amazon, which, in contrast to PVC pipes, come much closer to a real hand on the outside.


Click here to see practice hands on amazon

Practice nail design on the PVC pipe

It is important to improve the flexibility of the fingers, hands and the wrist.

The nail burr should be set to a slow speed that you can handle well.

Start filing the PVC pipe freely. Use different strengths of the sanding sleeves as an attachment.

Initially, it should be about getting a feel for your hands and seeing how powerful and dangerous the cutter is at the same time.

Once you are comfortable with the low RPM, you can gradually increase the speed of the e-file, but never turn the RPM up more than halfway because it is not safe and not necessary to go that high.

 Play it safe and wear protective glasses.

The more you've practiced on the dummy fingers, the less damage you'll do to the real nails.



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