A Nail Tech’s Definitive Guide On Buying Your First Nail Drill Kit

Written By Lynda Le
Last updated
nail drill

Looking to buy a professional nail drill? Think portability, power, nail drill bit quality, noise level, durability, warranty, and user-friendliness for top-notch nail care and stunning results.

Buying your first professional nail drill kit is a core memory as a nail tech.

Investing in your passion means giving your clients top-notch results.

But with so many options out there, where do you start?

You can check out our ‘Ultimate Nail Drill Buying Guide for Beginners‘ to help you make the right choice for your first electric nail file.

But if you want all bases covered, keep reading this definitive guide on buying your first nail drill kit.

Let’s dig in.

What Are Nail Drills Used For?

Before we jump into the best nail drill brands on the market, let’s quickly go over what nail drills are used for.

Nail drills are powerful tools that help nail technicians shape, buff, and smooth out nails. They’re like the superhero sidekick to your trusty nail file. 

With different attachments and adjustable speeds, the electric nail file gives you ultimate control and precision.

What Kind of Nail Drill Do You Use?

You’ll be surprised that a nail drill isn’t just a nail drill.

It is a well-designed machine that has variable options depending on how you will use it.

For the pros, a professional-grade electric nail drill is non-negotiable. 

It’s got to have the stamina of a marathon runner and the precision of a Swiss watch, right? You want a electric nail file model that’s whisper-quiet, low on vibration but high on efficiency.

There are also nail drill machine designed for natural nails that you can buy. This electric nail file has the ability to perform delicate and precise work without causing damage to natural nails.

If you are a mobile nail tech or aspiring to be one, you’ll love the range or available cordless nail drill in the market right now.

Personally, I love the mobility this electric nail file offers and it usually comes with a long battery life to ensure uninterrupted use during nail sessions.

Also, if you are a DIY nail enthusiast or a fan of nail art, there’s a nail drill for at-home use that you can choose. This drill has sufficient power and speed that can give you salon-quality results.

Does Power Matter With A Professional Nail Drill?

The first feature that you should look for in an electric nail drill is the speed, which you will identify by looking for the RPMs (revolutions per minute).

If you are a pro who works with acrylics, you’ll want to pass over nail drill machines with anything less than 25,000 RPMs.

Lower-powered nail drills won’t take off products like acrylic nails very well and they’ll lock up and stop working during use.

Use a high speed nail drill for shortening tips, a medium speed drill machine for smoothing acrylic applications, and the slowest speed for work on natural nails. 

Nail experts recommend keeping speeds at 15,000 RPMs on the natural nail and cuticle area.

Here’s a quick test you can try to check the quality of your nail drill:

Protip: To check the nail drill quality, take the nail drill machine out of the box and test it out with one of the drill bits in it. The nail bits should rotate evenly without wobbling.

Check out the manufacturer’s warranty and learn how you can get your nail drill fixed if you have a problem with it.

Nail techs that use their professional nail drills for business should consider buying  more than one machine in case they have to send one out for repairs.

Now, let’s see the considerations and steps you should take when buying your first nail drill kit.

Ultimate Guide for Buying A Nail Drill

When you’re on a mission to find the perfect nail drill, consider what makes the cut in quality, flexibility, and will not drill a hole in your wallet. 

Let’s nail it down, shall we?

1. Portability & Design

  • Portability: Look for a electric nail file that’s easy to carry for on-the-go use.
  • Compact & Ergonomic Design: Ensure it’s compact and ergonomically designed for easy handling.
  • Lightweight: A lightweight nail drill provides comfort during extended sessions.
  • Cordless or Corded: Decide if you prefer the flexibility of a cordless model or the consistent power of a corded one.
  • Forward/Reverse Mode: Direction control matters. For manicures and refills, a nail drill with forward and reverse modes allows you to work comfortably without twisting your or your client’s hand.

2. Power & Speed

  • Adjustable Speed Control: Opt for a nail drill with adjustable speed settings to handle various tasks.
  • Wide RPM Range: Choose a model with a broad RPM range .
  • Task-Specific RPM: Use high RPM for efficient shaping and low RPM for delicate tasks.

3. Bit Quality & Variety

  • High-Quality Bits: Prioritize bits made from durable materials like diamond or carbide.
  • Variety of Bits: Ensure the nail drill offers multiple bit types and sizes for different treatments.
  • Ease of Bit Swapping: Consider the ease with which bits can be changed for multitasking.

4. Noise & Vibration

  • Quiet Operation: Select a nail drill that operates quietly to maintain a peaceful environment, especially in salons.
  • Minimal Vibration: Low vibration reduces hand fatigue and allows for steady, precise work.

5. Durability & Warranty

  • Sturdy Build Quality: Look for a nail drill with reliable construction materials for long-term use.
  • Warranty: Consider the manufacturer’s warranty to ensure product reliability and customer support.
  • Long-Lasting Battery Life: For cordless models, ensure the battery life is long enough for extended sessions without frequent recharging.

6. User-Friendly Design & Versatility

  • Intuitive Controls: Beginners need a nail drill with simple, intuitive controls and ergonomic design.
  • Clear Instructions: Clear operating instructions facilitate learning and reduce the learning curve.
  • Interchangeable Bits: A variety of interchangeable bits allows for diverse nail treatments and techniques.
  • Versatility: Enables users to shape, file, and buff natural nails, acrylics, and gels with ease.

7. Precision

  • Delicate Work: The ability to perform precise work without damaging nails is crucial.
  • Adjustable Speed Control: Essential for safe shaping and refining of nails.
  • Quality Bits: High-quality, gentle bits help achieve precision in nail care.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a nail drill that meets your requirements for portability, power, durability, and functionality. 

Whether you’re a professional nail technician or an at-home enthusiast, choosing the right nail drill ensures efficient and precise nail treatments for stunning results.

A Quality Nail Drill Is All About Its Features

Comfort is key when it comes to selecting a nail drill, especially for professionals who spend hours using them.

Choose a lightweight and ergonomic design that fits comfortably in your hand, and ensure compatibility with standard-sized drill bits for easy replacement.

Furthermore, consider additional features such as dual rotation directions and built-in dust collectors to enhance user experience and efficiency.

Looking at Extra Features

Extras are the sprinkles on your cupcake!

  • LED Lights: For precision work, especially useful in low-light conditions.
  • Foot Pedals: Provide hands-free control for convenience.
  • Safety Features: Look for features that enhance safety during use.
  • Built-In Dust Collectors: Keep your workspace clean and reduce inhalation of nail dust.
  • Heat Dissipation: Ensure the nail drill has good heat dissipation to prevent overheating during long sessions.

Foot pedals for hands-free action, or built-in nail dust collectors to keep your workspace cleaner than a whistle. These aren’t just nice to have; they can be game changers.

So weigh the cool add-ons but be mindful of your budget before turning your easy pickup into a luxury splurge.

When hunting for your holy grail of electric nail file, don’t get blindsided by shiny features—you want something built to last.

Heat dissipation matters; you’re not cooking here.

LED lights? Handy for spelunking the shadows of nail nooks and crannies.

The lightweight feel in addition to the portable nature scores big for at-home users and pros on the move. And safety features, well, that’s non-negotiable. We’re buffing nails, not performing risky stunts.

Remember, your choice in a nail drill could be the difference between an okay manicure and nail art that wows. Keep these tips in your toolbox, and you’re golden!

Now, one important part of buying an electric nail file is the nail drill bits you are going to use. 

Here’s how you can pick the best drill bit for your nail drill machine. 

Comparing Your Options: Things to Consider Before Purchasing

Navigating the sea of nail drill options can be overwhelming, but understanding their common features is key to making an informed choice.

Here’s what you need to know when comparing electric nail drills:


Avoid overpaying for professional-grade drills if your needs are basic nail upkeep at home. 

Prices can vary significantly, so familiarize yourself with the price range that aligns with your budget and requirements. Most drills on our list range from $20 to $100, offering great value for at-home use.

Type of Nails

Consider whether you’ll be working on natural nails, acrylics, or both, as this influences the type of drill set you’ll need

Different drills come with various drill bits tailored for tasks like buffing and shaping, with higher-powered options typically better suited for acrylic nails.

Electric Nail Drill Brand

Researching electric nail drill brands ensures you invest in a reputable and reliable product. Look for unbiased customer reviews to gauge satisfaction levels. 

To save you the trouble, you can check out this article on the Best Nail Drill Brands to ensure you get the best nail drill quality and after sales service.

Frequency You’ll Use It

Your usage frequency impacts the durability and quality of the electric nail drill you choose.

For occasional home use, basic models suffice, but frequent users should invest in sturdier options to withstand wear and tear.

While price isn’t always indicative of quality, spending a bit more upfront for a durable model can save you from early replacements.

Nail drill bits for your nail drill machine is something you should carefully consider as well.

Drill nits usually comes with the machine but if your buying separately, please continue reading.

Here’s How To Choose An Initial Set Of Nail Drill Bits

Nail drill bits come in various sizes, shapes, and materials.

Navigating the world of nail drill bits can feel like diving into a sea of options.

If you want to learn more about nail drill bits, here is an article that can guide you: All Nail Drill Bits Explained

Nail drill bits, though tiny, play a crucial role in achieving professional nail perfection. They come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, each serving a unique purpose. 

Size matters, determining the precision of your work. Large bits tackle heavy-duty tasks like gel or acrylic removal, while small bits excel at detailed work like cuticle cleaning.

In the video by Nail Career Education, nail expert Suzi demonstrates what to look for in an acrylic drill and how to use various drill bits to get preferred results.

Make A Habit Of Practicing Good Hygiene With Nail Drill Bits

Nail techs should never be in too much of a hurry to neglect proper hygiene.

Robert Spalding, a Tennessee podiatrist and author of “Death by Pedicure”, says that about 75% of U.S. nail salons fail to sterilize their tools properly to prevent infection.

Clean and sterilize drill bits after every procedure, even when the shop is busy. Scrub nail drill bits with a brush and rinse with soapy water, regardless of the drill bit material.

Practicing good hygiene also means cleaning your nail drill. Use a soft cloth to brush away dust from your drill or use an aerosol cleansing duster to remove particles from cracks and crevices.

Do Nail Drills Damage Nails?

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: Do nail drills damage nails?

The short answer is no.

Well, let’s break it down. When used properly, nail drills can be a fast track to flawless nails, but misuse can lead to a world of ouch and a sea of splits.

Safety First

  • Cuticles: Be gentle, folks! Treat your cuticles with care, as they serve as the protective barrier around your nails.
  • Gel Nails: When working with gel nails, precision is key; while they’re sturdy, they’re not indestructible
  • Acrylic Nails: Approach acrylic nails with caution, as they’re the heavy-duty members of the nail family. Remember, a gentle touch yields the best results.

Here are some essential tips to elevate your nail drilling game:

  1. Master Speed Control: Like Goldilocks searching for the perfect porridge, find the speed that’s ‘just right’ for each part of your nail, from the delicate cuticle to the sturdy surface.
  2. Choose the Right Drill Bits: Just as you wouldn’t use a fork to eat soup, ensure you’re using the correct drill bit for your nail type. Using the wrong one can lead to undesirable outcomes.

Essential Maintenance Tips for Nail Drills

Congratulations on acquiring your nail drill (and nail drill bits)!

Now, let’s talk about maintenance.

Proper care and hygiene are essential to prolonging the lifespan of your nail drill and ensuring optimal performance.

By practicing good hygiene habits, you’ll keep your nail drill in prime condition for years to come.

A pristine nail drill is a happy one, especially when tackling back-to-back mani-pedis. Begin by disinfecting the drill bits after each use.

Tips for Proper Care to Avoid Overheating

Like any faithful gadget that’s been through thick (acrylics) and thin (polish layers), your nail drill needs a time-out to prevent overheating.

If your drill comes with a rechargeable battery, handle it with care, making sure it’s not exposed to extreme temperatures. 

Use the nifty carrying case for transport to shield it from dust and damage. 

During use, allow it to rest between clients or hands to promote heat dissipation. This cooling-off period lets your little dynamo stay chill and ready for action.

  • Periodic rest: Give the drill a break between uses for heat dissipation.
  • Safe storage: Use the carrying case to protect and maintain temperature.
  • Battery care: Recharge and store batteries according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remember, your nail drill is more than a tool; it’s your artistry’s sidekick. Treat it with care, and it’ll be by your side, ready to buff and shine. 

How To Troubleshoot Your Nail Drill Machine?

As a nail technician, your nail drill is one of your most essential tools. When it starts acting up, it can throw off your entire workflow.

Fortunately, most common nail drill issues can be easily diagnosed and fixed with a few troubleshooting steps. 

Here’s how you can keep your nail drill in top shape and get back to creating stunning nails.

  1. Nail Drill Won’t Turn On

First, check the power source. Is your nail drill plugged in securely? For cordless models, ensure the battery is fully charged. If it’s still not working, try another outlet to rule out a power issue. 

Sometimes, the issue is as simple as a faulty plug or adapter.

  1. Nail Drill Overheats Quickly

Overheating can be a major hassle, but it’s often a sign of a dirty or overworked drill. Start by cleaning out the air vents and making sure there’s no dust clogging them.

Allow your nail drill to rest between uses to prevent overheating. If it continues, the internal motor might need a break or, worse, professional repair.

  1. Nail Drill Speed is Inconsistent

Inconsistent speeds can disrupt your workflow. Ensure you’re using the correct voltage adapter if it’s a corded model. For battery-operated drills, a dying battery can cause speed fluctuations, so charge it fully.

If the problem persists, the speed controller might be faulty and could require professional inspection or replacement.

  1. Nail Bits Keep Falling Out

Nothing’s more frustrating than a drill bit that won’t stay put. Double-check that you’re securing the bits properly. Sometimes the collet (the part that holds the bit) can wear out and need replacing.

If it’s a persistent problem, the issue might be with the drill’s internal grip mechanism, which could require a technician’s touch.

  1. Excessive Noise or Vibration

Excessive noise or vibration can not only be annoying but also a sign of deeper issues. First, ensure all parts are tightly secured and that you’re using the correct drill bits.

Loose parts can cause additional noise. If the noise continues, it might indicate an internal issue like a misaligned motor or worn-out bearings, which would need professional repair.

  1. Drill Bits Stop Spinning

When the drill bit stops spinning, it’s often due to a mechanical blockage or a worn-out motor. Start by cleaning the drill thoroughly, removing any dust or debris that might be obstructing the movement.

If cleaning doesn’t help, the problem could be a more significant mechanical issue requiring a professional repair or replacement of the motor. Or you can lubricate your machine!

Just be cautious not to use too much lubricant because too much oil can make your nail drill prone to dirt.

  1. Burning Smell from the Drill

A burning smell is a red flag. Immediately turn off and unplug your drill. This smell often indicates overheating or an electrical issue.

Check for dust buildup around the motor and clean thoroughly. If the smell persists, do not use the drill; consult a professional technician as this could be a sign of an electrical short or a burning motor.

  1. Foot Pedal Issues

If your drill is not responding to the foot pedal, check the connection between the pedal and the drill. Make sure the cord is securely plugged in and inspect for any visible damage.

Sometimes, the internal wiring can become faulty, necessitating a replacement pedal.

  1. Drill Stops Mid-Use

If your drill suddenly stops during use, it could be due to overheating or a power issue. Allow it to cool down if it feels hot to the touch.

Check the power source and ensure there are no issues with the electrical outlet or battery. Persistent stopping might indicate a motor or internal circuit problem, which would require professional attention.

  1. Replace Worn-out Parts

If your nail drill still isn’t working right after cleaning, some parts might need replacing. Check the motor, bearings, or power cord, as these are often the issue.

Look at the user manual or reach out to the manufacturer for help on how to find and swap out these parts.

A well-maintained nail drill is your best friend in achieving salon-quality results. Regular cleaning, proper usage, and timely troubleshooting can extend the life of your tool and keep it performing at its best. 

If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult with the manufacturer or a professional technician to avoid causing further damage to your precious drill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s clear up the most common curiosities so you can feel like a pro even at your kitchen table.

Can using a nail drill at home give salon-quality results?

Absolutely! With a little practice and the right equipment, you can achieve salon-worthy nails from the comfort of your couch. 

Make sure you’re armed with a steady hand and a sprinkle of patience—you’ll be impressing your friends in no time!

How do I select the right nail drill bits for my at-home manicure?

The key to nailing it (pun intended!) is picking the drill bit that matches your needs.

Start with a basic set suitable for your nail type and the manicure you’re aiming for.

Coarse drill bits work magic on acrylics, while finer grits are great for natural nail work.

What safety precautions are necessary when using a nail drill?

Safety first, glam second.

Keep the drill at a low speed while you get the hang of it, and never press too hard—a gentle touch will avoid damage to your nail beds. And, of course, keep those nail drill bits clean to steer clear of any nasty infections.

How do I maintain and clean my nail drill to ensure its longevity?

Keep your drill in tip-top shape by regularly removing nail dust and debris from the nail drill bits.

After each use, give them a gentle brush-off and sanitize according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Treat your drill like your bestie, and it will never let you down.

In Conclusion

Investing in your first nail drill kit marks an exciting milestone in your journey as a nail tech. 

Armed with the insights and tips from this guide, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision and embark on a path towards professional excellence.

Share this guide with fellow nail tech or comment below to join the conversation.

Also, tag us if you ever buy one using this guide. Let’s empower each other to achieve stunning results and nail perfection!

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I'm Lynda Le, a licensed nail technician with over 20 years of experience in the nail and beauty industry. Passionate about sharing my knowledge, I took up blogging in 2016 to connect with others who love beauty as much as I do. For the latest tips and insights, follow me on Twitter at @polishperfectt.