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The Best Nail Clippers…

The Best Nail Clippers

The best nail clippers should be comfortable and maneuverable, able to provide a precise trim without leaving behind jagged edges. They should also be free of annoyances like sticky levers or uncomfortably placed nail files. We tested 22 popular models, and while they were all decently sharp, our top picks go the extra mile, with sleek design and outstanding ergonomics that make personal grooming a pleasure.

The 4 Best Nail Clippers

Best for
Fingernails

Seki Edge Satin Slim Clipper SS-109

Seki Edge

Small, with a comfortable grip and smooth cutting action

Pros
Comfort
Sharp clippers
Thoughtful design

Cons
Unnecessary features

Why we chose it

Comfort

Comfort is key for the Seki. Its 2-inch lever is a little longer than usual — enough leverage for an effortless, whisper-smooth clip, and enough to stand out against contenders like the Harperton Klipit, whose tiny inch-and-a-half lever testers we found slippery and hard to depress.

The Seki Slim’s hand-feel also made a lasting impression. “The Seki is just comfortable,” said one tester, with another reporting, “I like the heft of this one.” It has a solidity you don’t get with drugstore clippers, and the design also offers nothing but smooth curves — a major draw after testing finalists like the Clyppi, which cut well, but had jabby edges that dug into our palms.

Sharp clippers

Superb knives and swords have been the claim to fame for the city of Seki, Japan, since the 13th century. It’s an ambitious namesake for a pair of fingernail clippers. And while the Seki Slim is neither sword nor dagger, it’s about as close as you’ll get while trimming your nails. Put simply, it cuts through thick fingernails like butter.

Thoughtful design

There were some small but thoughtful design elements that delighted us. A tiny button at the end of the lever latches into a corresponding hole when you close the clippers, so that they won’t slide open in a pocket or toiletry bag.

Unlike most of the designs we tested, the pin that holds the clippers together also doesn’t end in a hook, instead featuring a closed post-and-pin mechanism that’s impossible to detach. (If your nail clipper’s lever has ever fallen off when you try to open it, a pin-and-hook design is to blame — the pin has slipped off the hook.)

Size Close-up for Nail Clippers

An extra long lever lets the Seki Slim clip more smoothly than contenders like the Harperton Klipit.

Points to consider

Unnecessary features

We were ambivalent about a couple of extra features. A metal nail catcher on the bottom of the Seki collects trimmings and slides back when you want to dump them. But as with most of the nail catchers we tried, it didn’t catch everything. You’ll still need to clip over a wastebasket to avoid a mess. And there’s an embedded nail file toward the base of the lever, which has the potential to rub against your thumb if you try to grip the clippers too closely.

Runner-Up
for Fingernails

Mehaz 660 Professional Nail Clipper

Mehaz

Not quite as finely crafted as the Seki, but cheaper and lighter

Pros
Cheaper price

Cons
Not as sturdy

Why you should consider it

Cheaper price

The Mehaz is about half the cost of the Seki, but delivers almost as much bang for your buck. If you like to take your clippers with you, it’s also more convenient — it’s lighter than the Seki, weighing in at less than an ounce, and features a loop for a keyring.

Be aware that the ugly plastic nail catcher is removable. It took us a long time to figure this out, and we liked the clippers much more once it came off. (The catcher is so bulky that it’s hard to see where you’re clipping.) Overall, we found the Mehaz comfortable and easy to use. The lever curves up slightly at the end, providing a ledge for your thumb, and we appreciated the lack of an embedded nail file.

Points to consider

Not as sturdy

The Mehaz’s lever does rely on a standard hook-and-pin to flip into position, and it doesn’t lock in place like the Seki, but the lever stayed put while we were clipping, with no slippage. In addition, the higher quality of the Seki means it is just a bit better at cutting nails.

Best for
Toenails

Feather PaRaDa Medium Nail Clippers

PaRaDa

A large, sharp pair of clippers that’s surprisingly maneuverable

Pros
Sturdy
Precise
Balanced design

Cons
Not entirely smooth

Why we chose it

Sturdy

Toenail clippers need to be heavy-duty enough to handle thick, tough nails. The Feather PaRaDa Medium Nail Clippers fit the bill, and then some. “These are like the Mack trucks of the clipper world,” said one tester. “You could run over them and they’d still work fine.” At more than 2 ounces (and over 3 inches long), the PaRaDa is a behemoth — but we found it surprisingly comfortable.

Precise

The PaRaDa featured a level of precision we didn’t expect in toenail clippers. The clippers have a broad cutting edge — 0.63 inch versus the Seki’s 0.35 inch — and jaws that open wide enough for thick nails. But its blades were so delicate that we were still able to easily trim our fingernails.

All this is to say that the PaRaDa roundly beat out toenail clippers like the Keiby Citom, which testers complained lacked control, or the Mehaz Wide Jaw Toenail Clipper, which was so imprecise that one tester to cut his toe because “I couldn’t see what I was doing.”

Balanced design

Like Seki, PaRaDa is a Japanese brand, and these clippers feel similarly balanced, with smooth lever action, and an indented curve for your thumb to rest against. And again, we were impressed by the lack of sharp edges: “The PaRaDa feels so much smoother than the Kohm ClipPro Toenail Clipper,” one tester reported “The Kohm’s handle was so poorly machined that I worried about paper cuts every time I picked it up.”

The PaRaDa is suited for toenails, with a cutting edge that’s almost twice as large as the Seki Slim.

Points to consider

Not entirely smooth

As impressive as the PaRaDa are, our testers did note that the PaRaDa’s clip wasn’t quite as smooth as the Seki’s. We’ll admit this is nitpicking, but with such a sturdy design we were a little disappointed the clippers weren’t as effective as possible. That said, they still outperformed the rest and no other clippers we tested felt as indestructible.

Runner-Up
for Toenails

Seki Edge Ingrown Nail Clipper 104

Seki Edge

A straight cutting edge to help reduce the risk of ingrown toenails

Pros
Helps prevent ingrown nails

Cons
Not as comfortable to use

Why we chose it

Helps prevent ingrown nails

If you’re worried about ingrown toenails, experts recommend a clipper with a straight edge. Podiatric surgeon Dr. Dana Canuso explains, “I was always taught to cut nails straight across. In practice, I’ve found that ingrown toenails often happen because a patient cuts their nails too short into the corners. Nails should also be kept short in addition to being cut straight.”So if you’re looking for a straight blade, we’d suggest the Seki Edge Ingrown Nail Clipper. A bit smaller than the PaRaDa, it features the classic Seki quality, cutting through tough nails with no problems.

Points to consider

Not as comfortable to use

Our testers preferred toenail clippers with a slightly curved cutting edge rather than a totally straight one. For us, this made it easier to find a good angle for clipping and felt more comfortable during use. In addition, the PaRaDa felt sturdier in our hands. However, for those who suffer from ingrown nails, the Seki are worth a look.

Best
Gift

FINOX Stainless Steel Nail Clippers

FINOX

Elegant construction, with a brushed stainless steel finish and leather carrying case

Pros
Great design
Carrying case

Cons
Size

Why we chose it

Great design

The FINOX was our only German finalist, with a brushed steel finish and a deceptively simple design that was — dare we say it? — kind of sexy. In fact, look and feel are what sold us on these clippers. Holding them just felt right, and our testers commented on the “smooth, contoured handle” and “rock-solid construction.”

You’ll find no attached nail file or nail catcher here: the FINOX has just one job and does it well, slicing through even thick nails with ease and leaving behind no jagged edges.. The clippers have a heavy lever that’s satisfying to depress and a smooth indentation where your thumb can rest. We could see these clippers being suitable for either fingers or toes. They have a slightly curved cutting edge that’s the same size as the PaRaDa’s, and weigh about 1.5 ounces.

Carrying case

It may seem strange, but we appreciated the carrying case for the FINOX. The case uses supple tanned leather with a snap closure that our testers found elegant. Combine the case with the sleek design and the clippers become a perfect gift for grooming enthusiasts or anyone who needs better clippers.

Finox Close-up for Nail Clippers

We found the FINOX’s leather carrying case appealing.

Points to Consider

Size

Size might be the FINOX’s only caveat: They’re not small clippers, and at least one of our testers felt they were more suited for men than women. “If only they were a little smaller, I’d love them,” she said. “They’re the perfect size for a man or someone with larger hands.”

Runner-Up
for Gift

Tweezerman LTD Deluxe Nail Set

Tweezerman

A well-crafted set that’s cheaper than the FINOX

Pros
Simple design

Cons
Less sturdy

Why we chose it

Simple design

If you’re on a budget, but want a quality stocking stuffer, the Tweezerman LTD Deluxe Nail Set set features both a fingernail and a toenail clipper and retails for less than $10. But it feels far pricier. There are no frills here — no nail catchers, no files — but despite the minimalist approach, the clippers are solidly constructed from thick steel. They received a positive response from testers, and they trim nails smoothly and with no fuss.

Points to Consider

Less sturdy

The tweezerman LTD Deluxe Nail Set is impressive, but we still prefer the FINOX. The shape of the handle and sturdier construction gives the FINOX a higher quality feel. We admit that fussing over nail clipper differences may seem unnecessary, but for us, investing in a better pair is worthwhile because of how frequently you’ll use the clippers.

Best for
People with Mobility Issues

Kai Seki Magoroku HC-1824

Kai Seki

A rotating head that allows you to clip without bending your wrist

Pros
Mobile cutting edge
Easy to hold

Cons
A little clunky

Why we chose it

Mobile cutting edge

The feature of note with the Kai Seki is a large, easy-to-turn plastic wheel that allows you to rotate the cutting edge 360 degrees. To assess the Kai Seki, we got help from our oldest tester, a 91-year-old for whom regular clippers are difficult to use: They require too much hand strength and are hard for her to maneuver precisely.

She loved the Kai Seki Magoroku. “With the rotating blade, I can position them without any difficulty,” she told us. “It doesn’t take much effort to work the lever.” The flexibility of the cutting edge also makes the Kai Seki an attractive option for anyone who is a caregiver and needs to clip someone else’s nails regularly.

Easy to hold

Our other testers liked them almost as much as our 91-year-old. “These are the most comfortable and flexible clippers I’ve used, but they are bulky,” said one. For our elder tester, though, that’s what made them work. “They’re big enough that I can pick them up without fumbling for them,” she said. The bulky design extends to the cutting edge—the clippers have a half-inch cutting span and a weight of 1.5 ounces, making them strong for all but the largest nails.

Kai-Seki-Magoroku for Nail Clippers

The Kai Seki’s dial allows you to rotate its clipping edge a full 360 degrees.

Points to consider

A little clunky

To be blunt, the Kai Seki is the ugly stepsister to the FINOX’s Cinderella. Although they’re not uncomfortable, they look clunky. With so many plastic parts, we also doubt they’ll be able to match the longevity of a pick like the PaRaDa.

How to Find the Right Nail Clippers

Skip the extras

Clippers sometimes come with additional bells and whistles, but during testing, we found that these features were usually overrated. About half the clippers we looked at had built-in metal nail files, for example, but most experts say that metal files are too abrasive and should be avoided unless you have gel or acrylic nails. Using them can create create snags and actually damage your nails.

Same with built-in nail catchers. They’re a great idea in theory — who hasn’t been hit with an errant nail clipping while trimming? But in practice, our testers found that they didn’t catch clippings consistently, and were often hard to empty. We didn’t eliminate clippers that had them, but didn’t see them as a benefit, either.

Consider your health conditions

If you have certain health challenges, you might not want to use nail clippers at all. “Those who have diabetes, circulatory or vision issues should never use any clippers or sharp objects on their feet,” says Caruso. “They should strictly use a single-use nail file which prevents them from cutting the skin or getting an infection.”

Nail Clipper FAQ

What’s the best way to clip nails?

You’ll hear conflicting advice about the “best” way to trim your nails. Some experts recommend cutting straight across the nail, then slightly rounding the corners. Others suggest that you mimic the curve of your cuticle. You do want to be careful with toenails: If you cut too much at the corners, you run the risk of ingrown toenails. We like GQ’s guide to cutting your nails like a pro.

What should I use for my cuticles?

Although you’ll find tools in every drugstore for cutting your cuticles, experts recommend that you leave them alone, or just push them back gently. Cutting them provides an entry point for germs, which can lead to infection.

How short should I cut my nails?

One thing everyone, from podiatrists to salon professionals agree on, is to never cut nails so short that you risk cutting the hyponychium, or “quick” — the skin that forms a seal between the nail plate (the hard part) and the nail bed. Why? As with nail biting and cuticle cutting, this leaves your skin vulnerable to infection.

The Best Nail Clippers: Summed Up


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