The Best Nail Clippers for Home Grooming

We like the Mehaz 660 Professional Nail Clippers for trimming both fingernails and toenails. After consulting reviews and professionals to narrow down the field of competition, we tested five pairs of clippers and found that these are the best combination of affordability and quality that will clip your nails without leaving annoying, jagged edges.

Last Updated: July 22, 2014
We did a quick head-to-head test of the $35 Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pour Homme clipper and found our $9 Mehaz pick is still the better choice: the Mehaz makes sharper cuts, offers better leverage, and leaves a slightly softer edge to clipped nails.
Expand Previous Updates
April 4, 2014: Our new favorite nail clippers are the Mehaz 660 Professional, taking the crown from our previous pick, the Tweezerman Deluxe Nail Clipper Set.
March 5, 2014: Setting this guide to wait status while we research a new pick.

How we chose the best clippers

We spoke to podiatrists and beauty experts to hear what model clippers they like and, more importantly, how to use them properly. We then supplemented their info with more than 12 hours of published research on clippers. We also conducted personal testing of the top picks to gauge ergonomics and cutting performance.

Well-made clippers are aligned correctly, meaning the two blades meet up precisely, and they’re sharp enough to trim nails cleanly without strain.
Toss the cheap drugstore nail clippers and get something better—you’ll be happily shocked at the difference. Well-made clippers are aligned correctly, meaning the two blades meet up precisely, and they’re sharp enough to trim nails cleanly without strain. The good news is that you can get clippers with those features that’ll last you years for less than $15.

How we tested

We had one female tester use five different clippers—the Tweezerman Deluxe, Seki Edge, Feather PaRaDa, Kai 0718, and Mehaz 660—twice each on her fingernails and toenails, watching for the ease with which each pair cut, whether nail clippings flew off, and how nails felt once clipped. We then had a male tester repeat the same process. To get a sense of the sharpness of each pair of blades, we compared how all five pairs cut into a plastic hotel room key card, watching for spidering near the edges.

Our pick

Both of our testers chose the Mehaz 660 as their favorite for its durability and its precision-aligned blades; they make clean, smooth-feeling cuts.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $8.
The Mehaz 660 Professional Nail Clippers are extremely sharp, cut cleanly, are made of durable stainless steel, and have blades that are precision aligned for clean, smooth-feeling cuts. The clipper has concave blades with a well-angled handle that gives ample leverage for quick, precise cuts without using a lot of force. Despite their sub-$10 price tag, the Mehaz 660 trims just as effectively as clippers that sell for much more. Both testers came to the same conclusion independently—if we were to buy one set of clippers we could keep in the medicine cabinet or throw in a travel bag, it would be the Mehaz 660.

When it comes to cutting nails, the Mehaz 660 provides a better overall experience than any other clippers we tested.
When it comes to cutting nails, the Mehaz 660 provides a better overall experience than any other clippers we tested. Despite the 660’s smaller size, it cut through nails just as quickly and effortlessly as the pricier, larger Kai and Feather clippers. These pricier clippers technically have more leverage, but their larger size made them more difficult to hold in one hand than the 660. Besides, the 660 had no issues clipping thicker toenails.

The 660 comes with a cheap-looking plastic nail catcher, which we removed to test whether nail clippings would fly all over the place. Though they did somewhat, clippings flew not nearly as haphazardly as they did with the Tweezerman clippers.

The recommendation initially came to us by way of a professional manicurist and we also found they had very positive user feedback on Amazon: an average of 4 stars over 123 reviews. Mehaz is a 35-year-old German cutlery brand that is now part of a family of companies that manufactures beauty products. Their tools, including these clippers, have a lifetime guarantee.

For thick or fungal nails

Also Great
*At the time of publishing, the price was $10.
If you have exceptionally thick nails that regular clippers won't cut, these are the clippers to get. Again, if in doubt, see a podiatrist before doing any potential damage.
If you have extra-thick nails, standard clippers like the Mehaz might not work as well. Assuming you have some decent hand-eye coordination and are very careful to not take off too much, you can get some plier-style clippers. “In practice,” Dr. Adigun says, “My far and away favorite clippers are the Tiemann Double Action Nail Splitter.” Those are $360, really intended for professionals.

As for us, we’d get Tweezerman’s Barrel Spring clippers. Like their tweezers, Tweezerman has a policy where they will sharpen the blades on their nippers (meaning, these handled clippers, but not their regular model clippers) for the life of the unit. There aren’t any formal assessments of these professional-style clippers, but with Tweezerman’s sharpening policy and the positive Amazon reviews (discounting two negatives that sound unqualified), we think they’re a solid pick for anyone with thick or fungal nails.

The competition

There are dozens of different nail clippers out there. A few models show up as perennial favorites, but they can’t compete with Mehaz’s precision and value.

…when it came to the hotel key card test, it literally didn’t cut it.
We had to demote the Tweezerman Deluxe Nail Clipper Set from our previous main pick. Despite their great initial performance, subsequent buying experiences by various editors lead us to believe that their quality control might not be up to snuff. While Alex George’s initial testing units were quite good, other editors and readers’ complaints ranged: not sharp enough, misaligned blades, and everything in between. There’s also an abundance of less-than-satisfied Amazon reviews relaying similar experiences. The price was initially what made them so attractive, especially with the flexibility of getting two sizes for fingers and toes, but for the same price as the Mehaz, the Tweezerman just can’t compare favorably. They feel lighter and cheaper, and the handle is harder to turn, making a scraping noise every time you open it. These also don’t leave nails feeling as soft; in fact sometimes we thought they felt a bit jagged. And when it came to the hotel key card test, it literally didn’t cut it.

Seki’s line of clippers were among the finalists in Allure‘s clippers test. These are good clippers, but they usually cost $4 or $5 more than the Mehaz. Their clippers have blades made from quality stainless steel that are honed by hand and have die-cast levers. The region for which they’re named is famous in Japan for steel production and crafting samurai swords. We tried them out and found the blades to be crazy sharp (these easily passed our key card cutting test). The clippers have a nice heft to them and are easy to grip. From our research and personal testing, though, we found they’re not worth the extra few bucks, considering that the Mehaz cut better anyway.

One clipper that made headlines a while back is the Khlip, a $70 tool that, as Khlip explains, gives you total control by placing the leverage point at the front of the clipper, right over the blades. That way, you can set the blades exactly where you want them to cut. We don’t think these are worth it for the price. As Gizmodo explains, $70 for clippers is a bit ridiculous: “It’s definitely an improvement [over regular clippers] in some ways, but until they get the price down to, say, $25, it’s a luxury item.” I tested them out and they’re very impressive. The textured grip for your thumb, the sharp blades, and the tin carry case all amount to probably the best home nail-clipping experience I’ve had. Is that experience $60 better than our pick? I don’t think so, but if you’re looking to assemble the finest toiletry kit possible, throw these in there. For the rest of us, the Mehaz will work just as well.

Another primo option is the $35 Zwilling J.A. Henckels Pour Homme clipper from the venerable German knifemaker. Peter Martin of Esquire said they’re pretty but not worth the price. “The best looking nail clippers I’ve come across are the Zwilling J. A. Henckels pour Homme ultra-slim nail clipper,” he says. “But I can’t imagine using them. Nothing’s better than the regular $5 clippers you get at the store.” We actually tried them, and we’d definitely advocate saving money and spending just $9 for our pick, which proved to cut sharper, leave a softer edge, and offer more leverage than the Henckels.

Readers requested we give the Feather PaRaDa (Medium) a whirl, and it turns out they’re also recommended by CoolTools. These are $16 but feel a lot more expensive than that. They are built quite solidly and come with a built-in nail catcher that actually works: it’s made of stainless steel and isn’t removable, but slides back easily when you need to empty it. The handle is longer for better leverage and it makes sharp cuts with a pleasing click. This also easily passed our plastic key card test. An unnecessary bonus is the nail file on the underside of the handle. Our male tester thought that the opening was pretty close to not being wide enough to easily clip thicker toenails.

Kai is actually made by the same company as Mehaz, but it particularly has a lot of fans, so we tried the 0718 model clippers. These were identical in almost every way to our Mehaz pick, except much larger. The blades are just as sharp, and the size means an even longer handle and thus even more leverage. But at $15, it’s a tad more cumbersome and probably bigger than most people will need.

Most big-name cosmetics brands have a clipper to their name, like this model from Revlon, but we can’t find any data to suggest that they’re worthwhile. User reviews are mixed on Amazon and other shopping sites. Again, we prefer the Mehaz.

Buying and using clippers correctly

At the drug store, you’ll see two types of nail trimmers—regular thumb-sized clippers with a fold-up handle, and plier-like snippers with long handles. Avoid the snippers. Dr. Jim McDannald, licensed podiatrist, distance running coach, and Wirecutter writer says, “People need to be careful with these ‘medical grade’ clippers. One little slip up and they could do quite a bit more damage if some extra skin were to get caught up in the clipping.” We say leave those clippers to the professionals and stick with the standard lever style.

When using a standard lever clipper, there are guidelines that will decide whether you get a clean cut or an ingrowth that’ll leave you hobbling.
When using a standard lever clipper, there are guidelines that will decide whether you get a clean cut or an ingrowth that’ll leave you hobbling. Dr. Chris Adigun is a practicing dermatologist and head of NYU’s Charles Harris Skin and Cancer Unit’s Nail Disorder Clinic. She explained to us that the tools aren’t usually the issue. “Problems I encounter with my patients do not tend to stem from the type of nail clippers they are using, but rather how they are clipping their nails,” she says.

Even if you have the best clippers, take care to use them correctly.

Don’t clip your cuticles. “Clipping cuticles, as a rule, is bad for the health of the nail unit,” Dr. Adigun says. “Cuticles provide necessary protection from infection and insulation from water loss.”

When trimming your toenails, McDannald says, “Cut them short and straight across. Clipping the nails with a small taper in the corners is ok, but if you take too much off the corners or dig into the sides, there is a opportunity for the skin to impede on the space and the potential for an ingrown toenail to develop.”

“Problems I encounter with my patients do not tend to stem from the type of nail clippers they are using, but rather how they are clipping their nails.”
Be conservative when clipping, and be especially careful not to cut your nails too short. It’s one of the most common issues Dr. Adigun sees in her practice. “Clippers that clip only the nail and not the surrounding skin or cuticle, and clip in a predictable way are ones that I prefer,” Dr. Adigun says. “That means fewer accidents, such as the common ‘I had no idea I was cutting that short.’”

What makes a good nail clipper?

Material matters. Cheap drugstore clippers are usually nickel-plated, which makes them fragile and usually dull. Get a model that’s all stainless steel—they stay sharp, are easy to clean, and have a substantial heft without being cumbersome.

…if you have particularly thick toenails, it might be worth investing in a larger pair with more leverage.
It is possible to get a one-size clipper that works for most people’s toes and fingers, like our pick. That being said, if you have particularly thick toenails, it might be worth investing in a larger pair with more leverage. “As people age, their toenails tend to dry out, thicken, and become more prone to developing fungal infections,” Dr. McDannald says. “Having a separate strong clipper for the toenails can make the job easier and avoid potential contamination of the fingernails with a clipper that might be carrying some fungal spores from the toenails.” If you do think you need that, get a straight-edge clipper for your feet.

A nailcatcher isn’t necessary, but our pick does come with one. Peter Martin, grooming editor at Esquire, says of them, “That part feels like a worthless gimmick.” A nailcatcher usually means two strips of plastic line the arms of the clipper; a lot of times it’s a feature that doesn’t seem to work. At worst, it’s an excuse for manufacturers to charge you a bit extra. The Mehaz does have one, but doesn’t add any excess cost—everything’s still just $8. For what it’s worth, we actually removed it and clipped our nails over a trash bin.

Most of us should avoid medical-grade plier-style clippers, but if you have exceptionally thick or fungal nails, they’re worth considering. “No [regular] clippers will get the job done,” Dr. McDannald says. “Those folks need to see a podiatrist or consider getting something medical grade.” If you’re in this camp, take lots of care because, as mentioned, you can do damage to your toe or finger. We have a pick for this style of clipper (usually called a “nipper”), but if in doubt, get to a podiatrist before performing bathroom surgery.

Do you need to file your nails? Probably not. If you have exceptionally thick nails and worry about them snagging on socks or stockings, go ahead and file. McDannald says “Normal toenails don’t usually need to be filed.”

Finally, take care of your clippers. Dropping them or letting them bang around in a toiletry bag can throw off the factory alignment and the friction can dull the blades. Make sure they’re stored securely. If you’re disciplined, it’s good practice to disinfect them after use, especially with toenail clippers. A rinse or dunk in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will work.

Wrapping it up

When maintaining your nails, you want the skills to do it correctly without injury and a set of clippers that are sharp, aligned correctly, made of stainless steel, affordable, and able to leave your nails soft, not jagged. The Mehaz 660 nails all the criteria. It’s an $8 purchase that’ll keep your hands, fingers, and toes looking and feeling healthy.

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Sources

  1. Dr. Chris Adigun, Interview, April, 2013
    "For the day-to-day nail trimming people are doing at home, the Tweezerman line of nail clippers are economical and excellent.”
  2. Patrick Rogers, Allure Man: On the Hunt for the World's Best Fingernail Clipper, Allure, December 7, 2012
    "This sleekly engineered nail instrument has nothing in common with the standard, hard-to-control clippers sold in a bin at the drugstore checkout. "
  • Ben W

    The Clippers linked to from Amazon are the Tweezerman “His” model. They may be the same with a lightning bolt aesthetic, but it was a bit surprising to see a significantly different product image and name. The identical set are also available for $9 at the link below, so maybe it’s just an incorrect link. I checked at both the top and bottom of page links on here first.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tweezerman-Deluxe-Nail-Clipper-Ounce/dp/B009WUA658/ref=sr_1_1?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1369658199&sr=1-1&keywords=tweezerman+deluxe

    • Andrew Kalinchuk

      Thanks for the heads up, Ben! This should be fixed now. Appreciate the help.

  • Aaron

    While I’m glad to see something I already own as featured item here, I must warn those with sensitivities to tactile sensations or sound. These have a brushed texture on the front edge, above where the cutting edges meet, that can give you a nails-on-chalkboard feeling when you align them over the tip of the nail to make a cut. I agree with the above article on quality and sharpness but I regrettably can’t use the clippers because of the way they feel on my nails. The good news is the cost is low enough for you to find out if this is an issue.

  • tfd2

    you guys should compare the tweezerman to PaRaDa clippers – i’ve been using them for years, and my 2 pairs are as sharp as ever. it was nice to see my opinion get some agreement on cooltools. http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/6214

  • Jerry Ballard

    Can’t speak to your pick, but I’ve used the Sekis for years now, and they’re not only a fine tool, but they have a heft, and quality of build that makes them a joy to use and well worth the few bucks extra.

  • Rob Lewis

    The large Tweezerman looks virtually identical to the LuxRite clipper I have been using since, I think, my college years (40 years ago!). Mine also included a handy little swing-out nail file that broke off decades ago, probably when I was trying to use it as a screwdriver. But the clipper still works perfectly.

  • brian c

    I have the pour homme clippers, and they’re great. They are super sharp, and actually cut the nail instead of pinching them off – you can tell a difference when clipping because the nail never flies out as you cut. It just stays there until you tip it and dump the nail clipping out into the trash.

    Do the tweezerman ones do this?

  • Pete Lee

    TheSweethome editors: I would appreciate your consideration of the following clipper: http://www.kaiscissors.com/item.php?item_id=252
    A girl I was dating is a professional aesthetician–and she swore by these. All things considered, the price seems quite reasonable. They feel balanced, precise, and clips feel like they’re being done with an efficient authority.
    Kai doesn’t appear to be interested in marketing these items to the general public (hence, the lack of much acclaim at all)–but I believe they’re worthy of your consideration.

  • http://edwardsung.com/ El Sabor Asiático

    I have to say I was disappointed with these Tweezerman clippers. While they’re quite stylish, they have an angular design with sharp-ish corners that hurt my hands when I use them — I have to hold them with a washcloth. Maybe I have hard nails or something, but I have to exert quite a bit of pressure on them to cut through the nail, and the corners cut into my fingers in an unpleasant way.

    I also agree with Aaron that the brushed metal texture is off-putting for people who are sensitive to that texture.

    In addition — these clippers don’t come with the little fold-out file thingy with the pointy end that conventional clippers have. If you use that to dig dirt out from under your nails, you’ll have to use another instrument for that purpose.

    These seem like very sharp and solidly constructed clippers, but people should know about some of these aspects of them before buying. There’s a lot to like about these, but unfortunately they are not working for me so I’ll have to look for something else.

  • http://boinkor.net Andreas Fuchs

    I have owned and used a longer, more sturdy variant of the Pour Homme clippers (the length of the lever provides more leverage and works much better on thicker nails) for more than 10 years now, and would not consider using anything else.

    As Brian C notes, they actually cut the nail, instead of squeezing it off. Also, the lever’s action feels much more direct – you can actually tell where you are cutting by how hard/easy it is to push down. That’s because the mechanics on this one are much simpler than “regular” trimmers: instead of pushing an elastic piece of metal (the lever) down onto another elastic piece of metal (the cutting edge), you push down a (pretty thick) lever with the cutting edge on the short side. This gives far better feedback on the nail’s resistance. It really makes all the difference for me when trimming my nails short.

    The model I’m using can cut both thick and thin nails (finger or toe) without any problems. Sadly, it seems like Zwilling/Henckels aren’t making it anymore. The Pour Homme clippers seem like a decent substitute if you’re travelling or looking to cut only your fingernails, but I’m hoping Zwilling will eventually get their act together and make the longer variant again. If they do, I am pretty sure The Sweethome will make it their pick (-:

  • brian c

    Ok, so I just ordered these after reading the review. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I own the pour homme ultra-slim clippers, and my wife and I love it. She wanted me to get another one because we keep misplacing them (or more likely, the toddler keeps hiding it somewhere).

    Anyway, I clipped one nail, and immediately noticed the difference in quality between these tweezerman clippers and the pourhomme clippers. When i use the pourhomme clippers, they are so sharp that the nail cuts with a dull clipping noise, and the nail clipping itself just sits there inside the clipper.
    When I used the tweezerman clipper on my nail, it cut with a loud noise, and the clipping flew off to god knows where, just like any cheap clipper I’ve used in the past.

    Did you guys even try the pourhomme clipper? There is no comparison.

  • LilliaFairfax

    It is so very useful for using a Nail clippers.
    http://naturalgarciniacambogiaburnsite.com/

  • http://www.clippingpathindia.com/ Towab Muhammad Yusuf

    When was I use the nail cuter I feel comfortable

  • Stephen Wong

    Can you folks take a look at the Feather PaRaDa (I feel like I’m back in highschool using aim typing that out like that)? http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Feather-PaRaDa-Nail-Clippers-Medium_p_621.html

    I’ve been eyeing these clippers for awhile now, Feather is known for having the sharpest blades out there for DE razors and also for a lot of high quality shaving blades in other shaving styles.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      This guide isn’t set for a refresh just yet, but I’ll forward this along to our researcher for when the time comes. Thanks!

      • Stephen Wong

        Awesome! A word of warning though, while I was looking into the Feather P’s many of the reviews/comments said that the size to get was medium and that the large was big enough to clip horse hooves. I’m exaggerating a bit, but in short, don’t get the large size.

  • Sandy Paper

    Bought these per your recommendation. They’re starting to rust after a little less than a year, just the same as the cheap ones I’d buy at the dollar store. I don’t think they’re worth the extra money.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We’re currently researching other options. Thanks for the feedback!

  • http://www.lazyprogrammers.com Eugene Kim

    I used to swear by 777 clippers but it seems impossible to find them except in complete grooming sets now. Still have a couple pairs at home that I’ve been using since grade school and they still have a clean smooth cut.

  • Kinnon Yee

    The Mehaz also has a pretty good filing portion on the plastic.

  • bob6667

    I just bought these. I found them very difficult to use, because the lever is much higher than any other clipper I have ever used, including your previous recommendation. I had so little control over the placement of the cutting edges that the quality of cut was terrible. I went back to the Tweezerman which, though kind of dull, is very easy to use.

  • MindGrapes

    It’s a shame you didn’t include Muji clippers among the competitors. I believe they may have come out ahead of your top pick. http://www.muji.us/store/silver-nail-clippers.html

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Will forward this along to our researchers!

  • Richard Doyle

    One thing I didn’t like about the Tweezerman is you had to squeeze quite hard and the clippers didn’t give a “click” when cutting like most clippers do. Does the new pick fare better?

  • Blackketter

    After trying a large number of clippers over many years, I finally settled on the Leatherman Micra. I find using the scissors much easier and gives me smoother results than the press-to-cut style. Even has a built-in file, along with tweezers and screwdrivers. Seems like it would be worth a look here…

  • ChrisB

    I actually have what appears to be an equivalent Kai model to your Mehaz winner (I think I bought it in Japan) and the Seki fingernail model. I find that I use the Kai model more, only because of the plastic cover prevents most clippings from flying all over. It is not quite as sturdy feeling as the Seki, but it is easier to handle due to its shape. Its too bad that Japanese model almost never have the little extendable file that are also used to clean under nails. If I comes across one of those I’ll buy it. It seems that I can only find those on crappy nail clippers

  • ChrisB

    There is a model branded “Clyppi” on amazon.com that has a 4.8 star rating with 177 reviews. The item listing/ description is ridiculous, but it’s too bad this wasn’t reviewed as well given the popularity of this model and high rating. It is $15.00 right now, which is pricey if it is not clearly better

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      $15 for a nail clipper is a bit steep.