The blades of low-quality nail clippers can become dull and jagged after as few as three or four uses. But a high-quality nail clipper never needs to be replaced and can be a pleasure to use. Here’s how to choose and use nail clippers…


Buy quality stainless steel nail clippers. They’re more expensive than nickel-plated clippers—perhaps $12 to $25—but can last a lifetime.

If possible, test the clippers, especially the push-down bar—the part that the thumb presses down to operate the clippers. It’s a good sign if your thumb never feels at risk of slipping off the push-down bar during use…but a bad sign if the spot where your thumb presses down is just one-quarter-inch wide or narrower. Best brands…

Seki Edge clippers stand out for their high-quality construction and wonderful ergonomics. They’re made in Seki, Japan, a city once famed for producing samurai swords. Their ergonomic design makes them particularly appropriate for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or other hand issues.

Example: The Seki Edge Stainless Steel fingernail clipper is $18, and the toenail clipper is $23 at and often less on

Mehaz nail clippers now are made in Japan, but the company’s roots are in the famed blade-manufacturing town of Solingen, Germany. Its products still do justice to that town’s high standards. Mehaz ( clippers are sold mainly through professional beauty-supply stores, but some retailers also make them available online. Example: Mehaz’s most popular model is its Professional Toenail Clipper, selling for $10 to $15 on

Tweezerman, a New York company, is famous for its high-quality tweezers, but it also makes good nail clippers. They’re not quite as well-made as the clippers mentioned already but are far superior to the clippers typically found in drugstores ( Example: Tweezerman Stainless Steel Toenail Clippers typically sell for $5 to $10 at retailers such as CVS, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, or on Web sites such as


Do not attempt to trim a nail in a single clip. This flattens the nail out, which can cause horizontal cracking on the sides of the free edges. Instead, use three to seven clips per nail. Start with a small clip from one side of the nail, and work your way toward the middle…repeat the process from the other side of the nail. Then make a final clip across the middle.

Clip no closer than one-eighth to one-quarter inch from the hyponychium (the pink tissue under the nail plate) to avoid nicking it. Use a nail file to smooth the nail edge after clipping.

Nail clippers with straight blades generally are preferable to those with curved blades. People often opt for curved-blade clippers because their nails are curved, but a straight blade works just as well when you use the proper multicut nail-clipping method, and straight blades are safer—the corner of curved nail clipper blades are prone to nicking the hyponychium.

There’s no need to buy both fingernail and toenail clippers—one good toenail clipper will work for both.

If you have a toenail that’s too thick to cut with nail clippers, see a podiatrist—you might have a fungal infection.