The Guide to Nail Drill Bits

The Guide to Nail Drill Bits

December 23, 2020

There are a lot of tool options picking just the right electric file bits.

Nail drill bits come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and grits, with different uses and purposes for each kind. High-quality bits can do more than just shaving off some layers on your client’s nails. Having the right bit for the job will make your life so much easier and will save you some valuable time when working on a client.

Beauticom is here to supply the various types of nail drill bits so you can browse and compare on one website!

Follow the links for a full guide

The Different Materials of Nail Drill Bits

The Different Shapes and Uses of Nail Drill Bits

How to Choose the Correct Bit for You!

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Storing Your Nail Drill Bits

The Different Materials of Nail Drill Bits

Just like everything in life, quality matters! Learn the difference in quality in material for the nail drill bits that Beauticom carries.

Mandrel Bits & Sanding Bands

Mandrel bits are normally made of metal or rubber in a cylinder shape so sanding bands can easily slip onto the mandrel tip. Sanding bands are not reusable; therefore, you cannot disinfect them. Sanding bands come in larger varieties because it is one sanding band per customer type of product. Sanding bands come in fine, medium and coarse grits to use for surface work, removing gels and pedicures.

PANA 100 Pieces Black Nail Sanding Bands (Grit 80, 120, 150, 180, 240)

Gold/Silver Carbide Bits

The various carbide bits are made of carbide metal—making them long lasting! Each carbide bits have flute-like cuts that will help shave off products without a problem. The size of the flute cuts actually determines the grit of the bit. Larger and deeper cuts will give you a coarser grit. Shallow cuts will give you fine grits. Unlike the mandrel bits, carbide bits can be cleaned, making them reusable for clients. Carbide bits are great tools for advanced users and are ideal for removing acrylics.

3/32” Dome Top Large Barrel Carbide Bit - (GOLD) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C, XC)

3/32” Dome Top Large Barrel Carbide Bit - (SILVER) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C, XC)

Ceramic Bits

Similar to the gold or silver carbide bits, ceramic coated bits are long lasting with flute-like cuts to indicate the level of grit of each bit. The ceramic bits are also reusable as they can be easily cleaned and sterilized. Ceramic bits are intended to reduce heat, as they don’t heat up as much as the other bits.

3/32" Smooth Top Large Barrel Ceramic Nail Drill Bit - Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C, XC, 2XC)

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The Different Shapes and Uses of Nail Drill Bits

Nail drill bits come in various shape and sizes. Each shape does different things, so here is a breakdown of the different shapes that Beauticom carries.

Large and Small Barrel Bit

Barrel bits are the best bit to backfill cutting, shorten and shape the nails! Just remember not to use this bit in the cuticle area. It’s not fun and very damaging.

3/32" Flat Top-Large Barrel Carbide Bit - (GOLD/SILVER/BLACK) Grit Size: (2XF, XF, F, M, C, XC, 2XC, 3XC, 4XC, 5XC)

Under the Nail Cleaning(UNC)/Needle Bit

The name of the bit is pretty explanatory for the use of it. The shape of the UNC bit is pointed and small, and will be helpful to get into tight spaces, such as under the nail and side walls or even creating holes for those particular designs.

3/32" Under Nail Cleaner Carbide Bit - (GOLD) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C)

3/32" Under Nail Cleaner Carbide Bit - (SILVER) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C)

Cuticle Cleaner Safety Bit

The cuticle cleaner bit perfect for cleaning and prepping the cuticle area to avoid lifting at the nail bed. It prepares the cuticle area without damaging your client's nail so acrylic, gel or powder dip will last longer.

PANA 3/32" Silver Snake Head Cuticle Cleaner Carbide Bit (Grit: Coarse, Medium, Fine)

Cone Bit

The cone bit has several purposes. It can clean under the nail, cuticle area and sidewalls. Although the cone bit is also used for over the nail shaping on your toes, it’s probably best to skip shaping the fingernails with this bit.

3/32" Cone Shaped Black Carbide Bit (XF - XC)

3/32" Cone Shaped Bit

Tapered Barrel

Tapered barrel bits are similar in shape to cone bits, but it is shorter with a flat top instead of a pointed top. It is great for surface work, in-fill, cuticle and sidewall prep.

Pana 3/32" Tapered Barrel Carbide Bit -(GOLD/SILVER) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C, XC)

Safety Bit

Safety bits are best to easily reach and clean the cuticles and sidewalls without damaging the nail. They are rounded at the top and come in different shapes and sizes. They’re also great for in-fill cuticle work!

3/32" Safety Carbide Bit - (GOLD) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C)

3/32" Safety Carbide Bit - (SILVER) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C)

Mandrel Bit

While normally made of rubber or metal, mandrel bits only work with sanding bands to help shape the nail and do surface work. Remember, don’t use the sanding band for too long, it heats up on your clients easily!

3/32" LOXO Mandrel Bit - (GOLD/SILVER)

Flame Bit

Flame bits are great for removing hangnails and used to create a lip of dead cuticle in order to remove the dead skin. Because flame bits are so easy to clean the surroundings of the nail, it can also be used to clean for any imperfection touch-ups.

3/32" Silver Flame Carbide Bit (F - C)

3/32" Large Flame Carbide Bit - (GOLD/SILVER) Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C)

Ball Shape Bit

Ball shape bit is used to clean or remove any hard skin around the nail. It may even be used to remove loose cuticle around the nails.

3/32" Small Ball Head Ceramic Nail Drill Bit - Grit Sizes: (F,M,C)

Maintenance/Backfill Bit

Each maintenance or backfill bit are great for replacing white tip powder or redoing the smile line on acrylic nails. Our 4-week bit is used to backfill after four weeks of growth and half the size of a large barrel bit.

3/32" 4 Week Tapered Backfill Carbide Bit - (GOLD/SILVER) Grit Size: (F, M, C)

5-in-1 Bit

3/32" 5-in-1 Silver Carbide Bit (XF - 3XC)

The 5-in-1 carbide bits are designed to be multipurpose. The bit is great for cleaning, preparing, shaping, shortening, and smoothing the cuticles, nail surface and under the nail. The tapered edge allows the bit to be used safely when working with customers and will prevent burning or cutting clients.

3/32" 5 in 1 High Quality Two Way Tapered Nail Carbide Bit - Grit Size: (XF, F, M, C, XC, 2XC, 3XC)

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How to Choose the Correct Bit for You!

3/32" Flat Top-Small Barrel Carbide Bit - (GOLD/SILVER/DLC BLACK) Grit Size: (2XF, XF, F, M, C, XC, 2XC, 3XC, 4XC, 5XC)

Shank Sizes

Remember that the shank size for normal electric files is usually 1/8” and will not fit a professional electric file. The standard shank size for a professional electric file (in this case, a nail drill) is 3/32”.


It’s fairly easy to measure the grit of your nail drill bit. Just remember to see the number of abrasive partials per square inch. For example, large partials on a coarse bit will have a lower number of grits.

High Quality Bits

Just like everything in life, the higher the quality, the better. In the case of nail drill bits, it may be easier to buy cheap and lower quality bits, but they tend to be more difficult to work with and may remove product unevenly. No matter what, remember to replace your bits every couple of months!

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Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Storing Your Nail Drill Bits

One of the most important things in the beauty industry is proper sanitation! Good cleaning and sanitation will prevent transferring infections from one client to another, and you should never work with a dirty tool. So, here is a quick guide on cleaning and sanitizing your nail drill bits:


There are two ways to clean your drill bits:

1. Soak the bits in a bowl of soapy warm water and scrub your tools with a brush bit until it is free from dirt and debris.

2. Soak the drill bits (metal only!) into acetone for 7-10 minutes.

3/32" Carbide Bit Cleaning Brush - Color: (Blue, Pink, Purple, White, Yellow)


Soak your clean drill bits in a liquid disinfectant of your choice and follow the instructions based on the disinfectant of your choosing*.

Remember... do not soak the bits for too long! It may damage or erode the coating of the bits.

Disinfecting Sterilizer Jar with Metal Lid for Tools and Scissors

*when disinfecting rubber bits, make sure to remove the outer used layer by using a coarse nail drill bit before soaking it into the disinfectant*


Of course there are many ways to store your drill bits, but our recommended way is to put it in a holder to keep it organized and beautifully showcased.

Nail Drill Bit Holders & Displays

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