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10 Best Nail Buffers for a Perfectly Polished Look

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A nail buffer is always useful, whether you’re low-maintenance or profoundly dedicated to caring for your nails. These multi-sided tools help you refine and adjust the texture of your nail plate, which can be helpful in many different scenarios. A good nail buffing session can make sure your polish lasts longer or gloss up your nails, saving you the need for polish in the first place. 

Nail buffers come in many shapes and forms, so we’ve selected the best ones to help you perfect your manicure. From simple boards and blocks to advanced sets, there’s something here for every nail care routine. 

Best nail buffers overview:

How we chose the best nail buffers

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including grit, number of sides, shape, and more, to create a short list of the top nail buffers. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best nail buffer for each category.

Best overall
ULTA Beauty Collection 4-Way Nail Buffing Block

What we love

  • Great price
  • 4 grit levels
  • Can be used for shaping, smoothing, or polishing

What we don’t love

  • A little bulky

You can’t go wrong with this affordable buffing block from Ulta. The four-sided buffer has everything you need to buff your nails, from a coarse filing side for shaping to an ultra-fine side for creating a sheen. 

In between, the medium and fine grit sides ensure your nails are scratch-free and ready for polish. Reviewers loved how shiny this block made their nails with minimal effort. Just know that the bulky square shape means that buffing close to the cuticle can be a little tricky.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium, coarse | Sides: 4 | Shape: Block

Best budget
Revlon Shape ‘N’ Buff

What we love

  • Several sides
  • Compact
  • Useful for filing and shining

What we don’t love

  • Buffing sides are a little small

This budget-friendly nail board packs a whole lot of options for every type of buffing action. Despite the many grit levels, it comes as a compact board, so it’ll be easy to pack away or bring with you on trips. 

The two large sides are for filing, while the small sides feature four low-grit boards for everything from gentle buffing to high-polish shining. That said, the sides for buffing are a little small, so you may find they’re only useful if you don’t shine your nails often.

Grit: Coarse, medium-coarse, medium, fine, finer, very fine | Sides: 6 | Shape: Board

Best splurge
Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator

What we love

  • 4 grit levels specifically for buffing
  • Washable and durable
  • Comfortable to use

What we don’t love

  • Pricey
  • No file

While this nail buffer is a little bit pricier than many other options, the added cost is justified by its extra durability and immense ease of use. This compact board design features four grit levels from medium to very fine, which is perfect for buffing the surface of the nail very thoroughly. 

Instead of a bulky block, each side of the board has two grit levels. This organizational approach is ideal for buffing since the available buffing surfaces are neither too big nor too small. Finally, we appreciate that this buffer is washable and durable, so it should last for a long time. That said, some shoppers might miss a coarse filing side.

Grit: Medium, medium-fine, fine, very fine | Sides: 4 | Shape: Board

Best with replaceable pads
Tweezerman Neon File, Buff, Smooth & Shine Block

What we love

  • Comes with replaceable pads
  • Ideal for all buffing needs
  • Fun neon colors

What we don’t love

  • No separate replacement pads

This colorful buffing block from salon-favorite brand Tweezerman isn’t just pretty, but it’s also a quality product. It’s four-sided to fulfill all of your buffing needs, and each side is marked with a bright neon color. 

The block comes with four extra pads for each side, so once one side wears out, you can replace it with ease. While it’s a little pricier than other options on our list, it actually offers better value for money, thanks to the extra pads. The only drawback is that Tweezerman doesn’t sell the replacement pads alone.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium, coarse | Sides: 4 | Shape: Block

Best gentle
Orly Buffer

What we love

  • Ideal for smoothing and shining
  • Flexible foam board
  • Gentle yet thorough

What we don’t love

  • No medium grit

This gentle, affordable buffer has two sides: a fine and very fine grit for smoothing and shining nails. What makes it even gentler on the nails is that it’s foamy and flexible. Because of that, the buffer flexes against the contours of the nail to give better coverage with a lower risk of over-buffing. You’ll need to use it with a medium buffer if your nails are a little scratched or coarse. 

Grit: Fine, very fine | Sides: 2 | Shape: Foam board

Best for shining
OnsenSecret Perfect Nail Buffer Block

What we love

  • 2 sides for polishing
  • Shine that lasts for up to 10 days
  • Replacement pads available

What we don’t love

  • Unverified claims
  • No nail file

If your primary goal is glossy, shiny nails, this nail buffer is a dream. While it has four sides, two of them are very fine specifically, so you can achieve a mirror-finish polish that will last for up to 10 days. The other sides are ideal for buffing and smoothing. Once the sides wear out, you can buy replacement pads instead of having to purchase a new block. 

OnsenSecret suggests that this nail buffer will also help improve nail health and thickness, but we weren’t able to find research supporting this claim. In fact, over-buffing or removing ridges can actually harm the nails, so it’s important to take caution. Note that there’s no nail file included, so this won’t help you shape the nail.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium | Sides: 4 | Shape: Block

Best electric
Finishing Touch Flawless Nail

What we love

  • Faster than manual files
  • Features all necessary buffing heads
  • Rechargeable

What we don’t love

  • Easy to overuse

If you’re a professional nail technician or a serious hobbyist, an electric nail buffer will significantly up your speed. It comes with three buffers you can easily mount on the rotating tip. Once you turn it on, you can gently buff, smooth, and shine your nails. Plus, there’s also a filing tip, cuticle care tip, and prep tip.

The buffer is rechargeable, so you won’t need to worry about batteries, and it’s incredibly simple to operate with two speed options. That said, use it with caution — the added speed and power of an electronic buffer are easy to overdo.

Grit: Very fine, fine, medium, coarse | Sides: N/A, 6 different heads | Shape: Electric buffer with rotating heads

Best set
Teenitor Nail File Buffer

What we love

  • Large, comprehensive set
  • Low-grit foam boards ideal for fragile nails
  • Affordable

What we don’t love

  • Not very durable

This full set of nail buffers and files includes everything you need to take care of anyone’s nails. This six-piece set includes a few double-sided boards and squishy foam buffers of varying levels of grit. The firm boards are perfect for filing, while the softer, low-grit foam boards are gentle, even on fragile nails. 

The Teenitor is an affordable option that’s useful if you need every single buffing level. The brand even lists the grit level in numbers (higher numbers for finer grit levels and vice versa), which allows you to select the right grit level with more precision.

Grit: Fine, medium | Sides: 6 double-sided boards | Shape: Flat and foam boards

Best chamois
Winning Nails Chamois Buffer & Buffing Cream

What we love

  • Vintage aesthetic
  • Excellent for shining
  • Comes with buffing nail cream

What we don’t love

  • Easy to overuse

Chamois nail buffers have a vintage charm, and they’re very effective for anyone that wants shinier nails. Made of a type of leather, this buffer has the ideal texture to carefully polish the nails. The easy-to-hold design is a little firmer than block buffers, so you can apply less pressure and still achieve a remarkable shine. 

For an even more noticeable effect, this nail buffer comes with a special cream. The cream moisturizes using ingredients like lanolin and mineral oil, while a touch of alumina helps to carefully abrade the nail for better buffing action. However, using the buffer and cream together ups the intensity, so be careful not to apply too much pressure when using.

Grit: Fine | Sides: 1 | Shape: Chamois tool

Best glass
Tweezerman Glass Nail Buffer

What we love

  • Reusable
  • Polishes well
  • Comes with protective case

What we don’t love

  • May break if dropped

Most nail buffers have to be replaced every few months. If you’d like to reduce the level of waste you create, consider picking up this glass nail buffer. This reusable, easy-to-clean tool helps to smooth and polish the nails just like a buffing board or block. 

Since it’s made of glass, it won’t wear away as quickly. However, its delicate material makes it more fragile, so you’ll want to be careful not to drop it. To that note, it does come with a case for added protection.

Grit: Fine | Sides: 1 | Shape: Glass board

Buff and polish

Nail buffers are simple, convenient, and affordable tools that are useful no matter how you choose to care for your nails. They come in a lot of different shapes and sizes to complement any kind of nail care routine. Our top pick, the ULTA Beauty Collection 4-Way Nail Buffing Block, is budget-friendly and useful in any situation thanks to its four grit levels.

How to pick the right buffer for you

When shopping for your ideal nail buffer, make sure to consider the grit levels, shape, and number of sides. 


  • Coarse. Coarse grit removes more of the nail but in a rougher manner, so it’s often better for filing the edge of the nail or removing gel polish. It can also help rough up the nail before a gel polish application (as long as your nails aren’t thin, ridged, or fragile).
  • Medium. Medium grit is gentler on the nail. It removes less of the nail plate, creating a finish that’s more refined than with a coarse file. This is the perfect level of prep before nail polish or to start the process of removing scratches from the nail plate. 
  • Fine. A fine grit removes even less material from the nail, leaving it largely healthy and intact with a smooth, scratch-free finish. If the nail is initially rough, it’s important to smooth it out with a medium grit first. 
  • Extra fine. An extra fine grit doesn’t remove material from the nail. Instead, it has a polishing effect that creates a very shiny look. It’s important to first prep the nail with a medium and then fine grit to remove any scratches prior to shining. 


  • Block. Block nail buffers usually have four sides to help with every type of manicure. They’re very convenient, although their thicker size can make them a little bulky to use. 
  • Board. Boards are usually the thinnest and most portable, although they often have fewer grit options as a result. They can be a little firmer, which means even low grit levels are a little more aggressive in practice. 
  • Foam. A spongy foam buffer is much less stiff, so it’ll be gentler on the nails. Even with a coarser grit level, it still a soft, smoothing effect. 


  • One. If you only intend to do one type of buffing, a one-sided buffer will suffice. Usually, these have either a fine or very fine grit. 
  • Two. A lot of board buffers only have two sides, usually offering fine and very fine grit levels. 
  • Three. Three-sided buffers will usually work well for complete buffing but without a side for filing. 
  • Four. Most four-sided buffers come in block form, with a coarse file as well as three levels of grits for buffing. 
  • Six. Six-sided buffers usually include a lot more in-between grit levels for thorough filing, smoothing, and polishing.


Are nail buffers good for your nails? 

Almost all nail buffers work by removing a certain amount of the nail plate’s surface, which isn’t necessarily good for the nails. As long as your nails are in good shape and you avoid buffing them aggressively, or too frequently, they should be safe to use. 

What do nail techs use to buff nails?

Nail techs often use the same nail buffing blocks you can use at home. In some cases, they may also use electric nail files, especially in order to buff or shape as part of a nail extension service. 

What grit of buffer is best for natural nails?

If you’re keeping your nails naturally glossy, look for buffers with fine and very fine grit. If you plan to use nail polish, a medium grit is useful for prepping your nails.