This 8.75-inch stainless-steel filer won’t make it through security checks, but the daggerlike tip is handy for cleaning under the nail. Though it shapes well, it leaves some jagged edges. (At Zitomer, 969 Madison Ave., nr. 76th St.; 212-737-5560.)
This battery-operated model comes with shaping, smoothing, and buffing attachments and provides just enough pressure. But it sounds like a tooth drill, the filer will dull, and replacements aren’t available (888-993-6564 or emjoi.com).
Diamancel No. 3, $30
Made from industrial-grade diamonds, it’s the perfect combination of durability and suppleness: flexible, so it won’t break easily, yet strong enough to sculpt toenails too. (At bliss, 541 Lexington Ave., at 49th St.; 212-219-8970.)
Nail Tek, $14.95
This crystal file is smooth enough to move back and forth without shredding the nail. Perfect if you break a newly manicured nail, because it won’t chip the polish, but not strong enough for tips. (At Peter & Company, 45 E. 34th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-779-4747.)
A complicated design for such a simple tool—it looks like a thermometer—but the three different ceramic edges smooth, file, and shape nails to perfection. (At Clyde’s, 926 Madison Ave., at 74th St.; 212-744-5050.)
Rachael Stephens, $13.99
The handle is easy to grip, the slanted ceramic body makes filing at angles convenient, and it looks like a cute compact when tucked away in the case. Best for rugged nails. (At C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries, 414 Sixth Ave., nr. 9th St.; 212-533-2700.)
Paul & Joe, $5
This relatively gentle emery board is best for those with fragile nails. Of course, the real draw is the charming kitten design, part of the fashion label’s limited-edition collection. (At Bergdorf Goodman.)
Ricky’s NYC, $1.99 for two
Standard emery board is tough enough to effectively file both natural and acrylic nails without leaving dust. You do need two, though: The file peels apart (988 Eighth Ave., nr. 58th St.; 212-957-8343).
Ray Beauty Supply, 75 cents
Curved emery body works better on round edges—if you like square nails, expect to do some maneuvering. Unlike most, it can be disinfected for sharing (721 Eighth Ave., nr. 45th St.; 212-757-0175).