Picking Your Electric File

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A top industry nail technician shares a few simple rules to follow when searching for your perfect e-file.

It's a busy day in the salon, as usual, and you're struggling to keep your appointment book on schedule. Nothing saves time during services quite like an electric file, but in order to take full advantage of such a useful tool, you'll need a machine that can handle the job. Keep the following rules in mind to ensure you pick an effective e-file!

Rule #1 Start by looking for a machine that has plenty of power. This is referred to as "torque." My rule is: the more power, the better. A good way to tell if a file has enough torque to get the job done is by turning the speed down to about 20% of its full power. Using a bit that isn't aggressive—such as a diamond bit—gently try to stop the bit with your fingers. If the bit is resistant to your touch, then it should have plenty of torque. If it stops easily, then it lacks the power needed to work effectively.

Rule #2 A good lock chuck is very important. This is the portion of the machine that opens and closes the collet (or "mouth") of the handpiece. This is where the bit is held, so it's necessary that the bit be fully supported while in motion.

Rule #3 Choose a machine with a variable speed, preferably at a range that starts at 2,000 rpm or slower and reaches at least 20,000 rpm at maximum speed.

Rule #4 You want to find a handpiece that doesn't vibrate. This is very important because excessive vibration causes numerous problems, and is very uncomfortable for the client.

Now that you know what to look for in a proper electric file, don't get left in the dust of other salons—get out there and get shopping!

Lysa Comfort is a veteran in the nail industry. She is an international educator, a competition coach and mentor to nail champions.