Nippers are available in 1/8-, 1/4-, 1/2- and full-jaw sizes. Smaller jaw sizes provide more control, while larger jaws offer faster working time for experienced techs. Jaw sizes are largely a matter of personal preference, so experiment to see which one you like best.
You can also choose from a variety of springs, including single, double and barrel. Single springs are S-shaped pieces of metal that fit along one side of the nipper and rub along the opposite handle to provide the springing action. Single springs are easy to replace and usually guaranteed for life. Double springs are made of two curved metal strips that meet in the middle between the nipper handles and press against one another to create tension. Some techs prefer double springs because they avoid grinding metal on metal. Barrel springs consist of flat strips of metal rolled up and fitted inside a barrel that’s placed near the joint. These heavy-duty springs are used mainly in pedicure nippers.
A good nipper should feel almost like an extension of your hand—it should fit comfortably between your fingers and palm and offer a sure grip. Go to your local distributor or visit a trade show to try some out. And remember, nippers should be used primarily for hang nails and dead skin!