The thought of trimming your little one's nails can be a little daunting. They’re tiny, sensitive, and the last thing you want to do is make a wrong move. Luckily, the best baby nail clippers are designed for the task with extra-wide handles that give adult hands more precise control, and features that offer a clear view of nails like built-in lights, magnifying glasses, or spy holes. And if you're still intimidated by the idea of using clippers, you can opt for an electric file or a pair of scissors.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping:
- Visibility: Because infant fingers and nails are so small, it can be difficult to get a good view while you’re trimming, leading to the risk of accidental nicks. A baby nail clipper with a spy hole (a cutout near the clipping blades that allows you to see the nail as you trim), a built-in light, or a built-in magnifier can help increase visibility and reduce any anxiety you have about mishaps.
- Ergonomic design: Clippers with standard, straight handles won't offer tons of control. Be on the lookout for large, ergonomically-shaped handles that offer a comfortable grip for greater dexterity, so you can do the job quickly and safely.
- Clipper alternatives: A pair of baby nail scissors may make it easier to trim newborn nails, which are soft and flexible, and although it's a matter of preference, some people find that nail scissors are altogether easier to control. And if the idea of making a snip is intimidating, you can always opt for an electric file specifically designed for small fingers that'll do away with the risk of nicks altogether. (And keep in mind — many experts note that using an emery board is one of the safest options, and some pediatricians recommend using one for the first few months, so I've also included a highly rated option that's specially designed for baby with more than 2,000 reviews.)
Ahead, I've rounded up a handful of the best baby nail clippers that will make mini manicures a breeze.
1. The Best Basic Nail Clippers
This baby nail trimmer by NailFrida is designed with a spy hole that allows you to see baby’s nails while you’re clipping (and helps reduce the risk of accidentally pinching delicate skin). It also has a wide handle that gives adult hands great control and overlapping blades that smoothly and cleanly cut nails with minimal effort. The NailFrida also comes with a curved baby nail file that’s great for rounding out any jagged edges.
According to one reviewer: “I LOVE these clippers! The eye hole to see the part of the nail that you will clip makes a huge difference.”
2. An Award-Winning Pair With A Built-In Light
Not only have the Safety 1st Sleepy Baby nail clippers racked up more than 6,000 Amazon reviews, but The Bump also awarded them the title of "Top Baby Nail Clipper" in 2019. With a large, soft, and comfortable grip, the clippers give your hand precise control, and the built-in LED light lets you get a better look at baby's fingers. It comes with a mini baby nail file to smooth out edges, and there's a hidden slot in the clippers for storing it. However, the battery is non-replaceable, but at such an affordable price, this is an easy buy to replace if needed.
According to one reviewer: “At first I thought, 'I don't need the light!' But oh man, the light is a GAME CHANGER! I clip my 2 year old and 4 month old sons' fingernails and I haven't had an accident clipping either of them once (and they both squirm).”
3. The Best Clippers With A Magnifying Glass
This baby nail trimmer has a built-in four-times magnifying glass that gives you a closer look at your little one's fingers without straining your eyes. The trimmer features wide, ergonomic handles that are shaped to fit your palm, along with soft tips at the ends that give your hand a confident grip. And while some reviewers mentioned that the magnifying glass can get in the way, you can also fold it down if you find that you prefer to use the clippers without it.
This brand also sells a pair of clippers with a built-in light, but the handles are less ergonomically shaped than the previous pick.
According to one reviewer: “These are perfect for our newborn, the magnifier really helps with her little fingers and they are are sharp as can be.”
4. The Best Nail Scissors — & A Great Option For Newborns
If you want to go a simpler route, try these Simba baby safety scissors. Some reviewers report that they find them easier to use than clippers, and they like that it's possible to see baby's nails from all sides. Plus, they work especially well with newborns who have thinner, softer nails that may be harder to trim with traditional clippers, but you can continue to use them as your baby grows. The blades are sharp enough to trim quickly, but the rounded edges mean there's little risk of nicking skin. The scissors come with a protective case for safe and easy storage.
According to one reviewer: “These are sooo much easier to use on my newborn than any other tool. No fear of cutting skin or hurting her little fingers!”
5. The Best Electric Baby Nail File
This electric nail file is the most expensive item on this list, but with good reason; not only does it come with a full manicure set, but a good number of reviewers have noted they feel more confident using it since there's less risk of nicking skin. Many reviewers also report that their baby is calmer compared to other options while using it and that the file is quiet enough to use during sleep.
It's designed with a soft LED light, a single button that allows you to adjust the speed from low to high, and two rotation settings that allow both left- and right-handed users to operate it. The set includes 10 grinding heads — use the fine-grit heads for young infants, then work your way up with progressively coarser heads if needed. Plus, this is the only option on the list that can be used for adult nails, too — in fact, four of the 10 grinding heads let you perform a manicure on yourself at home. The file requires two AA batteries (not included) and comes with a set of clippers and a protective carrying case.
According to one reviewer: “I want to buy this for every new parent. After trying to clip my babies nails and accidentally getting him a few times (we have a wiggle worm), I was done. With this file, I can use it while he is sleeping and it doesn't even hurt him if it touches his skin.”
Also Great: These Baby Emery Boards
Using a baby emory board is a simple and safe option, and one that some pediatricians recommend for the first few months. These Czech glass emery boards are sized for tiny hands, and the rounded edges mean you don't have to stress about any sharp edges or points. Filing manually does take a bit more time than clipping, so you may have break up the manicure into multiple sessions, but reviewers report that these reusable boards offer a decent amount of grit, so you can get the job done quickly but safely.
According to one reviewer: "Really wonderful file for little delicate fingernails. [...] They are so soft and gentle I can rub it on my cheek and it doesn’t hurt at all but THEY WORK even though they’re so gentle!"