Hilary Dawn Herrera fills us in on the benefits of efiling and some things to look for when shopping for an efile. She also shares some great do’s and don’ts and techniques that are part of the education she teaches all over the world as an Erica’s ATA educator.

When discussing Electric Filing, or Efiling as we often call it, some feel great intimidation. Let's clear up some of those fears and give you efiling knowledge to empower you in your career.

First off let's discuss the differences and benefits of hand filing vs efiling. Hand filing can provide a beautiful finish result in your service. However, the costs to hand filing include physical fatigue, pain in hands and wrists, and the extra time it takes to use only a hand file.

Using an efile can greatly reduce the wear and tear on your body and facilitate a dramatic reduction in service time. A hand file usually ranges from 5-7 inches which can prove cumbersome when trying to work on the small space of the nail plate. This can result in a less precise manicure or even injury to the surrounding skin on the nail.

Correct efiling techniques allow you to choose bits according to the task at hand and vary in size, shape, and grit so you can avoid unneeded damage and improve the quality of your finished results. 

Erica’s ATA puts great effort into developing the shapes and sizes and education with their bits to achieve that precise manicure. Efiles can vary and also cause damage if used incorrectly so next let’s explore some efiling shopping tips and techniques.

When looking at your purchase of an efile avoid any hardware stores. We don’t use drills, we don’t drill through the nail plate. Professional efiles are specifically designed to assist us as nail techs and not cause harm. They allow you to control speed, direction, and power. Look at different professional electric file manufacturers to find what would work best for you. Erica’s ATA provides some options in the department.

When comparing efiles we have a few things to consider. First we want a handpiece that sits comfortably in your hand. It should balance mostly in the crux of your thumb and pointer finger, a spot I have lovingly named the “thumb-pit”. You should feel in control when you hold close to the tip with your fingers, much like holding a pencil, and letting the body of the handpiece rest in your thumb-pit.

If a handpiece feels too heavy, thick, thin, long, short in your hand it isn’t a great fit for you. We want this to feel like an extension of your hand, your magic wand.

The handpiece can have a locking chuck or pressure holding mechanism for bits. I personally feel the locking chuck is superior to the pressure/friction version as we don’t want any bits slipping.

Note, the majority of the price you are paying for your efile is wrapped up in that handpiece where the majority of the parts lay. Some handpieces are louder, more open, slightly larger. These are usually a bit more budget friendly. Higher end efiles typically have a closed handpiece design, feel more sleek, run much quieter, and have less vibration. Depending on what you find, both can absolutely get the job done.

RPM’s and torque play a huge role in the quality of your efile, work, and timing. Think of RPM’s as your speed and torque as the ability of the efile to keep spinning against resistance. More budget friendly efiles have provided higher speeds as of late which has been great to see. Some do better than others in their torque. Asking the manufacturer about a high torque is a great thing to inquire about.

Your efile will likely have a power box that has controls for forward/reverse, speed control, and on/o. This box can either be corded to plug into the wall during use, or have a rechargeable battery to allow for portable use. Both can be equally powerful. Be sure to follow care instructions given with your efile to help it last as long as possible. Having these options will allow you to use the Erica’s ATA bits to their full potential.

Your efile will likely need to be serviced over the years by the manufacturer. These services come as needed (i.e. new loud noises being produced by it, dropping it, bit slipping, handpiece getting to a high heat, vibrations). Enemies to your efile include getting dust inside it, dropping it, and moisture.


Top Tips when E-Filing:

Make sure you have a bit locked into your efile before turning on.


Remain parallel to the nail plate.



Keep moving! Remaining in one spot, or too many passes in the same spot will lead to friction and uncomfortable heat for your client and over filing.


No scrubbing with the Efile! Your efile only spins in one direction at a time. Scrubbing back and forth is just extra wear and tear on your wrists/hands and can create uncomfortable heat for your client.


Find your pattern according to your goal. When working on cuticles you may find it easier to work on one side of the nail in forward and the other side in reverse.


Beginners and advanced nail techs alike benefit from continued education as the technology behind efiles and bits is constantly improving and providing us with better tools in our career.

If you are intimidated by efiles look into our Erica’s ATA education. I always say practicing on yourself helps you know how everything feels to your client and can give confidence in efiling.

We guide you through this in our workshops. I invite you to step further into efiling knowing you are going to be easier on your own body & receive elevated results. I am here cheering you on!


Lists of tools I recommend and LINKS-

Erica’s ATA sells a couple models here.

HDH bit kit & More from Erica’s ata (affiliate discount code available to all for 10% off bits and kits is hdh10)


About Hilary Dawn Herrera, Your Nail Fairy God Mother

Insta @hilarydawnherrera

With a passion for education, self expression, and business Hilary has built an empire doing and teaching nails that she wants to share with you! She works with top brands in the industry as well as her own brand ‘HDH’ to bring you the most real nail education out there.

Together with her handsome husband and 2 young sons they own a nail exclusive salon, Lacquered Loft, and run multi faceted nail education businesses.

Hilary finds great joy in teaching nail design and learning from others and craves empowering them in their careers. Are you making 6 figures yet? Stick with Hil.

Find all resources Hilary provides on HDHHUB.com.

June 11, 2022 — Hilary Dawn Herrera

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.