The Ultimate Guide to Nail Bits: Which Grit is Right for You?

Why Does Grit Matter?

The grit of nail bits matter because they’re all used for a different purpose. Using the wrong grit can potentially harm your client and lead to a poor manicure or pedicure. Understand what you’re trying to achieve before deciding which nail bit grit to use on your clients.

A few issues that may arise from using the wrong grit include:

  • Over prepping 
  • Over filing
  • Too fast/too slow exfoliation 

What are the Different Types of Grits?

Before purchasing any nail bits, ensure that you’re selecting the right grits.The three most common include:

  • Coarse
  • Medium 
  • Fine 

Using the right grit on your clients can significantly impact the quality of the service. If you use a bit that is too abrasive or not abrasive enough, you risk running into issues such as rings of fire (damage to the nail bed), product lifting, and more. 

#1 Coarse:

Coarse is a more aggressive grit that is often used for services such as product shaping, acrylic, and structured gel. We highly recommend avoiding using this bit on the natural nail and for cuticle work because it tends to over prep the nail plate and more likely to cut the live skin.

The coarse grit may seem like the better option for dry manicures because of its quick exfoliation, but it can lead to more damage and cause discomfort to your client. Instead, use a less abrasive grit (I recommend medium) and increase your RPM. Remember: Speed is your friend.

#2 Medium:

Medium is our go-to option for nail prep and cuticle work because it nicely exfoliates the nail and doesn’t over file when used appropriately. This grit will also create texture to the nail which is ideal for product adhesion (ex: gel, acrylic, dip, etc). Better product adhesion means there is a less chance of product lifting- this is key!

#3 Fine:

Fine grits make it difficult to prep the nail because it doesn’t exfoliate as quickly and efficiently. We recommend using fine grits if you have a client that is more sensitive because it’s extremely gentle. It’s also a great option for clients who are hesitant of dry manicures and helping them become more comfortable with electric nail files. 

Do not use fine grit to prep the nail plate for product. This will buff the nail rather than rough the nail, which leads to product lifting. This is a problem because when it’s time to apply the product, it will not stick to the nail plate and may begin to lift. Instead, only use fine grit for gentle clean up and exfoliation.

Check out our Compare Nail Bits YouTube video to see the difference between these three grits.


There is no such thing as a bad nail grit; however, it is important to remember that each grit has its own purpose. Ensure that you’re providing the best services to your clients. Don’t risk losing your clientele and damaging your reputation by using nail bits incorrectly. 

To summarize, here is what we recommend using each nail bit grit for:

  • Coarse - Product shaping, acrylic, structured gel 
  • Medium - Nail prep and cuticle work
  • Fine - Gentle exfoliation on the natural nail and working on sensitive or hesitant clients 

  • We want you to be able to reach your full potential as a nail tech, and part of that is understanding which bits to purchase for specific services. If you found this information helpful, check out our Nail Bits With HDH blog!
    April 28, 2023 — Erica Schlabach

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