What Are Nail Clippers? Definition, Use And History

Nail Clippers

Nail clippers (sometimes called nail trimmers or nail cutters) are hand tools used to cut fingernails and toenails. They’re usually made of stainless steel, but plastic and aluminum models also exist.


Traditional nail clippers are designed with a lever the user presses to assist in cutting the nail. Some nail clippers also have a small file that rotates out to fix jagged nail edges as well as a small metal tool used to clean dirt and debris from under the nails. Toenail clippers are generally bigger than fingernail clippers due to the toenails being slightly bigger and wider than the nails on your fingers.


Some nail enthusiasts believe traditional nail clippers damage the nail and therefore use only nail scissors. They claim that the lever style creates a situation in which the nail is being brutally smashed from the top and underside, whereas nail scissors cut the nail straight across.


Historians aren’t exactly sure when the compound lever nail clipper style first emerged, but most agree it happened in the late 1800s. 

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