What do you need an efile for? What is an efile for nails?

If you do nails professionally or DIY, then you are no stranger to the electric file machine (AKA efile).

But if you’re completely new to nails, maybe you’re like, What is it, what does it really do, and most importantly when is the efile needed when doing a nail service?

Today we will look at all of the parts of an efile, including differentiating between portable vs a table unit and go through the 4 scenarios during a nail service when an efile may be needed.

The efile anatomy…

Ok, let’s briefly go over the components of an electric file machine, also known as an efile, and sometimes also mortifyingly known as a nail drill… I know, OUCH.

An electric file machine consists of a control box to power your unit, a handpiece, and a charging cable.

Everything else that your efile machine may come with is extra, and newer technology in efile machinery has steered completely to a handpiece only.
These handpiece-only machines were available many years ago, but not with the power that these newer brands are carrying. I am sincerely super impressed.

For example, a MelodySusie Atena Portable, cordless, and rechargeable efile; I am letting this one go and keeping a more expensive portable efile. The convenience of not being attached to a control box and definitely charging cable, simply cannot be beaten.

Though for the sake of today’s topic I’m going to be talking about traditional portables and table units.

So what do I own and trust, you may be wondering?

Let’s begin.

Table Unit Efile.

Currently, I own and fully trust the Saeshin brand of efiles. They are manufactured in South Korea, my sources tell me that these efiles are the trusted brand of many top Russian Manicure Techs around the world.

Sure, they are not the cutest… but guys… seriously… you cannot beat the price for such a quality machine. I mean if its exterior was truly an eye-sore you could deck out in art, crystals, or maybe even stickers.
In all seriousness, once it sits at your desk it really grows on you… trust me! I’m all about the esthetics, it does not bother me one bit to look at it… quite grows on you!

Ok, but enough of calling my baby ugly.

This unit is what we call a table unit, as it does not leave our table as we operate it. Comes with an AC adapter to charge it and this cable does not disconnect from your unit as it is not portable. You always have to be connected to an outlet to power the machine on.

The cables for these machines do not tend to be very long so make sure you’re positioned at an outlet nearby to your station.

Let’s talk a little bit about these same things we just talked about, but as it pertains to portable efiles.

Portable Efiles.

Portable efiles are electric files that can operate off of being on a table and being corded. The control box is also essentially the battery pack when the machine is plugged in, the battery is charging.
Here is something super important to note and why I have fallen out of loving portable units. (I was addicted to them lol).

Yes, they are slick. The ability to fewer cables around your station is quite alluring… but they are always more expensive than table units. Not necessarily because they are better but rather because of the portable battery. Yes, the expense on the purchase is often primarily the portable battery, not your handpiece.

The handpiece is really the most delicate and indispensable part of your efile. In other words, you should splurge more on the handpiece than the battery pack when deciding on your efile.

However, just like anything cordless that runs on a rechargeable battery eventually wears out, and you have to get a new one.

Think of it like this:

I really like the Dyson Portable Vacuum.

I’ve owned one for the last 10 years … but it hardly ever makes it to the 2-year mark before the battery gives out then I have to buy a new battery.
Perhaps, I hate cables, so I pay a premium for the convenience of being portable. I’ll let you in on another life secret I also own the corded version of that vacuum, it’s great I find it to be even more powerful than the cordless Dyson, but it has a cable… also it’s heavier; therefore, cordless it is.

To recap as long as you know you’re paying for convenience when going cordless or portable… “Sobre aviso no hay engaño” (on notice there is no deception). Alright, so if you paid $400+ for a portable efile thinking you got the best thing in the market… you may or may not have the best thing in the market…

For years I paid a premium price to have a portable efile, I’ve owned and serviced at least 5 portable premium efiles within the last 8 years, the average price was $300/each, do the math as to how much I spent to be portable for 8 years 😀

But now I can seriously live without a cable.

In addition to the Saeshin Strong 210, I also own the Atena totally cordless handpiece from MelodySusie. Initially, I was sent a free Pink Version for PR, but I like it soo much I raffled it and bought the white version for myself.

Where can you get the brand of efiles that I own?

Click the pink words to take you to the source and for a little discount use code:
MeoldySusie Atena (Code PPN10K) & Saeshin Strong 210 (Code PPN5)

Enough rambling, I want to give you a bit of context because sometimes, we pros don’t give you enough context about portables v. non-portables and just go off of looks and feel ( I’m so guilty of this too).

Let’s now look at all the buttons that an efile typically has. With an efile you’ll have inputs for your handpiece and a charging cable if your unit is portable. Other than that you’ll have these 3 buttons:

  • 1 Power On/Off
  • 2 Forward/ Reverse
  • 3 Speed Control

Alright, so far you’ve understood the differences between a table and a portable unit, and what operating buttons or dials your efile machine has.

Let us now look at the 4 scenarios during your nail service where you would need to use it.

1. Product Removal

If you are looking for ways to lower your service time and improve your speed, then an efile for product removal is a must. I know the feeling; it can be nerve-racking and intimidating, but so are most things when it’s new. You got this.

This is a powerful tool and should always be used with training beforehand. Once you have that and practice with a light hand, you will be flying through clients. I have an e-course on efiling, where I share all my experience, tricks, and tips for efiling with confidence.

2. Nail Prep

Here’s another step where you can improve your timing. Again, there is a learning curve to cleaning the nail and the skin around the nail like a pro. If you want the super trendy “Russian manicure look,” use the efile. Clean the cuticle off the nail plate, buff the nail, and remove the dry skin, perfect for those Insty shots!

3. Tapering| Finish-filing

When done with the product application, use the efile to tapper and detail the nail. Some nail areas are harder to reach with a hand file, and there is a risk of cutting the client; this is where small efile bits come in handy.
Use the efile to give the nail a flawless natural apex, thinned down at the cuticle area and free edge, and clean the sidewalls free of product (in case of an oops! moment).

4. Pedicures

Efiles got love for pedis too! If you have the training and feel confident, go for the toes. The way the efile quickly removes dry skin and cuticles for summer-ready toes, I’m telling you. There are other tools and products involved in pedis and efiling, but it’s a totally fair game.

In our next efile post, we’ll be talking bits and going through some popular choices among nail techs and what my favorites are when working with natural nails and soft gel. 

While we put together that info for you, you can take a peek ahead of time and download my free resource here. It is a comparison chart of my favorite dry efile manicuring implements.

Stick around for the next topic; otherwise, I’ll see you next week, and bye for now!


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