The 9 Best Dog Nail Clippers of 2021

These tools will do the job and relieve anxiety for you and your pet

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Best Dog Nail Clippers

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

Trimming your dog’s nails is an important task for every pet owner, as it will help to keep your canine companion happy and healthy. 

“Aside from cosmetic reasons, trimming or filing dog nails is essential to prevent overgrown nails and to decrease injury,” explains Dr. Jennifer Frione, DVM and owner of Lakeside Animal Hospital in Florida. “When a dog's nails grow too long and touch the floor as they walk, pressure is applied to the nail beds first rather than the paw pads causing the pet discomfort. Additionally, overgrown nails will often grow into the surrounding tissue, causing not only pain but also infection.”

A high-quality pair of nail clippers will make this task much easier for both you and your dog, and there are several types of clippers you may want to consider, including scissors, grinders, and guillotine cutters. To find the right nail clippers for your dog, you’ll want to take their size into account, as well as the sharpness of the blade or grinder (while being sure not to cut into the quick!). 

We researched and tested the top options to find the best dog nail clippers for your pooch.

Our Top Picks
These clippers are strong, sharp, and durable, making them perfect for at-home nail maintenance.
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If you don't need any special features, you can't go wrong with these ultra-sharp, no-frills clippers.
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The battery-powered tool has a removable cap that helps keep your dog's nail at the proper angle for trimming.
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These clippers are designed for small pets, making them ideal for puppies, small-breed dogs, and even cats..
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These blades won't bend or snap, even when they're up against the tougher nails of large dog breeds.
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You can choose from two speeds, and the grinder has a removable cap that protects your dog's paw.
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These guillotine-style clippers have super-sharp blades to protect your pet's nails from splitting or splintering as you clip.
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Best with Safety Guard:
GoPets Nail Clippers at Amazon
This trimmer senses when you're close to trimming your pet's nail quick, which can be painful and reinforce a fear of clippers.
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Built-in LED light help you see what you're doing and make the quick more visible.
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Best Overall: Safari Professional Stainless Steel Nail Trimmer

Safari 770045 Professional Nail Trimmer

Style: Scissor | Breed Size: Small/Medium or Medium/Large | Life Stage: All | Material: Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 0.5 x 2.55 x 10.5 inches | Blade Type: Angled

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Durable and sharp blades

  • Easy to grip

  • Comes in various sizes

  • Can also be used on cats

What We Don't Like
  • Safety stop may not be the right size for every dog

The Safari Professional Nail Trimmer checks off all the key boxes that you should look for in a grooming tool. They’re sturdy and well-made with sharp blades, feature a safety stop for guidance, and come in two sizes to suit your pooch. Plus, as an added bonus, they’re quite affordable! 

These nail clippers have a non-slip grip that allows you to hold them securely, and they have a tension spring that pushes them open after each cut, making the process go faster. They lock shut when not in use, and during testing, our reviewer found that they cut through her dog’s nails quickly without snagging. However, we don't think you should rely on the adjustable safety stop alone to avoid cutting your dog's nails too short–you'll also want to use a visual check to avoid nicking the quick.

What Testers Say

"The blades on these nail trimmers are good and sharp, allowing us to cut through Addy’s nail with minimal effort. We never had to struggle or press too hard to get a precise cut, and this made the whole process go smoothly."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Best Budget: Millers Forge Nail Clipper

Millers Forge Nail Clipper

Style: Scissor | Breed Size: All sizes | Life Stage: Adult | Material: Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 5.5 x 3 x 0.5 inches | Blade Type: Plier

What We Like
  • Durable and sharp blades

  • Easy to grip

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • No quick stop or sensor

The Millers Forge Nail Clippers are simple and budget-friendly, making them ideal for occasional touch-ups at home. These stainless steel clippers have plastic grips on the handle and a spring-loaded cutting mechanism that opens the blade after every cut. For safe storage, the clippers come with a safety lock that keeps the clipper closed and can also be removed if you prefer not to use it. 

These nail clippers come in both medium and large sizes so will cover most breeds, though they may not be the best choice for extra-small or extra-large pooches. Their heat-treated stainless steel construction is designed to withstand years of use.

Best Grinder: Dremel 7760 PawControl Pet Nail Grinding Kit

Dremel 7760 PawControl Pet Nail Grinding Kit

Style: Grinder | Breed Size: All sizes | Life Stage: All | Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 8.25 x 2 x 0.75 inches | Blade Type: Rotary

What We Like
  • Lightweight and cordless

  • Long battery life

  • Keeps nail at proper angle

  • Includes several grinding attachments

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly expensive

  • No case for storage

If you’re new to cutting your dog’s nails, many experts recommend using a dog nail grinder instead of traditional clippers, as these tools give you more control over the nail-trimming process. In particular, the Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder is a great choice for maintaining your dog’s nails, as it’s lightweight, cordless, and versatile. 

This nail grinder comes with nine accessories, including several sanding bands and discs. It also includes a removable unique cap that goes over the grinder, and when used, it keeps your dog’s nail at the optimal angle for filing. The grinder runs on a 4-volt battery that charges via USB cable, and in general, you’ll get just under three hours of runtime per charge.

Best for Small Dogs: Shiny Pet Pet Nail Clippers for Small Animals

Shiny Pet Pet Nail Clippers for Small Animals

Style: Scissor | Breed Size: Small | Life Stage: All | Material: Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 3.7 x 2.6 x 0.6 inches | Blade Type: Angled

What We Like
  • Durable and sharp blades

  • Easy to grip

  • Made of recycled plastic

What We Don't Like
  • Won't spring back open after snipping

For small dogs and even cats, the Shiny Pet Nail Clippers are a compact choice that are available at an affordable price. These scissor-style clippers have angled stainless steel blades that give you the perfect cutting angle, and their handle has finger holes lined with an anti-slip grip. They have a semi-circular edge that delivers a quick and precise cut, and they’re great for all types of small animals, including puppies, small dog breeds, cats, and even bunnies or hamsters. The only downside of these clippers is that there’s no spring mechanism, which means you have to manually open them up again after each cut. 

What Testers Say

"The blades of these clippers are at a 20-degree angle off the handles, which allowed us to more easily see what we were doing. With one quick movement, we were able to line up the blades and snip off the tips of Nugget’s claws, easily avoiding the quick."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Best for Large Dogs: Epica Best Professional Pet Nail Clipper

Epica Best Professional Pet Nail Clipper

Style: Scissor | Breed Size: Large and Extra Large | Life Stage: All | Material: Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 9.5 x 3.7 x 0.8 inches | Blade Type: Angled

What We Like
  • Durable and sharp blades

  • Easy to grip

  • Affordable

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Can't only rely on safety stop alone to avoid cutting the quick

  • May be bulky for users with small hands

If you have a large or extra large dog breed, such as a Great Dane or Mastiff, you’re going to need a heavy-duty pair of clippers such as these. The Epica Best Professional Pet Nail Clippers are quite large and feature sturdy stainless steel blades that can cut through even the thickest dog nails—our tester used them on her 100-pound Anatolian Shepherd with no problem. 

These clippers have a non-slip grip on the handles, as well as a spring-action mechanism that keeps them open. The high-grade stainless steel blades resist dulling, and there’s even a safety edge that can help prevent over-cutting. However, just keep in mind that because these clippers are quite large, they can be a bit bulky to handle, especially if you have small hands.

What Testers Say

"Besides their sharp, strong blades, the Epica Professional Nail Clippers have a number of other helpful features. For instance, there’s a lock that holds the clippers shut when not in use, and it’s incredibly easy to latch and unlatch, unlike other clippers where you have to force the lock into place."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester

Best Automatic: Bell + Howell PawPerfect Pet Nail Rotating File

Bell + Howell PawPerfect Pet Nail Rotating File

Style: Grinder | Breed Size: All Sizes | Life Stage: All | Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches | Blade Type: Rotary

What We Like
  • Two speed settings

  • Cap keeps nail at proper angle and protects skin

  • Includes replacement rollers

  • Built-in LED light

What We Don't Like
  • No rechargeable battery

  • Some pets dislike the sound

Does your dog hate having their nails trimmed? If so, one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get the job done is with the Bell + Howell Paw Perfect Rotating File. This grinder has several unique features that allow you to trim down your dog’s nails nearly effortlessly, and it operates quickly to minimize stress on your pooch. 

This grinder has high and low settings, and it comes with a cap that has slots for small, medium, and large dog nails. The slots help you get the right angle while keeping your dog’s skin and fur away from the grinder, and there’s even an automatic LED guide light that lets you see what you’re doing. The tool has a textured slip-free handle, and it comes with three replacement rollers, including both fine and extra fine grits. It uses three AA batteries.

Best Guillotine: Resco Original Dog, Cat, and Pet Nail/Claw Clippers

Resco Original Dog, Cat, and Pet Nail/Claw Clippers

Style: Guillotine | Breed Size: Medium or Large | Life Stage: Adult | Material: Plastic, Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 5 x 3.75 x 0.63 inches | Blade Type: Guillotine 

What We Like
  • Prevents nails from splitting or splintering

  • Replaceable blades

  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Takes practice to use safely

Guillotine nail clippers allow you to cut through your dog’s nails using less pressure, but they can be a bit tricky to master, so they’re best used by experienced pet parents. If you prefer this style of tool, the Resco Dog Nail Clippers are an unbeatable choice, as they come in two sizes and feature durable steel blades that deliver precise cuts. 

The Resco Clippers have guillotine-style blades that cut through your dog’s nails quickly and cleanly. Plus, as an added bonus, you can actually replace the blades on these clippers if they ever get dull, allowing you to use them for many years to come.

Best with Safety Guard: GoPets Nail Clippers

GoPets Nail Clippers

Style: Scissor | Breed Size: Small or Large | Life Stage: All | Material: Plastic, Stainless Steel | Dimensions: 8 x 3.3 x 0.5 inches | Blade Type: Angled

What We Like
  • Can use on small or large pets

  • Durable and sharp blades

  • Easy to grip

  • Includes nail file

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than competition

It can be painful for your dog if you accidentally overcut their nail, which is why many people like to use clippers that feature a safety guard, such as the GoPets Nail Clippers. These clippers have a metal plate behind the blades that stops your dog’s nail, ensuring you only cut off small pieces at a time. This will help you avoid cutting into the quick and keep the process pain-free for your pooch. 

These clippers come in two sizes, and they’re made using durable stainless steel that delivers a fast and clean cut. They feature ergonomic, non-slip handles that give you a good grip, and they even have a convenient nail file that fits right inside the handle, allowing you to quickly smooth out any rough edges.

Best with Light: Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder

Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder

Style: Grinder | Breed Size: All Sizes | Life Stage: All | Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 6.89 x 2.95 x 1.38 inches | Blade Type: Rotary

What We Like
  • Built-in LED light

  • Durable diamond grinding wheel

  • Cap includes ports for small, medium and large dog nails

  • Two speed settings

What We Don't Like
  • Can snag fur without cap

If your dog has dark-colored nails, it can be tricky to see the quick and know where to cut. Luckily, the Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder has a built-in LED light that will illuminate your dog’s nails, giving you better visibility as you work. The tool comes with a diamond grinding wheel and operates quietly to minimize your dog’s stress, and it operates at two different speeds. 

This grinder comes with a removable cap that has ports for small and medium dog nails, and you can also remove the cap to trim down large dog nails. The tool charges via a USB cable, and it lasts around three hours per charge.

Final Verdict

If you prefer scissor-style nail clippers, the Safari Professional Nail Trimmers (view on Chewy) have a sharp, durable blade, and they’re a great size for both small and large dogs.

For those who are new to cutting nails or just hoping to take a more gentle approach, the Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder and Trimmer (view on Amazon) gives you precise control over how much nail you’re taking off, and it has a special cap that ensures you trim at the right angle. 

What to Look for in Dog Nail Clippers

Style

When shopping for a dog nail clipper, pick a style that'll be most comfortable for you to hold and use on your pet. “Guillotine and scissor clippers come in different sizes to accommodate the different sizes in dogs and cats,” explains Molly Bissantz, professional dog groomer and the owner of Grooming by Molly in Boise, Idaho. 

“The guillotine clipper works by pushing the blades together vertically when the handle is squeezed together. This type of trimmer takes practice to master. Scissor type nail trimmers work like scissors—these are easy to use and allow for small bits to be taken off at time and reduce injury to the nail.” 

“Electric grinders are fantastic for trimming the nail to a smoother finish,” she says. “It can be less damaging to the quick than nail clippers, too. However, many non-professional models are bulky, loud, and not intended for high volume trimming.” 

Size

“Nail clippers need to be appropriate for the pet,” explains Bissantz. “Small clippers will not work as well on a dog with large, thick nails. Large clippers on a small dog may be hindering to see where the quick is at.” 

Sharpness

It’s important to look for nail trimmers that have a sharp blade that will cut through nails without snagging. “The blades of the nail trimmer need to be sharp, or it can cause splitting of the nail, leave a very rough or sharp edge, or not cut through the nail,” says Bissantz. 

Safety guard

If you’re not an experienced dog groomer or nail trimming ninja, you may want to look for nail clippers with a safety guard. “Many clippers come with a quarter-inch guard on the back to help you not take too much off the nail,” explains Bissantz. Remember, though, that the quick stop is only a guide—not a foolproof way to prevent over-trimming.

Safari Professional Nail Trimmers
The Spruce Pets / Camryn Rabideau
FAQ
  • Can you use human nail clippers on dogs?

    If you don’t have any dog nail clippers handy, you might wonder if you can use human nail clippers on your pooch. It’s possible to do, especially on puppies, small dogs, and cats, but Bissantz doesn’t recommend you make it a regular habit. “Since the pressure of the cut is different than with the scissor or guillotine types, the nail is more likely to split from human nail clippers.”

  • How do you sharpen dog nail clippers?

    Sharp nail clippers make clean, efficient cuts, helping to minimize discomfort to your dog and get the job done faster. If you’ve noticed your nail clippers aren’t cutting as well as they once did, you may need to sharpen them. To do this, you’ll need a grinding stone, diamond tapered rod, or ceramic rod. 

    Start by taking the clippers apart, then run the tool along each side of the blade, following the angle of its curve, which is generally around 35 to 40 degrees. You may also want to lubricate the spring of the clippers when reassembling them to keep the tool working effortlessly. 

  • Are cat and dog nail clippers the same?

    The same nail clippers can be used on both cats and dogs, assuming your animals are a similar size. Cats require small nail clippers, and these clippers are often appropriate to use on puppies and small breed dogs. However, if you have a larger dog, you’ll want to get bigger clippers, as cat nail clippers will likely struggle to cut through thick nails.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a lifelong animal owner and product tester. She currently has several cats and a Golden Retriever, and she personally tested several of the nail clippers recommended in this article.

To find the best products to include, she looked for tools made from high-quality materials with positive reviews, and she prioritized products that come in multiple sizes to accommodate different dog breeds. She also interviewed Dr. Jennifer Frione, DVM and owner of Lakeside Animal Hospital, and Molly Bissantz, professional dog groomer and the owner of Grooming by Molly, for expert tips on what to look for in dog nail clippers, as well as tips on safely trimming your dog’s nails.

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