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The Best Dog Nail Grinders

Why you should trust us

For this guide, we talked to several groomers and vets about what you should know when it comes to keeping your animal’s claws neat and nice. We researched why keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is important both for its health and for yours, and we learned that your vet probably doesn’t want to cut those claws for you. (It makes your animal hate vet trips just that little bit extra.)

I’m a journalist with 15 years of experience writing and editing product reviews, which have appeared on AOL, GamesRadar, Polygon, and Wired. I’ve had dogs for the past 20 years and also worked as a professional dog walker for two years.

Who this is for

Using a nail grinder is slower but safer, and it doesn’t require as much hand strength.

Generally speaking, your dog’s nails need to be trimmed every four to six weeks. Letting them grow too long can lead to health problems like splayfoot, which can cause nerve damage if left unchecked. If you can hear your dog’s nails tip-tapping on your floor, then it’s time for a trim. lf you’re lucky, your dog will patiently wait while you tend to its toes, but it probably wants it over with as quickly as possible. Clippers are the fastest way to get your dog’s nails to a safe length, but they require a strong, steady hand to wield them, which isn’t always so easy when your dog is jerking its foot away. A wrong move can also nip your pup’s quick (the blood vessels beneath the nail), which is upsetting for both of you.

A person using our dog nail grinder pick to file down their dog's nails.

Nail grinders shorten the nail bit by bit, as opposed to cutting them off in chunks. This is slower but safer, and it doesn’t require as much hand strength. They don’t create splits or splinters like clippers can, and instead leave a smooth nail that’s unlikely to catch on anything or accidentally scratch. Grinders are also good for dogs with dark nails, where the quick is difficult to see. But not all dogs are comfortable around the noise and vibration of a grinder—and the friction can cause the nail and the bit to heat up, so you need to take frequent breaks.

We spoke with five pet groomers and vets about how best to tend to your dog’s nails, and while their feelings were consistent when it came to clippers, they were mixed on the subject of grinders. Some pet professionals thought their safety factor made them the ideal choice, while others pointed to their noisiness as a reason to give them a pass. But every pet is different and if yours doesn’t mind, they’re a good choice. Melissa Andrews of Creature Comforts prefers grinders, but cautions that you need to be sure to use a bit that’s coarse enough to work efficiently, but not so rough that it pulls on the nail while grinding. The bits that come with our picks all meet these criteria.

How we picked

Here’s what we considered when testing the different grinder models:

  • Power: When selecting a grinder, it’s important to choose one with enough rotational power to make a difference on your dog’s nails. If a grinder is too slow and underpowered, it’s only slightly more effective than filing your dog’s nails by hand. But if it’s too powerful, it can be hard to control and heat up the nails quickly.
  • Noise: Loud or high-pitched grinders tend to frighten dogs.
  • Comfort: Grinding takes longer than cutting, so it’s important for the tool to be comfortable in your hand and comfortable for your dog.
  • Cordless: Some grinders plug directly into the wall, but the cables make it hard to maneuver around your pet.
  • Convenience: Consider how easy it is to assemble the grinder, swap out batteries, and change bits.

How we tested

To find the grinder with the best balance, we used a pig ear treat to simulate the hardness of a dog’s toenail, testing all available speeds of each unit on it. We then used the least offensive (and terrifying) grinders on a pound Lab mix and a pound doxie-pin.

For each grinder, we were investigating how maneuverable it was, how easy it was to get from opening the box to actually using it, how loud it was, and how well it sanded nails. We also factored in any extras, such as included batteries or a light.

Our pick

Our dog nail grinder pick, the Dremel PT, being held atop an out-of-focus dog.

The Dremel PT V Pet Nail Grooming Tool is the best dog nail grinder because it’s fast enough to go through nails quickly but is still easy to control. We also like that it is rechargeable and quiet, and has swappable grinding tips.

The Dremel offers two speeds, low and high, which are accessed by flipping the switch in opposite directions as opposed to moving twice in the same direction. This prevents you from accidentally changing speeds and frightening your dog with a sudden burst of speed. Even on low, the Dremel provides enough power to file down nails efficiently, though the lower speed will take longer than the higher speed (though the manufacturer recommends only using the low setting for pet nails, to prevent heat buildup). The highest setting on other models we tested, like the Wahl, couldn’t come close to the filing power of the Dremel’s low setting.

Dremel's dedicated wall battery charger plugged into a white wall outlet.

The Dremel comes with a rechargeable battery pack, which we prefer over models that use AA batteries. The pack fits into a wall charger (included in the box) when not in use (it takes three hours to fill), and slots into the grinder itself quickly and easily when it’s time for a trim. It makes the Dremel a touch heavier than the Oster, and significantly heavier than any of the other models we tested, but the additional weight is well worth the convenience of rechargeability. Both the battery and charger are compatible with a number of Dremel models and can be replaced individually should something happen to either.

Despite having oomph under the hood, the Dremel is surprisingly quiet for such a sturdy grinder, especially compared with competitors like the Furminator. Its motor doesn’t create an unpleasant high-pitched whine, even on high speed. It comes with two bits: one to grind and one to polish. The grinding bit worked perfectly, and the polishing bit will eventually make your dog’s nails shiny, if you care to put in the time and effort.

The grinder we tested is the pet-specific variant of Dremel’s kit, which is available with different assortments of bits for various tasks and hobbies. Another kit, called the Dremel N/8, has the same base model number and is marginally cheaper than the PT at the time of writing—but in our hands-on testing, the N/8 was more powerful, louder, and a bit harder to control, so we’d recommend sticking with the pet version.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Dremel is slightly less user-friendly than other grinders. The collet on ours arrived locked shut, which prevented the insertion of a bit, and without diving into the manual, it’s not clear how to open it or get going. This is easily remedied by reading the instructions, but it’s not as intuitive a machine as the Oster, which can be used straight out of the box.

The Dremel is also a bit more powerful than the AA-powered grinders we tested, which makes for quicker work, but also causes nails to heat up more quickly. So pay close attention to how your pet is reacting, and be ready to back off if the nail is getting unduly hot.


The Oster Gentle Paws Premium matches the Dremel’s power and efficiency, but its high setting is a bit louder than the Dremel’s and it’s powered by four AA batteries (not included) instead of a rechargeable battery pack. Some dog owners might also appreciate that it comes with a plastic sheath that fits around the grinding bit to catch the dust from your dog’s nails. In testing, we preferred to remove the sheath for maximum maneuverability, but if your dog sits still, the tidiness it provides is a solid bonus.

A close-up of a person using the Oster dog nail grinder using the clear sheath.

What to look forward to

We’ll consider the Dremel PawControl Dog Nail Grinder and Trimmer when we next update this guide. It’s sold with a 9-piece grooming set, including sanding bands, disks, and a nail guard. It has four grinding speeds, but similar to our main pick, the manufacturer advises using only the lowest setting for pets. The PawControl also comes with a USB charging cable and power adapter, which is easier to travel with and store than the Dremel PT’s bulky wall charger.

The competition

The Furminator succeeds at having a cute name, but fails at everything else. It’s so loud you’re likely to scare dogs three houses over, the grinding band was slipping off the bit from the moment we turned it on, the battery cover is absurdly difficult to actually pry open, and you’re virtually guaranteed to hit the on button several times while trying to open it.

The Wahl Professional Animal Premium Nail Grinder Trimming Kit and the FurryFido Pet Nail Grinder File are the exact same grinder, just with different coloring (the Wahl is pink, the FurryFido is orange, and we saw other identical models from other manufacturers). Both are dramatically underpowered; even their top speed is so weak that the bit stopped dead when it was applied to our test subject. They both offer “extras” that add absolutely nothing of value, like a selection of six identical grinding pads that require an ungainly plastic socket to fit into the main body—a more complicated setup than most other grinders. With the Wahl, one of the attachments actually got stuck, making it even less useful. They both can turn the grinding wheel in either direction—in case you think grinding anti-clockwise provides a smoother finish. They both feature a light that points right at your pup’s nail, and that’s genuinely helpful, but it’s not enough to make up for poor grinding performance.

The miPets dog nail grinder in a person's hand.

The miPets Rechargeable Pet Nail Grinder felt underpowered during testing. Its one speed is strictly middle of the road, so while it will grind your dog’s nails, it will take a good long while to do it. Unlike other grinders, it comes with a diamond bit built directly into the unit, but the grinding wheel itself is quite small. Unless you remove the plastic sheath surrounding it, you’ll only have access to a small grinding area during use. It’s definitely not the worst you can do, but it’s not ideal for anything other than small, very patient dogs.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best nail grinder for dogs?

The Dremel PT is the best nail grinder for dogs because its quiet, cordless design makes it easy to maneuver around a skittish pooch. It has two speeds, which ensures a gentle but still effective touch.

How do I cut or grind a dog’s nails? Which is better?

Nail grinders shorten the nail bit by bit, where clippers cut off a big chunk at a time. The advantage to grinders is that they remove the nail slowly, and won’t cause splits or splinters. And while this may take more time it leaves a smooth nail that’s unlikely to catch on anything or accidentally scratch. Grinders are also good for dogs with dark nails, where the quick is difficult to see. However some dogs aren’t comfortable with the noise and sensation of grinding, so may prefer clippers. Nail grinders won’t hurt your dogs, especially if you do it slowly, and quietly, while your pet is calm. When grinding, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, like only using the lowest power setting with the Dremel PT. Start by finding a quiet place to grind the dog’s nails when they’re calm. Then gently press on each nail and grind it for a few seconds at a time as you take frequent breaks and praise the dog throughout the process. Praising them with treats never hurt either.

How often should I grind a dog’s nails?

Generally speaking, your dog’s nails need to be trimmed every four to six weeks. Letting them grow too long can lead to health problems like splayfoot, which can cause nerve damage if left unchecked. If you can hear your dog’s nails tip-tapping on your floor, then it’s time for a trim.

About your guide

Susan Arendt

Added value thanks to a mobile app and MyDremel

And that’s not all: The Dremel is also the world’s first connected cordless multi-tool in its class and provides users with added value through the digital LED display and connectivity. DIYers can always thus keep an eye on the tool and battery status as well as the speed. As soon as the device is paired with the smartphone via Bluetooth, they also receive individual information by means of the Dremel App: For example, a runtime calculator shows the predicted remaining battery life in the current task and even considers whether a light or heavy duty task is involved. Users also obtain personalized feedback, for example warnings in the event of overheating, and therefore learn how to become even better acquainted with their tool and how to use it. A material guide is also installed that helps on which accessory and speed produce the best work results when processing the nine most common materials. The speed itself can also be regulated at six preset levels via the mobile app. And anyone who needs help can also contact customer service conveniently from the app. Creating a MyDremel profile with free registration of their new Dremel tools offers DIYers additional added value, such as a 1-year warranty extension and useful information such as operating instructions or proof of purchase and warranty certificate to make it easier to use services. If you’re looking for inspiration, just take a look at the optimized Dremel website: designing a tea light with a perforated pattern, engraving glass or leather, assembling a shelf or upcycling old objects into modern eye-catchers – all these and much more are projects with step-by-step instructions that show just how versatile the Dremel universe is. Access to the best of Dremel via mobile app or on the web, this is what the new digital offer provides and bundles.

Dremel Max – the best accessories in terms of efficiency and durability

Dremel also offers a completely new range of accessories: Dremel Max. It stands for maximum performance and durability, and comprises a total of seven accessories for cutting, engraving, and carving. For example, the Dremel Max EZ SpeedClic Premium cutting wheel has a lifetime which is 20 times longer than the standard accessory. It can even cut alloyed steel. The Dremel is compatible with all previous accessories, including EZ SpeedClic, and all new accessories. It is therefore more versatile than ever. In combination with the Dremel Max accessories, it works even more efficiently and has a 20 percent faster cutting speed.

The Dremel Max range of accessories is available right now, the Dremel as of November. It will be possible to create a MyDremel profile with free registration of newly purchased tools from September onwards.

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Product description

Tackle all your detailed indoor and outdoor DIY projects with just one Multi-Tool. This cordless power tool runs on a 12V lithium-ion battery and is as powerful as corded Multi-Tools. Go from cutting and grinding to sanding and polishing with the greatest precision. The LED light enhances your visibility and even allows you to work in dark areas. The motor brake stops the accessory from spinning immediately after switching off the tool. This allows you to lay it down right after use and proceed to the next step of your project. Save time on switching the interchangeable accessories with the integrated wrench in the EZ Twist nose cap. Go from coarse to fine to a perfect detailed finish.

Functions and Advantages of DREMEL® (/45)

Running on a 12V lithium-ion battery, this cordless power tool maintains power and performance on both your indoor and outdoor projects.

With rotary speeds varying from 5, to 35, RPM there is no limit to the tasks you can undertake. The gives you endless possibilities for your precise DIY projects.

Technical details for DREMEL® (/45)

Accessory quick change system

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