Best Nail Clippers for the Elderly

As an elderly you may not have the resources, or the will or mobility, to get a professional manicure or pedicure done. However, these are important elements of your regular grooming routine.

Particularly, nail hygiene is important. Nails in the elderly, if not trimmed regularly, may give rise to chipping or breaking issues. This article talks about the importance of nail hygiene, how nails change with age, and discuss about some of the best nail clippers for the elderly.

Last update 2021-05-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Nail Clippers for the Elderly

While nail hygiene is important for everybody, they are particularly important for older adults because of the problems that unhygienic and unnecessarily long nails may create.

The elderly can often have a compromised immune system due to certain health conditions or even due to side effects of their medication. Therefore, they are more prone to illness that originate from unhygienic nails on the hands and toes.

Why Nail Hygiene is Important?

  • Longer nails can hold more dirt, grease, and bacteria than shorter ones and therefore may be the reason for your next bout of stomach infection or a bacterial infection on the nail itself
  • Nails in the elderly become brittle. Long nails, if not trimmed regularly, run the risk of chipping, or breaking which takes time to heal and may also permanently damage your nails
  • There is a significant chance that you may injure yourself or people around you if you have longer nails. As an elderly, you may have lost some skin sensation and you wouldn’t know when you will scratch yourself with your long nails.
  • You may suffer from inward growing nails on your toes, where your nails will curve and cut into the skin of your toes. If you do not trim your nails regularly, you may find it painful to do later when the nails have cut into your toes.

The video below shows how to cut your nails properly.

How Should I Cut My Nails? - Matthew J. Connolly, DPM

How Do Nails Change with Age?

Your nails change quite a bit as you age, and your nail clipper must suit your nail type.

  • Thickness: Toenails generally become thicker with age and so can fingernails. Certain conditions like the psoriasis or fungal infections can result in thickening of toenails as well.
  • Shape: Your nails may develop the tendency to in-grow and cut into your toes. Some people may develop very rounded nails which is often the result of sustained oxygen deprivation.
  • Texture: Nails may become brittle and prone to chipping or breaking, which can be the result of anemia or due to long periods of use of cleaners and chemicals on the nails.
  • Growth Rate: Thankfully, however, our nails will grow much slower as we age, thereby reducing the need to frequently clip them. The growth rate of nails in the elderly is approximately half that of young adults.

Problems for the Elderly While Clipping Nails

Nail clipping is not an easy activity for seniors due to a few reasons.

  • If you are arthritic, you may find it difficult to operate the nail clipper
  • You may suffer from hand tremors due to musculoskeletal or neurological disorders in which case it is not safe for you to use the nail clippers
  • Your toenails may be too hard for you to be able to clip safely
  • You may not have the physical flexibility to bend over and reach your toenails
  • If you are suffering from diabetes or thyroid problems, you may not be able to feel your toes or, in general, the extremities of your body, and may inadvertently end up cutting or injuring yourself

In the above cases, it is best if you could take the help of your family member or your care giver to clip your nails.

What to Look for in a Nail Clipper for the Elderly

At the end of the day, your nail clipper should suit your nail type, especially that of your toenails. Toenails are often thicker and trickier to trim as compared to fingernails.

  • Handle and hold: It is better to use a nail clipper which has longer handles and has an easy-to-hold design, so that the elderly find it easier to clip nails without the need to bend down too much.
  • The clipper should be sharp enough to cut though thicker toenails and the at the same time must be durable enough for the sharpness to sustain for long
  • The jaw size of the clipper should be enough to get a hold on your nails, particularly toenails which may be thicker than usual

#1 GoBetter Nail Clipper Set

The GoBetter nail clipper set is a pair of nail clippers – one meant for toes and the other for fingernails. The clippers are made of stainless steel, are matte black in color and come in a stylish leather carry case for traveling.

GoBetter Nail Clipper Set

The clipper for the toes is larger with longer handles which will help the user to generate the clipping force required for thicker toenails without putting too much effort.

However, for some seniors who are arthritic patients and have weaker hands and fingers, these handles are simply not long enough. They will not be able to generate enough force to clip thick toenails with these.

Moreover, the toe clipper is much like a traditional nail cutter and the elderly with mobility challenges will find it difficult to bend all the way to reach the toenails. There are toenail clippers available with much longer handles to resolve these problems of the elderly.

So, if you are somebody with arthritis or a similar mobility challenge, you will have to go for a different product. The levers have grooves on them to prevent slipping from your hands while you are using them, and nail filers are embossed on the front part of the levers.

Pros

  • Comes with two differently sized clippers – the larger one suited for toenails & the smaller one for fingernails
  • Comes in durable leather travelling bag
  • Longer push down lever enables you to generate more strength to clip thicker nails
  • Both the clippers come with nail filers
  • Levers feature non-slip grooves
  • Durable and sharpness that lasts

Cons

  • The toenail clipper has a straight cutting edge, which may be a problem if your nails are thinner. They may break or crack before you clip them

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#2 Ultra-Wide Jaw Nail Clippers by SZQHT

With a 15 mm jaw width, this nail clipper is suitable for thicker and ingrown nails. These clippers are built with premium stainless steel for durability and are extremely strong and sharp and you will do well to be extremely careful while using them.

Ultra-Wide Jaw Nail Clippers by SZQHT

The length from the jaw to the end of the lever is 3.5 inches. The extra length is helpful for arthritic patients and the elderly with weakened hands and fingers to exert enough force on the levers to effectively clip thickened toenails.

The handles are also extra wide at the end to allow more surface area of your fingers to be in contact with the clipper and make for a more comfortable clipping experience.

Due to the large size of the jaw, you may not be very comfortable in trimming your fingernails with this device and we recommend you use a smaller traditional clipper for your fingernails.

The clippers are also available in different combinations and colors – where you can also go for a set with a large clipper, a smaller clipper (total length: 2.7 inches and which can be used for fingernails), and a file. The clippers have curved blades to align them to the natural nail shape and helps to clip nails without chipping or breaking them.

Pros

  • Long arms for better reach for the elderly who have trouble reaching their toenails
  • Long arms also let you generate more clipping power with very little effort, that is really useful if you are clipping thick nails
  • The set comes with a nail filer
  • Available in 5 different colors
  • Bigger jaw that can accommodate the thickest of the nails

Cons

  • You may find it too big for fingernails
  • You may take some time to get used to this clipper as it is different from traditional clippers

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#3 Toenail Clippers for Elderly by Ronavo

The Ronavo nail clipper has a stainless-steel blade and rubber-coated handles for a good grip which is useful for the elderly with trembling hands. The blades are positioned sideways to let you see the part of the nail being clipped, in contrast to traditional nail clippers where once you place the clipper on your nails, you are blinded by the blades themselves.

Toenail Clippers for Elderly by Ronavo

While this feature may seem to be trivial for younger users, the elderly, with possibly some vision impairment as well, will find this extremely useful and will psychologically be more confident of clipping their nails with this device.

The device comes with a leather case for the blades, useful for storing it away safely. The levers of the clipper are curved outwards and are designed like pliers to fit the palm of your hands comfortably so that you can exert the required force with your palm and not just your fingers as in traditional clippers.

The wide jaws of the device and a total length of over 5 inches from blade to the end of lever make this product very suitable for use on thicker toenails, ingrown nails, fungi inflicted nails, and differently deformed toenails. At the same time, it is not quite easy to use this for your fingernails.

Pros

  • Long handles for better reach and lesser need for the elderly to stretch
  • Handles are designed to fit the palm of your hand for better grip and they are coated with rubber to prevent slipping due to palm sweat
  • Clippers made of stainless steel for sharpness and durability
  • Large enough jaw to clip thicker toenails
  • Blades are positioned sideways and is a welcome departure from traditional clippers where you are blinded and cannot see what you are clipping

Cons

  • You may find the clipper too large for your fingernails
  • The edges of the clipper are very sharp, and you need to be very careful while using them

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#4 Zizzili Basics Toenail Clippers

These nail clippers, specifically good for clipping toenails, have precision aligned slightly curved sharp blades. The clippers are made of stainless steel and come with a plastic cover to store them safely after use.

Zizzili Basics Toenail Clippers

The handles are designed for fitting in your palm which makes it easy to work with. For arthritic patients and the elderly with weaker fingers, this device helps them to comfortably exert the required force with their palms, which otherwise would have been difficult for them to exert with their fingers. The ample rubberized coating on the levers further makes it easy for the elderly.

With a total blade to lever length of 5 inches, this is a large tool and, as an elderly, you should be very careful in using them or better, enlist somebody’s help to trim your nails. The large size also makes them a little oversized for using on your fingernails and we recommend you use a traditional smaller nail cutter for your fingernails.

Pros

  • Ideal for trimming ingrown nails and thicker toenails
  • Stainless steel build for durability and lasting sharpness
  • Ergonomically designed for better grip; anti-slip rubber grip
  • Comes with tip cover for added safety; prevents inadvertent cuts when clipper is not being used

Cons

  • Customer service can be better
  • You will have to buy a nail filer separately

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#5 Nail Clipper Set from Duvilo

The clipper set comes with a small nail clipper for the fingernails, a larger one for toenails, and a nail filer. Made of double-tempered stainless steel for enhanced durability, the clippers have slightly curved blades to align to the natural shape of the nails.

Nail Clipper Set from Duvilo

The set comes with a separate nail filer with a groove in the handle meant for better hold. The jaw in the large clipper is 4 mm wide which should be sufficient for most toenails.

However, for some users with highly thickened or layered toenails, this thickness of the jaw may not be sufficient. In these cases, it is better to purchase a larger toenail clipping tool.

The levers of the nail clipper have well placed raised dots on them, towards the end, which act as a slip-resistant feature and help in better grip The product comes with a lifetime warranty against defects; however, you should understand the fine print of the offer and be cognizant of re-stocking fees or mailing costs associated with returning the product.

The smaller nail file can also be used for younger family members and therefore the set is a good and cost-effective buy for the entire family.

Pros

  • Anti-slip grooves on the lever to prevent it from slipping
  • One stop set for use with fingernails and stubbornly thick toenails
  • Comes with a nail filer
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • You may find it bothersome to not being able to see the part of the nail being clipped. Requires multiple clippings for a nail, to be safe.

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#6 Revlon Nail Clipper

This is a traditional nail clipper, equipped with a foldable filer. The blades are slightly curved to match the natural shape of the nails. The clipper is made of stainless steel and works on a lever system to create a clipping force.

Revlon Nail Clipper

This is a basic product that is very cost-effective and can be used by the elderly who are otherwise healthy individuals and have good nails. The product may not be very effective with thickened and deformed or ingrown nails and we recommend that if you suffer from any of these nail conditions, you should be looking out for a more suitable product.

Specifically, the product does not offer a longer reach, or make it easier to create the needed clipping force, neither do they have a wide jaw to accommodate thicker nails.

However, they are traditional nail cutting devices and as an elderly, you may find them more familiar to use, at least to start with. The lever has crisscrossed grooves on top to provide an anti-slip hold.

Pros

  • Curved blade of the clipper is aligned to natural nail shape
  • Lever action is suitable for use by both hands and makes it suitable for fingernails
  • Comes with a foldable nail filer for rounded finish after clipping nails
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Not suitable for very thick toenails
  • No handles that will help the elderly with better reach toward toenails

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#7 PETA Easy Grip Nail Clipper

The nail clipper has a scissor-like appearance with curved stainless-steel blades and plastic molded handles. The scissor-like design and plastic handles make for an easy non-slip grip and make it easier to generate the required force to clip stubbornly thick toenails.

PETA Easy Grip Nail Clipper

However, this will only be true if you are an otherwise healthy elderly user. If you have arthritis or joint pain, you will most likely not have enough strength on your fingers to operate this device.

In that case, we recommend you purchase a product that lets you use your palms to exert the needed force. On the other hand, if you have a bad back, but otherwise good finger strength, you may like this device due to its long scissor-like blades which offer you a longer reach.

However, the ends of the blades are thicker compared to other products which makes it difficult to maneuver the device between the nails and the skin, particularly in the case of thick nails. Therefore, this may not be the right product for you if your nails stick very close to your skin.

Pros

  • Combination of long handles and long blades let it have a long reach and lets you generate good clipping force without much effort which is helpful for seniors who cannot bend too much
  • Scissor like construction for better non-slip grip
  • Curved blades make it easier to clip ingrown toenails

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Blades may not be thin enough to go between the nails and the skin and you may find it difficult to get a hold on your nail before clipping

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Conclusion

If your toenails have undergone significant change in thickness and shape, it is often advisable to use a different nail clipper for your toenails – a larger tool than the one you would use for your fingernails.

Nail hygiene is important. However, as we reach our golden years, it becomes difficult for a lot of us to maintain nail hygiene – reasons can be that we do not remember to do it or we are unable to do it due to age-related illnesses.

While it is great if you have family around you who can help you with these activities, hiring a caregiver may be the best way forward to maintain your personal hygiene.

About Estephanie Jill

Estephanie Jill (EJBP, BSPT, PTRP) is a licensed physiotherapist. She is a home health care provider, laboratory technician for physical therapy students, medical transcriptionist, and an advocate of the physiotherapy profession. Apart from that, she loves writing. Playing to her strengths, she mainly writes around health and fitness, She has been commended for her writing in the past. Her other passions include commenting on societal changes and writing life reflective pieces. She enjoys meaningful conversations, and detaching from the digital world to do yoga and meditation. She is a self-confessed foodie who enjoys eating for the experience and then burning it all off through exercise.