Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Dog Nail Grinder vs. Clipper: Which Is Better? 2024 Comparison Guide

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by Dogster Team

Nail grinder vs nail clipper dog

Dog Nail Grinder vs. Clipper: Which Is Better? 2024 Comparison Guide

When it comes to the world of dog grooming, there are two main tools used to keep a dog’s nails neat and trim: nail grinders and nail clippers. While you can take your canine pal to the groomer to trim their nails, it can get quite expensive.

However, many pet owners are scared to do their dog’s nails because they’re worried they’ll do a poor job or end up clipping too close to the nail bed. Since this happens more often with nail clippers, nail grinders have become extremely popular in recent years. If you’ve decided to clip your dog’s nails, you can examine our comparison of the grinder and clipper to determine which device is best for your pet.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

At a Glance

grinders vs clippers_petkeen

Dog Nail Grinder
  • Gradual grinding
  • Can be loud
  • Easy to use on thick nails
  • Good for dogs who are scared of clippers
Dog Nail Clipper
  • Fast
  • Very little noise, if any
  • Affordable, doesn’t need a battery or power cord
  • Can be hard to use on thick nails

Overview of Dog Nail Grinder

Dog nail grinders are grooming tools that use a rotating surface to grind down the dog’s nails instead of clipping them. They are electrically powered tools that are similar to Dremel tools. Some nail grinders come with a nail guard that allows you to place your dog’s claw in the hole, which protects your dog’s paw from the spinning and rough parts of the grinder.

How Does it Work?

A dog nail grinder works by gradually grinding down your dog’s nails rather than cutting them. This allows you to have more control over how much of the nail you grind down and lessen the chances of cutting to the quick and hurting your canine friend.

The dog nail grinder creates a smoother finish as well. If you’ve used clippers on your dog’s nails, you know that they can sometimes leave behind a ragged cut.

Dog nail grinder
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Dogs a Grinder Is Best For

While you can use a dog nail grinder on any breed, it works great for dogs who have had a bad experience with clippers in the past and are scared of them. Also, sometimes a dog clipper can cause a nail to split, which is common when trying to cut long, thick nails. When trimming black nails, it’s more difficult to see the quick, and some owners prefer using a grinder to avoid accidental injuries from a clipper.

Issues With Nail Grinders

A grinder vibrates and makes noise, which can scare dogs as much as clippers do. You’ll need to desensitize your pet to the sound and vibration if you choose to use a grinder.

A grinder also creates nail dust that can get all over your home, and it is still possible to cut to the quick, though it’s not as easy to do so. The longer you use a nail grinder, the more it will heat up. It’s best to use it in short sessions to keep this from happening. Also, if you have a dog with long hair, the hair has been known to wrap around the bands, so be careful when trimming your dog’s nails.

  • Gradual grinding
  • More control
  • Great for dogs who fear clippers
  • Easy to use on long, thick nails
  • Smoother finish
  • Can be loud
  • Creates nail dust
  • Can still cut the quick
  • Generates heat
  • Long hair can get stuck in the bands

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

Overview of Dog Nail Clippers

There are two types of nail clippers, and we’ll discuss them in detail below.

Types of Dog Nail Clippers

You can use guillotine or scissor clippers. Scissor clippers are strong and generate a lot of pressure, making them the best choice for dogs with thick nails.

Guillotine clippers have a hole in the middle where you place your dog’s nails. Once your dog’s nail is in the hole, you force the blade through. This style works well for people with arthritis or other issues with their hands, as you don’t have to exert as much pressure.

vet trimming miniature schnauzer dog's nails
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

How Does It Work?

Both clipper types use a sharp blade to trim the dog’s nails. You can trim your dog’s nails quickly with clippers, which is excellent if you have a dog that has problems standing still. They’re manually operated, so they don’t produce much noise or vibrations. You also don’t need batteries or a power cord to operate these nail clippers.

Issues With Nail Clippers

There are a few issues with nail clippers, just as there are with nail grinders. They can be hard to use on thick nails and cause nails to split and become jagged. You’re likelier to hit the quick with nail clippers than with a grinder. Nail clippers can also cause pressure that might be painful for your dog.

  • Come in two types
  • Fast
  • No vibration and little noise
  • Inexpensive
  • Don’t require a power cord or batteries
  • Makes it easier to remove broken nails
  • Harder to use on thick nails
  • Can cause  split or jagged nails
  • Likely to hit the quick
  • Can cause pressure that’s painful

Other Factors to Consider

There are other factors to consider when deciding which grooming tool is best for your dog. You must ensure that your dog isn’t afraid of the grinder and that you can desensitize him to it if he is. You’ll also want to use the grooming tool you’re most comfortable with. If you’re afraid to use a grinder or heavy-duty clippers, your dog will sense that, and it’ll make grooming a nightmare for both of you.

Weighing the Cost

Nail clippers are inexpensive, meaning they should easily fit into almost any budget. Dog nail grinders can be pretty expensive, but they may be preferable if your pup has dark nails.

a person trimming a dog's nails
Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutterstock

Which Is the Right Choice for You?

A grinder might be the best way to go if you have a dog with thick nails. If you have mobility issues, guillotine clippers might work better for you and your dog. When it comes to worrying about cutting the quick, grinders are a better choice, but they aren’t foolproof. The dog nail clippers might be your best bet if you’re looking for convenience and a lower price point.

We hope that we’ve helped you determine which of these grooming tools is best for you. If you can’t decide or feel that you can’t safely use either one to trim your dog’s nails, it might be best to make a regular appointment with a groomer to do it professionally instead.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03


Grooming your dog at home can be pretty easy. However, some pet parents are afraid they’ll hurt their dogs when trimming their nails. While trimming your dog’s nails helps everything from the dog’s health to your floors and furniture, it is possible to hurt your dog if you cut into the quick of their nail bed. Whether you use a grinder or clipper, be patient with your dog. If it becomes uncomfortable during a grooming session, stop the trimming and try another time.

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.