Best Toenail Clippers for Seniors & the Elderly (7 Easy to Use Choices)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

There are many toenail clippers on the market, so it can be difficult to decide which ones are the best nail clippers for an elderly person. Some factors to consider when choosing a toenail clipper for an elderly person include the user's nail type, the clipper's ease of use, and its safety features.

woman cutting her senior mother's toenails
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

If you are an aging adult, a senior, or you care for an elderly person, you know that toenail care is an important part of your hygiene routine. So, when it comes to cutting your toenails, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. as you’ll see in this guide, not all toenail clippers are created equal. Some may too delicate for thick toenails while others aren’t appropriate for thin, brittle nails.

This guide to toenail clippers for seniors and the elderly helps you understand why aging adults need the right clippers. You’ll also learn how to find the best ones for you, plus examples of some that I recommend.

Video Guide: Best Toenail Clippers for the Elderly

Toenail Clippers for the Elderly (Safe Senior Foot Care!)

How Do Nails Change With Age?

As people age, their toenails may change in shape and color. This is usually due to a decrease in the production of natural oil, a decrease in the activity of the nail bed, or the nail plate (the bottom of the nail) becomes thinner and less elastic. As a result, nails may become more brittle and less resistant to splitting. Cutting brittle nails often leaves sharp edges behind.

Additionally, as people age, they are more likely to experience mineral loss from the nails. This can cause nails to become yellow or brown in color and may even lead to nail fungal infections.

Sometimes, toenails become thickened or fused to the nail bed, which can make them very difficult to clip. In some cases, nails may also change in shape because of a decrease in natural oil production. These thicker nails are difficult to cut and need durable toenail clippers that can cut through them. Cutting the thickest nails also often leaves behind rough edges which can cause cuts and injuries.

Regular toenail clipping can help with problems like these by keeping brittle toenails healthy and strong while also keeping thick, misshapen nails from getting unruly.

Other factors that make the elderly more susceptible to problems with their toenails include the fact they are at increased risk of foot injury, they are more likely to have foot-related health problems, and they tend to have a higher prevalence of diabetes.

barefoot senior
Toenails often become diseased and misshapen with age requiring special care.

Types of Toenail Clippers for Older Adults

There are many different types of toenail clippers for seniors – more than you may have realized. But, the following five toenail clippers are some of the best options for older adults.

Manual Clippers

The first type of toenail clipper is a manual model. Users have to hold the device close to their toes and clip away at their nails with a series of short strokes. Manual models can be difficult for seniors because they may not have the strength or dexterity needed to use them – especially with thick nails.

Electric Nail Clippers

Another popular type of toenail clipper is an electric model. These devices need users to plug them in and clip away at their nails with a series of long strokes. Electric toenail clippers can be easier for seniors to use, but they may not be as durable as manual models and often have a bit of a learning curve. You can see my list of the best electric toenail clippers here.

Rotary Clippers

Another common type of toenail clipper is a rotary model. Users can hold the device at a 90-degree angle and clip away at their nails with a series of short strokes. Rotary models are easier to use than manual and electric models, but they may not be as durable as the other two types of toenail clippers.

Angled Head or Ergonomic Clippers

Angled head toenail clippers are increasing in popularity for older adults. These devices have an angled head that makes it easier for users to get a good grip on the handle without having to hold the device close to their toes. This makes it easier to see what you are doing and is easier for seniors with arthritis.

Podiatric Foot Files

The fifth type of toenail clipper is a pedicure foot file. These devices remove dead skin and debris from the feet and are often used in conjunction with manual or electric toenail clippers.

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It is often easier – and safer – for the elderly to let a trusted family member or caregiver help them with their nail care.

Key Features When Shopping for Toenail Clippers

It is important to consider the key features of toenail clippers to determine the best option for your needs. Some of the features to look for include: easy to use controls, durable construction, and ergonomic design and a variety of blade sizes and shapes.

Additionally, it is important to choose a model that is comfortable to use, especially if you are having to do this on a regular basis.

Long, Ergonomic Handle

You want a pair of clippers with long, ergonomic handles. This will make the nail clipping process much easier on your hands and wrists especially if you have arthritis or hand weakness because you can get a better grip. Long handles will also reduce how much you have to bend over to use them.

Sharp Blades

Sharpness is key, as nicks and cuts can be painful and lead to infection. Having clippers with sharp cutting edges will make the job easier and is less likely to split or crack your nails.

Wide Jaw for Thick Nails

Another important consideration is to choose a toenail clipper with a wide jaw. This will make it easier to cut the thick nails of diseased feet and nails. Often, toenail scissors are a good choice for nails like this.

Durable Materials

One of the most important factors is the material the clippers are made from. You want to make sure that the toenail clippers are durable and will last for a long time.

The most durable toenail clippers for elderly individuals are made from stainless steel or titanium. These materials are both durable and will not rust or corrode over time and are easy to keep clean.

Angled Head vs Straight Head

There are a few different types of toenail clippers that have an angled head. This type of head is designed to make it easier to get under the nails and cut them cleanly. Some people prefer this design because they feel that it makes the process of clipping nails much easier.

Another type of toenail clipper has a straight edge. This is the type of blade that is typically used on younger people’s nails because it is more easily able to cut through the nail without damaging it too much.

It can be difficult though for older people to use a straight blade because their hands and wrists may not be as flexible as they once were.

Easy to Clean

One of the most important things you can do for your toenail health is to keep your clippers clean. This will help keep your nails healthy and looking their best. Keeping your clippers clean reduces the chance of transmitting nail fungus and diseases when clipping your nails.

Stainless steel and titanium are the easiest to clean because they can be rinsed and scrubbed with a toothbrush without worrying about rust and corrosion.

Recommended Toe Nail Clippers for Elderly and Senior Citizens

Based on the important features of clippers above, here are my recommended toenail clippers for older adults. These are the best products I could find for trimming aging nails more easily – and safely.

Maddak Pistol Grip Remote Toe Nail Clipper

The Maddak Pistol Grip Remote Toe Nail Clipper is a great option for elderly users because it has a lightweight design and a pistol grip that makes it easier to use. It is especially helpful for seniors who cut their own toenails but have trouble bending over specifically. the long handle on these clippers solves he problem of stiff joints and bad balance.

You get great leverage and control over the clipper part, with a simple to operate trigger mechanism. You can also use this with your right or left hand, whichever is more comfortable for you.


EZ Grip 360 Degree Rotary Nail Clipper

These nail trimmers are ergonomically shaped with a cutting head with a slight curve that turns toward the nail. This creates a more natural cutting position. Instead of the senior having to manipulate their arms and shoulders to get the right cutting angle, the trimmers adjust to match their natural movements.

The large ergonomic handle allows the full palm to control the clippers. This is another good choice for those with arthritis or poor hand dexterity.


Easi-Grip Long Reach Toenail Scissors

Longer handles like the one on this set of nail trimmers are good for seniors and elderly people who have trouble bending over to reach their feet due to arthritis in the hips or back, poor flexibility, and loss of balance.

This style of nail trimmer is recommended for thick, small, or ingrown nails because it has an easy grip for arthritic hands. It operates just like a pair of scissors with an ergonomic curve to the blade.


The Original Soft Grip Toenail Clippers by Fox Medical

These clippers are a great choice for thick, tough toenails. They are designed to give the user more leverage to easily trim hard to cut nails. The handle has a soft grip and works more like scissors which may be easier for some seniors. It is made of durable stainless steel and includes a tip cover to reduce the chance of accidental injury when not in use


Rubis Nail Clippers

These clippers feature loops on the ends like a pair of scissors. This lets the senior use their entire hand to control the clippers instead of just their fingertips.

These are the best clippers for people with arthritis in the fingers especially. This is a smaller clipper, about the same size as fingernail clippers, and can even fold up for easy storage and travel.


Podiatrist Toenail Clippers

These heavy duty toenail clippers are designed for people with thick, ingrown toenails but who also have limited hand strength. The larger handles are covered in soft foam for a more comfortable grip.

They also give them more leverage and control while trimming the nails thank to a double spring. A lifter is included to help reach the ingrown part of the nail.

They have a high quality build and are made of surgical-grade stainless steel. This professional toenail clipper is a good choice for people with arthritis or limited hand strength.

Toenail Cutting Tips for Seniors and the Elderly

There are some best practices to keep in mind when cutting toenails for seniors or the elderly.

  • Always use the right toenail clipper like one of the above and make sure the blades are sharp and clean. Avoid using a curved blade when cutting toenails. 
  • Soak your toenails in warm water for several minutes before cutting them so that they are softer and easier to cut. 
  • Using a firm grip, make small cuts straight across the nail, cutting just a little at a time. This reduces the chance of splitting fragile nails, getting ingrown toenails, and increases the chance of a clean cut.
  • Always use caution when trimming around the quick – if you nick it, you risk developing an infection. This is critical for people with health conditions like a weak immune system or diabetes who, honestly, should never cut their own toenails.

With these tips, you will be able to trim your nails properly and achieve a beautiful finish. 

Summary and Conclusion

Caring properly for the feet is an important part of an elderly person’s care. It is important to have the right tools for the job as well, especially for seniors who do their own nail care. Using the right toenail clippers for the elderly will reduce the chance of injury, and will also enhance their general comfort levels. This is why a high quality toenail clipper is such an important part of a senior’s hygiene regimen.

Do you have any experience taking care of a senior’s feet? Please share your experience below with any tips I missed, or best practices you’ve found helpful. Questions are also always welcome!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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2 thoughts on “Best Toenail Clippers for Seniors & the Elderly (7 Easy to Use Choices)”

  1. What I need is a very long handled toenail clipper with the wide ‘flat’ edge, just like ordinary toenail clippers. For some reason, they don’t ship from Canada, so $90.00 for the clippers, plus $170.00 for ‘shipping costs’ from the U.S. Do you know of any outlet that sells the long handled clipper with the flat edge, that wouldn’t charge the ridiculous exhorbitant charges for the clippers to be shipped?

    • Hello Mary Lou! Hope all is well. I’ve been researching your request. I found this pair with really long handles at Amazon. But, I don’t have an account on amazon.ca to see if they are available in Canada. This model is made by a company called Ableware/Maddak who is known for making creative solutions for the disabled and elderly. Check out their website and maybe they can locate a Canadian source for you. Hope I’ve helped a little.

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