Trim Portable Manicure System

Trim Portable Manicure SystemTrim Portable Manicure System, $8

I had something similar to this cheap, battery-operated electric file years ago. The motor ultimately burned out, and I hadn’t seen a replacement until I came across the Trim Portable Manicure System while out and about.. Admittedly, I didn’t give the tool much scrutiny in the store when I picked it up. For under $8 and running on non-included AA batteries, my expectations were low.

First Impression

Upon unboxing the tool I confirmed that its construction matched its price-point. The body is made of cheap, lightweight plastic. The handle is long (read: awkward to handle), and it doesn’t seem as though the bits have a locking mechanism to hold them in place. The battery compartment was easily accessible, but there aren’t any markers to indicate which way to insert them. I determined that negative should face the bottom of the compartment, positive towards the top.

No dial, switch, or series of buttons means no variable speed control. This little guy is a one-speed.


To get started, you choose the bit you which to use and insert the metal end into the cavity in the top of the Trim Portable Manicure System. Unfortunately, there’s no reassuring click or snap to tell you its fully in place. Apply gentle pressure until it does not go further. Then, press the button to start up the device and ensure the bit spins adequately.

Next, depending on your intended use, bring the bit to the surface of the nail. Using light pressure and constant movement, work the bit over the surface of the nail. Unfortunately, the Trim Portable Manicure System’s weak motor causes it to stop and skip, which is risky. Beyond that, without variable speed you can’t accomplish much.

The Bits

Five in total, it offers two light shaping bits, one (awkward) emery bit for filing and shaping, one buffing bit, and one metal bit marketed as a cuticle pusher.

Shapers – largely useless, these fine-grain bits lightly smoothed the surface of the nail, but do nothing for shaping.

Emery Bit –  Shape is a bit hard to describe, but you can see it (the pink bit) above. I tried to use this in both a manicure and a pedicure, but it just doesn’t have enough behind it to be useful.

Buffing Bit – Useless. It did give my nails somewhat of a sheen, but it was uneven. Due to the weakness of the motor, it was unable to buff the nails to a shine.

Metal Bit – The only truly useful one of the bunch, this bit claims to be for pushing cuticles back. In reality, it is good at shaping and filing, removing overgrown dead cuticle, and evening out the nail bed. It doesn’t buff, but that’s fine.

The Bottom Line

Don’t buy it. For $8 and my low expectations I’m not disappointed, but I wouldn’t recommend the Trim Portable Manicure System to, well, anyone. If you’re looking for something like this, it’s worth investigating a more robust tool.

Today in 2014: Nexus Therappe & Humectress