I own several nail files. The reason is that I'm rather forgetful. Ideally, I have a nail file in the handbag I use. I have a small bag with the essentials: nail file, comb, pain-killing tablet, lipstick etc., which I put into the handbag I want to go out with. Alas, in reality, I forget to do this sometimes. This happened again recently when I was on a day out in a different town. Bad luck had it that I slightly cracked a nail. Not a great catastrophe, but I knew it would disturb me and hinder me from enjoying the day to the full.
So I went into a drugstore ('Drogerie' in German - in case you'll ever need one). I went to the wall where the nail files were on display and looked at the brands, the size and the price. There is always too much choice! In the end I bought the Swissco Pfeilring Sapphire Nail File. It comes in the lengths 9, 13, 16 and 18 cm (always including the grips). It's in a plastic container which is open at one end. It has a tongue with which it can be closed so that you can use it later when you carry your nail file with you. I doubt, however, that anybody does this as it is rather bulky. The part under which the nail file lies is elevated, it's more than 1 cm high. Why that is so, remains a mystery to me. Maybe the nail file needs space to toss around and breathe? When I came home with my new acquisition, I was amused to see that I had bought exactly the same brand and size I had done the last time. I had forgotten this but saw it as a good sign. Something inside me seems to tell me to trust this brand.
And indeed I do. The firm Pfeilring, founded in 1896, is located in Solingen. Solingen is for Germany what Sheffield is for England. Because of this I'm surprised that British Amazon offer steel products from Solingen at all. Obviously, the American Amazon mother isn't interested in satisfying 'Buy British' nostalgia. Pfeilring people pride themselves that their methods "have hardly changed since the industrial revolution. Skilled craftsmen ensure that only the finest finished products ever leave the factory gate. Outstanding quality, perfect functionality and reliable durability have been characterising the products from Pfeilring." Quality isn't cheap, but then craftsmen work on the nail files by hand. Nowadays! When everything seems to be made in Asia by machines from cheap materials.
I find that the length of 13 cm is just right for me. My hands are of average size. A smaller nail file would probably disappear in my hand and a longer one would be awkward to manoeuvre. What I like is that the tip is flat and I can get under the ends of the nails as well. I've also got a glass file which files nicely but has a thick tip. With this I can't get under the end of my nails which means that in the end it's rather useless. The top of the nails looks good, but the sides don't. With the Pfeilring nail file I get the result I want. When my nails are long, I don't file them down to the length I want, but cut them with scissors and only do the fine job with the file.
The sapphire grains are embedded in the file sheet and don't fall off when they're are consumed. The reason is that they aren't consumed. To tell you the truth, I always feel that a new nail file files better than an old one. But I must be the victim of delusion here. Too much advertising of the kind, "New is good; old is bad"! How can I argue against a firm which is older than a century and guarantees that their nail files "Never go blunt, never wear out, if they do, we will replace them."? Unfortunately I'm already of an advanced age. I'd like to send my nail files to Pfeilring after 50 years of use and demand replacement because they show signs of wear! Alas, this won't happen. Maybe I should include them in my heirloom?!
British Amazon sell the 13 cm nail file for 9.25 GBP; German Amazon for ~5.15 GBP. Take one home as a souvenir when you visit Germany!