5 Best Nail Art Printers: Your Easy Buying Guide

nail art printer

A nail art printer, if you haven’t seen the viral videos going around yet, prints images directly onto your nails for stunning nail art literally at the push of a button. Welcome to the future.

These machines only recently started to become available in the United States and the internet has been going wild over them.

They’re a fantastic investment for nail salons because they can print images faster than a nail artist working by hand ever could so you have quicker customer turnover. Plus, it’s definitely a unique experience your clients will leave and tell everyone about, giving you word-of-mouth advertising.

For personal use, if you can afford one, a nail art printer unlocks art that would otherwise be impossible for human hands. They aren’t cheap but when you consider that intricate salon nail art manicures can cost you $60 a pop before tip, depending on how often you get your nails done, one of these nail printers could pay for themselves in less than a year.

Head down to the end of the article for more information on how nail art machines work–but for now, let’s get right to the products.

What Are the Best Nail Art Printers?

Digital nail printer Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Only 3.5 pounds
  • Can upload your own designs
  • Operates from your phone
Price: $880.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Large white art printer with accessories Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Can print five fingers at once
  • Can print on your toes as well
  • Can print on things other than nails
Price: $1,976.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
White printer machine printing on a fingernail Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Small with touch screen
  • Can upload your own images
  • Portable
Price: $899.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Baby pink automatic nail art machine Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smaller but with touch screen
  • It's super cute
  • Can upload your own images
Price: $1,789.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Purple nail stamping machine Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Good if you've had trouble stamping
  • Doesn't need to be gel nail polish
Price: $12.14 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. O’2 Nails Portable Nail Printer

    Pros:
    • User-friendly operation from the app
    • Portable
    • Colors to choose from
    • Comes pre-loaded with patterns
    • You can upload your own images
    • Easy to find refills
    Cons:
    • Must buy Pre-Print glue separately
    • Set up on these isn't quick
    • One finger at a time

    The O'2 Nails printer is great if you're looking for a machine that won't take up a ton of counter space. It's advertised as being portable and while it probably won't fit in your purse, it only weighs 3.5 pounds so it wouldn't be a huge hassle to tote this to a gathering or a client's home. 

    I really like that the user interface for this machine is all controlled through your phone. You just connect your phone to the O'2 Nails WiFi option and then using the app you can browse through designs, upload pictures, and select your image. 

    After you insert your finger into the printer, your phone connects to the camera inside the printer so you can view your nail in real-time. This allows you to use the app to position and resize the images so they fit directly over your nail. You have to check out the video on this. It's futuristic as anything. 

    It's not perfect, which is to be expected which anything this complex. The biggest issue is that it can be a little fiddly to set up and that you need to use their polish products to get the best results. You can use your own gel nail polish colors but you'll want to use a coat of their Pre-Print right before printing to create the best surface for the ink to stick. Without using this prep layer the images won't be crisp.

    I like that ink refill cartridges are easy to find which can't be said for all nail printers.

  2. 2. Kunhewuhua Intelligent Digital Nail Printer

    Pros:
    • Prints five fingers at once
    • Can print five different designs at the same time
    • Can print on your toes and other things besides nails
    • Large touchscreen interface
    • Images can be resized and adjusted
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Larger than others
    • Not as easy to upload your designs
    • Design lookup is by number

    The Kunhewuhua Intelligent Digital Nail Printer feels less like using a little printing machine and more like getting a manicure in a Star Trek episode.

    I would say this is more of a salon-sized machine as it clocks in at just under 40 pounds but it's something that clients would leave your nail salon and talk about to anyone who would listen. 

    You can browse the images on the large color touch screen or you can look up images by number in a larger category, which reminds me of picking out a song on karaoke night. It's capable of printing a single image or you can pick out five different images, one for each nail. Being able to print five fingers at once really cuts down the time of the manicure as well.

    At this point, you strap your fingers into this little hand brace that helps to keep all your nails still while the machine positions and prints. To adjust and resize the touch screen shows a real-time video of your nails with the images superimposed over them and you can change the orientation and size of them to fit your nails perfectly. 

    With this machine, you can print onto toenails which is a perk you don't find in a lot of other machines. Kunhewuhua is also really taken with the idea of printing onto flowers so it seems you can print onto a lot of different items. They recommend Lexmark 27 printer ink as refills which is fairly easy to locate online.

    The touch screen feature has a strange vibe of being very modern but a little retro at the same time--like how people in the 1950's would have imagined the distant future would look like. It's not as sleek as other systems but it's fun to use and definitely something clients will talk about. 

  3. 3. Tuoshi Digital Nail Art Machine

    Pros:
    • Take HP ink refills
    • Touch screen interface
    • Can upload your own images
    • Portable
    • Comes with accessories
    • Choice of colors
    • Prints quickly
    • Comes with nail tool kit and gel polish
    • Interface is in English
    Cons:
    • Uploading images isn't as easy
    • One finger at a time
    • Can be fiddly to operate

     For the money, the Tuoshi NP10 has the portability of the 0'2 with the addition of a touch screen without making the unit any larger. It's a nice happy medium if you like the idea of an interface that doesn't need a smartphone but don't want a larger printer.

    Unlike larger touch screen models that use buttons to resize your image, the Tuoshi has pinch resizing the same way you would resize an image on your smartphone. It's much more intuitive and ultimately faster than using buttons to resize. 

    You can connect to the printer with a USB (mini or regular) or through WiFi to upload your own images to add to the gallery of pre-loaded nail art. I like that it comes with four bottles of gel polish to get you started and a small kit of nail tools.

  4. 4. Baby Panda Wireless Nail Painting Machine

    Pros:
    • You can upload your own images
    • Access to huge gallery of images
    • Combination of smaller size with touch screen
    • Cute look to it
    Cons:
    • The interface is in Chinese
    • Pricier than others
    • Only one nail at a time

    This machine uses a similar design to the O'2 Nail Printer but is slightly bigger to fit in a touch screen so you can operate it using the screen or your phone. It's compatible with the O'2 Nail App so you have the same interface on your phone that includes a huge array of images and the ability to upload your own.

    The O'2 Nail App appears to have the best system for resizing and adjusting the shape of images so I like that this printer has access to that. 

    So that's all great stuff, but a major stumbling block for a lot of users is that the interface and manual are in Chinese. That's kind of a big deal. If you're fluent in Chinese or have just a ton of confidence you can figure this out, then that's not a problem and you can take advantage of the unique shape and interface combination.

    But if you're not comfortable with a Chinese interface or instructions, this isn't the printer for you.

  5. 5. Nail Stamp Printer Machine

    Pros:
    • Affordable
    • Doesn't need electricity
    • Uniform placement of images
    • Can use any nail polish type
    • Doesn't need special ink refills
    Cons:
    • Not really a printer
    • Limited in images
    • Not worth it if you can nail stamp

    This isn't exactly a printer, and it's certainly not digital, but this machine removes does all the tricky parts of nail stamping for you. It looks a little like that thing they use to measure your shoe size, but it's a device that can remove some of the human error from nail stamping which has a notoriously steep learning curve.

    To use you place your nail on the adjustable nail rest, insert one of the included stamping plates, and paint your nail stamping polish over the image you want. The sliding handle holds both the scraper and the stamp so when you slide it over the stamping plate it automatically scrapes at the correct angle and positions the stamp over your images. You press down on the stamping button once to pick up the image and then slide the handle back and press it again to stamp the images onto your nail.

    Check out this video on YouTube if you want to watch the process in action.

    I'm terrible at getting images straight so I really like that this machine will stamp your image in the same way on each nail so you can get a uniform look. And there's no guesswork on if your image is centered because the nail rest keeps your position steady.

    If you're able to do nail stamping, this isn't worth picking up because it does the same thing but with more limitations, because you can only use plates shaped to fit the machine and more complicated reverse stamping is out.

    Nail stamping is hard to get the hang of. My first few times trying it, I definitely wanted to throw it out the window. I eventually got the hang of it, but if you're stuck or just want an easier way, give this a try. For the price, it's worth a shot.

    I know this doesn't quite fit in with the others on the list but if you wanted something a bit more automated but had some sticker-shock on the digital printers, this might scratch that nail art itch at a lower cost.

    Check out my guide to Nail Stamping Kits for tips, tricks, and troubleshooting common nail stamping difficulties. 

Are nail art printers worth it?

That's really up to you, your budget, and how important it is to you to stay on top of trends. (They're even talking about these machines on Bloomberg.) 

If you really want showstopping nail art but don't have the time or artistic skill to do it on your own, they could be. Check out this profile on Miho Kawariji on Business Insider with images of her $150 nail art manicures. Celebrities go to her for this artwork, but with a printer, you could get the same look whenever you wanted.

For salons, they're an investment now and a major time-saver later, leading to increased sales. 

Most of these printers print a finger image in less than a minute, but even at a minute, that's 10 minutes for a full manicure of nail art minus the setup and polish. Intricate nail art by hand can take 10 to 30 minutes per finger. The potential for quicker client turnover is high.

How do they work?

They're basically a mini ink-jet printer that's built for nails instead of paper. Most use regular ink-jet printer refills so you can shop around for a bargain instead of being forced to buy refills from the same company.

Keep in mind that if you've ever been near a printer, you know they are famously finicky so while you won't be dealing with paper jams, as with any printer, there could be some hiccups.  

Does it have to be on gel nail polish?

Not really? Most, if not all, nail art machine videos you'll see are printing on gel nail polish. The ink itself isn't gel so it's basically a "jelly-sandwich" situation where you're enclosing a non-gel element inside a gel base and top coat to extend the wear-time. 

So while you could use this with regular nail polish, if you want your design to last more than a few days, you really need to be working with gel.

Doing your own gel at home used to be more expensive to get into, but these days you can pick up great kits for seriously little cash so you can get weeks of wear from your designs instead of days.

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