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.
These machines only recently became available in the United States, and the internet has been going wild over them. They’re like nail stamping kits but more foolproof and with better images.
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. Read on to discover the best available nail art printers on Amazon.
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1. O’2 Nails Portable Nail PrinterPros:
- User-friendly operation from the app
- Colors to choose from
- Comes pre-loaded with patterns
- You can upload your own images
- Easy to find refills
- 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. Tuoshi Digital Nail Art MachinePros:
- Take HP ink refills
- Touch screen interface
- Can upload your own images
- Comes with accessories
- Choice of colors
- Prints quickly
- Comes with nail tool kit and gel polish
- Interface is in English
- 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.
3. Canon Nail StickersPros:
- More affordable
- Uses your own computer printer
- Easy to use app
- Can use preloaded designs or your own
- Easy to apply
- Must have compatible printer
- Have to keep buying nail sticker papers
- Printing can be a little finicky
Okay, so this isn’t technically a nail art printer, but it functions is a very similar way but for cheaper.
Canon has created nail art stickers blanks that you can use your computer printer to print the images of your choice creating custom nail decals. So the printer doesn’t print directly on your nail, but it does print on blank nail decals that you then easily peel off the sheet and affix to your nails.
I was able to get my hands on a media sample and it’s pretty magical. Nail decals are always fun but they’re even more amazing when you can print literally anything you want on them. The Canon Nail Sticker Art Creator app is user-friendly and very intuitive. It’s easy to resize and position your designs however you want them.
You do need to have a compatible printer which is a Canon Prixma printer with a multi-purpose tray like the TS9521C Wireless Crafting Printer or Canon Wireless All-In-One Printer. Even if you have to buy a new printer for these sheets, it’s still cheaper than most dedicated nail art printers.
The process isn’t super quick but it’s not tedious either. It can a little finicky getting all the wireless aspects to talk to each other but that’s an issue when you’re trying to print any kind of photo.
If you like the idea of printing your own nail art but don’t have the cash to throw down on a professional machine, this is a great compromise that will wow your friends.
4. Kunhewuhua Intelligent Digital Nail PrinterPros:
- 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
- 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.
5. Nail Stamp Printer MachinePros:
- Doesn't need electricity
- Uniform placement of images
- Can use any nail polish type
- Doesn't need special ink refills
- 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.
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.
Are nail printer machines 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.
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.
How do nail art machines 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.
Check out my guide to Nail Stamping Kits for tips, tricks, and troubleshooting common nail stamping difficulties.
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