Posted by Debbie, Founder on 6th Jun 2019


We often get asked: "What does the difference in jaw sizes mean?" 

"What is half jaw and full jaw?" 

"How does jaw length affect performance?"

Cuticle nippers often come in a variety of jaw sizes. The way the sizes are named or referred to are a common cause of confusion. There isn't an industry-standard, so you need to pay close attention to the description on the product packaging.

The most widely-used sizes are the quarter, half and full jaw. They are akin to small, medium and large. But the actual measurements vary from brand to brand. The measurements also have a tolerance of +/- 0.02in (0.5mm) because sharpening to achieve the most acute and precise edges/blades is usually done by hand.

At Rui Smiths, we standardized the jaw lengths according to the metric system, using millimeters, for ease of reference. 4mm is easier to remember than 0.16 inches!

4mm / 0.16in / Size 12 / Quarter Jaw – Shortest of the common blade sizes

5mm / 0.2in / Size 14 / Half Jaw – Mid of the common blade sizes

6mm / 0.24in / Size 16 / Full Jaw – Longest of the common blade sizes

Choosing the right jaw size is generally about personal preference. We recommend that you experiment with the 5mm jaw to start. It is also the most popular length among users.

The smaller the jaw, the easier it is to reach and cut smaller slivers of cuticle, and the more control it offers. Experienced manicurists tend to favor the larger jaws because they get the job done more quickly.

If you already have a pair of cuticle nippers you like, but don't know what size it is, simply use a ruler to measure the cutting edges for your answer.