Complete List of Acrylic Nail Supplies for Salon-Quality Manicures.


What tools and equipment do you need to do acrylic nails? Let’s find out! I’ve put together a full list of acrylic nail supplies.

If you do your own nails at home, then you’ll just need the basic essentials to get you started.

But if you’re a qualified nail technician then you’re going to need a few extra things to keep clients comfortable and happy.

I’m about to share my complete list of acrylic nail supplies for doing your own acrylic nails.

Then, we’ll break it down into bare essentials, nice-to-have items, and must-haves for professionals.

Below, you’ll find explanations of what each tool or product is and why you might need it.

I’ll also share some useful tips and tricks and some of my favorite products and acrylic nail brands.

Before we dive in, here’s the full list of acrylic nail supplies for easy reference.

List of acrylic nail supplies.

  • Cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle nippers
  • Nail file
  • 4 sided Buffer (aka buffing block)
  • Nail Dehydrator
  • Nail Primer
  • Nail tips
  • Nail glue
  • Nail forms
  • Tip cutter tool
  • Dappen dish (a glass cup)
  • Monomer
  • Acrylic powder(s)
  • Acrylic nail brush
  • Brush cleaner
  • Nail edge clippers
  • Nail drill (aka electric nail file)
  • Drill bits
  • Dusting brush
  • Acrylic dust collector
  • Gel nail polishes
  • Gel topcoat (matte, glossy, or both)
  • A UV or LED nail lamp
  • Lint-free wipes
  • Nail art items (gems, brushes, striping tape, dotting tools, stampers, glitter, etc)
  • Cuticle oil
  • Pure acetone
  • Toe separators
  • Carry case or toolbox
  • Handwash
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Desk
  • Comfortable chair (2 chairs if you want to do clients)
  • A lamp
  • Display rack

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff!

The above list has everything you could possibly need (or want) for doing amazing acrylic nails.

Time to break it down a bit.

Here’s a table of contents for easy navigating:

Table of contents:

Table of contents:

Essential acrylic nail supplies

Nice to have acrylic nail supplies

Must-haves for professionals

Essential acrylic nail supplies


You certainly don’t need to buy everything on the above list – phew!

So, let’s take a look at what the bare essential supplies are.

For beginners and those of you doing your own acrylic nails at home, this is an extremely basic list.

So feel free to scroll on down to the nice to haves and add a few things you think you’ll want (to make your nail life easier).

But for the minimalists and the super budget conscious – here are the items you can’t do acrylic nails without!

List of essential items for doing acrylic nails:

  • Nail dehydrator
  • Nail Primer
  • Monomer
  • Dappen dish
  • Acrylic powder
  • An acrylic nail brush
  • Brush cleaner
  • Nail file
  • Acetone (for removal)

What the essential items are used for

Nail dehydrator


This removes oils and moisture from the nails. It goes on like nail polish.

Dehydrators change the PH level of the nail so that the acrylic will stick better.

This makes your nails last longer.

Nail Primer

Some people might argue that you can do your own acrylic nails without a dehydrator and primer.

But many professionals and nail DIYers like myself swear by them.

This is because they make a HUGE difference to how long your nails last!

A good dehydrator and primer like this one (check price on Amazon) can help you avoid lifting, which is one of the main complaints of beginners.


Monomer is the liquid you dip your brush into before you dip it into the powder.

It reacts with the acrylic to form a bead.

Stay away from MMA or HEMA.

They are banned by the FDA because they burn, cause irritation, and damage the nail bed.

These chemicals also make your nails turn yellow over time.

Always look for an EMA monomer like this one (check price on Amazon). That’s the safest kind.

Dappen dish

A dappen dish is a small glass cup. You put your liquid monomer in it and dip your brush in.

Then you use the sides to get rid of any extra liquid.

Acrylic powder

You can’t have acrylic nails without it!

Acrylic powders come in different “grinds”.

Some are easier to work with than others and will give a better finish like this one (check price on Amazon).

You can read more about acrylic powders and get my top recommendations here.

An acrylic nail brush

Acrylic nail brushes come in different sizes and shapes.

The best size for a beginner is a size 8 and the best shape is oval.

Check out my best acrylic nail brushes article for all the best info on what to look for in an acrylic brush.

Brush cleaner

Good acrylic nail brushes work like a dream – but they don’t come cheap.

That’s why it’s important to keep your acrylic nail brush clean.

If you don’t clean your brush well after each use, you’ll ruin it and have to buy a new one.


Nail file


For shaping those babies to perfection! Crystal Nail Files are the best on the market (check price on Amazon)

Acetone (for removal)

When it’s time to remove your nails, you’ll need to file them down into a super thin layer and then soak them in pure acetone.

That’s the end of the essential acrylic nail supplies list.

You may notice that I haven’t added tips or forms to my essential list.

That’s not an oversight.

If you are happy with the length of your natural nails then you don’t need tips or forms.

You can simply apply the acrylic over your own nails and voila!

Nice to have acrylic nail supplies

Ok, now we’ve covered the basic essentials.

Let’s look at the items that are useful but not absolutely necessary.

You will probably want to get quite a few of the items on this list.

Most of them will make the application process easier, speed things up, improve the finished look, or let you be creative.

I’ll show you the list of nice-to-have items first.

Then, we’ll go into a little bit of detail about what each item is good for, so you can decide if you want to include it in your kit.

List of nice to have items for doing acrylic nails:

  • A cuticle pusher
  • Cuticle nippers
  • A nail drill with bits (aka an e-file)
  • 4 sided Buffer (aka buffing block)
  • Nail tips
  • Nail glue
  • Nail forms
  • Tip cutter tool
  • Colored Acrylic powders
  • Nail edge clippers
  • Drill bits
  • Dusting brush
  • Acrylic Dust collector
  • Gel nail polishes
  • Gel topcoat (matte, glossy or both)
  • A UV or LED nail lamp
  • Lint free wipes
  • Nail art items (gems, brushes, striping tape, dotting tools, stampers, glitter, etc)
  • Cuticle oil
  • Toe separators
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Comfortable chair
  • A lamp

What the nice to have items are used for

A cuticle pusher


You use a cuticle pusher right at the beginning during the nail prep.

Gently pushing back the cuticles helps you to avoid getting anything on them. It can also help your nails to grow back stronger.

Cuticle nippers


If you have any loose bits of cuticle or hangnails, you can tidy them up with cuticle nippers.

A nail drill with bits (aka an e-file)


Nail drills are great because they save you so much time and give you super-smooth results.

They come with different shaped heads for reaching into the cuticle area and up to the sidewalls. So you can get an even finish. This one is our favourite (check price on Amazon)

4 sided Buffer (aka buffing block)


4 sided buffers or nail blocks have different grains on each side. You use them to create a smooth surface on the natural nail to help the primer stick better.

Nail tips


Like long nails? Then get some nail tips for doing extensions.

It’s best to buy a pack with a lot of different sizes so you can get a good sidewall to sidewall fit on each nail.

This is super important because if the tip is too big, it will lift and if it’s too small it will crack.

Nail glue

For sticking the tips to your natural nails or applying gems.

A good nail glue will go on smoothly, dry quickly, and last for ages without irritation.

Also good for fixing broken nails in a pinch!

Nail forms

Nail forms are stickers with grids on them. You use them to create extensions then remove them once you’re done.

The grids on nail forms are great if you struggle with getting all your acrylics the same size.

Tip cutter tool

If you’re using plastic tips, this tool is great for cutting them down to size once they are applied.

It’s basically a pair of nail clippers with a hole in the center. You put the extension inside and snip to the size you want.

Colored Acrylic powders

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The most common colors for acrylic nails are clear, pink, and white.

But you can get acrylic powders in absolutely any color you like. They also come in different finishes like glitters, metallics, and shimmers – yay!

Nail edge clippers

These are straight-edge nail clippers. You may need them if you are using tips.

Once the tips are applied, you can trim the sides down into a coffin shape to avoid having to file them into shape.

This saves time and wear and tear on your file.

Drill bits


Drill bits are the small attachments for your nail drill. They come in different shapes and sizes for doing different jobs.

Some nail bits remove the dead skin around the cuticle, others shape the nail.

You can use them to shorten the nail, buff them to a shine or remove acrylic.

Dusting brush

A dusting brush is a small soft brush that gets rid of dust from the surface of the nails and your hands.

Use it after filing to clean up before wiping with a lint-free wipe or cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.

Acrylic dust collector

If you don’t want to breathe in all the acrylic dust from filing, this is a must!

It’s a little box with a fan and a filter. You plug it in and it acts as a vacuum to suck away all the excess dust.

Gel nail polishes

If you’re using colored acrylics, you probably won’t need gel polishes as well.

But I like to change my nails quite a bit, so I use gel polishes about once a week to change up my color or design.

Gel topcoat (matte, glossy, or both)

If you’re using gel polishes on top of your acrylics, you’ll need a gel topcoat in whatever finish you want.

A UV or LED nail lamp


You don’t need a UV or an LED lamp to do acrylic nails.

But you will need one if you want to use gel polish on top of the acrylic.

Lint-free wipes


Noone wants tiny lumps and bumps on their nails – so annoying!

Lint-free wipes are great for wiping your nails without leaving any little bits of material behind.

Nail art items (gems, brushes, striping tape, dotting tools, stampers, glitter, etc)


If you’re anything like me, this is where the budget goes out of the window!

I love trying out new designs and techniques, so I have a huge collection of gems, wraps, tapes, glitters, stampers, and other tools for doing nail art.

Cuticle oil

Totally optional – but great if you have dry cuticles.

I love putting it on once I’m finished to make everything look nice and shiny. It smells nice too!

Toe separators


For pedicures – obviously. You can get some really pretty ones, but bog-standard foam ones will do the trick.

Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol

This is for taking off the sticky layer (aka the inhibition layer) of your gel polish.

Not all gel polishes leave a sticky layer though.

Green Flash nail polishes for example don’t leave a sticky layer.

Comfortable chair


Newsflash! Acrylic nails take forEVER!

That’s why you’ll need a nice comfortable place to sit while you’re working your magic.

A lamp

Acrylic nails can be very fiddly, so you need a good light source to see exactly what you’re doing.

A table lamp is great but you can also use the light from your phone if you have something to stand it on.

Must-haves for professionals

If you do acrylic nails to make money, or if you want to do them for friends and family, there are a few extra bits and pieces you’re going to need.

Let’s see what equipment you should consider buying if you’re starting your own acrylic nail business.

List of must-haves for those doing clients

  • A desk
  • Carry case or toolbox
  • Handwash
  • Towels
  • 2 comfortable chairs
  • A selection of powders and polishes
  • Portable storage
  • A display rack

Benefits of the must-have items (and tips)

  • A desk

Your desk will need to be the right size for the space you’re working in.

It also needs to be a suitable width – so that clients can sit opposite you and you can reach them easily!

A desk with a lot of storage is a good idea so that you can store all your tools and polishes out of sight.

  • Carry case or toolbox

If you are going to be a mobile nail technician this is an absolute must!

My pro tip is to look for a case with lots of different-sized compartments for organization.

A good carry case can help you to stay organized and save you precious time looking for things!

  • Handwash

A gentle hand wash for sensitive skin is good.

  • Towels

For hygiene reasons, you’ll need to wash your towels regularly.

So my advice is to either buy a lot of towels and have them in rotation, or get the absolute best quality hand towels that you can find.

  • 2 comfortable chairs

You want to give your clients (and yourself) the best experience possible.

No one likes sitting for a long time in an uncomfortable chair, so invest in a good one for you and your customers.

  • A display rack

A well-put-together display can attract clients, make it easy for them to see what’s on offer, and can make your life easier.

It’s also great for taking photos for social media.

That’s it!

You made it through my complete list of acrylic nail supplies!

I hope that you found this resource useful.

I wish you the best of luck on your acrylic nail journey!

you might also like our best acrylic nail brush article here:


you also might be interested in why won’t my gel polish stay on


  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.