Updated March 24, 2021 by Chris Gillespie

The 8 Best Hand File Sets

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This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in June of 2016. Once you've completed the rough sanding down of a piece of wood using a power sander for convenience and speed, one of these hand file sets will let you get the precise finish you need for items that require fastidious workmanship. Our selection includes kits that are perfect for a range of materials and tasks, from custom furniture making to forming delicate precision joints. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Simonds All Purpose

2. Crescent Nicholson Maintenance Set

3. Entai 11 Piece

Editor's Notes

March 19, 2021:

Hand files have rows of teeth that are raised, pressed or cut into a bar of hardened metal. The shape and size of the teeth determine what kind of material the file is suitable for, generally the larger the tooth, the softer the material it can effectively cut. In this update, we added several new sets to the ranking to include a broader range of uses on a variety of different materials, including ceramics, glass, wax, and clay.

The SE Riffler Set is ideal for use in arts and crafts and contains several differently shaped files with large, well-spaced teeth that are suitable for softer materials like clay or wax. They are made from high-quality steel and come with a plastic storage pouch. For harder materials like wood, plastics, and certain metals, a large kit with plenty of variety, such as the Entai 11 Piece or the Crescent Nicholson Maintenance Set is a good choice as they offer a selection of differently shaped rasps in a range of tooth patterns. The Andgoo 4 Way is notable for its unique design, this set is composed of two flat rasps with one wood and one metal file on each end, however, the lack of a handle makes them uncomfortable to use for extended periods of time. For fine, delicate work a set that includes micro files, such as the Rexbeti 16 Piece Premium or the Simonds All Purpose is a good option, whereas, the Central Forge Precision Needle is a twelve-piece kit of miniature files of various shapes and sizes that is ideal for intricate wood carving or jewelry making.

April 08, 2019:

The Simonds All Purpose was ranked first for it's unmatched quality, classic wooden handles, and the completeness of the set as it provides a fine and coarse version of each tool for cutting and finishing. The Apex Tool Group Nicholson was a close second and may be preferred by some for their more utilitarian comfort grip handles, especially those who put in long hours on these tools.

For the hobbyist just dipping their toe in the water we added the budget-friendly Mulwark Premium because of the wide variety of sizes provided and it's great price per tool while still being made from hardened carbon steel.

Special Honors

Grobet USA With a heritage of over 140 years in the design, production, and distribution of precision tools, this company has facilities in the US and Switzerland. Their selection of files are produced using the latest technology, and are suitable for every kind of work and material. grobetusa.com

McMaster-Carr When working with particularly hard materials like carbide, graphite, or certain metals used in jewelry, a more hardwearing tool is needed. This selection of files are coated with industrial diamond grit to create the hardest abrasive surface available. mcmaster.com

4. Woodstock D3112

5. Andgoo 4 Way

6. Central Forge Precision Needle

7. Rexbeti 16 Piece Premium

8. SE Riffler Set


Chris Gillespie
Last updated on March 24, 2021 by Chris Gillespie

Starting his career in the building industry, Chris built and managed a plumbing and heating company in northern England. After 13 years, seeking a more fulfilling lifestyle, he moved to southeast Asia, eventually settling in Vietnam, where he teaches writing and comprehension at a number of international universities. Drawing on his previous experience, and his passion for kitesurfing and windsurfing, Chris is knowledgeable in all things water related both recreationally and within the construction industry.


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