How To Choose a Nail Autoclave

Updated on September 14, 2021

As someone who has experience in cosmetology, you know that any time your tool touches a client, there is a chance that it has become contaminated with a bacteria, fungus, or virus. You’ve probably also heard the horror stories about people getting their fingers and toes amputated after a visit to the salon.

That is why the most important piece of required equipment for nail salons is an autoclave. These sterilize tools properly, so they don’t transfer pathogens from one patient to another. If you’re not sure which nail tool autoclave would be best for your salon, keep reading to find out. 

Cleaning Process

When you want to sterilize your equipment reliably, you need an autoclave that follows CDC-recommended protocols for sterilization. Look for one that uses pressure and heated steam on your tools and has a built-in dryer. For the best results, you should also look for one that allows you to use autoclave pouches. These will also be convenient because many with top-notch cleaning processes are self-cleaning. 

LCD Screens

Another thing to look for is an LCD screen on your autoclave. These machines will run through several different stages before they are finished sterilizing your equipment. Fortunately, an LCD screen will tell you exactly what the machine is doing, how much time is left on the cycle, and what temperature it is currently operating at. This helps you avoid interrupting your machine and the sterilization process. 

Ease of Use

Aside from sterilizing your tools, you also want the machine you pick to have a user-friendly design. In this case, you should look for a machine with simple instructions for inserting tools and starting the process.

Often, you will be able to tell if a machine is easy to use by the buttons or screen it has. Look for buttons representing the different tools and a setting for wrapped or unwrapped equipment. A machine with these options will automatically adjust the temperature and ensure your tools are sterilized. 

Temperature Options

Similarly, think about the temperature your machine operates at. Having multiple temperature options is especially true if you intend to put porous items in your autoclave. It is also important if you plan on switching between pouches and no pouches.

Look for a control panel that offers at least one lower and one higher setting. Multiple temperatures will also let you adjust the settings so the machine can run for shorter cycles if your business is packed. 


If you have a smaller or home-based salon, you probably need to think about your budget. Fortunately, plenty of options use heat alone to sterilize your tools and won’t break the bank. Generally, these can operate at temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While you can’t use sterilization pouches, they are a great option for people who need lower costs. 


Some autoclaves are portable. These are generally also small and light to ensure they are easy to take with you. If you have a portable nail service, this is a great option for you. 


If you have no space and little risk of transmission, you should go with a miniature nail autoclave. These often come as a cup and glass beads that fill go inside. You place your tools and the beads inside the cup, cover, and turn on the heat. The beads will conduct the heat, raising the internal temperature to “germ killer” and sterilize your tools. 

The recommended way to kill germs in a nail salon is with an autoclave. If you want to avoid any potentially threatening incidents for your business, follow this guide to pick one out for your salon. 

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