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7 Best Metal Files 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

person using Corona Mill Bastard Cut File

A metal file is a handy tool to have. They can help with many handyman and DIY projects, not to mention, they can extend the life of your other tools. Regardless of your project or profession, there is a metal file that will suit your needs.

That being said, it can be difficult to pick out the right one when it’s time to invest in a new one. There are so many options available for every type of file, it’s easy to get stuck with one that either doesn’t work correctly or doesn’t apply to your needs. If you are facing this dilemma, we have some info for you that will help!

In the article below, we have reviewed the seven best metal files available. We will share length, use, cut, and much more for each one. We have also provided a buyer’s guide at the end with some additional specs, so you can pick out the right file for your needs with confidence.

Keep reading to see which file made our top spot, and which one you should steer clear of when shopping.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Crescent Nicholson 8” Cut Axe Metal File
  • Hardened carbon steel
  • Two safety edges
  • Double and single cut sides
  • Best Value
    Second place
    KALIM Flat Medium Cut File 6” High Carbon Steel
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Double cut
  • Precision teeth pattern
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    VonHaus 9pc File Set
  • Hardened carbon steel
  • Use on various materials
  • Coated teeth
  • SE 10-Piece Diamond Needle Metal File Set with 150 Grit
  • Dipped handle
  • Various uses
  • Durable
  • JinFeng Needle File Set
  • High carbon steel alloy
  • Soft rubber handle
  • Use on various materials
  • The 7 Best Metal Files – Reviews 2020

    1. Crescent Nicholson 8” Cut Axe Metal File – Best Overall

    Crescent Nicholson 8” Cut Axe Metal File

    Our first pick is the Crescent Nicholson 8” Cut Axe Metal File. This tool is an American pattern made of hardened carbon steel. It is durable with strong teeth for use on hard and soft metal. You can use this tool on axes, shears, knives, and various other garden tools and items.

    The Crescent Nicholson has a large surface working area allowing you to complete projects quickly. It is double cut for rough filing and single cut for finishing work. You also have two safety edges for filing in a restricted area. It will also prevent damage from occurring, as well.

    This metal file is 0.25 inches thick and weighs a comfortable 6.4 ounces. The ergonomic handle makes prolonged use easy on your hands, plus the entire tool is durable and effective. The only drawback to this model is it’s designed to be used with metal only. That being said, if you are looking to keep your garden and household tools sharp and last longer, this is the metal file we recommend.

    Pros
    • Hardened carbon steel
    • Two safety edges
    • Double and single cut sides
    • Comfort handle
    • Large surface area
    • Durable
    Cons
    • For metal only

    2. KALIM Flat Medium Cut File 6” High Carbon Steel – Best Value

    KALIM Flat Medium Cut File 6” High Carbon Steel

    Purchasing a new metal file doesn’t have to be expensive with this next option. The KALIM Flat Medium Cut File 6” High Carbon Steel is a great tool for less money. This handy item is 7.5 inches in total length with a 0.63-inch width. You can use it to file, shape, and finish metal, wood, plastic, and more.

    With 0.8% carbon, the file is the perfect ratio for your various projects. It is double cut with fine-grain teeth that are durable and effective. The KALIM is also a great option for getting the job done in quick time.

    This metal file has had high-temperature quenching making it a durable and long-lasting tool. Not only that, but it’s also abrasion-resistant and single-sided. The only drawback of note is there is no safety edge on this option. With the precision teeth pattern, however, this is the best metal file for the money.

    Pros
    • High carbon steel
    • Can be used on various materials
    • Abrasion-resistant
    • Double cut
    • Precision teeth pattern
    Cons
    • No safety edge

    3. VonHaus 9pc File Set – Premium Choice

    VonHaus 9pc File Set

    If you are someone that uses a metal file often on various projects, our next premium option is a good set to consider. The VonHaus 9pc File Set features three engineer files and six needle files. The engineer files are 8 inches and include a hand file, round file, and a half-round file. The latter is 6 inches and includes a round needle, half-round needle, flat needle, square needle, equaling needle, and a triangle needle.

    With the variety of files, you will be able to make precision cuts, file, and finish various items including soft and hard metals. You can also use these files on wood, plastic, glass, ceramic, and much more. They are made of hardened and tempered high carbon steel making them very durable.

    The VonHaus files have coated teeth that get the job done accurately. You will receive a convenient carrying case for your tools, as well. You can use these tools to sharpen, de-burr, and shape. One drawback you should note, however, is the files don’t have safety edges. Caution is advised.

    Besides that, you will find working with these tools easy and comfortable with the ergonomic handle that has a soft grip. This file is made for precision cuts and being a handyman’s favorite tool. The only other aspect of this set to be aware of is they are more costly than our other two options.

    Pros
    • Hardened carbon steel
    • Use on various materials
    • Coated teeth
    • Durable
    • Soft grip handle
    Cons
    • More expensive
    • No safety edge

    4. SE 10-Piece Diamond Needle Metal File Set with 150 Grit

    SE 10-Piece Diamond Needle Metal File Set with 150 Grit

    The SE 10-Piece Diamond Needle Metal File Set with 150 Grit is our next option. This bundle comes with a barette file, crossing file, equaling file, knife file, warding file, square file, three square file, half-round, tapered round, and a round file. They all are made with 150 grit for cutting, filing, and sharpening metal.

    The SE 10-Piece comes with a PVC case you can make use of, and they have a dipped handle for extra comfort during prolonged use. The tools have a total length of 5.5 inches, and a diameter length of 2.75 inches.

    As is customary, these files are made of high carbon steel that has been hardened for durability. Unfortunately, the teeth are not as long-lasting and wear down quickly. What’s more, none of them have a safety edge. Other than that, you will get a lot of use with these files as long as they are being used on metal surfaces and objects.

    Pros
    • Hardened carbon steel
    • Dipped handle
    • Various uses
    • Durable
    Cons
    • For metal surfaces only
    • No safety edge

    5. JinFeng Needle File Set

    JinFeng Needle File Set

    If you are in the market for needle files, the JinFeng Needle File Set is a good option. This is a six-piece set made of high carbon steel alloy. They are 6 inches in total length with a 4-inch shank. You can use these tools on smaller items like jewelry along with ceramic, wood, and glass items. Be advised, they are not recommended for hard metal, however.

    The JinFeng set comes with a round file, a half-round file, a flat file, a flat warding file, a square file, and a triangular rasp file. They are double-cut, plus they all have a soft rubber handle that takes the strain off of your hands. Although you can find many uses for these tools, they are not recommended for finishing as the teeth are not as smooth for that type of work.

    You also want to consider that the precision teeth pattern leaves a lot to be desired with this set. If you will be using this set for basic filing than it is a solid option. Be cautious of using them for anything else, though.

    Pros
    • High carbon steel alloy
    • Soft rubber handle
    • Use on various materials
    • Durable
    Cons
    • Not recommended for hard metals
    • Not for precise work
    • Finishing work is not recommended

    6. Finder 8” Semi-Round Hand Rasp File

    Finder 8'' Semi-Round Hand Rasp File

    In the number six spot, we have the Finder 8” Semi-Round Hand Rasp File. This is a half-round single file that has a 4.6-inch handle, and a total length of 12.6 inches. Made of high carbon hardened steel, this tool is a bastard cut with single teeth on the rounded side and cross teeth on the flat side.

    The Finger, unfortunately, is not as durable as some of the other options we have reviewed. It has a comfortable rubber handle, but it can be slippery under wet or oily conditions. What’s more, it’s heavier at 7.1 ounces.

    On a brighter note, you can use this metal file on plastic, glass, wallboard, wood, plus metal, and more. It has rust protection, as well. One thing of note with this tool is it tends to jump which can cause damage to your project. You will also not find a safety edge on this option. If you are using this tool on larger surfaces, it could be a good possibility, however.

    Pros
    • High carbon steel
    • Rubber grip
    • Single and cross teeth cut
    • Rust-resistance
    Cons
    • Not as durable
    • Can jump and cause damage
    • Heavy
    • Can slip when there is moisture

    7. Corona FE405506BC0CD Mill Bastard Cut File

    Corona FE405506BC0CD Mill Bastard Cut File

    Our final pick is the Corona FE405506BC0CD Mill Bastard Cut File. It is a 6-inch hardened carbon steel file that has a total length of 8.25 inches. This tool is designed for metal work only, and it does not have a handle to make use of when working. It is best used for polishing and deburring with the single cut surface edges.

    The Corona is not as durable as our other possible choices. It can snap easily, and the teeth are prone to wear down quickly. Also, there is no safety edge. This option weighs 0.01 ounces and has a medium to coarse finish. Unfortunately, it takes longer to accomplish a smooth or filed edge. Additionally, you will find it rusts quickly if it comes in contact with moisture.

    Overall, this is our least favorite option for a metal file.


    Buyer’s Guide

    A metal file is a worthwhile item to have for many projects and jobs. The trick is finding the one you will get the most use out of, or the set that will make your project easier. We have gone over some of our favorite options above, but we still wanted to give you some extra tips on what to look for in a quality file.

    Shopping Tips

    When it comes time to find a good metal file, there are a few things you should consider when making your purchase. Take a look at these tips below so you will get the most bang for your buck!

    • Material: Material is important in two ways. First, you want to make sure your file is made of hardened carbon steel to ensure it will be long-lasting. Second, you also want to consider what type of material you will need to file. For example, you may need to file metal regularly, but occasionally need something that will work with plastic or glass, as well.
    • Shape: Metal files come in many different shapes. They can be round, square, pointed, half-round, and much more. The item or project you are working on will determine what shape you need.
    • Size: Size is just as important as shape. If you regularly work on jewelry, you will need files that are a lot smaller than a plumber’s metal file. The size will also determine the weight which can also make a difference in the ease of use and comfortability.
    • Handle: Speaking of comfort, you want to choose an option that has a comfortable handle, or will fit into the handle of your choosing. Not all files come with a handle as they can be interchanged with others if you use several different files.
    • Safety Edge: A safety edge is important for many projects. It is the flat, smooth side of a flat-file. It is important if you need to work on a surface that is adjacent to a surface that does not need to be touched. Basically, it protects the surface you do not want to file.
    • Teeth: Teeth is arguably the most important aspect of your file. There are several different types of teeth depending on your need. Also, keep in mind, the longer the file the fewer teeth it will have. This means that the longer it is the corser it will be. We will dive deeper into teeth and cuts below…

    Important Things to Know About Metal File Teeth and Cuts

    As mentioned, the longer your file, the fewer teeth per inch it will have causing a coarser cut. How fine the teeth are is called the cut of the file. The cut is categorized by either the American Patter or the Swiss Pattern.

    For this article, however, we are going to look at the six most popular cuts from both patterns:

    • Rough
    • Middle
    • Bastard
    • Second Cut
    • Smooth
    • Dead Smooth

    Keep in mind, these files range from coarse to smooth, yet the length also plays a role. For example, an 8-inch bastard will be rougher than a 6-inch middle cut file.

    person using VonHaus 9pc File Set

    You also have either a single or double cut. A single cut has single lines of teeth running parallel to each other while the double cut has an additional set of teeth criss-crossing the single set. You will find many files have a single cut on one side, and a double cut on the opposite side.

    There are also specialty cuts available for specific jobs. We have listed a few examples below of popular specialty teeth:

    • Vixen Cut: Vixen files are great for autobody work. They have curved and contoured teeth that run straight across the file face.
    • Shear Cut: This is a single cut that is crossed with serrated teeth. They can be used to rough the surface while smoothing it at the same time.
    • Maxi-Sharp Cut: This file has single teeth that taper at the end. Many people enjoy this file as it can be used in different ways depending on the pressure you use.

    There are many other types of file cuts. Combine that with the different shapes and sizes, there is a metal file for almost any project you can have.

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    Conclusion

    We hope you have enjoyed the reviews above, and it has helped you find the perfect metal file for your needs. With many options available, it can be difficult to discern which one is best for your project.

    In our opinion, the Crescent Nicholson 8” Axe Metal File is the best it is available for keeping your other metal tools in tip-top shape. That being said, if you need something more affordable, we suggest picking up the KALIM Flat Medium Cut File 6” High Carbon Steel. This is a great file that is durable and effective for various projects.

    Featured Image Credit: Amazon

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