Two weeks ago, I went to a wedding and had zero time to do my nails before the big event. I popped into the local Walmart, grabbed a set of Kiss ImPress press on nails and I literally applied them ten minutes before heading out the door. I was so surprised by their staying power.
I have been doing my own nails (acrylics and gel manis) for years and wasn’t sure about using press on nails, especially since they come with the glue pre-applied. Would they last?
In the end, the glue pads actually made the nails easier to apply and they stayed on the whole night. So now press on nails are my number one choice for getting a fast, professional-looking manicure. Great for getting fabulous nails for a night out. Especially if you need them off before work the next day.
I wore the Kiss ImPress Couture Luna, a medium-length coffin shape with a mix of navy blue, white sparkles, and ombre gemstone nails.
But there is plenty of shorter and more straightforward press on nail options for those who want something more subtle. They also come in a tons of fabulous colors and designs. “Best of” categories
This experience led me to test other types of press on nails which I’ve compiled into several categories below. Keep reading if you’re looking for the best press on nails.
Best Overall: Kiss ImPress Press On Nails
These press on nails win in all areas; designs, price, durability, and availability.
My top choice is Kiss ImPress the best, easy, press on nail option. They hit every single criterion perfectly. To start, they are available and affordable. I found mine in Walmart on the nail wall with many other Kiss ImPress nails.
In the package, you’ll find 30 nails, a prep pad, a file, and an orange stick. These nails come with adhesive already applied to the backs; all you need to do is peel and press. There were plenty of sizes available as well as colors and designs.
Best Long-Lasting: Glamnetic Press On Nails
These are the nails that are going to last you the longest. They are great for those who want a press on manicure for over a week.
I have been seeing these nails advertised everywhere lately. Glamnetic is a brand known for its magnetic lashes and press on nails. Their nail styles are all chic and modern and come in all the expected shapes and lengths. For this test, I rocked the iridescent almond set called Aurora.
Each set comes with 24 nails, nail glue, a file, a cuticle stick, and an alcohol wipe. I chose these for the best long-lasting set because the glue held on for two weeks without any trouble.
Best Budget: GLAMERMAID Press On Nails
These nails are your option if you want fabulous nails and don’t want to break the bank.
You don’t always need to pay a lot for fabulous nails. Given the price, I was skeptical these GLAMERMAID nails would be able to hold up any longer than a day. But was proven wrong. I wore these for a week before I decided to take them off.
This budget-friendly nail set comes in at just a little over $6 per package, and each package includes 24 nails, an adhesive tape, a manicure stick, a file, and an alcohol wipe.
GLAMERMAID press on nails are also available in many fun designs and colors; I wore Wisteria Marble.
In terms of a downside, some users report they find the nails a little thick, and there’s usually a bit of a ridge on the nail tip you’ll need to file off.
Best Accent Nails: Dashing Diva Magic Press
Sometimes, it’s all about the bling. These nails will have the best artistry, especially on that accent nail.
The Dashing Diva Magic Press nails are an excellent set if you’re only looking for an accent nail. For your other eight nails, you can either paint them in a solid shade or pick up another Dashing Diva set for the rest of your fingers.
This accent set is all fabulous chunky glitters. It also comes with an alcohol wipe, file, and cuticle stick. You get 24 nails in 3 different sizes.
The only downside to this set is that it’s just the accent nail and only three sizes. Some users wished for a complete set or could not find a size that fits their nails.
Best Cruelty-Free: PrintLab Press On Manicure
For the animal friendly, these are the best press on nails that are not used on animals, including the nails and the glue.
PrintLab makes a variety of press on nails in both subtle tones and bright colors. For this, I loved Multi Flame, a transparent set with multi-colored vintage flames at the nail tips. It is an excellent option if you’re looking for a great manicure that fits your values.
Each set comes with 24 nails, a combination file and buffer, a cuticle stick, and nail glue. These were the best press ons from a strongly cruelty-free company.
Best Long Option: MISUD Long Press On Nails
Do you love super long nails? Then this is the best option for you.
For long nails, you’ll want something strong enough to take a beating, with an adhesive that will stay put over time. For this, I found MISUD nails to be the perfect option.
These acrylic press ons come with high-quality glue that lasts up to 2 weeks. The designs are gorgeous, and all arrive at the longer end of the length. You can get them at just standard long, up to super long.
Best Short Option: The Nailest Instant Luxury Press On Nails
Some prefer shorter nails. If so, this is the best.
Many people find long nails cumbersome for everyday wear. If you’re one of those people, Nailest nails are fantastic short designs that still look gorgeous at a shorter length. I went with the color Rookie, which is transparent with shimmery gold tips. The rounded tips sit at a reasonably short length while not entirely at the stubs.
Nailest is well known in the pop culture world and has seen features in several well-known media outlets, such as Popsugar and Cosmopolitan.
Best Subtle Design: KXAMELIE Press One Nails
Want the nails but none of the bling? Then this is the best option for you.
If you’re looking for the elegance of a professional manicure with the ease of press on nails, this is the set for you. KXAMELIE has beautiful, subtle designs that are wonderful for daily wear. I adored their french tip set with the delicate floral accent nails.
Many of their designs seem to play on the classic french tip, and some also include elegant, simple waves of colors on an accent nail or two. Each set comes with 24 nails, nail adhesive tabs, a file, a wipe, and a cuticle stick.
Best Rhinestone Nail Art: Artquee Press On Nails
These are great if you want all of the bling and your nails to make a statement.
I firmly believe that rhinestones are the cornerstone of every great manicure, and Artquee is all about rhinestone designs mixed with some elegant glam. I was particularly a fan of their spooky Halloween set with rhinestone and gold spiders and little pumpkin additions.
Artquee comes in a variety of styles and textures. They have luxury, pure color, matte, and glossy all listed as their available styles. Their available shapes are coffin, stiletto, oval, and square.
Best Press On Nail Kit: Makaratt Acrylic Nail Kit
For those looking for the total package beyond just the nails themselves.
A great kit makes for a great manicure. Most sets will have the standard 24 nails with some kind of adhesive and a file. This kit stands out as it has 240 nails that come in 12 different sizes and five different colors. It also comes with glue and a file.
This kit is a great way for beginners to learn nail art. The colors of the nails are all soft nudes without any further embellishment. It would be easy for a beginner to add a few rhinestones to personalize the nails.
Some users pointed out that while they are great for beginners to learn, they are not the best quality nail overall. ButI kept it on this list as the kit is a great learning tool, and the simple colors still look great.
Things to consider when choosing press on nails
Now that we have listed the best of the best, it’s time to look at the criteria I used to determine the quality of the nail sets chosen.
Press on nails can take a beating day-to-day. You want a material that will not only be strong but flexible too. Acrylic resin nails will be the strongest option an dis the most commonly used material for press on nails. You can also get press on nails made of ABS which is a non-toxic plastic option.
Another material that you cannot overlook when choosing your press on nails is adhesive used. Whether it is glue or tabs, you want something that will hold that nail onto your nail bed for days, if not weeks.
Always check your adhesive ingredients to make sure the glue doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals like formaldehyde!
Simply put, low-quality nails will break and crack over time. If this happens to a nail you’re wearing, it could damage your natural nails underneath.
Finding a nail brand that you know will be durable is essential, especially if you intend to wear your press ons for longer than a few days. For those who only want to wear their nails for an evening out, you don’t need to worry as much about durability as long as the nail lasts the night.
Do you work with machinery or small children?
A super long stiletto may look amazing, but it can also be a safety concern for you and others around you if you’re not careful. This is why I always suggest considering your lifestyle when picking the length of your press on nails, especially if you wear them for more than one day.
Longer nails are more likely to get caught or may even scratch a child by accident. Shorter nails are much more practical but still look amazing, regardless.
I will be the first to admit that I am an adhesive tab fanatic now. It is likely why I gushed so much about the Kiss ImPress nails. Kiss ImPress comes with the adhesive already on the nail. Just tug off the backing and press on.
Compared to traditional sets that require you to put the glue on yourself, you might get a better bond with sealant overall, but the tabs make application so easy.
Every brand is going to have its own style. Glamnetic is a popular brand with a modern and chic style. Kiss ImPress has several different subcategories for different style types. The design you want is out there, so there’s no reason to settle for a brand that doesn’t speak to you aesthetically.
If you’re any good with nail art, another option is to make your own designs. You can add embellishments to the planned press ons or completely design blank press ons.
Finally, let’s take a look at the most frequently asked questions about press on nails.
How long do press on nails last?
The longest that most brands say they can last is up to two weeks.
But if you’re less careful, or are just hard on your nails, you can expect at least a few days.
To make your nails last longer, avoid submerging them in hot soapy water, and treat them gently. If one nail happens to pop off while the rest are intact, you could go just with a little nail glue to put the nail back on.
Shorter nails tend to last longer simply because they are less likely to get hit on something. Lastly, if you’re using glue, cover the entire nail bed in a thin layer of glue rather than just a drop or two.
How you apply the nails will also affect how long they last. Always prep your nails first by trimming your natural nails and cleaning them with an alcohol wipe. Take the time to sort through the press ons and find the suitable sizes for your nails—finally, glue and press.
Do press on nails damage your nails?
Press ons are one of the most gentle manicure options when adding length and color. Even nail polish can stain your nail bed if you’re not careful. Press ons are glued to the nail bed and are usually easy to remove.
What is the best press on nails to buy?
I’m still going to stand by Kiss ImPress. They are affordable, durable, easy to apply, and come in many cool colors and designs. They are also super easy to find in most drug stores, and these are the best press ons for all your instant manicure emergencies.
What to look for when buying press on nails
When looking for a set of press ons for yourself, always consider your lifestyle first. This will help you decide the best length, shape, and design for you.
The top of this list for me is design. I don’t mind if my nails don’t last for weeks as long as they look good. In most cases, press-ons are reusable.
Second, consider the materials used. If cruelty-free is important to you, then look for cruelty-free options. Find something that will be able to withstand your lifestyle.
Third, do you want to reuse the nails? As much as I love Kiss press on nails, the pre-applied glue does make them a one-time-use nail while you can reuse other sets. Keep in mind whether you are looking for a single set for a one-time event or a manicure that you can keep coming back to again and again.
Finally, the last factor for me is length and shape. I prefer shorter, rounded, or almond-shaped nail styles. Others love the length of stilettos. You need to find the press that best suits you, your style, and your lifestyle.
Takeaways on grabbing the perfect press on nails
Press ons are an excellent option for an instant manicure that does minimal damage to your natural nail bed, and they are great for one-time or full-time use. I hope this list helped you find a set you’re interested in giving a try.
Check out our other articles on at-home manicures to learn more about creating the perfect nails at home.
Kim is an expert, with over 7 years in the nail art and makeup industry. She is an avid DIY nail artist and now contributing writer at BeautyStack.