Do you want to make your nails look extra sexy? Then a gel or shellac manicure is the perfect recommendation. Unlike regular nail polish, gel or Shellac nails have the ability to make your nails look that much more amazing. I am often asked what nail lamp is best for curing UV or LED nail polishes used in gel manicures. Well, today, I have listed the roundup of my top 5 best nail lamp recommendations. My lamp reviews will feature UV nail lamps and LED nail lamps from different manufacturers. Some of the brands we will look at include CND, Gelish, and Salon Edge. Towards the end of our article, you will find our roundup of some great nail lamp reviews that you should not miss out on. Not only that, but we have a handy guide about everything you need to know when it comes to UV nail polish, LED polish, and everything in between.
Why Do You Need a Nail Lamp?
If you have ever gone into a nail salon, then you have likely noticed the nail lamps that every nail technician uses to curate nails. You might be wondering if the nail pros use them, then shouldn’t you? Well, the answer is, not quite. You do not need a nail lamp for regular nail polish application. However, when you use gel nail polish or an at home UV nail polish set, then you will certainly need a nail lamp. Unlike regular nail polish, gel nails will not dry properly or stay on if you do not curate them with an LED lamp for nails.
Can You Use Gel Polish Without a UV or LED Lamp?
If you need a gel manicure done, a nail lamp is unavoidable. Gel polish will not cure or dry unless it is exposed to UV light or LED light at a specific wavelength. If you have ever applied a gel polish without an LED or UV lamp, then you have probably experienced the frustrating fact that it won’t dry. This is because of the molecules used in the manufacture of gel polishes. The specific molecules in a discussion are photo-initiators. These photo-initiators need to be exposed to this type of light in order to be activated and polymerized, thus completing the curing process. This is what leads to the drying of the polish. If you don’t cure your gel under a lamp, it will be pointless because it will chip off very fast.
What is UV Light
Unbeknownst to many, there is a difference between a UV lamp and an LED lamp. You can use LED polish with a UV lamp, but you cannot use UV polish with a LED lamp. Here is why:
UV light happens in a broad band of UV wavelength that is between 100 and 400 nm. LED (light-emitting diodes) operate on a narrower band of 400-410 nm. Since UV lamps emit broad UV wavelengths, it takes longer to cure UV nail polish. However, this type of lamp works on all gel polishes. LED technology uses more narrow UV wavelengths (400-410 nm). This narrow wavelength targets specific photo-initiators in the gel nail polish. Therefore the gel cures faster. Here is a summary of the main differences:
- The majority of gel polish brands are formulated for LED, which means that they fall within the UV band as well. Therefore, most gel polishes will be cured by a UV lamp, whereas LED lamps only cure LED specific gel polish brands. For example, some CND Shellac will not work with a LED lamp, thus you need a UV nail lamp such as the shellac CND UV lamp. That being said, there has been an addition to shellac nail polish that the CND’s Shellac Brisa LED curing lamp can now cure (it can also cure Brisa sculpting gels). To learn more about this, check out the review below.
- LED lamps are typically faster. Some of the best-LED lamps for nails can cure the polish in 30 seconds vs the 2 minutes that a UV lamp requires.
- LED lamps are more expensive than UV lamps.
- LED light bulbs last way longer compared to the UV light bulbs.
Should You Buy a LED or UV Nail Lamp?
As I have stated in the section above, you can use an LED polish with a UV nail lamp, but you cannot use UV polish with an LED lamp. Because of this difference, the choice of the nail lamp type you purchase will be dictated by the type of polish you want to use for your gel manicure. When deciding which nail lamp for nails works best for you, you need to consider the following:
LED lamps are more expensive than UV nail lamps. This price difference does come with the benefit that they offer have many more advantages than do UV models. For starters, they cure your nails faster. Typically, a standard LED light will take between 10-90 seconds to cure each coat of polish. This is a huge time saver compared to the 1-3 minutes necessary if you are using a UV lamp.
Overall, LED lamps are more efficient. This is because they use less power and will typically last you a long time. You will find (especially if you work with gel nails) that LED lamps offer a level of durability and quality that will keep you from having to replace them often.
Best of all, LED nail lamps to reduce the risk associated with exposure to UV light. Some of these risks include skin damage by UV lights that can ultimately lead to skin cancer in harsher conditions. The UV rays emitted from a LED nail lamp are negligible and they release no toxic chemicals when emitted to the environment. Lastly, LED lamps to protect your hands from overheating. Your hands will stay nice and cool because they will not heat up under the warm light that UV nail lamps provide. Hence, if you have the money, I would go for a LED lamp. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a list of gel nail polishes which will work with which type of nail lamp.
How About the SMART Mixed UV LED Nail Lamps (With Double light source bulbs)?
The UV nail light dryer has evolved a great deal since its conception. In the beginning, the UV nail lamp was the industry standard and could cure many gel manicures. The playing field changed when LED lamps entered the scene. Although they are faster and safer, they are also more expensive, thus reserved for salons and the few who can afford the price tag. Many brands caught on with the LED technology and so the price lowered a bit. For the nail art fanatics and salons, it was common to own two lamps (one with the LED curing technology and one with the UV curing technology). This too added to the overall expensive cost of owning a nail varnish kit.
Luckily, thanks to the spirit of innovation and competition, the possibility of owning the best at home UV nail lamp is now easier than ever. One way this is possible is because many brands are now rolling out nail lamps with double light source bulbs. These are called Smart or Mixed UV LE
D nail lamps. Double light source lamps combine the best of both a UV nail lamp and LED lamps. The bulbs cover a wide range on the UV light band which enables the lamp to cure and dry all kinds of nail gels without you having to worry about distinguishing your nail polish gels. Now you do not need to own two nail lamps. With the double light source bulbs, UV led nail lamps, you can cure all your manicures with just one product.
What is The Best UV Nail Lamp?
Now that you have a brief understanding of the different types of nail lamps, and how they are used, let’s get into our nail lamp reviews. Our lamp reviews will cover a range of nail lamps including the best UV nail lamps, the best-LED nail lamps, and the best UV LED nail lamps (double light source bulbs aka smart UV LED nail curing lamps). Let’s get into it.
Best UV Nail lamp For Gel Nails
#1: MelodySusie UV Nail lamp: Official 54 Watt MelodySusie Quick Drying UV Light Lamp
If you are looking for a top UV nail lamp of decent quality and reasonable price, then the MelodySusie 54W UV Nail Lamp is what I recommend for you. This is the top UV model available and it is one that nail technicians absolutely love. It is affordably priced and makes for one of the best at home UV nail varnish lamps. It is easy to set up, assemble, and operate. It comes with 4 preset timers that feature 2 mins, 3 mins, 5 mins, or continual use. Not only that but it has an interior fan to keep the lamp ventilated when curing. This fan can be used alone or in conjunction with the lights. The lamp comes with 6 easy to install bulbs each with a wattage power of 9.
One of the main features that make this a great UV nail varnish lamp is the fact that it is able to cure both hands or both feet at the same time. This is a huge time saver, especially when compared to buying a nail lamp that only fits one hand or foot. This feature alone makes it number one in our lamp reviews
The second great feature of the Official MelodySusie 54W UV Nail Lamp is that that it cures all LED & UV nail polishes (including gel polish and builder gels). This gives you the added benefit of not having to worry about whether it works with your favorite nail polish or not.
Pros of the MelodySusie UV Nail lamp: Official 54 Watt MelodySusie Quick Drying UV Light Lamp:
- There is a unique curing window that is extra large so you can dry your manicures and pedicures in half the time. This is because you can fit both hands or both feet in the nail lamp in one session.
- There are three settings you can choose from when curing your nails (2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes). The automatic lamp sensor will go off once your session time runs up.
- Professional manicure choice that is great for any salon setting.
- Great price point.
Cons of the MelodySusie UV Nail lamp: Official 54 Watt MelodySusie Quick Drying UV Light Lamp:
- The price may go up and down because it is a high demand product.
- Some may consider the design too bulky.
Best Mixed UV LED nail lamp For Gel Nails:
#2. MelodySusie 48W LED UV Nail Lamp
This UV lamp is a great option to have for so many reasons. For starters, this is one of the best LED lamps for nails because it is both a nail dryer UV lamp and an LED polish nail drying lamp. You no longer have to worry about whether or not your lamp will be able to handle your nail drying because the MelodySusie can handle it all.
The MelodySusie LED UV nail lamp allows you to get the same manicures and nail art that your typical vogue professional or nail technician provides. The high-quality salon grade nail dryer UV lamp can be found on any nail technician desk. What makes this LED lamp for nails one of the best is the fact it can work on both LED and UV gel nails. As your nails dry, you can rely on the smart motion sensor that lets you know when the time is up. Customers who use this nail lamp love how this smart motion sensor makes drying time short. It features a built-in timer with 3 preset time controls of 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and 60 seconds. The smart motion sensor also helps with effectively curing your gelled nails quickly so that there is no overheating of your skin. Finally, the MelodySusie Violeta 48W LED Nail Lamp is known to be compatible with all kinds of LED and UV gel polish perfectly. For example, it works with CND Shellac, Gelish Harmony Soak Off Series, ORLY Gel FX, Red Carpet LED gel polish, Gelicious gel nail polish, and OPI Gelcolor nail polish. Because of all that it has to offer, this nail dryer is a leading beauty product on Amazon with some of the highest ratings and recommendations.
Pros of the MelodySusie 48W LED UV Nail Lamp:
- The nail polish plate cures nails in under one minute.
- Dependable and quality nail dryer UV lamp for both LED and UV gel nails and nail art.
- Short curing times are not damaging to your skin.
- Wattage power of 48
- Two color choices available
Cons of the MelodySusie 48W LED UV Nail Lamp:
- Even though this nail dryer is marketed as having automatic sensor technology, I find that the auto sensor is touchy. It will not activate if the hand is not far enough inside the lamp. So, you or your client’s hands must touch the right part of the inside of the lamp in order for it to work.
- You must properly position the thumbs for them to cure correctly.
- The timer setting buttons on top are over sensitive and can easily be bumped to accidentally change the timer settings.
- The nail plate can only hold one hand or one foot at a time.
#3. SUNUV 48W UV LED Nail Dryer for Gels Polish
When you are purchasing a beauty product such as a UV nail lamp, it is best to stick to a brand that is committed to providing you with the highest standard of customer service. SUNUV is one brand in the beauty industry that gives this commitment. And when you purchase the SUNUV Nail Dryer for Gels Polish UV LED Nail Lamp, you will not be disappointed.
There are several reasons this is one of the best UV and LED lamps to buy. The durability of this UV and LED lamp for nails is quite impressive, so much so that it is a standard as far as salon nail supplies go. In addition to that, this is a vogue professional nail gel and nail art dryer that is super easy to use.
This nail dryer has auto-sensing technol
ogy which is powered by infrared induction. It has only 4 timer settings of 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and 90 seconds, which are indicated by four buttons on the top of the curing lamp. You can always tell how much time is left thanks to the large screen that shows you how much time is left. The nail drying plate is spacious and roomy for your hands as well. And as far as worrying about what nail polish to use, you do not have to. The nail drying capabilities work for all gel and shellac polishes. This is thanks to the fact that the SUNUV Nail Dryer for Gels Polish UV LED Nail Lamp uses double light source bulbs covers a wide range of UV light band.
Lastly, the nail plate and UV and LED uplighter bulbs will keep your skin safe thanks to the quick dry capabilities.
Pros of the SUNUV 48W UV LED Nail Dryer for Gels Polish:
- It uses a wattage of 40W which gives you a fast cure, taking you only 30 secs to dry nail UV glue and 60 secs to dry rhinestone gem glue. This curing power is perfect for nail art enthusiasts.
- The SUNUV Nail Lamp is large enough so you can easily fit your hand inside.
- The angling of the bulbs means you won’t have to contort your thumb for even curing.
- Safe to use: Instead of traditional light bulbs that may be associated with some safety risks, the SUNUV Nail Lamp nail lamp uses 24 LED light beads. This light is safe to use on skin.
- 24 LED light beads have a guaranteed life span of 50000 hours of non-stop use.
- The sliding tray makes for easy cleaning.
Cons of the SUNUV 48W UV LED Nail Dryer for Gels Polish:
- This UV and LED lamp for nails can only cure one hand or foot at a time.
#4: LuxeUp 54W UV and LED Curing Nail Lamp
What makes this next curing lamp one of the best lamps to own is the fact that it also works double duty as an LED curing lamp. In addition to being versatile, it is rather affordable as well. For under a hundred dollars, you get a product that many customers have really enjoyed using. When curing gel and LED nails, you can comfortably fit all 10 fingers or toes in one session. Also, you can rest assured knowing that your skin and eyes will be nice and safe seeing as this LuxeUp curing lamp only uses 54 watts of power. Because it is so easy and safe to use, it makes for the perfect nail lamp to give to someone who enjoys doing their nails at home. If you’re a professional, you do not have to worry about harmful exposure or long wait times either. You can also enjoy the 50,000 hours of use that the LuxeUp 54 Watt UV and LED Nail Lamp guarantees. It also has the potential to last you up to five years (granted that you are handling it properly). This is a great plus for someone looking for a long lasting nail drying lamp.
The LuxeUp 54 Watt UV and LED Nail Dryer is an upgraded improvement from its previous model. Plus, this newer model boasts a very quick dry time; unlike some nail dryers that require you to wait anywhere from one or two minutes, the LuxeUp 54 Watt Nail Dryer can get your nails dry in as little as 30 seconds. This is a feature that customers cannot stop raving about. The upgraded design also includes an enhanced LED display that makes operation easy.
While this LuxeUp works well with both gel and LED polishes, there are some polishes that work exceptionally well with it, such as CND Shellac, OPI, and high quality LED nail gels. Additionally, you can even cure add ons like rhinestones and nail sculpture gel too. Be sure to read your nail polish instructions carefully before using this product. Some customers have complained that this nail lamp does not dry their nails when in fact an incompatible polish was used.
Overall, customers who have purchased the LuxeUp 54 Watt UV and LED Curing Lamp are thoroughly pleased with the purchase. There is a strong sense of dependability and quality in the LuxeUp 54 Watt UV and LED Nail Lamp that keeps customers coming back. Customers especially enjoy the fact that if this nail lamp does not meet their expectations, they can return it for 100% of their money back.
Pros of the LuxeUp 54W UV and LED Curing Nail Lamp:
- Great price point
- Easy to use for both novice nail artists and professionals
- Low wattage makes it safe for both skin and eyes
- Incredibly quick dry time
- Large LED screen
- Comfortably fits 10 fingers or toes
- 100% satisfaction or your money back
- 50,000 hours of continuous use
Cons of the LuxeUp 54W UV and LED Curing Nail Lamp:
- May not dry nails completely if you do not allow for ample drying time
- Lightweight and looks cheaply constructed
- May not be as durable or dependable as higher priced nail lamps
Best LED Nail lamps
#5: Gelish 18G LED Nail Lamp
Based on consumer consensus, Gelish is the leader in LED technology. When it comes to the top lamp reviews, the Gelish 18G LED Light nail lamp is the number one LED nail lamp to purchase.
Don’t be tempted by lower-cost, inferior products on the market. Despite the steep price point, when you get this lamp, you will wonder how you have been surviving without it. You definitely cannot go wrong the Gelish 18G LED lamp. It is lightning fast when it comes to curing your hands. It is large enough to fit all 5 fingers at once and only takes 5 seconds to cure the foundation, 20 seconds for lighter colors, 30 seconds for darker colors, and 20 seconds for the top coat. This means that instead of the 10 minutes (total to cure each hand) that you can expect out of most lamps, the Gelish 18G LED lamp will take only up to 2 minutes to cure each hand. What a great time saver! Cure your nails effortlessly with the 3 buttons on the back. With these buttons, you can set it to cure for 5, 20, or 30 seconds.
In addition to the punch of power it provides, this machine is pretty high tech and scientifically engineered, with precisely calibrated authentic LED. It is specially designed for rapid and efficient gel curing, particularly for the high-performance Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polishes. This makes it the perfect addition to any nail salon.
Compared to other LED lamps which have no motion detectors, this LED lamp for nails has a motion detector and detects when you slide your hand or foot into the opening. Once in, the lamp will automatically turn on. You know it has done so because it will beep when it turns on and off.
The lamp also features a protective mechanism for your eyes. There is a little shield that you slide down over your hand to keep the light inside the lamp. Alongside this neat safety feature, this lamp is easy to clean because of its magnetic bottom plate that easily pulls off.
When you use this lamp to cure your Gelish polish, you can expect a high-gloss finish that lasts up to three weeks without any chipping or peeling off. If you are a nail art enthusiast, then you are sure to enjoy this nail lamp as
Pros of the Gelish 18G LED Nail:
- Easy to use
- Automatic on and off sensor detects when your hand or foot has gone in.
- The curing time is significantly reduced compared to many other nail lamp reviews.
- Made by one of the leading brands of nail lamps
- Durable and superb quality
Cons for the Gelish 18G LED Nail:
- There is no on/off button. Instead, you must completely unplug the unit if you want it off.
#6: CND’s Shellac Brisa LED Nail Lamp
This next nail lamp is one of the best according to many lamp reviews. In fact, many consider it to be a top salon-quality nail dryer that you can buy for your home or business. It will work with any type of gel nail polish and is made by one of the best nail polish manufacturers in the industry: CND. CND sells to salons and professionals but doesn’t sell directly to consumers.
If you are someone who does nail art or DIY shellac nails at home, it takes the guesswork out of a home manicure. This is because it offers preset timers for your base coat, color coats, and top coat. The nail lamp is an upgrade to the UV nail lamp version which featured an interior fan for faster curing. Although you can use other LED lamps to dry and cure your nail polish, the CND unit is the only one guaranteed to cure Shellac products or Brisa sculpting gels in the recommended amount of time.
The official CND Shellac Brisa LED nail lamp is sturdy, reliable, and really easy. Not only that, but its quality is unmatched. It comes with LED bulbs which you never need to replace. These bulbs are perfectly situated for targeted curing instead of repeatedly exposing your whole hand to the light. Finally, the CND’s Shellac Brisa LED curing Lamp is designed to cure one hand or foot at a time and can comfortably accommodate all five nails at once.
Although It is definitely more expensive than other LED or UV nail lamps, it is still a great money-saving option over repeated spa visits. And if you’re committed to using CND Shellac, you’re guaranteed a salon quality result when using this lamp.
Pros of CND’s Shellac Brisa LED Nail Lamp:
- Salon grade quality nail lamp
- The speedy curing times make for a great time saver.
- Get salon quality nails in the comfort of your home.
- Durable, dependable, and easy to use.
Cons of CND’s Shellac Brisa LED Nail Lamp:
- You can only cure one hand or foot at a time.
#7: MelodySusie 12w LED Nail Lamp
I highly recommend the MelodySusie LED nail lamp for anyone who is doing or wants to do gel manicures at home. This small portable LED nail lamp is intended for home use. However, it is also lightweight and portable. This means that you can travel with it anywhere you go. In addition, it’s large enough to accommodate all five fingers at once. It can be used with any LED curable gel polish with no problem. What I love about this LED lamp is the fact that with most LED curable gel polishes, the lamp will not heat up, thus protecting your hands. It possesses 4 easily accessible timer buttons which can be set at 30, 60, or 90 seconds, or for 30 minutes depending on how long you want to cure your polish (the curing time is specified on the bottle by the manufacturer).
There are only two small shortcomings that I found with the MelodySusie 12w LED Light Gel Nail Dryer. However, these shortcomings are certainly not deal breakers. It does not have an automatic sensor to detect your hands when you insert them, thus you have to insert your fingers and then press that timer button to start it. However, when the time runs out, it will stop automatically. Secondly, it has a short cord. For some users, this might mean using an extension cord if your sockets are further from your nail workstation.
At its current price point, I would say you are getting a great deal as this is a very reasonable price compared to many of its rivals, and it works very well.
Pros of the MelodySusie 12w LED Nail Lamp:
- This is a durable nail lamp made by a trusted brand.
- There are four curing settings to choose from.
- Its compact size makes it the perfect accessory to travel with.
- Can be used in both a home setting and a professional setting.
Cons of the MelodySusie 12w LED Nail Lamp:
- There is no automatic sensor that detects when you have inserted your fingers.
- The cord is rather short and may need to be used with an extension cord.
Best Affordable UV Curing Lamp
#8: MelodySusie 36W UV Nail Lamp
One of the best UV nail curing lamps of the reputable MelodySusie brand is the MelodySusie 36 Watt UV Nail Lamp. If you are looking for something affordable, then the MelodySusie 36 Watt UV Nail Lamp fits the budget.
Using the MelodySusie 36 Watt UV Nail Lamp is very straightforward. There are three timer settings that this nail lamp operates: 120 second, 180 seconds, and 30 minutes. Once you’ve turned the lamp on, you can select an appropriate curing time and the result is long-lasting nail color that is expertly cured each time.
The MelodySusie 36 Watt UV Nail Lamp offers users a low UV wattage for safe curing. The four UV light bulbs allow you to cure a range of UV gel polishes such as Dior, Sally Hansen, and OPI. For the perfect result, be sure to read your nail polish instructions for compatibility. This nail lamp is also compatible with UV resin and acrylic and builder gel. If you are curing your toenails, you will love that the MelodySusie 36 watt UV Nail Lamp comes with a removable base. This feature makes it possible to achieve the perfect pedicure. How? Well, you simply place the nail lamp over your feet instead of inserting your feet onto a plate, which means there’s no chance of your toenail polish getting scuffed up.
Setting up your MelodySusie 36 Watt UV Nail Lamp is a breeze. Also, the complete set comes with one extra replacement UV bulb and a 110-120V A/C adapter. This is what makes the MelodySusie 36 Watt UV Nail Lamp makes for the
best nail lamp for novice nail artists.
Pros of the MelodySusie 36W UV Nail Lamp:
- Great price point
- Wide curing window
- Contains a slide-out tray which makes for easy pedicures
- Very lightweight and portable
- Great nail lamp for new nail artists
- Comes with a bulb replacement
Cons of the MelodySusie 36W UV Nail Lamp:
- Can only work at 110-12V and will burn if used with the wrong voltage
Final Thoughts on Purchasing the Best Nail Lamp
With the age of technology has come the increased accessibility to services that you could only once get in a salon. Now, anyone can get salon quality nails in the comfort of their own home. With our nail lamp reviews, you are hopefully one step closer to finding the right nail lamp for your personal use. If you are a nail art enthusiast who owns a boutique, then we have hopefully allowed you to find the right supplies for your salon.