Do you want to make your nails look extra sexy? Then a gel or shellac manicure is the perfect recommendation. I am often asked what nail lamp is best for curing UV or Led nail polishes used in gel manicures. Below are my 5 best nail lamp recommendations. This features UV nail lamps, LED nail lamps from different manufacturers and suppliers such as CND, Gelish, Salon edge, Royal and others. I will jump directly to my recommended best 5 nail lamps, but I ask you to also read the basics which will help you make an informed buying decision.
2. Why do you need a nail lamp? 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/dry unless exposed to UV light or LED light at specific wavelength. This is because of the molecules used in the manufacture of gel polishes. Of interest are the photo-initiators. These (photo-initiators) need to be exposed to light in order to be activated, polymerize and complete the curing process which leads to 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 and you won’t get any of the large benefits of gel like going chip free for 2 weeks or more.
3. The Main Differences between UV and LED Nail Lamps.
- You can use LED polish with a UV lamp but you cannot use UV polish with a LED lamp.
Here is why:
- UV light occurs in a broad band of UV wavelength, between 100 and 400 nm while LED (light-emitting diodes) operates on a narrower band of 400-410 nm. Since UV lamps emit broad UV wavelengths, it takes longer to cure. However, this types of lamp works on all gel polishes. LED technology uses more narrow UV wavelengths (400-410 nm) that targets specific photo initiators in the gel 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 CND Shellac will not work with a LED lamp, thus you need a UV nail lamp such as the shellac cnd UV lamp.
- LED lamps are faster. Curing the polish in 30 seconds vs 2 minutes that UV requires.
- LED lamps are more expensive than UV lamps.4. LED light bulbs last way longer compared to the UV light bulbs.
4. Should You Buy a LED or UV Lamp?
As I have stated in section 3 above, you can use LED polish with a UV lamp but you cannot use UV polish with a LED lamp.
Therefore, the choice of the lamp type you chose will be dictated by the type of polish you want to use for your gel manicure. LED lamps are more expensive than UV lamps; however they have many advantages over UV models: they cure your nails faster (between 10-90 seconds to cure each coat of polish, compared to 1-3 minutes if you are using a UV lamp). LED lamps are more efficient- They use less power and last seemingly forever. In addition, they protect your hands from overheating because they stay cools and do not heat up like UV lamps do. Best of all, LED lamps reduce the risk associated with exposure to UV light- The UV rays emitted from a LED nail lamp are negligible and they release no toxic chemicals when emitted to the environment. Hence, if you have the money, I could go for a LED lamp. Below is a list of gel nail polishes which will work with which type of lamp.
Best UV lamp For Gel Nails
# 1: MelodySusie UV 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, the MelodySusie 54W UV Nail Lamp is what I recommend for you. This is the top UV model available currently at a decent price which can cure both hands/feet at the same time. It is easy to setup, assemble and operate. It comes with 4 Preset Timers: 2 min, 3 mins, 5 mins, or continual use and 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 bulbs of 9 Watts each, which are easy to install.
Besides its other great features, what converted me the most is its ability to cure both hands at the same time. It is a huge time saver. Compare this to when you buy a lamp that only fits one hand/ foot, you would have to double the time it takes to cure your mani/pedi. So this feature alone makes it number one.
The second great feature of the Official MelodySusie 54W UV nails Lamp is that that it cures all LED & UV nail polishes (including gel polish and builder gels), thus no worries about whether it works with your favorite nail polish or not.
This lamp sells quickly and its price keeps on fluctuating to match the best deals. Click here to buy it now on Amazon
#2: CND’s Shellac 36W UV Lamp:
This is the top salon-quality nail dryer that you can buy. 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 need to DIY shellac nails at home, it takes the guesswork out of a home manicure because it offers preset timers for your base coat, color coats, and top coat. The lamp features an interior fan for faster curing. Although you can use other UV lamps to dry and cure your nail polish, the CND unit is the only one guaranteed to cure Shellac in the recommended amount of time.
The official CND Shellac 36W UV Lamp is sturdy, reliable, and really easy to use and is very high quality. It comes with four 9W light bulbs which have a lifespan of 100 hours. These bulbs must be replaced at the same time after the 100 hours. It is also very cheap to maintain this lamp because these bulbs can buy online (Amazon), where a 4-pack is only $34.
Although CND’s Shellac 36W UV Lamp is designed to cure one hand at a time, it can accommodate all five nails at once and will work for pedicures as well.
It is definitely more expensive than other UV lamps, however, 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 the this lamp.
This Lamp has gunned lots of positive reviews. Read them here on Amazon.
# 3: Salon Edge 36W UV Nail Lamp:
If you are looking for a budget friendly UV lamp of decent quality, then Salon Edge 36W UV Nail Lamp is the one for you. If you are patient enough to do one cure one hand at a time, salon edge UV nail lamp is the cheapest available.
- Decent price
- Contains a slide out tray
- Very lightweight and portable.
- Can only cure one hand at time
- Lacks a fan, hence a possibility to over heat
- Lightweight and looks cheaply constructed
- Has only one preset timer of 2 minutes
- Questionable reliability of the product.
Read all the reviews and buy this dryer here
Best LED nail lamps
# 1: Gelish 18G LED Nail Lamp
Based on consumer consensus, Gelish is the leader in LED technology and Gelish 18G LED Light nail lamp is the number one LED nail lamp. Before I acquired this lamp, I had been researching about it for about 6 months. During that period, I came to learn that if you are to purchase the Gelish 18 G lamp online, make sure the seller has a buyer friendly refund policy. The manufacturer’s warranty is void when you purchase from a third party. Read on to see where to buy it securely and be protected with a buyer friendly refund policy.
Don’t be tempted by lower-cost, inferior products on the market. Despite its steep price point, when you get it, 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), as is for some other lamps, the Gelish 18G LED lamp will instead take only up to 2 minutes to cure each hand. What a great time saver. It has 3 buttons on the back where you can set it to cure for 5, 20 or 30 seconds.
This machine is pretty high tech, scientifically engineered, and precisely calibrated authentic LED. It is specially designed for rapid and efficient gel curing, particularly for the high-performance Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polishes.
Compared to other LED lamps which have no motion detectors, this beauty has a motion detector and detects when you slide your hand or foot into the opening and automatically turns on. It will beep when it turns on and off, thus you know what is happening.
The lamp also a protective mechanism for your eyes, where by it has a little shield that you slide down over your hand to keep the light inside the lamp and from blinding you.
It is easy to clean because of its magnetic bottom plate that easily pulls off to allow easy cleaning.
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.
The only downside that I can find on this high tech lamp is that it doesn’t have an on/off switch, so you have to unplug it if you want to completely turn it off.
If your convenience, safety and well-being come first JUST BUY this lamp. Click here to BUY it on Amazon
# 2: MelodySusie 12w LED Nail Lamp.
I highly recommend the MelodySusie LED nail lamp for anyone that is doing, or wants to do gel manicures at home. This small portable LED nail lamp is intended for home use, but is also light weight and portable, thus you can travel with it if you desire. 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 button 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 this lamp. But sincerely, these were not a deal breaker for me because they are manageable and should not stop you from getting this adequately priced good quality MelodySusie 12w LED Light Gel Nail Dryer. It does not have an automatic sensor to detect your hands when you insert them, thus you have to insert the 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, thus you may need an extension cord if your sockets are further from your nail work station.
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 the pro brands, and it works very well. Click Here and Buy it Securely on Amazon
|Polish Brands That Work With UV Lamps||Polish Brands That Work With LED Lamps|
|Sally Hansen Salon Gel||Sally Hansen Salon Gel|
|Daisy Gel||Daisy Gel|
|Bio Seaweed 3-STEP Colour Gel||Bio Seaweed 3-STEP Colour Gel|
|Bio Seaweed Gel Unity||Bio Seaweed Gel Unity|
|Artistic Colour Gloss||Artistic Colour Gloss|
|China Glaze Gelaze||China Glaze Gelaze|
|Cuccio Colour||Cuccio Colour|
|Essie Gel||Essie Gel|
|Gel II||Gel II|
|EZ Flow TruGel||EZ Flow TruGel|
|Entity One||Entity One|
|Gels in Action||Gels in Action|
|Glam & Glits INK||Glam & Glits INK|
|IBD Just Gel||IBD Just Gel|
|Indigo Nails Lab||Indigo Nails Lab|
|Light Elegance||Light Elegance|
|NSI Polish Pro||NSI Polish Pro|
|Jessica GELeration||Jessica GELeration|
|OPI GelColor||OPI GelColor|
|Perfect Match||Perfect Match|
|Red Carpet Manicure||Red Carpet Manicure|
|Orly GelFX||Orly GelFX|
|SuperNail ProGel||SuperNail ProGel|
|Bio Seaweed Gel Unity||Bio Seaweed Gel|
|Star Nail Eco Gels|