Gel nails look good. They protect your nails, and they won't chip or scratch. Gel nails are durable and should last at least two weeks before nail growth makes it necessary to redo them. Whilst most of us love to show off beautifully manicured nails, regular salon visits can be costly and time-consuming so why not do your nails at home? All you need is the best LED nail lamps that you can afford, the gel nail kit and cleaning alcohol.
Self-application of gel nails is not difficult, and it is fun, an outward expression of your creativity. In recent years the patterns and colors for gel nails have become increasingly more inventive.
Gel nails, unlike other nail coatings, must be cured using either a UV lamp or an LED lamp. The gel is an epoxy that contains photo-initiators (1) which require light exposure to activate and harden.
Best Nail Lamp UV or LED?
You may be wondering what’s the best nail lamp UV or LED. Years ago, there wasn’t much choice. UV lights were used to cure almost all gel nails. When LED lights first came out, they were costly, but as they have become more popular the prices have dropped, and today they are quite affordable.
The differences between the two are listed below:
In my view, the best LED gel nail lamp outstrips the UV lights in advantages, and I would pay the small price premium for the curing speed and maintenance benefits of these lights.
They are simple to operate. You simply place your hand under the lights, push the timer, and within seconds the gel has cured, and you can do the other side.
Features to Look for in the Quest for The Best LED Nail Curing Lamp
Applying Gel to Nails
It is crucial for gel nails to cure for the correct period as under curing will cause chipping whereas over curing will cause the nails to shrink and curl up at the edges. Read the instructions on the gel and the manual that comes with your LED lights as times may differ.
A short demonstration on applying gel nails
Best LED Nail Lamps Reviews 2018
The Gelish 18G is my choice for best nail curing lamp for salons. It is relatively expensive but it cures quickly and has a host of excellent features.
The top feature of this lamp is its speed. It takes five seconds to cure the base coat, between twenty and thirty seconds for each of the color coats depending on how dark the color is and twenty seconds for the top coat.
A motion sensor activates the lights. They switch on when you place you place your hands or feet into the drying cavity. The machine beeps to signal that it has switched on or off. It is pedicure capable and is large enough to cure both hands or both feet at once. The magnetized base plate removes easily for sanitation.
The nail lamp has eighteen 2-watt LED lights, so it uses 36 watts of electricity. And, the display timer is pre-set and has a countdown. It has three timing options. The reflective inner surface has finger stoppers ensure correct finger placement for the perfect gel finish. Also, the surface is acetone and scratch resistant.
The Gelish G18 has a patented eye shield which slides down your hand preventing the light from escaping and damaging your eyes.
Although designed specifically for the Gelish Soak Off Gel, this nail light can be used to cure other nail gels. The lamp meets worldwide safety requirements. The one downside of this machine is that it has no off-switch and must be switched off at the wall.
- Sensor activation of lights
- Removable, magnetized base for cleaning
- Patented eye shield
- Three-time options and countdown on LED display
- Finger stoppers for perfect placement
- Fast cure
- A sizeable light area will fit both hands or feet at once, halving the drying time
- No off switch
If you’re planning to do your nails at home, the NailStar could be just what you are looking for. It is inexpensive, simple to use and it has a few useful features.
With sixty LED lights, this LED lamp uses just 12 watts of energy. It has four timing options 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 90 seconds and 30 minutes with a countdown timer. The length of time required for gel nail curing depends on the make of the gel, and the thickness of the layers applied.
The machine is pedicure capable, and is compact and light, easy to move around. Because it has no lights on the side the thumb must be cured separately.
It comes with a full instruction manual to help you to obtain the best home manicure/ pedicure, ensuring that your nails are salon perfect. It also has an AC/DC power adaptor. And, it has a one year warranty.
On the downside the machine has no sensors, one wonders then why it has a thirty-minute setting.
- Energy efficient
- Pedicure capable
- Compact and lightweight
- No sensor switches
- No side lights
With its USB outlet, this is the perfect travel companion. Charge it in your car, on your laptop or power bank. Its light and compact design will take up little place in your bag. The lamp is also inexpensive which is why it gets my vote as best budget LED nail lamp.
The Beatunes uses only twelve watts of electricity. It has four finger grooves that ensure that your nails are ideally placed for quick setting, perfect salon nails. The slots also provide that your fingers do not inadvertently make contact with the lights. This lamp only has space for four fingers so it will take a little extra time and if you intend doing gel pedicures, this machine won't be suitable.
The inside surfaces are made from reflective materials to enhance the curing efficiency.
The machine has three pre-set buttons at thirty, sixty and ninety minutes so that you can set the time according to the gel that you are using.
And, the product comes with an AC/DC adaptor, a USB/DC cable and a guide to help you make optimal use of the lights. It has a twelve-month warranty.
- Charge it anywhere using the USB port
- Lightweight and compact. Perfect for travel
- Finger grooves ensure that fingers stay safely away from the heat source.
- Not for toenail use
- Only four finger grooves
MelodySusie is a leading brand in the manicure industry. It is a US company with a good reputation. MelodySusie makes many LED and UV nail lights with different features and at different prices. This lamp is good enough for a salon and inexpensive enough for home.
It is a surprisingly inexpensive lamp that comes in a choice of three colors black, pink or white. The inside walls are reflective for more efficient operation.
The lamp has been pre-set with four options thirty seconds, sixty seconds, ninety seconds and thirty minutes. Set the light according to the requirements of the gel that you are using. This machine features particularly useful heat control. It will prevent overheating that could result in damage to the gel nail surface.
Although compact, there is plenty of room to fit all five of your fingers in at once and It is pedicure capable.
It is equipped with sixty LED lights and uses twelve watts of energy.
It comes with an AC adaptor and is covered by a twelve-month warranty.
- Great brand
- Good heat control
- Fits all fingers
- Pedicure capable
- No sensors
This large LED nail light is big enough to accommodate both hands or both feet, but small enough to carry around. It has a relatively small footprint, so it does not take much space. It is also surprisingly inexpensive which is why it gets my vote for the lamp which offers the best value for money.
The lamp has twenty-four LED lights evenly placed along the top of the machine. It uses 48 watts of electricity. There are two settings at the maximum power, thirty seconds and sixty seconds and one of the ninety-nine seconds on low mode for sensitive skins. The LED display will countdown the curing time.
Despite the large opening, the shape of the lamp prevents light spillage that could harm the eyes. It is molded from durable ABS plastic.
Infrared sensors will cause the lights to come on at low power when your hand or foot is inserted into the light cavity and will switch it off again when you remove it. This machine has a double light source, and you can switch it over to UV if you are using a brand of gel that does not respond to LED lights.
- Large enough for both hands
- Can switch over to UV
- Pedicure capable
- Quick cure
- Overall good value for money
- Less energy efficient than the other models
Indulge Your Love of Nail Art
If you long for beautiful nails and don’t have the time to sit around in a beauty salon, embrace your creativity and start pampering yourself at home. In this collection of best LED nail lamps, there is one that will fit your budget and still offer you the features that you seek.
Below a summary of the products that we reviewed
Sensor switch on off
UV switch over