If you’re tired of paying for manicures and want to do your own gel nails or if you are starting your career as a nail tech then in addition to gel nail polishes you’ll need a UV or an LED lamp for curing these polishes. And today I’ll show you the best UV and LED nail lamp units, including the best professional LED nail lamp units for creating gorgeous gel nails.
Gel nail polishes don’t air dry and can only be cured under a UV/LED lamp. So a nail lamp is the most important piece of equipment that you need to have in your gel manicure kit.
|SUNUV 48W||48W professional lamp, great for home use. Has 3 timer settings, low power mode, removable bottom tray.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Gelish Harmony 18G||High-end professional lamp. Cures gel polish in 5 seconds.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|SUNUV SUN3||Smart 48W lamp.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Jodsone||Super-powerful 120W lamp for 2 hands/feet. Cures gel polish in 10 seconds.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Gelish Pro Kit||Pro kit with a 45-second lamp, gel nail polishes, base coat, top coat, remover, cuticle oil, dehydrator, and primer for nail prep.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Gelish Mini Pro||Gelish pro 45-second lamp sold separately.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Beetles Starter Kit||Starter kit with 6 polishes, a stylish 48W lamp, base coat, two top coats, cuticle oil, and several tools.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Mini LOP||Powerful 64W cordless lamp.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Melody Susie||UV-only 36W lamp. Can be used for epoxy resin crafts too.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Kempa||Tiny 6W rechargeable mini lamp.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
What’s the best UV and LED nail lamp?
SUNUV 48W UV LED Nail Lamp
SUNUV is an LED lamp that emits UV light for curing any LED gel polish or gel-based products.
This lamp is popular with both professional nail techs and at-home users.
Having 48W of power, it’s powerful enough to cure any pigmented gel nail polish.
SUNUV lamp is universal and cures any kind of gel nail polish and pretty much all builder gels really well and evenly.
It has 3 timer settings to choose from for all kinds of gel polish products: 10s, 30s, 60s.
In addition to that, it has a 4th, 90-second low power setting for curing any base coat, rubber base gel, or any other material known for causing unpleasant heat spikes.
SUNUV 72W unit is equipped with an automatic sensor that turns the lamp on when you place your hand inside and turns it off when you pull your hand out.
Any palm will fit inside this lamp comfortably without touching the sides or smudging the newly painted polish coat. The thumb fits well inside too.
The lamp also has a removable bottom tray that allows you to place the lamp over your feet for a gel pedicure.
The removable tray makes cleaning the lamp easier too.
The unit looks really cute with a lovely pink silicone pad on top. So if you are doing nails for a client they can place their hand there.
This lamp would look great in any interior.
And the LEDs inside it have a lot more longevity than UV bulbs and you won’t need to replace them for years.
The only downside is that it doesn’t have an LED display.
This lamp has all the features that most at-home users and even professional nail techs may ever need.
Gelish Harmony 18G Plus Professional LED Nail Lamp
Gelish was the first-ever LED-curable gel nail polish on the market.
The company was founded by a nail p authority and acrylic nails champion Danny Haile.
The Gelish company is also the inventor of the revolutionary Polygel. It’s a cross between gels and acrylics.
Gelish is a professional but beginner-friendly gel nail polish. Many salon nail techs love to use it on their clients.
It’s always best to cure any polish with a lamp made by the same manufacturer. Because this lamp would be fine-tuned to work with that particular polish and will cure it really well.
So if you are using Gelish often or are looking for a salon-grade professional LED nail lamp then Gelish Harmony would be perfect for you.
It’s a high-end unit designed to cure all Gelish polishes, gels, and polygels perfectly.
In addition to that, it works great with other brands of gel nail polish, including professional ones.
Gelish Harmony has 36W of power, but it’s ultra-fast.
The manufacturer promises that it can cure gel nail polish in just 5 seconds! So you can finish your manicure in no time.
It has a mirror finish inside that reflects the light and allows it to cure the polish more evenly.
Other timer settings are 20 and 30 seconds.
Gelish is one of the most innovative companies in the nail industry. The Harmony nail lamp features a patent-pending technology, called EyeShield, which limits light exposure.
Gelish Harmony 18G is spacious enough to fit one hand or foot inside without touching the inner surface.
The lamp has an automatic sensor that makes it turn on when you place your hand or foot inside and maks it turn off when it’s empty.
Gelish Harmony has a removable bottom tray that makes it easy to place your foot under the lamp.
The tray is very easy to remove and re-attach because it’s magnetic.
It’s acetone-resistant and easy to clean.
There is a silicone pad on top of the lamp for placing a client’s wrist on if you’re working as a nail tech.
It’s a perfect high-end lamp for a salon or at-home user who wants to have a professional-level unit.
SUNUV SUN3 Smart UV Professional LED Nail Lamp
This SUNUV SUN3 LED lamp is a great unit for both salon and at-home use.
With 48W of power, it can cure all kinds of polishes, gels, and polygels, except those that aren’t LED-curable.
The lamp has an automatic on/off sensor, four timer settings, starting with just 10s. Plus 30s, 60s, and the 99s low heat mode for curing base coats safely.
And if you don’t turn on any timer setting then you can just place your hand or foot under this lamp and the smart automatic 120s program will turn on.
You can stop the curing process before the timer runs out just by pulling out your hand or foot.
The lamp has a memory function so you can set it to, for example, 30 seconds. The next time you want to use it with the same timer span you don’t have to set the timer again. Just place your hand or foot inside and the sensor will turn it on so the timer will run 30s instead of the default 120s.
SUN3 also has a Double Power setting that can make the lamp twice as fast if you give the low heat mode button a long press.
The lamp’s construction makes the thumbs cure very well (which is a problem with many other lamps). The LEDs are placed all over the top and side inner surfaces so there are no dead zones.
The bottom surface is removable for curing gel polish on the toes. It’s not magnetic though, and not too easy to detach.
SUN3 is another great professional unit that can be also used at home.
Jodsone 120W Lamp
Jodsone 120W is a professional-grade and super-powerful unit.
This lamp can easily accommodate two hands or feet at the time.
So you can cure your manicure or pedicure much quicker than under other units that can only fit one hand or foot at a time.
And it has 36 LED lights that cure the polish on all your fingers evenly and thoroughly since the unit doesn’t have any dead zones.
The lamp has a whopping 120W of power. That’s probably the highest wattage on the market, so it’s very powerful.
It can cure highly pigmented and opaque polishes with ease and really fast, from 10 seconds.
Jodsone lamp has 4 timer settings: 10s, 30s, 60s, and 99s with the safe low heat mode.
Since it’s so powerful it can easily cause heat spikes.
So always use the low heat mode when curing the base coat.
The lamp has an automatic sensor that turns it on and off, and an LED display that shows you the timer.
Since this lamp can accommodate both hands, it’s larger than most other units on this list.
But if you have some extra space for this lamp or if you work in a salon then it would be a perfect choice for you.
This Judsone unit will allow you to do a fast salon-lever manicure at home.
Gelish Pro Salon Kit
This superb kit by Gelish is a great starter investment for any at-home user or even nail professional.
It contains the best and the most necessary Gelish products for gel manicures, along with an easy to use professional LED nail lamp.
If you get this kit you won’t have to worry about buying any products separately. You’ll have everything you need at your fingertips (pun intended).
The Gelish kit contains a lamp, a nail cleanser, the Foundation base coat, Top It Off top coat, pH Bond dehydrator, Pro Bond primer, Artificial Nail Remover, Nourish cuticle oil, and two most popular colors of gel nail polish: red and pink. The polish bottles are full-sized, not miniature ones.
With this set, you’ll be able to create great-looking gel nails and wear them without lifting.
The lamp that comes with this kit is simple and cures Gelish polishes really well. It also works great with other brands of polish.
At 18W of power, it should be able to cure most polish colors and is fine-tuned to work with all Gelish products, including opaque ones.
The lamp can fit all 5 fingers and its construction allows you to place your foot there comfortably too.
It only has one 45 second timer setting. So it’s extremely easy to use and perfect for at-home users or people just starting out as nail techs.
The Gelish kit can also make a great gift.
Gelish Mini Pro 45 Second Soak Off Gel Polish Curing Professional LED Light Lamp with Timer
If you only want a simple Gelish 45-second lamp you can buy this unit separately.
It’s a more compact version of the lamp that comes with the Gelish kit.
It has a slightly different shape and no bottom tray.
Just like the lamp that comes with the Gelish nail kit, this unit only has one 45-second setting. So it’s really easy to use.
The lamp is very small and portable. However, it’s not cordless.
The downside of this unit is that your thumb may not fit and you’ll have to cure it separately
Beetles Nude Grays 6 Colors Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit with UV LED Light 48W Nail Lamp
Beetles has released a whole budget-friendly gel nail starter kit that has a UV/LED nail lamp and everything you need to do your own gel nails at home.
The LED lamp that comes with this kit has 48W of power, an automatic sensor, and 3 timer settings: 30s, 60s, and 120 seconds.
It can cure any pigmented polish and works great with other brands too, not only with Beetles.
The lamp looks really stylish with a faceted shape that resembles a diamond. So it would complement any modern interior.
It has almost everything you may need in a lamp but doesn’t have a low power mode. Which is a downside for such a powerful unit.
In addition to the lamp, you get 6 gel nail polish bottles, a base coat, two top coats, cuticle oil, and a few tools.
Unlike the Gelish set, this kit doesn’t contain the cleanser, remover, dehydrator, or primer. But it comes with a set of tools!
You get a nail file, buffer, nail brushes for hands and toes, cuticle pusher and fork tool, nail clipper, and separators for toes.
The 6 gel polish colors that come in this set are really popular and universal shades of pinks and grays.
You can wear them to the office or a night out, or even to a wedding.
They are appropriate for any occasion and would look great with any outfit.
Beetles gel nail polishes are non-toxic, vegan, and low odor.
They stay on for at least 2 weeks and are easy to use for complete beginners.
Beetles base coat and top coat will work well with any other gel nail polishes.
And the top coats that come with the Beetles kit are no-wipe ones.
One top coat is glossy and the other one is matte.
So you can create all kinds of nail art with this kit.
This is another giftable set that any nail polish collector would love to receive.
Mini LOP 64W Rechargeable Professional UV LED Nail Lamp
Mini LOP lamp is a rechargeable and portable professional LED nail lamp.
The lamp is cordless.
There’s a 5000mAH battery inside.
It allows you to work for 3 hours without recharging.
Mini LOP has two charger ports (one of them is a spare one) and a handle for lifting it and carrying it around.
There are four timer settings: 30s, 45s, 60s, and 90s.
The lamp has a LED display where you can see all your settings and an automatic sensor that turns it on and off.
With 64W of power, Mini LOP can cure the darkest pigmented polishes.
The manufacturer promises that it will cure any brand, including CND.
Even though the unit is really powerful, there is no low power setting, which is a downside.
Mini LOP doesn’t have a bottom tray.
And to make it easier to use it for pedicures Mini LOP has folding foot stands at the bottom.
You can use them to lift the lamp’s body higher. That way you’ll be able to place your feet under the lamp.
This lamp is not too compact or lightweight. But since it’s cordless, it’s still good for working on the road or while you’re traveling, or for using in a busy nail salon and moving between manicure or pedicure stations.
MelodySusie 36W UV Nail Lamp
MelodySusie lamp is a UV-only unit.
That means it uses UV light bulbs instead of little LED lights.
UV bulbs emit a wider range of UV light rays than LEDs installed in other nail lamps.
So MelodySusie UV-only lamp has a big advantage over all the LED lamps on the market and on this list.
It can cure absolutely any kind and brand of gel nail polish and gel, including all the hard builder gels.
And with 36W of power, it is powerful enough to cure opaque and highly pigmented polishes and gels.
However, this lamp cures all gel materials much slower than LED lamps.
It’s a disadvantage, of course, if you don’t like to wait too long for your nails to dry. But at the same time, it’s an advantage because slow curing prevents heat spikes.
MelodySusie UV lamp has 3 timer settings on the timer switch in the back.
The timer settings have longer time spans than the ones LED lamps offer.
You get to choose between 120 seconds, 180s, and even 30 minutes.
There’s no automatic sensor in this lamp. You’ll need to press the timer start button in the back to start the curing process.
If you’re into resin crafts and epoxy jewelry making then you can also use this lamp for curing your creations.
That’s what the 30-minute setting is useful for.
Many people buy this lamp for this purpose too.
The lamp has a sliding tray for placing resin items on.
There are four 9W UV light bulbs in this unit. The light bulbs are replaceable and MelodySusie lamp comes with an extra bulb.
The company recommends using this lamp with UV shield fingerless gloves that it also manufactures.
MelodySusie UV Shield Fingerless Gloves
Kempa 6W Rechargeable Mini Lamp
This tiny and really budget-friendly LED lamp is super-portable.
The Kempa lamp has foldable legs that make it ideal for very tight spaces. So it’s extremely compact and would fit inside any bag.
It’s got only 6W of power. That’s still enough to cure many polishes, polygels or gels, and is quite OK for a mini unit. At least it’s not going to cause heat spikes.
The lamp even has two timer settings. You’ll need to press the button once for the 45-second and twice for the 60-second timer setting.
Kempa lamp is perfect for working on the road or for taking it with you on vacation, or to the office.
It’s rechargeable and the cord that comes with this lamp is a USB one. So you can plug it into a power bank, a computer USB port, or a car USB port to charge it.
Kempa unit is very lightweight, just 1.58 oz!
This lamp is also a great choice if you only do gel nails from time to time and don’t want to invest in a higher-end unit.
But if you’re really into gel nails then I’d recommend you to get a larger lamp to use at home and have the 6W little one for traveling or as a spare unit.
What is a UV/LED nail lamp?
Gel nail polish, nail builder gels, and polygels can only be cured with a UV light source. And natural UV rays from the sun are not enough for that purpose.
So for curing your gel-based polish manicures, overlays, or extensions you’ll need a lamp that emits UV rays powerful enough for these materials.
How to use a UV/LED nail lamp?
- Plug your lamp into an outlet and switch it on or turn it on if it’s cordless.
- Select a timer setting necessary for the material you are using. For example, 30 seconds or 60 seconds.
- You may want to select the low power setting if you are curing the base coat or any material that causes heat spikes, provided that your lamp has that setting.
- Place your hand under the lamp. If the lamp has a sensor it can detect whether your hand is inside.
- Pull your hand out once the timer goes off.
- If the product has not cured properly you may want to continue curing for another cycle.
- Turn the lamp off after use.
UV vs LED lamps
- Emit a wide spectrum of UV rays;
- Can cure absolutely any polish or gel;
- Bulbs are replaceable;
- Cure slower;
- More heavyweight;
- Bulbs last less than LEDs.
- Cure faster;
- LEDs last longer than lightbulbs;
- Emit a narrower spectrum of UV rays;
- Can’t cure some gels;
- LEDs are not replaceable.
UV-only lamps have special elongated light bulbs inside that emit UV rays. These rays are capable of curing gel nail products.
UV bulbs emit a very wide spectrum of UV rays and can cure absolutely all gel polishes, gels, and polygels.
LED lamps have LEDs inside that also emit UV rays. But these rays have a much narrower spectrum.
So LED lamps can’t cure all gel products. Some gels don’t harden well enough under these lamps. But the good news is that there aren’t many of these UV-only gels left today.
There also used to be UV-only polishes that didn’t work with LEDs. But today pretty much all the polishes on the market are LED-curable.
For example, CND Shellac was a UV polish a while ago. Now it’s been re-formulated to work with LED lamps too.
And the nail industry’s first-ever LED polish was Gelish.
While all gel nail polishes today are LED-curable, some builder gels can still bring problems if you are curing them under an LED lamp.
The downside of UV lamps is that they are very slow. And LED lamps cure gel products very fast.
For example, a layer of gel nail polish takes 2 minutes to cure with a UV lamp and only 10-30 seconds with an LED lamp.
LED lamps are also more lightweight than UV ones, which have heavy light bulbs inside. So LED lamps, especially cordless ones, are more portable.
While UV bulbs have less longevity than LEDs, bulbs can be easily replaced.
A downside of these bulbs is that they need to be replaced quite often, every 3-5 months if you use the lamp a lot.
What should I look for in the best UV and LED nail lamp?
Most manufacturers suggest that you buy a lamp made under the same brand as the gels and polishes you are planning to use.
Each manufacturer specifically makes lamps to work with their own polishes perfectly.
But usually, you buy different brands of polish, don’t you? That’s why it’s practical to buy a lamp that’s capable of curing almost any brand of gel nail products and would be pretty much universal.
There are many lamps like that on the market. And all lamps on this list work well with all brands of gel polish.
What to look for in the best UV and LED nail lamp?
Opaque, highly pigmented, dark gel nail polishes are more difficult to cure.
They require a powerful lamp.
You should be looking for a lamp that has at least 36-48 W of power if you’re really into dark shades of polish.
It should be able to cure all your deep red, black, marsala, and royal blue gel polishes.
If you prefer light colors then any power would do.
However, with low power lamps, the drying times may be longer.
Powerful lamps cure all materials faster.
Low power setting
A very powerful lamp can cause unpleasant heat spikes when you are curing certain materials.
Especially when you are working with base coats and rubber gel products.
That’s why you should always get a lamp that has a low power setting.
You can turn this setting on to lower the power to 24 W, and that will prevent any overheating.
Another thing that you should do is apply all gel polish products in very thin layers.
Thick layers of polish amplify the heat from the lamp and don’t cure properly.
Bu the way, UV-only lamps that use UV bulbs don’t cause as much heat because they cure gel polishes much slower than LED units. And that prevents heat spikes.
Even though tiny nail lamps look really cute and are very portable, you may want to choose a lamp where you can fit at least one hand without touching the sides.
Your hand should fit comfortably inside the lamp, and your thumb should fit too.
Not touching the sides is important because you don’t want to ruin your fresh manicure.
The timer is a must-have feature in any UV/LED unit.
A good nail lamp should have several timer settings for all kinds of gel nail polish products, as different products require different curing times.
For example, the base coat can cure in 30 seconds and some opaque polish may require 90s.
Best UV and LED nail lamp units have settings from 10s to 1-2 minutes.
It’s very convenient when a nail lamp has an automatic sensor.
It turns on when you put your hand under the lamp and off when you pull it out.
No need to press any buttons to switch the unit on.
Removable bottom tray
If you are planning to do gel pedicures in addition to manicures then you should get a lamp with a removable bottom tray.
That way you’ll also be able to place your feet under the lamp with comfort.
A removable bottom tray also makes cleaning the lamp easy.
The best UV and LED nail lamp units have a tray with magnetic closures that make it easy to remove the tray and attach it back again.
And of course, the lamp you choose must look good when you place it on your table.
You can get a sleek and gorgeous lamp that wouldn’t look out of place in a stylish interior.
Some lamps have a colorful silicone pad on top for placing the hand. It’s very convenient if you are a nail tech and are using the lamp to work with clients.
The pad can also be removable and replaceable and have a choice of colors.
If you need to work on the road or move freely with the lamp you can get a rechargeable cordless UV/LED lamp.
LED lamps are the most portable ones because they are more lightweight than UV lamps that use large bulbs.
LED display on top is a pretty convenient feature because it shows you the timer settings and you won’t make a mistake. But it’s not too necessary.
UV lamp safety
Some people have concerns about the safety of UV/LED lamps and the UV rays that they emit.
After all, UV radiation is dangerous for your skin, it can cause damage, especially over time.
But according to the US Food And Drug Administration, UV nail lamps are low risk, especially if they are used exactly as their manufacturer instructs.
To lower the risks even more, you can use special UV-absorbing shield fingerless gloves for gel manicures.
For example, MelodySusie states that their anti-UV fingerless gloves absorb 99% of UV rays and protect your hands from excess radiation.
I hope that this guide about UV and LED nail lamps helps you make an informed decision. And you can rest assured that your high-quality nail lamp is safe.