How do you choose between traditional UV or eco-friendly LED light for curing nail polish? You could simply use a lamp that combines both types of bulbs for maximum flexibility. But if you apply only one type of gel nails, you can match the lamp to the polish.
In our reviews today we’re including a variety of options for you, like the best led nail lamps and the top UV nail lamps. We’ll also cover combination lights that offer an all-in-one solution.
LED vs. UV Nail Lamps
First, what are the differences between the two main kinds of nail lamps?
|Only for polishes that set under LED light||For all kinds of gel polish|
|Average curing time 30 seconds||Average curing time 2 minutes|
|Use much less electricity||Use more electricity|
|Bulbs don't need replacing||Replace bulbs after some hours of use|
|Healthier for skin||Can cause UV damage to skin and nails|
LED, Light Emitting Diode lamps
LED lamps cure gel nail polishes that are formulated to set with this kind of light. Nowadays, there are many brands that work with LED light. They dry very quickly, in 30 to 45 seconds per coat.
The advantages to LED lamps are their speed, energy-efficiency, and the fact that are not harmful to skin like UV lights are. You’ll never have to replace LED light bulbs because they are rated for tens of thousands of hours of use, and their power doesn’t diminish over time.
UV, Ultraviolet lamps
UV lamps can cure both kinds of gel nail polish, those that are made for UV light as well as LED light, too. If you can only afford one kind of lamp, but use both kinds of polish, it might be worth it to invest in a UV light.
But the downsides to UV lamps could convince you to switch brands. UV lamp bulbs lose their power over time and need to be replaced. They take four to six times longer than LED lamps to set polish on nails. And they aren’t as energy-efficient or eco-friendly.
Does the kind of light make a difference in whether nails chip?
The kind of light won't make a positive or negative difference in whether nails chip if the nails have been properly applied in the first place. But if you use an older UV bulb that’s not as potent, the polish may not cure well.
Besides the type of light, what else is important to consider when buying a nail lamp?
When you're choosing a nail lamp, also consider the size. Some can cure a whole hand at a time, while others only fit four fingers.
Another point to think about is the timer. If the lamp has a built-in timer, can you program it yourself, or does it only offer a few pre-set times for drying?
Finally, there are a few extra features you may appreciate if you do nails on a regular basis. A built-in fan comes in handy if you just want to dry a regular polish that doesn’t need light to set. And a motion sensor with automatic on and off will save you power over the long run.
Now, let's review the top LED and UV nail lamps to help you find the best one for your needs.
|MelodySusie Pro60W||Cures UV and LED polishes Powerful enough for salon use|
|MiroPure 36W||Cures UV and LED polishes Protects user from discomfort and burns|
|SUNUV SUN9C||Cures UV and LED polishes Whiter light to protect eyes and skin|
|MelodySusie 6W||Portable and compact, personal use|
|Gelish 18G||Home or salon use|
|MelodySusie 24W||Sleek design for home use|
|USpicy MACARON 36W||Four UV bulbs, two timed settings Home or salon use|
|MelodySusie UV 36W||Four UV bulbs, two timed settings Home or salon use|
|SHANY UV 36W||Fits two hands or two feet at once Home or salon use|
The top combination nail lamps for curing polish
We'll begin with a few combination LED/UV lamps that are sure to please.
MelodySusie Pro60W Nail Lamp - Mixed LED&UV Lamp Beads Quick Curing ALL LED UV Gel Polish - Smart Sensor Design with Timer Setting 15s/30s/45s/60s
MelodySusie makes more than one of the nail lamps that we’ll review today. Their products are getting a lot of positive feedback from customers. And their Violeta Pro60W Nail Lamp is quite popular, being recommended by beauty bloggers as well.
The Pro60W sets and dries both UV and LED polish. It’s much more powerful than many of the personal nail lamps on the market, and it works quickly. MelodySusie says a thin coat of gel will cure in about 15-20 seconds.
There are four preset times on the Pro60W for curing polish—15, 30, 45, and 60 seconds. And it has an automatic sensor that shuts it off if you withdraw your hand from underneath. If you detach the bottom tray, you can also use the nail lamp to cure pedicure polish.
MelodySusie offers a 12-month warranty with free customer support included.
MiroPure 36W UV LED Nail Lamp with 4 Timer Setting and 2 Nail Files
Like the Pro60W from MelodySusie, the MiroPure 36W Nail Lamp cures both LED and UV polish. And the MiroPure has a safety feature that protects the user from burns and discomfort. It has a Low Heat Protection Mode that detects the temperature and reduces power if it gets too hot. Once the temperature diminishes, the lamp returns back to full power mode.
Also, if you use the 99 second timer setting, the temperature gradually increases to keep the user from feeling too much heat. There are three other timer settings, including 10, 30, and 60 seconds. This means you can perfectly set and dry a variety of nail polishes and products like sculpture gel, rhinestone hems, and Shellac, as well as LED gels.
Like the other nail lamp, this one also has a motion sensor that turns it off if you remove your hands or feet. And if you insert a hand or foot without choosing a timer setting, it defaults to the safe 99 second setting that gradually warms and dries the polish.
If you want to set all five fingers or your foot, simply pull off the bottom plate to open up all the space you need. But since this is a compact nail lamp, you can also fit it in your luggage.
SUNUV SUN9C 24W LED UV Nail Gel Dryer Curing Lamp with Motion Activated for Gel Based Polish
SUNUV's 24W SUN9C Nail Gel Dryer is also a universal nail lamp that cures UV and gel polishes. It has an automatic setting and two timed settings. The automatic setting works for 99 seconds, starting as soon as you insert your hand or foot.
The two timed settings are 30 and 60 seconds long. With these three basic options, you can cure a variety of nail products like UV and LED polishes, sculpture gels, and gem glue. And the shape of the bay underneath the light is made to fit all five fingers or all five toes at the same time.
Something different about SUNUV’s SUN9C lamp is that they adjusted the color of the light it emits. Instead of purple, the output is almost white light, designed to protect your eyes and skin from damage.
The best LED nail lamps
Let's move on to single purpose lamps that only cure LED polishes.
MelodySusie Portable LED Nail Lamp - Violetilac 6W Mini Nail Dryer Curing LED GEL Nail Polish Professionally
MelodySusie makes this compact and portable 6W light that cures only LED nail polish. This is more for someone who wants a travel lamp or a light-duty lamp for home use because it’s quite small and energy efficient. It sets LED polishes rated for a wavelength between 380-410nm.
The 6W lamp is very easy to use. There are two timed settings. The default is 60 seconds, which begins when you push the power button on. Two button pushes will change that to 45 seconds. After the time elapses, the lamp turns off automatically. Should you withdraw your hand, the light will also shut down by itself.
MelodySusie offers free customer support and a 12-month warranty.
MelodySusie 24W LED Nail Lamp
With a sleek futuristic design and a simple timer setting button on top, this 24W nail lamp may become your new favorite manicure tool. There are three times to select from, 15, 30, and 60 seconds, and all you need is one button push to begin.
Gelish 18G Professional LED Light
The Gelish 18G Professional LED Light is very good for either home use or professional manicures in a salon. It sets LED gel polishes very quickly. You can use it in short bursts by simply putting your hand inside and tripping the sensor. Or you can use one of the pre-programmed timer settings. The area underneath the LED light bulbs is large enough to fit and cure an entire hand or foot each time.
Of course, with LED lights, you’ll never need to change a bulb. Their anticipated lifetime is 50,000 hours, or years of regular use.
The best UV nail lamps
Many long-time nail manicurists still prefer UV lamps since they can cure both kinds of polish.
USpicy MACARON 36W Nail Dryer UV Lamp/ Light Upgraded with Sliding Tray & Timer Setting, SPA Equipment + FREE USpicy Highly UV Protective Gloves
USpicy's MACARON 36W UV Lamp comes with a pair of UV protective gloves for yourself or your clients. They expose the nails to light and keep UV rays from the rest of your skin. That’s a smart idea since over-exposure to UV rays is linked to skin cancer.
This 36W lamp is powered by four 9W PL UV-A bulbs that cure top coats, builder gels, and other kinds of polish. The built-in timer lets you choose between 120 and 180 seconds, depending on what you need to dry. And the space inside the lamp can fit either a hand or a foot.
MelodySusie 36W UV Nail Dryer - UV Lamp Light for Any UV gel polish, with Sliding Tray & Timer Setting + 4 x 9W UV Lamp + Extra One Bulb - White
MelodySusie’s 36W UV Nail Dryer sets any kind or brand of UV nail polish with UVA light. It has four 9W UV bulbs that should be changed every three to five months for best results. This particular package includes one extra replacement bulb.
Once you select the time you want, either 120 or 180 seconds, the lamp will cure the polish and turn itself off automatically.
MelodySusie offers the same free customer support and 12-month warranty on the 36W lamp as they do on their other products.
SHANY UV Gel Light Nail Dryer, 36 Watts Pro Series
The SHANY UV Gel Light Nail Dryer is rated for 36 watts of power, and designed for use with SHANY nail polish.
The bulbs inside emit UV rays enhanced by German reflectors for maximum coverage. That’s part of the reason why you can place both hands or both feet inside at the same time. The bay underneath the lights measures 14 inches wide by 12 inches long by 5 inches in height.
The automatic on and off with timer makes this lamp very simple to use. One user commented that each coat takes about 40 seconds to cure, then the top coat just under three minutes.
SHANY offers a one-year warranty on the lamp, but not on the bulbs. The UV bulbs will need to replaced every few months for best results.
It saves time and money to be able to apply your own manicure at home. With your own LED or UV nail lamp, you won’t have limits on the kinds of polish or nail art you want to enjoy.
If you love to look your best, check out all of our featured reviews of the best in cosmetics, skin care, and tanning. And come visit us again soon to see what’s hot in the world of beauty and hair care.