LED nail lamp to buy is a kind of hit or miss game. Many people spend a lot of time looking for the best one online among hundreds of styles and models.
The best wattage LED nail lamp for home use is between 30 and 48 watts and should have all the features that a buyer wants when she is looking for an LED lamp to purchase. Having a preferred-feature list on hand would make the buying experience much simpler.
Let me explain these features in detail so you can decide which applies to your needs and wants in the following sections.
How much should you spend on a LED nail lamp?
Now the UV LED nail lamps have been around for a decade. Their prices have come down considerably during this time and they are now very affordable.
However, you should purchase a UV LED nail lamp around $30 which has good quality, and is big enough so you can cure your nails on one hand comfortably and minimize the chance of hitting the lamp’s wall it the lamp were small.
I had several UV LED nail lamps from SUN in my salon. They passed the test of rough-handling and repeated uses in a busy nail salon.
These lamps have 48 Watts of power which is enough energy to cure different shades of gel colors. Keep in mind that dark and white colors require a high power LED lamp to cure them completely. These LED lamps should perform well without any issues in a home setting.
Should you buy a LED nail lamp or an older UV nail lamp?
You should buy a LED nail lamp for home use.
The older UV gel polish is all but disappeared from the market due to a better succession: the gel nail polish that you know today. This new gel polish needs an LED nail lamp to cure.
Also, UV gel is an enhancement product for nails, just like acrylics. This product requires a skilled and experienced nail tech to perform this to a customer.
Even an experienced nail tech could not do a full set of artificial nails on her own. The reason is if a nail tech is very good at doing nails, she is only good with her right hand if she is a right-handed person and vice versa. If this nail tech were to use her left hand to do nails, she is as good (or bad) as any.
If you are thinking about buying a UV lamp because you might do UV gel at home yourself later, do not buy it for the reasons above.
Trying to do gel nails yourself at home not only sets you back half a day and the nails will not look good either because your left hand does not have the same dexterity as your right hand, if you are a right-handed person and presumed that you could do it.
Hybrid or two-in-one UV LED and CFL nail Lamps
Hybrid UV nail lamps are ones with have bot UV CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs and LEDs. They provide two types of UV light spectra: a narrow range of UV wavelength light to cure a new gel nail polish and a wider range of UV wavelengths to cure older UV gels. While the LEDs provide narrow wavelength light, the bulb type CFC lamp provides a wider UV wavelength spectrum.
Several manufacturers made these two-in-one lamps to cure both the old UV gels and new gel nail polishes. Manufacturers make these hybrid lamps for salons or people who owned and used both of these gel products. These users needed a two-in-one UV nail lamp so they did not have to switch lamps.
Today, the old UV gel polish that uses the wide range UV light to cure is gone so buying this kind of lamp is not necessary because all of your gel polish uses narrow range UV wavelength light to cure. If you happen to see one of these hybrid lamps, you know why.
What size of a LED lamp should you get?
There are LED nail lamps that cure 4 fingers, ones that cure one hand and ones that can cure both hands at the same time.
Small LED nail lamps
With the little LED nail lamp that can only fit 4 fingers, you have to cure gel polish on 4 fingers and the thumb separately. This doubles the curing time to do both hands. So, you will spend more time doing gel polish with a compact LED lamp.
Full size LED nail lamps
As you can tell now that when you do your manicure at home or in a salon, after the nails one hand is polished, they will be cured while the nails on the other hand are getting polished. The time it takes to polish 5 nails usually much longer than 1 minute which is the time you need to cure gel polish.
Therefore, buying a big LED nail lamp that can fit both hands or feet is not necessary. Furthermore, this big LED lamp will be heavy, bulky and the chances for accidental drops to are high.
Regular size LED nail lamps
This lamp is the right size LED nail lamps for most gel polish application.
- Can cure 5 fingers at one time.
- Compact compared with the full-size lamp.
- Many cost under $40 on amazon.
With the benefits mentioned above, you should buy a regular size LED nail lamp that can cure five fingers at a time.
How portable will you need your LED lamp to be?
If you do your gel polish at different places from time to time then you should consider the portability feature of the LED nail lamp. It should be light, and not too bulky. If you travel with a lamp, it is a good idea to pack a small to a medium-sized lamp for ease of transport and there is more room for other nail items.
Usually, the lamp that can cure one hand at a time is good to carry around.
Will you use your LED nail lamp for pedicures?
Chances are you will put gel polish on your toes to match the color on your fingernails. You would want to take into account if the lamp you are looking to buy lets you cure gel polish on toes easily. One thing to look for is the inside height of the lamp has to be big enough to fit your feet. Many models have a removable bottom plate so the lamp’s height is not an issue.
One more thing about the bottom plate. I prefer the stainless-steel plate over the plastic one. Not only it is easier to clean and disinfect, this metal plate will not be oxidized by the UV light and acts as a mirror to reflect UV light inside the lamp.
The plastic bottom will turn to an old yellow color due to oxidation from the UV light after repeated use and does not reflect light as much. Worse yet, it is next to impossible to remove any gel polish color that drops on it. The plastic bottom plate will show the aging sign, dirty look after about 4 months of frequent use.
How fast do you want curing time to be?
Almost all of the gel nail polishes on the market today need only about 30 seconds to cure as recommended by their manufacturers. Additionally, many LED nail lamps have a time setting of 30, 45 or 60 second time settings. Applying gel polish on your nails will take at least 3 minutes per hand so there is no need to buy a fast LED nail lamp.
Extra features on a LED Nail Lamp
If you wonder what additional features on a UV LED nail lamp, here is the list.
Automatic motion sensors:
Lamps have motion sensors that start the light automatically as you put your hands inside.
Different curing time settings:
Many brands have special timer features to make it easy to choose a preset time. Guessing the curing time yourself is annoying and most of the time inaccurate so it’s nice to have a lamp with that feature.
This fan is primarily for blowing away the hot air inside the lamp so you do not feel the heat. This fan can also be used to dry regular nail polish. Do stay away from the lamps that have a built-in fan. These fans are prone to break down after a few months of use and the fan noise is a not pleasant sound to have to listen to when you are doing your nails.
Is a small lighted clock type display. Its main purpose is to tell you the count-down of curing time. It is nice to look at when you are curing your gel polish.
The best-LED nail lamp has a backup
No matter how expensive or how well-made your main LED nail lamp is, accidents or mishaps can happen anytime. When your main lamp is not working and you are in a middle of a gel manicure, you will not be able to cure gel polish that might be on your nails.
The lamp might be bad when you need it the most: your nails need to look good for a night out or some important function.
It is good insurance to have a small, inexpensive LED lamp as a backup. One of an LED lamp that fits in this backup category is the SUN Mini USB Powered LED Nail Lamp. It costs around $6.00 on amazon. When you decide to pack lunch for work, take the money you save to buy this lamp and give yourself a LED “light” insurance.
The great thing about this insurance is it is a one payment policy, no monthly or yearly recurring cost.
This LED lamp is slim and no bigger than a computer mouse so you can put it away in your nail toolbox or polish collection box without taking a lot of space. It will be out-of-sight and faithfully wait for you until the day you need it.
One great feature of this mini portable LED nail lamp is USB powered. This means that it has a built-in battery that can be charged the same way as you would with your USB ported-smartphones so there is no dangling cord when you do your gel polish.
Just like any other type of insurance, you might never have to use it. If you do, it is nice to know that your gel manicure is covered with good LED light.
I would sum up this 1,000 plus word article with one picture about the best-LED gel nail lamp combination for home use.
And the links to amazon:
For the regular size LED nail lamp:
And the small, USB rechargeable using a smartphone’s backup battery power source, make it a true portable LED nail lamp:
The title of this article is about the best-LED nail lamp for home use under $50. The 48W LED lamp costs $25 and the small lamp costs $8. The two costs $33.00 exclude shipping, well below the $50 target.
Hope you find this article helpful. If you do, please share.
Happy LED gelling.