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UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?

The debate on which curing machine (UV nail lamp vs. LED nail dryer) is better remains a hot topic for gel nail enthusiasts. Let’s put both machines in the spotlight and see which one shines brighter.

RELATED: 6 At-Home Gel Nail Kit Must-Haves

In this article:

  1. What Are UV Nail Lamp and LED Nail Dryer?
  2. Factors to Consider When Buying a Curing Tool

UV Nail Lamp Vs. LED Nail Dryer | Which Is Worth the Purchase?

What Are UV Nail Lamp and LED Nail Dryer?

When getting a curing tool, there are several factors you need to consider. But before that, let’s see how each tool differs from each other.

UV nail lamp –   During the inception of gel nail enhancement, UV lamps were the only option for curing. Initially, people were concerned about the amount of time they need to put their hands on the machine since prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays can be harmful. However, studies revealed that a tremendous amount of exposure is required to actually cause damage. Hence, deemed safe for use.

LED nail dryer – As time progressed, so does technological advancements. LED nail dryer became a viable alternative to the UV lamp and is in fact, the better option between the two. Not to take anything away from the traditional curing lamp, but the LED dryer has qualities that might leave its competition obsolete.

So if an LED nail dryer seems superior, why put them head-to-head? Simply because a UV lamp has functions that an LED lamp is lacking! Read on and let’s get to the bottom of this argument!

Factors to Consider When Buying a Curing Tool

1. Bulb Life

uv lamp nails | UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?
Both curing tools use a bulb that emits ultraviolet rays to dry gel polish. On one hand, an LED bulb lasts up to 50,000 hours and that equates to 4-5 years of service.

The only downside is it might be hard to determine when to replace the bulb especially when you’re using it for business. Simply note the day it was purchased and used and make it a point to replace it before it hits five years. Problem fixed.

On the other hand, a UV bulb lasts for only 5,000 hours and that translates to five months of constant bulb replacement. On the bright side, UV bulbs are a lot more affordable than LED bulbs so if it’s for personal use only, you may want to settle for this.

2. Curing Time

uv lamp gel polish manicure process | UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?
LED lamps win this department as they only require 30-60 seconds to harden and completely cure your nails. UV lamps require you to put your nails under it for 2-3 minutes to be properly cured.

Both tools come with three different timers to help you keep track of the time.

3. Type of Bulb

nail designer work | UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?
Both curing tools emit different types of ultraviolet light. UV lamps use bulbs that emit Compact fluorescent light (CFLs).

Meanwhile, LED lamps are paired with light-emitting diode bulbs that are best known for their longevity. Both bulbs are available in different colors, but it’s entirely for cosmetic purposes only and has no effect during the entire curing process.

RELATED: 7 Cool Gel Nail Design Ideas To Copy

4. Power Usage

manicure studio white lamp on table | UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?
Since LED lamps require less curing time, it is obviously more bill-friendly than UV lamps. Regardless, you don’t have anything to worry about your electricity bill as both tools don’t consume too much energy.

However, you may want to check the wattage rating of the brand you’re buying. Anything with less than 10 watts rating won’t be as efficient as those that exceed that number.

5. Weight

pretty girl dry your nails | UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?
Though the LED nail lamp is lighter, both are lightweight and you should be able to take either tool for personal or business use.

6. Gel Polish

manicure set beauty salon beautiful female hands | UV Nail Lamp vs LED Nail Dryer | Which One Should You Get?
Both curing tools produce radiation on different wavelengths, but the LED lamp generates it to a lesser degree. Some polish like CND requires high exposure to these radiations to cure properly so UV lamps get a nod on this one.

UV lamps can cure almost if not, all types of gel polish while LED lamps may not even be compatible with gel polish. With that said, it is best to check which lamp is more appropriate with the gel polish you desire to use.

Here’s another take on the similarities and differences between a UV lamp and an LED nail dryer courtesy of The Nail Hub:

UV nail lamp has been a staple when it comes to doing gel nail enhancement. But, there’s no denying the LED nail dryer has caught up and is giving it a run for its money. Now that you know the pros and cons of using each equipment, you should have a clear idea of which one to purchase. Consider each machine’s long-term potential and benefits so you won’t have any buyer’s remorse. Happy curing!

Do you prefer a UV nail lamp over an LED nail dryer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!



  • Molly Anderson
    Posted November 12, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    I love poly gel & builder gel & was able to get a uv led lamp fairly cheap from Amazon but now anytime i do my nails using that lamp my hands & nail ITCH SOOOOOO SOOO BAD for a couple days after. I dont have product on my cuticles or anything like that so im wondering if there is a better lamp i can use that wont cause that issue?? should i just use an LED lamp? a lamp with the bulbs? any advice would be great!! Thank you!

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