Gelish 18G LED Lamp Review | Chickettes: Soak-Off Gel Polish Swatches, Nail Art and Tutorials
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Gelish 18G LED Lamp Review

Gelish 18G LED Lamp
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might already know that I recently purchased a new toy… the Gelish 18G LED lamp! It’s been on my wishlist for a very long time, and I finally broke down and bought it.  The price tag is a little steep and is what kept me at bay for so long, but now that I have it I’m not sure how I survived without it!

I originally started out with the Thermal Spa UV lamp, which is a great lamp at a very reasonable price.   I used it for about 2 years and never had to change the bulbs, so it served me well.  The 2 minute cure time was the only downside.  I almost always apply 3 coats of color, and with a base and top coat I would have to cure each hand 5 times for 2 minutes each time.  This lamp does fit both hands, but I always ended up doing my hands one at a time anyway.  Then I upgraded to the Gelish Mini Pro 45 lamp, which cures the polish in just 45 seconds, but it only does four fingers at a time, so I had to cure my thumbs separately.

The 18G lamp fits all 5 fingers at once and the curing times are lightning fast!  It only takes 5 seconds to cure the foundation, 20 seconds for lighter colors, 30 seconds for darker colors and 20 seconds for the top coat.  Oh yea!!  So now it only takes up to 2 minutes to cure each hand instead of 10.

Gelish 18G LED Lamp

This lamp is pretty high tech.  It has 3 buttons on the back where you can set it to cure for 5, 20 or 30 seconds.  It has a motion detector and detects when you slide your hand or foot into the opening and automatically turns on.  It has a little shield that you slide down over your hand to keep the light inside the lamp and from blinding you.  The lamp beeps when it turns on and off,  so if you aren’t paying attention you know when it’s done.  I usually watch TV while I’m doing my nails so this is nice.

The bottom plate is magnetic and pulls right off for easy cleaning.  Below is a picture of the inside with the bottom plate pulled off.

Gelish 18G LED Lamp

I read in some reviews that people complained about the length of the power cord, but this lamp has the longest cord of all the lamps I’ve tried/owned.  I think the biggest downside is that the lamp doesn’t have an on/off switch, so you have to unplug it if you want to completely turn it off.  It also gets a little warm when in use, but not to the point of being uncomfortable.

I’m completely in love with this lamp.  It’s going to make swatching so much faster and easier… I feel a swatch-a-thon coming on!  If you’ve been debating about whether to buy it, my recommendation is “JUST DO IT!!”

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66 Responses

  1. Nicci Ryan says:

    I’ve wanted one forever. I recently upgrade to the mini pro 45 but it doesn’t feel much quicker in all honesty. Where would you recommend buying the 18g from? Nicci

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Nicci. I purchased my 18G lamp from since they had the best price that I could find :)

      • If you purchase online make sure the seller has a buyer friendly refund policy. The manufacturer’s warranty is void when you purchase from a third party! Sally’s, Ulta, etc exempt. (I always read the fine print, and I’ve been researching this lamp since March.)

  2. Nina says:

    Hi Andrea ! I’ve just bought it at the same time as you do and really, I agree : It changed my life ! I follow you from France and know that your advices are always very good especially with Harmonýs products you like so much… As I do !!! (Sorry for my poor english, I dońt practice so much here)

  3. Bunny says:

    Lol, welcome to the club! I adore the 18G. It has made such a difference to my mani routine that I don’t know how I managed before I bought it. It’s well worth the money.

  4. Hi there! I plan on purchasing one for my birthday (8/27), this is more for the professional so I was wondering if you have any issues with accessing the buttons when doing a self-mani or pedi?

  5. Maureen says:

    I have the mini pro from Sally’s, but I always wonder if the fact that it doesn’t have a bottom has anything to do with the tips not curing properly. I’d love to upgrade to this lamp…maybe I wouldn’t put off doing my nails like I do now.

  6. Andrea says:

    Hi Cheska – I can really only speak for the lamps that I have. I have the Thermal Spa UV and Gelish 18G and they are both awesome. I can use my LED for most polishes, but there are a few brands/colors that will only work in the UV.

  7. JKP says:

    I also just purchased this lamp. You mentioned that the foundation only needs 5 secs to cure, but my bottles all say 10 secs. Which is a tiny bit of a pain when I try to do the 5 sec cure twice. Not a big deal really, but if I do anyone else’s nails it causes some confusion. Where are you seeing the 5 sec to cure foundation instructions?

  8. tracey says:

    Hi there i found your review helpful thankyou as im deciding (STILL) on the gelish 18g or the OPI LED, swaying to the gelish but worried about the hot spots and the lead seems bad in alot of reviews… also are there side lights for the thumbs looking at your picture it looks like there are but reviews state no side lights purely rely on mirror reflection… and are gelish ok with after sales…sorry for all the questions !!!
    thanks in advance,

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Tracey. The Gelish 18G lamp does have side lights. You have to check with the company that you are purchasing with as to what their replacement/refund policies are. The manufacturer’s warranty is void when the lamp is purchased from a third party and not a licensed distributor.

  9. tracey says:

    Ahhh i see thankyou!! Do you stuggle with the hot spots or the fact it doesn’t switch off??? I suppose it switches off onto standby once the timer has run its course?


    • Andrea says:

      I have never experienced “hot spots”. Not sure what that means. It goes into standby mode when you’re not using it. It doesn’t bother me at all. If I want to turn off the lights on the back I just unplug it.

  10. tracey says:

    Ok thankyou so much for your replies, i appreciate it, i find your website fab to look at all the colours of gelish and have also picked up ideas from browsing… i have liked on fb too as its great to get different ideas… Thanks again

  11. stephanie henricksen says:

    I ordered the 18g light off of your link (hope that helps you!) and it came in the mail yesterday. OMG! I got a dark mani (Plum and done) done sooooo fast and it cured so much better than I am used to and it is just the greatest thing to happen to my nail routine. I really appreciate all of the great info you share on your blog. Thank you! I am just giddy about my new light and I can’t believe I used my gelish led mini pro 45 for almost 3 years before buying this lamp. WOW!

  12. angelique says:

    im in manicuring school now. do you know what product brands do NOT work with this light?

  13. Michelle says:

    Hi! Do you know if this lamp will cure gel ii & essie gels? I have a lower wattage led and essie will not cure. I’m thinking it’s because of the low wattage.

  14. Jenny says:

    Hi Andrea,
    Great review – thanks!
    Do you use your gelish lamp to do swatches on sticks when you get new colours?
    I have just received my lamp (I know I’m rather late to the party!) and I’m finding that the motion sensor doesn’t detect the swatch sticks so I’m having to hold them down in the lamp which then is over exposure for me as I already have gelish on.
    Any tips? Xx

    • Andrea says:

      I usually use my UV lamp for my swatch sticks since I do a bunch of colors at once and it’s a lot bigger. You’re right, the motion sensor in the 18G lamp doesn’t detect the sticks (it does detect a wheel).

      • Jenny says:

        Thanks Andrea, I have kept hold of it so will use my UV in the future. I was just impatient and wanted to play with it straight away!!

      • Shauni says:

        I don’t know if you know this, but the gelish 18g lamp has also got a manual option.
        You just have to keep you hand in the lamp before you plug it in.. Then the lamp will go on again and you just have to push the buttons the activate the lamp. This way, you don’t have to keep you hands in the lamp for your swatch sticks and you can cure them a lot faster..
        The next time you plug your lamp in, it will be on automatic again..

        Hope this helps!


  15. Julie H says:

    Now when using the 18g, do you keep your fingers together or fan them out? There is plenty of room so I am not worried about smudging, it is more to do with making sure there is proper curing. Thank you for any input if there is a difference/proper way.

  16. Marcela says:

    I have wanted this lamp for such a long time but the price is just too much for me…
    Have heard the OPI LED Lamp is just as good – can anyone comment??

  17. Fania says:

    Hello! I do my nails alone at home and I love gelish but i use the uv lamp and that takes too much time. I bought a led lamp on ebay from those cheap ones i didnt even try it cos i dont think that it will work with the hard gelish led gels. Im thinking of buying the Gelish Mini Pro 45 lamp. That will save me time or is almost the same with the uv? The 18G looks amazing but for home use is a bit expensive. So what do you advice me?

    • Andrea says:

      The Mini Pro lamp takes 45 seconds to cure and you can only do 4 fingers at once, so the thumbs have to be done separately. I don’t find it to be that much of a time saver.

  18. Fania says:

    Thank you for your answer! So should i stay with the uv lamp? There is another option the LED 5-45 LIGHT- LED Light but is also a bit expensive too. Is there any other brand you can suggest me? Or i will buy the The Mini Pro lamp 45 sec are better than 2 minutes.
    p.s. i was trying to find videos on youtube about nail art and i was just couldn’t find something beautiful and then i found you. Great job and good advices y r the best ;)

  19. emily says:

    Hi babe
    can I know if the plug is compatible for Singapore wattage? I saw some are 110v and some are 240v. Do u have a picture of your electrical plug? Thanks

  20. George says:

    Hi all,
    I have a LED lamp power rated at 12W that only cures four fingers. So, I cure thumbnails separately. But the problem is that when some nails are very curved, usually the last 2 small fingers but sometimes even the thumbnail, then while the upper almost flat part of the nail (the nail plate) is well cured, the sides (sidewalls) of the nail are not at all.
    I’m highly disappointed and frustrated at this situation and I’d like to ask you if any of you has met this problem. As I said above, the more curved the nails of the client the more intense is this phenomenon. For this reason I consider buying an expensive lamp, and from what I have read so far I’ve got the impression that Gelish 18g lamp may not have this problem. Could anyone who owns this lamp write whether this lamp suffers or no from this problem?
    Another question I have is its LEDs wavelength emission. I use IBI Flawless that their own LED lamp cures them emitting at 395nm.

    • Andrea says:

      Hi George. This is not a problem with the Gelish 18G lamp since the inside is lined with reflective materials and the light bounces around to hit all areas of the nail. I cannot answer your question about the wavelength emission.

  21. Kola says:

    Hey gals, I’m so ready to receive my new Gelish 18g lamp soon, I’m looking all over the net for “compatible gels” because so far the best prices I’ve found are on ebay but I’m super picky about which colors I want to start my collection with… Do Essie gels work with this LED Lamp, I also notice a lot of nail art and applications under a gel top coat… what would happen if I used my gelish base coats with a migi nail art pen (or any “regular” nail polish colors) and then top with gel, I assumed anything could be locked into the gel to make the manicure last longer but I’m dying to get confirmation! Thanks ;)

  22. Laura says:

    I just ordered the 18G gelish lamp. I am very excited! Maybe the hubby will quit teasing me about how long it takes me to do my nails….. :)

  23. Kass says:

    hi there!
    I’ve had a string of clients come back to me with the gelpolish/gelish manicures lifting/peeling off.
    I have been doing this for a couple of years now and have not had any problems before now. I have not changed my procedure and I am pedantic with my prep and application.
    Im using a LED lamp bought off Ebay last year and it has been great – although wonder if its loosing its oomph!
    i have noticed that one bulb is out. – is it possible that its my lamp that is causing these issues?

  24. Lisa says:

    Hi, I’ve been dying to buy the Gelish lamp for some time, but I can’t seem to get a straight answer regarding the electricity… I live outside of the US and out electricity is 220-240 volts, unlike 120 in US. I read in one source that the lamp is for both voltages, and somewhere else that it is 120 only. Many electrical appliances today are on both… Phone chargers, computers even hair dryers. It is written on the power source of the cord what voltage range it is. Could you check to see what is written on the actual product? I would be sooo appreciative!!

    Thanks, Lisa

    • Andrea says:

      I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for but the cord itself says 300V, and the box connecting the 2 cords says input 100-240V. Does that help??

  25. Gemma says:

    Hi, what’s the difference between the pro 45 led lamp to the 5-45 led lamp? Unsure on what to get as don’t know the difference.

  26. Mary says:

    Hi Andrea,

    I’ve been doing some research and thinking about trying the gel manicure. I’m drawn to it because of the super quick cure/dry times. However large or small the chance of getting cancer from the UV light, I would be using an LED lamp. The thing that is keeping me from “pulling the trigger” on a purchase is this… I’ve read that in order to properly anchor the gel manicure, one must lightly rough up the surface of the natural nail.

    Is this true, or can I get a good long-lasting gel mani by using a “sticky” type of base coat?? I really want to do this, but if my nails are going to suffer, it will be a no-brainer for me – I just won’t go there. I am also concerned about soaking my nails in acetone (usually use a non-acetone polish remover). Would think that it wouldn’t be good for the nail to strip it of it’s moisture. Is there any other way to remove the gel polish that is more gentle on the nails?

    Thanks very much for your thoughts.

  27. D says:

    Hi Andrea,

    I am deciding between the 45 and 18 lamp. I am wondering if there is any difference in teh quality of the curing between the 45 and 18? Does the polish cure just as hard with the 45?

    Time isn’t really an issue for me, but I’d like to save some $ if they cure the same. My issue is the polish not curing and hardening properly.

    Thanks so much Andrea!

    • Andrea says:

      I haven’t used the 45 so I can’t say for sure. My understanding was that it had the same curing power but without the bells and whistles. You might reach out to a distributor or the manufacturer directly to confirm. Thanks.

  28. huda says:

    What are the dimensions of this product? Before I order mine, I want to purchase a storage bag for it so that when it comes in the mail, I already have the storage bag to keep it in.

  29. I am interested in buying this lamp but I use many brands for my gel services. Is it compatible with hard gels as well as soft? Is it compatible with other brands of soft gels? It’s hard for me to limit my options! Lol

  30. Anna Calderon says:

    I bought mine earlier this year;the light goes on for a second and go off! I bought it on Amazon for over $200, am truly disappointed! Where i live you have to order these things! It was workinv fabulos but for the proce i thought it would last longer.

    • Andrea says:

      That’s disappointing. You can switch the lamp to manual mode if you plug it in while your hand is in the lamp. Then you can press the buttons on the back to turn it on when you cure. I know that’s not ideal, but just wanted to mention it so that you can still use the lamp even if the sensor has gone bad.

  31. Linda says:

    I just got my 18G LED lamp yesterday in the mail, from Amazon. I’m very excited to use it. I mainly have shellac, but some Gelish. I’m hoping to use this on my shellac also. Would it be best to use my gelish base and top coat with a shellac color, to work properly? Or could I just use my shellac system? Thank you.

    • Andrea says:

      Shellac recommends curing in a UV lamp, not LED. Some of my Shellacs do cure in my LED lamp, but it’s hit and miss. I would do some testing on swatch sticks.

  32. Diane says:

    we are enjoying our 18g LED light for the speed and ease of use. We do not fan our fingers out but rather hold them close with the thumb pulled in to the side of the hand to ensure the side lights cure it properly. We have been experiencing some incidents of hot spots but they only last a moment. It’s enough to have the client pull out but we just ask them to put their hand back in. I have been trying to figure out at what stage in the process this overheating occurs. Today it happened to me with my first coat of colour after the base coat. Anyone else having these?

  33. Leanne says:

    hi, does anybody use O.P.I gel polish and if so, does it cure well using 18G Gelish lamp?
    Thanks :)

  34. Kelly says:

    I know this is an old post but I wanted to say thank you anyways. I find your blog so helpful. I am not a professional nail tech, just someone who likes to do my own nails. I love reading your polish reviews too. So glad I am not the only one who has trouble with the light pink polishes fading, lol! Anyway after reading your review on the Gelish 18g led lamp, I decided to bite the bullet and buy it. I too was concerned about the cost, but didn’t want to risk going without a warranty so I purchased from I Googled sally beauty coupons and came up with a 20% off coupon. And lo and behold, it worked! With my Sally card discount, with tax it came to $321. So much better than the full price of $399. Just FYI for those who still want the manufacturers warranty.

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