March 26, 2013
I receive a lot of questions about UV and LED lamps for curing gel polish, and thought it might be helpful to provide a brief comparison of the two.
|Cost||More affordable||Generally more expensive, though prices are starting to come down|
|Curing Time||2 minutes||30-60 seconds|
|Efficiency||Use more energy (less efficient)||Use less energy and are more eco-friendly|
|Bulb Life||Bulbs need to be replaced periodically||Bulbs last the life of the lamp and never need replacement|
|Types of polish||Effectively cures ALL types of gel polish||Only cures polishes that are formulated for LED technology|
Most soak off gel (SOG) manufacturers sell lamps that are compatible with their products, and you would likely get the best results when using a lamp provided by the manufacturer. I personally like to use a variety of brands and find that my Thermal Spa UV lamp is very reliable when it comes to curing all different types of gel polish. As I mentioned above, not all polishes are formulated to work with LED lamps so if you own one you should check with the polish manufacturers to determine which ones are compatible. Many believe that LED is the future of SOG and most brands will provide LED formulated products over time. In the meantime, I’ll keep my UV light handy!
I will also comment quickly that both types of lamps emit UV light, and that one lamp is not “safer” than the other in terms of UV exposure. Read my previous article about two quick and easy things you can to to minimize UV exposure during your gel manicure.
Below are a few lamp recommendations:
Thermal Spa UV Lamp: I own and love this lamp. I’ve been using it for 2 years and haven’t had to change the bulbs yet (knock on wood). You can cure both hands at once in this lamp and it has a timer so it turns off automatically when the curing time is up.
Shany UV Gel Lamp: This lamp was recommended by friends as a cheaper alternative to the Thermal Spa unit. This lamp also has a timer built in. It’s more compact and is only big enough to cure one hand at a time.
Royal Nails 54 Watt UV Lamp: I have not personally used this lamp, but it’s another popular brand that many of my SOG friends like to use. It’s a two-handed variety and has great reviews.
Harmony Gelish 18G LED Lamp: Gelish makes and recommends this lamp for curing their products. If you read my blog, you know that I’m a huge Gelish fanatic and recommend their products. Some of my fellow SOG addicts use and recommend using this lamp with all LED polishes. It cures Gelish foundation in just 5 seconds, and colors in 30 seconds! Many pros use this lamp, and it’s on my personal wish list. Update: I now own this lamp and LOVE IT!!!!! Read my review here.
Harmony Gelish 5-45 LED Lamp: Gelish recently released a less expensive version of their LED lamp. This one has the curing power of the 18G lamp, but without all of the bells and whistles.
Thermal Spa One Hand LED Lamp: This is a more economical LED lamp that fits all five fingers, and it’s a brand that I am familiar with and recommend.