UV vs Led Nail Lamp: Differences, Safety, Pros, Cons, and Alternative Methods

When we talk about gel nail polishes, immediately the thought of a nail lamp strikes us. Everyone knows the purpose of these lamps, which is to cure the gel polishes as they take time to harden. But do you know the basic difference between the two most commonly used lamps for curing gel polishes? Uv vs Led nail lamp are the two devices used for curing gel nail polishes. Well, there lies the basic difference between these two lamps, and in this article, we are here to make you aware of every little detail related to nail lamps.

Both UV vs LED nail lamps produce light which helps the gel polish harden. The basic difference between the two is the type of bulbs they use, the time they take to do their job, and the type of light they produce. The most common myth regarding these lamps is that they produce different wavelengths of light, but the truth is they both produce UV wavelengths only.

Basic Differences Uv Vs Led Nail Lamp:

Type of Wavelength They Produce:

Talking about UV lamps, the wavelength it emits is of a broader spectrum whereas LED lamps produce a narrower and more targeted number of wavelengths that focuses directly.


In most cases, it has been observed that the bulb in a UV lamp lasts for about 4000 hours and it needs replacement after every 6 months or so. While a LED lamp comes with the advantage of long-lasting duration as the bulb can last up to 5000 to even 10000 hours. But these numbers may vary depending upon the quality of bulbs you are purchasing and how frequently you are using the lamps.


The price greatly varies for different companies and their standardizations. Also, it depends upon the type of bulb watt you are buying. However, LED lamps are more pricey than UV lamps.

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Wattage Needed to Cure the Polish:

The best watt to cure the gel nail polish is 36w. Although the higher the watt, the faster your gel polish dries.

Pros and Cons:

Both UV and LED lamps are very effective in curing gel polishes. The only difference lies in their timing. A UV lamp takes more time to cure the polish, for about 2 minutes. A LED lamp on the other hand hardens very quickly within 30 seconds or in some cases even less.
Although LED lamps do not need frequent replacement of the bulb a UV lamp does after every 6 to 7 months. However, both are safe to use and do the same work but as everyone wants everything to be done quickly, go for LED lamps.

uv vs led nail lamp
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How to Cure Nails Without Uv Light / Some Alternatives to Uv Light for Gel Nails:

Well, if you think gel polish comes with a lot of mess and the requirement of UV or LED lamps are making you think twice before getting a gel polish, we are here with a solution. Yes, you can rock your gel polish and look stunning with those beautiful colors even without the use of lamps.

Create an Ice Water Bath:

Take a bowl, fill it with some ice and dip your nails in it for a few minutes. After taking out your hand, let the nail polish dry naturally in the air. It may take a few hours.

Opt for a Thinner Coat:

This is not an ideal way but can be used if you are avoiding the lamps. While applying the gel polish, use thinner coats which will dry faster than the usual ones.

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Use a Quick-drying Nail Polish Spray:

Well, this option is always available for you, if you are a nail paint lover. Use a nail polish spray which will help to make the gel polish dry quicker. After drying, use a clean towel to dry off the nails and surrounding skin.

Purchase a Non-uv Gel Polish:

Yes, this option is open for you. Though many must be unaware of this nail polish, it is considered the ideal way to avoid the use of UV or LED lamps. Whenever buying a gel nail polish, check the label to see if it is a non-UV gel polish.

Is It Safe to Use Led or Uv Lamps?

The prime concern of every woman remains safety. And so this question needs answering. We all know that UV light causes damage to the skin, but the exposure to UV rays during the drying process is very minimal so it is safe. Also, it is advised to not use these lamps very often.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About Base Coat


How long does it take to cure gel polish?

* If you are using a UV lamp it takes about 2 minutes and in the case of LED lamps, the time is much reduced to 15 to 30 seconds.
* So, most of the times, LED are considered.

When does a lamp bulb need changing?

In the case of a UV lamp, the bulb needs changing after every 6 months. Whereas LED lamps can last for up to a year. Also, the change depends upon the quality of the bulb you are using and how frequently you use it.

Can you use a UV light on regular nail polish?

A UV light on a regular nail polish won’t help speed up the process. Because regular polish uses evaporation to dry while gel polish contains a polymer that requires hardening.

Are LED nail lamps safe?

* Yes, they are safe. Because the exposure to UV light is quite minimal and won’t cause any damage.
* But it is advised to not use the lamps very often.

Best wattage for UV nail lamps?

* The best wattage is considered to be 36w.
* More version can also be provided but its better when the watt is 36.

Can I use an LED flashlight to cure gel nails?

* No, it is better if you do not cure the gel nails with the flashlight as they are not designed for curing gel polishes and will not benefit you much.
* LED or UV are only the best option to try for great results.

Why do you need UV light for gel nails?

The gel nail polishes contain a polymer that needs to be hardened to look perfect and do its job as nail polish. Therefore, it is required to use a UV light on gel nails, or else they won’t harden and do the job.

Will a black light cure gel polish?

* Yes, a black light can cure gel polish.
* Since black light emits UVA radiation, it is less harmful than usual but takes around 1 to 2 minutes to dry fully.

My nails itch after using poly gel and builder gel, is it because of lamps?

The poly gel contains a chemical that many people may be allergic to. It causes rashes and itchiness not only on the nails but also on other body parts. Also, some people are allergic to UV light and their skin is very sensitive and cannot hold that. Always be sure about your allergies and then only go ahead with gel nail polishes and UV exposures.

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