LED Gel Lamp Comparison May 04 2017, 0 Comments

I’ve owned a nail salon now for about seven years. We’ve really seen the gel manicure business become very popular and comprise a large percentage of service requests. Over this time we’ve seen the gel products and equipment evolve as well.

Case Study: How To Increase Gel Manicure Sales?

In terms of the equipment, when we first started the best lamp tested was the CND UV Lamp. The lamp used four 9-watt compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) for a total of 36 watts to cure the gel. The CFL bulbs are the long round tube-like bulbs that are inserted into the lamp.


The lamp cured any gel we used very well, had easy-to-use timers, and all the features needed for a professional gel lamp. The only problem we faced with the CND UV Lamp was a hardware design issue. The lamp included a removable power cord that you would plug into a black receptor in the rear of the lamp (see below).

With normal wear-and-tear the receptor would become loose or crack altogether making the lamp unusable.


After some investigating I discovered the black power receptor was held in place by two plastic pieces screwed into a metal brace. Over time these plastic pieces would crack. I found you could glue the metal bracket to the inside wall of the machine and this would prolong the life span of the lamp but wasn’t an indefinite fix.

As the equipment has evolved Light Emitting Diodes or LED lamps have become very popular. They require less maintenance than the old CFL lamps. With the old CFL lamps you had to replace the bulbs every 100 hours or so…or when you dropped the lamp and they broke ;). Also, the curing process is faster with the LED lamps and will reduce curing time from six to three minutes or roughly 50% (For more details on the curing process see the link below).  The newer lamps also seem to have new features like motion sensors or rechargeable batteries.  

Read: Do LED Gel Lamps Use Ultraviolet Light?

We are now testing LED lamps at the salon and have been using the CND LED Lamp and Gelish LED 18G Plus. Below is a comparison matrix and quick summary of each lamp to help assist you in selecting the best lamp for your needs.

 Comparison Matrix CND LED Lamp Gelish LED 18G Plus
Price $150 $199
Lamp Design Open Enclosed
Watts 36 36
Size (inches) 8.3 x 8.2 x 4 9.8 x 8.9 x 5.9
Bottom Removable* No Yes
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year
Ranking Star RankingStar Ranking
Star RankingStar RankingStar RankingStar RankingHalf Star
* A removable bottom helps when performing gel pedicures.



Quick Summary (2 Stars): I’m not sure who is designing the lamps for CND but I think they need to make a change. We had two major issues with this lamp. The plug is on the bottom of the lamp for some reason and we faced intermittent power issues. It would basically turn on/off on us for no reason. If you look at some review boards customers have also had issues with this and some have even “sparked.” Second, the lamp has what I can describe best as an “open” design. So, you feel like you are getting blasted with UV light. We also had some issues with hand sizes do to the awkward opening.  The lamp resides in the higher end of the price range at $150.


Gelish LED 18G Plus

Quick Summary (4.5 Stars): In our testing and day-to-day use at the salon this is the best overall LED lamp we have used so far. Cures the gel very well in a short drying time. It’s durable…..we have a few of these units now in use and they’ve each been dropped a few times and still work well. It is small and compact and has a removable bottom tray that helps when doing gel pedicures. Lastly, the lamp is designed like the old CND UV Lamp having a “enclosed” design so the technician and customer are not exposed to unnecessary UV light.  The Gelish lamp is one of the most expensive lamps on the market at $199.


If you found this information helpful and decide to purchase any of these lamps please use the Amazon links provided. We get a small percentage of any purchase you make from Amazon and this helps fund the blog. Lastly, if you have any lamps you would like us to test or want to provide feedback please do so in the comments section below.

 © OC Nails, 2017 All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.