Nail Curing Lights: LED vs. UV

Nail Curing Lights: LED vs. UV

Salon manicures always have a luxurious glow. This radiance comes from a precise and calculated combination of prepped nail care and high-quality polishes. However, perhaps the most effective tool used to seal and protect the classic, long-lasting glow of nails is the curing method used to dry them. Continue reading our blog to learn more about nail curing lights and the difference between LED vs. UV.

How Does Nail Curing Work?

Both LED and UV lamps emit UV wavelengths. Gel and acrylic manicures use polishes that contain a chemical known as a photoinitiator. This chemical hardens when placed under direct UV wavelengths. Gel and acrylic nails last longer and are chip resistant because of the chemical reaction between photoinitiators and UV wavelengths. Both of these curing lights are essential professional nail tools


While both of these lamps emit the same type of light, they have different processes for drying nails. For example, LED lights have a less broad spectrum of UV wavelengths compared to UV lamps. Since LED lights emit narrower wavelengths, their lights are more targeted to specific sections of nails.

LED lights also dry nails much more quickly than standard UV lamps. The average time to cure nails completely with a LED light is 30 seconds. This drying time is a significant advantage over the two minutes it takes the average UV lamp to finish drying the nails.    

UV Lamps

Although UV lamps do require lengthier drying times to finish nails, these lamps also come with their advantages. For example, UV lamps are typically less expensive compared to LED lights. However, their lower price is not an indicator of lower quality.

UV lamps work similarly to LED lights by emitting UV wavelengths to seal and harden photoinitiators in polishes. UV lamps release broader wavelengths compared to LED lights and utilize light bulbs rather than battery lights. These bulbs will typically need replacements every six months to ensure the lamps are strong enough for curing nails. So, although LED lights are more expensive, they avoid these secondary costs. Consider which of these two methods fits best with your salon budget.

After you’ve finished all the prepping and polishing, drying your nails should be the easy part of a manicure. Look over these details on nail curing lights and the differences between LED vs. UV lamps to find the best drying method to seal your professional manicures.

Once you’ve decided what curing light works best for you, check out our website to browse our lights and find the best tool to give you that classic salon glow.