The Best Compact LED Gel Nail Dryer

When I was interested in trying gel nail polish, I went on a hunt to find the best LED gel nail dryer and gel nail polish to get started. I’m happy to report that I found both.

This nail dryer checked all my boxes and has been an incredible addition to my beauty routine. I can have my nails painted and ready to go in about 25 minutes (or less, when my nails are short and I can be less careful).

Image of the nail dryer from Pinterest.

Note: I use Amazon affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase using my link, I get a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your help in keeping this blog running!

What I Look for in a Nail Dryer

Everyone has different preferences, but here’s what I look for in a nail dryer:

  • LED instead of UV light – LED bulbs last longer and dry your gel polish faster.
  • Small and light – I don’t have a whole table to spare for a salon-style nail lamp, so it had to be easy to set up and store.
  • Portable – I needed a simple and easy-to-carry lamp that I could take to different corners of my apartment, to friends’ places, or on trips.
  • Dependable – I didn’t want to deal with flickering bulbs, popped buttons, or weak seams.

You’ll notice that I didn’t put “price” on here. I was willing to invest in something excellent if that’s where my research led me. Luckily, I landed on the Vanity Planet LED nail dryer, which can be less than $40 if you find the right deal for it. More about that in a sec…

My Favorite Features

This nail dryer is about as small as you can get, which is the perfect size for me. It’s small and light but it’s also deep, so I can fit all my non-thumb fingers underneath with room to spread them out nicely.

If I want to dry all five fingers at once, I can flip my hand and hover the lamp over my nails. The lamp is light and easy to hold.

The quality of this lamp feels pretty good. It’s not quite salon-quality, but it’s held up perfectly in the year and a half that I’ve had it. The only way you can tell it’s used is by my smudged fingerprints on it.

This dryer uses a button to control the light. There are motion-sensitive lamps that turn on and off as you move your hand under the lamp, but I prefer a standard button, especially for a light this size. I like having more control and I like being able to pick up and move it while I’m drying my nails. I feel like I would also be more prone to bumping my wet nails into something with the motion sensors.

The button turns on the light for 60 seconds, which is more than enough time. Gel nail polish requires multiple thin layers, so as long as you follow that rule, you’ll have no problem at all.

If you want to see this lamp in action, check out my video review.

Getting a Good Price

I stumbled across this Vanity Planet nail dryer by chance when I was watching some YouTube videos to learn how to apply gel nail polish properly. I loved the simple design and how easy it was to move around and stow away.

But I got a bit of sticker shock when I saw that it’s listed at $95 on Vanity Planet’s site. I was willing to pay it for a good lamp, but for a travel-sized lamp, I wasn’t so sure.

I returned with a coupon code and was able to grab it for about $38 after tax and shipping. I joyously jumped in and started using it, and I love it, but that price jump kept me from talking much about it on here. I couldn’t recommend this product in good conscience if the price could fluctuate so much depending on whether you had a coupon code and who you got it from.

After a year and a half, this lamp is still going strong, so I decided to check Amazon on a hunch. Sure enough, it was listed for around $28 when I first checked. At the time I’m writing this, it’s listed at $35.99. And it’s on Amazon Prime!

The Best LED Nail Dryer

You can keep an eye on it if you want to see how the price changes over time, but $36 on Prime is still cheaper than what I paid with a coupon code on Vanity Planet, so I recommend going for it now!

If you’d prefer to purchase it from Vanity Planet, try using the coupon code VPA50 for 50% off. That puts it at around $48 before tax and shipping.

You’ll Love Gel Nail Polish

If you haven’t used gel nail polish yet, I think you should look into it. It lasts longer and rarely chips once you know how to use it properly. It took me a couple tries to figure out the right way to prep my nails and apply it, but now I turn to gel polish almost every time I paint my nails!

The removal is a bit of a process, but you can grab some pre-soaked nail foils or use a peel-off base coat (maybe cruelty-free) underneath. A couple of other musts for me are a silicone nail mat to keep the process mess-free and cuticle oil pens (cruelty-free and vegan) to keep my nails healthy and happy.

I’m currently trying to figure out the best way to use a peel-off base coat without losing my nail polish after half a day, so let me know if you’re interested in learning about that. I would also be happy to talk about my favorite gel polishes and how I apply them.

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