5 Awesome Gel Nail Kits You Can Use to Create Beautiful Nails at Home.

Thinking of buying a gel nail kit?

Great idea!

Doing your own gel nails at home is fast, easy, and waaaay cheaper than going to the salon.

But which one should you go for?

Well, I’m about to share all my best tips and tricks to help you choose a great gel nail kit.

Then I’ll show you my top 5 gel nail kits.

Here are the kits we’ll be reviewing today:

Best choice of colors

Best budget nail kit

Best vegan and non-toxic nail kit

Best gel nail kit for nail art

Best gel nail kit for hands and feet

But before we jump into product reviews, let’s take a look at some faq’s and important things to know before you buy.

Here’s a list of contents for easy navigation:

Do my polish and lamp brand need to match?

What should I look for in a gel nail kit?

What kind of lamp should I go for?

What’s the best way to use a gel nail kit?

Our top 5 gel nail kits

Final thoughts, useful links and my biggest tip!

Do my polish and my lamp brand need to match?

You might not have thought much about this, but it’s actually pretty important!

You see, every gel polish brand has its own unique formula.

This means that the chemicals used and the quantities in the bottle can vary quite a bit between brands.

Each brand designs its own lamp.

Every brand uses a specific light wavelength. One that will give you the best results when using their products.

It’s all very sciency.

But what it boils down to is that it’s always better to use a Green Flash lamp with a Green Flash polish for example.

Yes, you might be able to get away with using your gel nail lamp to cure another brand.

But it’s risky. You may well end up with either under-cured (soft n mushy) or over-cured (dry/brittle and chip prone) nails.

My advice is to find a good gel nail polish brand with a wide range of colors that you love.

Check out my recommendations below – they all have great reviews.

Once you have found the brand for you, buy the complete kit (including the lamp) and stick with that brand.

What should I look for in a gel nail kit?

Gel nail kits come in different shapes and sizes.

Some include extras like files, clippers, brushes, lint-free wipes, or cuticle oil.

While others include only the lamp and the polish.

If you are starting out and you don’t have any nail stuff at all, then a kit that comes with a lot of tools might be a good idea.

Some gel nail kits don’t include the lamp – so make sure you double-check that your kit comes with a lamp!

If you already have some basic tools – like a nail file and a cuticle pusher – then you might not need any extra tools.

Before you buy, you want to make sure that the kit you’re looking at has everything you need to do your own gel nails at home.

So if you’re starting from scratch look for a gel nail kit that includes these basic items:

  • A gel base coat
  • A gel topcoat
  • At least one color gel polish
  • A UV or LED lamp (more about which one is better later…)
  • A nail file

You may also need to buy a gel nail polish remover and some lint free wipes separately.

But that’s really all you need to get started.

What kind of lamp should I go for?

Perhaps the most important thing you’re going to want to base your decision around is the lamp itself.

I could talk about gel nail lamps all day, but I don’t wanna bore you!

Instead, I’ll try to boil down my knowledge into helpful, bitesize chunks.

Here’s a great video that’s full of useful information about gel nails in general:

Basically with lamps, you have 2 choices:

A UV gel nail lamp

or

an LED nail lamp.

A UV gel nail lamp uses UV (ultraviolet) light to cure nails.

UV lamps take longer to cure (usually about 2 minutes per coat) but may be cheaper.

This is because the bulbs in UV lamps don’t last as long as those in LED lamps.

With a UV lamp, you’ll get around 4000 hours of usage before you need to replace the bulbs.

An LED lamp uses a different type of wavelength to cure gel polish.

Most LED lamps can cure a single coat of gel polish in  30 to 60 seconds!

The bulbs in LED lamps also last a lot longer than the bulbs in UV lamps. Another reason why they are often more expensive.

You can expect to get almost double the usage from an LED lamp compared to a UV lamp.

I currently use this LED lamp from Green Flash. I recently found out about this company.

They make non-toxic vegan gel nail polishes from natural plant-based ingredients like sugarcane, wheat, and corn. 

It has 3 timer settings, 30, 60, and 99 seconds.

What’s the best way to use a gel nail kit?

Start with clean nails filed into the shape you want.

Then apply a gel nail base coat and cure for either 2 minutes (if you’re using a UV lamp) or 60 seconds if you are using an LED lamp.

Don’t go to the very edge of your nails. If you get any polish on your cuticles, wipe it off before you cure.

If you don’t it will go rock hard after curing and you won’t be able to get it off!

Apply a thin coat of color then cure for 2 minutes (UV) or 60 seconds (LED).

Apply a second coat of color and cure according to your manufacturer’s instructions.

Then apply your gel nail top coat and cure for double the time (so 4 minutes for a UV lamp and 2 minutes for an LED lamp).

Some brands leave a sticky residue on your nails that you need to wipe off.

**Green Flash does not leave a sticky residue so if you go for that one you can skip this step.**

Wipe your finished nails with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free wipe.

Our top 5 gel nail kits

After a ton of research and testing, we finally whittled down our list to these 5 gel nail kits.

We’ve judged the kits based on value for money, color choice, lamp quality, how long the manicure lasts, and what’s included in the kit.

Whether you’re a total beginner, a vegan, a color junkie or you’re on a budget, you’ll find a kit that works for you below.

Time to reveal the best of the best!

Best choice of colors

Color junkies – this one’s for you!

Looking for a quality gel nail kit that comes with a good selection of colors?

Then my top pick is this gel polish starter kit, (click to check price on Amazon)

It has everything you need to get started and there are 16 different color collections to choose from.

Each of the 16 kits comes with the same lamp and tools, but they all come with a different set of 6 colors.

The color selections are amazing!

You can get a set of pastels, shimmers, or neons (yes, all of that please!).

You can also get a mix that has some glitter and some regular polishes.

Beetles gel polishes are 9 free. So no need to worry about nasties like lead, formaldehyde, camphor, and parabens.

If 6 colors aren’t enough you can also buy more colors here (click to check price on Amazon)

What’s included?

  • A 48-watt combination UV/LED lamp
  • 6 x full-sized gel nail polishes (7.5 ml)
  • 1 x base coat (7.5 ml)
  • 2 x topcoats (1 shiny, 1 matte – both 7.5 ml)
  • Cuticle oil
  • A metal cuticle pusher
  • Nail clipper
  • A cuticle fork (used for trimming loose bits of cuticle)
  • A hard bristle brush
  • A soft bristle brush
  • A soft sponge nail buffer
  • A washable nail file
  • A pair of toe dividers

**Please note that this lamp doesn’t have a bottom – don’t worry it’s designed that way to make it lighter and easier to use**

How long did the manicure last? 11 days!

Here are our pros and cons for this kit:

Pros:

  • Cures 1 coat in 60 seconds
  • Good brushes – polish is easy to apply for beginners
  • Beautiful vibrant colors
  • Salon quality finish
  • Easy to remove
  • Lightweight professional lamp
  • Cuticle oil smells good
  • Comes with everything you need if you are new to this
  • Excellent investment if you usually go to the salon

Cons:

  • Colors may look slightly different in person
  • The pink buffer is a little course (you need to be gentle)
  • Some people may need longer than 60 seconds to cure (depends on how thick you put it on)

Best budget gel nail kit.

This Ab gel nail polish kit (click to check price on amazon)

is a great value option if you just wanna dip your toe in (or should that be fingernail in?) and see if doing your own gel nails at home works for you.

This is a great gel nail starter kit that costs less than a single manicure in most salons.

It comes with 8 mini gel polishes (5 ml each) and all the tools you need to do your own gel nails at home.

There’s a decent variety of colors and they’re pretty cute.

You get an apple green, a yellow, a blush pink, lilac, white, a mid pink, an orangy-red, and a purple shimmer.

What’s included?

  • A 36 watt UV/LED lamp
  • 8 mini gel polish colors (5 ml)
  • 1 x base coat (5 ml)
  • 2 x topcoat (1 Matte, 1 shiny both 5 ml)
  • 2 nail files
  • 1 metal cuticle pusher
  • A soft brush
  • A cuticle fork (used for trimming loose bits of cuticle)
  • Cuticle oil
  • Nail clippers
  • A pair of toe dividers
  • 20 Nail cleansing wipes
  • 50 Nail polish remover wipes

How long did the manicure last? 10 days

Pros:

  • Great value – costs less than a single salon visit!
  • Easy to use
  • Goes on like regular nail polish
  • Nice selection of colors
  • Comes off easily without damaging your nails
  • Good service from this seller
  • Professional quality lamp

Cons:

  • Small bottles
  • No color choice
  • Some of the colors (like yellow) needed 3 coats because they were translucent
  • Instructions can be a bit confusing

Best vegan and non-toxic (award-winning) gel nail kit

I recently discovered Green Flash and I’m happy I did.

I have to say that I’m super impressed with their philosophy and the quality of their products.

I tested their Full Kit Pro. (click to check price)

They make gel polishes from the kind of ingredients you’d expect to find in your kitchen pantry.

Green Flash uses natural and plant-based ingredients like sugar cane, corn, and wheat to make gel nail polish.

I have to say I was a tad skeptical at first – like is this really going to last?

But this stuff is amazing!

I can’t tell the difference between Green Flash and other top-quality gel polishes I’ve tried.

No wonder Cosmopolitan gave them an award!

My Green Flash manicure looked perfect and lasted for 11 days.

I only redid it because the growth gaps at the bottom were getting on my nerves.

The Green Flash full kit pro comes with a very stylish-looking lamp.

You even get some super cute stickers that you can use to customize it – yay!

What’s included?

  • High quality LED lamp with an automatic sensor
  • A base coat
  • A top coat (glossy finish)
  • Specially formulated remover
  • 1 full-sized color of your choice from their full range
  • Instructions and customizable stickers for your lamp!

This kit is great if you want a high-quality finish without compromising the health of your nails.

It doesn’t come with any tools, but all you really need is a nail file and possibly a cuticle pusher (I actually just use my thumb nail to push my cuticles back).

Pros:

  • Salon quality finish
  • Beautiful colors
  • Non-toxic
  • Vegan
  • Winner of the Cosmopolitan beauty award (summer 2021)
  • Long-lasting without the usual chemicals
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Very high-quality lamp that fully cures in 60 seconds

Cons:

  • The remover only works with Green Flash polish
  • The polish dissolves and comes off in bits (not really a problem but it’s a bit messy)
  • You only get one color with the kit (you can buy more colors separately)

(Click to check price)

Best gel nail kit for nail art

I love a simple, classic all one color mani. But it can get boring.

So I like to throw in an accent nail, mix up my colors, or add a bit of nail art from time to time.

The trouble is that it’s so hard to get good results with gel polish nail art.

I tried simple polka dots last week and despite double (and even triple) curing, they still ran and looked all streaky 🙁

This pro gel starter kit (click to check price on amazon)

comes with stickers and gems, so you can take your mani to the next level without the risk of colors bleeding together – hoorah!

If you want sophisticated and classy polish colors then this could be the one to go for.

There are 5 different color collections to choose from and the pink lamp is totally cute!

What’s Included?

  • A 48 watt pink LED lamp
  • Basecoat (10 ml)
  • Topcoat (10 ml)
  • Primer (10 ml)
  • 7 x mini gel polish colors (6 ml)
  • Nail art stickers
  • Nail art gems
  • A cuticle fork (used for trimming loose bits of cuticle)
  • Metal cuticle pusher
  • Nail clippers
  • Cuticle oil
  • A pair of toe dividers
  • Nail file
  • Buffer
  • A soft bristle brush
  • Tweezers (for gem application)

How long did the manicure last? 9 days.

Pros:

  • Comes with a super cute pink lamp
  • Includes stickers and gems
  • Nice classy color selection
  • Comes with easy to follow step by step instructions
  • Good value
  • Good quality tools
  • The primer helps your nails last longer
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Very shiny topcoat

Cons:

  • Small bottles (6 ml)
  • Customer service from this seller isn’t the best
  • Colors look different IRL
  • Some colors need 3 coats to look right

Best gel nail kit for hands and feet

Want salon-standard mani pedis for you and/or friends and family?

This complete gel nail starter kit (click to check price on amazon) could be just what you’re looking for.

The lamp is specially designed to accommodate the whole hand at once so you don’t need to cure your thumbs separately.

The trick is in the placement of the LED’s. It’s a great time saver.

The high arch of the lamp also means that you can easily get your feet under there too!

***Please note that for the best results with this lamp you should cure your fingers with the logo facing you and your feet with it facing away from you!***

What’s Included?

  • A 36 watt LED lamp with an automatic sensor
  • 6 x full-sized gel polish colors (8 ml)
  • A buffer
  • A file
  • A cuticle fork (used for trimming loose bits of cuticle)
  • Cuticle oil
  • A dotting tool (for nail art)
  • A metal cuticle pusher
  • Toe dividers
  • Cleansing wipes
  • A medium bristle brush
  • Tip guides
  • Striping tape
  • Gems

How long did the manicure last? 9 days.

Pros:

  • Fits the whole hand under at once (no need to cure thumbs separately)
  • Fits feet under for pedicures
  • A fantastic lamp that cures well
  • Nice smelling cuticle oil
  • Beautiful colors
  • Good customer service from this seller
  • Great value budget-friendly kit
  • Easy to apply

Cons:

  • Colors look different in person ( a bit lighter)
  • Some of the lighter colors need 3 coats
  • Not the best polish quality compared to the other kits in this line-up (you may want to try a different polish brand)

Final thoughts, useful links and my biggest tip.

You don’t need to spend a fortune to get salon-quality gel nails at home.

My biggest tip would be that the amount you spend and the kit you buy is far less important than your technique.

I’ve seen so many complaints about poor quality polish or lamps not curing properly.

But nine times out of 10 the user is doing something wrong.

If you want your gel mani to last then proper preparation is key.

So please, take a look at our how to apply gel nail polish article or our why won’t my gel polish stay on? post before you start.

Especially if you’re a beginner. Trust me it just might save you a lot of money and frustration!

I hope you found this information useful.

Thanks for reading.

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