Nail Dryers: Types, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Check out this great guide to nail dryers and find the best one for you.
Nail Dryers: Types, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Last update: 29 January, 2023

Over time, the manicure has become a professional and even artistic activity in some cases. Nowadays, you can see very original and creative designs applied with nail polish. In this context, nail dryers have become an essential tool to achieve a professional finish.

Whether you are thinking of doing your own nails or you prefer to go to the salon, it’s important to be aware of the different dryers that exist. There are many women who choose to do their nails at home and, perhaps it’s a good idea to think about buying some of the models that we will introduce you to below.

What are nail dryers?

When you decide to do your nails at home, you may use common nail polishes that, although the final finish is good, it’s far from that achieved when you have your nails done by a professional. This is because salons use gel or acrylic polishes, whose finish is much more shiny and resistant.

Professional polishes are not air-dried, but require special nail dryers.

Although there are different types of nail dryers, in general, these are devices that work with an ultraviolet light that hardens the UV gel of the professional polish. In this sense, this tool is characterized by drying the nails surprisingly fast.

If you have already done your nails, you know what we are talking about. On the contrary, if you have never tried these dryers, you will be surprised when after a few seconds you notice that your nails are completely dry.

We’re talking about a maximum of 120 seconds to dry your nails and continue with your daily activities. While it is true that there are lower-power models, none of them will take more than 5 minutes to dry the polish.

Having nails done.
Professional manicure work involves some tools that achieve a neat and striking finish.

Types of nail dryers

There are different types of nail dryers. The choice will vary depending on what we need.

We can find those for home use and those for professional use. So let’s briefly go over what each of them is about.

Portable nail dryers

These are small, and you can take them with you wherever you want. In general, they tend to be battery-operated and are extremely easy to use.

LED dryers

This model can be used at home or in professional salons. It’s somewhat expensive, but it’s worth it for its efficiency. It uses bulbs that do not produce environmental pollution.

Ultraviolet (UV) lamp dryer

This is the most used in beauty salons because of its cost and speed of drying. It also offers several power levels for each type of nail polish.

Which nail dryer is best?

If we leave aside the cost of the dryer, since in this case, the ultraviolet light dryer would always be the one to choose, we have to take into account other variables. Let’s take a closer look.


As for the drying time, we know that any of these models will dry our nails much faster than if we let them dry in the open air (as long as the nail polish allows it). Now, the LED dryer is the one that will make us wait for the least, while the UV dryer may take a few seconds longer.


At this point, LED bulbs take the first place by far. This is because they last about 50,000 hours (5 years without switching them off).

On the other hand, UV dryer bulbs can last up to about 5000 hours. However, the UV bulb is replaceable, while the LED is not.

Think about the use you will give to the nail dryer to decide which one will suit you.


Here, too, there are mixed opinions. There are those who prefer large dryers to dry both hands at the same time; and there are the professionals, who dry one hand while continuing to work with the other. In any case, the drying time is very short, so drying one hand at a time would not be a problem.

Other things to keep in mind

Finally, there are details that can influence our choice and they are the following:

  • Models that have a built-in timer to turn off at the end of the programmed time.
  • Nail dryers with built-in motion sensors that turn on when hands are placed.
  • Devices containing drying accelerators, such as additional fans.

The advantages of nail dryers

Now, let’s take a look at the main benefits you will get when using a nail dryer:

  • Drying is done in just a couple of minutes and you don’t have to wait motionless until the nail polish you have applied dries.
  • The finish we get is glossier and much more durable. In other words, it’s just like the beauty salon.
  • In case you dedicate yourself to this task, you will save time and, therefore, you will be able to receive more clients. In addition, you make sure that your work is perfect.
Nail dryers.
In beauty salons, stylists tend to opt for a model that save time for clients and allow them to serve more people in the same amount of time.

The disadvantages of nail dryers

Finally, here are some considerations you should keep in mind before choosing one or the other dryer:

  • The type of nail polish: There are gel-based polishes that are cured with UV bulbs, but when using an LED dryer, the result will not be the same.
  • Both dryers (UV and LED) emit UVA radiation, which has been linked to skin problems such as premature aging and cancer. Therefore, our recommendation is to consult a dermatologist if you have any doubts.

Nail dryers are a worthwhile investment

If you’re one of those people who like to keep your nails always up to date, then we think it might be a good idea to purchase some of these dryers to save you time on your manicure.

It’s recommended to apply between 3 or 4 thin coats of polish to make drying more efficient. Remember to try little by little the speed of the dryer, because not always the most powerful one is the most convenient. So, have you already chosen the nail design you’re going to try?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • OZUNA LEYVA, G. Y. (2016). Sustentabilidad en el cuidado y belleza de uñas (Master’s thesis, OZUNA LEYVA, GLORIA YAZMIN).
  • Rivera, Z., & Rivera, I. Lámparas UV usadas por manicuristas: ¿significa un riesgo de cáncer de piel?
  • Wilson, J., & Maraka, J. (2016). Need for sun cream with your manicure? Dangers of UV nail dryers. Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery69(6), 871.
  • Parker-Pope, T. (2014). Study sees skin cancer risk in nail salon lamps. Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.