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13 Best Gel Nail Kits to Use at Home

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No matter the reason, sometimes you just want to do your nails at home. But at the same time, you want that manicure to last. And this might mean that it’s time to upgrade your nail polish collection to include an at-home gel nail kit that will give you plenty of shine and no chipping or cracking for at least two weeks. But before you run to the nearest beauty retailer or drugstore, you should check out our guide that not only highlights some of the best gel nail kits but also clarifies what you need to know before you spend your money.

In this article:

Our Picks for the Best Gel Nail Kits

Whether it’s your first time trying to do gel nails at home or you’re just looking to expand or upgrade your at-home gel nail kit, this list has you covered!

1
Best Overall
Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit
Red Carpet Manicure Ulta.com
$79.99

Along with the color polish of your choice, a good gel manicure kit should include not only your top and base coat but also the curing light so that you have everything you need to get a beautiful manicure at home. This Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit not only includes those essentials but also comes with a Purify pre- and post-application cleanser to remove any stickiness from your nails and a soak-off remover when you’re ready to remove your nail polish.

Note that this pick comes with an LED curing light that has three two-watt bulbs. You can get as much as three weeks of wear between applications. And you’ll also like that this at-home gel nail kit comes with a bottle of cuticle oil and a bottle of sanitizer. Buy it at Ulta or Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: LED curing lamp, Purify pre- and post-application cleanser, gel nail polish remover, nail primer, cuticle oil, base coat, topcoat, red gel nail polish
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • All-in-one solution that preps, applies color, and nurtures your nails
  • Portable LED curing lamp is included
  • Comes with one bottle of color nail polish

Cons

  • Some may experience premature polish chipping

2
Best Starter Kit
Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit
Sally Hansen Ulta.com
$59.99

Sally Hansen is a trusted name in the manicure world and also offers the best gel polishes and kits because it’s often available at your local drugstore. Their gel nail kit includes your base and topcoat, one color polish, a LED lamp, nail cleanser pads, and acetone polish remover. The brand promises that you’ll get up to two weeks of chip-free wear between applications.

And if you’re concerned about harsh ingredients, you’ll be happy to hear that their gel polish is free from DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. And you’ll also get an orange stick and a miniature nail file to prep your nails before you apply color. Shop for it at Ulta!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: LED curing lamp, base coat, topcoat, gel nail polish, nail cleanser pads, acetone polish remover, orange stick, nail file
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Often available in drugstores, making it an accessible option for more consumers
  • Simple three-step system
  • Includes nail prep pads and soak-off acetone remover

Cons

  • Hard to fit entire hand into lamp for simultaneous curing

3
Best Portable
Le Mini Macaron Gel Manicure Kit
Le Mini Macaron Nordstrom.com
$35

If you’re someone who loves the idea of doing your nails while you’re on vacation, then you’re going to like this option from Le Mini Macaron. Their 1-step gel manicure kit is designed to be compact and travel-friendly, which is why we nominated it as the best portable gel nail kit. You’ll get a miniature LED lamp that can cure one nail at a time. But you’ll also get one 10-milliliter gel polish bottle, a cuticle stick, a miniature nail file, and 10 remover pads.

Note that the lamp takes 30 seconds to cure. What makes Le Mini Macaron so attractive is because it’s a 1-step solution for an at-home gel manicure. Rather than requiring separate steps for the top and base coat, the color polish incorporates the top and base coat into it. So, you can get straight to painting your nails. What’s more, with eight colors to choose from, you’ll get a mini LED lamp that matches your nail color when you purchase this set. Buy it at Nordstrom or Ulta!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: LED curing lamp, 1-step gel nail polish, remover pads, cuticle stick, miniature nail file
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Compact design makes it travel-friendly
  • Polish cures in just 30 seconds
  • Polish includes base and topcoat for a 1-step solution

Cons

  • May chip prematurely

4
Best Value
Modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit
Modelones Amazon.com
$33.99

Gel polish starter kits are great, but so many of them only come with one shade. And this can be frustrating if you don’t like that color or you want to experiment with more options. And that’s why we like the Modelones gel nail kit. Not only is it incredibly affordable, but it also comes with a wide array of accessories, making it one of the best at-home gel polish kits.

You’ll like that you can adjust the timer on the LED curing lamp to between 30 to 90 seconds. Along with the base and topcoat, you’ll also get a matte topcoat. And you can have fun picking from the six polish colors, which include gray and pink neutral shades. We like that you also get manicure tools, including a pair of nail clippers, a cuticle pusher, a cuticle trimmer, a double-sided nail file, nail buffer, a nail dust brush, and nail separators. You’ll also get a brush-on cuticle oil pen. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: LED curing lamp, 6 gel nail polish colors, base coat, 2 topcoats, nail clippers, cuticle pusher, cuticle trimmer, double-sided nail file, nail buffer, nail dust brush, nail separators
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes
  •  

Pros

  • 11 toxin-free polish
  • Complete kit with wide color range
  • Low odor
  • Adjustable timer LED curing lamp
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Polish can be thick to apply

5
Best Nudes
Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit in Nude Grays
Gellen Amazon.com
$12.99

Assuming that you already have a gel lamp along with a base and topcoat, you might just want to expand your color collection. In that case, the Gellen gel polish kit with six colors, ranging from grays to pinks, is a great option. The brand promises that along with an easy application, you’ll get two weeks of glossy, scratch-resistant, long-lasting color polish.

We like that these polishes are made from natural resin so that it wears like a gel but is non-toxic with a low odor. These are soak-off gels, which the brand promises will come off in a few minutes. But do note that while this polish is compatible with both LED and UV lamps, you’ll get faster curing times with LEDs at 30 to 60 seconds versus two to four minutes with UV lamps. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 6 gel nail polish colors
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • 3-Free: Yes
  •  

Pros

  • Neutral hue collection of colors
  • Non-toxic composition
  • Up to 2 weeks of wear between applications
  • Great for expanding color collection
  • Soak-off polish
  • Low odor

Cons

  • Not a complete kit, doesn’t come with lamp, base, or topcoat

6
Best Summer Shades
Beetles Gel Nail Polish Set
Beetles Amazon.com
$27.99

There’s nothing like stocking up on colors, so you have options. And while we’ve nominated the Beetles set as the best summer shades, you can rock these colors year-round. In total, you’ll get 20 colors, including eight neon hues, eight pastel shades, and four glitter polishes. Plus, you also get the base gel and two topcoats, including a matte option.

However, this set does not include the curing lamp. Still, you’ll get a gorgeous manicure that can last for more than 21 days. These polishes require 60 to 90 seconds to cure and work with both UV and LED lamps. And you’ll like that they’re nine toxin-free with a low odor. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 20 gel nail polish colors (8 neons, 8 pastels, 4 glitters), basecoat, 2 topcoats
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Large shade range makes this great for year-round use
  • Matte topcoat included for more variety
  • Compatible with UV and LED lamps
  • 9 toxin-free, low-odor

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with LED lamp
  • Doesn’t include any nail tools

7
Best Shade Range
Aibrit Gel Nail Polish Kit
Aibrit Amazon.com
$29.99

If you can’t decide between brights, pastels, or jewel tones, you’re going to love this 24-piece set of gel nail polishes from Aibrit. This is one of the best polish-only kits. It also features plenty of neutral shades and three glitter hues. And we like that it comes with a base and topcoat, along with a matte topcoat and an enhanced base coat.

The color polishes are 9 toxin-free and are compatible with both UV or LED lamps. The brand promises that you’ll get up to 21 days of wear without chips or damage and that the color polish bottles feature a built-in brush that’s designed to evenly apply streak-free color to every nail size. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 20 gel nail polish colors, base coat, enhanced base coat, 2 topcoats
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • 3-Free: Yes
  •  

Pros

  • Lasts 21+ days
  • Wide shade range: pastels, neons, neutrals, jewels, and glitters
  • Includes a matte topcoat
  • 9 toxin-free
  • UV/LED lamp compatible

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with curing lamp

8
Best for Fall
Modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit in Nude Browns
Modelones Amazon.com
$34.99

If rich neutral shades are your focus, then this 12-piece polish kit from Modelones is the best at-home nail kit for the fall. Rich chocolatey shades along with soft mochas offer a fun change of pace from summer brights or spring pastels. While this kit doesn’t include any base or topcoats, you can easily switch up the style of these nails from glossy gels to eye-catching mattes with a matte topcoat.

These Modelones polishes are LED lamp compatible and can be cured in 60 to 120 seconds. The brand promises two weeks of chip-free wear. The polishes are also toxin-free and low-odor. You’ll also like that you can easily identify the color from the outside of the bottle. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 12 gel nail polish colors
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Perfect shade range for fall
  • Soak-off polish
  • Odor-free with non-toxic ingredients
  • Chip-free wear for two weeks

Cons

  • Lamp not included
  • Base and topcoat not included

9
Best Color-Changing
Modelones Mood Temperature Color Changing Gel Polish Set
Modelones Amazon.com
$19.99

If you remember mood rings from when you were a kid (and loved them), this six-piece set from Modelones is going to be a hit. Similar to those classic rings, these gel polishes change color based on temperature. The brand promises that you only need one coat to get a rich, opaque color.

You’ll get up to three weeks of wear, free from chips or scratches. This polish set is especially ideal for people who prefer long nails, as the changing color effect will be more obvious. Note that not only is the color changed by your body temperature but also by environmental temperatures, such as picking up a cold drink. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 6 gel nail polish colors
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Low-odor and toxin-free
  • Color-changing mood polish
  • Can get great color payoff with just one coat
  • Includes glitter and high-shine shades
  • Lasts up to 3 weeks without chipping

Cons

  • No gel lamp included
  • No base or topcoats included

10
Best Glow-in-the-Dark Colors
Gelike Luminous Gel Nail Polish Set
Gelike Amazon.com
$14.99

For something that truly turns heads, consider the Gelike neon glow-in-the-dark nail set. You’ll get six vivid hues that illuminate in the dark after immediate exposure to light. In normal light conditions, you’ll see six neon shades. But after absorbing light, the blue and purple shades transition into a light blue and a deep blue, respectively.

These soak-off polishes can be cured with an LED nail lamp in 60 to 120 seconds. You’ll like that these polishes are non-toxic and odorless with a high-gloss shine and can last for up to 21 days. Note, though, that this at-home gel polish kit doesn’t come with a curing lamp, a base coat, or a topcoat. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 6 gel nail polish colors
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Vibrant color payoff
  • Glow in the dark neon colors
  • Non-toxic polish
  • LED lamp compatible
  • 21+ days of wear per application

Cons

  • Lamp not included
  • No base or topcoats included

11
Best Natural
Opove Polygel Nail Set
Opove Amazon.com
$19.99

This pick is probably best reserved for more experienced at-home nail pros, as the application process is different from the traditional bottles that you might be used to. But it’s one of the best gel nail polish kits for people that want a truly natural alternative that’s toxin-free. Note that this gel kit is designed specifically with nail extensions in mind. You’ll get roughly three weeks of wear between applications, and you’ll like that it dries quickly with low-odor output.

Rather than dipping a brush into a bottle of gel polish, you’ll use nail forms to squeeze gel solution into and then use a brush to even out the application. It includes six colors but lacks a curing lamp, a base, and topcoat, as well as nail forms and application tools. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 6 gel nail polish colors
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • Natural plant extract formula won’t irritate nails
  • 21+ days of wear

Cons

  • Gel lamp not included
  • May be more complex for novices

12
Best Top and Base Coat Kit
Aimeili Gel Nail Polish No-Wipe Top and Base Coat Set
Aimeili Amazon.com
$11.52

If you opted to buy one of our color gel polish kit recommendations that don’t come with a base or topcoat, then you’re going to need to buy some. True gel polish won’t work without these two components. This set is a great add-on solution that won’t break the bank. You’ll like that it has a no-wipe topcoat and that both the base and topcoat are compatible with UV and LED lamps. Aimeili promises 21 days of wear with their product that includes a mirror-shine finish free from nicks, chips, or smudges. You’ll also like that you only need a thin coat for it to be effective. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: Base coat, topcoat
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • No-wipe topcoat
  • Compatible with UV and LED lamps
  • 21+ days of wear between applications
  • Offers mirror shine that’s chip-, nick-, and smudge-free
  • Affordable set

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with any colors or lamp

13
Best Gift Set
MEFA Gel Nail Polish Set
MEFA Amazon.com
$27.99

Variety packs are a great way to experiment with multiple colors. We’re including the MEFA set as the best option for people that have trouble getting through an entire bottle of polish. Especially if you switch up colors frequently, you’ve probably had the experience of trying to do your nails and discovering that the polish has dried.

While the MEFA bottles are smaller, the 5-milliliter size ensures that you’re less likely to deal with spoiled products or thick polish that needs to be thinned with acetone. You’ll get 20 vibrant colors, including a few neutral and glittery shades. And you’ll also get a base coat along with glossy and matte topcoats. Although you don’t get a lamp or nail tools, you’ll still get non-toxic polishes that are designed to last for more than 21 days. Buy it at Amazon!

Key Features

  • What’s Included: 20 gel nail polish colors, base coat, 2 topcoats
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • 3-Free: Yes

Pros

  • 21+ days of wear
  • Nontoxic and low-odor
  • Wide color range of shades, including glitter shades
  • Compatible with UV and LED lamps
  • Smaller size minimizes waste

Cons

  • Gel lamp not included


What to Look for in the Perfect Gel Nail Kit for You?

Getting gels done in a professional salon can be a fun, pampering experience, but it is also incredibly expensive. And this is why more people are opting to do their nails at home. Along with saving money, you also minimize the frustration of waiting to get your nails done or having a manicurist who’s a little too aggressive with those cuticle nippers. But to get the best at-home manicure with gel polish, you’re going to need to pay attention to a few factors.

What Comes in the Kit?

As you saw in our round-up, not all gel manicure kits are created equal. Some versions are color polish-only, others also include base and topcoats, and then other variants include a gel lamp and nail tools. So, you’ll need to consider whether or not you want an all-in-one solution or if you’re okay with buying some items separately.

How Many Colors Are in the Kit?

At a minimum, an “all-in-one” gel manicure kit should include at least one color polish. However, as you saw in our round-up, we prioritized picks that gave you options. While having one color is nice, this means that if you want to try other colors, you’ll need to buy more polish. And over time, this can get expensive.

In our guide, we gave preference to brands that offered six or more shades so that you weren’t limited with options. But before you opt for a larger kit with more colors, make sure that it includes shades you would want to wear.

What Kind of Lamp (If Any) Is Included?

If you’re shopping through traditional beauty retailers, you’re most likely to find a gel lamp that’s preset to a specific time limit – usually 30, 60, 90, or 120 seconds. You often can’t adjust the setting, and this is intentional so that the light stays on for the proper amount of time to ensure that the brand’s gel polish cures. The only problem is, if you use gel polish from another brand, you may or may not be curing the polish long enough for it to set properly. 

In contrast, other gel manicure kit brands offer LED lamps with an adjustable timer. This can come in handy if you frequently buy gel polish from multiple brands. Gel polish manufacturers will usually share the recommended curing time in the included product details so that customers know how long to cure the polish for it to set properly.

Additionally, you might want to consider UV versus LED lamps. More recently, LED lamps are often USB-powered, meaning that you can even power them with your laptop or a portable battery pack. And in some cases, these lamps come in smaller sizes, making them truly travel-friendly.

Do You Need to Wipe the Nails?

As you shop for gel polish, you’ll see many brands market their products as “no-wipe.” This means that the gel polish doesn’t need to be wiped down after curing to remove any tacky or sticky residue. While not the end of the world, some people find this step annoying – especially if you don’t have the proper tools for it.

What’s in the Polish?

People are becoming more aware of the risks of consistent exposure to harsh ingredients. The majority of the at-home gel manicure kits we featured included non-toxic polishes. Along with being non-toxic, many were low-odor, meaning that you won’t be subjected to harsh fumes while doing your nails.

How Easy Is the Application Process?

Most at-home gel manicure kits are designed to be fairly goof-proof, although they do require more steps than a regular polish manicure. While you might have some issues with thick polish, the majority are designed to be applied similarly to if you were giving yourself a manicure with regular polish.

But some options are more advanced. For example, our Best Natural pick has gel polish in squeeze tubes instead of bottles and requires a more complex process to create gel nails – especially on yourself. If you’re not the best at more advanced tricks, stick to what’s familiar and opt for traditional bottle applications.

How Long Will the Manicure Last?

At a minimum, you want a gel manicure to last for two weeks. That’s usually the timeline quoted in a salon, and that should be your goal. But you can find brands that will promise even longer wear, often upwards of 21 days. This can be ideal for people that don’t want to do their nails frequently. However, to achieve those results, you’ll want to follow the brand instructions exactly as specified.

How to Choose the Best Gel Nail Kits?
@leminimacaron

At-Home Gel Nail Kit FAQ

Using an at-home gel nail kit to score a perfect 10 with your manicure is fairly easy to do. But if you’re new to the world of gels, you might have a few questions.

What’s the Best Way to Use an At-Home Gel Manicure?

As with regular polish, clean nails that are free from oils are the best starting point. If necessary, use an alcohol pad to remove any oils. Usually, you’ll want to start with a nail primer before applying the base coat. Unlike regular polish, you don’t go directly to your color coat. You’re going to cure your base coat in the gel lamp based on the brand’s recommended curing guide.

Follow this with thin coats of your color polish, being sure to cure between each coat. You’ll then follow up with a topcoat and cure the polish again. Some brands have a polish that leaves a sticky residue. If this is the case, you’ll need to wipe your nails with an alcohol pad.

How Long Do Gel Manicures Last?

Assuming you follow the product instructions, you should at minimum get at least two weeks of chip-, smudge-, and crack-free wear. But some brands promise as much as three weeks.

Is Gel Polish Bad for Your Nails?

The actual polish isn’t bad for your nails. But if done incorrectly, the removal process can cause serious damage. Because the gel polish adheres to your nails, if you attempt to peel it off rather than soak it, you can end up with weak, thin nails.

What’s the Best Way to Remove Gel Polish?

Gel manicures are beautiful, but historically they can be a pain to remove. Usually, they require being soaked in nail polish remover for an extended period. To begin, you’ll want to take a nail file and file down the polish until it begins to look whitish or chalky – proof that you’ve broken through the topcoat.

Follow up by soaking your nails in pure acetone for 10 minutes. After they’ve soaked, you can use a cuticle pusher to scrape off any remaining polish. But, you might need to soak your nails several times at 10-minute intervals until you get the polish soft enough for a cuticle pusher to remove it.

Alternatively, there are several new solutions on the market that help to speed up the gel polish removal process. Typically sold in similar nail polish bottles, these solutions are designed for you to paint on top of your polish and let them sit for three to five minutes. They help to soften and dissolve the polish’s bond with your nails so that you can easily use a cuticle pusher to remove the polish. Note, though, that these options usually also require you to file down the topcoat layer.

Photos via @laurenladnier, Ulta, Amazon, Instagram