10 Best At-Home Gel Nail Kits of 2023: First-Hand Reviews

With so many at-home gel kits options available in the market, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best for you. That's why we researched and comprehensively reviewed some of the best at-home gel nail kits on the market.

We tested each gel polish kit on a range of factors, including price, packaging, effectiveness of top and base coats, color offerings, durability, gel polish remover, and contents of the kit to provide an in-depth review of each kit.

Choose the kit that's right for you and enjoy long-lasting, salon-quality gel nails at home. This review should provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Our picks for the 10 best at-home gel nail kits are:

  1. S&L Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
  2. "Shell We Dance" by Sally Hansen
  3. "Z-Nude" by The Beetles
  4. Gel Beginner Starter Kit by Bioseaweed Gel
  5. Le Mini Macaron Rose Gold Gel Manicure Kit
  6. Sensationail Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
  7. Gellish Intro Starter Kit
  8. Gellen Home Gel Manicure Kit
  9. Gel Polish Pro Kit by Red Carpet
  10. ASP (All Season Professional) Soak off Gel Polish Complete Starter Kit

What to Look For in an At-Home Gel Nail Kit

Complete Application

Naturally, a gel manicure kit should include all the necessary tools to start applying gel polish immediately, without needing to purchase additional tools.

Required Items in kit: (1) UV/LED lamp, (2) gel top coat, (3) gel base coat, (4) minimum 1 gel polish color

Gel Polish Removal

A gel nail manicure kit should include the tools needed to remove gel polish so no visits to the nail salon are necessary.

Required items: (1) gel polish remover OR (2) nail filer, (3) nail buffer, (4) acetone, (5) cuticle pusher/wooden stick, (6) aluminum foil

Color Options

Selecting your own colors as opposed to being stuck with a pre-selected set of colors feels less constraining.

Required items: minimum 1 gel polish color

Before and After Care

A gel nail polish kit with aftercare accessories allows for continual healthy nail growth and repeated application without causing damage.

Required items: cuticle oil

1. S&L Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit

S&L gel nail starter kit

 Pros Cons
Salon-quality kit Short USB cord
Applies & removes gel polish
No wall charger included
Freedom to choose gel color
Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping
Travel-friendly
No back plate on UV Lamp
Gel polish remover included
Cuticle oil included

 

The S&L Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit is a complete salon-quality experience with everything you need to apply, remove, and provide aftercare for your gel manicure, while other gel polish kits only focus on applying.

What truly sets the S&L kit apart is its comprehensive set of premium tools and products. The kit features a 15ml / 0.5 fl oz bottle of non-wipe off gel polish, which provides a high-gloss and shiny finish lasting up to 2-3 weeks without chipping or peeling. 

S&L gel nail starter kit unboxed

Customers can choose any gel color they want to go with the kit, unlike other brands that provide only preset colors.

Included in the kit is the Easy Gel Polish Remover -- a gel polish remover that only takes 5 minutes to completely remove the applied gel polish. Acetone or other equipment like aluminum foil and cotton wraps are not needed.

S&L easy gel polish remover

 

The compact and travel-friendly 24W LED/UV lamp included in the kit solves a common issue found in other nail lamps.

S&L's curing lamp is made without a backplate, which allows for more space for nails to cure under the lamp without the risk of accidental damage from touching the back of the lamp.

S&L UV/LED lamp

The kabuki-like brushes were also intentionally designed on the gel polish bottles to allow for high-precision application.

In terms of pricing, the S&L Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit is available for $76 (at time of publication), which includes everything you need for multiple uses, such as base, top, cuticle oil (jasmine scented), and a color gel polish in 15ml / 0.5 fl oz bottles of your choice. 

In conclusion, the S&L Gel Nail Polish Kit offers exceptional value with its high-quality gel polishes, well-thought-out packaging design, and user-friendly experience. 

2. "Shell We Dance" by Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen kit unboxing

Pros

Cons

Nicely packaged

Dull finish

Easy-to-use brush

Weak acetone strength

Easy application

Peeling after 1 week

Available in big box stores

Lamp is cramped and narrow

Smells good

Lamp gets hot quickly

Cures well in 30s

No cuticle oil

Small bottle size

 

The Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit "Shell We Dance", priced at $59.99 (originally $79.99 at time of publication), stands out with its appealing retail packaging. Their kit contains all the necessary tools for a gel manicure.

The kit does rely on a wipe-off top coat, which is outdated in the nail industry and adds an extra step to the application process. This results in a less shiny finish that peels within a week.

Sally Hansen kit unpacked
Additionally, the kit uses a weak acetone strength for removal, which is inconvenient since it leads to longer gel polish removal times.

Other issues with the kit include the absence of cuticle oil, cotton and aluminum foil. Separately, it comes with a 6W LED lamp that gets hot quickly and has a cramped design.

The lamp's narrow and shallow structure may cause your nails to touch the back, potentially ruining the application and the thumb needs to be cured separately, which extends the curing time.

Sally Hansen cramped lamp

The kit's pricing is somewhat reasonable, considering it includes base and top coats in 4ml / 0.14 fl oz bottles and a color in 7ml / 0.24 fl oz bottles. However, the volume of the gel polish bottles is rather limited.

In conclusion, the Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit offers some unique features and is easily accessible at big box stores. Still, the subpar results and several drawbacks may make it a less attractive option for those seeking a more convenient gel manicure at home.

3. "Z-Nude" by The Beetles

"Z-Nude" by The Beetles

Pros

Cons

Non-wipe off top coat

Hard to spread

High gloss, shiny finish

Difficult to apply

Spacious lamp

Some colors are too light

Easy-to-use brush

Strong odor

Generous polish volume

Chipping after 1 week

 

Tools in bag scratched

 

We were impressed by the uniqueness and the variety the Beetles Z-Nude Gel Nail Kit has to offer. Retailing for $47.99 (at time of publication) on Amazon, this gel nail kit comes with 6 colors, including nudes, pinks, and greys, making it stand out from other gel nail kits.

However, we did encounter some drawbacks during our testing. The polish was thick and gooey, making it challenging to apply. While the top coat provided a matte, non-wipe off finish with a high-gloss shine, some colors were too sheer and lacked pigmentation, resulting in the polish being too transparent.

Beetles gel polishes

Not only does the polish have a strong odor, but it also chipped after just one week of application.

On the other hand, we were impressed by the massive 48W LED/UV lamp that comes with the kit. It provides ample room for the entire hand and feet and is motion-sensor activated with a 60s preset timer that counts up instead of down. It also has a low heat/gradual cure function lasting 99 seconds, making it both safer and more convenient for users.

Beetles UV/LED lamp

The kit also includes tools such as a nail file, buffer, sponge filer, metal cuticle pusher, and trimmer, all stored in a bag. The tools are easy to use and the polish uses soft bristles that spread out when pressure is applied, but all the items stored in the bag led to many of the items being scratched.

Beetles kit unpacked

We were disappointed to discover that the sponge filer labeled as 100/180 grit was less coarse than expected and may have been mislabeled.

Additionally, the kit doesn't include acetone or cotton, nor does it come with aluminum foil, which means that it's only suitable for application and not for removal. As a result, it falls short of being a complete start-to-finish kit. 

Despite the shortcomings, we believe the Beetles Z-Nude Gel Nail Kit is a great value for the materials included. However, the lack of instructions on how to use the unfamiliar tools may be overwhelming for some users.

All in all, the Beetles Z-Nude Gel Nail Kit is a unique and colorful starter kit that offers a great value for its price.

4. Gel Beginner Starter Kit by Bioseaweed Gel

Gel Beginner Starter Kit by Bioseaweed Gel

Pros

Cons

Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping

Poor value, overpriced

Patented gel mask nail remover

Loose items in package

Spacious lamp

No acetone

Lamp motion-sensor activated

Gel remover not effective

Generous polish volume

No cuticle oil

 

With the Bioseaweed Gel Beginner Starter Kit, one of the first things we noticed was the poor packaging and, comparatively, the highest price tag ($246.50 at time of publication) among all the gel nail kits we reviewed. Items were simply stuffed in a corrugated shipping box, making the presentation unappealing and confusing.

Gel Beginner Starter Kit by Bioseaweed Gel Box

The kit offers two color options in nude, pink, red, or white, along with a UNPOLISHED Gel mask nail remover. However, we found that removing the gel polish with this remover required 3-4 applications, with each taking 4 minutes, ultimately taking more time than the traditional acetone and foil wrap method.

Bioseaweed Gel Unpolished Gel Mask Nail Remover Results

The lamp included in the kit seemed the most salon-quality since it comes with a removable magnetic bottom tray for pedicures and has a motion-sensor activated timer and a low heat and gradual cure function.

Also found in the kit are nail files, a brush, lint-free wipes, and pre-cut foil with cotton pad wrap for easy application. However, it's important to note that cuticle oil, an essential item for before and after nail care, isn't included in the kit.

Overall, the finish and durability of the gel nails were great, but we felt that the kit as a whole was overpriced, poorly packaged, and lacked some essential items. While the lamp and tools were of good quality, the limited variety of colors and the ineffective nail polish remover may impact the customer's experience and satisfaction with the product.

5. Le Mini Macaron Rose Gold Gel Manicure Kit

Le Mini Macaron Rose Gold Gel Manicure Kit

Pros

Cons

Cute and compact

Strong chemical smell

3-in-1 formula

Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping

High gloss finish

Cures one finger at a time

Lint-free wipes included

Bottle cap is difficult to hold

Travel size friendly

3W LED lamp

Removable lamp bottom

Low gel polish bottle volume

 

The Le Mini Macaron Rose Gold Gel Manicure Kit is a compact and travel-friendly option for those looking for a gel manicure at home for $38 (at time of publication). While the kit is unique and promises a high gloss finish that lasts up to 2-3 weeks without chipping.

The 3-in-1 formula included in the kit was effective in providing a long-lasting finish, but we found that it also had a strong chemical smell. 

Le Mini Macaron 3-in-1 gel polish applied

However, we found that the 3-in-1 base/color/top coat had a small size of 8.5ml / 0.29fl oz, and the bottle cap was too big and difficult to hold, making it difficult to apply near the edges of the nails where precision is needed. The lack of ergonomic design on the bottle cap made the application process frustrating.

Acetone and a cotton wipe were included in the remover wraps, as well as a double-sided nail filer and buffer, a plastic cuticle stick, and 12 lint-free wipes for prep and removal. However, Le Macaron's nail kit doesn't include cuticle oil for before and after care. 

Le Mini Macaron gel nail kit unboxed

The kit comes with a 3W LED lamp with a USB cord and a cure time of 30s per finger, resulting in a total cure time of 10 minutes for all ten nails. While the lamp has a removable magnetic bottom for pedicures, we found the cure time to be impractical, and the lamp was not very efficient in curing all fingers at once. 

Le Mini Macaron uv_led lamp

In conclusion, the Le Mini Macaron Rose Gold Gel Manicure Kit has some unique features, including a compact and travel-friendly design and an effective 3-in-1 formula, but the strong chemical smell, bottle cap size and individual curing of the nails were very impractical.

6. Sensationail Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit

Sensationail Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit Contents

Pros

Cons

Compact interior packaging

Dull finish

Easy-to-use brush

Peeling after 1 week

Motion-sensor activated lamp

Low polish bottle volume

Fast curing time

Wipe-off top coat

2-in-1 base/ top coat

Lamp is cramped & narrow

Nails can touch back of lamp

 

One unique feature of the Sensational’s starter kit is the 2-in-1 base/top coat. A 2-in-1 base/top coat lets you conveniently buy one product rather than buying the base coat and top coat separately as a cost-effective alternative.

Though convenient, The 2-in-1 base coat is low in volume (3.69ml/0.125fl oz) and didn’t provide the level of shine we expected, even after using the wipe-off top coat.

Sensationail 2-in-1 base and top coat

The starter kit comes with a 5W LED/UV lamp with a long USB cord and wall charger. The lamp has a fast curing time of 30 seconds for each layer, but only has one setting of 30 seconds, with no preset timers like 30/60/90. The lamp is motion-sensor activated, but we found it cramped, narrow and shallow, making it difficult to cure the nails without them touching the back of the lamp and ruining the application.

Sensationail gel nail kit lamp

We liked the sleek and clean design of the kit, which includes a double-sided nail filer and buffer, a wooden stick, and a 14.6ml/0.49fl oz "gel cleanser." However, the brush bristles were hard and stiff, making it difficult to apply the polish with precision and wide coverage.

Sensationail gel polish brush

Overall, we found the Sensationail Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit to be limited in its use due to the small quantity of gel polish and a brush that is stiff, making it difficult to apply with wide coverage.

Nonetheless, at $23.99 (at time of publication), this could be a low-cost option for gel manicures at home. 

7. Gellish Intro Starter Kit

Gellish Intro Starter Kit Box

Pros

Cons

Can be bought in retail stores

Wipe-off top coat

Finish has a high gloss

Weak acetone strength

Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping

Gel remover takes long to remove

Generous acetone quantity

Lamp is cramped and narrow

Complete start-to-finish kit

Bristles on the brush are stiff

Separately cure thumb

 

The Gellish Intro Starter Kit can be found in retail stores and comes with an LED lamp, soak-off gel remover, and gel nail polish, making it a complete start-to-finish kit. The packaging is compact and easy to use with graphics and text, making it easy to understand.

Gellish Intro Starter Kit unboxed

Though the labeling on the bottles can be unfriendly, requiring memorization of the function of each bottle or periodically reading the instructions. 

The LED/UV lamp included in the kit has a power of 6W and cures each layer in 45 seconds. Due to the back plate, it's difficult to cure the nails without touching the back of the lamp and ruining the nails. Thumbs also have to be cured separately, which extends the application process time.

Gellish Intro Starter Kit lamp

The kit also includes a 60ml / 2 fl oz bottle of "artificial nail remover" with a weak acetone strength, which takes longer to remove the gel polish compared to other products. 

The kit also includes a 9ml / 0.3fl oz bottle of "nourish", a neutral-smelling cuticle oil, 100/180 grit to grind down and shape nails, 1x plastic buffing stick with 10x buffing tabs, a wooden stick, and a 60ml / 2 fl oz bottle of "nail surface cleanse".

While the quantity of materials included in the kit is generous, we found the bristles on the brush to be hard and stiff, making it difficult to apply the polish with precision and wide coverage.

Gellish gel polish brush 

Overall, we found that the materials included in the Gellish Intro Starter Kit are similar to other products such as Red Carpet, but the hard bristles on the brush and lack of cotton make the application process more difficult.

Despite some shortcomings, the Gellish Intro Starter Kit is a complete start-to-finish option for $99.99 (at time of publication).

8. Gellen Home Gel Manicure Kit

Gellen Home Gel Manicure Kit Unboxing

Pros

Cons

Gloss and matte top coat included

Polish has a dull finish

Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping

Weak acetone strength

Lamp has removable bottom tray

No gel polish removal tools

Lamp is spacious

No tools instructions

Motion-sensor activated lamp

Bristles are soft and spread out wide

 

The Gellen Home Gel Manicure Kit provides great value for the materials and colors it includes at the price of $39.99 (at time of publication). However, it’s not a complete start-to-finish set since it doesn’t come equipped with the tools to remove gel polish. 

One of the standout features of the kit is the 72W LED/UV lamp. The lamp is spacious enough for hands and feet, and it has preset timers of 10/30/60s, as well as a low heat/gradual cure function of 99s. It does get hot quickly, however. 

The kit also includes a bonus matte top coat of 8ml / 0.27 floz and a regular gloss top coat of 10ml / 0.33 fl oz, but the top coat isn't as shiny as expected. A cuticle oil pen in rose scent is also included and is easy to use with soft bristles that spread out with pressure.

Gellen cuticle oil pen

The color options in the kit are nudes, pinks, and whites in 6ml / 0.21 fl oz bottles, offering more variety than the average 9ml / 0.3 fl oz bottles. The kit also includes a 100/180 grit nail file and a sponge filer, although testing shows the file may be less coarse than labeled. A metal cuticle pusher and trimmer are also included and are easy to use.

Gellen Home Gel Manicure Kit unboxed

In terms of durability, the polish lasted up to 2-3 weeks without chipping.

Overall, the Gellen Home Gel Manicure Kit is a great value for the materials and colors it includes. However, it lacks instructions for the unfamiliar tools, which can be difficult to navigate for a beginner. Nonetheless, the kit offers a variety of colors and materials, and the lamp is a standout feature.

9. Gel Polish Pro Kit by Red Carpet

Gel Polish Pro Kit by Red Carpet

Pros

Cons

High gloss, shiny finish

Wipe-off top coat

Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping

Lamp is cramped & narrow

Compact interior packaging

Comparatively high cost

Soft bristles, easy application

Bottle labels complicated

Complete start-to-finish kit

Thumb cured separately

Includes pre-cut foil & cotton pads

 

Red Carpet's Gel Polish Pro Kit is priced at $79.99 (at time of publication) and it's designed for those who want a high-gloss, shiny finish on their nails that lasts up to 2 weeks. The kit includes a variety of products, including a unique wipe-off top coat, which isn't included in many kits on the market.

Red Carpet Gel Polish Pro Kit lamp

Notably, their 6W LED lamp is too small and shallow to use comfortably, and it caused problems for us during our nail treatment. The lamp is so cramped that our nails kept touching the back, which ruined the results. It also takes longer to cure the thumbs separately.

Red Carpet Gel Polish Pro kit content

The kit also includes 100/180 grit nail files and a plastic buffing stick with 10 buffing tabs, which were precise but took more time and energy to buff all 10 nails compared to other tools. 

Red Carpet buffing stick

Side note: the prep/primer bottle was not sealed properly and so when it arrived the bottle was empty, indicating poor quality control or that the liquid had dried out.

While the kit includes a variety of tools, we found that it is limited to 2 full-time uses due to the small quantity of materials.

Additionally, we noted that some of the products in the kit, such as the "Purify" and "Erase" products, are similar to Gellish products, but just relabeled.

Overall, we found the Gel Polish Pro Kit to be a good gel nail kit, but with a cost and limited quantity. The materials used in the kit are sourced similarly to Gellish products, including acetone, alcohol, cuticle oil, primer, top, and base coat.

10. ASP (All Season Professional) Soak Off Gel Polish Complete Starter Kit

ASP (All Season Professional) Soak off gel polish Complete Starter Kit

Pros

Cons

High gloss, shiny finish

Wipe-off top coat

Lasts 2-3 weeks, no chipping

Has dehydrator/cleansing wipe

Lamp wattage not disclosed

No timer on lamp

Lamp is cramped & narrow

No gel polish removal tools

 

ASP’s starter kit includes a Passionate Pink color gel polish, a wipe-off top coat, an LED lamp and a conditioning soak-off solution. Our testing suggests the gel polish does remain on the nail up to 2 weeks without chipping. It also resulted in a high gloss, shiny finish.

However, the kit is missing prep and gel polish removal materials such as cotton, foil, cuticle stick, filer, or buffer. ASP's kit is priced at $98.99 (at time of publication).

ASP Complete Starter Kit unboxed

The kit comes with an LED lamp for curing, but the wattage isn’t disclosed, and there is no timer, making it difficult to know how long to cure the nails.

ASP Complete Starter Kit lamp

Similar to other lamps we have reviewed, the curing lamp's cramped, narrow, and shallow design makes it difficult to avoid touching the back, potentially ruining the nails. The thumb also has to be cured separately, which adds time to the application process.

Ultimately, the ASP (All Season Professional) Soak Off Gel Polish Complete Starter Kit may not be the best option for those looking for a complete and user-friendly starter kit.

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