10 Best Gel Polishes of 2024: Sponsorship-Free Reviews

In a market teeming with gel polish brands, pinpointing the ones offering the best gel polishes in 2024 can be overwhelming. 

That's why we've diligently tested and thoroughly reviewed the top gel polishes available, without sponsorships from any of the brands so that these reviews are as uninfluenced as possible. 

We tested these gel polishes in several ways: how true the colors are to their website images, the finish, the number of layers needed for full coverage, the consistency, the curing time, how long the nails look good without chipping, and how strong the chemical smell is.

Here are our picks for the 10 best gel polishes on the market in 2024:

  1. Best Overall: S&L
  2. Best Salon-Quality Finish: CND
  3. Best Color Pigmentation: Bio Seaweed Gel
  4. Best Application Consistency: DND
  5. Best Color Accuracy: Apres
  6. Best Color Selection: OPI
  7. Best Color Variety: Gelish
  8. Best Removal Ease: Sally Hansen
  9. Best Price: Beetles
  10. Best Price Value: Modelones

1. Best Overall: S&L

The best gel polish goes to S&L because for its wonderfully vibrant colors, beautiful shine and over 2 weeks of durability. It's these qualities that give your nails that salon-quality glow, which is what you should expect from a premium brand. But it gets better: the premium finish you get from their gel polishes is offered at a reasonable, affordable price, without the premium price tag. 

Price: ~$12

Features at a Glance:

  • Color Accuracy: True to bottle representation
  • Finish: Remarkably shiny and smooth, dries without stickiness
  • Opacity: Excellent coverage, captures vibrant hues and bold nuances
  • Consistency: Even and controlled application, prevents overflow
  • Application: Kabuki-like brush allows for high precision and even coverage
  • Curing Time: Cures in 60 seconds
  • Durability: Lasts over 2 weeks without chipping
  • Removal: Easy and quick, approximately 10 minutes
  • Scent: Mild, doesn't assault the senses
  • Price: $12 for 15ml, offering great value for the quality



    Extensive color selection

    Bottles are mono-colored, difficult to tell colors

    Affordable price for premium quality


    High-quality glossy finish


    Durable, lasting over 2 weeks
    Efficient and easy application


    With more than 100+ shades of colors to choose from, it would be difficult to not find a shade that fits an occasion or mood. Their gel polishes are for those who are looking for a reliable, high-quality gel polish that excels across the board. The only issue is that their bottles all look the same, so it's hard to tell the color inside at a glance. But, the colored sticker on top of the bottle fixes this.

    Nonetheless, it delivers a highly pigmented, glass-like shine you would expect from a premium brand, but at an affordable price. This makes S&L our highest recommended choice for both casual users and professional manicurists alike.


    2. Best Salon-Quality Finish: CND

    CND Gel Nail Color offers a top-tier, salon-quality finish with a glossy appearance and exceptional durability. Its precise color matching ensures that the color in the bottle is what you get on your nails. Easy to use and providing a professional look, CND appeals to both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts.

    Price: ~$14.99

    Features at a Glance:

    • Color Accuracy: Matches the bottle color perfectly
    • Finish: Shiny, salon-quality finish
    • Opacity: Full coverage achieved with just two coats
    • Consistency: Perfectly balanced for easy application
    • Application: Enhanced with a fan-out brush for better coverage
    • Curing Time: Standard 1 minute, though the top coat remains slightly sticky
    • Durability: Lasts up to 10 days without chipping
    • Removal: Easy and quick, approximately 10 minutes
    • Scent: Low odor, suitable for scent-sensitive users
    • Price: Higher price point but reflects the salon-quality outcome



      Accurate color match

      Higher price point

      Easy application with fan brush

      Top coat may remains tacky

      Durable, lasting more than 10 days

      Quick and easy removal

      Minimal scent


      CND Gel Nail Color is a great choice if you want high-quality, durable gel polish with professional results. It is more expensive, but its long-lasting wear and superb finish make it a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize quality.

      3. Best Color Pigmentation: Bio Seaweed Gel

      Bio Seaweed Gel Nail Color is known for their wide range of hues and quality salon finish. It's highly pigmented, so you need fewer layers for full coverage. Just a minor note: the colors may look lighter than advertised online.

      Price: ~$18

      Features at a Glance:

      • Color Accuracy: Colors may appear lighter than online representations
      • Finish: Smooth, glossy finish without stickiness, no shrinking, wrinkling, or discoloration
      • Opacity: High pigmentation with minimal layers needed for full coverage
      • Consistency: Balanced consistency, neither too thick nor thin
      • Application: Effortless application with standard-sized brushes and consistent textures
      • Curing Time: Cures within 60 seconds
      • Durability: Lasts over 10 days
      • Removal: Challenging and time-consuming removal process
      • Scent: Mild scent from the base coat; strong chemical odor from topcoat and colored polishes
      • Price: $18 for 15ml, relatively high-priced



        Vibrant, opaque coverage in 2 coats

        Colors mismatched between bottle and application

        Shiny, glossy finish

        Pricey for budget-conscious consumers

        Quick 60-seconds curing time

        Strong, persistent chemical odor

        Effortless application

        Difficult removal due to strong base


        Bio Seaweed Gel stands out with its quick-drying, easy-to-apply formula that delivers a glamorous, shiny finish. However, the color accuracy does fall short, and the chemical scent is noticeable.

        If you value quick application and lasting wear, Bio Seaweed Gel is a worthy purchase. But if accurate color matching and a mild scent are important considerations for you, consider other options. The high price also means you should weigh its benefits against its limitations before deciding.

        4. Best Application Consistency: DND

        DND Gel Nail Color is great for application consistency, with an ideal viscosity that makes it easy for beginners. However, the color on your nails might not match the bottle, which can be disappointing. Despite this, DND impresses with its shiny finish, adding a glamorous touch to any manicure.

        Price: ~$17.99

        Features at a Glance:

        • Color Accuracy: Inconsistent with the bottle's color
        • Finish: Glossy, adding a touch of glamour
        • Opacity: Full coverage in two coats
        • Consistency: Ideal for easy application
        • Application: Long brush aids beginners, though size may slow process
        • Curing Time: Quick, 45 seconds under UV light
        • Durability: Chipping occurs after 5 days; could be better
        • Removal: Time-consuming due to strong-lasting base
        • Scent: Strong chemical smell persists after curing
        • Price: A bit pricey, which might give budget-conscious shoppers pause



          Exact match between gel and regular nail colors

          Inconsistent color accuracy

          Glossy finish enhances aesthetic appeal

          Strong chemical scent may be off-putting

          Quick curing time adds convenience

          Longer application time due to brush size

          Ideal consistency

          Durability could be improved; chips in 5 days

          DND Gel Nail Color is easy to apply and cures quickly, thanks to its consistent viscosity. This makes for a smooth application and a beautiful, glossy finish. However, the color often doesn't match the bottle, it has a strong chemical smell, and the removal process is difficult.

          If ease of application and quick curing are your main priorities, DND's gel polish could be a good choice despite these drawbacks, especially if you can handle the higher cost and potential odor issues.

          5. Best Color Accuracy: Apres

          Apres Gel Nail Color matches the bottle shade perfectly on your nails, delivering true-to-color results. However, the finish isn't as shiny as expected, dulling the vibrant colors. The thick polish and rich pigmentation make it hard to apply smoothly, and the uneven brush complicates things further.

          Price: ~$14.99

          Features at a Glance:

          • Color Accuracy: Perfect match with the bottle
          • Finish: Lacks the expected glossy sheen
          • Opacity: High pigmentation makes application tricky
          • Consistency: Thick and difficult to manage
          • Application: Complicated by uneven brush and thick formula
          • Curing Time: Efficient at 1 minute under UV light
          • Durability: Begins chipping at the tips within 3 days, likely due to the thick application
          • Removal: Laborious due to thickness
          • Scent: Strong and potentially bothersome
          • Price: On the pricier side



            True-to-bottle color accuracy

            Finish lacks expected glossiness

            Quick curing time

            High pigmentation complicates subtle application

            Efficient large brush size

            Thick consistency makes application challenging

            Strong scent can be off-putting

             Durability issues with early chipping

            High price point may deter budget-conscious buyers



            The Apres Gel Nail Color, while perfect in color accuracy and quick to cure, presents challenges with its consistency, durability, and scent. If you can handle the thickness and are not sensitive to strong smells, its vibrant, true-to-life colors might still make it a worthwhile choice.

            6. Best Color Selection: OPI

            OPI is famous for its wide range of colors, and their easy-to-use website helps you find the perfect shade for any occasion. However, despite the variety, the performance has some issues. The finish is smooth but often lacks shine and can stay tacky. Problems with the formula's consistency and slow curing time also detract from the experience.

            Price: Price varies by distributor, typically over $20 USD per bottle

            Features at a Glance:

            • Color Accuracy: True to bottle color accuracy
            • Finish: Smooth but lacks shine, remains slightly sticky
            • Opacity: Highly pigmented yet too runny
            • Consistency: Overly liquid-y top and base coat
            • Application: Time-consuming due to stiff brush and fluid formula
            • Curing Time: Over 60 seconds required, with incomplete drying
            • Durability: Chipped within 5 days, not living up to expectations
            • Removal: Difficult despite short wear time
            • Scent: Strong chemical smell from all polish components
            • Price: sold through distributors, which varies in price but generally expensive



              Extensive color selection

              Finish lacks shine and remains sticky

              Ease of shade selection online

              Overly liquid formula complicates application

               High pigmentation in colors

              Requires long curing time, may not dry completely


              High price and not sold directly to personal users


              Disappointing durability with early chipping


              Strong chemical odor

              While OPI is far-and-away the best with its array of colors, their gel nail polish struggles with several functional aspects. The sticky finish, overly liquid consistency, and lengthy drying times mar the application process.

              In 5 days the gel manicure started to chip. At the high price point OPI commands we expected much better durability. These issues, combined with the strong chemical scent and the inconvenience of purchasing through distributors, might make you think twice. If color variety is your main criterion, OPI excels, but if overall quality and ease of use are equally important, other brands might be better.

              7. Best Color Variety: Gelish

              Gelish impresses with over 100 shades, but it has some drawbacks. The color circle on their website makes choosing the right shade hard, as they don't show the colors on nails. While the colors are vibrant and pigmented, the application process and durability don't live up to the same standard.

              Price: $29.99

              Features at a Glance:

              • Color Accuracy: Wide range, but the true shades are hard to see on their website
              • Finish: Smooth but not shiny, and stays tacky
              • Opacity: Very pigmented, needing fewer layers for full coverage
              • Consistency: Very liquid, which can be good or bad, but different brush sizes make it hard to use
              • Application: The brushes and liquid consistency makes it hard to to apply
              • Curing Time: Often exceeds 45 seconds, leaving nails tacky
              • Durability: Chipping occurred within just 5 days
              • Removal: Hard to remove, even though it chips early
              • Scent: Strong chemical smell
              • Price: Expensive



                Many colors to choose from

                Hard to see true colors on the website

                Highly pigmented

                Finish often stays sticky

                Few layers needed for full coverage

                Inconsistent brush sizes make application hard


                Takes longer to cure than advertised

                Chips quickly


                Strong chemical smell



                Difficult to remove


                Gelish has many colors, appealing to those who love variety. But it falls short in how it's applied and how long it lasts. The different brush sizes and very liquid consistency make it hard to apply, especially if you're someone who's meticulous about their manicure. The polish chips after a few days and is hard to remove. Considering its high price, the wide color range may not justify these issues.

                8. Best Removal Ease: Sally Hansen

                Sally Hansen's gel nail polish is easy to remove, making it ideal for those who change their nail color often. However, the range of colors and other aspects of the polish's performance might not meet everyone's expectations. The line offers only three colors, which may feel limiting, especially since they are only available in a starter kit and not sold individually. Sally Hansen's non-gel polishes is where they have extensive color range.

                Price: ~$19.99

                Features at a Glance:

                • Color Accuracy: True to tone color, well-pigmented
                • Finish: Smooth but lacks shine. Requires acetone to remove stickiness
                • Opacity: Well-pigmented, though it's fairly liquid-y 
                • Consistency: Maintains an even application without messy edges
                • Application: The brush size is too small, resulting in a longer painting process
                • Curing Time: Standard 60 seconds
                • Durability: Lasts about a week
                • Removal: Exceptionally easy and quick, which is a significant plus.
                • Scent: Fairly mild
                • Price: High for the quantity provided, as bottles are only 4.0 ml.



                Easy and quick removal

                Color selection is poor

                Even application without mess

                High price point for the kit for small bottles

                Decent durability of about one week

                Finish lacks shine and feels sticky


                Requires additional steps like alcohol wipes to remove stickiness


                Sally Hansen's gel nail polish is great for easy removal, perfect if you like changing your nail color often. It applies evenly, cures well, and lasts about a week. However, the color options are limited, you need alcohol for a non-sticky finish, and the bottles are small while the kit is pricey. 

                Sally Hansen's gel nail polish line offers only three colors, available exclusively in their gel nail starter kit. They don't sell individual gel nail polishes separately. All other colors displayed on their website being non-gel variants.

                9. Best Price: Beetles

                Beetles lures you in with a stunning range of colors at a friendly price. Yet, the excitement quickly fades when the real deal—the color on your nails—fails to match the vibrant ads. While achieving a salon-quality shiny finish is possible, the journey there is filled with obstacles like color mismatches and UV curing headaches.

                Price: ~$19.99

                Features at a Glance:

                • Color Accuracy: Disappointing, with big differences between ads and real life
                • Finish: Shiny, salon-quality look, but the top coat stays sticky after a 1-minute cure
                • Opacity: Too thick, making application and curing difficult
                • Consistency: Top and base coats are balanced, not too liquid
                • Application: Generous brush size helps with application, but hardness and bending issues make it hard to use 
                • Curing Time: Needs multiple tries under UV light to cure properly
                • Durability: Poor, peeling off in 2 days with bubbling issues
                • Removal: Easy and quick, a small plus
                • Scent: Strong odor
                • Price: Sold only in sets, limiting color choices



                Affordable pricing for sets

                Disappointing color accuracy

                Salon-quality shine when achieved

                Brush stiffness affects consistent application

                Easy removal process

                Quick to peel and form bubbles

                Difficulty curing within reasonable number of attempts


                Restricted to buying in sets


                Strong, intense odor


                Beetles' gel polish struggles with consistency and curing, and it doesn't last long, making it unreliable for a quality manicure. The strong smell and inaccurate color representation also lessen its appeal. If you're on a budget and can compromise on quality, Beetles might work for you.

                10. Best Price Value: Modelones

                Modelones gel polishes are without a doubt budget-friendly, but the low prices come with performance issues that are difficult to overlook. These issues might make it less appealing to anyone wanting a durable, high-quality manicure.

                Pricing: Affordable, but varies too much to set a number.

                Features at a Glance: 

                • Color Accuracy: The color isn't as vibrant as promised
                • Finish: Lacks the expected shine, appears dull
                • Opacity: Thickness causes uneven color
                • Consistency: Hard to manage and turns out clumpy
                • Application: The thick gel makes it hard to apply precisely
                • Curing Time: It takes over 120 seconds to cure and has stayed sticky
                • Durability: Peels within two days
                • Scent: Odor-free
                • Price: One of the best in price, but has small, half-filled bottles 
                • Removal: Easy to remove, likely due to the fact it doesn't stick well



                Very affordable

                Colors not as advertised

                Brush provides good coverage

                Polish tends to clump

                Minimal scent during application

                Difficult application due to consistency issues


                Poor durability, with peeling after 2 days


                Extended curing time with sticky results

                Low product volume and bottles not filled fully

                The Modelones gel polishes are cheap to purchase, but many issues hurt its value. The color and finish don't match the promise, and the poor durability and tricky application make things worse. While it has a minimal scent and is easy to remove, these don't make up for its core problems. If you're looking for a budget option, it might work, but be ready for frustrations and a short-lasting manicure.

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