The 9 Best At-Home Gel Nail Kits of 2024

Salon-worthy nails from the comfort of your couch.

Women with green gel nails
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We’re not here to hate on regular polish—it’s great, really. But gel nail polish can’t be beaten if you’re looking for something long-lasting. The color options are endless, the finish is clean and glossy, and gel manicures last for two full weeks (if not more). While the pros will do an A+ job, going to the salon for a professional-level gel manicure isn't always necessary. With an at-home gel nail kit, you'll be on your way to achieving your dream nails from your couch. 

The best at-home gel nail kits come with everything you could possibly need to get a flawless DIY manicure. The best part? You’ll be saving a ton of money—and time—by doing your nails on your own. Not sure where to start your search? We tapped Juli Russell, DIY nail expert for Sally Beauty, on the must-haves for your at-home gel nail kit, plus she outlines exactly how to achieve salon-worthy gel nails at home. Here, we’re rounding up the best at-home gel manicure kits. 

What to Look For in a Gel Nail Kit

Before you grab the first gel manicure kit you see, make sure it has a few essential items. “If it’s your first time doing gel nails at home, I’d recommend getting an all-in-one kit that includes the essentials: cleanser, base coat, top coat, and a couple of colors,” advises Russell. “This takes out the guesswork of what products you need to use and gives you an easy system to get started with.”

You'll also want to ensure your kit includes a UV or LED lamp, as gel nail polish will only harden under UV or LED light. Which lamp to get boils down to personal preference. LED lamps cure polish faster, but are typically more expensive, whereas UV lamps are generally cheaper, but take longer to cure polish. While all nail polishes work under a UV lamp, not all gel polishes are compatible with an LED lamp, so make sure you check the brand of polish you are using. 

The Best At-Home Gel Manicure Kits

If you’re interested in more professional-grade at-home treatments, check out our favorite LED maskskeratin treatments, and dermaplaning tools.

How to Do an At-Home Gel Manicure

Let’s clear the air: An at-home gel manicure is easy. It’s beginner friendly! It’s foolproof! Maybe it doesn't seem like it, but a salon-worthy manicure at home only takes a few simple steps. Follow along below to achieve ultra-shiny, long-lasting nails right at home. 

  1. “Nail prep is the most important for a lasting manicure, so take time to care for your nail beds, cuticles, and shape to your liking before you dive in,” says Russell.
  2. Once you’re satisfied with the look of your nails, buff ‘em out—gel adheres better to a textured surface.
  3. Then, you’re going to wipe your nails with rubbing alcohol. “This part is crucial for a long-lasting manicure,” says Russell. “Leaving oil or cuticles on your nail can cause your manicure to lift prematurely.” 
  4. Now onto the fun stuff. Grab your polishes (you need a base coat, a color, and a top coat) and turn on your LED machine. “Do a thin layer of each and remember to ‘cap the free edge’ by dragging the leftover polish on the brush across your nail’s edge,” explains Russell.
  5. Between every coat, you’ll need to cure the polish for 30 to 60 seconds in your LED machine. 
  6. To seal the deal, wipe the polish with an alcohol-soaked lint-free wipe.
  7. Finally, Russell says make sure to re-moisturize with lotion or cuticle oil as the rubbing alcohol can be drying on your nails and cuticles. 

Meet the Expert

Juli Russell nail artist
Juli Russell
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.

With contributions from