9 Best Nail Dryers for Faster Manicures

nail dryer

I’m a total klutz. I like to think it’s charming and not simply pathetic, but as someone who loves nail polish, this means I’d have endless smudges and dents in my manicure unless I use a nail dryer.

Nail polish feels dry in 10 to 20 minutes, but it’s a mean trick as anyone who has gone to bed with “dry” nails and woken up with sheet imprints knows. It actually takes closer to 24 hours for nail polish to completely harden.

Nothing you can put on your freshly painted nails will keep them from denting if something presses on them hard enough, but there are treatments that will speed up the drying process and protect the polish surface from dings and smudges. If you’re looking for sprays, check out my post dedicated to nail polish drying spray.

What Are the Best Nail Dryers?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wireless
  • Simple to operate
  • Compact
Price: $14.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Best Nail Polish Dryer Fans Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Dries both hands at once
  • Fan turns by motion sensor
  • Temperature control
Price: $79.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Best Nail Polish Dryer Fans Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Prevents smudges
  • Moisturizing
  • Light fragrance
Price: $13.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink MelodySusie nail fan Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to store
  • Cordless
  • Choice of colors
Price: $16.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Demert red nail spray bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Evaporates and moisturizes at the same time
  • Easy to use spray
  • Nourishes cuticles
Price: $6.40 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Prevents smudging
  • Hydrates cuticles
  • Smells amazing
Price: $13.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Best Nail Polish Dryer Fans Amazon Customer Reviews
  • More eco-friendly than batteries
  • Easy to store
  • Easy-to-clean air filter
Price: $21.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Best Nail Polish Dryer Fans Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Nail polish storage and organizer
  • Fan is triggered by motion sensor
  • Room for entire hand
Price: $34.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
pink mini nail dryer fan Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very portable
  • Battery-operated
  • Nice gift for kids
Price: $12.87 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. TouchBeauty Portable Air & LED Dryer

    • Compact and easy to store
    • Cordless
    • Convenient hand rest
    • Easy-press on/ function
    • LED lights mostly for decoration
    • Will need to replace batteries
    • Can’t fit whole adult hand under the fan

    The TouchBeauty Portable Dryer is a cute, travel-sized nail dryer with a fan and LED light operated by three AAA batteries. It takes up no space at all and is great for taking with you on the road or keeping tucked under the bathroom sink in your apartment.

    It turns on by pressing down on the bottom of the drying area and turns off when you stop pressing down so the fan is only on when you’re using it. That does mean that you have to keep pressing down while you’re drying your nails, but of the fans with this on/off function, the TouchBeauty has the bottom plate that needs the least pressure to keep on.

    This one isn’t big enough for a whole adult hand to fit under it, so expect to need to dry your thumbs separately. If your hands are on the larger side or you’re rocking extra long nails, this is probably not the best fit for you.

    The top section of this dryer comes with a nice hand rest which gives you a great area to place your hands while you paint them which I really like.

    The TouchBeauty also has three LED light bulbs but they have no where near the kind of wattage you’d need to cure gel polish unless you wanted to sit there all day. If you want a dryer that will dry your home gel manicures, there are much better UV/LED lamps out there.

    VideoVideo related to touchbeauty portable air & led dryer2018-10-18T16:13:26-04:00

  2. 2. Makartt Professional Nail Fan Dryer

    • Dries two hands or two feet at the same time
    • Salon quality
    • Automatic motion sensor
    • Warm or cool air
    • Fun LED light show
    • It has to be plugged in
    • Takes up more space than compact dryers
    • Pricier than portable models

    There are lots of great things about the Makartt Professional Nail Fan Dryer, but the one that makes me want to hop up and down is that you can fit both your hands under it at the same time. You don’t have to alternate or do your thumbs separately–both hands or both feet fit easily.

    The Makartt is a plug-in unit that is easy to operate but professional enough to be a great fit in a salon setting. The fan turns on and off by a motion sensor so you don’t have to press anything to get your breeze going.

    You have the option of cool or warm air. Cool air is perfect for regular nail varnish and warm air is good for drying acrylic. This one does have an LED light in the drying area but not for curing gel polishes. It’s a decoration that shifts through all sorts of colors and gives you something to keep your or your clients’ eyes busy while sitting under the dryer.

    Not only does the Makartt fit both hands at once, the vertical space it gives you means that you would have to be really trying to bump your nails against it when sliding them under the fan, unlike some of the more cave-like designs.

  3. 3. OPI Drip Dry

    • Conditioning ingredients
    • Fast
    • Trusted, high quality brand
    • Can’t use between coats
    • Oily residue
    • Reduces drying time but doesn't eliminate it

    OPI Drip Dry is an oil-based polish drying drop treatment from OPI with a pleasant, light scent. Apply one to two drops with the included eyedropper after waiting at least two minutes after applying your last layer.

    It’s thin and a little drippy so you’ll want to do this over a protected surface. Wait one to two minutes and your polish will be dry to the touch and you can gently rub the excess oil into your hands.

    It will have an oily residue, but with ingredients like jojoba oil and vitamin E, I don’t mind because this stuff is great for your cuticles. Like all the others, your polish won’t be ready for you to go out and dig around in garden with no smudges, but it’s ready for normal, everyday life.

    VideoVideo related to opi drip dry2018-10-18T16:12:27-04:00

  4. 4. MelodySusie Portable Nail Drying Fan

    • Portable
    • Choice of two colors
    • Affordable
    • Can use batteries or plug it in
    • Doesn’t come with batteries or adapter cord
    • Can’t fit your thumbs
    • Doesn’t feel durable

    The MelodySusie Portable Nail Drying Fan is a lightweight, travel-friendly dryer. It doesn’t have any fancy bells and whistles, but if you have wet regular nail polish, this will dry it faster than blowing on it and hoping ever will.

    It runs on either two AA batteries or has an option for a DC adapter plug, but neither comes included. You know where to find batteries, but if you’re interested in ditching the AA’s, you can buy an adapter from Amazon here.

    In order to turn the air on, you press down on the bottom of the drying area and the fan will stay on as long as you are pressing down. It’s nice that you aren’t wasting electricity by having the fan going when you’re not using it, but having to keep pressure on to use the fan might not be feasible for some people with hand or wrist issues.

    One other plus for needing to keep pressure on is to give little kids something to do to keep them occupied while they have wet fingers.

    It’s big enough for an adult to fit most of their hand in, but not big enough for thumbs to fit under–which is to be expected in a travel-friendly machine that you want to be able to fit in your bag.

    Being so lightweight and plastic, it doesn’t feel extremely durable, but that’s also not surprising given the affordable price. It comes in silver or a cute pink.

    VideoVideo related to melodysusie portable nail drying fan2018-10-18T16:28:07-04:00

  5. 5. DeMert Nail Polish Drying Spray

    • Evaporates solvents to dry polish faster
    • Moisturizes to prevent dents
    • Nourishes cuticle
    • Easy to use spray
    • Affordable
    • Flammable
    • May stain clothing
    • Too chemical for some

    This drying spray from DeMert increasing evaporation and adds oils to protect from smudges. 

    To dry the lacquer the DeMert spray uses alcohol, butane, and propane which pull the solvents out of the lacquer, helping them evaporate quicker. These ingredients are very flammable so be careful not to use them near flames or let children play with the can. 

    This dyer also adds moisturizers like mink oil, dl-Panthanol, and silicones which protect the polish surface from dents by making it slippery. Plus they moisturize your cuticle and rice protein and dl-Panthanol supply essential nutrients for healthier skin and nails. 

  6. 6. Nails Alive 6 Second Aromatherapy Polish Dryer

    • Sets up polish quickly
    • Moisturizes like a cuticle oil
    • Aromatherapy
    • Oil prevents dents while it dries
    • Oily residue
    • Will stain fabrics
    • May drip off nails when you apply it

    Going a completely different route, Nails Alive is a moisturizing chemical dryer. The oil comes in a bottle with an eyedropper for easy and accurate use. Like other drying additives, wait one to two minutes after you have applied your last layer of polish and then put one drop of Nails Alive on each nail.

    You’ll want to do this on a nail polish work mat or other surface you don’t care about because the oil can stain fabric. You also want to keep your nails at a downward angle so when you apply the drops near your cuticle the treatment can spread out and cover your whole fingernail evenly.

    Wait another one to two minutes and then gently massage whatever Nails Alive landed on your skin into your cuticle. Nails Alive will be absorbed into your skin and moisturizes like a cuticle oil. Plus it smells awesome which also makes it feel more like a conditioning cuticle treatment than a nail dyer.

    A benefit to the cuticle oil style dryer is that if you bump your nails against something while the treatment is absorbing the polish solvents, it should slide right off without damaging the lacquer surface.

    However, being an oil means you definitely can’t use this in between coats. Your nails won’t be dry in six seconds, but I can forgive the name because the drying time is significantly shorter than normal.

  7. 7. Mini Rechargeable Nail Polish Dryer

    • Perfect travel-sized fan
    • Rechargeable
    • Cleanable filter
    • Folding stand
    • Too small to easily dry both hands at once
    • Won’t automatically turn off like others
    • T-stand isn't as stable as others

    It doesn’t get any more portable than this. This Mini Dryer is smaller than a smart phone and fits right into a purse or pocket.

    The fan has a simple on/off button and can either be held directing the blown air where you want it or it has a fold down T-stand so that you can prop the it up and dry both hands at once. However, since it is pocket-sized, both hands can’t easily fit in front of the blower so you’ll have to alternate a little bit.

    I love that it’s rechargeable so you don’t have to worry about messing with batteries or being tethered to a wall outlet. It charges by a USB cord so you can either plug it into your computer or a wall adapter (not included.) The internal fan has a filter so you’re not blowing dust onto your wet polish and the filter is even removable so you can clean it which I think is a surprising feature in such a tiny fan.

    It’s available in purple, neon green, and baby pink.

  8. 8. Polder Nail Station 3-in-1 Polish Dryer & Storage

    • Motion sensor fan
    • Room for your whole hand
    • Comes with organizer, hand rest, and LED light
    • Compact
    • Needs to be plugged in
    • LED light not the most effective
    • Not meant for travel

    I’m not sure how the Polder Nail Station 3-in-1 manages to pack so much salon into such a compact space. First off, the dryer (it’s what we’re here for after all) is a plug-in model with a four foot long power cord. The fan certainly has some hum to it, but that also means it has some pretty good power.

    I like that the fan area is deep enough that a full adult hand can fit inside it. The fan is automatic using motion sensors so when the button is set to fan, the fan will turn on when you stick your hand inside and it will turn off when you remove it. I’m all sorts of clumsy so the fewer opportunities for me to bump my nails on something while trying to press a button the better.

    Above the drying area is an organizer that as room for 10 polishes, thinner compartments for your manicure tools, and large compartments for your polish remover, nail art brushes, and sponges. If you’re anything like me, 10 polish slots isn’t going to cut it, but I can see this as being a handy spot to keep your favorites of the season.

    There’s a convenient cushioned hand rest on the front for a place to put your fingers while you paint. The placement is such that you can have your open polish in the holder and your hand on the rest and you’re not at risk of tipping your bottle over or dripping on everything.

    The drying area also has an LED light setting for curing gel polishes with the same automatic feature as the fan. They don’t make the wattage of their LED lamp available so I wouldn’t count on this one having the power for a fast cure. You’re better off finding a specialized UV/LED nail lamp if you do gel manicures at home.

  9. 9. Beauty Chic Portable Polish Dryer

    • Portable
    • Cordless
    • Good size for kids
    • Batteries are included
    • Can’t fit your adult whole hand under the fan
    • Doesn’t feel durable
    • Not as powerful as larger models

    This adorable little nail dryer is powered by two AA batteries (included) and is small enough to throw in your purse and go. That does mean that you won’t be able to fit your entire hand under the fan and you’ll need to do your thumbs separately.

    Small children might be able to fit their tiny hands under it and this is a good pick for moms who want to speed up their own manicures as well has have salon days with their little ones.

    It turns on and off by pressing on the bottom of the drying area. Being lightweight and plastic, this one doesn’t have an expensive or durable feel to it, but for a cute portable dryer, I don’t mind.

Why does it take so long for nail polish to dry?

The way nail polish works is that solvents in the lacquer keep the polish from hardening up into one lump inside the bottle. When the polish is exposed to air, these solvents begin to evaporate.

Once the chemical that was keeping the polish a liquid has disappeared, the polish can finally become the hard varnish it's always wanted to be.

In order to speed up the drying process, you have two options--either increase the solvent's natural evaporation with cool air movement or apply a liquid that chemically extracts the solvent from the polish. There are arguments for both of them and each has different strengths.

You can also double up on protection with a fast drying top coat like Seche Vite.

Will nail dryers work for gel nail polishes?

A note on gel and shellac polish: This list is for nail dryer products for regular nail polish only. Gel nail polish needs to be cured by UV or LED lamps in order to harden. If you're looking for a gel polish dryer check out my article on UV and LED Nail Lamps.

See Also:

Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs and may receive a commission if you purchase a product via a link on this page.