9 Best Nail Dryers for Faster Manicures

nail dryer

123RF.com (Roman Pyshchyk)

I love nail polish but I’m painfully clumsy so this means I’d have endless smudges and dents in my manicure unless I use a nail dryer. Polish may feel dry in 15 minutes, but it actually takes closer to 24 hours for nail polish to completely harden. If you want instant dry nails, you have to go with gel nail polish.

Nothing will make your nails invincible, but there are treatments that will speed up the drying process and protect the polish surface from dings and smudges.

What Are the Best Nail Dryers?

White polish drying machine with two hands Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Top pick
  • Dries both hands at once
  • Temperature control
Price: $79.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
glass bottle of OPI Drip Dry Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Prevents smudges
  • Moisturizing
  • Trusted, high quality brand
Price: $13.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
ThermaDry 140 dryer machine Amazon Customer Reviews
  • A fan for each hand
  • Professional-grade
  • Optional heat
Price: $100.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Demert red nail spray bottle Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Evaporates and moisturizes
  • Easy to use spray
  • Nourishes cuticles
Price: $7.75 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black metal drying fan for nail polish with hands Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 300W fan
  • Durable metal
  • No batteries to deal with
Price: $43.09 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink MelodySusie nail fan Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to store
  • Cordless
  • Affordable
Price: $16.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
mini white and purple nail dryer machine Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wireless
  • Fan and LED
  • Compact
Price: $12.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Prevents smudging
  • Hydrates cuticles
  • Smells amazing
Price: $12.74 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Black pocket fan Amazon Customer Reviews
  • More eco-friendly
  • Easy to store
  • Easy-to-clean air filter
Price: $9.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Makartt Professional Nail Fan Dryer

    Pros:
    • Dries two hands at the same time
    • Salon quality
    • Warm or cool air
    • Fun LED light show
    Cons:
    • It has to be plugged in
    • Takes up more space
    • 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.

  2. 2. OPI Drip Dry

    Pros:
    • Conditioning ingredients
    • Fast
    • Light fragrance
    • Bonus of being moisturizing
    Cons:
    • Can’t use between coats
    • Oily residue
    • Spillable

    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
  3. 3. ThermaDry 140 Manicure & Pedicure Drying Station

    Pros:
    • Two hands at once
    • High-impact housing
    • Motion sensor function
    • Can blow hot or cold air
    Cons:
    • Pricier
    • Iffy product description
    • Too big for some

    For those who want to dry both hands at once, we have the ThermaDry 140. There is a fan for each hand and they turn on based on a motion sensor. A switch on the top of the station controls the temperature of the blown air which can be cool or warm. The air really does heat up which is great for drying nails even faster.

    It’s constructed with high-impact plastic housing to stand up to salon use. I like that it’s a little more contained than other fans as the sides and back are closed. This keeps the air currents on your nails instead of escaping. It operates quieter than you’d expect and it has an indicator light to tell you when the unit is on. 

    The biggest issue is making sure you have space for it. The station is 14.5 inches long, eight inches tall, and 8.5 inches deep. That and the product description clearly was input by a seller who hadn’t had their coffee yet.

  4. 4. DeMert Nail Polish Drying Spray

    Pros:
    • Evaporates solvents to dry polish faster
    • Moisturizes to prevent dents
    • Nourishes cuticle
    • Affordable
    Cons:
    • 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. 

    DeMert was also featured as one of the best nail polish drying sprays.

  5. 5. Pongnas 300W Professional Polish Dryer

    Pros:
    • Blows hot or cold air
    • Professional strength fan
    • Rust-resistant metal
    • User-friendly
    Cons:
    • Pricier
    • No motion sensor
    • Not portable

    This Pongnas Nail Polish Drying Fan wouldn’t look out of place in any nail salon. The rust-resistant iron casing sets it apart from all the other plastic dryers on the market. It’s more durable than flimsier plastic models making it more likely to last you longer and hold up to salon levels of use.

    It isn’t messing around with its 300W fan which can blow hot or cold air with the flip of a switch. The fan speed is controlled with a dial on the front. I appreciate the controls being simple as well as easily accessible. Keep in mind that this one doesn’t have a motion sensor that turns on the fan when you stick your hand under it so it must be controlled manually.

    There’s enough space for your entire hand or even two hands if your hands and nails are smaller. The fan is powered by a wall cord so you don’t have to worry about messing with batteries. That does mean that it’s not as portable as others. 

  6. 6. MelodySusie Portable Nail Drying Fan

    Pros:
    • Portable
    • Not too loud
    • Won't break the bank
    • Can use batteries or plug it in
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t come with 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.

    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. 

  7. 7. TouchBeauty Portable Air & LED Dryer

    Pros:
    • Compact and easy to store
    • Cordless
    • Convenient hand rest
    • Easy-press on/ function
    Cons:
    • 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 polish 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 nowhere 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 nail lamps out there.


    VideoVideo related to touchbeauty portable air & led dryer2018-10-18T16:13:26-04:00
  8. 8. Nails Alive 6 Second Aromatherapy Polish Dryer

    Pros:
    • Sets up polish quickly
    • Moisturizes like a cuticle oil
    • Aromatherapy
    • Oil prevents dents while it dries
    Cons:
    • 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.

  9. 9. Mini Rechargeable Nail Polish Dryer

    Pros:
    • Perfect travel-sized fan
    • Rechargeable
    • Built-in filter
    • Folding stand
    Cons:
    • Can't dry both hands at once
    • Won’t automatically turn off
    • T-stand isn't as stable as others

    It doesn’t get any more portable than this. This Mini Dryer is smaller than a smartphone 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 built-in sponge filter so you’re not blowing dust onto your wet polish which I think is a surprising feature in such a tiny fan.

    If black is too plain for you, it’s available in purple, neon green, blue, baby pink, and hot pink.

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. As Harvard Health Publishing explains it, when the polish is exposed to air, these solvents begin to evaporate which allows the lacquer to harden.

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.

How Can You Make Nail Polish Dry Faster?

In order to speed up the drying process, you have several options.

Fan. One way is to increase the solvent's natural evaporation with air movement. This is why most professional dryers you see are fans.

Drops. There are liquid polish drying products and while that seems counterintuitive but they are really quite effective They work by applying a liquid that chemically extracts the solvent from the polish. These chemicals tend to be ones that evaporate quickly (like alcohol propane, or butane) so they bind to the solvent in the lacquer and take it with them.

If that sounds scary, remember that these types of chemicals are the same ones used in many spray-on sunscreens, insect repellents, shaving cream, hair conditioners, and other makeup according to Cosmetics Info. Butane and propane are FDA-approved ingredients in cosmetics.

Oil. Applying oil to your nails won't necessarily make them dry faster, but it can prevent dent and smudges. Oil helps and bumps or dings slide off your nails before damaging your manicure. You'll often find oils as part of the chemical polish drying products.

Why Not Just Wait?

There's something to be said for taking the time it takes for your nail polish to dry for mindful quiet time--but most of us are too busy. We want our nails done and we have things to do. 

Another good reason is if you're applying nail polish to a child. You want that polish to be nice and dry as fast as possible to keep it from leaving smudge stains all over the house. 

What About DIY Nail Polish Drying Methods?

There are plenty of ideas thrown around that are said to work and Healthline outlines a few. 

They suggest a fast-drying top coat like Seche Vite and I can heartily get behind that. 

Dipping your nail polish in cold water is another method but this is one I can't recommend. Sure, dipping your nails can make your polish feel more solid, but they aren't actually dry. They feel dry in the same way that the honey in your jar is thick in cold weather than it is in summer. It's a false sense of security.

Lastly, they also suggest using a blow dryer but again, this isn't a tool meant for drying polish. The concentrated air can cause wrinkles in your polish and even Healthline mentioned that people have been burned their skin with hair dryers.

Will Nail Dryers Work for Gel Nail Polish?

These dryers are 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.

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.