Wow, no information here, huh? OK, this discussion is definitely going to have so much more information than you ever needed, or wanted to know about UV lamps, bulbs, and gels, LOL. But, that isn't such a bad thing, is it?
Anyway...When referring to the wattage of a particular UV lamp, its important to know that the combined wattage of the individual bulbs does is not what the wattage of the lamp is. Does that make sense? Let me try this. Most UV lamps take 9 watt bulbs. There are a few - very few, that take a 6 watt UV bulb. The number of bulbs in a particular UV lamp varies from a single bulb, to four, and even five bulbs with four being the most common. Lets assume that a lamp has four (9) watt bulbs in it. That lamp is still a 9 watt lamp. It is not a 36 watt lamp as so very many people incorrectly assume it to be. The only thing different is the lamps UV light output per square inch. Obviously, four bulbs are going to give off more of an intense light than a single bulb. It get a bit more complicated actually. You see, the size of the UV lamp (in square inches when the interior is measured) plays a large role in the amount of UV light emmited and put to use. A large lamp with four bulbs has a larger interior area. There are lamps out there which are much smaller inside than most others and these will generally give a higher light output to square inch ratio. For example, the CND Brisa lamp is very small in terms of size. One hand fits just fine, but there is very little extra room to it. This lamp has three (9) watt UV bulbs. If you were to see the actual numbers which show the light intensity of the various lamps, you would se that even with three bulbl, the Brisa lamp emits more UV light than almost all other lamps that use four bulbs. Thus, the Brisa lamp will provide for a full cure for just about any UV gel on the market with a two minute curing time. BTW, two minutes is pretty much the standard length of time to cure almost any UV gel on the matket, with a few exceptions.
Another important consideration is the manufacturer of the bulb itself. The best UV bulbs are made by Sylvania, and Philips - and one other brand that I cannot recall at the moment. These bulbs are expensive in comparison to all the other bulbs which are available. Many UV bulbs are generic bulbs imported from China and other countries, and are rather inferior in terms of quality. They are a fraction of the cost of the high quality bulbs I mentioned, but they aren't very effective, they burn out quickly, and they don't always fully cure the UV gels. One thing...When I say they 'burn out,' I mean the UV light emitted is not anywhere near as strong as it was when the bulb was new. Any UV bulb - when it is brand new will emit the most UV light of its useful life. Each time you use the lamp, the bulb loses some of its UV intensity. Don't be fooled by the fact that 'light' is still visible. That tells nothing. The thing is, UV light is not visible to the naked eye. Only the other unusable, non-UV light that is emmited is visible. So, a bulb may still be working, so to speak, but the UV light that is emmited from the bulb could very well be depleted, and therefore 'burned out.' Are you with me on this? OK, cool!!!
The lesson to be learned from the above is that not all UV bulbs are vreated equally. For consistently good results, always buy the best bulbs on the market. Cheap bulbs are really nothing but a waste of money.
Yes, there is some difference between UV gels. Inferior gels are never as good as those of higher quality, and thus - more expensive. But, that's just common sense and it should be obvious to most people that you get what you pay for in life and UV gels are no exception to that rule.
There are many brands, and each has its good, and its bad points. It depends on individual needs, and preferences as to which particular UV gel product line you will use. The best way to find out is to try as many as you can, and go from there. his will give you a good feel for the different gels, and then you can make an informed decision about which product line(s) you will use on a regular basis. The price of UV gels also vary quite widely, with the low end gels being in the neighborhood of maybe $10 for a small pot of gel. The high end gels such as LCN (The very best, IMHO), will cost you an arm and a leg, LOL! LCN gel is VERY expensive indeed. On the average, expect to pay about 3 times the cost for LCN gels as you would for a middle of the road UV gel. Yes, they are that expensive. But they are also the best gels available. However, are they worth the cost? That is debatable. Many techs will say yes, they are worth it. Others will disagree. Again, personal preferences. One thing is for certain...More people who have been getting their nails done at a good salon for a long time have at least heard of LCN gels. Many people will specifically ask for it by name. It is a highly recognized product line.