Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Everglow Clear White Wire Light Set at Amazon
“A safe bet for decorating the Christmas tree, the mantle, or anywhere outdoors.
“This set allows you to wrap and illuminate any holiday decorating project.”
Best Solar Lights: Lalapao Solar String Lights at Amazon
“Will illuminate your home in a warm-white glow for 8 or more hours.”
Best Icicle Lights: The Holiday Aisle Mini Icicle Light at Wayfair
“Makes decorating your roof simple and fun.”
Best Projection Spotlight: 1byone Magical Laser Light at Amazon
“Complete with 2 color choices, 2 patterns, and 10 different lighting effects.”
Best Ceramic Lights: Good Tidings Holiday Light Set at Amazon
“Available in multi-color or transparent.”
Best Budget: Home Accents Holiday Light Set at Home Depot
“Users praise these lights for their durability, brightness, and value.”
Best Colored Lights: Holiday Time Multicolor Mini Lights at Walmart
“Multicolor bulbs come in orange, red, yellow, blue, and more.”
01 of 08
Best Overall: Everglow 2980-22 100 Clear White Wire Light Set
Sometimes sticking with the basics is the best choice of all. The Holiday Wonderland light sets are ideal for indoor and outdoor use. These mini-incandescent bulbs hold up remarkably well to the elements and don’t overheat, making them a safe bet for decorating the Christmas tree, the mantle, or anywhere outdoors.
The 100 count light set measures 20' end to end but 18' of lights. Two replacement bulbs are provided with this set in case you bulbs blow out. Reviewers love the set for the simplicity, warm light it gives off and low cost making it easy to decorate a large tree or bush outside on a budget.
02 of 08
Best LED: TaoTronics Dimmable Waterproof 100 LED Lights with Remote Control
LED lights are long-lasting, energy efficient, and durable, making them a superior pick for any outdoor or indoor decorating. These highly rated string lights come with red, yellow, blue and green lights that will add a festive glow to any garland, Christmas tree, or outdoor space.
TaoTronics Dimmable lights give you ultimate control with 10 settings to adjust brightness and lighting modes like a strobe function, flashing, fade and more.
They come in warm white or our favorite pick, the multi-colored set. Featuring 33 ft. of easily adjustable, bendable, sealed copper wiring, this set allows you to wrap and illuminate any holiday decorating project. And if you’re not 100% satisfied—no problem—they come with a 12-month warranty.
If there’s a downside, it’s that these festive little lights cannot be connected to additional strings. Because of this, if you have a large area to cover, you will need to have access to multiple outlets.
03 of 08
Best Solar Lights: Lalapao Solar String Lights, 2-Pack
Energy-saving, eco-friendly solar powered holiday lights have come a long way. This set from Lalepao will illuminate your home in a warm-white glow for 8 or more hours. They come with two sets each measuring an impressive 72 feet long. And eight different modes allow you to set your lights to a variety of options: slow fade, flashing, steady-on, combination, sequential, slo-glo, and firefly twinkle to create a magical landscape.
Each set comes with its own solar power pack equipped with a removable garden stake for easy install. The dark green wire is easy to conceal, adding to the overall aesthetic. And waterproof housing ensures that harsh elements won’t damage these lights. While solar lights are dependent on the sun to recharge the battery for use, we think you will absolutely love the “starry night” glow these create in any season.
04 of 08
Best Icicle Lights: The Holiday Aisle Mini Icicle Light
It simply wouldn’t feel like the holidays without a set of icicle lights strung along your roofline and windows. Icicle lights are a popular choice for holiday lighting as they're easy to put up and they add a touch of sophistication to your home.
The Holiday Aisle Mini Icicle Lights are made from extremely durable wire, so you can rest assured that these lights will glow brightly regardless of the weather. The lights’ crisp white color is both elegant and festive, and there are three sets with stackable plugs, which makes decorating your roof simple and fun. Best of all, if one bulb burns out, the other bulbs will stay lit—and, since the lights are white, you can use them to decorate throughout the year.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Projection Spotlight: 1byone Magical Laser Light
Why get all strung up with Christmas lights when you can have a spectacular display with simplicity and ease? The Magical Laser will illuminate 2,100 square feet of your home with festive rotating green Christmas trees, red stars or both. Complete with 2 color choices, 2 patterns and 10 different lighting effects.
We love that this laser can be used indoors or out. And set up couldn’t be easier. Simply install the unit using either the provided yard stake or the base, place it approximately 25 feet from the intended display surface, give it a few minutes to warm up and watch your home glitter and glow.
The Magical Laser has an ambient light sensor that automatically turns the laser on at dusk as well as an auto shut-off after six hours of run time. If you want to light up your season but don’t want the work of hanging string lights, then this highly rated laser is the way to go.
06 of 08
Best Ceramic Lights: Good Tidings Holiday Light Set, 25-Lights
Who doesn’t remember the brightly colored retro glow of ceramic Christmas lights? The opaque blue, yellow, green and red bulbs trimmed the trees and rooftops of fond childhood memories and iconic holiday movies. To recreate the retro Christmas feel, you can’t pass up the festive colors of ceramic Christmas lights.
Nothing beats the intensity of these 2.2” ceramic bulbs set on 24" of black wire. For longer sets you can connect up to 3 sets together for an overall length of an impressive 75 feet. Available in multi-color or transparent you can dress your home in any color combo you can dream up. While C9 bulbs are known to give off more heat than LED lights or mini sets, this set is rated for safe indoor and outdoor use. They boast 3000 hours of burn time. However, with this retro-loving set it’s best to order a spare set of bulbs for burn outs or breaks.
07 of 08
Best Budget: Home Accents Holiday 300-Light Clear Incandescent Light Set
Budget-conscious shoppers shouldn’t fret—if you’re looking for affordably priced outdoor lights this season, the Home Accents Holiday Clear Incandescent Light Set is the perfect find. Boasting a sizable supply of clear mini-lights (almost 70 feet, to be exact), this set looks as magical on your roof as it does on trees, shrubs, and fences.
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the Home Accents Holiday light set will instantly imbue your home with a warm, vibrant dose of color—at nearly half the cost of other lights. Users consistently praise these lights for their durability, brightness, and excellent value.
08 of 08
Best Colored Lights: Holiday Time 300 LED Multicolor Mini Lights
For those in need of some serious Christmas cheer, Holiday Time's Set of 300 LED Multi Color Mini Christmas Lights will do the trick! These brilliantly colored lights would even put a smile on the Grinch’s face.
These iridescent lights come in shades of blue, green, red, pink, and amber. They're super bright, and come with end-to-end connectors so you can string multiple sets together—on your tree, roof, or anywhere in the yard. Reviewers love that this set consists of 300 colorful lights on a single strand, which makes for easy installation and connection with other lights.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought three sets of outdoor Christmas lights and our reviewers tested them for 53 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these Christmas lights, from their design to their length and size. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in Outdoor Christmas Lights
Style Once upon a time, your choices for outdoor Christmas lights were limited, but today, there are dozens of styles to choose from. In addition to standard string lights, there are icicle lights, novelty lights, ground lights, and even light projectors. All you have to do is pick a style that’s right for your home.
Length and size If you go with traditional string lights, be sure to check how long the strands are and measure the space where you want to put them. There’s nothing worse than buying beautiful lights, only to come up a few feet short! If you’re going the projection route, see how large the light’s projection area is and ensure it matches up with your surface of choice.
Power source Don’t forget to consider how you’re going to power your outdoor Christmas lights. Most string lights need to be plugged into an outlet, and you might need an extension cord to help them reach. Other units are solar- or battery-powered, which can make setup a little easier.
Test Results: Everglow 2980-22 100 Clear White Wire Light Set (Best Overall)
What We Like
Easy to set up
Creates cozy atmosphere
What We Don't Like
Tightly screwed bulbs are difficult to replace
“I would definitely recommend the Everglow light set for holiday decorating,” declared one of our testers, “as well as for creating a generally cozy atmosphere in a small space. The lights are bright and cast a warm glow, and the set can be easily attached to additional strings of lights for added decorating flexibility.” Other highlights, according to our reviewers, were the simple setup process and the lights' durability. One tester did note that the individual bulbs were a little hard to replace: “They’re pretty tightly attached,” she said, “and as a result, I came dangerously close to breaking a nail!”
Test Results: TaoTronics LED Lights with Remote Control (Best LED)
What We Like
Many brightness options
What We Don't Like
Wires tangle easily
Remote only works at short distances
One of our testers loved the design of these lights: “They’re on copper wiring so they have a great design and look,” he said. “They’re perfect for wrapping around a banister or pole.” Other highlights, according to our reviewers, were the many options for brightness level and flash speed, as well as the remote control that came included. One negative, on the other hand, was that the wires tangled easily: “The wiring of the lights feels delicate,” explained one tester. “Undoing the lights and getting them back in the box the way they came is nearly impossible without tangling.” Also, one reviewer noted that you “have to stand pretty close to the lights for the remote to work.”
Test Results: Lalapao Solar String Lights (Best Solar Lights)
What We Like
Easy to set up
Great overall value
What We Don't Like
Not very bright
One strand seemed brighter than the other
These lights were an immediate hit with one of our testers because they were simple to set up: “It’s so easy to decorate anything you want with these lights and then put the panel in the sun,” she said. “I love that I don't have to plug them into anything.” One reviewer also noted that she received “many compliments” on them: “They give my landscaping a new look and really stand out,” she said. A downside, according to one tester, was that they weren’t vibrant enough: “I don’t find the ‘warm white’ color to be very bright,” she noted. “It's actually quite dull unless you wrap the strands very close to each other.” She also added that one strand looked brighter than the other.