The 9 Best Outdoor Christmas Lights, Tested By the Spruce

The AmazonBasics Commercial Grade Outdoor String Lights are our top pick

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Outdoor Christmas Lights

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

Quality outdoor Christmas lights make your home look festive and stand up to inclement weather, so you can use them for many holiday seasons to come. 

We spent three weeks testing outdoor Christmas lights from the top home and decor brands, evaluating durability, brightness, and value. Our favorites, the AmazonBasics Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights, are budget-friendly, bright, and come in various colors and sizes. 

Here are the best outdoor Christmas lights.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

 AmazonBasics 100 LED Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights

Best Overall

AmazonBasics 100 LED Outdoor String Lights

Buy at Amazon

Extremely bright and well-made, these commercial-grade LED lights come in warm white, cool white, and multicolor options.

Home Accents Holiday LED Mini String Lights

Best Budget

Home Accents Holiday LED Mini Warm White String Light

Buy at Amazon

Compatible for both indoor and outdoor use, these lights give off a warm, cozy glow, and they're available at an unbeatable price.

Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights

Best Colored

Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights

Buy at Amazon

The vibrant colors of these lights will brighten up your yard during the holidays, and the 66-foot strands let you cover more ground.

More To Consider

Best Large Bulb

Wintergreen Lighting C9 LED Christmas String Lights

Buy at Amazon
Best Rope Lights

The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights

Buy at Wayfair
Best Waterproof

Pro Christmas 5mm LED Christmas Lights

Buy at christmasdesigners.com
Best Extra-Long

MZD8391 Christmas Lights

Buy at Amazon
Best Novelty

Huacenmy Solar Snowflake String Lights

Buy at Amazon
Best Solar

Touch of Eco Solar-Powered LED Mini String Light

Buy at Amazon

Reviews

Best Overall: AmazonBasics 100 LED Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights

4.8
 AmazonBasics 100 LED Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: 5mm wide angle | Length: 33 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: 3

What We Like
  • Well-priced

  • Extremely bright and visible

  • Durable commercial-grade construction

  • Available in popular colors

What We Don't Like
  • Can’t connect many strands

What do buyers say? 81% of 1,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

For classic holiday lights that will stand up to the worst weather, you can’t go wrong with the AmazonBasics Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas Lights. These string lights come in either 16- or 33-foot strands, as well as bright white, warm white, and multicolored options, and our tester was extremely impressed with their high-quality construction, especially given the reasonable price. 

These commercial-grade LED lights feature 100 5mm wide-angle bulbs per 33-foot strand, and the lights are mounted on green wire and each wrapped with weatherproof material. During testing, we were impressed by their bright and consistent light, which is amplified by the bulb shape, and they stood up to heavy rain and wind with no problems. These lights are both UL- and wet-rated, but the one downside is that you can only connect three strands together on one outlet.

Amazon Basics LED Commercial Grade Outdoor String Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Expert Buying Tips

"Another important factor to consider when purchasing outdoor lights is determining how many you need. Measure all the straight lines of the house and add them together. Don’t forget to measure the distance to your power source!" –Lance Allen, Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot

Best Budget: Home Accents Holiday 100-Light LED Mini Warm White String Light

4
Home Accents Holiday LED Mini String Lights

Home Depot

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Quality
    3/5
  • Length
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: T5 mini | Length: 29.5 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: 30

What We Like
  • Good value

  • Classic appearance

  • Also available in multicolored

  • Able to connect up to 30 strands

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most durable

  • Slight strobing effect

To get the most bang for your buck, the Home Accents Holiday LED Mini String Lights are a solid classic option for decorating your Christmas tree or around your home. These indoor-outdoor lights might not be the most durable, but they’re extremely affordable and give you the flexibility to connect up to 30 strands of lights together for large-scale decorating. Each strand is 29.5 feet long, and they feature 100 bulbs on classic green wire. 

Our tester thought these lights were of average brightness, and she liked the traditional appearance of the warm mini lights. She notes that they have a slight strobing effect, which is caused by a lack of rectifiers on the LEDs, but said it’s not as noticeable when they’re actually hung up. These lights aren’t commercial-grade, which means there’s always the possibility that moisture will get into the bulbs, but they’re a great value if you're decorating on a budget.

Home Accents Mini Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Best Colored: Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights

4.8
Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    5/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: T5 mini | Length: 66 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: 30

What We Like
  • Bright and vibrant colors

  • Numerous colors available

  • Long 66-foot strands

  • Strand stays lit if one burns out

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most durable

You can create a cheery and colorful outdoor display with the Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights, which come in just about every color imaginable. These colored lights feature 200 LED mini bulbs on a 66-foot wire, and our tester thought the hues were vibrant and beautiful, especially at night. 

These colored Christmas lights are UL-certified, and during our testing, they held up perfectly through several days of heavy rain and winds. They have a “Stay Lit” design that prevents the whole strand from going dark if one bulb burns out, but our tester did note that the construction isn’t quite as durable as other options. You can connect up to 30 strands on one outlet—ideal for decorating your house or yard—and the lights come with six spare bulbs and two fuses, allowing you to repair any issues quickly and easily.

Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Best Large Bulb: Wintergreen Lighting C9 OptiCore Commercial LED Christmas String Lights

4.5
Wintergreen Lighting C9 OptiCore Commercial LED Christmas String Lights

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: C9 | Length: 50 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: 1,000 feet

What We Like
  • Bright, clear light

  • High-quality construction

  • Available in numerous colors

  • Built-in clips for hanging

What We Don't Like
  • Bulbs must be installed by hand

  • Expensive

If you’re decorating a large outdoor object—such as your roofline or an oversized tree—you’ll want large bulbs to match the scale, and the Wintergreen Lighting C9 OptiCore Commercial LED Christmas Lights are unmatched in terms of aesthetic and quality. These lights feature large, faceted C9 bulbs made from durable polycarbonate, and our tester found them to be extremely bright and beautiful, lighting up her whole yard. Or, if you’d prefer them to be less bright, they can even be dimmed with a compatible switch! 

These large lights come in several lengths, and the 100-foot strand includes 100 bulbs. However, the bulbs and wires are packaged separately, forcing you to screw in each of the bulbs by hand. The lights are available in a variety of colors, and they even feature a clip on each socket, which makes them extremely easy to hang along your roofline.

Wintergreen Lighting C9 OptiCore Commercial Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Best Rope Lights: The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights

3.8
The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights

Wayfair

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    3/5
  • Quality
    3/5
  • Length
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Rope | Length: 150 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: N/A

What We Like
  • Extremely bright and vibrant

  • Unique modern appearance

  • Can be cut to perfect length

What We Don't Like
  • Extremely poor directions

  • Power connectors aren’t waterproof

For a bold, contemporary look, The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights are extremely bright and vibrant—they’re sure to catch the eye of everyone who drives by your home this holiday season! These rope-style lights feature LED bulbs inside clear PVC tubing, and they can be twisted and bent at any angle to easily match the space you’re decorating. 

Our reviewer said these outdoor lights were the brightest of all the products she tested, and she loved that you’re able to cut them down into a shorter length, if desired. However, the instructions for these lights are extremely poor, so it may take some trial and error to figure out how to connect strands, and the brand notes that the power cords and connectors aren’t waterproof. Finally, a word of caution: Make sure to completely remove the lights from the spool before plugging them in, as the PVC can melt if it gets warm—a lesson our tester learned the hard way.

The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Best Waterproof: Pro Christmas 5mm Wide Angle Conical LED Christmas Lights

Pro Christmas 5mm Wide Angle Conical LED Christmas Lights

Christmas Designers

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    4/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Length
    5/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: 5mm wide angle | Length: 26 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: 60

What We Like
  • One piece bulb/socket design for moisture resistance

  • Bright and vibrant

  • Able to connect up to 60 strands

What We Don't Like
  • Can’t replace bulbs

Professional-grade Christmas lights, such as the Pro Christmas 5mm Wide Angle Conical LED Lights, are made with a one-piece bulb and socket design. This prevents water and dirt from getting into the bulb and causing rust or corrosion, and it can help to ensure your displays don’t burn out prematurely. These particular professional-grade lights wowed our tester, who said the colors were vibrant and beautiful. 

The Pro Christmas lights are 35 feet long and feature 50 5mm bulbs on green wire, and you can connect a whopping 60 strands end-to-end on one outlet. They’re UL-rated for outdoor use and held up great during rainstorms and windy days during testing. These outdoor Christmas lights come in a variety of color schemes, and while you’re not able to replace the one-piece bulbs, each LED light can last for up to 75,000 hours.

Pro Christmas 5mm Wide Angle Conical LED Christmas Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Expert Buying Tips

"Traditionally, incandescent bulbs are dipped for coloring, which results in the sun fading the colors in just one season. With LEDs, you actually have the diodes colored the same as the bulb so you do not see the fading occur from year to year." – Matthew Martoccio, founder of The Christmas Guys

Best Extra-Long: MZD8391 Christmas Lights

4.8
MZD8391 Christmas Lights

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    5/5
  • Ease of Use
    5/5
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Length
    5/5
  • Overall Value
    5/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Not listed | Length: 105 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: 4

What We Like
  • More than 100 feet long

  • Available in multiple colors

  • Offers several lighting effects

What We Don't Like
  • No replacement bulbs

  • Small bulbs aren’t ideal for large-scale decor

If you’re decorating your whole yard, the MZD8391 Christmas Lights are 105 feet long, letting you cover more ground with just one strand. The lights come in a variety of color schemes, and there are 300 small LED bulbs per strand—just keep in mind that they’re very small, so they’re not the best choice for large-scale decor, like along a roofline. 

Our tester loved the bright colors of these lights, and she also liked that there are eight lighting effects to choose from, such as chasing, slow fade, and twinkling. The indoor/outdoor lights are waterproof and held up just fine in inclement weather, and you can connect up to four of the strands together, covering more than 400 feet.

MZD8391 Christmas Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Best Novelty: Huacenmy Outdoor Solar Snowflake String Lights

3.8
Huacenmy Outdoor Solar Star String Lights

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    3/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: Novelty | Length: 30 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: N/A

What We Like
  • Can be installed anywhere

  • Cute snowflake shape

  • Eight lighting modes

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to untangle

  • Not very bright

The Huacenmy Outdoor Solar String Lights feature cute snowflake-shaped bulbs that make an adorable addition to your porch or outdoor living space. They’re powered by a small solar panel that stakes into the ground, and they even offer eight different lighting effects, including flashing, twinkling, fading, and more. The strand of lights is 30 feet long, and it features 50 LED snowflakes, each of which is roughly 2 inches wide.

Our tester found that these lights were quite tricky to set up, as the snowflakes get quite tangled in the wire. However, once they were installed, she loved the pretty white light, even though it’s not the brightest. The lights turn on automatically at dusk, and on cloudy or overcast days when the solar panel doesn’t get enough light, they do dim down after a few hours. 

Huacenmy Outdoor Solar Snowflake String Lights

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Best Solar: Touch of Eco LITEUP125 Solar-Powered Wide Angle LED Mini String Light

3.8
Touch of Eco LITEUP125 Solar-Powered Wide Angle LED Mini String Light

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Brightness
    3/5
  • Ease of Use
    4/5
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5

Bulb Type: LED | Bulb Shape: 5mm wide angle | Length: 68 feet | Maximum Connected Strands: N/A

What We Like
  • Can be installed anywhere

  • Several solar panel mounting options

  • Warm, cozy light

  • Solid or flashing light effects

What We Don't Like
  • Not very bright

  • Small bulbs

  • Long lead wire

If you want to display Christmas lights in a location where there isn’t an electrical outlet handy, the Touch of Eco LITEUP125 Solar String Lights are a pretty and convenient option. This strand of lights is 68 feet long with 125 small LED bulbs, and it’s connected to a small solar panel that you can clip into a nearby surface or stake into the ground.

As you might suspect, these lights aren’t the brightest option out there, and our tester noted that they’re particularly dim when the weather is cloudy or rainy. The lights automatically turn on at dusk and stay on for up to eight hours, and they offer both solid or flashing light modes, which can be controlled from the back of the panel. However, the strand has a 12-foot lead wire, which our tester thought was unnecessarily long, as it cuts the lighted length down to 56 feet.

Touch of Eco LITEUP125 LED Mini String Light

The Spruce / Camryn Rabideau

Expert Buying Tips

"Consider where you are hanging lights—LED bulbs are best suited for live trees and wreaths because they stay cool to touch and prevent fires." –Lance Allen, Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot

Compare

Overall Rating Brightness Ease of Use Quality Overall Value
 AmazonBasics 100 LED Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights
Best Overall:
AmazonBasics 100 LED Outdoor String Lights
4.8
5 5 5 4
Home Accents Holiday LED Mini String Lights
Best Budget:
Home Accents Holiday LED Mini Warm White String Light
4
4 5 3 4
Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights
Best Colored:
Yuletime Multicolor LED Christmas Lights
4.8
5 5 4 5
Wintergreen Lighting C9 OptiCore Commercial LED Christmas String Lights
Best Large Bulb:
Wintergreen Lighting C9 LED Christmas String Lights
4.5
5 4 5 4
The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights
Best Rope Lights:
The Holiday Aisle LED Christmas Rope Lights
3.8
5 3 3
Pro Christmas 5mm Wide Angle Conical LED Christmas Lights
Best Waterproof:
Pro Christmas 5mm LED Christmas Lights
Testing Now
4 4 5 4
MZD8391 Christmas Lights
Best Extra-Long:
MZD8391 Christmas Lights
4.8
5 5 4 5
Huacenmy Outdoor Solar Star String Lights
Best Novelty:
Huacenmy Solar Snowflake String Lights
3.8
3 4 4 4
Touch of Eco LITEUP125 Solar-Powered Wide Angle LED Mini String Light
Best Solar:
Touch of Eco Solar-Powered LED Mini String Light
3.8
3 4 4 4
Final Verdict

The AmazonBasics 100 LED Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights (view at Amazon) are a classic choice for your outdoor decor. These lights are extremely well-made and hold up wonderfully against tough weather, and they’re extremely bright and vibrant. If you’re looking for something that’s budget-friendly, consider the Home Accents Holiday LED Mini String Lights (view at Home Depot), which are an unbeatable value. Just keep in mind that they might not last quite as long as commercial-grade options.

What to Look for in Outdoor Christmas Lights

Outdoor-Rated

“One thing to look for when purchasing outdoor Christmas lights is that the lights you’re selecting are outdoor rated,” explains Lance Allen, Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot. Underwriters Laboratories Inc., commonly abbreviated as UL, has a variety of safety standards for outdoor Christmas lights, and you’ll want to check that a product is UL-listed for use outside. This information is typically in the product description, and you can also find it on the product tag, which is usually a sticker attached to the wire. 

Bulb Type

You can find outdoor Christmas lights with both LED and incandescent bulbs, but nearly all experts recommend opting for LEDs when possible. Not only do LEDs use significantly less energy, allowing you to connect more strands together, but they also stay cool to the touch, which makes them safer to use around potentially flammable objects, and last longer than incandescent bulbs.  

Those aren't the only benefits, either: “Traditionally, incandescent bulbs are dipped for coloring, which results in the sun fading the colors in just one season,” says Martoccio. “With LEDs, you actually have the diodes colored the same as the bulb, so you do not see the fading occur from year to year nearly as much, if at all.”

Bulb Shape

Christmas lights come in all different shapes and sizes, and while this choice is mostly based on personal preference, Martoccio recommends certain bulb sizes for different outdoor applications. “In general, never use mini lights on a roofline,” he says. “For roof lines and evergreen trees 20 feet and over, you want the larger C9 LED bulbs. For bushes, branch wraps, and evergreens under 20 feet, you can use mini lights.”

Durability

Outdoor Christmas lights are frequently subject to rain, snow, wind, and cold temperatures, so it’s important that they’re durable enough to withstand winter weather. Many of our experts recommend looking for professional- or commercial-grade Christmas lights (which often aren’t sold at big-name retailers), as these lights are made from higher quality materials. Further, many professional-grade lights feature one-piece bulbs and sockets, which prevent moisture, dirt, and dust from getting inside and causing the light to fail.

FAQ
  • How do you hang outdoor Christmas lights?

    The best way to hang outdoor Christmas lights depends on where you’re installing them. If you’re putting them on a fence, railing, or tree branch, you can simply wrap the lights around the surface for quick and easy installation. If needed, you can use a few zip ties to ensure the lights stay in the desired location.

    However, installing outdoor lights on your home can be more complex. Gutter or shingle clips (view at Amazon) are a popular option for hanging lights along the roofline, or you can use Q-hangers (view at Amazon) for other locations. Many of these clips are discrete enough that you can simply leave them on your home year-round, saving you the hassle of putting them back up each holiday season.

  • Can you plug in outdoor Christmas lights without an outdoor outlet?

    If you don’t have an outdoor outlet to plug Christmas lights into, there are still several ways you can make your home look festive. One of the simplest options is to purchase solar- or battery-powered outdoor lights, which don’t require an outlet at all. Alternatively, you can run an outdoor-rated extension cord from an indoor outlet to your yard, or, if you have a light fixture outside, there are adaptors (view on Amazon) that transform a light socket into a 2-prong polarized outlet.

  • How do you hang outdoor Christmas lights on your home?

    If you want to install Christmas lights along your roofline, one of the easiest options is to use special clips that snap onto your gutters or slide under shingles. “Make sure that the first strand can reach a power source, then attach lights to clips (view at Amazon) that can attach to your gutters or shingles and can hold various types of light strands,” say Allen. These clips can typically hold any size Christmas light, and they can be installed without any tools. 

  • Do I need to cover the plugs for my outdoor Christmas lights?

    Outdoor electrical outlets typically have a weatherproof box or cover, which will protect the plug on your Christmas lights from getting wet. However, if you’re planning to connect multiple strands end-to-end, you may want to get protective boxes (view at Amazon) for these connections or at least wrap them in electrical tape to prevent moisture from getting inside. 

  • How do you decorate with outdoor Christmas lights?

    Before you get the ladder out, take a photo of your home and plan where you want to hang your lights. Printing out a photo to draw on will also help you visualize how many lights you need. On your roof, you can take advantage of peaks and overhangs and on the porch, you can use railings and columns. Take note of where the power outlets are outside of your home so you can figure out the best places to start the light-hanging project.

How We Tested the Lights

Before making our recommendations, we researched the most popular outdoor Christmas lights to buy, from top-rated and trusted brands in the lighting category. We then ordered a panel of lights and had our tester evaluate each lighting product at her home for three weeks.

When reviewing outdoor Christmas lights, our tester considered brightness, quality, length of the lights, and ease of installation and ranked each attribute on a scale of 1-5 (the more points, the better). She draped them along outdoor railings or Christmas trees and made sure to leave the lights plugged in for the entire time she tested them. After weeks of seeing how each one fared outdoors, our tester carefully selected her favorites.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2017. While researching outdoor Christmas lights, she consulted with several experts, including Lance Allen, Decorative Holiday Merchant at The Home Depot, and Matthew Martoccio, founder of The Christmas Guys. Using their recommendations, she selected more than a dozen sets of outdoor Christmas lights for firsthand testing, and she displayed them outdoors at her home over the course of several weeks, including during heavy rain and wind. She evaluated each product’s performance based on brightness, durability, ease of use, and more before selecting the top-performing lights to include in this list.