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String lights are a quintessential holiday decoration, and if you want to decorate your yard or your home’s exterior, you’re going to need outdoor Christmas lights that can stand up to the weather. Today, outdoor holiday lights come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, allowing you to customize your display however you’d like.
Whether you want traditional white string lights, oversized retro-style lights, or something completely different, like color-changing LEDs, you can find it all online. Just be sure to double-check that the lights you buy are approved for outdoor use and are long enough to span the area you’re decorating!
Here are the best outdoor Christmas lights to illuminate your space.
For a classic, well-priced set of outdoor Christmas lights, you can’t go wrong with the Prextex 100-Count Christmas Light Set. This strand of outdoor lights has 100 warm white bulbs on a green wire, and the whole thing is around 20 feet in length, making it perfect for decorating a tree or your home's porch. Plus, if you want more length, you can connect up to five of these strands together.
These Christmas lights come with two flasher bulbs, two replacement bulbs, and two spare fuses. They have an 18-inch lead wire and a 3-inch end connector, and reviewers say the strands are robust with bright, clear lights.
For the ultimate outdoor Christmas display, you might need to splurge on the Frontgate Controllable RGB LED Kit, which includes three strands of “smart” LED lights. These holiday lights can be controlled from any iOS device, and you can adjust their color and brightness, as well as control the different effects. There are up to 16 million color combinations, so you can accomplish just about anything with these splurge-worthy string lights!
There are 25 LED lights on each of the three 16-foot strands, and each section includes a lead cord that’s just over 1 foot. You can choose from 10 lighting effects, including tri-color, single fade, rainbow fade, twinkle, and more, and the app even lets you adjust the speed and direction of the lighting pattern. Cool, right?
If you prefer LED Christmas lights, which stay cool to the touch, and use less energy to operate, you’ll love the YULETIME Warm White LED Christmas String Lights. These strands are 66 feet with 200 warm white lights, and the average lifespan for the bulbs is 50,000 hours, so they’ll last for many years to come.
The bulbs are 4 inches apart on the green wire, and you can connect up to 10 strands end-to-end to decorate larger areas. The LED lights can provide up to 90 percent energy savings over standard super-bright string lights, and the package comes with four extra bulbs, to boot.
It’s inconvenient to have to turn outdoor lights on and off manually, especially if they’re set up in a hard-to-reach location. Luckily, the ASENEK Outdoor Light String has a built-in timer that will automatically turn on the strand for six hours at a time. The strand is 66 feet long with 100 warm white LED lights on green wire, and it’s battery-operated, making it convenient to set up in locations without an outlet.
These LED lights have eight settings, including steady on, twinkle, waves, slow fade, and more. Additionally, they have an automatic timer that shuts them off after six hours, and they’ll turn back on 18 hours later. The only downside is that you can’t adjust the timer if you wanted to keep them on for longer.
Large-bulb Christmas lights have a distinctly retro vibe, and the Home Accents Holiday Multi-Colored Incandescent C9 Lights would make a fun addition to your outdoor display. These strands feature 24 feet of multi-colored C9 bulbs, and you can connect two strands end-to-end if needed. The lights come with an extra fuse, and if one bulb burns out, the others will stay lit. Plus, reviewers say these Christmas lights are quite durable and look stunning when used to decorate the exterior of your home.
If you prefer the look of multicolored holiday lights, the Home Accents Holiday Multi-Color String Lights are perfect for you. These top-rated string lights are 68-1/2 feet long, and they feature 300 multi-color mini lights with incandescent bulbs.
The strands are UL-approved for outdoor use, and they come with replacement bulbs just in case some burn out—don’t worry though, the strand will stay lit even if one light goes out. Reviewers give these string lights top marks for their length and brightness, and many write that they’ve successfully used the multicolored holiday lights to decorate their homes.
White lights more your style? Then check out the AmazonBasics Commercial Grade Outdoor Christmas String Lights, which are available in both bright white and warm “Champagne” hues. You’ll get two 33-foot ropes of lights with 100 LED bulbs on each, and the wire is white, as well, for a seamless look.
These commercial-grade Christmas lights are both UL- and wet-rated for outdoor use, and you can connect up to three strands together for more coverage. Reviewers like that the strands are heavy-duty and stay cool to the touch, but several note that the "Champagne" colored lights have a pink tint to them.
You can save on energy costs with The Holiday Aisle Fairy Solar String Lights. These quaint outdoor lights feature a ground-mounted solar panel, which provides them with six to eight hours of runtime per day. The fairy-style lights come on a 55-foot strand with 100 LED bulbs, and you can choose from a variety of colors, including warm white, regular white, red, and blue.
According to buyers, these solar-powered Christmas lights are perfect for wrapping around trees in your yard, and they automatically turn on at dusk, saving you from having to manually switch them on. Plus, reviewers say the lights will even work on gloomy days—ideal for winter.
Icicle lights are a popular choice for decorating the trim of houses during the winter, and the Home Accents Holiday Clear Icicle Lights are both reliable and affordable. These strands of outdoor Christmas lights are over 14 feet long, and they feature hanging “icicles” of varying lengths for a pretty display. Each string has 300 white bulbs on a white wire, and you can connect up to three sets per outlet.
These icicle lights come with spare bulbs and fuses, and if one light burns out, the others will still stay lit. The lights are UL-approved for outdoor use, and reviewers love the affordable price, writing that the lights look stunning when lit up on your porch against the snow.
The best outdoor Christmas lights are the Prextex 100-Count Clear Christmas Light Set (view at Amazon). These lights are great for both indoor and outdoor use, and the string is about 20 feet in length. If you’re specifically looking for LED lights, go with the YULETIME Warm White LED Christmas String Lights (view at Amazon). The average lifespan for the bulbs is 50,000 hours, so they’ll last for many years to come.
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.