Our Top Picks
"A basic light set that's ideal for indoor and outdoor use."
"Users praise these lights for their durability, brightness, and value."
Best Icicle Lights: The Holiday Aisle Mini Icicle Light at Wayfair
"Makes decorating your roof simple and fun."
Best Snowflake Lights: White Snowflake LED Fairy Lights at Amazon
"Each 25-foot string is adorned with clear snowflakes that are dimmable."
"This LED light set lets you customize the color, brightness, and lighting mode."
Best Solar: Lalapao Solar String Lights at Amazon
"Will illuminate your home in a warm-white glow for eight or more hours."
Best Ceramic: Good Tidings Holiday Light Set at Amazon
"Nothing beats the intensity of these 2.2-inch ceramic bulbs."
Best Colored: Home Accents Multi-Color String Lights at Home Depot
"These incandescent bulbs come in shades of blue, green, red, and more."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Hofert Everglow 100 Indoor & Outdoor Christmas Light
Sometimes sticking with the basics is the best choice of all. The Everglow Clear White Wire Light Set is a basic set that's 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 feet end to end but 18 feet of lights. Two replacement bulbs are provided with this set in case a bulb blows 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.
In the market for indoor Christmas lights? Check out our list of the best indoor Christmas lights available online.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Home Accents Holiday Clear 300 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.
Looking for lights that can be used in the bedroom, too? Take a peek at the best string lights for bedrooms.
03 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 crisp white color is both elegant and festive, and there are three sets with stackable plugs, which makes decorating outdoor areas 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.
04 of 08
Best Snowflake Lights: White Snowflake LED Fairy Lights
Transform your home into a winter wonderland with these festive snowflake lights! Each 25-foot string is adorned with clear snowflakes that measure 1.6-inches in diameter and light up with white light. While customers report that the light is quite bright, the brightness is dimmable (there's an included remote for quick adjustments) and eight different light modes. Although the waterproof design makes it ideal for outdoor use, these delicate snowflakes look just as beautiful indoors. String them along the mantel or around your child's bedroom for a touch of winter magic.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 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.
Featuring 33 ft. of easily adjustable, bendable, sealed copper wiring, this light set will illuminate evergreen garlands, Christmas trees, or an outdoor space that needs a little extra brightness. Choose from five different colors, including warm white, and then adjust the brightness and lighting mode (there are 16 unique lighting modes from flashing to fade) for a customizable glow.
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.
06 of 08
Best Solar: 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 eight 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 installation. 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.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best outdoor solar lights.
07 of 08
Best Ceramic: 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-inch ceramic bulbs set on 24 inches of black wire. For longer sets, you can connect up to three 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 burnouts or breaks.
08 of 08
Best Colored: Home Accents Holiday 300-Light Multi-Color String Lights
For those in need of some serious Christmas cheer, Home Accents Multi-Color String Lights will do the trick! These brilliantly colored lights would even put a smile on the Grinch’s face.
These incandescent bulbs come in shades of blue, green, red, orange, and pink, and boast ConstantON technology that allows the strand to stay lit even if one bulb burns out. Plus, they're suitable for both outdoor and indoor use.
Reviewers love that this set is super long, which makes for easy installation and connection with other lights, and liked that the strand was wrapped as small bundles which is easier to handle when decorating.
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: Hofert Everglow 100 Indoor & Outdoor Christmas 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.