Spare bulbs and flashing bulbs included
Can be used indoors and out
One set was enough to decorate our tree
Length is cumbersome for indoor decoration
Whether you’re decking the halls early or you’re down to the wire, the Home Accents Clear 300 Holiday Incandescent Light Set will take you from Bad Santa to Elf in the least amount of steps. We tried out the extra-long string lights for ten days, keeping an eye on its durability, performance, setup, and overall effectiveness. Read on to find if we think the indoors- and outdoors-friendly set is worthy of your Christmas green.
Setup Process: Long cords can be a headache
The lights arrived in five neat, twisty-tied bundles, each one corresponding to a separate circuit. This number of lights can be cumbersome if unwound, so the bundles made draping them around our 5-foot tree more convenient. Pro tip: Leave all the bundles in the box they came in, then pull out and untie the bundles one at a time as you go to place them.
One set was sufficient to cover our 5-foot Christmas tree in a warm glow.
A note on the post-holiday trauma of tangled light strands: Nearly 70 feet of cord is going to be a bear to keep unknotted in storage, so when we take these down, we’re going to use a storage system like the IRIS Christmas Light Storage Box.
Design: A timeless classic
Though they’re being phased out in favor of more energy-efficient bulbs, who doesn’t love the classic warm white of an incandescent Christmas light? The Home Accents set has old school Christmas cheer on lock with 300 clear bulbs and a cord in that particular shade of green that somehow bridges the color gap between old-school artificial tree, and fresh-from-the-tree-farm spruce. A female connector at the distal end allows multiple strands to be plugged in in a row.
The only problem we can foresee with the aesthetic is it’s so old school, it might make you homesick.
Performance: Circuit city
The cord is split into five circuits, so one bad egg isn’t going to spoil the lot. If a bulb is crushed or burned out, as long as you leave it in the socket, the circuit will remain closed and the lights will remain lit. When we removed light bulbs (with difficulty) from their sockets, only the lights in that particular circuit went out. A faulty bulb should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid overwhelming the rest of the filaments in that circuit and burning them out, too, but until you can get to it—no need to sweat. The string will stay lit.
Because a smashed bulb or two is inevitable (we had one on our first day), the set comes with a little bag of both regular replacement bulbs and flashing bulbs. The flashing bulbs have red tips and can be interchanged with any regular bulb along each circuit, prompting the lights on that circuit to blink on and off. The timing is roughly half a second on and half a second off, but using a flashing bulb isn’t going to lead to metronomic results. An incandescent flashing bulb has a little metal strip that heats up and bends when exposed to electricity, breaking the current and causing the lights in that circuit to go out. When the strip cools off, it relaxes back into place, reestablishing the circuit. With five separate circuits requiring five separate flashing bulbs (if you want the entire string to flash), each circuit has to wait on its respective little metal strip to do the heavy lifting in its own time.
The cord is split into five circuits, so one bad egg isn’t going to spoil the lot.
Along with the bulbs, there were also two spare fuses included in the replacement kit. If you connect more lights end-to-end than the set can handle, the fuses will blow to prevent overheating, and the entire string will go out. Home Accents recommends that the maximum wattage of connected light strings doesn’t exceed 216 watts. This set is 72 watts, so you should be able to connect two more of them safely. Should disaster strike and one of them blow, though, we found it easy to replace the fuses, which are housed in a tiny fuse box inside the plug.
Length: More than enough
Nearly 70 feet of lit length, with a bulb about every 2.75 inches, is enough to cover a significant amount of house exterior. We only tested the set indoors on our 5-foot artificial Christmas tree, but one set was sufficient to cover the tree in a warm glow. Two sets would be even better, but not totally necessary.
Durability: To be confirmed
We tested these lights for about a month. Ten of those days we used the lights for about six hours a day, dialing back to three or four hours a day after that. We haven’t experienced any issues, which is a pretty good indication of how they’ll perform over a whole holiday stretch.
Being able to light up an entire tree for around $10 is honestly a great deal.
Price: So good
The Home Accents set costs around $10, and being able to light up an entire tree for that is honestly a great deal. You could easily pay that for much shorter sets with 100 or 200 lights.
Competition: It’s a flooded market
BrizLabs Clear Christmas Lights: There are lots of very similar sets out there. BrizLabs’ set has 300 warm white incandescent lights strung along a 69.6-foot green cord. It also comes with replacement bulbs and can be used either indoor or outdoor. They’re basically identical to the Home Accents set. So why would we prefer the Home Accents set over the BizLabs set? Because it’s the same thing for half the price. The holidays are expensive enough!
Bestalent 300 LED Christmas String Lights in Warm White: Traditional Christmas lights are funny in that we expect them to fail. That’s why they come with spare bulbs and fuses. LED lights like this set don’t have this problem—they don’t burn out, and you don’t need to replace them. The lights just gradually get dimmer over the course of their (hopefully long) life.
LED strands are a bit more of an investment up front, but they save you from little headaches down the road, like when half the lights on your second story gutter go out and you need to locate the loose bulb from a ladder. They also use about 75 percent less electricity than regular incandescent strands. Depending on how opulent your display is and how long you intend to leave it up, these lights may just end up paying for themselves.
- Product Name Clear 300 Holiday Incandescent Light Set
- Product Brand Home Accents
- SKU 1000080241
- Price $8.98
- Color Clear bulbs/green cord
- Wattage 72W
- Total Cord Length 69.5 ft.
- Lit Length 68.5 ft.
- Bulb Number 300
- What’s Included Light string, ten spare bulbs, two spare fuses