There are many types of Christmas lights to choose from when designing an indoor or outdoor lighting display. Use this guide to determine what kind of lights will best suit your decorating plans.
When trying to decide which type of Christmas string lights to buy, begin by asking yourself the following questions:
Although both LED and incandescent string lights come in a variety of colors and bulb shapes, there are a few basic differences between them.
LED (light-emitting diode) lights:
Mini string lights have smaller bulbs and have remained popular for the past few decades.
Wide angle LED mini lights have low-profile, conical-shaped bulbs that give off more light than some varieties and blend seamlessly into their surroundings when not in use.
Large bulb lights (also known as C5, C7, C9 and G40) create visual impact and lend a retro feel.
Battery-operated lights are great for displays that aren't near a power source or are located where cords could be unsafe.
Animated and color-changing lights add eye-catching action to your holiday display.
Net lights are already strung together into forms, making it easy to get a uniform look when you drape them across shrubs or structures.
Icicle lights give your home a whimsical snow-covered appearance. For more creative decorating ideas, see Holiday Decorations for Your Entryway.
LED rope lights are ideal for outlining doorways, windows and walkways, and for creating intricate shapes and designs.
LED light projectors require no installation and are a timesaving alternative to traditional string lights. Simply plug them into an outlet and point them anywhere — indoor Christmas trees, outdoor trees or dwellings — and instantly project vibrant colors or patterns.
Although personal preference is the ultimate deciding factor, here are a few basic considerations:
General rule: For heavy lighting, plan for around 200 mini Christmas tree lights per vertical foot-and-a-half of tree. If you prefer medium lighting, 100 mini lights per foot should be enough.
Indoor Christmas Trees:
General rule: Plan for approximately 100 mini Christmas tree lights per vertical foot-and-a-half of tree.
For more tips, see Decorate a Christmas Tree.
Consider buying extra Christmas lights in case you need more than you thought, or to use as replacements. For tips on repairing lights, see Fix Christmas Tree Lights.
Some individuals have a strong personal preference for either colored or white Christmas lights, but here are a few considerations:
Consider the following tricks to save on your energy bill during the holidays:
Christmas lights and extension cords come in different amperages. Always pair products of equal amp capacities.