The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights to Make Your House Merry and Bright
After you've decked your halls and your tree, it's time to take the holiday glow outside. We've rounded up the best sparkle and shine for your home's exterior.
One of my family holiday traditions is to put on our pajamas, fill travel cups with hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights. My local moms' blog keeps a running list of the best streets and parks, so definitely do a search for "Christmas lights" in your area to see if someone has already compiled the most festive places in your hometown.
We love seeing how our neighbors and people around the city decorate, but of course, we also need to deck out our own home.
How to Choose Outdoor Christmas Lights
Start your outdoor Christmas light search by deciding whether you'll go with incandescent or LED lights. LEDs cost about twice as much as incandescent bulbs; however, they last two to three times longer. They also use 10 percent of the electricity that incandescents do — saving energy and producing less heat, which reduces the risk of fire.
When it comes to brightness, incandescents are a little brighter, but strings of LEDs usually have more bulbs per string, so they give off around the same amount of light. One more checkmark in the LED box is their construction. Made of lightweight plastic, LEDs are less likely to break than glass incandescent bulbs.
String lights come in a variety of bulb sizes, all of which are available as LED and incandescent. Mini lights — your quintessential Christmas tree lights — are the most popular. C6, C7 and C9 bulbs are strawberry-shaped and the most traditional of Christmas lights. They range in size from 3/4 inch to 1-1/4 inches in diameter.
Where to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights
Hang your lights in the evening so that you can see the effect they make as you string them. Opt for bigger bulbs, such as C7 and C9, for your evergreen trees and space them about 12 inches. As a general rule of thumb, industry professionals suggest using around 100 lights per vertical foot.
When it comes to decorating your bushes, nets are the easiest and quickest way to add instant glow. And don't forget about your deciduous trees. Wrap mini or rope lights around the bark, which is usually rough enough to hold the strings in place. If the lights start slipping, use strategically placed pushpins to hold them in place. Don't use nails or screws that could hurt the tree.
With all the joy our neighbors bring to our evenings with their stunning outdoor Christmas displays, let's add our own to the mix. Scroll through our dazzling picks to illuminate your home with plenty of Christmas cheer, and then learn the perfect way to hang all your outdoor lights.
The Best LED Lights
For use indoors or out, these warm white mini lights create a classic glow. The two sets of 250 lights (500 total) have a long-lasting 25,000-hour bulb life, giving you worry-free decorating that will last season after season. The green wire blends in seamlessly with tree branches, and the bulbs stay cool to the touch while shining bright.
The Best Incandescent Lights
These indoor-outdoor incandescent string lights come with 100 bulbs, two flasher bulbs, two extra bulbs and two replacement fuses, ensuring years of use and longevity. You can connect up to five sets of lights together to create the holiday display of your dreams.
The Best Colored Lights
These C9 diamond cut bulbs bring a decidedly retro vibe to your holiday decor. Connect up to 20 sets to create an incredible outdoor display without having to find multiple outlets. Each strand is 66 feet in length, and the energy-saving LED bulbs provide up to 20,000 hours of light.
Designed specifically for the outdoors, these heavy-duty multicolored lights are made with industrial-grade gauge wire and have twist-resistant bulbs. With more than 130 feet of lighted length, Philips' array of seven shades delivers festive color to your outdoor display.
The Best Solar Lights
Save on electricity, and use the power of the sun to charge your outdoor Christmas lights this year. The large solar converter charges quickly and gives you eight to 10 hours of festive glow in the evening. Select from eight different modes — constant to twinkling — to create the just-right look for your yard.
Let the sun add color to your outdoor holiday display with these solar-powered string lights. The LED 50 bulbs are energy-efficient and long-lasting. Plus, the built-in timer stores enough energy to illuminate the next day.
The Best Net Lights
Tossing nets over your bushes is an immediate way to amp up your outdoor decorations. These heavy-duty nets measure four-by-eight feet, and nine sets can be connected together for a grand display of 1,800 bulbs.
The Best Icicle Lights
These bright white icicle lights create a snowy winter scene on your roofline, hedges or fence. Connect up to three sets of the incandescent warm white bulbs, which are spaced out on varying lengths.
Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. (Y'all are singing this in four-part White Christmas harmony with me, right?) These strands of snowflakes and icicles bring a sparkling effect to your porch or windows. The long-lasting LED lights feature 30 drops and 150 icicle lights, as well as eight twinkle modes.
The Best Meteor Shower Lights
Create a winter wonderland with icicle lights that mimic the look of falling snow. The durable, waterproof design will hold up through winter's rain and snow. Hang the lights from your rooftop or in your trees for a completely enchanting aesthetic.
The Best Pathway Lights
Illuminate your walkways with these oh-so-cute lights. Each set has four oversized bulbs that easily place into the ground thanks to stakes on the bottoms, and they boast a peaceful champagne hue when lit.
The Best Lighted Greenery
Dress your door with a pine wreath and garland. Eucalyptus leaves blend with the lush greenery for an elegant contrast of color and texture, while the 30 LED lights illuminate the wreath for a whimsical look.
Jack Frost makes it hard to keep beautiful plants in your planters year-round, so we love these pine and cedar inserts that will last all winter long. The mix of greenery and pinecones is dotted with iced sprigs and warm twinkle lights.
The Best Decorating Lights
Pull these adorable pinecone-shaped lights out as soon as there's a chill in the air — they work for autumn, too — and leave them out throughout the holidays. Each strand has 25 pinecone lights, which are Energy Star Certified.
Colorful LED globe lights dress up any occasion, but especially the holidays. With 40 feet of cable and 100 bulbs, these lights have eight different modes, from slow fading to chasing and flashing.
The Best Outdoor Christmas Light Accessories
Keep those C7 and C9 bulbs in place all season long with outdoor Christmas light clips. Utilize the clear plastic clips to hang bulbs horizontally on gutters or vertically on shingles for a Christmas light display that not only looks great but is also easy to install.
Say goodbye to tangled Christmas lights forever with these wind-up cord holders. Each organizer can hold up to 200 mini lights or 100 feet of extension cord. A strong, sturdy handle makes winding up the cords a breeze.
Control your outdoor light display from your smartphone with the Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug. The plug features two outlets, a waterproof splash and dirt cover, voice and app control, long WiFi range and can even be set to automatically turn your lights on and off.
Instantly repair a burned-out incandescent light bulb with the Light Keeper Pro. This handy tool quickly extracts the bulb and replaces it with a new one. It can also test your lights to make sure they work properly before climbing the ladder.
If your collection of holiday lights consists of LED strands, you'll want to opt for the LED Keeper, which works on LED holiday lights.
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