The Best Indoor Christmas Lights of 2021

Put a little extra twinkle and fa-la-la-la-la in your holiday celebrations with indoor Christmas lights.

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The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Options

Photo: amazon.com

What would the holidays be without Christmas lights? These twinkling decorations can illuminate even the darkest of winter nights. Christmas lights are available in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, from globe lights to lights with “smart” features, which can make shopping for them a frustrating task. When choosing the best indoor Christmas tree lights, pick lights that are both functional and eye-catching.

  1. BEST OVERALL: JMEXSUSS 33ft 100 LED Indoor String Lights
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: LIDORE 100 Count Indoor String Light
  3. BEST BATTERY-OPERATED: LOENDE Battery Operated String Lights
  4. BEST COLOR: Twinkle Star 200 LED 66FT Fairy String Lights
  5. BEST VINTAGE: HAYATA 7 Count Color Christmas Bubble Lights
  6. BEST SMART: Twinkly – TWS600STP 600 Multicolor LED String Lights
  7. BEST GLOBE: LOUIS CHOICE LED String Lights
  8. BEST NOVELTY: Twinkle Star 100 LED Star String Lights
The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Options

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Buying the Best Indoor Christmas Lights

Everything from the string length to the bulb size and power source can affect the look and feel of Christmas lights. This guide explores some of the top shopping considerations to take into account before browsing for the best indoor Christmas lights for the home.

Types of Indoor Christmas Lights

  • Mini-Twinkle: These tiny lights are often incorporated into modern Christmas decor. They’re small and may provide a steady or “twinkling” light.
  • Globe (G12): The round globe of these lights emits a wholesome glow. Depending on the rest of the holiday decor, globe lights can bring a modern or whimsical vibe to the space.
  • Large bulb (C6, C7, C9): Large bulbs, either C6, C7, or C9 (bulb specifications) have a vintage feel that accentuates antique ornaments and retro decorations. Their size makes them appropriate for larger displays (e.g., banisters, mantels, or large Christmas trees).
  • Vintage: Vintage bulbs are typically C9s (large bulbs), though some are shaped like candles or even Santa Claus for a unique, vintage look.
  • Novelty: Novelty bulbs come in fun shapes, including snowflakes, stars, and reindeer, among others.

LED vs. Incandescent

Incandescent bulbs work by creating enough heat to make a filament inside the bulb light up. Consequently, these lights use a lot of energy and release a significant amount of heat. However, they’re less expensive than LEDs and have a warm glow that LEDs don’t.

LED lights have diodes that emit light via the movement of electrons within the semiconductor. LED bulbs are significantly more energy efficient and durable than incandescent bulbs. They also release far less heat. LED bulbs are used in most smart lights, offering up to several million color choices.

Power Source

For indoor lights, power must come from electricity or batteries. Lights with an electric plug require access to an electrical outlet or an extension cord. Electricity provides consistent power that never runs out (unless the power goes out). Several strings can connect to each other to use power from a single outlet. However, outlets can get crowded with all the light plugs.

Battery-powered Christmas lights are less common, though they are convenient. They can hang almost anywhere without proximity to an outlet. However, battery-powered lights have a short runtime and will dim as the power runs out.

Length and Size

Wire lengths vary, from short 10-foot strings to 66- to 100-foot strings. A longer cord means fewer outlets and connection points between strings; however, experts recommend using strings in lengths appropriate for the decor job at hand. Use a tape measure to estimate the distance required to wrap around the tree or run down the banister.

Bulb size should be to scale with the rest of the holiday decor. Delicate ornaments may get overpowered by large bulbs. If unsure of the right size, mini lights blend into the background no matter the style or theme.

Color and Shape

White, single-color, and multicolor sum up the Christmas light color options. Whites can be warm (yellowish) or cool (bluish), and single colors can be red, green, blue, orange, purple, and various hues in between. Pick a color or several colors that complement your holiday theme. White makes an ideal neutral if you’re unsure of which color to choose.

Shapes range from globes and small teardrop lights to vintage bulbs shaped like candleholders or snowmen. The shape should complement the rest of the decor, just like the color and style.

Light Modes

A few lighting modes include twinkle flash, slow glow, chasing flash, slow fade, and steady on. Smart LED Christmas tree lights offer the most lighting options. Some allow the user to set the colors by section or offer variable brightness adjustments. Lights that feature lighting modes may cost more than a typical string of Christmas lights, especially if they’re smart lights, because they usually cost more.

Extra Features

  • Remote control: A remote control makes it easy not only to turn lights on and off but also to change the light mode easily.
  • Smart control: Some lights include smart capabilities, including a timer setting, color adjustment settings, or dimming and brightness settings, all of which can be changed with a remote or mobile device.
  • Music syncing: Rock a holiday party by syncing the Christmas lights to the music. This fancy feature is usually found on smart lights, but a few standard lights can get with the beat, too.
  • Built-in timers: Built-in timers turn the lights on and off according to a schedule. Most have a 6-hour-on and 18-hour-off schedule, although some smart lights adjust to a customized schedule.

Our Top Picks

The top picks listed here feature different styles and types of Christmas lights. Durable enough to last several holiday seasons, they fall within different price ranges. These lights meet the criteria previously listed, but they also are attractive and offer a positive user experience.

Best Overall

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: JMEXSUSS 33ft 100 LED Indoor String Lights
Photo: amazon.com

The JMEXSUSS string lights offer 33 feet of clear-wired holiday illumination. Each string is equipped with 100 LED lights, which emit a warm-white light. The clear wire blends in with different backgrounds like mantels, Christmas trees, banisters, or garlands.

A button on the electrical plug switches through eight lighting modes, which include combination, waves, sequential, flash, slow fade, chasing, slow glow, and steady. If the strand is unable to reach a convenient electrical outlet on its own, this string has a 10-foot lead wire that provides extra length. Finally, the lights include a memory function, which means that when they’re turned on, they revert to the last used lighting mode. However, they can’t connect to another string of lights.

Product Specs

  • Length: 33 feet
  • Color: Warm white
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Warm-white glow
  • Eight lighting modes
  • Memory function

Cons

  • Can’t connect to other lights


Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: LIDORE 100 Count Indoor String Light
Photo: amazon.com

The LIDORE indoor string lights go back to basics with white wire and incandescent bulbs. These mini lights are strung on a 21-foot wire with a 16-inch lead and 4-inch tail, so most of the wire is devoted to the 100 lights. The white wire blends with flocked trees or white Christmas ornaments. It can also mix well with tulle and other Christmas fabrics.

Designed so that the entire string will stay lit if one of the bulbs goes out, the set includes two replacement bulbs. Multiple strings connect to create a continuous light display. The incandescent bulbs aren’t as energy efficient as LED lights, but they emit a traditional warm light. However, these lights may not last as long as standard LEDs, especially if used constantly over several weeks.

Product Specs

  • Length: 21 feet
  • Color: Warm white
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Warm-white light
  • White wire blends with flocked trees
  • Can connect to additional light strings

Cons

  • Potentially short lifespan


Best Battery-Operated

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: LOENDE Battery Operated String Lights
Photo: amazon.com

These LOENDE battery-operated string lights provide more decor options and reduce wires and cords. The LED lights operate on three AA batteries and include a built-in timer to help conserve battery power. The lights follow a 6-hour-on, 18-hour-off schedule. The battery pack has a small loop to hide it on wreaths or other decorations.

The LOENDE also comes in multicolor and white with a white wire option as well. Each type has eight lighting modes, including combination, slow glow, flash, slow fade, sequential, waves, twinkle, and steady. These lights are waterproof for indoor or outdoor use.

Product Specs

  • Length: 18 feet
  • Color: Warm white
  • Number of bulbs: 50

Pros

  • Built-in timer helps conserve battery power
  • Multiple lighting options
  • Battery pack loop

Cons

  • Cannot connect to additional strings


Best Color

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: Twinkle Star 200 LED 66FT Fairy String Lights
Photo: amazon.com

The Twinkle Star fairy light string includes 200 energy-efficient mini lights densely strung on a 66-foot green wire on the lighted portion, which has a 16-foot lead wire. The Twinkle Star lights can connect to an additional four strings, extending their reach to create a unified lighting display.

In addition to the standard “steady” mode, they can also be used in a combination of their various functions: waves, sequential, slow glow, chasing, slow fade, and twinkle. The control box on the lead wire controls the various modes. Their small size works well for indoor displays, but they’re advertised as an indoor-outdoor option. However, if used outdoors, they must plug into an indoor outlet.

Product Specs

  • Length: 66 feet
  • Color: Multicolor
  • Number of bulbs: 200

Pros

  • Long, extendable (up to four additional) strings
  • Dense bulb placement
  • Eight lighting modes

Cons

  • Plug must be kept indoors


Best Vintage

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: HAYATA 7 Count Color Christmas Bubble Lights
Photo: amazon.com

Made to resemble authentic vintage decorations, the HAYATA bubble lights have a retro vibe straight from the 1940s. While each string is only 6.6 feet long and contains seven lights, they can connect to an additional 11 sets for a total of 12.

The HAYATA lights contain incandescent bulbs, so their soft, warm light feels vintage, too. These lights also come in different colors and one additional theme (Halloween). Replacement bulbs can be purchased separately.

Product Specs

  • Length: 6.6 feet
  • Color: Multicolored
  • Number of bulbs: Seven

Pros

  • Traditional incandescent lighting
  • Extends to 12 strings
  • Vintage design and style

Cons

  • Does not include extra bulbs


Best Smart

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: Twinkly - TWS600STP 600 Multicolor LED String Lights
Photo: amazon.com

At almost 160 feet long, the Twinkly multicolor LED string holds 600 LED lights. It comes with a free app that lets users map the lights using the camera on the connected device. From there, you can map out the lights’ location and set colors and effects by section.

The app can connect to other devices and control several smart light strings at once. Smart capabilities allow users to set timers, turn the lights on and off from anywhere, and create custom effects. These lights can sync with music and connect with another set of string lights. However, all the cool effects come with a relatively high price, and the app may have connectivity issues.

Product Specs

  • Length: 157.5 feet
  • Color: Multicolored
  • Number of bulbs: 600

Pros

  • Wide range of control options through the app
  • Music synchronization
  • Control and sync multiple smart devices

Cons

  • Poor connectivity
  • Expensive


Best Globe

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: LOUIS CHOICE LED String Lights
Photo: amazon.com

The LOUIS CHOICE shatterproof LED bulbs save energy, but they’re also equipped with a built-in timer that runs on a 6-hour-on, 18-hour-off schedule. A 49-feet string provides adequate length to use on a large tree or banister. However, 16 feet is devoted to the lead wire to help the string reach an outlet.

This model can extend by an additional nine light strings to lengthen their overall reach. A memory feature turns the lights on in the same mode in which they were turned off. Eight modes are available, including slow fade, twinkle, steady, combination, sequential, waves, slow glow, and flash. The package includes 10 twist ties for installation. The globe portion of the light is attractive, but it’s plastic, which can be quite fragile.

Product Specs

  • Length: 49 feet
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Extendable, with up to 10 strings connected together
  • Built-in timer
  • Memory feature

Cons

  • Plastic globes


Best Novelty

The Best Indoor Christmas Lights Option: Twinkle Star 100 LED Star String Lights
Photo: amazon.com

These Twinkle Star lights bring the Christmas star front and center. They can connect to a maximum of 10 strings. Those connections stay close together with an adaptable design that lets users remove the 16-foot lead wire when connecting strings.

Eight lighting modes are available, including sequential, combination, flash, twinkle, stead, slow fade, and waves. While these lights are white, they lean toward the cool side of white. They’re indoor-outdoor lights, but the transformer must be kept inside, limiting the number of ways the lights can be used outdoors.

Product Specs

  • Length: 49 feet
  • Color: Cool white
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Connects with nine additional strings
  • Removable 16-foot lead wire
  • Eight lighting modes

Cons

  • Plug must be inside


Our Verdict

The JMEXSUSS Indoor String Lights receive the top spot for their mix of energy efficiency, light quality, and durability. These lights should last for years. If looking for something with a feel of yesteryear, the HAYATA Christmas Bubble Lights are vintage all the way. They can extend to up to 12 strings and visually represent a vintage Christmas.

How We Chose the Best Indoor Christmas Lights

We researched more than 90 indoor Christmas lights from almost as many brands. Specifically, we looked at user experience, reliability, and durability. LED lights were more likely to be on our list because of their energy efficiency and ability to work with smart technology. However, incandescent bulbs made the list for their soft, warm light and affordability.

Finally, we considered design. Bulbs, both large and small, globe and novelty, made the list, but they had to have the durability and reliability to warrant their inclusion. We tried to represent a wide range of options to fit different preferences.

FAQs

Choosing the right lights with the perfect length, color, and style isn’t an easy decision. We’ve answered the most common questions to help make your choice easier and get those twinkling Christmas lights up and running.

Q. What Christmas lights do professionals use?

The Christmas lights used by professionals are usually LED lights with coaxial connectors, which are a little more hard-core than domestic lights. The wiring may be different, but the lights are not.

Q. What color Christmas lights are the best?

Color depends on the decor theme and personal preferences. White offers a clean, classic look, while a single color adds mood. Cheerful multicolor lights bring fun to the holidays. Think about the look you want to create, and go with a color that supports your decor.

Q. Are LED lights better on a Christmas tree?

Incandescent bulbs are approved for safe use on Christmas trees. However, LED lights don’t get as hot, which probably makes them a safer option for a live tree.

Q. How do I find a bad bulb on a string of Christmas lights without a tester?

Remove each bulb one at a time, placing a piece of foil in the socket after removing the bulb. If the lights turn back on, you’ve found the bad bulb.

Q. How long do Christmas lights last?

Longevity and durability vary by brand, but incandescent bulbs typically last two or three seasons, and LED bulbs typically last six or seven seasons. Both can last longer if cared for and stored appropriately. Certain conditions, such as living near the ocean or in an area that experiences extreme heat, can shorten their lifespan.