The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights

The best outdoor Christmas lights brighten the home and heart during the holiday season.

Best Overall

The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights Option: Prextex Christmas Clear White Wire 100 Light Set

Prextex Christmas Clear White Wire 100 Light Set

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Best Bang For the Buck

The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights Option: BHCLight Extra-Long LED Green Wire Christmas Lights

BHCLight Extra-Long LED Green Wire Christmas Lights

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Best White

The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights Option: Quwin White Christmas String Lights

Quwin White Christmas String Lights

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What would the holidays be without outdoor Christmas lights to illuminate the winter darkness? Whether they’re tiny twinkle lights or dangling meteor shower lights, these decorations help create a heartwarming holiday season. These lights come in different styles, bulb shapes, and string designs.

When choosing the right ones for your home, consider the lights’ string length, color, and control features, too. Start dreaming of the ideal lighting scheme to pair with your Christmas decorations by checking out this guide. We’ve included shopping tips and a list of the best outdoor Christmas lights around.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Prextex Christmas Clear White Wire 100 Light Set
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: BHCLight Extra-Long LED Green Wire Christmas Lights
  3. BEST WHITE: Quwin White Christmas String Lights
  4. BEST COLORED: Twinkle Star 200 LED 66-Foot Fairy String Lights
  5. BEST SMART: Twinkly 100 Multicolor LED String Lights
  6. BEST ICICLE LIGHTS: Knonew Christmas Lights Curtain Fairy String
  7. BEST OUTDOOR PROJECTOR: Y Yuegang Christmas Laser Lights
  8. BEST METEOR LIGHTS: Aluan Meteor Shower Rain Christmas Lights
  9. BEST SOLAR: Joomer Solar Christmas String Lights
  10. BEST LARGE-BULB: Noma C9 LED Quick Clip Christmas Lights
  11. BEST FOR LARGE AREAS: Twinkle Star 360 LEDs Christmas Net Lights
A close-up of the best outdoor Christmas lights options on a tree
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Outdoor Christmas Lights

The most important factors in Christmas lights are reliability and durability. These two factors guided the majority of our Christmas light choices. We wanted lights that lasted and looked great at the same time. Some categories, like solar-powered lights, have more reliability problems, but we chose the ones that stood out for their power consistency in that case.

Other deciding factors included bulb type, light strength, and length options to fit different homes and lighting needs. To curate this list of trustworthy lights, we spent extensive time researching the different Christmas light types and what features make them more useful and reliable, looking at more than 100 makes and models from many different brands.

Our Top Picks

The best outdoor Christmas lights include sets that consistently provide bright, clear light and last for a reasonable amount of time. There are a variety of styles on this list to fit different tastes, architecture, and themes. Remember—no matter the style, the best lights are the ones that make you feel like the holidays have finally arrived.

Best Overall

Prextex Christmas Clear White Wire 100 Light Set

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The Prextex Christmas light set keeps lighting basic but beautiful with a traditional all-white design. These small twinkle lights come on a 20-foot-long string with a 13-inch lead wire and a 5-foot end connector. They’re designed for indoor or outdoor use and are sized so they don’t look out of place in either location.

The package includes some backup materials in case an accident happens or a bulb goes out, including two flasher bulbs, two extra bulbs, and two replacement fuses to keep them up and running. If one strand is too short, that’s not a problem, since up to five sets of these lights can be connected. While there’s a small number of these strings that show problems within the first few months, this company’s responsive customer service takes care of dissatisfied customers.

Product Specs

  • Length: 20 feet
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Traditional twinkle light design is suitable for indoor/outdoor use and suits a range of decor
  • Comes with 2 flasher bulbs (to create a twinkling effect), 2 extra bulbs, and 2 replacement fuses
  • Up to 5 sets of these lights can be connected to create a longer strand

Cons

  • A few reviewers report units failing after a few months

Get the Prextex outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon

Best Bang For the Buck

BHCLight Extra-Long LED Green Wire Christmas Lights

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The BHCLight extra-long Christmas lights illuminate the holidays at a foot-by-foot price that’s hard to beat. Each 95-foot string contains 240 LED warm-white Christmas lights—more than sufficient to add a cozy, Christmassy glow. They’re approved for indoor or outdoor use (they’re waterproof), providing versatility along with holiday cheer.

These lights include eight different lighting modes: combination, waves, sequential, slow glow, chasing, slow fade, twinkle, and steady on. A mode control on the electrical plug allows you to switch modes as needed. This string’s shortcoming is that it cannot plug into another string to create a longer set of lights.

Product Specs

  • Length: 95 feet
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 240

Pros

  • Affordable price per foot; great for decorating large exteriors on a budget
  • 95 feet of string, 79 feet of which is lights
  • 8 lighting mode options that are easily controlled with a button on the plug

Cons

  • Cannot plug into another strand, which can make very large installations difficult

Get the BHCLight outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon

Best White

Quwin White Christmas String Lights

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For those who prefer the bluish hue of a cool-white light, the Quwin white Christmas string lights might be the perfect addition to a holiday display. These lights can run on eight different lighting modes, including combination, waves, sequential, slow glow, chasing, slow fade, twinkle, and steady on.

Decorators who opt for these lights also won’t have to splurge on several sets to sufficiently adorn their home—the 115-foot string contains 300 LED lights. However, the extra-long string can also connect with up to two additional strings to seriously extend the holiday illumination.

The string is IP55 rated, which means it can withstand water—but only a sprinkling, not a downpour. They might not work in climates where the holidays are a rainy affair.

Product Specs

  • Length: 115 feet
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 300

Pros

  • 8 lighting modes offer a variety of decoration options
  • Can connect with up to 2 sets of the same lights to create an extra-long strand
  • Longer 500-bulb and 1,000-bulb options are also available for those who need more lighting

Cons

  • Not suitable for very wet areas; IP55 rating works for light rain sprinkles but not a downpour

Get the Quwin outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon.

Best Colored

Twinkle Star 200 LED 66-Foot Fairy String Lights

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The Twinkle Star fairy string lights deliver a colorful holiday feel. The LED bulbs glow brightly and conserve energy at the same time. This light string actually measures 82 feet in total, with 66 feet of the strand lit. It features more lights per square foot than many strands, with 200 lights total and only 3.9 inches between each bulb.

The lights can run on one of eight modes, including combination, sequential, waves, slow, flash, slow fade, twinkle, and steady on. They also have a 16-foot lead wire, which makes them easier to place on the roofline without the use of an extension cord. Each string can connect with up to three more sets of the same lights. If there’s a con, it’s their IP44 rating, which means they’re only meant for sprinkles of water, not heavy snow or a downpour.

Product Specs

  • Length: 82 feet
  • Color: Multicolored
  • Number of bulbs: 200

Pros

  • Dense bulb distribution along strand is ideal for eye-catching displays
  • 16-foot lead wire provides flexibility when it comes to installation locations
  • Can connect with up to 5 additional strands of the same lights

Cons

  • Cannot handle heavy moisture; not great in rainy climates

Get the Twinkle Star 200 outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon or Target.

Best Smart

Twinkly 100 Multicolor LED String Lights

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Bring sophistication and hands-free operation into the holiday season with the Twinkly 100 multicolor LED string lights. The app that works with these lights does more than simply turn them on or off; it allows users to control the lights, group multiple devices, set playlists, adjust brightness, set timers, and more.

The app can also control multiple strings and other smart devices from the same company. There are synchronization options between different strings, preset effects, and remote on/off functions, too. The lights can connect to the app using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and are compatible with Alexa as well. However, the app isn’t perfect, and some users, especially Android users, reported connectivity issues.

Product Specs

  • Length: 26.2 feet
  • Color: Multicolored
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Includes a wide array of lighting, color, and effect options
  • Very easy to use with app controls and voice control compatibility with Alexa
  • Can sync multiple strings to the app; ideal for large installations

Con

  • Android phone users may have connectivity issues

Get the Twinkly outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon, Target (2-pack), or Best Buy.

Best Icicle Lights

Knonew Christmas Lights Curtain Fairy String

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The best icicle lights turn any home into a winter chalet. The Knonew fairy string lights provide a maximum amount of LED lights (400) on a 33-foot string. The dangling strands alternate lengths to mimic the look of an icicle-covered chalet.

These lights are available in several colors and string lengths, so if cool white isn’t the perfect fit, there’s also blue, warm white, and several multicolor options as well. The string includes a built-in timer function, too. However, these lights cannot handle heavy rain or snow, so they’re only meant for outdoor use in mild climates.

Product Specs

  • Length: 33 feet
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 400

Pros

  • Dense bulb distribution and varied icicle lengths create an impressive display
  • Several color options are available to satisfy many style choices
  • Built-in timer function can help users save on energy costs

Cons

  • Only meant for outdoor use in mild climates; not suitable for very wet conditions

Get the Knonew outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon.

Best Outdoor Projector

Y Yuegang Christmas Laser Lights

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The Y Yuegang Christmas laser lights projector eliminates the need for a ladder and drastically cuts installation time. This projector can be staked into the ground or mounted to a sturdy structure. A head with 300 degrees of rotation provides adjustability to get the right angle. Plus, the projector provides five holiday lighting patterns from which to choose.

The included remote control works up to a 65-foot distance, and the optimal placement reaches up to 3,800 square feet when placed at a 33-foot distance. However, it only has a 16.4-foot electrical cord, so an extension cord may be required to cover the maximum square footage.

Product Specs

  • Length: Covers 3,800 square feet at a distance of 33 feet
  • Color: Multicolored
  • Number of bulbs: N/A

Pros

  • Very easy to install; no roof climbing or light clips required
  • Can be staked or mounted so it’s suitable for multiple installation options
  • Includes a remote; the 65-foot remote radius is great for most homes

Cons

  • Short electrical cord; may require an exterior extension cable

Get the Y Yuegang outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon.

Best Meteor Lights

Aluan Meteor Shower Rain Christmas Lights

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The Aluan meteor shower Christmas lights provide a fun waterproof lighting option. Available in cool-white, blue, multicolor, and warm-white options, each string contains 10 dangle tubes (available in 12- or 20-inch lengths) that resemble falling stars. The tubes are connected by an electrical cord, with 19.7 inches of space between each tube, so only one plug is required for the whole strand.

The string can connect with an additional three sets of lights, which function on a lighting pattern that falls in sequence to mimic a meteor rather than emanating steady light. However, some reviewers note that the strings have had issues when connecting multiple sets.

Product Specs

  • Length: Not specified
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 240

Pros

  • Comes in a few color choices and tube-length options
  • The lighting effect mimics the look of a falling meteor for a more distinctive holiday display
  • Users can connect up to 4 strands total to decorate larger areas

Cons

  • Some reviewers note problems when connecting multiple strings

Get the Aluan outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon

Best Solar

Joomer Solar Christmas String Lights

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When it comes to creating an eco-friendly Christmas display, solar lights are an excellent choice, and they’re flexible too since they won’t need to connect to an outlet. This multicolor string light set from Joomer includes two strands of solar string lights, each measuring 72 feet long with 200 LED bulbs and its angle-adjustable solar panel.

These lights are waterproof and can hold up to heavy rain and snow. The only real requirement of these string lights is that the solar panel is placed in a sunny spot to charge, preferably for up to 8 hours a day. Then, you can set it to automatically turn on when night falls. Eight lighting modes add a little more fun to your Christmas display.

Product Specs 

  • Length: 72 feet
  • Color: Multicolor
  • Number of bulbs: 200

Pros

  • Stake-installed solar panel eliminates the need for an outlet and makes installation location more flexible
  • Includes 2 sets of solar Christmas lights, each with their own solar panel
  • Good for most climates; suitable for areas with heavy rain and snow

Cons

  • Needs up to 8 hours of direct sunlight for a full charge

Get the Joomer outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon or Joomer

Best Large-Bulb

Noma C9 LED Quick Clip Christmas Lights

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Modern large C9 bulb Christmas lights offer a vintage look without the vintage performance. The Noma C9 LED Quick Clip Christmas lights further simplifies holiday decorating with a clip-on string. This light string features durable LED bulbs, which are less breakable, run cooler, and use less energy than old incandescent bulbs.

While LED bulbs are common nowadays, this light strand has another feature that sets it apart. The strand has built-in spring-loaded clips, which means there’s no need for additional clips, zip ties, or other attachments for installation. Just clip the lights onto your eaves and branches, or remove the clips if they don’t make sense for your installation location. To make sure you get the look you want, the light position is also adjustable, with a 180-degree range. Need more lighting? Connect up to 45 sets of these lights, which should be more than enough for most household displays.

Product Specs 

  • Length: 66.8 feet
  • Color: Multicolor
  • Number of bulbs: 100

Pros

  • Strand features durable built-in and removable spring-loaded clips for easy installation
  • Bulbs can swivel 180 degrees for placement and aesthetic flexibility
  • Users can connect up to 45 sets of these lights—an impressive range that can suit almost any home display

Cons

  • Some reviewers find these lights too dim for their liking

Get the Noma outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon or Target

Best for Large Areas

Twinkle Star 360 LEDs Christmas Net Lights

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If you have a wide area to cover, net lights are an easier-to-install choice than classic string light strands. The Twinkle Star 360 LED Christmas net lights measure 5 feet long by 12 feet wide and have a 16.5-foot lead cable. The design is ideal for draping around a tree trunk, over a bush, or installing against an exterior wall. The net design makes it much easier to cover large surface areas compared to using string lights.

The 360 warm-white LED bulbs are evenly scattered across this lighting mesh, and up to two more sets can be connected to cover a larger area. If the dense lighting coverage isn’t enough, you can choose from eight illumination settings.

Product Specs 

  • Length: 5 feet long by 12 feet wide
  • Color: White
  • Number of bulbs: 360

Pros

  • Netlike design creates a dense carpet of lights that is excellent for covering large areas
  • Up to 3 of these lights can be joined to cover an even larger surface
  • 8 lighting mode options add even more interest to intricate displays

Cons

  • White wiring color can stand out against dark backgrounds

Get the Twinkle Star 360 outdoor Christmas lights at Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Christmas Lights

Outdoor lights come in a surprising variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Smart LED Christmas lights, for example, can emit hundreds if not thousands of colors in a single light. Keep your style and preferences in mind while reading the factors that come into play when choosing the best outdoor Christmas lights.

Light Style

The most common outdoor Christmas light styles include:

  • Twinkle: These tiny traditional lights look as at home on the indoor Christmas tree as they do outside along the eaves. Small and affordable, they’re a great option for those on a budget. Most are either white or multicolored, but some color-changing options may allow users to choose between the two.
  • Icicle: Designed to mimic hanging icicles, these displays offer a touch of elegance. They’re bulkier to store than twinkle lights and have more bulbs per string.
  • Meteor shower: Meteor shower lights’ distinct shape makes them look like glowing meteors or shooting stars falling from trees or eaves. They’re more complicated to install but offer a unique effect.
  • Globe: Not just for the holidays, these large round globe lights can be used year-round. They’re often multicolored and offer a warm glow that radiates in all directions.
  • Large bulb: These are a bigger version of traditional twinkle lights. They’re bright and often multicolored, though some are a single color.

There are also outdoor Christmas light projectors, which aren’t Christmas lights in a traditional sense, but they can add a festive flair to a holiday display.

Length and Size

Outdoor Christmas lights come in various lengths from as short as 10 feet to as long as 100 feet. Make sure to measure the distance the lights will need to cover to get an idea of the right number of strings for the lighting design. Falling a few feet short can easily ruin an outdoor Christmas display.

As far as size, outdoor Christmas light projectors have a defined square footage the display can cover. The projector can be moved farther from the house to expand the display size, but only if there’s enough space on the property.

Power Source

Electricity and solar are the main power sources for outdoor Christmas lights. Of the two, electricity is by far the more reliable. Electricity provides consistent power, though it also requires extension cords and access to an outdoor outlet in the right location.

Solar-powered lights are less common but are still a viable option. They’re an energy saver, gleaning energy via a solar panel during the day, but they aren’t without their flaws. The biggest problem is power consistency. Solar power must be stored to keep the lights running after the sun goes down. Many of these lights shine brightly for about 1 or 2 hours but then dim as power fades. Yes, they save power, but they’re not nearly as bright or consistent as electric lights.

LED Bulbs

LED bulbs have light-emitting diodes instead of a filament like incandescent bulbs have. The diodes use less energy and last longer than filaments, creating a long-lasting, energy-efficient light bulb. Outdoor LED Christmas lights also come in a wider variety of colors. When paired with smart features, they can create a rainbow of colors.

Additional Features

Outdoor Christmas lights can include extra features like:

  • Smart control: Smart control gives you the ability to change colors, lighting patterns, and timer settings using an app. With a phone as a remote, you can turn on the lights before arriving at home or turn them off from work.
  • Pattern settings: Flashing, intermittent, and other lighting patterns can make a lighting display stand out.
  • Color options: White, blue, green, red, and multicolored are the most common color scheme options. Some strings are a single color, while others, like smart LED lights, may offer several colors. More color combinations lets users change the look based on seasons for year-round holiday lighting.
  • Lead wire and end connector: The lead wire is the length of the string before the lights, and the end connector is the length of the string after the lights. These two measurements are important to keep in mind if precise measurements are required. For example, a longer lead wire allows installation farther away from an electric outlet.

FAQs

If outdoor Christmas lights are a first for you this year, you might have a few questions. Thankfully, there are proven answers to the most common ones. These will help you get your lights up, running, and looking their best this holiday season. We have articles on how to store Christmas lights and recycle them as well.

Q. What length should outdoor Christmas string lights be?

The light string should be slightly longer than the area in which they’re hung. That extra length puts them closer to the electrical outlet and reduces the length of any needed extension cords.

Q. How should I hang outdoor Christmas lights?

Recruit a helper, get a sturdy ladder, and get ready for a few hours of work. Start with a string near an electrical outlet, and hang the lights by following the roofline. Have your helper hold the ladder for stability. Some people hang lights from nails, others use a staple gun, while others use removable light clips. Of these options, the removable clips offer the easiest and least damaging method.

Q. How waterproof are outdoor Christmas lights?

Unlike indoor Christmas lights, Outdoor Christmas lights should be 100 percent waterproof. If they’re not, they could short out the first time it rains or snows. Check the IP rating. The IP rating has two numbers. The first number indicates dust and debris resistance, and the second indicates water resistance on a scale of 0 to 9. Outdoor Christmas lights should have a rating of at least 4 (in the second number) or higher. Lights with a 4 or 5 can resist light rain, though they may not do well in extremely wet weather.

Q. Can I leave outdoor Christmas lights on all night?

Yes, Christmas lights are safe to leave on all night. However, you might want to connect them to a timer to save energy.

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Stacey L. Nash

Contributing Writer

Stacey L. Nash has written for BobVila.com since 2020 and more widely for the past 6 years about home products, home decor, and general home improvement. Diving into research is one of her favorite parts of writing, but she especially enjoys hands-on testing to get a feel for how products really function in everyday life.  

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