Holiday Lights

The 9 Best Outdoor Christmas Lights to Spread Holiday Cheer

These top-rated string lights keep your home merry and bright and are strong enough to withstand the winter. 
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You've bought the tree and hung up the stockings. Now, it's time to put up the Christmas lights. The time-honored decor tradition marks the start of the holiday season and instantly spreads cheer throughout the neighborhood with its twinkling and festive glow. But not every string of outdoor lights is built to withstand winter's cold temperatures or long nights. Below, we've compiled the top-rated sets that have earned the seal of approval from thousands of reviewers and included some helpful tips so you can easily spot the best ones during your shopping. 

Things to Consider When Shopping for Outdoor String Lights

While picking out Christmas lights is a fairly simple task, there are several details that should be taken into consideration to ensure they both shine bright and last through the holiday season. Here are some key points to think about: 

Length: In order to guarantee a stunning Christmas light display, you have to pay close attention to the measurements of the space you're decorating and the string lights you've chosen. Outdoor Christmas lights come in all sizes, ranging from 18 feet to 100 feet for standard homes. The larger the area, the longer string lights you'll want. Longer sets can also be used for intricate draping or wrapped designs on decks, patios, trees, and more.

Durability: Since your lights will be on display during the winter months, you'll want to choose a set that is made to withstand the elements. Opt for Christmas lights that are fashioned from heavy-duty materials like plastic and have weatherproof coatings for added protection. The same goes for your bulbs; make sure they're made from durable plastic or metal so they can survive accidents. You'll also want bulbs with a high waterproof rating, which will come in handy during any winter storms.

Bulb Type: Perhaps the most exciting part of picking out Christmas lights is exploring the various bulb designs. You have your choice of classic string lights, novelty lights, and winter-themed icicle lights. Or you can skip the hanging altogether and opt for a projector that shines holiday patterns on your home instead. After choosing your desired aesthetic, you can factor in features like timers, remote control functions, and multiple colors and light options. Taking a closer look at the actual bulbs, LED lights are more energy-efficient than standard incandescent bulbs. They also don't produce heat and remain cool-to-the-touch, even after long lighting jobs. Another eco-friendly option would be solar Christmas lights, which run on inexhaustible energy and are more cost-effective.

Related Items

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall: Prextex 100-Count Clear Green Wire Christmas Lights

BUY IT: $11.99; amazon.com

Great for: Roofs, trees, decks, balconies, bushes, patios, and any other part of your home that needs Christmas cheer. 

Equipped with 100 bulbs, these 18-foot-long outdoor string lights feature a durable plastic exterior and have a 3-inch connector, which can accommodate up to five sets of lights for large lighting jobs. Their white bulb creates a warm glow that illuminates your home, and its green-hued wire instantly camouflages against trees and bushes. One set comes with two flasher blubs, plus a pair of replacement bulbs and fuses. 

What reviewers are saying: "I assure you, these are the best quality lights I've ever seen. They are much brighter than traditional clear lights and they are simply gorgeous! I strung them around the patio and they light up the entire patio...and mind you, our patio is 30 feet by 16 feet. These lights will not disappoint you."

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Multicolored: Prextex 100-Count Multicolor Green Wire Christmas Lights

BUY IT: $13.99; amazon.com

Great for: Roofs, trees, decks, balconies, bushes, patios, and any other part of your home that needs Christmas cheer. 

Designed to shine bright, the Prextex 100-Count Multicolor Green Wire Christmas Lights span 18 feet long and can connect with up to five sets of lights. This festive pick has a 3-inch connector and includes two flasher bulbs, two extra bulbs, and two replacement fuses. In fact, the bulbs will continue to light up even if one has burned out. This multicolored set features pink, orange, red, blue, and green bulbs for cheerful gingerbread house-level brightness. 

What reviewers are saying: "Simple lights that get the job done at a great price. Vivid colors and great brightness, as well as a decent length. Good value for money!"

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Novelty: SkrLights 25-Foot Ceramic Vintage Christmas Lights

BUY IT: $19.99 (orig. $30.99); amazon.com

Great for: Roofs, gazebos, patios, decks, and large areas. 

Boasting nostalgic, vintage-inspired opaque bulbs, this novelty outdoor string light set measures 25 feet and can connect with up to three sets. Each bulb is 2.25 inches long by 1 inch wide and has a 2,500-hour lifespan, offering 5 watts of light. As for durability, it's made with a heavy-duty AWG wire that can withstand low temperatures and high winds. It also has a high waterproof rating, which will come in handy during any snow or rainstorms. 

What reviewers are saying: "I bought for dual purpose. First to keep my fruit trees from freezing in a late frost (it didn't work) and second to use at Christmas. They get pretty hot but they are more 'Christmas-y' than the little lights. Definitely more for outdoor use." 

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Wayfair

Best Projector: The Holiday Aisle Garden Laser Projection Strobe Light

BUY IT: $74.99 (orig. $169.99); wayfair.com

Great for: Gardens, lawns, pools, trees, porches, decks, roofs, and more. 

Whether you want to amp up your outdoor decorations or skip hanging up string lights altogether, this handy laser light projector will get the job done. The remote-controlled model instantly covers your house in red and green lights and can be set on a timer so you don't have to worry about turning it on and off. Its metal exterior is durable and waterproof for long-lasting use. 

What reviewers are saying: "Beautiful! Easy to install. Broad array of lights scattered that are a classy touch for the holidays without being too showy. I bought two to shine into my trees and onto my home. Note this product's lights are stationary, meaning they do not move." 

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best with Remote: Chuya LED Dual Color Changing Christmas Lights

BUY IT: $29.99; amazon.com

Great for: Porches, decks, gazebos, trees, roofs, and gutters. 

Thanks to the Chuya LED Dual Color Changing Christmas Lights' wireless remote control, you can create a customized outdoor light display. It allows you to seamlessly switch between the LED outdoor string lights' nine settings, which include dimming options, multiple color options, and a timer. Each set measures 105 feet long and can accommodate up to three strands in order to cover large areas, which is made easy with its end-to-end expandable connectors. The strings and bulbs have a high waterproof rating, guaranteeing longevity and durability. 

What reviewers are saying: "I couldn't decide on clear or colored lights, twinkling or solid. This gives you the best of all of these."

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Wayfair

Best Solar-Powered: The Holiday Aisle Fairy 100 Light Solar String Lights

BUY IT: $20.99 (orig. $25.99); wayfair.com

Great for: Trees, bushes, porch posts, roofs, and decks. 

These solar-powered string lights from The Holiday Aisle are equipped with 100 LED bulbs that stay lit for up to 8 hours when fully charged. They measure 55 feet, which is plenty of wire to wrap around a tree, bush, and porch post. Or, you can connect it with another set to extend its reach and tackle larger areas like the roof. You have your choice of classic warm white and white-colored bulbs, or festive red. They also come in blue for added icy flare. 

What reviewers are saying: "I used these on some grapevine letters spelling 'Noel.' They worked really well to wind through them. They are not super bright but still look nice."

Multi-Color Giant C7 Christmas Pathway Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best Pathway Lights: Home Accents Holiday Christmas Pathway Lights

BUY IT: $19.98; homedepot.com

Great for: Driveways, walkways, sidewalks, and gardens.  

The Home Accents Holiday Christmas Pathway Lights' multicolored bulbs simultaneously spread cheer while illuminating a pathway for guests. Each 5-foot string features five oversized waterproof LED bulbs that are spaced 2 inches apart from one another and securely fastened to plastic stakes for easy assembly. Connect up to 17 strands to create a display that best suits the size of your driveway or walkway. 

(Already have a set of lights that you want to use instead? Grab these handy light stakes from Holiday Joy, which cost $18.99 on Amazon and pair with any type of string lights.)  

What reviewers are saying: "They are big and very bright and beautiful and everyone who sees them gets a kick out of them. Earlier versions took some work to assemble, so I was happy to see that the ones I purchased this year came already put together. They also last a long time. I leave them on continuously for about three weeks during the holidays, and I've put them out for six years now, and this year was the first time I had to replace bulbs." 

NOMA C9 LED Quick Clip Christmas Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Easiest to Hang: Noma C9 LED Quick Clip Christmas Lights

BUY IT: $29.99, amazon.com

Great for: Rooflines, railings, and branches. 

This LED set from Noma takes the hassle out of hanging up Christmas lights with its innovative quick-clip design. It is spring-loaded and heavy-duty to ensure secure installation along places such as the rooflines, railings, and tree branches. Additionally, this allows for 180-degree rotation of its energy-saving bulbs, which are made from a durable acrylic resin material. Strategic weather-sealed sockets also prevent damage from cold temperatures and related storms. Choose between seven bulb colors, including green, cool white, purple, and multicolor. 

What reviewers are saying: "The clips are genius! Lights go up so quick on the gutters. The storage box they came in is a nice bonus, too." 

Holiday Lights
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Decorative: Funiao Christmas Curtain Hanging Christmas Tree Light

BUY IT: $24.98; amazon.com

Great for: Trees and spacious front yards. 

Decorating your home for the holidays just got so much easier. With the Funiao Christmas Curtain Hanging Christmas Tree Light, 317 LED bulbs form a Santa Claus-approved 12.5-inch Christmas tree in record time. The nine-strand curtain-style light decoration is available in six bulb color options that have eight settings to complement your outdoor aesthetic. It also comes with 10 metal hooks for fuss-free installation. 

What reviewers are saying: "Easy to put up. I hung mine from a tree. Simple way to get a lot of lights in little time. Has a bunch of programs, I like the twinkling one. Remembers which mode you left it in. Great product. I haven't put lights up in years, a 5-year-old next door bullied me into it. This is way better than a line of lights on a gutter."