12 Best Outdoor String Lights (Review) In 2021
Adrienne started her professional life as a gardener at her local parks department and went on to train at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh where she was the first female student on the prestigious and world-renowned horticultural course run by the Botanic garden. An experienced and award-winning garden writer and past editor of some of Britain’s favourite gardening magazines, Adrienne has for over 30 years, inspired gardeners with a breadth of gardening know-how plus creative and decorative ideas. One of her main aims is to make gardening accessible, even to the smallest green fingers, with her clear advice and straightforward step-by-step instructions. Adrienne loves to travel and has visited, given talks and met ordinary home gardeners in far flung places like China, South Africa, Philippines and Caribbean as well as the UK.
- The Best Outdoor String Light
- 1. Lemontec 48 Ft Commercial Grade Outdoor String Lights
- 2. Brightown 25 Ft Outdoor Globe String Lights
- 3. ADDLON 48 Ft Weatherproof Vintage Edison Bulb String Lights
- 4. YIQU 72 Ft 200LED Solar String Lights 2-Pack
- 5. Solatec 48 Ft LED Shatterproof String Lights
- 6. Afirst 20 Ft Edison Bulb Waterproof Patio String Lights
- 7. Mlambert Color Changing LED Outdoor String Lights
- 8. SUNTHIN 48 Ft Dimmable Edison Outdoor String Lights 2-Pack
- 9. Mr. Beams 54 Ft Solar LED Weatherproof Outdoor String Lights
- 10. Lampat 25 Ft G40 Globe String Lights
- 11. LECLSTAR 48 Ft LED Patio String Lights
- 12. Novtech 38.5 Ft G40 Globe String Lights
String lights are an easy and versatile way to create some magic in your backyard or add some extra sparkle to your next outdoor event. From bright lights that will make your garden stand out and make it easy for your guests to see their surroundings when the sun goes down, to subtle, delicate lights that create a magical fairytale feeling. With so many options to choose from, we have reviewed some of the best outdoor string lights available, together with the key features you should consider when selecting a product.
The Best Outdoor String Light
15 hanging sockets
Warm white color
Our best choice for outdoor string lights is the Lemontec 48 Ft Commercial Grade Outdoor String Lights. With this design, you get fifteen bulbs, set three feet apart from each other, on a cord that is 48feet long. Thanks to the generous length, plus the weatherproof feature of the line, this is a great option to brighten up your whole garden.
The bulbs on this string are S14 11-watt incandescent ones, with an Edison design to create a vintage look. The warm white light is powered by plugging them directly into a mains socket or extension lead, and they are powerful enough to light up a wide area with a warm glow. The cord itself has an ETL safety certificate, and the product can easily withstand wind and rain. The product description also states that it is safe to connect up to eight strands together.
As the Lemontec lights are a heavy-duty product, they are also quite heavy in weight, so you will need to factor this in when you plan where to hang them.
Quite heavy – will need to be well secured
26 Edison style bulbs
Spare bulb and spare fuse included
In the Brightown Outdoor Globe String Lights set, you get a 25ft weatherproof cable, 25 Edison style bulbs with one spare, plus a spare fuse. Each light has an E12 socket, which holds the 5watt bulbs and there are 12 inches in between the sockets. These lights are UK certified to withstand various weather conditions, so they are safe for outdoor use in both wind and rain, and if one light bulb does go out, the others will remain on. These bulbs are also dimmable if you decide to buy a dimmable switch.
The Brightown has a six-inch lead with a male plug and a six-inch tail with a female connector. This means you can connect them with other strands, up to a maximum of three strands, which uses 375watts.
Dimmable lights (switch required)
Spare bulb included
End to end connectors
Reports of bulbs not working on arrival
There have been several customer reviews that state that when they receive the product at least one of the bulbs is already blown, although this isn’t a consistent fault.
15 hanging sockets
E26 bulb fittings
The ADDLON Weatherproof Vintage Edison Bulb String Lights provide you with 48feet of heavy-duty, weatherproof cord and lights. This is designed to withstand rain, rain, snow, and sun. On this cord, there are fifteen sockets that fit vintage-styled, Edison bulbs (E26) which give off a warm yellow light and work with 11watt power. The incandescent bulbs can be dulled with a dimmer switch (to be bought separately) and the gap between each bulb is three feet. They are inside a plastic casing, so they will not shatter easily.
One of the great features about the Addlon string is that it has built-in hooks above each socket, making it very easy to hang using zip ties or nails. The strands have connectable male and female end connectors, meaning you can join multiple strings, to a maximum of five. Due to the weight of the cords, the strands may pull apart easily when joined together.
The strands do not stay together well
Pack of two strings
72ft length per string
Fairy lights design
Eight lighting modes
If you are looking for an extra-long string with a high number of lights, then the YIQU 72ft 200LED Solar String Lights 2-Pack is worth considering. This is our best value choice, as it is a pack of two strings, with each line having 200 LED lights and measuring 72feet. The lights are powered by a solar panel battery, which can be fully charged in just under eight hours. Once fully charged, the battery will provide roughly 10 hours of light.
While this product will not give you the brightest glow, the lights come with eight different modes to create unique decorative effects which are great for adding atmosphere to an outdoor event. The Yiqu is waterproof for light rain, and the warm white bulbs are energy-saving.
Different lighting effects
No need for a plug
Lights are not very bright
Waterproof and shatterproof
Total watts = 22.5w
ETL safety compliant
The Solatec 48 Ft LED Shatterproof String Lights is a great energy-saving alternative way to create a relatively brightly lit outdoor space. Each of the 2w bulbs is equivalent to a 12w traditional light bulbs. There are fifteen LED bulbs packaged in shatterproof plastic that can cope with light rain, hail, snow, and wind. They follow the popular Edison style design with warm white light and are positioned on a 48ft cord.
With the Solatec connectable cords, you can link twelve strands together, with a maximum of 162 watts. This will allow you to create a warm glow across a vast area. There is very little to criticize about this product.
High number of connectable strands
Brown cable and sockets
End to end connector
20 incandescent light bulbs
Warm white light
The Afirst 20 Ft Edison Bulb Waterproof Patio String Lights are a good option if you don’t want a typical black cord and would prefer a more subtle look. This string and the bulb sockets are brown, so blend quite nicely around trees or fences, and hold twenty Edison incandescent lights. Each bulb uses 7watts and the sockets are the E17 size. You should get 1000hours of light from the bulbs before a change is needed. They are IP44 waterproof certified, and a spare fuse is included in the set, although there are no spare bulbs.
The Afirst cord is shorter than many of the other string light options, measuring only 20ft, but you can connect these end to end with up to four other cords.
Subtle brown color
1000hr working time
15 dimmable lights
Colour changing LED
Adjustable brightness, color and speed
If you want to add a bit more excitement to your garden, then the Mlambert color-changing outdoor lights could be the best choice for you. The Mlambert Color Changing LED Outdoor String Lights come on a 48ft white cord and are spaced three feet apart from each other. If you need a larger cord, then three strands can be connected together. The Mlambert gives you IP65 waterproof Edison LED bulbs that are shatterproof and weather-resistant, although not the brightest.
One of the best features of this set is the remote control that you receive. With this, you can change the colors, adjust the brightness, add a slow fade when the colors change, or simply turn the lights on and off. They are very user friendly and even have built-in loops to make hanging simple.
Three spare bulbs
The emitted light is not very bright
Pack of two
11watt Edison bulbs
Six spare bulbs
Our premium pick for the best outdoor string lights is the SUNTHIN 48 Ft Dimmable Edison Outdoor String Lights 2-Pack, the commercial-grade model. While it may be more expensive than several other options, with this kit, you get two sets of 48ft cord, so more than enough to cover a large area. There are fifteen sockets for the Edison bulbs on each cord, which create a warm yellow glow, and you get six spare bulbs.
The cord and lights are certified by ETL and are all weatherproof, plus you can link up to five strands end to end. Caution should be taken when installing then as the bulbs are not shatterproof.
24 glass S14 bulbs
Energy-efficient 0.6w bulbs
The Mr. Beams 54 Ft Solar LED Weatherproof Outdoor String Lights are a solar-powered option, with a 54ft cord and 24 lights. The bulbs are all energy-saving LEDs and consume only 0.6watts, so once the battery is charged via the solar panel, they should last for 8hours of continuous light.
The solar panel in this kit can be placed either in the ground or mounted on the wall for maximum sunlight, and the bulbs will give you 90lumens of light, which is less than many other options. The Mr. Beams lights cannot be connected to other strands, so the maximum length will be 54ft.
Low light emission
No end to end connection
25ft long cord
End to end connector
12″ spacing between bulbs
Spare fuse and bulb
Connect three strands
Our budget pick for the best outdoor string lights is the Lampat 25 Ft G40 Globe String Lights. With this product, you get 25 ft of black cord, with 25 lights evenly spaced out. The lights are incandescent glass, warm white, round bulbs with E12 sockets. They are not dimmable and are quite small, which may or may not suit your home needs.
The cord is not especially long on the Lampat but you are able to attach three strands together to cover the area you need. You also get a spare bulb and spare fuse in the pack, and a one-year guarantee. The total wattage is 125 watts and they are perfectly safe to use in wet and windy conditions.
Small hooks on the bulbs
Great for small patio area
Waterproof dimmable lights
15 hanging sockets
LED lights – 2watt bulbs
End-to-end connector for up to 30 strands
The LECLSTAR 48 Ft LED Patio String Lights are a great option if you need to connect multiple strands to create a lot of light or cover a large area. The cord on this set is 48ft long, with fifteen bulb sockets, but you can connect up to 30 strands together with the end-to-end connector. As the bulbs are all LED, they are energy efficient and use only two watts per socket, hence why you can connect so many strands together safely. The included bulbs bring a warm, soft light to your home and a spare bulb is included.
As with most of the other products, these are IP65 waterproof certified, and the end connectors have a protective cover for safe usage. The bulbs, however, are not shatterproof so care should be taken when hanging them.
Multiple strand connection
LED light bulbs
If you are looking for an alternative to the Edison shaped lights, then it is worth having a closer look at the Novtech 38.5 Ft G40 Globe String Lights. There are 30 sockets on this 38.5ft cable, and each socket holds a golf ball shape and size bulb that emits a warm white light. These lights are UK listed with a wire core inside to prevent the LED lights from overheating and are a great energy-efficient option. As with most other outdoor lights, they also have the IP65 certification.
The Novtech string does not have end to end connectors so you cannot extend the length of this product, but it is also available in a 58ft version. These lights also cannot be dimmed, even with an additional dimmer switch.
Alternative light shape
Features To Consider With Outdoor String Lights
The two main bulb types you will find are LED and incandescent bulbs. LED will be brighter and more energy-efficient, and because of the low wattage needed to power them, you can link many together without damaging the power supply. Incandescent bulbs will use more energy but they will create a softer, warm glow.
The brightness of outdoor light bulbs is often referred to in lumens, not watts. Watts measure energy use, but will not indicate brightness. More lumens will give you more light. If you want to try and compare older measurements, a 40watt would be equivalent to around 450lumens.
String lights will have lower lumens that typical wall light products as they are designed to create a warm yet dimmed environment. There is no set number of lumens that are best for your string lights, but you will typically find that they range from 5-100, depending on whether you choose LED or incandescent bulbs.
When selecting lighting strings there are a few different designs to choose from. Solar lanterns are solar-powered and the lights look usually like small paper lanterns. These outdoor lights are usually designed to cope in most weather conditions, but the solar panel will need sunlight!
Edison lights give you the traditional lightbulb design, adding a retro feel to your space. They create a lovely vintage atmosphere in your home and are typically quite warm in color; they don't work so well if you need bright light.
Fairy lights are the most popular design when you think of lights outdoors. These are great for wrapping around trees or hanging on fences to create a pretty atmosphere, but they will give-off only a small amount of light. You can now find fairy light products with different shaped cases, so the bulbs are inside stars or heart shapes. These string lights look magical when scattered around a courtyard.
Rope lights have a very distinctive design, as they are made from lots of little bulbs wrapped in a PVC tube, to make them look like a rope. As with fairy lights, they work well wrapped around trees and structures outside your home.
When you are choosing the best outdoor string lights, the first thing you are likely to consider is how long the cord is. The cables range from 24ft to 54ft but if you need a longer length then be sure to opt for products that have end-to-end connectors. This will give you the possibility of joining multiple strings of lights together, provided you stay within the maximum wattage allowed for the bulbs and power supply. Not all string light sets have the end to end connectors, so it is worth checking this.
The most popular color options for outdoor use lights are warm white and warm yellow, both of which will create a nice glow in the garden. If, however, you want to create a different atmosphere, then colored LED lights are available to make your garden look like a partyland. These often come in the form of color-changing sets with slow fade options, giving you the flexibility to switch between multiple styles at the touch of a button.
Solar-powered lights are one of the most flexible ways to light up your garden as you don't need to rely on being connected to mains power. If you only want to a string light in certain areas of your garden, potentially a distance away from the building, solar panels can help. Solar-powered lights run from a lithium-ion battery which is recharged by the sunlight, so you just need to position the panel somewhere that gets sun exposure. If you have a shaded garden, then these aren't the best lights for you. Also, these lights will typically only run continuously for approximately 8hours on one charge, so if you want them on at all times, mains power is a better option.
All outdoor lights need to be weatherproof to a certain degree to withstand wind, sun, and rain. It is best to choose bulbs that have the IP65 certification which passes them as being waterproof (not enough to be submerged in heavy rain but enough to withstand showers and damp. If your home is in a windy area that it is recommended to choose shatterproof lights, so they won't break if they bump against a wall or fence.
Outdoor String Light FAQ
Q: How much electricity is needed to run string lights?
The amount of electricity a set of string lights requires will depend on the type of lights you opt for. Your typical fairy lights can use around 40watts for 100 lights, whereas standard LED bulbs will use only around 2watts per 100 bulbs.
Q: Are outdoor string lights a safety hazard?
If not installed or used correctly, string lights can be a hazard in more ways than one. As with any electrical appliances, any worn power cords can be a fire hazard, or be at risk of giving you a small electric shock, so you should always check them for any wear and tear. You should also ensure that you are not overloading any power supplies by plugging in too many string lights in one place. If you do, this creates a fire risk due to overheating and power surges. Keep in mind a much handy surge protector, that can solve the problem of sudden power outages.
It is important that you choose bulbs that are safe for outdoor use. These are usually incandescent bulbs and will be safe unless exposed directly to water. It is possible to get different energy-saving LED bulbs that are rated for dry, wet or damp location use, so check the product description before buying.
Lastly, if a bulb does not work on your string, it is safer to leave this in place until you find one to replace it, rather than leaving the socket empty/open. An open socket can accumulate water or dust, which will cause the lights to short circuit.
Q: Can LED lights be left on all day and night?
LED light bulbs are safer than many other options, so pose a very minimal fire hazard. As a result, you can leave them on 24hours a day should you wish to, provided they are not outside in the rain. However, remember that this will have an impact on your electricity bill. If they are placed somewhere that there is a potential for rain, it is best not to leave them unattended at any point.
Q: How can you hang string lights without nails?
If your design does not give you the space or surface for nails, there are several alternatives you can use for outdoor lights. There are adhesive-backed hooks that you simply stick on your wall or surface and hang the string lights on. Or you can use gutter hooks that clip to the lip of a gutter and then thread the string through them.
If you don't want to use tools, then be creative in dangling the light strings on trees or fences.