The Best Outdoor String Lights for Every Space

Looking to add pleasant lighting to your outdoor space? A quality set of outdoor string lights is all you need to turn your backyard into a cozy, warm and inviting destination, like an extension of our home. Outdoor string lights can brighten a backyard or a patio space and make warm nights more relaxing and festive.

These lights come in a range of styles, bulb types, and colors. In addition to elevating the aesthetic of your outdoor space with its warm, twinkling glow, string lights are versatile, easy to set up, and cost-effective. But finding the right decorative outdoor led string lights requires careful consideration.

The Best Outdoor String Lights for Every Space

What to Consider?

A simple strand of string lights can transform a plain backyard into an inviting outdoor space. Compared with many other types of outdoor and patio lights, string lights are among the most affordable and easiest to install.

When choosing the best string lights for your space, consider the light type, Power Source, the size and shape, and brightness. A weather-resistant design, and a lengthy cord can make outdoor string lights safer and easier to use. 

1. Light Type

Most outdoor string lights feature incandescent or LED. Each type varies in durability, energy efficiency, and lifespan. When shopping for outdoor string lights, you’ll have to measure the amount of space you need to cover, and then decide which type of lighting is most suitable for the space.

Incandescent light bulbs are inexpensive and easy to find. These bulbs are less energy efficient and have a much shorter lifespan than LED bulbs, usually lasting around 2,000 hours or up to a year of regular use. They can become hot with use, so glass bulbs are the norm for this type. Their warm color and affordable up-front cost make them a popular pick for outdoor lighting.

LED light bulbs use much less electricity (less wattage) than traditional incandescent bulbs and don’t become as hot when they are turned on. Because they are cooler to the touch, there are LED patio lights made with plastic bulbs—meaning they won’t easily shatter if dropped. Many LED bulbs can last up to 50,000 hours, which equals up to 10 years of daily use.

2. Power Source

For the power output. If there’s no accessible outlet and you’d rather not deal with an extension cord, your best bet is to go with a solar- or battery-powered set. When a single set won’t do the job, you’ll want the option for end-to-end connection, though it's important to pay attention to the maximum wattage and how many sets can be strung together.

Solar-powered lights don’t add to your energy bill or require an outlet, so they’re useful for apartment patios or houses that don’t have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. Simply place the included solar panel in a spot that sees a lot of sunlight during the day, and the bulbs will light up at night. Most solar-powered string lights have a runtime of 6 to 8 hours, which is usually long enough to host a backyard barbecue or a dinner party.

Battery-operated lights are another option that doesn’t need an outdoor outlet. Instead, these light strands usually run on two to six batteries. Since they don’t require an outlet, they are a versatile choice for creative outdoor lighting.

Plug-in Mains powered lights are tend to be stronger and brighter. Dot a few of these around your furniture set, so you can see what you're doing once the sun's faded.

3. Bulb Shape and style

String light bulbs are available in a variety of styles and shapes, which can give the strands a unique aesthetic. For example, tiny circle fairy lights make an outdoor area feel whimsical, while larger oval-shaped Edison bulbs add a vintage look. Globe bulbs, Edison bulbs, lantern bulbs, fairy lights, and rope lights are among the most popular styles.

Globe bulbs are classic and typically for decorative purposes. These spherical bulbs come in a range of sizes and are commonly seen in hanging pendants, modern chandeliers, and outdoor string lights.

Edison bulbs are designed to look like Thomas Edison’s original invention. These traditional incandescent bulbs feature a warm, glowing appearance, thanks to their visible internal filaments. The oval-like shape and ambient, warm glow can give an outdoor space a vintage look. Modern LED Edison-style bulbs feature this classic light bulb look but with an energy-saving LED design.

Lantern bulbs usually feature standard outdoor string lights with each bulb covered with a lantern made of paper, plastic, nylon, fabric, metal or natural material. Lanterns come in different colors, patterns, materials and shapes. These fun patio light options can help create a themed or festive atmosphere.

Fairy lights can make a backyard look like a magical escape. The tiny bulbs are usually no larger than a grain of rice and resemble fireflies shimmering on a wire. These are ideal for background lighting, and users can create a pretty effect by draping strands of fairy lights over tree branches, in bushes, or along a fence.

Rope lights are essentially mini bulbs encased in a transparent tube to protect them from the elements. Often made with LED bulbs, rope lights are great for winding between deck posts, hanging from fences, or illuminating garden spaces.

4. Bulb Size

When choosing a bulb size, consider the available outdoor space, ease of installation, and desired look.

Small bulbs are a good pick for small outdoor spaces, they provide less light and are commonly chosen for decorative purposes.

Large bulbs are generally brighter and are well suited for larger spaces that need more lighting. Large decorative bulbs, like globe bulbs and Edison bulbs, can make a style statement.

Keep in mind that bulb size can affect installation. String lights with small bulbs are generally lightweight and easier to maneuver. They may be easier to install than string lights with larger, heavier, and bulkier bulbs.

Most globe outdoor string light bulbs come in one of three bulb sizes:

G30: The smallest size at 30 millimeters (close to 1.25 inches) in diameter.

G40: A medium size that’s 40 millimeters (just over 1.5 inches) in diameter.

G50: The largest size is 50 millimeters (just under 2 inches) in diameter.

Most Edison-style string light bulbs are an S14 bulb size, which is a medium-size, oval-shaped bulb that’s 32 millimeters (just over 1.25 inches) in diameter.

5. Brightness and Color Temperature

Brightness and color temperature are two of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the appearance of outdoor string lights.

Lighting color temperature is measured using the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. This scale measures how warm or cool the light appears. Lower numbers on the Kelvin scale look warmer, and higher numbers look cooler.

Lumens measure the amount of light output from a bulb—the more lumens, the brighter the bulb. When deciding on bulb brightness, take into account the desired lighting effect. String light bulbs can range from 5 to more than 100 lumens per bulb. Users often choose string lights for their glowy appearance rather than their brightness, so lower lumens often do just fine to set the mood. Lumens are different from wattage, as wattage measures how much power a bulb consumes and not necessarily how bright a light appears.

7. Wire Length

Once you’ve figured out the above, you’ll need to consider the number of lights per strand and how far apart they’re spaced—which typically ranges from several inches to 3 feet or more.

Outdoor string lights typically come in lengths of 10, 25, 35, 50, and 100 feet. Consider the size of the outdoor space and the lighting layout when choosing the ideal wire length.

Patio string lights can outline garden borders, wrap around banisters and trees, or suspend over seating spaces. The best way to determine the necessary wire length is to use a piece of twine to measure where the lights will go. Make sure to include enough length to reach the outlet if it requires corded power, or keep an extension cord handy.

8. Weather Resistance

Since outdoor string lights are exposed to the elements, selecting a set that stands up to rainy conditions and heavy gusts of wind is important. It’s inconvenient to take the string lights down every time there’s inclement weather in the forecast.

First, check the product description to determine if the lights are intended for outdoor use. Using indoor lighting outside creates a potential fire hazard. Second, make sure the product is water resistant (or waterproof—even spots under a porch or gazebo roof can grow damp in bad weather). Weather-resistant lights can handle direct exposure to water and feature watertight seals to protect their interior parts from accumulating moisture and causing safety issues.

9. Additional Features

For those who want to upgrade from basic string lights, consider a product with extra features like color-changing bulbs, dimming options, and remote control or app operation. As we found in our tests, by selecting different bulb colors, we could create entirely different moods.

Now that you know what to look out for the best outdoor string lights to make over your outdoor space, below, we share ideas for decorating with string lights and include our top picks to get the look.

Best for Patio Umbrellas

25 Bulbs G40 Globe String Light Outdoor Garden Patio Umbrella String Lights

globe bulb umbrella lights

【Safe to Use】outdoor globe string lights wholesale, G40 Globe String Lights are included 25 clear bulbs. Light bulbs have G40 candelabra (E12) socket base, UL listed. Good quality are more safe and reliable.
【Features:】Energy-saving light bulbs, long lifespan for usage, energy saving, no stroboscopic, green and environmentally friendly.These lights are 120 Voltage, 5Watt/Bulbs. Weatherproof, commercial-strength casing withstands extreme temperatures and wet weather so be ease to hang it outdoors to illumine the landscape year-round. Even quality high bulbs are bound to be broken one day and if one bulb burn out, others will also be working.

Commercial Quality:
UL Listed for Indoor & Outdoor Use.
Each string light set is packed with One (1) spare fuse and four (4) spare mini bulbs

Each string has End-to-End Connector (Connectable up to 22 same-set strands).

Easy to Use and Low Consumptions:
Power Source: Plug-In
Wattage: 0.96W per bulb / 9.6W per string

1. Solar power string lights outdoor create a warm soft ambiance to mesmerize your family and guests with their nostalgic glow.

2. A perfect solar LED outdoor string lights for patio, deck, porch, garden, gazebo or pergola lighting when you have dinner, party or wedding banquets outside.

3. These solar powered string lights outdoor are used by solar energy and you save money on electricity. Lights up automatically at night and off during the day.

Best for Gazebos & Pergolas

Connectable Light String for Outdoor and Indoor

Each strand of 20 lights, end-to-end connect in parallel, attach up to 4 strands to cover a large area, each socket has a hook, easy to clip on fence, window, table, etc.

UL Certificate and Weatherproof for Outdoor Use

Built-in fuse and weatherproof technology. The edison lights outdoor decor can decorate your backyard, drink at winter, BBQ at summer, have fun at autumn, plant flowers at spring.

Best for Trees

powered by 3 AA batteries (excluded), portable and can be mounted anywhere for decoration. 16.5ft Glitter rope with PVC tube inside, 67 cool white LEDs inside PVC tube, silver glitter LED strip lights with “Timer”, perfect for indoor outdoor decoration. Glitter Rope lights parts of this led fairy lights are IP65 waterproof, plus IP44 waterproof battery case, withstanding all weather conditions, which suitable for more occasions. 

Once you decide which ones you want to display, putting them up will be a breeze. But if you could use a few tips on how to hang string lights, we have you covered with a step-by-step guide. You will soon have a gorgeous setting!

Post time: Aug-19-2022