This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in November 2013.
As LED holiday string lights have infiltrated the market over the past few years, I’ve been keeping an eye on pricing, hoping they would become so mainstream that the prices would get within reach for the common family on a budget. Finally, that time has come!
This year, not only does the pricing for LED light products seem more favorable than ever before, but the variety on the shelves has grown by 10x what was available in years past. Of course, there are tons of incandescent products in stores still, and DIY inspiration for installing lights of all kinds, but LEDs are slowly winning me over due to their efficiencies (15% the energy use of traditional strands), warranties (some upwards of 3+ years per strand), and qualities (did you know you can string dozens upon dozens of light strands together, end-to-end and into a single outlet? WOW-WOW-WOW, that makes light hanging easier!).
Maybe the hardest decision you have to make this holiday season is the shape of your LED strand light bulbs.
If you’re shopping, consider these tips:
Are vintage-looking strands your style?
Upgrade your home with modern C9 bulbs, now readily available as LED strands in all of your favorite colors. For my home, we’re also investing in C7 and C3 bulbs, which are the just-as-vintage but slightly smaller counterparts to the classic C9.
Learn your whites.
White strands are regularly sold as Pure White, Warm White, and Cool White. Shop carefully, like you would for your indoor lamps, because there’s a big difference between the three:
- Cool White: The bulbs have a blue-ish hue to them. This color is most reminiscent of what manufacturers have been producing for years, and consumers have often been opposed to the unnatural coloring.
- Pure White: These bulbs are closest to being flawlessly clear, with a light that is closest to actual white.
- Warm White: Most reminiscent of classic white strand lights, the glow shines more yellow than the other bulb options.
Multicolor vs. Rotating Multicolor?
With LED bulbs, you can still go for a classic multicolor with each bulb glowing a different color, but you can also buy a strand of lights where each light gradually changes colors, creating a rotating rainbow of color and an eye-catching display. And note — some brands even come with a remote control so that you can control what color is showing, or how the colors rotate!
Did you know you could go solar?
As if LED strand lights weren’t efficient enough, manufacturers are also producing solar-powered LED light strands (undoubtedly awesome, right?). As far as pricing is concerned, you can find these products for about twice the cost of non-solar strands (roughly $20 for 50 lights, or $50 for 150 lights). These would be a good product to keep an eye out for during the post-holiday clearance sales!
And a quick tip about covering shrubbery:
If you’re planning to cover shrubs with lights in a deer-ridden neighborhood, hang your holiday lights, and then be sure to cover the plant with netting to avoid the wires being nibbled.
Happy holiday lighting!