It is true that at the time of dusk, candles deliver spotlighting to the outdoor area where they are lit. However, they certainly do not illuminate it. If full illumination is what you expect, choosing the best string lights is what you need to do. They are capable of not only brightening the destined area but also give an ornate touch to it.
Candles are ideal for mood, but string lights are easier brighteners to trigger that lovely festive feeling to any space. So, why not illuminate and add character to your outdoor space with the distinct string lights?
Well, the best string lights will transform an ordinary space into an extraordinary one so that your outdoor area stands out from the crowd. They also persuade you and your guests to enjoy for more time without the risk of falling into the floral rims in the dark.
Whether you love relaxing or entertaining on your deck or wish to deter burglars, string lights are at your disposal. Apart from enlivening your décor, these lights can even keep your home safe.
String lights for the outdoors are genuinely adaptable, as you can use them for parties, patios, weddings, festivals, get-togethers, BBQs, and tents in the backyard. The outdoor living season is a trend, especially in summer.
It is this time for which you prepare your patio, yard, deck, or balcony so that you can keep yourself entertained. Apart from that, you also decorate them on special occasions such as Christmas or a wedding.
Regardless of whether you are planning for a casual get-together or a big party, or wish to get rid of darkness, string lights can trigger the right ambiance for your space. A classic white string of bulbs can add to a cheerful ambiance to any dark area, even if that space is a gazebo.
All that you require is a pack of batteries or a working outlet. Nevertheless, selecting the best string lights can be challenging. Thus, this guide aims to simplify your task of choosing these lights for your dark outdoor space by sharing the reviews of the top 5 string lights along with a buying guide.
Reviews of 2020’s 5 Best Outdoor String Lights
Mpow Solar String Lights
A warm white color reflecting for 8 hours from each of those 100 LEDs along a 33 ft string powered by solar a 2V solar panel is the typical description of these string lights. However, that is not all for this model. There are some more interesting facts to know.
Designed for illuminating a deck, patio, or a lawn, these solar-powered Mpow string lights do not light in a typical pattern. However, there are eight working modes for you to choose so that the tiny lights glow continuously, fade, make a firefly appearance, wave, fade slowly, flicker, twinkle, and shift.
All you need to do is select the most influencing one as per the occasion. Weather-sealed buttons take care of the smooth light show. They also include the on/off function. To work for 8 hours regularly, it needs only a day’s charge.
The ultra-thin string is made up of copper wire, which is ultra-flexible, unlike many other string lights. You can bend the wire to come up with any shape and set it up in the lawn, patio, deck, porch, or even at the gate. For example, you can mold the string to give it a shape of an animal or a chair.
The string comes with 100 brilliant LEDs that give a warm white light. The solar panel is upgraded to work for 10 hours maximum once it lights the LEDs automatically at night and shuts them off at dawn. The solar batteries are truly commendable. They pop on upon dusk and maintain the same bright intensity until the sunrise.
There is no risk of short circuit regardless of the weather, as this string is rated as IP64. This means that it is waterproof.
- Highly flexible
- Resistant to heat
- Very bright
- Different working modes
- Easy to install and assemble
- May not last well in winter
PERFECTDAY 200 LED 66 FT Copper Fairy String Lights
Consider these string lights if you are looking for more LEDs and less price than that of the Mpow at the cost of light modes. Although these lights do not work using solar energy, they interestingly work using the USB power. Yes, this is the most distinct feature.
This decorative product comes with a USB interface for you to connect it with any compatible power source such as a laptop and configure it at any desired location. There is also a free adapter and an on/off switch to support this usage.
The 66 feet copper string is not only long but also flexible. You can bend the string to mold it into any shape for decorating the patio, deck, yard, or even your living room. It is enough to light the full tent accommodating three beds of queen size and 12 people.
These copper wire lights are also weather resistant. Thus, they are ready to last long regardless of the weather. They are waterproof too.
- Long and flexible copper string
- Very bright
- Resistant to weather and heat
- Most Affordable
- Entangled in packaging box
Brightech Ambience Pro – Waterproof LED Outdoor String Lights
Festoon your deck or patio with the commercial-grade lights from Brightech. These are known to add a touch of a café-like ambiance regardless of the weather. Consider them if you like the combination of rugged build, rustic feel, and bright look. The lights are also ideal for a pergola or a canopy.
The lights are bright enough to lit a whole porch or a BBQ area without a flashlight. At the same time, they can turn dim without triggering any feeling of being overwhelmed. However, dimming works with any compatible remote control.
The Edison strings with uncovered filaments reflect a warm glow similar to that of a traditional bistro. The string and lights both are durable due to the WeatherTite technology of industrial grade.
The lights are not only waterproof but also are enduring enough to withstand winds at 50 MPH. This means that you can truly rely on these lights in any weather. The UL-listed flexible cord of rubber is thicker than a conventional rope.
The 48-foot string accommodates up to 15 LEDs that work well with 110v power. However, they are high-efficiency bulbs approved for both commercial and residential areas.
The heated coils reflect a bright orange toned glow at 2 watts per bulb. The cord is flexible enough to arrange the light strands in different patterns. That said, you can expect the much-needed aesthetic looks in your outdoors.
- Heavy-duty string
- Very bright
- Easy to set and use
- Resistant to heat
- Spare bulb included
- 3-year warranty
- A bit costly
- Not shatterproof
Fule Outdoor String Lights LED 48 Feet
This is a cost-effective and shatterproof option for you if you are looking for a more affordable as well as a reliable option than the Brightech Ambience Pro. Even this one is an ideal Edison string light that transforms your deck or yard into a traditional bistro by rendering a warm, soft ambiance and a nostalgic glow.
There are 16 light plastic LEDs of 1 Watt each along a 48 feet flexible strand of rubber that is of heavy-duty nature. The brightness from these bulbs is just sufficient to lit any dark corner.
For perfectly hanging these heavy-duty lights, you can use zip ties or cup hooks with the integrated loops. You can also customize the end-to-end connections by including up to 70 strands.
These string lights are weather tight with the waterproof rating of IP65 and deep layers of insulation. Thus, they are protected during summer, winter, and rainy seasons. The bulbs are so strong that they do not break if they bang against the block wall.
- Heavy-duty string
- Multicolor lights
- Energy saving
- Heavy insulation
- Easy to install
- Durable bulbs
- 2-year warranty
- Hardly any
Brightown 10 Ft Window Curtain Icicle String Lights with Remote & Timer
Yes, these are windows or curtain string lights, but they are also ideally suitable for outdoors for decorating walls, patios, gazebos, lawns, and decks. Those warm white 300 LEDs along the fairy string made up of plastic and copper give you a significant lifespan of 50,000 hours, which is enough to celebrate Christmas for several years.
The 9.8 x 9.8 ft fairy string, 12 drop strings, and 10 ft main strand enables you to connect more strands for extending the light. Unlike many other string lights, this one interestingly comes with a remote with eight settings, a timer, and a dimmer with four settings. This is a great bonus!
Through remote control, you can manage the timer, adjust the brightness, and switch between eight light modes. It also offers a memory function that restores the previous setting mode at the of reusing.
The different light modes include chasing, twinkle, waves, stead, slogs, and combination. A small button the wire also allows switching between these modes. The wire works on low voltage due to which it is safe to touch it even after using it for a long time.
These lights have grabbed the rating of IP44. This means that they are waterproof. This is how these lights are useable indoors as well as outdoors.
- Easy to install
- Remote control
- Very bright
- No tangling
- Resistant to heat
- Available in different colors
- No turning off without unplugging
How to Choose the Best Outdoor String Lights
With so many varieties available in the market, it may not be easy to select the best string lights. Further, there is no single string light that is ideal or all buyers. This is because each buyer has a mix of common and distinct requirements.
So, the best way to choose the most suitable string light is to identify your requirements and then see which string light’s features best meet them. Knowing about the features means knowing about the buying factors that tend to affect your selection. Let’s explore these buying factors in the form of answers to frequently asked questions.
Which type of outdoor string lights should I choose?
There are different types of outdoor string lights to consider even before you go ahead and look for different varieties. Knowing the types can make you select the right kind of string light.
- Globe: Are the ones with the iconic round bulbs. They are among the most traditional and variable lights widely used during events and in cafes and restaurants due to their brightness. This brightness makes the ambiance more shining, which is required for outdoor areas.
- Edison: Are vintage lights available in LED and incandescent bulbs. In them, the filaments are uncovered to render a distinct glow.
- Tube: Are installed easily using a bendable PVC tube, are highly durable, and are weather resistant. They usually have LED bulbs. The PVC material plays a vital role in distributing LED light due to which the output is quite bright. You may need a few mounting clips for keeping them in place.
- Wire: Are ideal for ambient lighting. They usually have copper wires that are easily bendable to form different shapes. Both tube and wire string lights are waterproof, but the tube LED string lights are fully waterproof.
- Adhesive: Are new in the market and are the easiest to set. Just peel the adhesive cover and stick onto the desired surface. There are even marks at every three LEDs for cutting to the desired size for an ideal fit. You can also extend them to cover more area.
- Battery Operated (Portable)/Fairy: Are economical ‘fairy lights’ and are chosen for adding lighting up any area where you go. While most are disposable, the integrated batteries regularly work for more than 64 hours. They are fully waterproof, safe, and cool to touch.
- Curtain: Are for curtains but are also used for walls and in lawns such that the surrounding area also gets lights up. They usually have warm white LEDs to give a soft glow that you can further soften using sheets. Consider them for decorating your pergolas or for making them a blockade for keeping your guests safe. Most of them come with different light modes, of which steady on and twinkle are the most used ones.
- Ornamental / Christmas (Portable): Are purely decorative lights that are versatile enough to be used for celebrating any occasion. They are usually available in different shapes such as lanterns, stars, pepper, and pineapple. They run on batteries and are highly portable. The solid white LEDs give a softer glow due to which they are ideal for illuminating outdoor spaces.
- Umbrella: Are ideal for enjoying overhead lighting at the time of a gathering or dinner. They run either on solar power or battery and usually have small bulbs. They are made to be draped around the patio’s rods or umbrella.
- Hanging or Pendant: Are ideal for illuminating a pergola, awning, or a gazebo. While many are easy to install due to their plug-in feature, some need a professional setup from an electrician.
- Wall-mounted: Are usually wired and get affixed to a wall. Options range from heavy-duty floodlights to sconces. Your choice will depend on what you require.
- Stake Are dedicated to gardens. While not that bright, they are ideal for illuminating pathways, pool regions, and vegetation. Consider buying one of them for lighting an outdoor area at the ground level. Most models typically run on solar energy for delivering an extra glow. Just do not invest in too cheap lights, as they do not last more than one season.
- Lanterns Are for bare patios and tabletop areas. You can find these lights in different sizes.
Most of these lights have LEDs that are more efficient as well as durable than incandescent alternatives. They are the trendsetters in the world of string lights. They are luminous and sturdy. You can find them in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Many of them have great features, such as light changing ability and dimmable bulbs. You should go for LEDs and choose the type as per your requirements.
What are the power sources of string lights? Which one should I choose?
Different styles of string lights operate using varied power sources.
- Hardwired, a permanent source that wall-mounted lights use in outdoor spaces but are costlier and require professional help for installation
- Solar, generated from sun and handy where there is no outlet
- Battery, a convenient power source for covered spaces but needs to be replaced from time to time
- Plug-in, a source that needs an outlet nearby or else calls for an extension cord
You should choose the power source that you will be able to handle quickly and efficiently. For example, solar LEDs are affordable and efficient in use. However, for regions where winter is more to stay, it may not be an ideal option. In such situations, battery-powered or wired lights can be a perfect choice.
Should I go with solar or wired string lights?
When it comes to choosing the best outdoor string lights, it is always recommended to pay more if you do not want to keep buying new lights. This is applicable to solar-powered string lights. For most buyers, lights operating on solar energy are ideal.
Most of us think that it is better to wire anything that is attached to the house’s exterior. However, legally speaking, this must be done with the help of a qualified electrician. Otherwise, it would not be that easy to sell your house in the future.
Although it is too easy to set up wired lights, doing the same outside your house is somewhat challenging. This is where you also need to adhere to your local laws or rules.
For gardens and patios, string or fairy lights are ideal. It is also fine to keep them all year round. Another great option is to set up several freestanding solar light strings and leave them on trees and patio furniture. This should not be problematic in terms of laws, as it hardly has any risks.
In the long run, solar string lights prove to be more energy-efficient, safer, and more affordable.
Which kind of bulbs should I choose?
You will come across two types of bulbs, namely, LED and incandescent. A significant difference between the two is that the latter bulbs tend to consume more electricity than the previous ones. This is the biggest reason why LEDs are both wallet- and environment-friendly.
What should be the ideal lighting size or string length?
Selecting the right string length is a critical factor in getting the desired coverage of illumination. When it is the matter of choosing string lights, precisely finding the area of your outdoor region selected for lighting is the key to the right string length.
To this area, just consider adding five feet so that you can have sufficient leeway at the time of setting up lights. This will give you an idea of how big is your space that is to be illuminated. Accordingly, you should select the number of light bulbs, which can be 15, 50, 100, 200, or even 300.
As a thumb rule, the bigger space, the more will be the number of bulbs. Similarly, you may also choose larger bulbs that reflect more light. Those small fairy lights are more for decorative purposes.
Which material should I choose for outdoor string lights?
Material plays a vital role in how durable the string lights will be. A weak material means a fragile piece of string light that will not last for long. Thus, you need to choose a durable material to enjoy an excellent lifespan.
Most string lights are made using copper that can withstand any environmental harshness. The same ability is in bass too. However, the bass is more durable than copper. Weatherproof coatings on copper are pretty standard.
Then, there is ceramic that is both weatherproof and weather-resistant. Thus, it is durable. Another material is cast aluminum, which is economical but is subject to natural corrosion.
How do I check the level of brightness?
The level of brightness is one of the critical factors when it comes to investing in LED string bulbs. You cannot choose bulbs with less brightness for illuminating your whole patio or garden. At the same time, you would not like to have a very sharp glow, as it can strain your eyes.
In short, you need the right level of brightness without compromising any other benefits or features. To do so, you need to know how bright the LEDs are. For this, you need to check the Lumens rating, which indicates the light output.
The more this rating is, the brighter the lights are. Moreover, you should check the different settings, such as soft glow and warm glow.
How do I buy energy-efficient string lights?
It is wise to choose LED string lights that do not raise your power bills by consuming energy efficiently. Luckily, most LED bulbs are manufactured with this purpose in mind. Many LED string lights help to save almost up to 95% on your bills.
Even solar LED lights are energy-efficient, as they eliminate having those costly electricity bills for lighting your outdoor area for long hours. Unlike the LED string lights, the solar ones eliminate the need to worry about those lethargic wires.
Solar-Powered lights are now the most economical option, as no electricity is required. LED is another affordable and eco-friendly option, but solar power seems to win in the long run. Incandescent bulbs are also popular, but they are not that energy-efficient, as they need relatively more power.
How do I choose durable string lights?
The longevity of lights or durability is another significant concern that affects your selection of string lights. You can judge the lifespan of string lights by looking at some specifications. If a specific string light is durable, it will come with high-quality LEDs, proficient thermal management to keep heating up away after long hours of use, sturdy material builds, and waterproof and weatherproof ratings to sustain during the harsh weather.
A few string lights may not go with the waterproof sockets. This means you need to guard them to keep all risks at bay during the rainy days. With sockets having the water protection feature, you can unhesitatingly set the lights along the guidewire.
How do I assess the flexibility factor for string lights?
Flexibility is another critical factor for those who love to decorate the outdoors in different creative ways. It merely refers to the ability of the string to bend such that you can attach them to the designated areas or set up shapes such as animals, stars, or fountain in your garden or patio. Such strings are also flexible enough to attach to other string lights for more illumination.
How well do battery-operated LEDs last?
If there are 3 AA batteries, the string lights are likely to last for 18-24 hours. However, the exact duration depends on the strength of cells and light color.
Whether you are looking for a purely decorative option or need extra lighting for better visibility, there are varieties of string lights available to suit all purposes. The different lights featured here are capable of fulfilling different needs and suiting different budgets. You can use them for any event or occasion.
Our selection was based on build quality, durability, light output, and ease of installation. We found that the best string lights for outdoors are those with LEDs powered by solar energy. They outlast traditional options and are energy efficient.