- LED string lights aren’t just for holiday decorations anymore. They can liven up your decor any time of the year.
- When deciding on which LED string lights to buy, it’s important to consider longevity, cost, durability, and design appeal, among other factors.
- The LED string lights from GE are our top pick because they are long-lasting, energy-safe, and stylish. They’re also available in a variety of lengths and colors.
A strand of classic white string lights can upgrade just about any space, be it your dorm room or backyard gazebo. All you need is a working outlet or pack of batteries in order to light up the dark corners of your home.
In addition to giving off that good old nostalgic glow, LED string lights are longer-lasting, safer, and more eco-friendly than classic incandescent string lights. It’s true LED string lights are usually a bit more expensive upfront, but since they last for thousands of hours and use very little energy, they are a more cost-effective option overall.
Whether you’re looking for classic white, holiday colors, indoor, outdoor, solar, or vintage bistro lights, we have a pick for you. We took longevity, cost, sturdiness, design appeal, and other features into consideration to come up with a guide to the best LED string lights on the market.
Here are the best LED string lights you can buy:
- Best LED string lights overall: GE Energy Smart Colorite 100-Light LED Multicolor Miniature Lights
- Best outdoor LED string lights: Minetom Edison LED String Lights
- Best indoor LED string lights: Koopower Indoor LED String Lights
- Best outlet-free LED string lights: Amir Solar Powered String Copper Wire LED Lights
- Best budget LED string lights: Autolizer 100 LED Fairy String Lights
Updated on 12/09/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated prices and links and replaced out-of-stock items.
The best LED string lights overall
These LED string lights from GE produce an old-fashioned glow without consuming a ton of energy.
General Electric has been around for more than 125 years, and the company is still leading the electric lighting game in many ways. These LED string lights are energy efficient and should last up to 10 years. They also produce less heat than traditional bulbs, so there’s far less of a fire concern.
GE’s Colorite LED string lights come in strands with 50 or 100 bulbs, in colors, and in classic white. Reviewers have plenty to say about their warm glow. Some LED lights can look too white or even a bit blue, instead of that warm, almost golden glow you get with traditional incandescents. However, that’s not the case here. As one reviewer wrote on Amazon, “They aren’t stark white, and they aren’t weirdly yellow.”
The bulbs come only in a mini-size, but don’t let that deter you from trying them, even if you want to replicate the traditional string light look, because less is more in the world of LED lights. This version of string lights only comes on a green wire, which might be undesirable if you want to use them on a white wall. However, the green wire is obviously great for using with trees.
These lights are labeled for both indoor and outdoor use, but a few reviewers on Amazon mentioned that the lights died sooner than expected when used outside.
Pros: Long-lasting, energy-smart lights with an old-fashioned glow
Cons: Better for inside rather than outside, comes on green string
The best outdoor LED string lights
These Edison LED Outdoor String Lights provide vintage ambiance while being energy-efficient and sturdy.
These classy Edison bulbs may look like they’re from the 19th century, but their efficiency is very modern indeed. You can bask under the glow of these stylish bistro lights, all while saving on your power bill.
Reviewers on Amazon mention that these lights really give off the nice soft, warm light that you want from bistro lights, and not the harsh light some people associate with older LED lights.
These Minetom string lights are meant for use outside, so you don’t need to worry about exposure to the elements since they’re waterproof. If for some reason, they do stop working, the lights come with a 12-month warranty.
While more than 80% of reviewers on Amazon gave these Minestom string lights five-out-of-five stars, some did mention that the lights are not shatterproof, so you’ll need to exercise care. A few buyers also experienced some bulbs that did not work. However, the vast majority of reviewers still love the results and rate these lovely ambiance-boosting lights highly.
Pros: Vintage glow with long-lasting, energy-smart quality
Cons: Pricey, but will help you save on energy costs over time
The best indoor LED string lights
Koopower’s LED lights turn on and off with the press of a button and they can be programmed, so you never have to unplug your lights again.
I love these delicate, warm lights from Koopower, because they’re so adjustable and come with tons of features that you won’t always see with traditional incandescent lights.
A programmable timer means you don’t have to worry about turning your lights off before you go to bed or plugging them back in the next day. If you want the lights to turn on right when it gets dark, all you have to do is set it and forget it.
Because the lights come with a remote control, you don’t need to crouch down and crawl behind your tree or climb on a ladder up to your rafters when you want to change the lights’ settings.
Around 87% of Amazon reviewers give these Koopower lights a four or five-star rating. Buyers love that these lights are dimmable, so you can adjust for a bright white or gentle yellow glow. The lights also use a low-voltage plug for safety and have eight different settings: The lights can stay steadily on, blink, fade, wave, flash, twinkle, and more.
One of the only drawbacks to this set is that you need the remote control to turn them on and off. If you lose it, the only way to turn them off is to unplug them.
Pros: Adjustable, remote-control, and low-voltage lights give users tons of energy-smart options
Cons: They’re only operable via the remote control
The best outlet-free LED string lights
Amir Solar Powered String Lights don’t require batteries or an outlet, so you can use them anywhere.
Whether you’re planning an outdoor wedding or want to put your holiday lights in a corner of your yard that’s too far from an electrical outlet, the convenience of Amir’s solar-powered LED string lights is nothing to blink at.
This 72-foot long copper wire strand of 360-degree mini-lights comes attached to a four-inch square solar panel you can stake into the ground. As long as your location gets a few hours of sunlight per day, that will be enough to power this entire strand and its 200 bulbs.
My house is more than 100 years old and doesn’t have any power sockets outside, but I hate the look of ugly extension cords, so these solar lights are perfect for me. I’ve had this exact light strand set up outside in my yard for more than a year, and the lights are still working beautifully.
On particularly cloudy days, I’ve felt that the lights look a little dimmer than on days when the solar panel gets tons of sun, but they’ve never stopped working, even though they’ve been rained on more times than I can count.
I love the way the copper wire glows when the lights go on, plus they’re super versatile. In the summer, I had them twined around a jasmine vine, where they looked romantic and enchanting in the garden. And for the holidays, I have them draped over my front fence like icicles.
Pros: Completely solar-powered lights that stand up to weather and work in many contexts
Cons: The small lights might be too dim if you don’t get enough sun, tangle easily
The best budget LED string lights
The affordable Autolizer 100 LED Warm White Fairy String Lights are easy to set up, making them the perfect lights to decorate your home.
As a general rule, most LED string lights are more expensive than their incandescent counterparts. We can only hope this changes in the future to make LED lights more affordable for everyone. In the meantime, however, even budget shoppers can find solace in the relatively low cost of Autolizer’s 100 LED Fairy String Lights.
These LED’s have “fairy lights” in the name, but you should note they aren’t the small, wiry ones you might normally associate with that term. They look very similar to traditional incandescent string lights.
At around eight bucks for a 32-foot strand with 100 LED lights, these are the most affordable lights in our list, though more than half of buyers on Amazon still rate them positively on quality and look. They are available on Amazon in 10 different colors, including a classic warm white option.
One major drawback with these lights is that you can’t plug them in together end to end like you can with most string lights, so you really need to be sure of the actual length you need. The lights come in lengths ranging between 32 feet and 360 feet, so you can still get the coverage you need, but you have to know before you buy.
Pros: Lasting quality, budget-friendly
Cons: Can’t plug in end to end
Check out our guide to the best holiday lights you can buy
- Good Tidings
Holiday decorations bring feelings of warmth and cheer even in the darkest and coldest days of the year. Testing, setting up, and connecting lights can be anything but a joyful experience, though.
To that end, this year I’ve worked to assemble a buying guide filled primarily with holiday lights that not only look great but that also make your life easier.
Here are the best holiday lights you can buy:
- Best holiday lights overall: KooPower Waterproof Battery Fairy Lights
- Best holiday lights: Good Tidings Light Ceramic Multi-Colored Holiday Lights
- Best light projector: MIMIVIVA Christmas Laser Lights Outdoor Projector
- Best solar holiday lights: VMANOO Solar Powered String Lights
- Best mini holiday lights: Brizled LED Mini String Lights