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How to Buy The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights
It's that time of year again—the holiday season—and that means it's time to get the Christmas decorations out of the attic, basement or storage. Time to hang your favorite kind of Christmas lights, whether they're icicle lights, string lights, mini lights, LED lights, rope lights, snowflake style, warm white, twinkle lights, novelty lights or multi-color, with a white wire or other color. Once your Christmas lighting is set, it will truly feel like the holidays are officially here.
Whether it's time to replace your Christmas lights, add to your collection or find the perfect set of outdoor Christmas lights, our buying guide will help you find the right decorations for your home.
What are the best lights for Christmas trees?
At Sam's Club, our top-rated and bestselling Christmas lights—the perfect addition to any Christmas tree and Christmas ornaments—include many options:
- Member's Mark 50 Count Ultra Bright LED C9 Lights (Assorted Colors) are available in warm white or multi-color and can be used indoors or make for great outdoor Christmas lights.
- Member's Mark LED Mini Lights, 200 Count (Assorted Colors) are available in warm white, cool white or multi-color and can be used indoors or make for great outdoor Christmas lights.
- Member's Mark 240 Count Micro LED Multifunction Wire Lights (Warm White) aren't your typical string lights. These indoor-friendly or outdoor Christmas lights come in warm white and the wire spools in rings. They offer eight unique functions to create your own light show for the neighborhood or for guests to enjoy inside your home.
How Do I Choose a Type of Christmas Lights?
At Sam's Club, we sell Christmas lights with many different qualities:
- Size: Mini lights versus regular size
- Color: Warm white, cool white or multi-color
- Style: Icicle lights, net lights or wire lights (white wire or multicolor wire)
- Technology: Including LED lights and solar-powered lights, which both use less energy than incandescent Christmas lighting
- Indoor/outdoor lights
What is the difference between warm and cool Christmas lights?
Warm white lights give off a golden (or warm) glow, while cool white lights give off a bright, pure white glow.
Think of the difference between off-white and ivory white.
What is the difference between warm white and cool white LEDs?
As for the difference between warm white LEDs and cool white LEDs, it's the same as with traditional, non-LED lights: The warm white will have a golden glow while the cool white will provide a traditional white appearance.
The difference between LED lights versus traditional Christmas lights is that LEDs can help save up to 80% in energy costs and last 25 times longer than traditional lights, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Which is better, plastic lighting or glass lighting for outdoor Christmas lights?
Plastic lighting is more durable and less likely to break than glass holiday lighting.
How Do I Choose a Length of Christmas Lights?
How many strings of lights is enough? Too many? The right answer for you will depend on your personal preferences, but for a simple rule of thumb, think one set of Christmas string lights per foot of your Christmas tree's height.
How many lights do I need for a Christmas tree under three feet?
Based on the rule above, plan two to three strands of lights for a tree under three feet.
How many lights do I need for a three- to six-foot Christmas tree?
Based on the rule above, plan on three to six strands of lights for a three- to six-foot Christmas tree.
How many lights do I need for a six- to eight-foot Christmas tree?
Based on the rule above, plan on six to eight strands of lights for a six- to eight-foot Christmas tree.
How many lights do I need for an eight-foot or taller Christmas tree?
Based on the rule above, plan on eight or more strands of lights for an eight-foot or taller Christmas tree, such as a 12 ft Christmas tree.
Safety & Maintenance
Is it safe to use Christmas lights outdoors?
At Sam's Club, the following top-rated and top-selling Christmas lights and outdoor lighting options are safe for use outdoors:
- Member's Mark 5pk. Starburst Lights: These top-rated outdoor Christmas lights can be operated via remote control and will make for the perfect light show for your neighbors to enjoy.
- Member's Mark 50 Count Ultra Bright LED C9 Lights (Assorted Colors): These top-rated, ultra-bright LED lights have energy-saving bulbs that can last up to 25,000 hours and are safe for use indoors and outdoors.
- Member's Mark LED Mini Lights, 200 Count (Assorted Colors): For a mini light and LED string light option in one, these top-selling mini Christmas lights can be used inside or outside and contain energy-saving light bulbs.
- Member's Mark 240 Count Micro LED Multifunction Wire Lights (Warm White): These are great for the outdoors because of their light show functions (up to eight), timer function (six hours on, 18 hours off) and waterproof lighting string.
In addition, we have outdoor-friendly solar-powered LED lights that offer special effects and automatically turn on at dusk with no electricity required.
If one of my Christmas lights goes out, will the whole strand go out?
That depends on the type of lights. For lights on a parallel circuit, each light has its own path to the power source—if one burns out, it doesn't affect the others. For lights built in a series, the electricity moves from the power source to the first light. if one doesn't work, all of the lights will go out.
Holiday lights these days are designed using several connected series of lights together in parallel, which means when one bulb doesn't work, it should have no effect on any of the other series of lights, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
How long will Christmas lights last?
Most of the lights for sale at Sam's Club contain energy-saving bulbs with an average 25,000-hour lifespan. There are 8,760 hours in a calendar year, so if you kept a string of lights plugged in continuously they'd last for almost three years. Based on average use (not plugged in continuously), LED Christmas light sets should last seven to 10 years.