How To Tested Christmas Lights By Real People
The holidays are a joyous time—friends and family, food, festive decorations (once they’re up, that is). Before you can actually enjoy them, you have to deal with the frustrations of burned-out bulbs, tangled wires, colors that don’t pop. One solution to kick off your holiday a little more smoothly is to start with the right lights. To help, we’ve tested some of the most popular LED and incandescent strings of lights to help sort out the differences.
Every holiday light string on this list has been tested and evaluated by our team of test editors. To select the lights, we researched the market, surveyed user reviews, and used our own experience with these types of string lighting to determine the best options. We selected typical examples of the various options and
installed them on an artificial tree, stretching them out, stringing them up, lighting them, taking them down, and rolling them back up for storage. We evaluated the lights based on value, function, performance, aesthetics, and ease of use. Here are 10 we recommend.
These LED lights have a little something for just about everyone. The 66-foot string of lights features nine color/blinking functions, as well as a three-step dimmer, a timer, and a remote control. The functions include steady on for both warm white and multicolors, blinking for both, and several versions of blinking or fading with varied timing. The warm white was a pleasant color, not leaning too much toward yellow, and the colored LEDs were a little on the pastel side—as advertised. The wire strand is silver so it is a little obvious in daylight, but the light set is also offered with black wire, which will be less visible. The built-in timer will run the lights for 6 hours on then 18 off. While these lights can be used outdoors, the plug and transformer/control box need to be protected from water.
Mini Lights are good old-fashioned incandescent Christmas tree lights, with a warm white glow. The set consists of a string of 100 lights for a total length of about 21 feet, though you can link up to five sets. Out of the box the lights are set up to stay lit, but with the included blinker bulbs they can be set to blink. We tested the lights in both steady on and blinking modes, and they functioned as expected. When we initially unwound the light strings, we found that kinks in the wire had a strong memory. After we stretched them out tight a couple times, they were easier to handle and didn’t tangle as much. If you like the nostalgic, warm glow of white, incandescent holiday lights, these will be right up your alley. Note that, because they are very much the same type of lights used for years, over time they may develop some of the quirky behaviors where sections of light go out until you wiggle the right bulb.