✔️ Bulb type: The first question to ask yourself when shopping for outdoor Christmas lights is the kind of bulb shape that you want. Do you prefer mini bulbs, regular-sized bulbs or bulbs that are in the shape of a snowflake, star or another unique configuration like an icicle? Most traditional, vintage outdoor Christmas lights will feature a C6 or C7 bulb shape, but you can opt for larger bulbs like C9, which are great for outdoor spaces. You should also consider whether you want LED or incandescent lights, the main difference being that incandescent lights are typically more affordable but will not last as long as LED lights. It’s also worth noting that LED lights are more energy efficient and do not heat up as much as incandescent lights.
✔️ Length: Measure your desired space before purchasing outdoor Christmas lights to ensure that you’ll have enough coverage. You should also factor in how close your outlet is and the lead space you’ll need, as well as whether the strings are extendable should you need to connect more lights down the line (without having to access another outlet or add an extension cord).
✔️ Durability: When provided, check your outdoor Christmas light’s IP (Ingress Protection) Rating, which will indicate how well they can withstand exposure to environmental conditions such as rain, dust, wind and dirt. The first number refers to solids (i.e., dust) and how durable the product is, while the second is for liquids (i.e., water). Most outdoor Christmas lights are rated IP44, while more robust models are rated IP65. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider a model with a higher IP rating.
✔️ Color: For the most part, you need to decide whether you prefer outdoor Christmas lights that are white or multicolored. While some lights may feature both, this isn’t common and will cost more. If you’re opting for white lights, ask yourself whether you prefer a cooler or warmer temperature. Cooler white lights will look slightly bluer while warmer lights tend towards the amber spectrum.
✔️ Extra features: While outdoor Christmas lights are fairly affordable, that doesn’t mean that they don’t come with extra features. Some of the picks we include have light modes, meaning that you can set up effects for your lights like flashing, blinking, slow fades and more. Others have built-in timers so you can set your lights to turn off at a certain time, though you could consider investing in a smart plug that offers a timer function should your lights not have one. And if you want lights that can be operated via an app or a remote, check whether that’s included. Also, if you don’t have many outlets in your home, consider outdoor Christmas lights that are battery-powered or solar-powered to save yourself the trouble of dealing with extension cords.