If the last time you went shopping for indoor Christmas lights there were just a few types available, you’re going to be in for a big surprise when you start looking for some new ones.
Today’s best indoor Christmas lights use LED technology, which has not only revolutionized our televisions and household lighting but has also helped dramatically expand the types of lighting available for holiday decorations. Countless new options are available, and they’re also more durable and much safer than the old-fashioned types.
Before you launch your search for the best indoor Christmas lights to jazz up your holiday décor, it’s a good idea to learn a little bit about all the types available before you go shopping. Here are a few of the basics along with a few helpful tips:
What’s the difference with LED lights?
LED stands for light-emitting diode. The main advantages of LED lighting come in greater durability and safety for these main reasons:
- LED lights use far less energy than traditional incandescent lights – in fact they’re about 90 percent more energy efficient.
- These new lights are much safer, especially indoors because LEDs stay cool to the touch and don’t have nearly the same risk of overloading electrical circuits and causing a fire.
- Lights based on LEDs are more durable too. The bulbs covering the bulbs are plastic and pretty much unbreakable.
Color Choices for Indoor Christmas Lights
While there are plenty of colorful options, white is one of the most popular lighting colors and even with this one color, you have choices to make. Strings of white lights can have a warm tone or a cool one. The choice depends on the look that you’re going for: More traditional displays look best with lights that emit a warm colored light, while modern décor will likely look best with a cool white light.
Depending on the type of lights you’re purchasing, you might also have a choice of color for the wires connecting all the bulbs. Obviously, if you want to use them on the Christmas tree, green is the best choice, but for other locations, brown or clear wires may be better. If you’re considering the wired mini fairy lights, the plain silver wire is the most common and versatile choice.
Types of Indoor Christmas Lights
Christmas lights don’t have to be just bulbs on a string. Oh contraire! There are so many new options for making your holiday lighting look great that there’s no excuse for a sad Christmas display. Here are some of the more popular types of lights.
LED net lights are a great choice when you need to cover a larger area more quickly. These lights are installed on wire in the form of netting, so that all you have to do is lay it over a tree, bush or other object for all-over lighting.
LED icicle lights are super popular for use along the roofline of the house, as well as anywhere else you want the effect of sparkling icicles. There’s also a motion style available that looks like falling snow or dripping ice.
LED rope lights are popular for all kinds of uses, not just for the holidays. This kind of lighting is bright because there’s a bulb each inch along the rope, It’s bendable, so it’s easy to wrap something or outline an area.
Battery-operated LED mini lights are a godsend for people who like to use mini lights in centerpieces, on wreaths or for mantel displays. The small battery pack runs the lights and you don’t have to deal with unsightly cords dangling down the wall or sticking out of your display.
LED fairy lights. These small but mighty fairy lights feature tiny bulbs, but don’t let their size fool you, they produce incredibly bright, glowing light! Choose both battery operated and new plugin options on either silver or green wire to wrap around greenery, illuminate glass jars or brighten craft projects. In general, these wire LED strings cannot be joined together.
Size of Lights
Even among mini-lights, the size available varies as does the quality of light they put out. Here’ it comes down to personal preference.
Wide Angle 5mm LED Mini Lights are smaller than the typical mini lights. They have a concave design that creates a starburst light halo that sends light in all directions. These are commonly used for Christmas trees, garlands and even wreaths.
G12 Raspberry Lights are little faceted bulbs that look a little like a raspberry and create a nice halo. They’re great for Christmas trees, decorating shrubs or wrapping around structures.
C7 & C9 LED Christmas Lights are LED string lights where the bulbs cannot be removed from the wire. They’re inexpensive, ready to hang out of the box and perfect for just about all the uses you might have in mind.
How many strings do I need?
How many strings of lights you need to buy all depends on what you want to decorate. Outlining a standard window might not take more than one, but wrapping a column can take several, especially if you want the lights tightly spaced for more illumination. The key is to plan ahead so that you buy enough of the same kind. Be sure to do some measuring before you head to the store.
If you’re decorating a tree, the basic rule of thumb is to use about 100 mini lights per 1.5 feet of tree height. Of course, some people prefer a more lavishly lighted tree, and that’s fine too. Just calculate how many strings you need and err on the side of being generous so you don’t run out.
Plug-in Lights or Battery Powered?
This choice depends on where the lights will be used. If you’re decorating a Christmas tree and there are outlets nearby, the best choice is standard plug-in lights. If, however, you want to use lights to decorate something hanging on the wall or ceiling – or a wreath on the door – battery-operated lights are the way to go because you won’t have unsightly cords running to the wall outlets. Battery-operated light are also great for mantel displays or centerpiece arrangements. Most of these types of lights require two or three standard AA batteries.
Once you find the lights that you like, there might be a few more things that you need for decking out your home.
Timer – If you have the standard plug-in lights, getting a timer is a good idea. It will eliminate any worry about accidentally leaving them on, and makes it convenient to run your lights., If you’re busy, you won’t forget to turn them on either! Some types of lights might even come with a built-in timer.
Extension Cords – Unless your tree or other décor is close to a wall outlet, it’s likely that you will need an extension cord. First and foremost, you want a safe extension cord – not an old one you find in the basement.
Hangers – Stop taping or nailing up your decorations! All kinds of removable hangers are available for purchase that won’t mar surfaces and zip ties can help with hanging lights from railings. These new products make decorating easier and less damaging to your walls and trim.
Ready to buy some new illumination for your holiday home? Check out these options for the best indoor Christmas lights.
For a spectacular glow, these decorative warm white LED string lights provide 200 bulbs across 66 feet of length. These UL-approved lights are waterproof and give you eight options for lighting animation including waves, sequential lighting, slow glowing, chasing lights, twinkling and steady-state lighting. You can change your lights as easily as you change your mind about the lighting style — just press the button on the adapter. until you get to the one you want.
These lights are appropriate for indoors as well as outdoors. That said, they cannot be extended by joining together. Pleased buyers say that these are fabulous lights and are a very long strand that can light an entire tree depending on the height. Some have used these SANJICHA string lights to add more oomph to a pre-lit tree too.
Lovers of colorful Christmas lights will want to check out these beautiful Twinkle Star 200 LED Fairy String Lights. The 66-foot strand is fitted with 100% commercial-grade bulbs that are UL-certified and have a 29-volt low voltage plug. Spaced at just under 4 inches between bulbs, the total length of the wire is 83 feet. Even at this generous length, they are extendable and can be combined with more than one string together, up to a maximum of five,
These durable LED lights have eight different lighting modes that let you customize the lighting experience including waves, sequential, slow glow, chasing, slow fade, twinkle and steady. It’s super easy to change the mode just by pressing the button on the adapter. These string lights are also full wave rectified, which means they won’t flicker. Happy reviewers say that these lights are well worth the purchase and are incredibly bright. The manufacturer notes that if buyers are not satisfied for any reason, customer service will help with a return or refund.
If you pine for the look of larger, old-fashioned Christmas bulbs, you can now have them in a convenient and updated version. This Commercial 50 Light String Lighting has classic red and green glass bulbs and lets you have the retro look you’re searching for. It features C7 incandescent bulbs that are triple-dipped for color that resists fading and peeling and last far longer. They also have nickel-plated bases that resist corrosion and have better connectivity.
These larger lights are suitable for outdoor use as well as indoor, and provide a constant light. Each bulb has a lifespan of 3,000 hours. It’s an old-school look that will have you reminiscing about childhood Christmases gone by,
Somewhere between larger, old-fashioned bulbs and mini string lights is this 200 Light LED String Light. Very white and bright, these faceted lights are ideal for indoor as well as outdoor uses because they are water-resistant. The strings can be joined end-to-end and plugged into a standard outlet. The green wire helps them blend in with the tree, garland or other decor element. The string also comes with replacement C6 LED bulbs.
Happy buyers say that these LED string lights are among the best indoor Christmas lights because they exceeded expectations, work well and look beautiful. The size and style are a good compromise between old incandescent styles and more modern mini lights.
For a totally different look for your tree, these string lights feature 100 translucent globes that are battery operated — they even come with a remote control! At 33 feet long, the string of lights has lights spaced every 4 inches and the globes are 0.7 inches in diameter. Typical Christmas lights have a regular or spiky bulb shape that may or may not be surrounded by an additional element. The remote allows you to control the eight modes of light sequences or set a timer and leave them on for up to 6 hours.
These string lights are safe because they are low temperature and run on three AA batteries, which are not included. They can be used indoors or out and the battery box is made PVC and sealed to be waterproof in the rain and snow. Buyers say that these are among the best indoor Christmas lights because they are easy to hang, very fun and give off a lovely, soft light. The remote is convenient as is the timer.
So cute and holiday-perfect, these Twinkle Star 100 LED 49 FT Star String Lights are just the right novelty shape. With star-shaped LED lights dangling from the cord every 3.9 inches, there are plenty to highlight your tree, stairway or other area. UL certified for safety, the stars have a solid plastic construction and the string can be combined for more coverage — up to ten strings!
Suitable for use indoors and outdoors, these stars have eight different lighting functions that fit your different moods, ranging from waves and sequential light to a slow glow, twinkle or chasing light mode. All you have to do is push the control button to change the mode. These stars give emit a warm white light and are durable and very energy-efficient. Happy reviewers say that this is a really good string of lights and are very attractive if not quite as bright as regular mini-lights. The manufacturer notes that the transformer pack is not waterproof and needs to be placed indoors or otherwise protected.
For distinctive flair and multicolored style, these 33FT 100LED Globe Ball String Lights are just the ticket. The 100 LED lights are spaced every 4.3 inches and are made of plastic for durability. With a UL listed adaptor and low voltage, these are a safe choice as well. Not only do these lights have a modern globe shape, but they also offer eight different lighting modes that include sequential, wave, slow-glow, chasing, slow fade, twinkle and steady.
For even more convenience, these LED Christmas lights come with a remote controller and a timer, so no forgetting to turn them on or off! It even has a memory function so if you have a sequence you like, it can run on repeat. Suitable for outdoor use as well as indoor, they are waterproof. Buyers say these are the best indoor Christmas lights because they look great, feature sturdy bulbs and have a wire cord that is attractive and malleable. Shoppers should note that multiple strings cannot be connected together.
If you haven’t tried out fairy lights, you don’t know what you’re missing, and these Moobibear LED Starry String Lights are among the best indoor Christmas lights. These 66-foot long enamel-coated copper wires have 200 integrated LEDs and are perfect for any Christmas decorating project. Because the copper wire is so malleable, you can wrap them around just about anything or work them into a decor display to where the wires are essentially invisible. Suitable for outdoors as well as indoors, the fairy lights are waterproof, although the UL-certified power adapter is not.
A 24-key remote control makes controlling these lights a breeze, and you can adjust the 10 brightness levels and three lighting modes — strobe, flash and fade — with the touch of a button. The remote also has a memory function that starts the lights in whatever mode you were in last time you used them. Buyers love these warm white lights because they are great for holiday decorating but are also great for general decorating as well as for other holidays and special events.
If you’re looking for indoor Christmas lights that are durable and have a distinctive style, globe ball string lights are great place to start. These plastic globes — spaced every 4.3 inches — are shatterproof plastic and put out a lovely warm white light. Even better, these lightweight string lights have eight different lighting modes” steady, twinkle, waves, slow fade, chasing, sequential, slow glow. All of this can be controlled with the included remote, which also features a timer and a memory function. If you misplace the remote, it’s no problem because you can still control, the lights with the wire switch.
These plug-in, UL-listed LED lights are waterproof, so they can also be used outdoors. Because they’re low-voltage LEDs, the lights are safe for hours of use because they don’t put out heat. A 1-year warranty on the lights means that these will be a no-risk purchase. Buyers say these are a steal for the price and praise the warm glow and cute look of the bulbs. The remote is a bonus that customers love.
The crackled look of these MOICO Globe String Lights are distinctive and give your decor a frosty appeal. The 43-foot string features 100 LED lights that are spaced 3.54 inches apart and includes a 10-foot lead wire to make it easy to reach the outlet. With a warm white glow, these lights can cozy up a large area because you can connect up to five strings together. Just hang them up and plug them in.
Eight different lighting modes let you customize the pattern of the lights. Choose from steady, waves, slow glow, twinkle, chasing, sequential, slow fade or a combination. Note that these string lights do not have a remote control, although buyers say this isn’t a problem because the control box is easy to use and has a memory function. Unbreakable, cool to the touch and waterproof, these indoor Christmas string lights are safe as well as suitable for outdoor use. Also, they come with a 45-day money-back guarantee and 24-month product assurance.
Holiday lighting has really changed over the years and if you’re still using some family hand-me-down light strings, it’s definitely time for an upgrade. Today’s string lights are safer and easier to use thanks to LED technology as well as all the extras like a remote controller, memory function and a range of lighting modes. Browse around and you’ll be to find the best indoor Christmas light for your own holiday decorating plans.