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Outdoor String Lights

Outdoor String Lights Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know


Outdoor string lights are a great way to add light, color, and style to any outdoor space. Whether you’re looking for a romantic atmosphere at an evening gathering or brightening up your porch or patio with year-round illumination, it pays to do your research before purchasing the best outdoor string light set for you. This guide will answer all of your questions about buying the perfect outdoor lighting for your home.


What types of outdoor string lights are available?

There are several types of outdoor string lights that come in different sizes, styles, and wattages. You'll find decorative options like globe, icicle, or lantern-style bulbs, as well as LED rope lights that offer more energy-efficient options. Other considerations when choosing your outdoor string lights are the bulb type (incandescent, fluorescent, LED), wattage, burn time (hours per day or season), and voltage.


What's the best way to hang outdoor string lights?

The most common way to hang up your outdoor string lights is by using zip ties, wire hooks, or adhesive clips along the length of a rope or cord. If you’re using them to light a large area like a deck or patio, it’s best to map out where you want your lighting before mounting them so that they all look even and spread evenly throughout the area. Another option is to install wall mounts that attach directly to the wall, creating a more permanent installation that can be easily removed when needed.


How much wattage do I need for outdoor string lights?

The wattage you’ll need depends on the type of bulb you choose and how large your space is. Most decorative bulbs require up to 4 watts per foot, while LED rope lights can last up to 10 feet with just 2 watts per foot. If you opt for incandescent bulbs, it's best to buy them in packs so that each one has the same wattage output.


What should I consider when choosing a voltage for my outdoor string light set?

You should make sure that the voltage of your outdoor string light set matches the voltage of your existing power source. Most outdoor lighting systems are rated for 12 or 24 volts, so it’s important to make sure that you’re not exceeding the maximum wattage allowed by your power source. Additionally, if you have a low-voltage system like a solar setup, you'll need to find string lights specifically designed for that type of wiring.


What safety precautions should I take when using outdoor string lights?

As with all electrical appliances, it's important to follow safety guidelines when using outdoor string lights. Make sure they're properly installed, and always check the cords before plugging them in. If your outdoor space has metal fencing, double check to make sure the metal doesn't come into contact with any of the lights. Additionally, avoid overloading your power sources by using too many lights or too high a wattage.


How can I protect my outdoor string light set from bad weather?

Outdoor string lights are designed for use in wet and inclement weather, but it’s important to take some extra steps to protect them from long-term damage caused by wind, rain, snow and other elements. Make sure that you choose a waterproof type of cord cover if you plan on using your lights outdoors year-round. Additionally, look for models made specifically for outdoor use that have built-in protection against shock and short circuits.


What type of bulbs should I use for my outdoor string lights?

The most common types of bulbs used for outdoor lighting are incandescent, halogen and LED. Incandescent bulbs tend to be the least expensive option but can consume a lot more energy than other types. Halogen bulbs provide a brighter light output and last longer, but they also cost more. LED lights are becoming increasingly popular because they’re much more efficient, lasting up to 20 times longer than incandescent and halogen bulbs at a fraction of the cost. 


How long do outdoor string lights usually last?

The lifespan of your outdoor string lights will depend on the type of bulb you choose. Incandescent bulbs typically last around 1,500 to 2,000 hours, while halogen and LED bulbs can last up to 10 times longer at 20,000 to 30,000 hours of use. Additionally, be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines as some lights come with a warranty that covers defects in materials or workmanship for a set period of time.


Can I leave my outdoor string lights on all night?

Yes! Many outdoor lighting systems are designed to stay on for extended periods of time without damaging the bulbs or components. However, it's always good practice to switch them off when they're not in use and before bedtime so you don't waste energy or money. 


Is it possible to dim outdoor string lights?

Many modern lighting systems are designed with dimmers, allowing you to adjust the brightness of your lights depending on the occasion or mood. If your current lighting setup doesn't have a dimmer switch or timer, you can purchase one separately and use it to regulate the power output and reduce energy costs.


Will I need an electrician to install my outdoor string light set?

It’s generally recommended that you hire an experienced electrician if you’re planning on installing outdoor string lights yourself. An electrician will be able to ensure that all safety precautions are followed and help guide you through any difficult wiring steps. Additionally, they’ll be able to help you select the most suitable type of lights for your outdoor space and recommend any additional components that might be required.


Is it safe to use outdoor string lights indoors?

It can be, but there are certain safety considerations that need to be taken into account. For example, if the lights are designed for outdoor use only then they may not meet indoor electrical code requirements or provide enough illumination in a closed space. If you do decide to use them indoors, make sure that you check with an electrician first and follow all safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.


Are there specific types of string lights designed for low-voltage systems like solar and battery-powered lights?

Yes, there are several types of low voltage string lights available on the market today. These typically use LED bulbs which require very little power to burn brightly and can run off either solar or battery-powered systems. You’ll want to make sure that you select a model designed specifically for outdoor use as these will provide greater protection against moisture, extreme temperatures and other elements.


Can I install outdoor string lights myself?

It is possible to install outdoor string lights yourself, but it's important to take the necessary safety precautions beforehand. Make sure that you have a basic understanding of wiring procedures, read all installation instructions provided by the manufacturer and wear protective gear such as gloves, glasses and a dust mask. Additionally, it’s always best to hire an experienced electrician if you’re not sure about any of the steps involved in the setup process.


What type of lights do I need for my outdoor string lights?

The type of light bulb you choose will depend on several factors such as the size and shape of your outdoor area, how much illumination you require and whether you plan to use them during the night or day. LED bulbs are generally more energy efficient and offer greater longevity than incandescent or halogen bulbs but may cost slightly more. If you’re looking to save money in the long run, consider using energy-saving bulbs instead.


How many lights do I need for my outdoor strings?

The number of lights you’ll need depends on the size of your outdoor space and how much illumination you require. Generally speaking, it’s best to opt for a few more than what you think is necessary as this will provide greater coverage and allow you to adjust the placement of each light if needed. Additionally, it’s important to consider any potential obstacles such as trees or walls that might block the light from reaching certain areas.


What are some tips for maintaining outdoor string lights?

Maintaining outdoor string lights is fairly simple, but there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure that they last for years to come. First, make sure to turn them off after each use and unplug any extension cords or power strips that are attached. Additionally, check the wiring and bulbs regularly for any signs of wear or damage and replace them immediately if necessary. Finally, keep an eye out for extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or snowfall which could cause the lights to short out.


Installing outdoor string lights is a great way to add ambiance to your outdoor space while also providing extra illumination when needed. It’s important to remember that safety should always be a priority and hiring an experienced electrician is generally recommended if you’re not confident in your ability to complete the setup process properly. Additionally, make sure to select the right type of light bulb and number of lights as this will ensure that you get the coverage you need in each area. With a few simple tips, your outdoor string lights should provide years of enjoyment.