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Check out our list of the 6 best outdoor string lights to hang up around your patio, porch, or balcony in 2022. We’ll take you through our favorites and share some tips to help you choose the right lights for your home.
Table of Contents
- In a rush? Here’s our top pick:
- Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor String Lights
- Top 6 Outdoor String Lights 2022
- 1. Enbrighten Vintage Seasons LED Lights
- 2. Brightech Ambience Pro
- 3. Govee Outdoor String Lights
- 4. Vigdur Fairy Lights Mini-Lantern String Lights
- 5. LE 306 LED Curtain Lights
- 6. Toodour LED Icicle Lights
- Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor String Lights
- Parting Thoughts
With all new outdoor designs popping out this year, new outdoor accessories will be added to the list of favorites as Nothing beats those warm summer nights on the back patio with good friends, food, and drinks. There’s the friend who brings the guac, the friend who brings the beer, and the friend who provides the chill spot. If you’re the one with the biggest patio and yard, you’re likely the third friend. Luckily, we’ve got a list of the 6 best outdoor string lights to put the finishing touches on your chill space for a great night in.
In addition to cozy furniture, lights hanging from your roof, fence, pergola, or railing create a warm and inviting setting to relax and unwind at home. Whether you’re looking for string lights with a warm white hue, festive colors, shatterproof bulbs, or energy-saving efficiencies, we have great options below to meet your outdoor lighting needs.
Ready to decorate your space? Read on for our top 6 picks to light up your backyard in 2022. We’ve also included below some key considerations and tips to help guide your decision – plus some FAQs if you’re still scratching your head.
|Overall Best Outdoor String Lights|
|Best Outdoor Edison String Lights|
|Best Outdoor Weatherproof String Lights|
|Best Outdoor Lantern String Lights|
|Best Outdoor Curtain Lights|
|Best Outdoor Icicle Lights|
In a rush? Here’s our top pick:
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor String Lights
We’ve included several important elements to keep in mind when devising a decorating plan, and then comparing and contrasting products. These will help you decide which outdoor string lights are best for you, your home, or your event space. After that, we dive into our top picks.
See below for our breakdown of each consideration element:
Lighting Style and Color
There are many styles of outdoor string lights to choose from. The traditional Edison-style light bulbs are characterized by the classic glass light bulb with the filament showing, just like our friend Mr. Edison’s debut in 1879. Edison-style string lights with a warm white glow give a romantic feel and a vintage look. And they’re what you expect to see adorning the outdoor garden of an Italian bistro when you’re getting ready to dig into a plate of cheesy lasagna.
Fairy lights with the smaller bulbs are a great way to add a dainty kind of sparkle – like if Tinkerbell just flew laps around your patio. They can give a romantic ambiance as well. And if you want an elegant, draped look, there are curtain lights. Lantern lights are fun string lights that come in different colors and sizes, with the light in the middle illuminating the entire paper globe around it. We’ll also provide you with an option for a great string of outdoor icicle lights because they’re versatile and can be used for so much more than just Christmas decorating.
Along with the style and size of bulbs, there are many color options and lighting effects to consider, which should be based on the mood or aesthetic you are looking to achieve. There are solid color options, multicolor options, blinking light effects, and many shades of white. Some lights are brighter than others, and some are even dimmable. Are you looking to provide a primary light source with bright white lights, or mood lighting with dimmer accent lights? Do you want the option to have the lights blink or twinkle, or simply stay on in a steady light mode? These are important questions to ask yourself in order to choose the product that will achieve your desired aesthetic.
There are soft and warm white lights that have more of a classic, traditional look (characteristic of incandescent bulbs). Some white light bulbs have more of a yellow hue. Some LED white lights have a blue tint, which is something many people try to avoid and look out for when buying white lights (unless this cool, icy look is specifically what you’re after). This is one of the reasons many people still opt for traditional incandescent lights as opposed to switching to the energy-efficient LED bulbs.
The good news is there are some great LED outdoor string light options out there that still provide that vintage feel like traditional light bulbs. Because we prefer the products that have the best of both worlds, our entire list of outdoor string lights we’ve provided here contains LED options with color choices that offer more traditional looks and feels.
Before purchasing string lights, it’s important to know how and where you are going to hang them. Oftentimes, you will need support from mounting hardware or zip-ties. We’ve listed out some key considerations and questions we recommend you ask yourself before buying a set of outdoor string lights.
Do the lights you’re buying come with ties or complementary hardware, or are they sold separately? Asking this question is key to helping you plan ahead in terms of budget and timing. No one wants to start decorating only to realize they are missing the hooks or ties needed to hang the string lights.
Be sure to check what is going to work with your space and with the product you’re buying. Will you need to use an extension cord to reach the nearest outlet, or do the lights you intend to buy have a cord that’s long enough? Do the lights you’re buying have mounting flexibility, i.e., are they able to be hung from multiple kinds of surfaces? Most importantly, are they going to work for the surface you have at home where you want to hang them?
A little trick for some strands of lights is to use the same hanging ties to also tie the strings together before putting them back in the box for storage. This prevents tangling and makes it easier to reuse them.
Since we’re looking at outdoor string lights, we’d be remiss if we neglected to talk about weather resistance. To determine how well a string of lights will hold up outdoors, check the product’s ingress protection (IP) rating. A light’s IP rating is a fancy way of saying how well it holds up against the elements. IP ratings are made up of two digits. The first digit indicates the level of protection for solid objects like dirt, and the second represents the level of protection against liquids like rain. Your outdoor string lights need to have an adequate IP rating to withstand dirt, dust, rain, and snow.
Most indoor lights for dry spaces have a rating of IP20. When choosing string lights to hang outside, you should look for a rating of IP44 or higher for peace of mind. This way you can enjoy the look and feel of the string lights in your yard without worrying every time it starts to rain.
If you live in a windy area or if you’re clumsy like me, you’re probably wise to consider outdoor string lights with shatterproof bulbs. While we love the beautiful glass bulbs (we have one of these options on the list), a set of strong plastic bulbs that are shatterproof can be a very smart decision.
Top 6 Outdoor String Lights 2022
1. Enbrighten Vintage Seasons LED Lights
Overall best outdoor string lights
+ Shatterproof acrylic bulbs
+ Has a dimmer with 12 different light levels
+ 16 unique color choices
+ 2 or 4-hour timers
+ Comes with long-range remote
+ End-to-end connection up to 750ft
+ Weatherproof with IP66 rating
– Mounting hardware not included
This is the ultimate party light set and our top choice for overall best outdoor string lights in 2022. This set is perfect for a wide variety of outdoor events plus everyday backyard decor. With the color changing feature, you can go with the warm white vintage look, or a festive look with bright colors. In total, these outdoor string lights come with 16 different color choices. The acrylic bulbs are weatherproof, shatterproof, and impact-resistant with commercial grade construction.
We also love that it comes with a remote control, a great added bonus if you want to change the light settings without interrupting your perfect lazy night around the pool or firepit. These outdoor string lights have all the best features: a beautiful vintage look with Edison-style bulbs, energy-saving LED technology, durability, weather resistance, and a remote included.
Speaking of variety, we also love all the flexible mounting options of this set, making it suitable for a wide array needs and different outdoor space layouts. You can mount them on a flat surface or easily hang them from above. We also love the peace of mind of the lifetime warranty the set comes with.
2. Brightech Ambience Pro
Best Outdoor Edison String Lights
+ Beautiful, vintage bistro design
+ End-to-end connection
+ 3-year product warranty
– Dimmer not included (sold separately)
– Made of glass not plastic, so they aren’t shatterproof
This set of Edison-style outdoor LED string lights is the best for a vintage look and feel. They’re the type of lights that an Italian bistro would use because they resemble the lights of cafes from years ago. These string lights are thus ideal for a relaxed and cozy ambiance.
Although these look like the classic incandescent light bulbs, they are in fact LED lights. We picked these because they combine the energy efficiency, safety, cool temperature, and long shelf life of LED lights with the soft, warm glow and gorgeous look of traditional incandescent lights. These Edison-style outdoor string lights represent the best of both worlds as they provide a vintage look and feel with up-to-date, modern technology. They’re also very durable and weatherproof, and can withstand winds blowing at 50mph.
We love the fact that they’re dimmable. When dimmed they have a beautiful, romantic look for a relaxing ambiance. Unlike many other outdoor globe string lights with a soft, traditional look, these have a high brightness setting for much brighter than average Edison-style lights. In other words, you can leave them on full brightness if you need to use them for a primary light source and really light up your space, or you can dim them to achieve a subdued, vintage accent lighting.
3. Govee Outdoor String Lights
Best Outdoor Weatherproof String Lights
+ Weatherproof with IP65 rating
+ Dimmable with 6 brightness levels and 6 light effects
+ 20,000-hour shelf life
+ Comes with remote control and adapter
+ End-to-end connection
– Not the most flexible mounting/hanging options
It’s crucial to pick a set that will withstand all the weather elements present in your area when picking outdoor string lights. This set from Govee is what we recommend for the best weatherproof outdoor string lights. These LED string lights have an IP rating of IP65, making them highly weather resistant and waterproof. Additionally, the light bulbs are shatterproof and made from strong plastic.
We love these heavy-duty outdoor string lights for their other perks as well. You can adjust the brightness level and change the lighting effect speed. Thanks to the LED technology, these lights have a long shelf life so you can use them year after year. These LED outdoor string lights also come with an adapter and a remote control that can control the brightness level, so there’s no need to buy a separate dimmer. The remote is long range, so you can make adjustments to the lights from 30 meters away.
While this set comes with clips, they are not the best for the free hanging look with the given wire. You may have to get creative with some zip ties or supporting wire/cables to achieve the desired look and keep them in place. Due to their construction, these string lights do not have all the most flexible mounting options. They are better to hang up against a wall or fence.
4. Vigdur Fairy Lights Mini-Lantern String Lights
Best Outdoor Lantern String Lights
+ 6 different color and design options
+ Made from durable and weatherproof nylon material
+ End-to-end connection
– Can lose shape when packing, storing, or moving if you’re not careful
Lantern lights are fun and festive for outdoor decorating. These mini-lantern outdoor string lights come in different colors as well as a jack-o-lantern design for Halloween and a rattan design for a boho chic look.
We love the delicate look of these small lantern-style string lights paired with the durability and efficiency of their nylon outer material and LED light bulbs. The nylon construction preserves the shape while maintaining the traditional paper lantern look. Nylon is waterproof and all around weatherproof, and they’re ideal for both outdoor and indoor use. The LED bulbs of course increase the shelf life, energy efficiency, and safety of these outdoor lantern string lights.
We love how this set is plug and play as they come fully assembled. While they are not ideal for use as a primary source of light since they’re not very bright, they are a lovely option for decorative, accent lighting.
5. LE 306 LED Curtain Lights
Best Outdoor Curtain Lights
+ 8 lighting effects
+ Comes with a US standard power adapter
+ Memory function
+ Comes with 10 ft extra long cord
– Not end-to-end connectable without running an extension cord in the middle
– The power adapter only supports one set of these lights due to pressure drop
Curtain lights look beautiful and elegant hanging from a pergola or gazebo, or as a backdrop on a wall. We love this set of LED curtain string lights for its versatility in decorating and numerous lighting effect options. These curtain string lights have 8 different lighting effects (stay on plus 7 blinking modes). While we love these as outdoor string lights, they’re also great for indoor use.
Another aspect that makes this product our top pick for curtain lights is the 10 ft cord it comes with. Referring back to the versatility of these lights, the extra long cord gives you options of where to hang them, even if the location is pretty far from the nearest wall outlet. As an added plus, the cord looks nice as it matches the wire on the lights.
As with the other outdoor string lights on this list, these curtain lights have LED bulbs, making them safe and cool to the touch so they won’t overheat. They’ll also last a long time and save energy. Some other added Memory function capability to store and remember your preferred lighting settings.
Quick tip: to avoid tangling and to make your life easier for use, storage, and reuse of these lights, keep the box and ties that each strand came bundled in. When taking the lights down, fold them back the way they were, tie them up with those same ties, and pack them back in the box they arrived in.
6. Toodour LED Icicle Lights
Best Outdoor Icicle Lights
+ 8 lighting modes
+ multiple color options for both the lights and the wire
+ comes with automatic timer and memory functions
– cannot connect more than 3 strands
These LED icicle lights with 30V output voltage are safe, cool to the touch, and energy efficient. While the bulbs themselves are waterproof (IP44), make sure to keep the adapter dry. In addition to the sturdy LED bulbs, we love all the added benefits and variety, like the many color options for both the lightbulbs and the strand’s wire.
We love how this set of icicle lights has fairy lights because the tiny bulbs have a delicate and subtle look, making them perfect not only for Christmas but also for weddings, bridal showers, and other festivities in need of a little sparkle. In addition to special events, they also look beautiful for everyday use – hanging along your backyard fence, your deck or porch railings, and even your patio umbrella. Their durable, weatherproof construction makes them suitable for four seasons of decorating.
Icicle lights are a great way to add some shine to your outdoor space, whether for a birthday party or a quiet summer night at home. These kinds of outdoor string lights aren’t just for the holidays; they look great outside your home all year long. Christmas string lights can be used to decorate different spaces – inside and outside your home – throughout the year.
This is a personal favorite kind of outdoor lighting style for us. Years ago (no I won’t say how many years ago), we pulled our Christmas icicle lights out of the attic to hang over the patio for my Sweet 16 in June. We loved the way they looked so much we left them up for a whole year, and they held strong through all four seasons.
Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor String Lights
How high do you hang outdoor string lights?
If you’re hanging them overhead, you should aim for 8 to 10 feet above the ground. If your string lights have larger light bulbs, you can go a bit higher. To prevent sagging, you can use zip ties for added support.
How do you hang string lights on a cement wall?
Use plastic hanger hooks with small steel nails to hang your string lights on a hardwood, cinder block, or cement wall. They can easily be tapped into your wall with a hammer. We recommend these wall hanger hooks that can support 25lbs (link below).
Best cement wall hangers for string lights
To sum it up, we recommend waterproof and shatterproof string lights with LED bulbs for strong outdoor decorations that will withstand the elements and last for years. The type of string lights that will be best for you depend on what ambiance you’re trying to create with your decor. Whether you go with a bright, festive look or a vintage, cozy look, you’ll be sure to impress your guests and enjoy your nights with one of the highly-rated products on our list.
We hope you enjoyed our roundup of the best outdoor string lights in 2022 and found the right set for you. Happy decorating!
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