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Top 10 Best Types of Christmas Tree Lights

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My household growing up was firmly in the real Christmas tree camp. Every year, we’d drive out to the tree farm/apple orchard and pick out our tree, usually a blue spruce. My mother had a very specific method of choosing the tree, but my brothers and I would still scour the farm looking for candidates. She’d eventually choose one and we’d bring it home and decorate it that day, which was generally not too many days after Thanksgiving.

Since it was always a real tree, that meant that the first decorations to go on it were the lights. Again, my mother had a very specific method for putting the lights on. I remember when I was young, this would involve instructing my father to just hold the lights while she arranged them. Later on, I would help, and my job was to stand in the back of the tree and pass the bunched string back to her. Her formulation required no fewer than three sets of multi-colored traditional mini lights, some of which were old enough that when one burnt out, the whole string died.

These days, you have many options for what lights you’ll put on your Christmas tree. Of course, they still make the traditional T5 light strings, and they’re still my favorite. There are LED lights, remote controlled lights, and even solar powered Christmas lights — enough options to satisfy any look or function. Choosing the type of Christmas light to use depends entirely on your preferences and what puts you in the spirit most.

Whether you decide to uphold tradition or try the latest trends, here are the ten best types of Christmas tree lights to brighten your holiday season.


1. Traditional Mini Christmas Lights: Holiday Wonderland’s 300-Count Mini Multi Color Christmas Light Set

(Noma/Inliten)

(Noma/Inliten)

Here they are: the good ol’ fashioned light strings. These are the ones I’ve always used, and probably the ones your parents used, too. You know what to expect with these and their twinkly, warm glow. The incandescent bulbs have a warmth that LEDs can’t match, even this many years later. If you have a specific idea in your mind of what the lights should look like, these are probably the ones you’re thinking of. Lots of people like to go all white or all blue, but multi-color is the timeless look. The colors of this set are red, blue, green, pink, and yellow.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $19.85

Buy the Holiday Wonderland’s 300-Count Mini Multi Color Christmas Light Set here.


Pros:

  • Green cable blends into foliage
  • Durable
  • Relatively long-lasting
  • Traditional warm light look

Cons:

  • Not especially energy efficient
  • Individual bulbs prone to burning out
  • Tangle easily if you’re not careful
  • Bulbs may need to be reseated before use

Find more Holiday Wonderland’s 300-Count Mini Multi Color Christmas Light Set information and reviews here.


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2. LED Christmas Lights: Ge Micro Mini Led Light Set

(General Electric)

(General Electric)

LED Christmas lights are the other ubiquitous choice. Anecdotally, it seems like it’s roughly split between households using the traditional mini lights and ones using these. Some people don’t love the colder color profiles of the LEDs, though they have improved in that arena over the years. One advantage to the LEDs is that they’re smaller, so the bulbs themselves blend into the tree a little better. This particular set measures 24.7 feet and has 100 bulbs. Of course they come in all white, if that’s your preference.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $31.77

Buy the Ge Micro Mini Led Light Set here.


Pros:

  • Energy efficient
  • 20,000 hour bulb life
  • Cool to the touch
  • Extremely durable

Cons:

  • May be pricier, depending on manufacturer
  • Colors tend to be colder
  • No blinking settings

Find more Ge Micro Mini Led Light Set information and reviews here.


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3. Musical Christmas Lights: Holiday Essence Set of 140 Indoor Multi-Color Musical Christmas Lights

(Holiday Essence)

(Holiday Essence)

Combining traditional mini light strings with a music box, these fun lights bring even more Christmas cheer. Set the music to play during your Christmas part and let these cycle through 25 songs, including “Silent Night”, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer” and many others. When the music is playing, it automatically cycles through each of the songs. Adds just that extra touch to your celebrations.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $15.95 (31 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Holiday Essence Set of 140 Indoor Multi-Color Musical Christmas Lights here.


Pros:

  • Plays 25 songs
  • 25,000 hour bulb life
  • 26 foot string
  • Traditional lights

Cons:

  • Indoor use only
  • Songs will likely get old quickly
  • No volume control
  • Not whole songs, just segments

Find more Holiday Essence Set of 140 Indoor Multi-Color Musical Christmas Lights information and reviews here.


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4. C Bulb Style Christmas Lights: 100 Foot C9 Multi Ceramic Christmas Lights Set

(Novelty Lights)

(Novelty Lights)

To go even further into the past than the mini lights, you have to go for C-bulb light strings. These typically use a C5, C7, or C9 bulb, depending on what you buy. This one uses C9, which means that each bulb is three inches tall. This style of Christmas light recalls the 50s and is great if you want to nail that particular look. This is a 100 foot string, which is handy, because these can’t be daisy-chained. Still, each bulb is seven watts, so you’re going to get vibrant, festive light. They ship this string with 25 extra bulbs, since these tend to be fragile and short-lived. You can choose the classic multi-color, or single colors strings of blue, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white, or yellow. Great for big trees and for trimming rooms or outside walls.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $54.75

Buy the 100 Foot C9 Multi Ceramic Christmas Lights Set here.


Pros:

  • Retro vibe
  • Warm, festive colors
  • Indoor or outdoor use
  • 100 feet of lights

Cons:

  • Cannot be chained
  • Relatively short life – 3,000 bulb hours
  • Tend to run somewhat hot
  • Definitely not energy efficient

Find more 100 Foot C9 Multi Ceramic Christmas Lights Set information and reviews here.


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5. Battery Powered Christmas Lights: Loende Battery Operated 200-Count Mini Christmas Lights

(Loende)

(Loende)

If you plan to have either an outdoor tree or want to put your tree in an area of your home lacking an outlet, you’ll want to grab some battery powered Christmas lights. These free you from the need to plug in, and therefore the need to run messy extension cords. If you put your tree in a really hard-to-reach spot, this particular set will save you in another way: a remote control. You can use the remote to select between eight lights modes and different brightness settings. This string measures 72 feet and includes 200 lights, which should be more than enough for most situations. You can also get battery powered LED light strings, as well.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $22.99 (71 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Loende Battery Operated 200-Count Mini Christmas Lights< here.


Pros:

  • No need to position near an outlet
  • Completely waterproof
  • Reviews suggest 35 hours of lights on 3 D batteries

Cons:

  • Battery pack sold separately
  • Forgets mode and setting when turned off

Find more Loende Battery Operated 200-Count Mini Christmas Lights< information and reviews here.


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6. Remote Controlled Christmas Lights: BOLWEO Christmas String Lights with Remote

(BOLWEO)

(BOLWEO)

Speaking of remotes, being able to control your Christmas lights without having to go behind the tree and find the little green box with the single-button function switch is a fantastic innovation. This inexpensive set comes with a remote that allows you to choose between nine lighting modes, set a timer, dim the lights, and of course turn the string on and off. As a bonus, these lights are shapeable, using flexible copper wire. This will allow you to get more precise light placement on your tree without having to rely on branches being exaclty where you need them. It’s a nifty little option and sets them apart from other lights on this list.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $10.95

Buy the BOLWEO Christmas String Lights with Remote here.


Pros:

  • Remote control
  • Posable wire
  • Nine lighting modes
  • Efficient LED light

Cons:

  • Battery box is not waterproof
  • Wires may break with repeated bending
  • On the short side for Christmas lights

Find more BOLWEO Christmas String Lights with Remote information and reviews here.


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7. Candle Christmas Lights: 50 Warm White LED Flameless Christmas Candle Indoor String Lights with Tree Clips

(Lights4fun)

(Lights4fun)

From the 1500s until 1882, people who wanted lights on their trees were stuck using wax candles. As unbelievable as it seems, open flame was placed right on the branches of a rapidly drying evergreen tree. In response to the obvious risks, Edward Hibberd Johnson introduced the first incandescent Christmas tree lights in 1882. All these years later, you can recapture some of the romance of a candlelit tree, albeit with far, far safer and more reliable technology. This set includes 50 three inch, LED candles on a 48 foot string. Each candle is attached to a small plastic clip that you can use to attach it to a branch. The warm white LEDs will add a touch of splendor and charm without endangering your house and family.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $39.99

Buy the 50 Warm White LED Flameless Christmas Candle Indoor String Lights with Tree Clips here.


Pros:

  • Elegant candle look
  • High efficiency LEDs
  • Each light has a branch clip
  • Ten foot lead cord

Cons:

  • No flickering effect
  • Bulbs are not replaceable
  • Cannot be chained
  • No festive colors

Find more 50 Warm White LED Flameless Christmas Candle Indoor String Lights with Tree Clips information and reviews here.


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8. Net Style Christmas Lights: Gerson Tree Trunk Net Christmas Light String Set

(Gerson)

(Gerson)

We’ve all seen the movies where characters struggle to get the Christmas lights untangled from he unholy knot that formed when they were shoved in the box during a hasty takedown the year before. While you can always pick up Christmas light reels, there’s another option. Net lights are generally used for shrubs in the yard, but there’s no saying they won’t work on your Christmas tree, too. These lights are meant to be wrapped around the trunk of a tree and measure two feet by tweleve feet. This should comfortably cover a six foot tall Christmas tree and will save you time and frustration during setup and take down.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $17.99

Buy the Gerson Tree Trunk Net Christmas Light String Set here.


Pros:

  • Much less prone to tangling
  • Easy to install
  • Ensures even spread of lights

Cons:

  • Difficult to find in anything but white
  • Somewhat less flexibility in placing lights

Find more Gerson Tree Trunk Net Christmas Light String Set information and reviews here.


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9. Solar Powered Christmas Lights: Loende Solar Christmas String Lights

(Loende)

(Loende)

Sure, there are battery powered options, but what if you didn’t have to power your Christmas lights at all? If your Christmas tree is close enough to a window that you can place a small solar panel in the sunlight, you needn’t use any additional energy for your Christmas display this year. On a full charge, these lights will stay on for eight hours, and since they’re waterproof, they would certainly make excellent lights for your outdoor Christmas trees. This is a 72 foot string with 200 LED bulbs, which will cover quite a large area. The included solar panel can either be staked into the ground or mounted to the wall with the included screws. This is the multi-color set, but you can also get blue-green, warm white, brilliant white, and red.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $15.99 (68 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Loende Solar Christmas String Lights here.


Pros:

  • Solar powered
  • Great for tricky tree placements
  • Eight hours of use on a charge
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • Needs access to sunlight when used indoors
  • Colder LED coloring

Find more Loende Solar Christmas String Lights information and reviews here.


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10. Globe Christmas Lights: LED Color-Changing Christmas Light String with 50 Globes

(LEDwholesalers)

(LEDwholesalers)

If you want to try something really different, consider these color-changing globe lights. Most traditional light sets have a setting that does something, whether it be fading in and out or blinking in any number of patterns. These, on the other hand, have only one mode, continuously and slowly, cycling through multiple colors. The globe shape gives the lights a softer, more muted effect. Reviewers note that the motion is very comforting and soothing, and go very nicely on the green of a Christmas tree. Choose this option if you’re bored of the same old Christmas lights and want to try something new.

Need more options? Browse more Christmas tree lights here.

Price: $9.99 (31 percent off MSRP)

Buy the LED Color-Changing Christmas Light String with 50 Globes here.


Pros:

  • Color-changing bulbs
  • Efficient LEDs
  • Ability to link 10 sets
  • Indoor or outdoor use

Cons:

  • No mode options — continuously changing
  • Colors tend to be blue/purple more often than other colors
  • Some units don’t last terribly long

Find more LED Color-Changing Christmas Light String with 50 Globes information and reviews here.


Now that your tree is lit, it’s time to hang the ornaments. See our post on the best wooden ornaments for ideas on new ones to add to your tree this year. If you decide to put any of these lights outside your home, our list of the best outdoor Christmas decorations could provide interesting pairings.


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Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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