9 Best Types of Christmas Tree Lights (2018)

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 battery 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.

What are the best types of Christmas tree lights?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Green cable blends into foliage
  • Durable
  • Traditional warm light look
Price: $21.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Energy efficient
  • 20,000 hour bulb life
  • Extremely durable
Price: $20.45 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Plays 25 songs
  • 25,000 hour bulb life
  • 26 foot string
Price: $16.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Retro vibe
  • Warm, festive colors
  • Indoor or outdoor use
Price: $54.75 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Loende christmas lights Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No need to position near an outlet
  • Completely waterproof
  • Built-in timer
Price: $20.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Remote control
  • Posable wire
  • Nine lighting modes
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Elegant candle look
  • High efficiency LEDs
  • Each light has a branch clip
Price: $27.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Holiday Wonderland christmas lights Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Much less prone to tangling
  • Easy
  • Ensures even spread of lights
Price: $16.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Color-changing bulbs
  • Efficient LEDs
  • Ability to link 10 sets
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Traditional Mini Christmas Lights: Holiday Wonderland’s 300-Count Mini Multi Color Christmas Light Set

    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

    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.

  2. 2. LED Christmas Lights: Novelty Lights 100 Light LED Christmas Mini Light Set

    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

    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 34 feet and has 100 bulbs. You can choose between multi-color, blue, green, red, warm white, and pure white for colors.

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

    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

    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.

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

    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

    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.

  5. 5. Battery Powered Christmas Lights: Loende Battery Operated 100-Count LED Christmas Lights

    Pros:
    • No need to position near an outlet
    • Completely waterproof
    • Reviews suggest 35 hours of lights on 3 C batteries
    Cons:
    • Battery pack sold separately
    • Forgets mode and setting when turned off
    • Somewhat short

    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, as well as set the timer. This string measures 34 feet and includes 100 lights, which should be more than enough for most situations.

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

    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

    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.

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

    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

    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.

  8. 8. Net Style Christmas Lights: Holiday Wonderland 150-Count Clear Christmas Net Lights

    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
    • Only 150 lights

    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.

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

    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

    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.

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