Last updated: August 11, 2021

For many, the Christmas season is the most wonderful time of the year. Lights shine everywhere and there is a cosy atmosphere. To make your home more Christmassy, it is a good idea to use outdoor Christmas lights. These come in many different designs so that they can be perfectly matched to your own home. To help you with your choice, we have carried out the big Christmas lights for outside test 2021. Here, we compared products in different categories and weighed up their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, we chose our favourites in each category, which we would like to present to you here. This should make your purchase decision much easier.




The most important facts

  • Christmas lights for the outside are a way of decorating your own house in a Christmassy way, even from the outside. This can be particularly inviting for people passing by and spread a Christmas atmosphere.
  • Especially in the dark season, the lights spread a pleasant atmosphere. They are available in many different colours and designs. However, care should be taken to ensure that neighbours are not disturbed by them.
  • The power supply can be regulated in different ways, by solar operation, batteries or plugs. For each category, different aspects need to be taken into account when installing the lights.

The Best Christmas Lights For Outside: Our Picks

Guide: Questions to ask yourself before buying outdoor Christmas lights

What are outdoor Christmas lights?

Outdoor Christmas lights are one of the decorations that can be placed outside the house at Christmas time. The lights create a Christmas atmosphere and attract the attention of people passing by. The inhabitants of the house themselves can also enjoy the harmonious atmosphere and take pleasure in it.

Christmas lights for outside spread a Christmassy mood, both for people passing by and for the guests and residents of the house.

The lights used for outdoor Christmas lighting come in many different designs. Besides the colour, the shape and size can also vary. Some lights also flash, change colour or have other additional functions. All in all, when making a selection, care should be taken to ensure that a harmonious overall picture is created and that the individual products chosen are coordinated with each other.

At what times should the outdoor Christmas lights be switched on?

Outdoor Christmas lights should be switched on mainly in the dark, as this is when they are at their best. To make this easier, there are extra timers that switch the lights on at dusk and off again at a later time in the evening. This prevents the Christmas lights from consuming electricity throughout the night, even though the owners and neighbours are already asleep. If your outdoor Christmas lights make any noise, you must also observe the night-time quiet time between 10 pm and 6 am. This is especially true if you live in an apartment building with several parties or have many direct neighbours. In general, it is a good idea to talk to your neighbours about this before installation and get their agreement.
Outdoor Christmas lighting may only be officially installed after Christmas Eve.

It is also official that Christmas lights may only be switched on after Totensonntag. This is the last Sunday before the first Advent, after which the Advent season begins. So even if you would like to brighten up the dark season a little earlier, you should wait until then.

Which outdoor Christmas lights are allowed?

In principle, every tenant and owner is allowed to install Christmas lights outside. However, care should be taken to ensure that neighbours are not disturbed by the flashing or glowing lights. The Christmas lights must not be significantly brighter than the other lighting on site.
The night-time quiet from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. should be observed in any case.

In addition, the night's rest between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. should be observed in any case. This is especially true if lighting is associated with music or other noises. In addition, it is worth taking a look at the city and municipal bylaws, which often specify the permitted brightness and volume. Some tenancy agreements already stipulate whether or not outdoor Christmas lights may be installed. Even if the installation of Christmas lights is not grounds for termination without notice, this agreement should be adhered to. In general, it is always advisable to reach an agreement with all those directly affected beforehand.

What alternatives are there for outdoor Christmas lights?

If you want to decorate the outside of your house for Christmas, there is no getting around Christmas lights for the outside. There are no real alternatives, as decorations that do not light up do not really come into their own during the winter months. Other illuminants, such as candles, are also not suitable due to the weather conditions.

Decision section: What types of outdoor Christmas lights are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy outdoor Christmas lights, you have the choice between three different types. These are based on the different types of energy supply and the associated variation in installation and use. The three categories of outdoor Christmas lights are listed below:

  • Solar-powered outdoor Christmas lights
  • Battery-powered outdoor Christmas lights
  • Plug-in outdoor Christmas lights

The three product categories differ not only in terms of their energy supply, but also in terms of flexibility, durability, ease of use, etc. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and is particularly well suited to different areas and applications. To get a better overview, we have taken a closer look at the three categories in the following section and created an overview including advantages and disadvantages.

What distinguishes solar-powered outdoor Christmas lights and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Many outdoor Christmas lights are solar powered. This means that the light converts the solar energy shining on the panel into electric current and uses this to power the light. This means that free solar radiation is used to generate electricity, which is particularly sustainable and cost-effective. Installation is also particularly flexible, as no cables or similar need to be laid. However, before you buy, you should be aware that the hours of sunlight decrease significantly in winter. In most cases, however, these are still enough to make the lighting shine for a few hours, but in particularly dark winters there can be problems. Further advantages and disadvantages are listed in the following table.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Flexible to install
Disadvantages
  • Few hours of sunshine in winter
  • Location must have plenty of sunlight
  • High purchase price

What are the advantages and disadvantages of battery-powered outdoor Christmas lights?

Another option that can be used is battery-powered outdoor Christmas lights. Here, batteries must be used for the energy supply and replaced at the end of their service life. Here, too, installation is very flexible, as there is no need to pay attention to where the connecting cables are laid. However, they are less environmentally friendly and safer than solar-powered outdoor Christmas lights. You should also be aware in advance of the additional costs incurred due to the necessary purchase of batteries. In many cases, batteries are not included with the products and must be purchased before the lights can be used. They also have to be replaced after some time. All this means more effort for the buyer, which can lead to him deciding against such a product.

Advantages
  • Favourable purchase price
  • Can be mounted flexibly
  • Constant improvement of technology
Disadvantages
  • Higher expense
  • Additional costs
  • Less environmentally friendly and safe

What are the advantages and disadvantages of plug-in outdoor Christmas lights?

The last available option is the plug-in outdoor Christmas lighting. In this case, the lights are fitted with a plug that must be plugged into an appropriate socket for them to work. Before installing the lights, you should think about the best way to plug them in and possibly get some extension cables or similar. This means that some of the flexibility is lost. At the same time, the luminaires provide a constant output and luminosity at all times. When installing the luminaires, however, you should also make sure that everything is safe and, if in doubt, consult a professional. In the following table you will find more advantages and disadvantages for this type of product.

Advantages
  • Constant luminosity
  • No replacement necessary
  • Energy supply secured
Disadvantages
  • Less flexibility
  • Pay attention to safety
  • Planning effort
  • Electricity costs

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate outdoor Christmas lights

In the following section, we would like to introduce you to the aspects that you can use to compare the various outdoor Christmas lights and make a purchase decision. The criteria we will look at in more detail are as follows:

In the coming paragraphs we will explain to you what is particularly important in each area.

Shape

Outdoor Christmas lights come in many different forms. A very familiar one is fairy lights, which can be found almost everywhere on the streets at Christmas time. These can simply be attached to walls, wrapped around railings or strung across bushes and trees. They differ in terms of their length, colour, shape of the individual lights and special interlacing, such as netting. Which product suits you best must be decided on a case-by-case basis and cannot be said in general terms.

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Fairy lights are ideal for decorating small plants or trees. This can have a very inviting effect, especially in the entrance area.
(Image source: pixabay.com / StockSnap)

Another form is individual lights such as lanterns. These are sold both individually and in sets. Depending on how they are used, they can illuminate entire paths or just serve as a small eye-catcher. Here, too, there are many different designs and sizes that are particularly suitable for different applications. Also suitable for decorative purposes are various illuminated figures. These usually take up the Christmas theme and are designed in the form of reindeer, Father Christmas, presents or similar. As the purchase of these is very cost-intensive, it is advisable to consider in advance which product best suits one's own house and property. If you need several figures, you can also buy them as a set and thus save some money.

Shape Range of application
Fairy lights Wrapping around railings, attaching to walls, stretching over bushes and trees
Lanterns Illuminating paths, decorative eye-catcher
Illuminated figures Placing in front garden or entrance area

Colour

There is a wide choice of colours for outdoor Christmas lighting. Here, we look at the colour scheme of the individual lights that shine in the dark. The individual products used should be colour-coordinated to create a harmonious overall picture.

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Outdoor Christmas lighting is available in many different colours. When choosing, care should be taken to ensure that they harmonise.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Aaron Burden)
  • White: Many of the lights are white. However, there are also some differences to be considered here, as not every shade of white is the same. Basically, a distinction is made here between warm white and neutral white. To ensure that the individual luminaires match, care should be taken to ensure that they have the same shade of white.
  • Colourful: In addition to white luminaires, there are also colourful outdoor Christmas lights. These can be designed in all kinds of colours and can also combine different shades of colour. Here, too, care should be taken to ensure that the colours used harmonise with each other.
  • Colour change: Many lights also have special functions, such as flashing or colour change. This can be a special eye-catcher and attract attention. However, care should be taken to ensure that the flashing is not too strong so that neighbours might feel disturbed by it.

Weatherproof

Since outdoor Christmas lights are installed outside the house, weather resistance also plays an important role. Especially in winter, weather conditions are often difficult as it is often cold and wet. For safety reasons, you should also check how weatherproof your lights are before you put them outside.

For safety reasons, you should pay close attention to the weather resistance of the lighting and only use products that are suitable for outdoor use.

It is best to use only luminaires that are explicitly suitable for outdoor use. This is usually stated on the packaging. If this is not the case, it is best to read the instructions for use or ask a salesperson. In any case, you should clarify this before using the Christmas lights. https://www.instagram.com/p/Brwv5S6nMk0/

Area of use

Depending on the exact area around your house or flat you want to illuminate, different products are best suited. Front gardens are often used to place figures or lanterns. Guests passing by can also admire the lighting directly. If the front garden has trees or bushes, these can also be equipped with a light chain and used as decoration. The entrance area, including the front door, is also suitable for installing outdoor Christmas lights. For example, a string of lights can be placed around the banister or lanterns can be placed. Hanging a figure, for example a star, on the front door can also have a particularly inviting effect. Especially for guests, this can spread a Christmassy and cosy atmosphere even before entering the house. In addition to the areas mentioned above, there are other suitable places for outdoor Christmas lighting. Another example is a garage, which can also be illuminated. However, this also varies from house to house and can therefore only be decided in individual cases and not in general. You should therefore find out for yourself what is the most suitable place to install outdoor Christmas lights.

Size

The different products have different sizes. Figures in particular come in many different sizes, which is why you should think carefully beforehand about which ones you need. This depends, among other things, on how much space you have available for your Christmas lights.

Before buying, check exactly how much space you have available.

If you only have a small amount of space available, it is better not to use figures and decorative items that are too large. This can quickly become cluttered and uninviting. Even if you want to attach a figurine to your front door, for example, you should measure it exactly beforehand in order to buy the right product.

Weihnachtsbeleuchtung-for-Auben-3

When choosing the size, you should pay attention to how much space you have available so that it does not look too cluttered.
(Image source: unsplash.com / James Wheeler)

For fairy lights, size refers mainly to their length. They come in many different lengths, up to several metres long. Here, too, you should think carefully beforehand about what you want to use them for and what length you need. When wrapping a large tree, several metres may be necessary, whereas a thin railing requires much less.

Facts worth knowing about outdoor Christmas lights

How to install outdoor Christmas lights correctly?

The correct installation depends entirely on the product chosen. The most important thing here is safety, which is why the lights should always be disconnected from the mains during installation. The tools needed also depend on the product and the location where it is to be installed. A ladder is often needed, so it should be at hand. Otherwise, the assembly instructions for the respective product should be followed. It should be ensured beforehand that the Christmas lights are suitable for outdoor use. Then it should be completely unpacked, including all accessories, and placed in the desired location according to the instructions.

How can I build outdoor Christmas lights myself?

There are many instructions on the internet on how to make your own outdoor Christmas lights. These are more or less demanding and time-consuming. Since some of them use power sources, you will need some background knowledge and you should make sure that they are safe to use. With good implementation, however, some money can be saved here in contrast to purchased outdoor Christmas lights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPtYf19BcTQ

Where should Christmas lights be stored during the summer?

When storing outdoor Christmas lights, there are a few things that should be taken into account.

  • Cleaning: Before the luminaires are stored, they should be cleaned. In most cases, it is sufficient to simply wipe them down to remove any dirt that has accumulated.
  • Packaging: The lighting should be stowed in such a way that it cannot be damaged. One possibility is to save the original packaging and repack it there. However, other cardboard boxes or crates can also be used.
  • Space: Even if the outdoor Christmas lights are weatherproof, they should be stored in a dry room. Ideally, the room should also have relatively constant temperatures. Cellars or storage rooms are good, as the lights won't get in the way here.
  • Batteries: If you have battery-operated outdoor Christmas lights, it is best to remove the batteries before storing them. Otherwise, if they are not used for a long time, they can be damaged and not function as well next winter.

Image source: Johnston/ 123rf.com

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