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It’s one thing to have a backyard, deck or patio, but it’s another to make it feel like a place where you actually want to hang out. Whether the grass is overgrown or the furniture is lacking, you might need to spend a good amount of time and money to get your backyard into proper shape. Furniture, grills and awnings are all excellent (and costly) upgrades to consider, but one of our favorite finishing touches is also one of the most cost-effective — outdoor string lights.
String lights are one of the best ways to illuminate your outdoor space for evening hangouts. They provide more coverage than an outdoor wall sconce can, and you don’t have to worry about anyone bumping into them. Adding string lights can make your backyard a great place to entertain big groups of friends, or just to hang out with family on those warms nights when you don’t want to move indoors.
For our money, the best outdoor string lights have large bulbs — these add a more sophisticated yet rustic look, and they provide more illumination than Christmas lights or LED ribbon lights can. We’ve rounded up some of the best outdoor string lights below, including some solar-powered options.
1. Brightech Ambience Pro
These lights from Brightech consist of 15 bulbs that are spaced 3 feet apart. These lights are energy-efficient LEDs, and you can use them with a dimmer switch if you have one. Two lighting colors are available, so you can choose the style that suits your taste and the desired illumination. There’s a soft white and a warm white option. These lights are also highly waterproof, which makes them ideal for outdoor use.
Pros: Two color options available. 15 energy-efficient LEDs. Can be used with a dimmer switch.
Cons: Replacement bulbs are expensive.
2. Lemontec Commercial Outdoor String Lights
These outdoor string lights consist of 15 hanging bulbs on a 48-foot long cord. The incandescent bulbs have a soft yellow hue that is still bright enough to be the only light source for your patio or seating area. If you want more than 15 bulbs, you can order multiple and easily string them together.
Pros: Stylish look, weather-resistant cable. Warm but bright color. Multiple strings can be strung together.
Cons: Some may prefer LEDs to incandescent bulbs for energy efficiency.
3. Amico Outdoor String Lights
These stylish lights from Amico come in a 49-foot long string, making this a good option for larger patios. One string has 16 bulbs, and you can easily connect two strings together if needed. These lights have a soft glow that will give your patio a relaxed feeling. The UL-listed bulbs are incandescent as opposed to LED.
Pros: Long, 49-foot cord. Two strings can be connected.
Cons: Some may prefer more energy-efficient LEDs.
4. MagicPro Solar String Lights
These lights from MagicPro are another good solar option. They come with the solar panel that’s needed to power the lights. Each order includes 15 bulbs on a 44-foot string. The LED lights give off a warm glow, and the bulbs have a classic, slightly elongated arbitrary shape. These lights can also be connected with another string from MagicPro for more illumination.
Pros: Set it and forget it solar-powered option. Generous 44-foot string with 15 lights. Long-lasting LED bulbs.
Cons: Because of the automatic solar panel, the lights will only turn on after sundown, and can’t be turned on at sunset or before nightfall.