No matter how swanky your backyard or outdoor space is, it won’t be welcoming without the right lighting. Lighting doesn’t just add a stylish sense of decor to your entertaining spaces — it sets the mood and ambiance for summertime memories. Of course, outdoor string lights can also act as an outdoor safety measure in the dark, as well as providing visibility for alfresco meals.
When searching for options to illuminating your patio or yard, there are plenty of choices — the tough part is narrowing it down and understanding what’s right for you. Table and overhead fixtures are ofter sought-after, but outdoor string lights offer the best of both worlds when it comes to off-season storage and an easy setup.
They come in a range of silhouettes and styles, from bigger globes to smaller fairy lights. To decorate, string them up along a fence or wrap them around trees and other plants. The aesthetic of outdoor string lights adds a sense of magic and drama to any space, providing an attractive result for a low cost. Make your home more special today with one of our top-rated selections.
How We Chose the Best Outdoor String Lights
Picking the best outdoor string lights is no easy feat, so we’ve combined a few things to make sure we’re doing it right. We’ve made sure to consider the cost of each of these, how reliable they are in different circumstances, how easy they are to implement into your current setup, and also made sure to include our own personal experiences too. After all, recommendations are always better when they come from someone who’s actually tested the thing out.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor String Lights
The most important thing to consider when picking out the best outdoor string lights for you, is what you actually want from them. Everyone has different wants from these kinds of things, so make sure you know what’s important to you. For some, that’s going to be more about how compatible each of these is with what you already have set up, if anything. For others, it might be mostly about cost, or flexibility, or just the general design. Just make sure you know what you want form them and you’ll be golden.
1. Hampton Bay 24-Light 48 ft. String Light with S14 Single Filament LED Bulbs
With over 1,200 ecstatic reviews on Home Depot, it’s no wonder that Hampton Bay’s string lights are our #1 option. The light they give off is warm and bright, with 40 lumens. These can be used inside or outside your home, and have an Edison-shaped bulb lit with state-of-the-art LED. Since they’re made from durable plastic, you don’t have to worry about broken glass. Although the lights themselves don’t come with their own remote control, they can be linked with an external remote control unit.
2. Brightown 60 Solar LED String Lights
BEST GLOBE STYLE
Globe lights make more of a statement than your standard fairy light, and while some bulbs have an oversized silhouette, these ones are still small, providing an elegant appearance. If you don’t have electrical outlets in your outdoor space and don’t want to run a long extension cord, these solar-powered globes might be the right choice for you. One buyer adores how they’re bright, but “not too bright as to be obnoxious for the neighbors.”
3. 48-ft Addlon Outdoor Edison Vintage Bulbs
BEST EDISON STYLE
Edison style is a timeless yet modern-looking outdoor light that fits into most backyards, with a bistro feel. They’re heavy-duty with impressive construction, and offer that classic matte black coloring at the top of the fixture. They can be added together for all your lighting needs, and even placed in the basement and other indoor spaces to add charm. Rather than hanging with a cheap clip-on mechanism, each of these lights contains a hole so that you can hang them with nails for a more sturdy installation.
4. GANA 24/48-ft Color-Changing Outdoor String Lights
BEST MULTICOLOR PICK
For some, a white or yellow light just doesn’t cut it. If you’re looking for something with more of an impact, consider these outdoor string lights that don’t just change color — they auto flash based on your voice or music, making them a must for parties and get-togethers. Users appreciate the indestructible nature of these bulbs, and the unique ambient light that they provide as opposed to other lights on the market, which one reviewer calls “much brighter than other brands I’ve bought.”
5. Banord 51-ft Dimmable LED Bulbs
BEST DIMMABLE PICK
When it comes to setting the right mood with lighting, a too-dim or too-bright light can ruin everything. These adjustable sockets by Banord have a vintage look and are totally dimmable, giving them an elegant and expensive feel. Even though you might get the most use out of them in the summer, they’re designed for year-round use and are weatherproof, standing up to windy and rainy days. The images attached with multiple Amazon reviews are proof enough.
6. Brightown Outdoor Solar String Lights
BEST FAIRY LIGHTS
If you’re looking for fairy lights then these Brightown Outdoor Solar String Lights will have you covered. Along with IP65 waterproof functionality, they also have eight different lighting modes to fit whatever mood you’re trying to go for. At 33 feet long and with 100 LED bulbs, you’ll be able to light up whatever you want with ease with these. Plus, they’re really easy to shape thanks to the flexible copper wire.
7. Westinghouse 48 ft. 24-Light Solar Powered Edison String Light with Color Change Feature and Remote
BEST REMOTE CONTROLLED PICK
Combining the best in lighting and technology, these solar-powered bulbs can be controlled by a remote. Wave goodbye to tripping over unseemly power cords — this set has multiple installation options to fit your need. Install the 24 bulbs and either stake or mount the included solar panel. While they offer the streamlined white lighting that most desire, these unusual bulbs have a color-changing function that allows you to mix things up whenever you want.
Westinghouse 48 ft. 24-Light Solar Powered Edison String Light with Color Change Feature and Remote
8. Hampton Bay 11 ft. Plug-In LED ST38 Vintage Bulb String Light with Seedy Cage
BEST LANTERN STYLE
Individual lanterns can be a pain to store and set up, but this stringed version makes them a more approachable purchase. These indoor and outdoor string lights by Hampton Bay last a long time and give off a warm and inviting light. Constructed from sturdy plastic, the inside has a dimpled texture with a smooth exterior. They’re ideal for any porch, canopy, or wherever else you have in mind. Up to five sets can be connected for larger spaces.
9. Wintergreen Pineapple String Lights
BEST TIKI THEME
We’re not opposed to a little kitsch here and there, and this set has just the right amount. These tiki-themed outdoor string lights can add a quirky sense of playfulness to any outdoor space, and if you’re not into palm trees, these mini pineapple string lights offer a fun, tropically adjacent alternative. Whether your backyard is a bit too minimalist or you’re looking to infuse just the right amount of personality, these tiki lights will get the job done.
10. Hampton Bay G-Type Bulb Incandescent String Light
BEST SMOKED GLASS PICK
Smoked glass has a modern and alluring look that has more depth than your average fairy light. These smoked glass bulbs add a contemporary touch and are completely weather resistant. Up to 4 strands can be connected at once (there are 8 bulbs on one strand), lining your fence or gazebo. The smoked glass effect doesn’t just look cool – it softens the light coming out of it, adding an undeniable ambiance to any outdoor set-up.
11. Hampton Bay Battery Powered Paper Lantern Mini Bulb LED String Light
BEST PAPER LANTERN PICK
Paper lanterns offer a magical level of light output and create a beautiful bohemian look – these outdoor string lights offer them in an adorable miniature size. These battery-powered bulbs have the ability to change color, and while we do love the color-changing feature, it’s not weatherproof like other picks on our list. As long as you bring them in before it rains or snows, you should be in the clear. Still, it’s important to note that they’re more durable than actual paper – they just have a paper aesthetic.
12. Sunnydaze Decor Water Drop Solar LED String Light (Warm Light)
BEST TEARDROP-SHAPED PICK
These water-drop lights have a more unique shape than standard string lights, offering a falling rain effect. They’re also solar-powered, meaning that you don’t have to worry about them dying on you. Whether this 20-foot-long light is illuminating your canopy, deck, or stair railing, it does so for an affordable price. Different function modes let you switch from blinking to steady in an instant. One buyer notes that the light is a bit dim, so if what you’re looking for is maximum brightness, perhaps look elsewhere.
13. Metallic Silver Solar String Lights
BEST METALLIC PICK
Metallic string lights sound tacky in theory, but in reality, they’re anything but – especially these. West Elm’s Moroccan-inspired solar lights have strategic cut-outs, punched with spaces that leave a warm, dreamy effect in any space. They remind of a bazaar in some faraway land, especially with the shapes they give off from the cutouts, so if you’re looking to add an exotic and moody source of outdoor lighting decor, look no further.
14. FMART White Outdoor LED String Lights
BEST ALL-WHITE PICK
White bulbs can add a contemporary look, but when they’re connected by an obvious black string, it can make for an obvious appearance that cheapens the look. Instead, opt for a completely white setup, like this bright offering from FMART which is held together by a white wire. Available in 3 different lengths, they’re both shatterproof and dimmable. A durable option for any of the minimalists out there. A buyer says, “Love the shape and light these give off. So many are industrial looking, these are softer looking. “
15. Hampton Bay Light Line Voltage ST40 Vintage Bulb String Light
These vintage-inspired bulbs look much pricier than they really are. For an antique look that has 21st-century efficiency, check out these incandescent bulbs. Though the voltage is low, these uniquely designed lights give out a surprising amount of brightness. Instead, 4 strings are intertwined, creating a party ambiance and adding character anywhere you need it. A couple of users note that the lights are slightly delicate, so handle with care, and put away in extremely windy conditions.
16. The Party Aisle Outdoor Solar Powered 100-Bulb Rope String Lights
BEST ROPE STYLE PICK
If you don’t want too-fragile string lights and glass bulbs, opt for something a little stronger, like this rope string with hidden bulbs. Available in both warm and cool light, these dimmable ropes come in a clear cable and can be wrapped around hedges, placed on the ground, or anywhere else that regular string lights might break and spread broken glass. One reviewer even uses them to light up their stairs – use them anywhere on your entry or pathway for increased safety at night.
17. Snowflake String Lights
BEST WINTER-THEMED PICK
Looking for a festive yet elegant winter-themed string light that isn’t Christmas-themed? These are the perfect ones to spruce up your holiday. These snowflake string lights are whimsical and on-theme without being kitschy, coming with 40 integrated LED lights that make for quite the show after the sun goes down. Recreate a winter wonderland from the comfort of your own home with these chic little snowflakes that give off a cozy warm light.
18. Govee String Lights
BEST SMART LIGHTS
When looking for the best outdoor string lights, it could well be that the most important thing for you is actually integration. While there are lots of good options out there for smart lights, the Govee String Lights are our top pick for the best outdoor string option. These bulbs are both waterproof and shatterproof, can sync up to music being played thanks to a built-in mic, and can be easily customised thanks to the Govee Home app.