Do String Lights Use a Lot of Electricity? Typical Usage


Do String Lights Use a Lot of Electricity

Remember when your parents told you not to leave the lights on because they used a lot of electricity? Perhaps you wonder if that is still the case with today’s technology? We’ve done some research to find out.

So, how much electricity do they use? Nowadays, most string lights use LEDs. The difference with traditional light bulbs is huge. LED lights consume more than six times less than a traditional light bulb. Therefore, this durable option of Christmas lighting doesn’t have to cost you a fortune.

As the holiday season is right around the corner, we understand that you want to know more about those cozy string lights you put up every year. So in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Christmas lights. 

A Brief History of Christmas Lights

They’re tiny but oh so pretty; Christmas lights. It’s hard to think about Christmas without them. The tradition dates back to the 18th century when small candles were attached with wax to the Christmas tree branches, and a large candle symbolizing a Bethlehem star was placed on top.

It was a sign of wealth as candles of this kind were a significant expense. However, the pleasure was also associated with considerable risk because the branches could easily catch on fire. 

The First Christmas Tree Illuminated With Electric Lamps Was Decorated On 22 December 1882 On the Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The proud owner of a tree decorated with 80 red light bulbs was Edward H. Johnson, President of Edison Electric Lights Company. The Americans quickly grasped the Christmas invention, and eight years after this historic event, the production of Christmas tree lamps began on a massive scale.

What is interesting, the European market of electric Christmas tree lamps was conquered several dozen years later. The reason was probably the deep attachment to the Christmas tradition, which ordered Europeans to use real candles to decorate their Christmas trees.

Traditional Christmas tree lamps had one major drawback. Probably most of you remember the nervous search for a burnt-out bulb when the whole set of Christmas tree lamps went out. Luckily, we were helped by LED Christmas tree lamps, during which we will never experience this problem due to a completely different technology.

Christmas Lights Nowadays

Today, we hang the lights on the Christmas tree and decorate our gardens or balconies with them. Our sincere Christmas enthusiasm avoids one crucial aspect – costs. However, they do not have to be as high as you may think—especially not when using LED lights. 

A typical Christmas tree lamp set consists of 100 light bulbs. Its power is, on average, less than 50 watts. As a reminder, a standard classic bulb has a power of 60 watts. Energy-saving fluorescent lamps are about 15 watts.

However, we rarely stop at one rope. For example, a large, 2-meter-long Christmas tree will usually hold 2-3 strings, consuming about 150 watts. And the lovely decorations on the walls and balcony – at least twice as much.

A light wreath on the door? 15 watts. A modest curtain on the kitchen window? 30 watts. We can confidently assume that for Christmas, we add more than 350 watts to our household. 

The problem is that, unlike a typical bulb, this decoration lights up almost all the time. Moreover, the year’s shortest days make it possible to use all this illumination for 15 hours a day.

LED Christmas lights

As mentioned above, a new solution has revolutionized the world of Christmas lights – LED lights. They are becoming more and more popular as they are the perfect combination of good looks and durability. 

This is the perfect solution for frugal people and those who love to have a beautiful Christmas illumination.

Why Choose LED Christmas Tree Lamps?

  • Durability

LED lights will last several years without losing the power of light. Therefore, they are durable and easy to use over and over again. 

  • Reliability 

Due to their extreme durability, Christmas lights nowadays are entirely reliable. Therefore, they are a valuable asset to your household during this festive period of the year. 

  • Energy efficiency 

LED lights are energy efficient. Therefore, we can enjoy a unique mood without interruption. Isn’t this what we all want during Christmas time?

Depending on your interior style, you should choose lamps that will create a coherent stylistic whole, both with the Christmas tree and the whole room. When choosing the lights, pay attention to the style in which you decorate the interior. You want to make sure that everything matches. 

What Should You Pay Attention to When Buying Christmas Tree Lights?

How to put Christmas Tree Lights

When choosing Christmas lights, it is worth thinking about buying an energy-saving version of them. Such decorations can consume up to ten times less electricity, and those savings will surely be noticeable in your wallet.

1. LED Christmas Tree Type Lamps

Christmas tree lamps with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) shine with warm light, are durable and energy-efficient. Nowadays, most Christmas tree lamps are made with this technology. The use of LED technology has significantly expanded the decorative values of the lights.

Christmas lights come in different shapes and sizes. You can choose between models that light up to one color or several, flashing or emitting constant light.

LED lamps are energy efficient because they use 90% less power than traditional lamps but are more expensive. However, the prices of energy-saving lamps are falling year by year, and many manufacturers ensure that they can shine up to 10 thousand hours.

2. CE Marking

One of the most important things we should check when buying Christmas lights is a CE mark on the packaging. The CE marking means that the product has been tested, passed the conformity assessment procedure with the European Union directives and is safe to use.

Lighting without this marking should not be bought at all, as it is unsafe!

IP Protection Factor

When buying Christmas lights for decoration inside or outside the building, remember to choose lighting with the appropriate tightness class.

The IP protection factor (Index of Protection) consists of two digits.

The first one is the level of protection against solids, and the second is the level of protection against liquids.

As standard, lighting products such as ceiling luminaires, light bulbs, LED strips, LED tapes, and indoor Christmas tree lamps are IP20 rated to be used in dry indoor environments.

Products with IP44 marking are designed for rooms where electrical devices are exposed to increased humidity and flooding with water (kitchen, bathroom). These are sealed products equipped with gaskets that prevent water and dirt from getting wet and into the casing.

The IP65 designation refers to devices and products that can be used outdoors. They are entirely waterproof, protected against dust and water. These lights should be used outdoors to illuminate Christmas trees, balustrades, and festive decorations.

Attention: Apart from the lamps themselves, there should also be a safe, tight, and secure connection to the extension cord, which supplies power to the lighting. This should be an extension of IP65. The connection of the light plug and extension socket should also be protected against water and moisture.

How to Put on the Lights on your Christmas Tree?

When decorating a Christmas tree, remember to follow these simple rules of applying the lights:

  1. Put the lights on the undressed Christmas tree first.
  2. It is best to start from the top and wrap a string of lights around the tree.
  3. Before you do this, it is advisable to make sure the lights are working correctly.

While the lighting on the Christmas tree inside the house is not problematic because we can turn it on and off whenever we want, the lighting on the outside might cause some struggle. Ideally, both lights should switch on and off automatically. There are two solutions to this.

  1. The Twilight Sensor

The twilight sensor is a cheap and simple device that should be switched between the socket and the lights. Make sure that the twilight sensor is located outside the building.

When it gets dark, the controller will switch on the lighting, and the power will be switched off when it gets bright.

  1. Time Programmer

Time programmer (time controller) is a simple device to buy in every electrical shop, to which we connect the lighting and program the hours you want it to be on.

The programmer turns the lights on and off. This will save you time and money.

Conditions for the Safe Use of Christmas Lights

If you replace a burnt bulb with another one, you may find that the wires will become excessively hot and may cause a fire. 

Information on the type of lamps used in lighting should appear on the product packaging. Then, when putting the lights on the Christmas tree, let’s check if they are working, if the wires do not have cracked insulation and if the bulb housings are not damaged.

Christmas lights should not come into contact with curtains as they are flammable materials. Do not leave the Christmas tree lights on at night when you go to bed or leave home. The lights will slowly warm up, and there will be the risk of fire at some point.

Related Questions

Are Christmas Lights Safe? The holiday season is right around the corner, and perhaps you worry about the safety of hanging Christmas lights. We are here to reassure you that they can be used entirely safely. They do not put you or your family at risk. As long as you follow all the instructions regarding placement and connection, nothing can happen!


Are Christmas Lights Waterproof? Regular lights that you put up in the Christmas tree are not waterproof. Therefore, they are not safe for outdoor use. However, there are plenty of Christmas lights for sale that are made especially for outdoor use. These variants are waterproof and can handle rain, snow, wind, and even frost.

Artur Antolik

This pretty girl is Stefanie and the other part of this golden duo is Artur. In this blog, we do our best to share with you everything that we know about lighting your house. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

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