Buying Tips for LED Christmas Lighting
Advantages and disadvantages and buying tips for LED Christmas lighting.

At Christmas time, the advantages and disadvantages of LED Christmas lighting are often discussed. Mainly the lower energy consumption of LED technology makes the use of Christmas lighting standard these days. In this article, we will give you helpful buying tips for LED Christmas lighting and explain the facts of the currently offered LED lighting products.

What are the differences to traditional incandescent technology?

As already mentioned, the conventional incandescent lamp technology usually consumes significantly more energy than its identical or similar LED variants and they are often less flexible to use. Since the cables are thicker, the lengths are limited and interchangeable lamps are often only intended for indoor use. Only holiday lights with E14 or E27 sockets are constantly available on the market – especially in the Christmas illumination of cities, as well as on Christmas markets.

This is due to the fact that LED lamps can be used in the future. They are robust and almost maintenance-free which makes them popular. However at home we will probably only use these holiday lights as a party lighting in the summer, rather rarely at Christmas. Consumers are more likely to get small filigree bulbs, often in candle form and in a beautiful warm white light color.

What are the advantages of LED Christmas lighting?

The power saving is the biggest advantage with LED technology. Where the old incandescent lamp and halogen technology still had consumptions of 20-80 watts, the new holiday lights (depending on the length and light output) often consume only one tenth of them on average. If one considers that the lighting decoration is usually lit about 5 hours every evening, the energy consumption with the old technology already adds up in the pre-Christmas period and creates an unpleasant feeling in our energy-savvy mind.

A further advantage of LED technology is that the lifetime of the LEDs is many times longer than the lifetime of a halogen or light bulb.

High-quality LEDs for Christmas lighting can last up to 10,000 hours.
Christine HillerLighting expert on Houzz & HQ Designs

The “LED light source” doesn’t die but becomes darker over time. The prices have also decreased over time. LED fairy lights with a traditional “candle design” currently costs about 20 euros for 16 candles. A string of lights with conventional technology costs about 40 euros, with 35 candles.

Buying Tips for LED Christmas Lighting

Points that also speak for LED technology are the low heat development and technical possibilities of the LEDs. Light decorations with LED hardly develop heat and can also easily surround the cookie plate on the table (e.g. with a battery operated micro light chain). Try this with the conventional technology and without stumbling over a cable, because there are no battery operated variants with the good old halogen or incandescent lamp technology.

Buying Tips for LED Christmas Lighting

In addition, many manufacturers of Christmas lighting offer technical finesse in their LED products. Electrically independent solar powered or battery powered exterior decorations, switchable models that can be changed or even dimmed in the light color as well as holiday lights or tubes with lengths up to 30 meters are available. Some also offer sensor-controlled light decorations so that the lighting can only be applied at specific times, or only when there is someone in the sensor’s area. In conventional technology, a separate sensor had to be installed or a time switch purchased.

What are the disadvantages of LED technology?

Decorative lighting does not require energy efficiency labeling. This unfortunately leads to the fact that many manufacturers of Christmas lighting only sporadically provide information on their packaging. How much energy holiday lights consume can not really be found.

If you are lucky, you will find an indication of the consumption per light source or an indication of the complete output voltage on the packaging. You can then calculate the consumption (even if it is small compared to the old technology: the one who illuminates his house inside and outside in big style, this is possibly no negligible point). In general, it is very difficult to make a real comparison between old and new technology, because LEDs are as varied as they are different in their appearance. A 30 string of lights of conventional technology has, e.g. another light output and other light colors than a similar LED variant.

The terms “warm white” or “cold white” are subject to a DIN standard, but this does not mean that all holiday lights with the indication “warm white” have the same light color temperature (measured in K = Kelvin). In the lighting industry “warm white” equals Kelvin values around 2700 – 3200K.


However, anyone who has been to a lighting department or has recently installed a few lamps at home will be able to confirm that there is a very big difference between 2700 and 3200 K. Behind the labeling, “warm white”, it is hard to guess how the light will look like at home. If you don’t have the possibility to see this light “live” in an exhibition, you can’t guess how the light really works.

Another disadvantage of LED Christmas lights is that you can often only speculate about the brightness. Lumen values, which would reflect the brightness of the light, are likewise not to be found on packages of LED decorative lighting. One could argue that it is just decoration, which doesn’t have to illuminate a room. But would not it be nice to know whether the existing LED holiday lights “disappear” in the dense green of my Christmas tree or at least somewhat adequately “illuminates” it? So you have to take the risk, and try it first and then carry the fairy lights back to the store or return it.

The color reproduction of LEDs is still problematic. Rarely there are LEDs on the market that have Ra values higher than 85 Ra, which would correspond to a relatively good color reproduction. In Christmas lighting there is nothing to be found. However, if you want to put a garland around the chimney, add some balls and decoration objects and suddenly the red balls appear very pale over, it is probably because of that. Admittedly, this is a topic for the die-hard. However, for the sake of completeness we mention it.

Color rendering index

Cheap LEDs often offer low brightness, poor light colors (e.g. cold white or greenish yellow light). Additionally they are usually badly produced and LEDs rather fail. With conventional technology it was also possible to exchange a single bulb. In the case of the LED variant, the failed LED must be hidden. Another reason why these buying tips for LED Christmas lighting can be very useful!

So what is our conclusion?

The advantages of LED technology outweigh in the end. Energy savings, technical flexibility & finesse, as well as the countless possibilities for decorations that manufacturers now offer, clearly speak for an LED-based Christmas lighting.

Only in the beautiful nostalgic warm light color lies the charm of the conventional incandescent lamp technology. But surely future LEDs will get more light output and their color reproduction and light color will also get better. If you pay attention to quality and get yourself LED fairy lights only by one manufacturer and don’t mix different products, almost nothing can go wrong. Buy products you were able to check live and don’t buy the cat in the sack! We hope our buying tips for LED Christmas lighting helped you!

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