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What's the Difference Between LED and Incandescent Christmas Lights?

Lighting - by Joe Weber - updated on 11/23/2022

Little girl decorating a Christmas tree

It's that time of year again; it seems like it was just yesterday when we took all the Christmas lights down. With stores having entire aisles full of Christmas lights, which is the best to choose? Read on to find out the differences between LED and incandescent Christmas lights that can be used to decorate your home and we recommend purchasing and using LED.

Pros and Cons

Both technologies have their pros and cons. Surprisingly there isn't one, when looking at a basic level, that really stands out as the clear winner between the two.



  • Safer
  • Energy-efficient
  • Great for the environment
  • Long-Lasting
  • Very bright lights
  • Cord and bulb size variety
  • Cost-effective long-term


  • Fewer lights per string
  • More expensive
  • Difficult to replace if broken
  • Can be more difficult to install



  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • More lights per strand
  • Extra long strands available
  • Very bright lights


  • Gets very hot
  • Not energy-efficient
  • Lasts only 1,000 hours

Let us dig a little deeper to show you why we think LED Christmas lights are the way to go for this Holiday season.

Why Should I Buy LED Christmas Lights?

So with the two types of Christmas lights so close in terms of benefits, why should I spend the extra money on LED lights?

Energy Efficient

LED Christmas lights are using the latest technology in the lighting industry to provide a highly-efficient lighting source for your holiday decorations.

Traditional incandescent Christmas lights use a considerable amount of energy to power and can run at a significant cost to you. As an example, 10 100-bulb strands of incandescent mini Christmas lights will run at a cost of roughly $10 for 6 hours of use per day for 35 days through the holiday season. If you are old school and use the large C9 3-inch Christmas lights, you could be adding an extra $176 dollars to your energy bill when used in the same manner.

LED Christmas lights on the other hand use considerably less energy and will not add a large amount to your energy bill. When you look at the same usage as traditional incandescent Christmas lights LED mini lights will cost roughly $2 to run and the large C9 lights will cost a whopping $2.50. In terms of energy cost, LED is the clear winner.


With every generation of LED lights that come out, they get brighter and brighter. In the past, when LED technology was new, incandescent Christmas lights were often considerably brighter than their LED counterparts. That is not the case anymore. Newer LED Christmas lights on the market are as bright if not brighter than traditional incandescent Christmas lights while using significantly less energy.


One of the best benefits of the LED design is its longevity. LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours compared to the 1,000 hours commonly seen from incandescent lights. When you think about our example above of 6 hours a day for the 35 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, LED lights could potentially last your entire lifetime of holiday decorating.

LED Christmas lights are also much less likely to short or pop than incandescent lights. That means a lot less wasted time replacing burned-out bulbs. On top of that, most new LED Christmas lights are made using plastic instead of glass which makes them much more shatter-resistant when hanging them outside in the yard or on the house.


One of the most important benefits of LED Christmas lights, especially indoor lights, is they give us significantly less heat when they are on for long periods of time. What does this mean for you? This makes it possible to leave your lights on for longer without worrying about starting a fire. Every year the news is flooded with stories about Christmas trees igniting due to several reasons, including the Christmas lights. With LED lights, the risk of a fire starting from the heat of the bulb is dramatically decreased.


With the added durability of LED lights and the cool-to-the-touch nature of the technology, your options are endless when it comes to decorating your home for the holidays. You can use them indoors or outdoors, on shrubs and trees, around the fireplace and so many more places.

What Other Kinds of Lights Can I Use for Holiday Decorating?

String lights are not the only kind of light you can use during the holiday season. Decorate your home for the holiday season by replacing your interior lights and your porch lights with red or green LED light bulbs. If you want to really add some pop of holiday cheer to your home you can use multi-colored LED strip lights where you can select whichever color you want to show to fill the entire room with color.

Need some gift ideas for your loved ones? Check out what your local Batteries Plus has to offer by reading or blog article "Great Gift Ideas for Boaters" to help with your holiday shopping.

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