Upgrade your patio space with sparkling string lights

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Patio string lights add warmth and ambiance to your outdoor space, and the right lights can transform your aesthetic and set the mood for seasonal entertaining. When choosing the set that’s best for you, you’ll want to consider the bulb size and style, energy-saving features, lighting color, strand length and more.

Here’s what to consider before you purchase string lights for your patio, including recommendations on some string lights to try:

Water resistance‌

Look for a product that’s specifically listed for outdoor use. Keep in mind that it’s not safe to use indoor lights outdoors. Most outdoor lights are suited for light rain, but “wet-rated” lights have specially designed waterproof seals and are best for withstanding heavy rain, snow and other weather events.

Bulb style‌

When purchasing patio lights, you’ll find a variety of different bulb styles. Choose a style that fits your patio aesthetic and provides an adequate amount of light for your space.

Globe lights are simple round-shaped bulbs and come in three sizes: G30 (1.25-inch diameter), G40 (1.5 inches), and G50 (2 inches). These patio lights are by far the most popular choice.

Edison bulbs resemble the original Edison lightbulb and have a warm, soft glow that provide some vintage appeal.

Fairy lights are thinly wired strands of tiny light bulbs that add a sense of magic to your patio and can be draped over bushes, trees or fence lines.

Lantern lights are globe lights that are designed to be covered with a thin paper or canvas lantern to add some softness and style.

Energy-saving features‌

LED bulbs use less electricity than incandescent bulbs, which both saves you money and lowers your carbon footprint.

Solar-powered lights can function solely by the light of the sun, meaning they don’t require a plug and won’t add money to your electricity bill. These lights come with an included solar panel to charge during the day.

Wire length‌

Outdoor string lights come in lengths from 10-100 feet and many sizes in between. Choose string lights that are long enough to accommodate your space. A small patio should need no more than 20-50 feet. But if you’re lighting a large patio or draping lights along a long fence, you might want to look for lights with at least 50-100-foot strands.


Patio string lights come in all sorts of colors, from the more classic white or soft yellow bulbs to red, blue or rainbow. A clear bulb gives off bright light, while an opaque bulb will add more of a gentle glow. You might also choose a set with color-changing bulbs, dim settings and customizable programs.

All of the above are available on Amazon.

Katy Severson is a writer for BestReviews, a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.