LED Christmas Light Shopping Tips
Each year American families spend hundreds of millions of dollars decorating for the Christmas and other winter time holidays. A major cornerstone of most holiday decorating projects is the Christmas string light. Using light to decorate for seasonal holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah has been a tradition since before the invention of electricity. Before electricity was available holiday decorators used candles for light. Shortly after electricity was invented incandescent string lights were developed for decorating Christmas trees and other holiday decorating. Until recently, the only improvement made in holiday decorative lighting was the invention of the standard mini-lights which widely replaced the larger C9 type lamps. While this was a substantial improvement incandescent lighting is not very efficient. Standard incandescent mini Christmas lights will only last for about 1500 hours and use [inline:1:3] about .75 watts of electricity per bulb. The other problem with incandescent string lighting is that the bulbs contain a very fragile filament which is easily broken is the lights are dropped or endure minor shock.
Although the progress in lighting technology has move slowly, there is a new and better option for holiday and Christmas string lighting: LED string lighting. LED string lighting is still relatively new to most consumers as it has only been widely available for a few years. LED string lighting is available in a wide variety of shapes, colors, sizes and qualities. This year if you decide to make the switch to LED Christmas or holiday string lights here are a few things you should consider:
1. Number of Lights. Most people are accustomed to purchasing a standard set of 150 mini incandescent lights. Strings of 150 lights are the standard in incandescent string lighting. However, LED string lights are offered in a variety of configurations: 25, 25, 50, 100, and 200 bulb strings. When shopping for LED Christmas lights be sure to determine how many lights are on each string. Strings with more LED lights will be more expensive. Thus, you may find a set of white LED mini lights offered for $9.99 and another set offered for $24.99. Although there is some variation in the retail prices among the different companies offering the LEDs lights, in most cases the price difference is explained by the number of lights on the strings.
2. Warranty. Because LED lights last for so long and cost a bit more, most reputable retailers will offer some form of a warranty. The real value in exchanging your old incandescent holiday string lights for LED string lights is the savings that will be obtained after a few years of use. Although the payback is usually pretty quick because of the substantial energy savings and replacement costs savings, you will not benefit from these savings if you purchase a poor quality LED string light or a product that is not back by a long-term warranty. Make sure the LED string lights you purchase are backed by at least a 5 year warranty.
3. Professional or Residential Grade. LED holiday and Christmas lights are offered by some retailers in both a professional and residential grade. In most cases, the standard or residential grade LEDs only allow for safe connection of up to 3 strings end-to-end. This is not ideal for large displays. If you have a large display you should consider a professional grade LED string light. HolidayLEDs' professional grade LED string lights allow for end-to-end connection of up to 1/2 mile of lights. The professional grade lights also feature a commercial grade 20 gauge wire that is more durable than the residential grade wire. If you are doing a large display--indoor or outdoor--you should consider a professional grade LED holiday string light.
4. Replaceable or Irreplaceable Bulbs. LED holiday and Christmas string lights are offered with LED bulbs that can be replaced and sets with bulbs that cannot be replaced. Being able to replace a bulb was critical for incandescent lights because they would fail so frequently. It is not such an important feature with LED string lights because the bulbs fail so infrequently and the failure of one bulb will not cause the rest of the string to fail. The advantage of the one-piece construction (which render the LED bulbs irreplaceable) is that the one-piece construction is virtually weather and moisture proof. As long as the LED strings are covered by a good warranty, the benefits of the one-piece construction far exceed any disadvantage of not being able to replace a bulb.
5. Buy Early. Although manufacturer's have increased production this year to meet demand, in each of the last 3 holiday seasons demand for LED Christmas lights has exceeded supply and many retailers ran out of product well before Christmas approached. If you are thinking about purchasing LED holiday string lights this year try to buy them early. Many retailers offer pre-season sales .