By: G. M. Filisko
LED holiday lights vs. old-fashioned bulbs: 6 tips to help you decide which is right for you.
1. LED holiday lights save you money. LED lights use at least 90% less energy than traditional holiday lights, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Star program.
That results in a $50 energy savings for the average family during the holidays, says Avital Binshtock of the Sierra Club in San Francisco.
Put it into perspective: The amount of electricity consumed by one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs—enough to light two 24-foot strings, says Energy Star.
2. But LED lights typically cost more than old-fashioned holiday lights.
- GE 100-bulb string of Energy Star-certified LED white lights: $18.97 at Lowe’s
- GE 100-bulb string of conventional white lights: $8.97
But shop around because a growing number of retailers are offering sales on LED holiday lights and, if you can’t find a sale before the holidays, you can certainly find one after. Plus, prices will surely go down as these lights gain traction.
3. LED holiday lights last and last. LED bulbs can keep your season bright for as long as 100,000 hours, says Cathy Choi, president of Moonachie, N.J.-based Bulbrite, which manufactures LED and regular bulbs. That’s substantially longer than the life of your old holiday light strings.
4. You can string a BIG strand of LED lights. Safety wise, you shouldn’t connect more than three traditional light strings, but you can connect up to 87 LED holiday light strings, totaling a whopping 1,500 feet, Choi says. So blow your neighbor’s display away by cocooning your house in lights:
- You won’t have to buy as many extension cords.
- You can take your holiday lighting display further away from the outlet.
5. LED lights reduce the risk of fire. They stay cooler than incandescent bulbs, according to Energy Star.
6. How about that hue? Some people stick with their old lights because they don’t like the brighter hue that white LED holiday lights emit. But Choi says manufacturers now offer a “warm white” bulb that more closely mimics the glow of an incandescent light. Be sure to read the label to choose a bright or warm white and to ensure what you’re purchasing is Energy Star-certified.
Colored and color-changing LED holiday lights are more vibrant than conventional lights, making your display easier to see from the street, Choi says.