For me, nothing induces a good case of eco-guilt like Christmas tree lights. They may be gaudy, cheesy, blazing examples of over-consumption festooned across our streets, but I love them. But this year, it’s time to break free from this dysfunctional relationship and invest in a few strands of LED lights to twinkle my greenery. Compared to traditional Christmas lights, I’ll be using 1/10th the amount of electricity to light the small LED’s, and 1/160th for the larger bulbs. Beyond the expected energy savings, LED strands also burn brighter so my tree will be more jolly than my neighbors’ tawdry displays. LED’s are also significantly more durable, meaning my holiday cheer will survive the elements and twinkle for years to come.

There are a ton of LED options out there with varying degrees of eco-efficiency. has more varieties than I ever knew existed: big bulbs, small bulbs, nets, beads. Talk about a winter wonderland., on the other hand, has a more edited selection, but their battery operated lights can help with the more strategic placement (with batteries from of course).

Or, you can take your seasonal display completely off the grid with these solar powered christmas lights. They run about 30 dollars for a strand of sixty lights. Personally, I’d like to know how well the solar panel works before making the switch. Your friendly neighborhood power mongers at PG&E have more information.

Of all these varieties, we prefer the simple Philips white LEDs (shown below) the best .


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  1. Susan Robertson December 3, 2012 at 5:19 am

    I hate LED Christmas lights. They flicker out of the corner of my high, which apparently isn’t perceptible to everyone but it annoys me to no end. And LED lights just cannot match the warm glow of the old lights. The yellow LEDs are more of a fake fluorescent looking color with an ugly greenish tinge. I know some people don’t see any big difference, but I do.

    If you want to reduce energy consumption, just set the lights on a timer. Or use fewer lights. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to pick and choose what “sacrifices” I’m willing to make for the environment. Until they improve the quality of the LED Christmas lights, I won’t be using them.

  2. UGLYLED December 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Okay, I found this site because of search on LED lights….with an eye to how much I loathe, truly hate with a passion, these horrible little blights on the beauty of the holiday season. And I am livid about going out yesterday to find lights for the tree and finding the only thing left on the shelves are the awful LEDs. Notice that the normal, beautiful bulbs sold out immediately. No matter how much you all talk about how great these lights are, they are ugly, ugly, ugly — and nothing you say will make it otherwise. I swear, I am a moderate, middle-of-the-road, politically speaking, and this issue of light bulbs makes me want to vote libertarian. Get off of my lawn!

  3. Andrew@Wholesale Channe... March 2, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Great blog article.I am seaching for it. This is best in my knowledge. Really thank you! Really Cool.

  4. sxmm1234 December 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    The eco-herd mentality around LED x’mas lights makes me want to puke. If you really want to diminish your carbon footprint do something signifiant like stop eating beef, audit your home’s airflow, or have fewer children. Putting up LED xmas lights is not going to make even a small dent in the world’s energy consumption. It’s just a way for people to brand theselves as eco-concious while turning one’s neighborhood into an eerie science fiction movie.

  5. IHATELEDS August 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I HATE LED Christmas lights. They are such crap. I hate them so much I print put papers at Christmas time thats say all the bad things about LEDs you never are told and then I go and tape them up at the local stores next to the LED light displys and the boxed lights. If you are like me and hate them I highly think you should do they same.

  6. LightTheNight September 13, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Thank goodness there is a warm white available now that looks like a traditional incadescent lamp.

  7. Jeff January 24, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Can you make a lens that’s the same as the incandscents instead of that odd multi-faceted look? I love the paitned ceramic of the old c7 and c9. I think that and something like traditional miniatures would sell and be very pleasing.

  8. Renee January 23, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I have read the above comments and wanted to reply to a few of them. Yes, the pure white is ‘bright’ and still somewhat blue. It’s one of those love or hate deals. But the main reason for my comments is for those that can not stand the flicker in the light sets. We have Full-Wave technology (newest on the market) that does not drive you crazy to look at. The power cycle is now flicker free, however, most lights on the market are still the old half wave and flicker. When looking for LED lights make sure you get only the Full-Wave and you too will be enjoying LED lighting. After seven years of importing I have heard all kinds of likes and dislikes and the one’s talked about here are the most common. We now offer a soft white for those that do not like the ‘cold’ white. Check out the next generation of lighting and if I can help let me know.

  9. Betsy December 20, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    I bought the Sylvania LED series Micro-Style lights for my inside Christmas tree and from outside it looks like there is a giant TV in the living room…it is not a warm look, I wish someone would invent a tiny cover for each light…I would never use them again, just because of the color of the light….a blue white..but I hate to throw them out…I will check into the Phillip white LEDs next.

  10. James November 26, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    I just got a set of white LED lights from Phillips and they definitely flicker. I wouldn’t recommend them.

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  12. George November 20, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Is there a short string of 10 LED lights I can plug in to light the star on my outdoor tree? Thanks.

  13. zolie November 9, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I’ve had LED Xmas lights for the last few years & I LOVE them! You can leave them on all the time, laugh at your fathers admonition to “save” electricity by turning them off for the night and laugh at your mother’s fear that they’ll overheat and set the house on fire while you sleep. They’re brighter and crystalline and they DO sparkle (and you can get them to ‘twinkle’ if you have a cruddy power utility connection 😉 They brighten up your yard without lighting up the whole place like day, so you actually have contrast between light & dark. I’m lusting after the new big-size bulbs that look exactly like 1950’s bulbs, I’ll plug them in and get nostalgic. PS My grandmother hated Xmas light in the 1940’s, “too newfangled” – she much preferred candles burning on every branch. Eeek – progress is good.

  14. Nate Webb October 29, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    LEDs Are the best way to go. Check out for the best LED lighting this year. They have full wave rectification on a large selection of LED lights. They even have replacement bulbs, Call them to fnd out more.

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  16. Robby October 28, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Do any of these strands contain lead in the plastic or wiring? Which do not?

  17. Inhabitat » LED L... October 27, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    […] with decorations on the brain, make sure to light up your holiday nights this year with the greenest LED Christmas lights. LEDs use 10% the electricity of incandescents, and are 90% more efficient than their old-school […]

  18. Ken October 23, 2007 at 10:30 am

    The fact that they don’t use full-wave rectifiers bugs me. It’s a very cheap addition, for a very noticable improvement. Heck, they could use the first couple LED’s in the string to MAKE a rectifier for no additional cost at all!

  19. Sharon Rhea Ford September 6, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    I recently purchased nice LLBean pewter window bracket cordless solar window candles. The fit into the window and look great except that the bulbs are amber. I want the same in clear white to keep in my windows year round. I have researched for hours several nights, and I find nothing othet than amber. Do you know where I might find these?

    Sharon Rhea Ford

  20. Barbara T. Kasmiroski June 19, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    I have an idea for kuights,,,do you manufacture lights
    for other businesses….
    Please send information.
    Thank you

  21. Mke May 6, 2007 at 12:46 am

    Go to: But they do not have all of their holiday lighting up on their site yet. You can get the “raw” type LED lighting at Target, Home Depot, Lowes, and other retailers. Or try

    The LED bulbs I like the most are the blue colored ones. They are so vibrant in color! Also, I would suggest getting LED strings that are sealed so that moisture or water doesn’t get into the LED’s wire contacts. I bought mine at Sam’s Club & I’ve heard that they sell similar ones at Costco. They are made even better than the Philips Brand. They were commercial quality. I bought about 10 boxes…..each box contained 100 “night light sized” bulbs with about 90% savings. VERY DURABLE. I had 5 people ring our doorbell this Christmas just to find out where I got them. Plus, they came in very strong stackable boxes which made packing the lights after Christmas a breeze! I hate it when you take lights out of their boxes and then can’t use the same boxes to pack them because they are too small……I didn’t have this problem with the ones I bought above.

  22. kevin bracken April 27, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Where can I actually GET the white Philips LED lights? Every single supplier I try has diffuser bulbs on the lights. I just want the raw LEDs on a string. Those links were handy, but I still can’t find the Philips white!

    Your help would be more than appreciated :)

  23. Steve December 31, 2006 at 5:13 am

    Chris, feel free to contact me at “paxmowa (at)” (requires some reformatting)
    I’d be more than happy to discuss this matter further with you. The RGB LEDs where very cheap, bougth per 100 out of Hong Kong.

    McGee: Philips indeed makes high quality LED products, yet the strings are still driven with AC, which could cause some flicker. This is supposedly less in the States where you run AC at 60 Hz, here in Europe we run at 50 Hz and flicker becomes noticeable (percieved as 25 Hz, because the LEDs only turn on on one half of the phase, the power is blocked in the other direction) Philips also has it’s own LED plant, where they produce very high quality LED bulbs, probably all for their own production lines.


  24. McGee in Florida December 30, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    I love mine! They are super bright and beautiful.But you get what you pay for with these. Philips seem to be the best. Thats what we have and love. They don’t flicker or have some odd color.The LEDs also don’t brake unlike our old C9 bulbsI We had to replace 12 of the old C9 bulds due to breakage this year alone. I have seen some other brands that had that “hmmm’ look. I would recomend that if the store does not have up a display of their LEDs, don’t buy or at least keep the recept.Disneyworld also updated most of the resorts Christmas lighting with the Philips brand.

  25. Chris in Florida December 29, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    Let’s hope some of the better manufacturers will focus on aesthetics and make improvements. Two to four watts per LED string is a truly great feature and current, power-hogging incandescent strings are significant consumers. Apparently the power companies are well aware of the annual Christmas light increase in demand. Maybe we need a 12VDC standard to get rid of the 60 Hz flicker and increase safety. Maybe some outfit could rate strings from different manufacturers for color consistency, especially for the white strings. I wonder if Steve could comment on whether the off-the-shelf “antique white” or “warm white” do any better on color consistency and warmth appeal.
    I have seen one multi-color string in my neighborhood that looked to be just the round end LEDs themselves (no C6, G4, etc “bulb”) and I thought the colors and overall appearance very good. Unfortunately no manufacturer was listed.
    Also, I’d love to get in touch with Steve about his home-made RGB strings – I’ve thought of wiring my own 12 VDC strings.

  26. Steve December 29, 2006 at 7:14 am

    All complaints I’ve read here have a lot to do with the choice of LEDs in these strings. The cheaper LEDs are less well designed, the colour they emit is mostly cold and rather flat. The worst choice of these LEDs are the white ones, ranging in colour from bleuish white, over white, to pinkish white, all in one and the same batch of LEDs. LED lights carefully selected and driven with DC power can be quite attractive. I’ve made 2 strands of RGB full-colour LEDs, capable of displaying 24-bit colour, which people really seem to like a lot. I also want to add that you’d better make a strand of leds yourself, using warm white LEDs instead of standard cheap Chinese mass production LED bulbs. Warm white LEDs are a newer development, filling a need for “indoor lighting” suittable LED bulbs.

  27. Jamie December 17, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Ugh. Like Lee, I really hate LED Christmas lights. I have a strand in my office and that’s well and good but outside they just seem eerie. A few of my neighbors have them and I keep waiting for them to start offering bad Chinese takeout or something. Phooey. I just run a single strand in the bushes and say bah humbug.

  28. Dominic in montreal December 17, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    We bought a couple strings last year but other than the supreme ruggedness the holiday cheer factor is low.
    But then every lighting technology advancement does that. We used to live under only moon sun and stars. When we found caves we had to use wood fires to light our abodes, then oil lamps came and weren’t quite the space heaters that a bonfire was, then gas lamps in their glass chimneys, then came the earliest incandescents, even more enclosed,. then we got the ever-buzzing blue of mercury vapour, modern technology then brought our good friend, the energy efficient bane of society the hideous and ubiquitous florescent tube. Fortunately somebody started marketing the warm glow of halogen filled bulbs, they saved many people’s brains from death by office space i’m sure, but they don’t appear to carry the full spectrum of light either, which seems to be the biggest problem with the colour of LEDs. Since the light from an led comes from the chemical composition of the diode it’s not so easy to generate the complete spectrum in a white light and very difficult it would seem, to create light at anything other than a very specific wavelength in the coloured bulbs, quite unlike our old cozy friends the Incandescent and the Sun. But we’ll get used to it, ’tis the future after all.

  29. Ferraro December 15, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    It’s not so much the “cold” of the glow from the colour, it’s the fact that they strobe on and off very quickly. (I’m guessing 60hz, since that’s what AC is…DC LEDs are fine). They bug my eyes out, I find them irritating to look at, extremely irrtating when my eyes pass across them. …They’re a lot like flourescent tubes, and despite the energy savings I wish they’d go away. Walking around at night in december is becoming more of a dizzying headache each year.

  30. Daniel December 15, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    The coolness of the light isn’t off putting to me in the least, it makes me think of icicles on a tree, lit up by the moon.

  31. lee December 15, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    LED Christmas lights have a disturbing cold glow to them. They look more halloween than christmas … even the white ones have a tv blue screen quality to their glow. I hope by next year they start encasing the leds in something that will give them a warmer light.

  32. amy lou stein December 14, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    I got ’em and they are super cool + you can get the LED’s with these amazing lights that slowly change colors. They have loads of them at Target + if you live in South Brooklyn Winn Discount has them for an excellent price. I love christmas lights…now they just need to make and LED Menorah!

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