Outdoor string lights are the perfect backyard accessory, whether you’re looking to add a little ambiance or you want to illuminate your space for late-night barbecues and get-togethers. We’ve rounded up the best of the best so you can find the set that satisfies your needs, from solar-powered outdoor string lights to fun, novelty bulbs.
Keep scrolling for FIRST‘s picks for the best outdoor string lights so your summertime gatherings never have to end.
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Solar Outdoor String Lights
Best Solar-Powered Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $32.99, Amazon
Illuminate your patio or backyard desk after hours with Brightown's solar LED outdoor string lights. You can mount the solar panel on a wall if you choose to hang your lights or leave the stake in the ground. The bulbs are made of a hearty plastic, meaning they can stand up to the elements and even survive a gentle fall. Choose from eight light modes, including steady on, sequential, or slow fade. Each string comes with 20 bulbs as well as a backup lithium ion rechargeable battery, which can provide up to 16 hours of light.
"No remote but they give a lot of light for such little guys. We purchased these to drape in the back corner of our yard because its always pitch black over in that corner at night and it gets shade all day so solar lights don't work for long in that area. I wasn't expecting much... but I am thrilled with them! They've lit up the whole [corner] and side of that yard. I love that they are shatterproof and lightly waterproof (minus heavy storms)," one reviewer wrote.
Outdoor String Lights Led
Best LED Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $25.99, Amazon
These waterproof LED string lights come in a set of 50 or 100 bulbs and turn on with the push of a remote control button. The timer function is especially handy and you'll never have to worry about running up your electricity bill by forgetting to turn them off. They're also waterproof so you can leave them outdoors without a problem. No matter the occasion, you'll find the perfect light mode — there are eight total — for the mood.
"We purchased these lights for our backyard and they couldn’t be more perfect. We strung them along our rock retaining wall and around and in a waterfall my husband made. They work great and are waterproof. Made very well and look great. So happy with purchase," reads one review.
Battery Powered Outdoor String Lights
Best Battery-Operated Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $14.59, Amazon
Looking for a battery-operated outdoor string lights with a timer? You'll love this spherical set from Tomshine, which features 80 globe bulbs that lend a soft, warm light to your outdoor space. Use the remote to cycle through the eight lighting options, set a timer, or adjust the light levels. (These also make fabulous indoor outdoor string lights.)
"These are really cute!" one reviewer raved. "I was looking for battery operated LED lights with a soft yellowish glow (LED lights are not supposed to attract bugs) to string inside my new portable screen room for camping and outside. I am very pleased with the soft yellowish (soft white they call it) glow. Can't wait to try them outside. Lots of different lighting effects, and a cute little remote to control them, or just use the button on the battery case. Nice bang for the buck."
Commercial Grade Heavy Duty Outdoor String Lights
Best Commercial Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $33.99, Amazon
Lemontec's commercial-grade outdoor string lights come on a sturdy 48-foot strand, so you can loop them all through your backyard. They're also made of durable, waterproof materials meant to withstand rain and wind. We love the dimmer mode, which gives your porch, patio, or pergola a more intimate feel.
"Loving our new lights! Great quality, easy to hang and beautiful at night... what more could you ask for? —After we initially hung them, I thought I would need to purchase more, but i was pleasantly surprised how well the lights Illuminate our space!!" an Amazon reviewer said.
Outdoor String Lights White Cord
Best White Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $42.99, Amazon
Outdoor string lights with white wire are the way to go if you have a light-colored fence in your backyard. Shoppers love this set from AmazonBasics for its ability to add rustic charm to any area of the home. Each 48-foot string holds 15 clear bulbs, and you can add up to eight strings if desired. You also get one replacement bulb as well as Amazon's one-year limited warranty to swap out any sets that arrive broken or don't live up to your expectations.
"We could not be happier with these lights! Easy to put up as everyone has said (we got the wire and strung it first, and then used small black zip ties to attach), and they look FABULOUS... They're a nice soft 'evening' color. No need to worry about that awful fluorescent or 'blue' LED look. And you can decide how close or far apart (up to 36" or so) you want them. They look and feel really durable."
Outdoor String Lights Vintage
Best Vintage Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $39.99, Amazon
Vintage light bulbs produce fewer lumens (measurement of visible light) than traditional light bulbs and emit a warmer glow. As a result, they're great for creating a cozy vibe but not so wonderful if you're trying to illuminate a large space. This option from addlon comes with plastic LED bulbs that are shatter-resistant, and the sturdy cord is designed to protect the internal wires through sun, rain, wind, snow, and humidity. You can also dim the lights for extra ambiance. (There's also a cheaper incandescent glass option of these same lights.)
"I bought these beautiful string lights for our deck and let me tell you that these lights are simply amazing. Our deck looks bright, inviting, and colorful and adding string lights was just a fantastic addition to our outdoor space. My kids love playing outside when the string lights are on in the evening. Installation is not hard at all and there are a lot of options that can be used to decorate a deck or a porch. They are durable. So far they have been through one thunderstorm and a couple of weeks of very hot weather and I am glad they are still perfectly fine. Dimmer compatibility is plus as we can control the brightness according to our moods and occasions. Plastic non shatter bulbs are awesome...So far I’m a satisfied customer and definitely recommend these lights to [others]," one shopper wrote.
Hanging Outdoor String Lights
Best Waterproof Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $49.95, Amazon
You want your outdoor string lights to be waterproof so they can stand up to sun showers and cannonball splashes from the pool nearby. You'll get that with Foxlux's shatterproof and waterproof plastic bulbs. These LED lights have a lifespan of roughly 25,000 hours, so you and your family will get plenty of use from them. Each strand has 15 sockets and can connect to up to 40 other cords so you can light up the whole backyard and then some. Foxlux also offers a 45-day money back guarantee as well as a two-year warranty.
"Robust, LED, atmospheric, great lights! We bought 3 strings for a garden party in Nov and ended up leaving them 'til New Year since it was great lighting for the backyard!" one reviewer wrote.
Edison Bulb Outdoor String Lights
Best Cheap Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $16.99, Amazon
Outdoor lights can get incredibly expensive, especially when you have to buy multiple sets for your entire backyard. Fortunately, you can still get great-quality string lights at a low cost with Lampat's 25-foot set. Each string comes with 25 clear globe bulbs, and you can attach up to three more strands of light for extra brightness. Your lights will also come with a one-year warranty.
"Exactly what I was looking for. Pretty and bright but the bulbs don't get hot even after hours of use. Good quality!" one happy customer said. "These lights add great ambiance to my outdoor deck at night. They're not very bright, which allows them to basically act as accent lights, but collectively the entire string (or a couple of them) provide enough ambient light that it's possible to see in the evening without turning on my glaring patio lights," another reviewer added.
Colored Outdoor String Lights
Best Multi-Colored Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $21.99, Amazon
Add fun, festive flair to your outdoor party with a string of colored lights, like this one from ONO-Tech. The 17.3-foot string comes with 10 sockets and 12 bulbs so you can customize the color order. There's no need to bring these lights inside when it rains; ONO-Tech says its wires are sealed shut to prevent water from leaking inside and damaging anything. Connect up to 10 multicolor strands to create a colorful backyard.
Low Voltage Outdoor String Lights
Best Novelty Outdoor String Lights
Where to buy: $13.99, Amazon
Create a tropical oasis in your backyard with these fun outdoor string lights. After all, who could hate palm trees and flamingoes? Each battery-powered waterproof strip comes with 10 LED lights that operate on a six-hour time. AA batteries are not included, so make sure you have them on hand before your big barbecue. (We also love these red, white, and blue outdoor string lights shaped like stars for your Fourth of July party.)