Over the course of a couple of months we put 11 outdoor lights through an assault of durability tests to find the ones you'll be able to rely on all year round for many years to come.
The lights we tested range in price from £10 up to more than £60 (depending on how many metres you buy). We've tested mains-powered lights, battery-powered lights, icicle lights and fairy lights so that we can recommend the most durable sets, whatever your requirements.
Surprisingly, fewer than half of the outdoor lights completely survived our durability tests. Clear signs of corrosion and poor soldering were the most frequent causes of early failure. Find out which lights suffered this fate.
Prices and availability last checked: 4 August 2022.
Our recommended solar lights still work in low light winter conditions. Discover the best solar lights in our tests.
The best outdoor lights
Only logged-in Which? members can view the test results below. If you're not yet a member, you'll see an alphabetically ordered list of the outdoor lights we tested.
Join Which? now to get instant access to our Best Buy recommendations below.
ConnectPro Outdoor LED String Lights
Only available at Festive lights: £26.98 for five metres (including starter cable)
You can buy these lights in five-metre increments up to 100 metres in length. They're relatively pricey for outdoor lights, but it's claimed they can survive 'prolonged outdoor use'.
Log in or join Which? to find out how they fared in our tough durability tests and whether they're worth the investment.
Corst Outdoor Icicle Lights
Only available at Amazon: £29.99.
These outdoor icicle lights offer 10 metres of cable and 400 lights for your money. The lights also have eight modes and a remote control to switch them on and off.
Log in or join Which? to see if these lights survived rough treatment and severely wet conditions.
Homebase 300 LED string Christmas Tree Lights
Only available at Homebase: £12 for 300 lights (out of stock)
These lights are relatively cheap for a whopping 30 metres of cable if you buy the 300-light version. They also come with a built-in timer that turns the lights on for six hours and off for 18 hours.
Log in or join Which? to see whether it's worth a trip to Homebase for these lights.
Koopower Battery Operated Fairy Lights
Only available at Amazon: £14.99.
These battery-powered lights are one of the biggest-selling outdoor lights on Amazon.
They're 10 metres in length and there's 100 lights on the string, but will they survive the great outdoors? Log in or join Which? to see if we recommend them.
Lights4fun 200 LED Outdoor Battery Fairy Lights
Only available at Lights4fun: £21.99.
This string of 200 lights is almost 20 metres in length and powered by three D cell batteries. It also has a timer function.
Log in or join Which? to find out if these lights can survive wet and freezing conditions, and how well they deal with rough treatment.
Ollny Fairy Lights 200 LED
Only available at Amazon: £21.99.
These mains-powered fairy lights are 20 metres in length and have 200 lights in the string. They also come with a remote control, so you can turn the lights on and off from the comfort of your sofa.
Log in or join Which? to see what we made of them and if they survive sustained subzero temperatures and our other tough durability tests.
Premier 200 LED Supabrights With Timer
Only available at Christmas decorations outlet: £14.99.
It's a lot of lights for £12.99 and they're spread over 24 metres of cable, plus they have a timer as part of the package too.
But has Premier cut corners on the durability and robustness of these lights? Log in or join Which? to find out.
Pro Connect 200 Traditional Warm White Connectable Icicle Lights
Only available at Lights4fun: £29.99 for two metres
These lights are connectable so you can buy them in increments of two metres all the way up to 40 metres. You can buy them in white, warm white or a mixture of colours.
They're a bit light on different flashing modes, as you can only either have them on or off, but their main selling point is the claimed durability of the lights. Log in or join Which? to see if they lasted.
Pro Series Outdoor String Lights
Only available at Christmas direct: £39.99 for ten metres
Available in eight colours with either green or white cabling, these could be the perfect outdoor lights to make your home or garden look fabulous all year round.
In our tests we put them in subzero temperatures for 12 hours, dunked them in buckets of water and gave them some severe rough treatment. Log in or join Which? to find out how they fared.
The Range 400 Light Chain LED Lights
Only available at The Range: £19.99 (out of stock)
You get more then 30 metres of lights with this set and 400 LEDs, which is impressive considering the price.
But will they still be shining after a typical British winter? Log in or join Which? to see if they impressed or disappointed.
WeRChristmas 200 LED Christmas Tree Lights
Only available at WeRChristmas: £12.99
These bright white lights are almost 20 metres long, have eight light modes and 200 lights in total.
Log in or join Which? to find out if they have enough backbone to get through a tough winter.
How to pack up your lights after use
To keep long-lasting lights it's essential to store them correctly in any months when you might not be using them, making sure they aren't kept in a big tangled heap.
- Use a coat hanger: A spare coat hanger can be used to wrap your lights around. Not only does this stop them getting tangled up, but it minimises the space you need to store them as well.
- Wrapping paper tubes: You can recycle wrapping paper tubes and use them to wrap your lights around. Cut a slit in one end of the tube to grip one end of the lights, and then simply wrap them around the tube.
- Old cardboard box: If you don't have a wrapping paper tube, or a coat hanger, a similar method can be followed with a sheet of cardboard. Simply cut a notch at one end to attach the lights, and then wrap around the board.
- Light reels: If these homemade options don't appeal, you can buy light storage reels to help keep the lights tidy and stored correctly. We've seen them at a number of retailers, including Amazon, and retailers such as UKChristmasWorld or Festive-Lights, which will help keep the lights tidy and stored correctly.
How we tested outdoor lights
We know from our research that outdoor lights have an issue with longevity. They simply don't last long enough, and many end up in landfill far too quickly.
We set out to find out if there are outdoor lights that will survive tough British winters, and how much you need to pay for them.
Of course we couldn't test these products over three or four years like we might like to - by the time we could publish the results you wouldn't be able to buy the lights anymore.
So we designed a really tough set of tests to simulate the type of conditions these types of lights might endure over a harsh British winter.
Each set of lights was subjected to a sustained shower with a hose, and then also fully submerged in a bucket of water for an hour.
Dripping wet, the lights were put into a freezer for 24 hours at -16 degrees.
Before we even started the durability tests the lights were all left outside in all weathers for three weeks. This was enough of a test for many of the lights to already show signs of corrosion.
We set up the lights, bashed them against fence posts and sharply tugged the wires repeatedly where they entered the plug socket and all along the cable.
This tests simulated the type of rough treatment the lights might receive if they're being untangled, or put up without much care.
Which outdoor light is best? ›
- Nordlux Vejers Outdoor Wall Lantern: Best outdoor wall light. ...
- Signature Garden Premium Solar Lights: Best solar-powered spike lights. ...
- Amabana Outdoor LED String Lights: Best string lights. ...
- Sebson Outdoor Wall Light: Best outdoor sconce light.
Recommended Lumens for Specific Outdoor Needs
Landscape lights: 50-300 lumens. Path lights: 100-200 lumens. Landscape spotlights: 120 lumens.
The best outdoor flood light bulb is the Sylvania Night Chaser. This 25-watt LED bulb provides an astonishingly bright 2650 lumens of light. In addition to impressive brightness, it uses up to 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and lasts for over 20 years.Is 2000 lumens bright enough for outdoor lighting? ›
The best range of lumens for outdoor lighting is 12 to 1,300 lumens. How many lumens you need for outdoor landscape lighting is between 50 and 700. The amount of brightness most people want changes based on location.Are LED lights good for outdoor use? ›
LEDs are the best choice for outdoor lighting for many reasons. Outdoor LED lighting benefits include: Brighter light: LEDs are a brighter white than traditional halide street lamps, helping better illuminate streets, sidewalks and parking lots. Longer life: LEDs, depending on their usage, can last up to 50,000 hours.What is the best security light? ›
- Best Battery Powered: Mr Beams MB390 Battery Powered Security Light. ...
- Best For Performance: MEIKEE 50W LED PIR Security Light. ...
- Best Value: CLY LED Outdoor Security Light. ...
- Best Solar Powered: iPosible 288 Solar Security Lights With Motion Sensor. ...
- Best Budget Solar: Trswyop LED Solar Security Lights.
The best watts for outdoor lights are 80 and lower. You can use 40-watt bulbs for paths, gardens, and other low-level areas. 40 to 80-watt bulbs are ideal for driveways and lighting up larger areas of your yard. 80-watt bulbs and lower are dark sky lighting approved too.Is 5000 lumens too bright? ›
For example, in a small room, 5000 lumens will feel a lot brighter to the eyes than in a larger room double that size. While a room of 250 square feet will usually require 5000 lumens, it is important to note this is for general lighting and you may still need to add additional light around the room.How many lumens does an outdoor patio need? ›
Generally, for a small patio, 600 to 700 lumens should be good. For a larger patio, try starting at 1200 and going up to 1600. Of course, we often add other lights to the patio, like string lights or solar lights. With several lighting options, you can change the mood.How Far Will 2200 lumens shine? ›
The Stanley Rechargeable 2200 Lumens LED Lithium-Ion Hand-Held Portable Spotlight is the perfect answer to this need. It has both a high-beam and a low-bean with an easy to reach switch. Its focused beamed reaches out to more than enough distance to illuminate the trees 100 yards from our front door.
How strong is 3000 lumens? ›
30-40 foot candles are around 3,000-4,000 lumens. In other words, 3,000 lumens is meant to give a room a brighter light. This is not ideal if you have a small room and it's a bedroom. You don't want to blind your eyes when you're about to go to bed.How Far Will 2000 lumens shine? ›
For example, a 100 square foot living room, which needs 10-20 foot-candles, will need 1,000-2,000 lumens. A 100 square foot dining room, which needs 30-40 foot-candles, will need 3,000-4,000 lumens.How many lumens is considered bright? ›
80 lumens is considered bright enough for most walkways — including commercial properties. For garden lights used as accent lighting, 50 lumens is generally sufficient to add safety, dimension, color and interest in your yard.How many lumens is bright? ›
The brightness, or lumen levels, of the lights in your home may vary widely, so here's a rule of thumb: To replace a 100 watt (W) incandescent bulb, look for a bulb that gives you about 1600 lumens. If you want something dimmer, go for fewer lumens; if you prefer brighter light, look for more lumens.How many lumens is super bright? ›
Super bright flashlight. Specifications: Maximum output: 60000 lumens!What is the disadvantage of LED light? ›
Perhaps the biggest drawback of LED light bulbs is that they emit more blue light than incandescent bulbs, which are more on the red end of the spectrum. Blue light can cause a disruption in your circadian rhythm, negatively affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.Why do my LED lights burn out so fast? ›
The most common reasons for LED blowing out are high voltage, bad contacts, use of incompatible dimmer switch, or recessed lighting. Other causes include overheating due to not using the right fixtures, or simply a bad batch of lightbulbs!How long do LED outdoor lights Last? ›
The more time an LED light is operated at low current, the longer the lifespan is likely to be. Normal expectations surrounding operating lifespan assume the bulbs are operated at 100% power and typically estimated useful lifespans between 50,000 and 100,000 hours or more.How long do LED security lights last? ›
Extremely Long Lifespan
How long do LED security lights last? LED lights can last up to 50,000 hours, while incandescent bulbs only last around 1,000 hours, and fluorescent bulbs will last around 7,000 to 10,000 hours.
Do outside security lights deter burglars? Yes, they do – burglars tend to look for houses with no obvious security. And most break-ins happen at night when intruders can spend time getting into your house under the cloak of darkness. For both these reasons, outdoor light fixtures are a really effective deterrent.
Are outdoor motion sensor lights worth it? ›
Motion sensors far outweigh traditional outdoor lighting as they save energy and money. Safely enter your home without fear of tripping or running into something, and provide better protection for your house from intruders with motion sensor lights.What color should exterior lights be? ›
Warm White (2700K).
Similar to halogen-type landscape lighting, it is the most preferred color temperature for landscape lighting. Psychologically, it is thought to be more welcoming and soothing compared to higher color temperatures.
When selecting your exterior wall light always consider whether the outdoor space is sheltered or fully exposed to the elements. If the latter is the case then look for an outdoor wall light with a high IP rating for protection against harsh weather.How big should my outdoor lights be? ›
Your lights should be ⅓ to ¼ the size of your door and trim. If you have a grand entry way with a high ceiling you can go bigger. So, opt for ⅓ the size of your door. If you're in a tighter area, try ¼ the size of your door.How can I light my backyard cheap? ›
Backyard Lighting Ideas on a Budget - YouTubeHow can I get lights without electricity? ›
- Old standbys. Candles. ...
- Oil or kerosene lamps. Oil lamps were also great option a hundred years back, along with candles to light the house. ...
- Frequently used today.
- Flashlights. ...
- Battery lamps. ...
- Solar lights. ...
- Most modern technology.
- Battery backup LED lights.
- 1 GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Light.
- 2 MAGGIFT Outdoor Light.
- 3 Addlon Outdoor String Light.
- 4 Brightown Outdoor String Light.
- 5 TomCare Solar Light.
- 6 Balhvit Glass Solar Light.
- 7 XMCOSY Solar Pathway Light.
- Layer your lighting. ...
- Hang a chandelier. ...
- Frame your outdoor dining table in light. ...
- Use paper lanterns. ...
- Add lights to a pool house or shed. ...
- Add wall lights to provide functional illumination under a pergola. ...
- Illuminate structures, trees and arbors for architectural interest.
Hang string lights wherever the activity is to illuminate patio furniture. Look for waterproof, rechargeable, traditional battery-powered or solar-powered outdoor string lights (which usually come with a remote solar panel), preferably those with long-lasting LED bulbs.