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Best Christmas tree lights 2022: Add a festive flourish to your tree from as little as £14

Kate Hilpern Will Georgiadis
9 Dec 2021
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We pick the best LED, traditional and smart tree lights to brighten up your Christmas

No matter how flashy the baubles you use to decorate a Christmas tree, it simply won't look complete without a set of sparkling lights. You'll never struggle to find a set of lights, of course - but investing in a decent, well-chosen set will help guarantee that your tree looks magical.

But which set to pick? LED or traditional? Warm glow or ice white? A set with dozens of sequences of twinkling patterns, or a set with timers? The choice, like many things during the festive season, is a little overwhelming. Some will set you back a fiver; others cost in the hundreds. But fear not: we've put together this buying guide to help you choose the perfect set of Christmas lights, followed by our tried-and-tested round-up of the best.

How to choose the best Christmas tree lights

Should you pick traditional or LED lights?

Traditional Christmas tree lights contain filament bulbs, which screw or push in to each tiny holder. Available in various colours, they can be used outdoors as well as inside. On the downside, the bulbs can burn out over time and some may therefore need replacing. They can get hot, too.

LED Christmas tree lights use light-emitting diodes instead of filament. This makes them much more popular because they are brighter, longer-lasting, energy-saving, cost-efficient and more durable. They also don’t give off any heat, which makes them safer. They are extendable too, so you can add on extra metres if needed. Like traditional lights, you can get different colours and some can be used both inside and outside.

How long should the cable be and how many lights do I need?

The general rule of thumb is 15 metres for a 6ft tree, then another five metres of lights for every additional foot of height (or less, if the tree is shorter). Some trees are denser than others, though, and you can certainly get away with more lights if there are more branches.

That said, don’t just go on cable length as bulb spacing and size can vary widely. The usual recommendation for fairy lights for a 6ft tree is 250 lights for subtle sparkle, 400 for regular sparkle and 500 for serious sparkle. For a 7ft tree, go with 400, 500 or 600 respectively; for an 8ft, 500, 600 or 800, and so on. For smaller trees, go with 50, 100 or 150 for a 3 ft; 100, 150 or 200 for a 4ft; and 150, 200 or 400 for a 5ft.

Others recommend going by 100 lights for every foot-and-a-half of tree, but you may want to double or even triple that number if you’re obsessive about your sparkle.

Remember that you can always get away with more lights if you’re buying cluster lights – that is, many tiny lights sprouting from points in the cable where there would otherwise be a single bulb. Conversely, you can get away with less if the actual lights are much larger than usual.

What else should I consider?

  • Bulb shapes – pick from normal fairy lights or hearts, stars, lanterns, berries, balls, snowflakes and even candy canes and various creatures.
  • Bulb colours – select from bright ice white or softer warm white, single colours such as red or green, or multicoloured.
  • Cable colour – pick from colours including green, silver, copper or clear.
  • Power – pick from mains or battery operated.
  • Lighting effects – some lights have settings for the level of twinkling or flashing, sequenced patterns and brightness of light.
  • Timer – so you can set your lights to come on for eight hours a day, which is particularly useful for outside lights.

The best Christmas tree lights to buy in 2022

1. ANSIO 100 LED Christmas Lights, White: Best cheap white Christmas lights

Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

If it's simplicity you're after, this 13m string of warm white Christmas lights is the most popular product on Amazon by a country mile. A lit length of 10 metres is more than enough for even the largest Christmas tree. Just because it's astonishingly cheap, doesn't mean that it doesn't have a few tricks up its sleeve: with eight different flash settings and a memory function that recalls the last-used setting after being switched off, you're getting fantastic value for money. These lights can also be used outside.

Key specs – Cable length: 13m; Number of lights: 100; Mains or batteries: Mains: Inside or outside use: Both

2. Argos 200 LED Multifunction Timer String Lights: Best versatile Christmas tree lights

Price: £14 | Buy now from Argos

These tick just about every box you can think of. Masses of lights? Yup (and they’re bright too). Long cable? Uh-huh. LED? Yes. Good for use both indoors and out? Yes. Plus, there’s a timer, so you can set them for eight hours on and 16 hours off, which is particularly handy if you’re using them outside as you won’t have to physically go out and switch them on every evening. There are eight control functions, too, so you can pick the flashing sequence you prefer. All this, and you don’t even need a mains outlet as they’re battery-powered. With 10cm between each bulb, they give you a lot of light for the length and there’s 40cm between the plug and the first light.

Key specs – Cable length: 20.3m; Number of lights: 200; Mains or batteries: Battery (3 x AA not included): Inside or outside use: Both

Buy now from Argos


3. Not On The High Street Copper Wire Lights: Best stylish Christmas tree lights

Price: £20 | Buy now from Not On The High Street

While most cables are designed to be discreet – the idea being that the lights are the bit you want to show – this one has a gorgeous copper sheen throughout so you’ll be happy to show off the whole thing. The actual LED lights give a soft, warm glow that the copper colour really sets off. Overall, it’s a delicate look, but this set is surprisingly robust and there’s a handy timer that turns them on for six hours and off for 18 hours. Being 3.5m long, this set is suited to use on a smaller tree or somewhere around the house.

Key specs – Cable length: 3.5m; Number of lights: 80; Mains or batteries: Batteries (2 x AA not included); Inside or outside use: Inside

Buy now from Not On The High Street


4. Wooany Mains-Powered Fairy Lights: Best Christmas tree lights for all-year-round lighting

Price: £16 | Buy now from Amazon

These large-bulb fairy lights are surprisingly cheap given the length of the cable. They come with eight preset lighting modes that you can cycle through via a button on the mains plug, and they're IP44 rated against water, too, so they're good for indoor or outdoor use. We've chosen them for this list because we reckon they have potential for year-round use – lining the walls of a teenager's bedroom, for example, or strung up along a back garden fence/terrace. The translucent bulbs are quite fashionable and won't produce an overly aggressive light.

Key specs – Cable length: 15m; Number of lights: 120; Mains or batteries: mains; Inside or outside use: Both

5. Lights4fun 50 Warm White LED Christmas Candles: Best candle Christmas tree lights

Price: £32 | Buy now from Amazon

Those looking for a tastefully antiquated style should check out these candle lights from Lights4fun. You can keep your arrangement nice and tidy using the attached branch clips, and rest easy knowing you're unlikely to run out of cable – there's a whopping 14.7 metres of the stuff, all coloured in a very traditional leafy green.

Key specs - Cable length: 14.7m; Number of lights: 50; Mains or batteries: Mains; Inside or outside use: Indoor

6. WeRChristmas Pre-lit Christmas Tree: Best pre-lit Christmas tree

Price: £79 | Buy now from Amazon

Sometimes, digging around in the attic for a tangled set of Christmas lights that may or not actually work is more stress than it's worth. That's why we're including this pre-lit fake tree from WeRChristmas on this list: there's really nothing wrong with taking the path of least resistance. Especially not when the path in question leads to such a practical tree. This particular fake tree is made of PVC and comes with berries and pine cones as well as a set of 260 built-in warm white lights. It's totally collapsible, and it comes with a sturdy metal stand for good measure. Oh, and it looks pretty authentic, too. Why not put your feet up this Christmas?

Key specs - Cable length: N/A; Number of lights: 260; Mains or batteries: Mains; Inside or outside use: Indoor

7. Not On The High Street Pinecones and Stars: Best lights for the base of the tree

Price: £19.50 | Buy now from Not on the High Street

We like the soft lighting put out by these thanks to the LED lights being nestled among frosted pinecones, white wooden stars and white berries. They work best at the foot of a small, decorative tree – or on mantlepiece, mirror or windowsill if you prefer. In fact, this set looks good pretty much anywhere in the house, adding an instantly festive, warming vibe. Handle it carefully, though, as it can chip, and ideally store it in tissue paper when not in use.

Key specs - Cable length: 1m; Number of lights: N/A; Mains or batteries: Batteries (3 x AA not included); Inside or outside use: Indoor

Buy now from Not On The High Street


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