When you decorate the inside of your home, you probably pay loads of attention to your lighting. It’s not just about picking out lamps and light fixtures that complement your decor style, not about choosing bulbs and light levels that set the mood in your space. But while we’re willing to bet that you have impeccable lighting indoors, we wonder if you’ve remembered to pay the same attention to your outdoor lighting. If you haven’t, have no fear: we have some great recommendations for festoon lighting.
What is festoon lighting exactly? Also known as cafe lights or party lights, festoon lights are composed of large, exposed, old-fashioned light bulbs strung along a garland. They have a charming, retro, small-town appeal to them, and they blend in perfectly with the current mid-century modern trend that’s so prevalent in many homes today.
They are lovely for everyday use when used to illuminate a dark pathway or balcony, and they also liven up social occasions like a casual backyard party or a small and intimate wedding reception. While there are low-quality festoon lights that give off weak light or crack easily, there are plenty of excellent choices on the market right now. Read on for our recommendations:
Top 5 Heavy Duty Festoon String Lights For Your Garden
#1 Brimax Heavy Duty Commercial Grade String Lights
The Brimax Waterproof LED String Lights are a rugged set of lights that will hold up under a wide variety of weather conditions, thanks to sturdy, high-quality rubber sleeves that encase the wires. They work in a huge range of temperatures (anything from -20℃ to 40℃) as well. The garland itself stretches out 48 feet in length, and boasts 15 E27 sockets to screw bulbs into.
If the length of 48 feet is too short for you, there is a female socket on one end that allows you to connect up to ten more strings. This set comes with 18 LED bulbs included, so you do have some spares if one burns out or breaks.
Those bulbs that come included to attach to the Brimax Waterproof LED String Lights garland are AC 220-240v 2W S14 LED filament bulbs in 2700K warm white: the soft, beautifully diffused warm light they give off is the equivalent of a 20 watt incandescent bulb. All Brimax LED bulbs are eco-friendly: they contain no lead, no mercury, and no UV or IR radiation, and cost 90% less to run than halogen bulbs.
Each socket has a small hang ring above it, which makes the garland easy to install, and gives you some flexibility in how you want your festoon light display to look. The bulbs can also be replaced with multi-colour bulbs for additional customization, and their wide application makes them ideal for both indoor and outdoor decorating. The Brimax Waterproof LED String Lights average 30,000 hours of use: if you illuminate them for three hours a night, you can use them for over 27 years.
Because they have such a long life, you can save both money and time, since you won’t be having to constantly replace bulbs. Brimax offers a 3 year warranty on both their string cable and their bulbs too, so you know you’re getting a great deal.
Buy on Amazon: Brimax Commercial Strength Festoon Lights
#2 Outdoor Waterproof Festoon String Lights by Like
The Outdoor Waterproof Festoon String Lights by Like are perfect for any outdoor event that needs illumination to take it to the next level. While they’re lovely and delicate enough for indoor use, they’re sturdy enough for outdoor use as well.
Their discreet wiring blends perfectly into trees and bushes, making them appropriate decor from everything to outdoor Christmas lights to an elegant wedding reception al fresco, to a fantastical backyard fairy garden. They can be suspended in an entryway or under patios, umbrellas, awnings, and tents to punch up the decor at a restaurant with outside seating or at an outdoor festival.
The strand extends 25 feet long and boasts 25 G40 bulbs with an E12 base, and each bulb has a clip on each side, making it easy to attach to a nail or a branch. The lights are wired in parallel, which means that one failed bulb won’t cause the others to turn off: the other lights will stay illuminated even with a bulb in need of repair or replacing.
The Outdoor Waterproof Festoon Lights by Like boast end to end waterproof connectors, making it possible for you to attach an additional three strands together, starting at the end of the first one, so you can cover large areas with ease.
The high quality wires and built-in fuses of the Outdoor Waterproof Festoon Lights ensure safety and reliability, and the low-consumption 7 watt bulbs can withstand weather of all kinds, including heavy rain and snow.
Buy on Amazon: String Festoon Lights By Like
#3 BRTLX G40 LED Globe String Lights
The BRTLX G40 LED Globe Street Lights set is made up of an 18 foot garland with 10 sockets spaced 19.68 inches apart. The light string has a 29.52 inch power cord that can connect to the end sockets of another string light: in fact, up to twenty of these garlands can be strung together, which makes them ideal for decorating large spaces.
While each strand only has sockets for ten of the globe-shaped bulbs, the set includes an additional two bulbs for backup in case of any break or burn out. The G40 LED Globe String Lights by BRTLX features some of the best wiring in the industry: the 20-gauge wiring is so durable, it can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures in summer and winter.
Like the Brimax bulbs above, these lights have a long running time of 30,000 hours. A built-in fuse and UL-listed wire ensure product safety and reliability, and a spare fuse in the end plug protects against shorting out. The Globe bulbs don’t overheat, and remain cool even after being illuminated for a long time, which makes them perfect for decorating street poles, gazebos, outside decks, or anywhere kids might gather.
Buy on Amazon: BRTLX Festoon Lighting
#4 Festive Lights Warm White LEDs & Frosted Bulbs
Festive Lights of Lancashire, England prides themselves on offering high-quality decorative lights, one example of which is their Outdoor Festoons With Warm White LEDs and Frosted Bulbs.
The company considers their festoon lights a true outdoor essential, especially when it comes setting an ambient atmosphere. A 5m length of heavy-duty black rubber cable features ten frosted cap globe bulbs with SMD LEDs.
Up to 800m of these can be connected together, which makes them ideal for covering a truly massive space, though the 5m lengths can be strung together and customized for smaller spaces as well.
Each 5m length of Outdoor Festoons With Warm White LEDs is adorned with hanging hooks on each of the ten bulbs for ease of installation. The weatherproof seals on these festoon lights make them perfect for long term outdoor use, both commercially and at home.
Buy on Amazon: Festive Lights Festoon Lights (Frosted)
#5 Tomshine Outdoor Festoon Globe String Lights
The Outdoor Festoon Globe String Lights by Tomshine are built to be durable, thanks to the heavy duty black weatherproof wire that stretches out 34 feet and the ten base socket holders featured on that wire which are encapsulated in high quality PVC and brass terminals.
The bulbs and light string have passed international test authorized certification to ensure safety, and the lights have a working temperature that ranges from -20℃ to 40℃ and feature IP65 water resistance, making them very well-suited for outdoor decorating. You can attach up to 40 strands of Tomshine Outdoor Festoon Globe String Lights together end to end, meaning you can decorate quite a large area with them.
The bulb sockets are wired in parallel, which means if something happens to one of the long service LED bulbs, it won’t cause the others on the strand to blink off.
Buy on Amazon: Tomshine Festoon String Lights
What To Consider When Buying Outdoor Festoon Lights?
Now that you’ve seen our recommendations, how do you narrow down what option is best for you? There are several factors to take into consideration. First, you’ll want to pay attention to the length of the garland. The size of the space you’re decorating will dictate which lights are the right length for you, and whether you’ll need just one strand or multiple strands.
It’s also important to map out how you’ll power your festoon lights: you’ll want to make sure to understand what type of mains connection you’ll need, and position the garland correctly so that it actually reaches the mains connection in question. It’s important too to carefully consider the amount of light you’ll need, and pay attention to the wattage of the bulbs on any given strand of festoon lamps.
Finally, you’ll want to look not only at the type of bulbs strung along a garland, but also the availability and cost of replacement bulbs for when your existing bulbs eventually burn out. You don’t want to have to waste an entire garland of festoon lights because you’re unable to find affordable replacement bulbs.
Once you do decide what lights are perfect for you though, you’ll be able to rest assured that whatever you’re decorating for, whether it’s an event like a wedding, a festival, a party, a backyard barbecue or just fun additional lighting for your bedroom, window, or fence, you’ll know that festoon lighting is just what you need to brighten up your day.