By: G. M. Filisko
LED holiday lights vs. old-fashioned bulbs: 6 tips to help you decide which is right for you.
- LED holiday lights save you money. LED lights use at least 90% less energy than traditional holiday lights, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Star program.That results in a $50 energy savings for the average family during the holidays, says Avital Binshtock of the Sierra Club in San Francisco.Put it into perspective: The amount of electricity consumed by one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs—enough to light two 24-foot strings, says Energy Star.
- But LED lights typically cost more than old-fashioned holiday lights.GE 100-bulb string of Energy Star-certified LED white lights: $18.97 at Lowe’s
GE 100-bulb string of conventional white lights: $8.97
But shop around because a growing number of retailers are offering sales on LED holiday lights and, if you can’t find a sale before the holidays, you can certainly find one after. Plus, prices will surely go down as these lights gain traction.
- LED holiday lights last and last. LED bulbs can keep your season bright for as long as 100,000 hours, says Cathy Choi, president of Moonachie, N.J.-based Bulbrite, which manufactures LED and regular bulbs. That’s substantially longer than the life of your old holiday light strings.
- You can string a BIG strand of LED lights. Safety wise, you shouldn’t connect more than three traditional light strings, but you can connect up to 87 LED holiday light strings, totaling a whopping 1,500 feet, Choi says. So blow your neighbor’s display away by cocooning your house in lights:You won’t have to buy as many extension cords.
You can take your holiday lighting display further away from the outlet.
- LED lights reduce the risk of fire. They stay cooler than incandescent bulbs, according to Energy Star.
- How about that hue? Some people stick with their old lights because they don’t like the brighter hue that white LED holiday lights emit. But Choi says manufacturers now offer a “warm white” bulb that more closely mimics the glow of an incandescent light. Be sure to read the label to choose a bright or warm white and to ensure what you’re purchasing is Energy Star-certified.Colored and color-changing LED holiday lights are more vibrant than conventional lights, making your display easier to see from the street, Choi says.
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer. A frequent contributor to publications including Bankrate, REALTOR Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, personal finance, and legal topics.