What Are the Safest Holiday Lights to Use?

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Is it really the holiday season without lights? We think not. Unfortunately, though, lights can be a fire and electrocution risk. Here's how to choose the safest holiday lights for your home and a few suggestions from our safety experts.

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Image: SafeWise, Alina Bradford

Choose the right bulb to prevent fires

The best holiday lights to prevent fires are LED. Other lights can produce a lot of heat when they're on for a while. On the other hand, LED stays cool, even after hours of use. You don't want your bulbs to catch your siding, decorations or trees on fire, so go with the low-heat LEDs.

Image: SafeWise, Alina Bradford

Don't get shocked with the wrong kind of light

Recommended LED holiday lights
Decute 300LED Christmas String Lights
4.5 out of 5 stars
pro 8 modes
pro Indoor/outdoor

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Lights come in various types. Some are made to withstand cold, rain and snow. These are labeled as outdoor lights or IP45 or higher. Don't put indoor lights outside. They aren't waterproof and can lead to shocks, as well as shorting out your home's electrical system.

Also, make sure your lights are approved by a nationally recognized testing lab. Some labels to look for are UL, Intertek, or CSA.

Light Bulb
More holiday safety tips

Avoid a trip to the emergency room this holiday season with these smart home tips.

Holiday light safety tips

To make your safe holiday lights even safer, use these tips:

  • Don't keep your lights up year-round. Most lights are only designed to be used safely for a few months.
  • Check all of last year's lights for bulb cracks or exposed wires to prevent fires and shocks. Replace broken bulbs and toss lights with exposed wires.
  • Don't plug too many lights into one outlet. This can cause a fire. The Electrical Safety Foundation recommends connecting no more than three strands of incandescent lights together per outlet. With LED, there will be instructions inside the box on how many strands you can connect together.
  • Make sure to keep any extension cord plugs out of puddles of water.
  • Be sure to keep ladders away from electrical lines.
  • Avoid laser Christmas lights if you have kids. These can cause eye damage if you look at them for long periods, which kids are prone to do. If you do use them, make sure to read the warning label carefully.
Recommended smart holiday lights
Twinkly Strings
4.5 out of 5 stars
pro App controlled
pro 16 million colors

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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