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Holiday Lights: LED Vs. Incandescents


LEDs are safer and longer lasting than incandescent holiday lights.

Holiday Lights: LED vs. Incandescents

LEDs consume far less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and decorative LED light strings such as Christmas tree lights are no different. Not only do LED holiday lights consume less electricity, they also have the following advantages:

Safer: LEDs are much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers.

Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage.

Longer lasting: The same LED string could still be in use 40 holiday seasons from now.

Easier to install: Up to 25 strings of LEDs can be connected end-to-end without overloading a wall socket.

Estimated cost of electricity to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days

Incandescent C-9 lights: $10

LED C-9 lights: $0.27

Incandescent mini-lights: $2.74

LED mini-lights: $0.82

Estimated cost* of buying and operating lights for 10 holiday seasons

Incandescent C-9 lights: $122.19

LED C-9 lights: $17.99

Incandescent mini-lights: $55.62

LED mini-lights: $33.29

*Assumes 50 C-9 bulbs and 200 mini-lights per tree, with electricity at $0.119 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) (AEO 2012 Residential Average). Prices of lights based on quoted prices for low volume purchases from major home improvement retailers. All costs have been discounted at an annual rate of 5.6 percent. Life span assumed to be three seasons (1,500 hours) for non-LED lights.

Originally published Nov. 4, 2013 and updated Nov. 1, 2016.