This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which red and white Christmas lights are best?

With the approach of Christmas and the holiday season, one of the most popular decorative options are red and white Christmas lights. Some Christmas lights are suitable for indoor use only, while others are made to withstand the elements and are perfect for lighting up the surrounding landscape. For example, the C9 OptiCore Red & Warm White LED Lights are a lovely, festive way to light up outdoor trim this year. If you’re looking for an idea of which red and white Christmas lights to choose, here’s what you should know.

What to know before you buy red and white Christmas lights


Red and white Christmas lights come in various aesthetics. Popular options include the traditional string variety, nets, icicles, ropes and specialty lights.

  • String variety: The string variety of lights are the ones most commonly seen around the tree, bushes and on houses. They usually come in long strands that are wrapped up on spools. It’s easy to hang up string variety lights with a few strategically placed nails since the nails themselves fit in between each bulb. This type of Christmas light comes in a wide range of colors.
  • Net: These lights are essentially a series of interconnected lights designed to drape over bushes and similarly shaped objects easily.
  • Icicles: Icicle lights come in strands of various lengths that are all connected to one main string. Each individual strand contains its own lights, many of which are blue or white, making them look like icicles.
  • Rope lights: These lights are quite similar to the string variety, except they are encased in PVC tubing. This tubing makes them safe for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Specialty lights: Specialty Christmas lights come in nearly every type of design. There are miniature lights, pathway lights, wreaths, stars and more options here. Some specialty lights are even located within an inflatable object like a snowman for a unique style.

Shape and size

Christmas lights use several types of light bulbs and come in many different forms. These include:

  • 5-millimeter lights (mini lights)
  • G12 (lights shaped like round balls)
  • M5 (textured, long lights)
  • T5 (traditional, string light bulbs)
  • C6-C9 (different shapes like cones, flowers or snowflakes)

Within each type of light bulb there are other unique shapes and designs. For instance, both the M5 and T5 varieties follow a more traditional design. C6 through C9 come in different sizes and shapes. The shape and size of the bulb will also be different based on the type of Christmas light. For example, string lights and icicles may use 5-millimeter bulbs.

Type of bulb

In addition to the shape of the bulb, there are two main types of bulbs to consider: LED and incandescent. Some bulbs have different levels of brightness than others, while some bulbs are more cost-efficient or more durable.

Most LED lights come at a higher initial price point, but they are cheaper in the long-run with continuous use. They are also more environmentally-friendly. LED lights also come in different sizes and on different strings or cords. The downside with LED lights is that the individual bulbs may be hard to replace when they go out.

Incandescent lights, on the other hand, have a shorter life span and become hot when left on for a while. These lights do shine more brightly than LED lights, but they also burn out. Incandescent light bulbs come in many color varieties and are more affordable in the short-term than LED lights.

What to look for in quality red and white Christmas lights

Length and area

When purchasing Christmas lights, measure the area you want them to go to make sure you have enough lights to decorate your home. If you aren’t sure how many lights you’ll need, opt for more lights as opposed to fewer ones.

As a general rule, incandescent lights consist of longer strands than LED lights. They also draw upon more power than LED lights. This could limit the number of strands connected together.

Most mini Christmas bulbs of the strand variety come on 25-foot strings with around 50 bulbs. Longer strands exist with more bulbs. Some bulbs, such as C9 bulbs, may be spaced out more on the strand.


Red and white Christmas lights are a popular option for decorating any home during the holidays, but Christmas lights come in various patterns and colors. From purple and white to blue and red, there’s something for everyone.

Besides this, some lights alternate between colors or blink on and off for a certain effect. Other Christmas lights appear to chase after one another on the strand. Still others become brighter before dimming and repeating the cycle.

There are also programmable Christmas lights that can sync up to your smartphone or other device for various patterns. Some of these lights can change to music as well.


Some Christmas lights are resistant to the elements and other outdoor conditions like wind, rain, snow and even dust. Make sure the lights you choose are safe for the area you plan to install them. That way, you can avoid the risk of electrocution or other safety concerns.


If you want red and white Christmas lights without the hassle of setting them up or worrying about individual bulbs, consider getting a projector. Christmas light projectors project digital images of lights, colors and patterns on walls or other surfaces as long as they’re on. You may need an extension cord suitable for the outdoors for this, so keep that in mind.

How much you can expect to spend on red and white Christmas lights

The cost of Christmas lights depends on such factors as bulb type and length. Inexpensive lights, short LED strands and regular, incandescent lights cost around $10-$20. For a wider variety that includes programmable lights, specialty lights, longer LED strands or more bulbs, expect to spend between $20-$50.

Red and white Christmas lights FAQ

Are Christmas lights a fire hazard?

A. Any type of light could be a fire hazard, but incandescent lights pose a greater risk since they run extremely hot with extensive use. That said, the likelihood of fire is low when using low voltage lights. Before using lights in the home or outdoors, check for any breaks or tears in the strands that could cause a hazard.

What happens if a single bulb goes out?

A. You may be able to replace individual bulbs, especially when using incandescent lights. Some Christmas lights are broken up into circuits though. This means if a bulb on one circuit goes out, the rest of the bulbs on that same circuit will also stop working.

What are the best red and white Christmas lights to buy?

Top red and white Christmas lights

C9 OptiCore Red & Warm White LED Lights

C9 OptiCore Red & Warm White LED Lights

What you need to know: With several lengths available and the choice between LED or incandescent bulbs, these beautiful red and white Christmas lights are perfect for anyone who wants to outline the trim of their house easily.

What you’ll love: These lights come in a few color and sizing options, ranging from 25 to 100 feet. The bulbs are spaced out with one per foot of string. However, it’s possible to safely connect up to 1,000 feet of lights to a single strand.

What you should consider: Although they’re on the pricier side, these Christmas lights are highly durable and should last for years to come.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top red and white Christmas lights for the money

Northlight Set of 50 Red & Clear Mini Christmas Lights

Northlight Set of 50 Red & Clear Mini Christmas Lights

What you need to know: These red and white incandescent lights are perfect for those looking to decorate their tree or a small outdoor section of their home in a classical style.

What you’ll love: Spaced 2.5 inches apart, there are 50 red and white bulbs on the strand. Made from traditional glass, these lights are also safe for indoor and outdoor use. If a single bulb burns out, the rest of the strand will be unaffected. This allows for somewhat easy replacement of individual lights.

What you should consider: Since these are not LED lights, they may use more power. They may also break more easily since they’re made of glass.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Northlight 100-Count Red and Clear Mini Christmas Light Set

Northlight 100-Count Red and Clear Mini Christmas Light Set

What you need to know: These red and white incandescent lights set on a white, plastic cord are ideal for brightening up dark areas this holiday season with a beautiful glow.

What you’ll love: Great for indoor and outdoor use, this 21.5-foot light set comes with replacement bulbs as well as spare fuses. These lights also look great when combined with other Christmas decorations.

What you should consider: Some of the bulbs can burn out with prolonged use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.