string lights

10 Outdoor String Lights That Will Instantly Dress Up Your Backyard

Illuminate your outdoor space with these top-rated, weatherproof picks.
By Emily Belfiore
June 08, 2021
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

A quality set of string lights is all you need to turn your backyard into a dazzling destination. In addition to elevating the aesthetic of your outdoor space with its warm, twinkling glow, string lights are versatile, easy to set up, and cost-effective. But finding the right outdoor string lights requires careful consideration. 

One important factor to contemplate is size, which you can determine once you've figured out where you'll be hanging your new lights. String lights come in a variety of lengths, and oftentimes the longer the strand, the more lights it will have. From there, confirm whether you want incandescent or LED lights. The difference between the two lies in their brightness and energy consumption: LED lights are the brighter and more energy-efficient option. Extra features to consider include dimmers, weather-resistant materials, colors, smart functions, and the ability to connect with other strands.

Before buying a pack of string lights, it's also a good idea to make sure you have access to a power source. If you don't have an outdoor outlet or don't want to purchase an extension cord, opting for a solar-powered outdoor string light set may better suit your layout. 

Now that you know what to look out for, explore the best outdoor string lights to make over your outdoor space, whether you have a patio, deck, pergola, canopy, or yard. Each pick has hundreds of glowing reviews from Amazon shoppers and would make a wonderful addition to just about any design style.

The 10 Best Outdoor String Lights of 2021

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string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Overall: Addlon Outdoor String Lights

$45 (was $50), amazon.com

This outdoor string light set from Addlon checks every box with its versatile, soft-glowing bulbs. Measuring 48 feet long and designed for heavy-duty use, it's made with a durable weatherproof insulation material that allows the lights to withstand high temperatures, snow, rain, and strong winds. Each bulb offers 11 watts of light, which is bright enough to illuminate most spaces, and they can be dimmed to create a customized ambience. For added convenience, the lights come with two fuses and can connect to other strands. "These are the perfect outdoor string lights," one Amazon reviewer raved. "We live in Florida and our weather can be very hot and often very wet, and our lights have never failed in the past three months."

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best LED: Brightech Ambience Pro LED Outdoor String Lights

$42, amazon.com

LED lights are a great option if you're looking to really turn up the brightness in your backyard. Plus, they shine bright while using less energy than their incandescent counterparts. With Brightech's Ambience Pro LED outdoor string lights, you get 15 two-watt bulbs spanning a 48-foot string. These connectable, dimmable lights look great on pergolas, canopies, balconies, and patios and are designed to withstand exposure to water and winds of up to 50 miles per hour thanks to the brand's "WeatherTite" technology. They also have a 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon. "These are awesome, good quality, and super bright," one reviewer wrote. 

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Solar-Powered: Brightech Ambience Pro Solar-Powered Outdoor String Lights

from $40 (was $48), amazon.com

These solar-powered outdoor string lights offer up to six hours of power when fully charged. They come with 15 replaceable weather-resistant LED light bulbs and one detachable solar panel. The solar panel has a convenient power switch located on the back and will last up to 2.5 years. Plus, it has a stake and clip so you can easily and securely anchor it into the ground. The string lights are available in two sizes, 27 and 48 feet long, to provide ample lighting to small and moderately sized spaces. "These solar powered lights are exactly what I have been looking for," said one customer. "Since installation, it has rained heavily, the winds have blown for several days, the lawn guy has thrown stuff and....the lights light every night."

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Fairy: Sanjicha Solar Fairy String Lights

$20 (was $28), amazon.com

Fairy light enthusiasts will enjoy the mystical twinkliness of Sanjicha's fairy string lights, which measure 72 feet long and are solar powered. One pack comes with 200 LED bulbs that produce a warm white glow and last 10 to 12 hours when fully charged. Choose between eight lighting modes to create a custom ambience for your outdoor space, and once you've found your favorite one, you can program the lights to automatically default to the setting. Amazon shoppers love that the lights can automatically turn on and off and say that they are easy to hang. Many also vouched for their weather-resistance, noting that "heat doesn't bother them" and "they survived serious wind storms and rain."

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Weatherproof: Lemontec Commercial-Grade Outdoor String Lights

$29, amazon.com

Every location comes with its unique climate and weather conditions, which is why you need a heavy-duty set of string lights, like this commercial-grade set from Lemontec, that can survive pretty much any forecast. This 15-bulb, 48-foot string of lights is made with waterproof rubber material and shatter-resistant glass to ensure that it can withstand wind, rain, and extreme weather. Touting a 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon, the lights have received hundreds of  reviews praising their durability. "I put them on the patio and loved them so much I bought another strand for the side of the house," explained one shopper. "I live in south Florida and they have stood up to extreme weather conditions with no problems." 

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Budget: SkrLights Outdoor String Lights

from $16 (was $17), amazon.com

Priced at under $20, these budget-friendly outdoor string lights from SkrLights will elevate your outdoor space for less without sacrificing quality. Measuring 25 feet long and equipped with 25 5-watt incandescent bulbs, the lights are connectable and deliver commercial-grade power. Their weatherproof casing withstands extreme wind, rain, and temperatures, and they're available in three colors: black, brown, and white. "They hold up well through all kinds of New England weather," one shopper wrote. "Great value for the money."

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Dimmable: Newhouse Lighting LED String Lights

$70, amazon.com

Not only do these LED string lights have a 4.7-star overall rating on Amazon for their durability and quality, but they're also a favorite for their dimmable settings and remote control operating system. The 48-foot long connectable lights have four light settings, are built to last against extreme weather conditions, and can easily be installed with your choice of cup hooks, guide wires, or zip ties. "I was pleasantly surprised when I got the lights and discovered the remote is [radio frequency] and does not need a line of sight to the receiver," one Amazon shopper said. "They look great and the remote and dimming features were exactly what I was looking for."

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best Smart Option: XMCosy+ LED Outdoor String Lights

from $80 (was $100), amazon.com

Your entire house can be run by smart devices, so why shouldn't your outdoor lights be, too? These smart outdoor string lights are weatherproof, connectable, WiFi-accessible, and compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Most reviewers prefer to control their lights through the XMcosy app, which allows you to set timers and select one of three lighting styles: breathing, flickering, and fixed. But what really makes these lights cool is that you have full control of their brightness and color thanks to the app's RGB digital color palette feature. "I was really impressed with the quality of the lights," said one reviewer. "Plus we love the ability to change the light colors depending on the mood we're in." 

string lights
Credit: walmart.com

Best for Camping: MPowerd Luci Solar String Lights

$45, walmart.com

When you're enjoying the great outdoors, you need a reliable and rechargeable light source to illuminate your campsite. With the MPowerd Luci Solar String Lights, campers are guaranteed up to 14 hours of power when fully charged in direct light. The shatterproof, water-resistant LED lights are dimmable and attached to a 18-foot kink- and tear-proof nylon cord that easily wraps around its compact storage base-it even doubles as a USB port to charge your smartphone. Moreover, the lights  come with two clips for fast and simple hanging. Some Walmart reviewers say these are the best string lights to use while camping and shared that they provide enough brightness to read a book or play a game at night.

string lights
Credit: amazon.com

Best for Big Spaces: Banford Dimmable LED Outdoor String Lights

$77, amazon.com

Whether you have a backyard party or a fancy outdoor event to light, you're in good hands with Banford's dimmable LED string lights. The 102-foot long string is lined with 33 dimmable, energy-saving LED bulbs and can connect to up to 12 additional strands. Intended for year-round use, the lights are made of durable plastic and are strong enough to withstand direct, intense sunlight. Amazon shoppers are impressed by the durability and brightness of these lights, awarding them a 4.8-star rating overall. "As a professional lighting designer, I say these units are fantastic," one customer wrote. "The incredibly low power draw is amazing."