How to Save Money with LED Christmas Holiday Lights

by heather

LED Christmas lights

LED Christmas lights

Well, it’s almost Halloween, and you know what that means. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and after that comes the crazy, wonderful winter holiday season.

If you want to save money and save electricity this year, then you might want to think about investing in some LED holiday lights.

I recently bought a string because I was really curious at how much energy the LED lights use versus regular twinkle lights. I donated all my regular lights this spring, knowing I wanted to switch to LEDs, and thought that now would be a great time to test them out.

The LED lights I bought were $9, and there were 60 lights on the string.

I tested them last night using my Kill A Watt and had an amazing discovery. After being left on for 12 hours, they only used .02 kilowatts of electricity. This means that, for this strand, it would take 25 days to use 1 kw of electricity. And, that’s if they were left on 24 hours a day.

Wow.

How does this stack up to regular holiday lights? Well, again, I donated all mine so I couldn’t test them personally, but I did find this great study done by the Department of Energy.

They tested LED holiday lights and compared them to regular incandescent lights to see exactly how much it would cost to run them 12 hours per day for 40 days. Here’s what they found:

Type of Light

Standard C-7

(125 bulbs, 4 watts each) Cost: $25.13

Mini incandescent lights

(300 bulbs, 0.4 watts each) Cost: $6.03

LED holiday lights

(280 bulbs, 0.04 watts each) Cost: $0.56

Make sure you pay attention to the number of bulbs in this study. The LED lights were on a strand with a total of 280 bulbs, which is only 20 fewer bulbs than the mini incandescent lights, and yet they only used .56 cents of electricity over 40 days. That’s a significant savings over the regular bulbs.

Upfront Costs For LED Holiday Lights Are Higher, But You Save Over Time…

Now, I know it’s tempting to get sticker shock when you start pricing out LED holiday lights. After all, I just paid $9 for a string of 60 bulbs (but as you can see from the picture, they’re pretty big bulbs).

I bought my strand at Wal-Mart, and as far as I can tell from pricing them on Amazon and at Target, they’ve got the cheapest price. The LED lights I bought are not GE brand, or any other name brand, so I don’t know how good they are. It might be worth it to spend more for a brand name, or it might not be. I just don’t know yet.

The point here is that yes, you’re going to pay more up front for LED lights. But as you can see from the DOE study, you’re going to make your money back with a lower energy bill. And, The DOE says that LED lights last longer, and are safer to use, than traditional mini lights.

Last Word…

I’m definitely sold on these lights. I’m going to go back and buy two more strands for my front porch. They use so little energy I can finally feel ok about putting lights up. Yahoo!

What about you? Are you using LED holiday lights? If so, is it worth it to spend more on brand name (like GE) or are the generic, Wal-Mart LEDs just as good? If you’re not using them, have the numbers from DOE convinced you to switch?

Please chime in and let me know!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

heidi October 23, 2009 at 10:29 am

My Christmas qualm is the light pollution – so I’ll use Christmas lights as my evening light source (mood lighting?) and make sure that no yard decorations cause undue glare… sigh. The LED colors don’t feel as traditional as the old timey ones, but it’s not too hard to adjust to them at least.

heather October 23, 2009 at 10:38 am

Heidi,

I know, I have to admit I long for the “bubble lights” I had growing up! It makes me so happy to watch those! But I’ve actually been really impressed with the bigger LED bulbs I got on this strand. I know the picture is pretty blurry, but they look pretty good!

I’m going to put my porch lights on a timer to go off at 9 or 10. I’m not into keeping people up either! 🙂

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