LED Christmas tree lights are just one example of how far technology has brought us in just
the last decade. In 2005 people were wary of using them. Now the stores can't keep them on
Why the change?
It's that people are discovering the many benefits of LED lights, such as:
And they look really cool!
Downside: they cost more, a lot more in some cases. But then, so did the first incandescent
lights. As LED lights become more and more common, costs will likely decrease.
So what are LED Christmas tree lights anyway? The term "LED" stands for "light emitting diode". In layman's terms, a diode is an electrical part that can be made to "light" by passing current through it.
For over a century, we've used incandescent light bulbs. The "light" actually comes from
running so much electricity through the bulb that the tiny filament inside of it glows red hot.
And that extra heat's a problem that, for one, makes that electric meter wheel spin faster. Much faster in some cases.
But with LED Christmas tree lights the material itself actually glows without producing
anywhere near the extra heat of the earlier bulbs. This fancy process is called
That's a bit complicated to explain.
But suffice it to say that as current passes through the LED, it lights much more directly
and efficiently. Translation: you use much less electricity.
LED lights have actually been around for awhile. In the 1960's and 1970's they were used as
indicator lights (i.e. appliance "on" lights) and as displays in early hand-held calculators. They were always red in color.
By the 1990's businesses were beginning to take a serious look at LED lights due to the
potential for great savings in electricity costs.
But the first attempts at creating LED Christmas lights left a lot to be desired. The lights were
too dim. The "whites" had this funky "bluish-white" glow to them.They "flickered" like those old television sets. And the metal sockets would rust causing entire strings to fail.
People weren't happy.
Today's LED Christmas tree lights have largely dealt with these problems. The colors are more
normal looking (whatever normal is). Yet if you want to go "space age" you can order in pink or radioactive purple!
That's what many retailers will tell you. Some stores claim over 100,000 hours per string.
That's about 400 Christmas seasons!
No question, LED lights last longer than their incandescent counterparts. But don't count on
passing your new light strings to your great grandchildren.
These high numbers actually refer to the bulb itself, not all the wiring and connections that
go with it.
LED light strings (like any light string) get subjected to twisting, bending, exposure to sunlight and storage in less than ideal conditions.
So it's more likely that the delicate connections that make the lights work will break down in much less time.
That said, if you take care of your lights on and off season you can expect many years of
blissful tree lighting. And don't forget those benefits I listed above!
Here are some tips to consider before going on your "shopping trip":
You can purchase LED Christmas tree lights pretty much anywhere these days. Walmart, Target, Hobby Lobby, Home Depot, even Ace Hardware are all viable stores. You can get really cheap sets for less than $12 but plan on spending about $15 or so for a 50-light set.
The great benefit here is that you can purchase online and then pick up your lights at the store.
Here are a few great online merchants to consider when buying LED Christmas tree lights:
Just so you know, the online merchants referred to above specialize in commercial grade
lights. They are more expensive- $15 to $25 or more per string- but I have to mention that with LED lights good quality goes a long way. Better to pay more now than a bunch more later.
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