LED Christmas Lights Power Usage

It’s no secret that LED Christmas lights can save lots of energy. In fact, depending on the type of light set, the energy savings can be anywhere from 80% to 95%. But if you're like a lot of people these days, when you hear numbers like this you probably just assume that it’s marketing hype, with very little basis in reality. After all, we're constantly bombarded with endless numbers, statistics and marketing propaganda attempting to persuade us to buy products. As a result, we have a tendency to dismiss offhand anything that simply seems too good to be true.

A case in point might be the energy savings promoted by the retailers of LED lighting - those are numbers that many people may indeed consider too good to be true. So let’s take a closer look at the numbers behind the energy savings. In particular, let's examine the energy usage of the 3 most popular LED lighting types: LED mini lights, LED C9 stringer sets and LED C9 Retrofit bulbs.

The chart below gives a brief breakdown of the per-bulb and pre-set energy consumption of the most popular LED Christmas lights:

Type of Light Bulbs Per Set Set Wattage Per Bulb Watts
Incandescent Mini Light 50 20.4 watts .41 watts
Incandescent Mini Lights 100 40.8 watts .41 watts
Incandescent C9 Stringer Set 25 175 watts 7 watts
LED Mini Lights (Conical or M5) 50 3.45 watts .07 watts
LED Mini Lights (Conical or M5) 70 4.83 watts .07 watts
LED C9 Stringer Set 25 2.2 watts .09 watts
LED C9 Retrofit/Replacement Bulbs * 25 24 watts .96 watts

But how much power will LED lights use in comparison with incandescent lights? Let's use a hypothetical example to illustrate the difference. We'll compare the total power used by LED Christmas lights versus incandescent Christmas lights for an average 2-story, single-family home. Let's say that the house is lit with the following LED light displays:

  • 200' of C9 perimeter lighting around the roofline.
  • 35 sets of Conical LED mini lights throughout the foliage around the house (2450 bulbs).
  • 150' of C9 lighting outlining the sidewalk and driveway.

The chart below shows the energy that would be required for our imaginary display using LED lights:

Type of Light Application # of Bulbs Total Watts
LED Conical Light Sets Tree & Foliage Lighting 2450 31.5 Watts
LED C9 Retrofit Bulbs Roofline Perimeter 200 192 Watts
LED C9 Stringer Sets Driveway and sidewalk outline 150 13.5 Watts

Total LED Watts: 237 Watts

Now, let's rework our imaginary display by replacing all the LED lights with incandescent lights. Here's the breakdown of the energy that would be required for the same display with incandescent bulbs:

Type of Light Application # of Bulbs Total Watts
Incandescent Mini Light Tree & Foliage Lighting 2450 1004.50 Watts
Incandescent C9 Bulbs Roofline Perimeter 200 1400 Watts
Incandescent C9 Bulbs Driveway and sidewalk outline 150 1050 Watts

Total Incandescent Watts: 2,800 Watts

So you can see that our imaginary display would use only about 237 watts when using LED bulbs, compared to 2,800 watts for incandescent bulbs. That's obviously a big difference, but it doesn't tell us what we really want to know, does it? The real question is how much money will the LEDs save?

We can easily find the answer to that question by using the electric cost calculator that Inch Calculator provides on their website: https://www.inchcalculator.com/electricity-cost-calculator/ 

Here are the numbers we're going to plug into the calculator:

Wattage: 237 for LED, 2,800 for Incandescent
How Long Each Day: 7 hours
Cents per KWh: 12 (varies widely depending on your area)
# of days: 45 days (Thanksgiving to New Years)

Based on the above numbers, here's what we get:

LED Christmas Lights - 237 watts - $9.00 per season

Incandescent Christmas Lights - 2,800 watts - $105.75 per season

That's a dramatic difference!

And when we apply those savings to the 7 to 9 seasons that your LED Christmas lights should last, you could expect to save a total of around $677.00 to $870.00 if our imaginary example is your house. And you'll be able to enjoy your lights without any nagging guilt about the extra energy you're using and the impact on the environment.

Keep in mind, though, that the longevity of your LED light set will depend upon the quality of the LED Christmas lights you buy. Not all LED lights are the same - there's a wide range of quality. Stick with lights from quality manufacturers - like Christmas Designer's Pro/Commercial grade light sets - and you’ll have problem-free lights for years to come.