Three Grades Of LED Christmas Lights, Explained

Posted on: 13 January 2015

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Many people and places take holiday decorating very seriously.  If decorating with lights is something that you do, it is important to have good-looking, reliable displays.  LED lights entered the Christmas decorating game fairly recently, and have really hit a home run.  LED lights are bright, energy efficient, and have brilliant colors.  There are three different quality types of LED lights to choose from: retail grade, pro grade, and commercial grade.

Retail Grade

Retail grade LED Christmas lights can be bought at any store that sells Christmas decorations.  The average person decorating their house for the holidays will likely choose to purchase the retail grade Christmas lights.  They are the cheapest LED option.  These lights typically come in long strings.  You can easily change the bulbs, because retail grade LED lights have a bulb that pops off so you can replace a light if it goes out.  The bulb is easy to place back on, and your set of lights is good as new!

The handy bulb that pops off is also a bit of a disadvantage.  Water and dirt can sneak in the cracks, causing damage to the light.  The length of the set also can set you up for damage, also.  The longer the set of lights, the more opportunities there are for something to go wrong.  Retail grade light sets with a longer length will fail more quickly than other options.  The longer the set, the more likely there are to be tangles.  As a result, you will be rough on it by yanking and pulling to untangle knots.  These things combined result in more outages, and a shorter life for your LED lights.

Pro Grade

Pro grade LED Christmas lights do not have removable bulbs, like retail grade lights do.  While this does mean you can't replace individual bulbs, it also prevents the individual bulbs from getting water and dirt in them, which results in a longer life for the set of lights.  The strings of lights are also shorter than retail grade.  Some people may see having a longer set of lights as a good thing, as if they are getting more value for their money.  However, shorter sets of lights are faster and easier to install.  They don't take as much abuse from pulling and with the shorter length, there are less opportunities to fail.  They are a bit more expensive than retail grade, but they also have a longer lifespan. 

Commercial Grade

Many places will lump commercial grade LED Christmas lights in with the pro grade category, as they are very similar to each other.  Commercial grade light strings will have the qualities of pro grade light strings, but will also have a co axial screw connection cord and a 20 gauge cord.  These are the highest grade of LED Christmas lights, so they will likely cost the most, but offer great performance.