Get the garden party started with the best festoon lights for summer 2024

Festive and inviting lighting that sets the mood for outdoor leisure.

best-festoon-lights-garden-decor

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

Create a magical atmosphere for a celebration with the best festoon lights. These versatile string lights with hanging bulbs can be used to create a warm and inviting ambience for a garden party. The benefit of contemporary garden lighting is that LED bulbs are more durable than their incandescent predecessors. Plus they can be solar or battery powered, so you're not limited to being in proximity to a plug socket.

Durable and weatherproof, the best festoon lights can be left outdoors in the rain – which is pretty ideal, given the changeable British climate. Just like fairy lights, strings of festoon lights can be hung from a pergola, poles or in trees to create an enchanting atmosphere while you cosy up to the fire pit.

Best festoon lights at a glance

Best vintage style festoon lights

20 Warm White Vintage Style Solar Festoon Lights

Best mains powered festoon lights

DGO Garden Festoon Lights

Best solar powered festoon lights

Habitat 20 Warm White Festoon Solar Lights

Best multi coloured festoon lights

Lights4fun 30 Multi Coloured Festoon Lights

Whether friends are coming over to watch the sport, or you're hosting a family BBQ, festoon lights come in various colours to suit the occasion. Warm white LED bulbs emit a soft glow, that's just perfect for an enchanting ambience; think of a Sarah J Mass fantasy ball in your backyard. Alternatively, multi-coloured festoon lights evoke circus, carnival and fairground fun. Bulb shapes and styles can also reflect your garden décor theme.

A hook on each bulb gives you versatility in where you hang it. Use ties or clips to make sure the bulbs stay put in windy weather. The good news is that modern festoon lights are made from shatterproof and safe plastic that's hard to break. It's not like those 1980s Christmas lights, where if one bulb went the whole lot would go out. These days, you often get a few spare bulbs so if one goes out you can quickly change it. Happily, the other LED filaments will stay illuminated.

Best festoon lights

Best vintage style festoon lights

20 Warm White Vintage Style Solar Festoon LightsLights 4 Fun
Price: £41.99 (was £59.99)

www.lights4fun.co.uk

Create an enchanting ambience with these 20 Warm White Vintage Style Solar Festoon Lights. The shatterproof plastic bulbs, with soft LED lights, are evening spaced 0.2m apart. They require four AA batteries, which gives you total flexibility to hang them anywhere around the garden. There are eight lighting effects, including twinkling, flashing and slow fade. Plus, there's a six hour timer, so you can set your lights to glow at the same time every evening.

The bulb-shape is a classic Edison style globe that gives a vintage look. Reviews across the web praise how beautiful these are and they create a soft glow that looks magical at night. With a 4.75m black cable, it makes these lights perfect for illuminating a small to medium size garden.

The Lights4Fun website as has comprehensive FAQs on festoon lights, plus product guides and lighting accessories that can be used interchangeably.

Pros

  • Creates a soft, warm glow with vintage-style Edison bulbs
  • Waterproof battery box gives total flexibility to hang these lights anywhere
  • Timer and multiple light effects adds to the versatility of these festoon lights

Cons

  • Bear in mind the set doesn't produce a strong source of light
Power source:Solar/ AA batteries
Number of bulbs:20
Length of lights:4.75m

Best mains powered festoon lights

Ideal for evening gatherings, these DGO Garden Festoon Lights are weatherproof and available in a variety of lengths, so they're a good choice for all-year-round decorative illumination. The 15 LED bulbs have a 30,000 hour lifespan and are 92 per cent more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. In addition, multiple sets of DGO festoon lights can be connected together (maximum 16 sets) to decorate a larger area.

They are an Amazon's Choice recommended product with over 900 reviews rating the lights 4.5 out of 5. Customers say that the lights are easy to put up and that they have a lovely warm glow. However, some reviews have commented that the LED bulbs have not lasted and their overall durability is questionable. Three spare bulbs are provided with the set.

Do bear in mind that these are mains powered lights, so while you get the benefit of consistent power and bright illumination, you need a plug socket nearby.

Pros

  • Weather-resistant, so they're a good option for winter illumination as well as summer
  • Longer lengths and an optional dimmer are also available
  • Connect multiple sets of festoon lights together to decorate a larger area

Cons

  • Dimmer switch is not included
Power source:Mains
Number of bulbs:15
Length of lights:48ft

Best solar powered festoon lights

These Habitat 20 Warm White Festoon Solar Lights add a decorative element to your outdoor space. Each bulb has a hook, so it gives you lots of flexibility to hang them from trees, branches or attach to fences. Position the solar panel in a place that gets lots of direct sunlight. The lights need eight hours of sunshine a day in order to fully charge. Then, they'll illuminate for seven hours. Position the six metre string of lights anywhere in the garden and enjoy the evening light show that costs nothing to run.

Customers praise the price-point and the lovely warm glow these lights give. Whilst it's not a strong light, these solar-powered festoon lights create a cosy ambience and brighten up a wall or the side of a shed. Some reviews comment that they felt the lights were too dim for their purposes, whilst others enjoy the gentle decorative illumination.

Pros

  • Solar powered so they cost nothing to run
  • It has an on/off switch or can automatically turn on at dusk
  • Customers praise the price-point as good value for money

Cons

  • Not a very powerful light, more of a decorative illumination
Power source:Solar
Number of bulbs:20
Length of lights:3.8m (lit length), 6m (total length)

Best multi coloured festoon lights

Lights4fun 30 Multi Coloured Festoon Party LightsLights4fun

These colourful party lights are just the start of your outdoor celebration. Whether it's a wedding, anniversary or birthday gathering, these Lights4fun 30 Multi Coloured Festoon Lights form the basis of themed decorations. Add banners, balloons and outdoor furniture and let the festivities begin.

These lights are powered by mains electric and have a six hour timer, so you can be safe it in the knowledge that they'll switch off while you carry on partying. With a five metre lead cable, you've got more scope to position them in a large outdoor area – or indoors.

Each globe-shaped bulb has a 4.5cm diameter, do note this because some customers thought the bulbs were going to be bigger. But, on the whole, reviews indicate that customers have been delighted with their purchase and have bought multiple sets to decorate their outdoor trees at Christmas.

Pros

  • Fun, multi-coloured bulbs for a party atmosphere
  • Six hour timer so you can set in and forget about them
  • Could be used all year round for summer parties or a Christmas celebration

Cons

  • Note the bulb size, as a customer thought they would be bigger
Power source:Mains
Number of bulbs:30
Length of lights:7.25m

Best long festoon lights

The benefit of long lengths of string lights is that you know you'll have enough coverage for your outdoor space. Plus, any extra lighting can be layered with fairy lights or garden lanterns to create a magical lighting effect. Get creative with these G40 Festoon Lights and use them to brighten up an outdoor space all year round.

Customers praise these lights for being bright and having a cosy golden glow, which is preferable to the stark white light that bulbs can sometimes have. Each bulb has a little hook that makes them easy to hang and because these are a long string of lights, customers could drape them around their entire garden.

These are mains-powered lights, so you do need access to a plug socket. But the benefit is that the bulbs will be significently brighter than solar or battery-powered alternatives.

Pros

  • Weatherproof and durable so they can be used all year round
  • Brighter than solar and battery-powered alternatives
  • Long string of lights so they can be used to decorate an entire garden

Cons

  • A few reviews comment that some of the bulbs did not work or stopped working
Power source:Mains
Number of bulbs:75
Length of lights:45m

Best dimmable festoon lights

These dimmable Kolpop Outdoor Festoon Lights allow you to create the perfect lighting level for any occasion. Adjust the brightness to suit an intimate soiree or a full-on festive celebration.

Available in 13 metre or 23 metre lengths, these lights come with a timer and dimmer adapter that's easy to use. You can set the brightness and duration of your lights without having to buy an extra bit of kit.

Customers love that there are four brightness settings and praise the durability of these lights. However, a customer review comments that when they wanted to connect a 13 metre and a 23 metre string of lights together they were disappointed that the light intensity differed.

On the whole, these festoon lights are very good value for money, considering they come with a dimmer function.

Pros

  • Waterproof and can withstand frost, heat and strong wind
  • Connectable ends so you can make a longer string of lights

Cons

  • A customer comments that the light intensity of the 13 metre and 23 metre set of lights doesn't match
Power source:Mains
Number of bulbs:15
Length of lights:13m

Best battery powered festoon lights

DSLebeen Festoon LightsDSLebeen

These visually appealing DSLebeen Festoon Lights are like fireflies from fantasy tales. Use the remote control to set the timer, dim the lights or choose from the eight lighting modes. The lights are powered by three AA batteries, so you're not limited on dull days when there's no sunshine, unlike solar-powered alternatives.

This Amazon's Choice recommended product is praised by customers for being bright and they love that they have multiple settings. They provide romantic lighting and a magical ambience all year round. However, do note that some reviews have commented that the battery case wasn't entirely waterproof, so it's worth positioning it in a sheltered spot.

Pros

  • Weatherproof, so the lights can be used outdoors all year round
  • Lovely romantic lighting that has several adjustable settings
  • Two styles of decorative lights available

Cons

  • Customers comment that the battery box is not waterproof
Power source:Battery
Number of bulbs:12
Length of lights:9m

Best festoon lights for timer

LITOHOM Festoon LightsLITOHOM

Extend your time enjoying the garden with these LITOHOM Festoon Lights. The timer feature is set by a remote control, which also sets the brightness level and gives you eight lighting modes. Additionally, you can choose from mains or solar powered options. Also, on dull days the lights can be powered by USB. These festoon lights can be connected; multiple strings click together for extended reach.

The bulbs are made from shatterproof plastic and have LED filaments that look like incandescent bulbs. Customers praise the vintage look and durability of the lights. A reviews comments that they look more expensive than they are, making them good value.

Pros

  • Set the timer, choose the brightness level, select the lighting mode via a remote control
  • Completely weatherproof and shatterproof bulbs
  • Choose from a range of power options
  • Connect the strings of lights to illuminate a larger area

Cons

  • Some customers comment that their remote control stopped working
Power source:Solar
Number of bulbs:20
Length of lights:17m

Best festoon lights for warm light

LITOHOM Solar Festoon LightsLITOHOM

An energy efficient way to illuminate your garden, these LITOHOM Solar Festoon Lights cost nothing to run. Use the power of the sun (or a USB port on less favourable days) to charge the solar panel. Just like the previous set of LITOHOM lights, these are controlled by a remote that lets you set the timer, brightness and lighting mode.

We really love the firefly effect of these festoon lights, especially with the rope string, rather than a plastic cable. Customers agree that these lights are aesthetically much more pleasing than alternatives. Whether you want a twinkling illumination or a slow glow, these festoon lights are an affordable way to add ambience to your garden.

Pros

  • Magical firefly effect festoon lights with a rope string that looks more natural than a cable
  • Great range of lighting options to choose via an easy-to-use remote control
  • Customers say these are an affordable way to add ambience to any outdoor space

Cons

  • A customer comments that water go into a couple of the bulbs
Power source:Solar
Number of bulbs:20
Length of lights:9.6m

Best decorative festoon lights

iShabao Solar Festoon LightsiShabao

Create a cosy and enchanting environment with these iShabao Solar Festoon Lights. Another gorgeous firefly option, these globe-shaped lights on a hemp rope cord are even better value for money than LITOHOM. The vintage design and warm light will perk up any drab fence, wall or balcony.

Customers praise the aesthetic of these festoon lights, saying that they look more expensive than they actually are. Additionally, the solar panel charging is reliable and the illumination lasts a long time. Some reviews comment that they are so good it convinced them to buy another set. Also, positive reviews say these are superior to other sets they've had in the past.

However, it's worth noting that their overall lifespan is questionable, with some reviews commenting that their set of lights did not last very long. But overall, reviews are glowing and these festoon lights are great value for money.

Pros

  • Romantic and dreamy lighting that looks more expensive than it is
  • Weatherproof and shatterproof for safety and year-round use
  • Customers comment these lights charge well and give long-lasting illumination

Cons

  • Overall durability and lifespan is questionable
Power source:Solar
Number of bulbs:16
Length of lights:8m

How we chose the best festoon lights

All of these festoon lights have been hand-selected by our team of Modern Gardens shopping experts. We carefully considered power source, length and brightness in our selection of the best. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching festoon lights to make it easier for you to find the very best, and we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in.

Where possible, we also test and share the latest and best products you should know about. And with help from Modern Gardens Magazine, Garden News and Garden Answers, we share expert gardening knowledge to help you get the most from your product.

FAQs

What are the key features of modern festoon lights?

Make incandescent lighting a thing of the past with energy-efficient and solar powered garden lighting. Modern festoon lights are much safer than their predecessors and have more features. Some of the key features to look for include:

Shatterproof bulbs that are made from safety plastic. These days festoon lights can be hung outdoors all year round and are weatherproof as well as being tough to break. Because they are less prone to breakage, modern festoon lights are more likely to last through multiple seasons.

Connectable strings so multiple sets of festoon lights can be hung to illuminate a larger space. Customise the length of lights to get ample coverage, for example to drape the roof of a wedding reception marquee.

Lots of styles and colours allow you to create a particular ambience. In addition, look for festoon lights that have a timer or a remote control to change the brightness and lighting mode. As such, you can create intimate lighting or fun and sparkly illumination.

Festoon lights are easy to install, simply hook them from fence nails, poles or branches and secure in place with ties. Just bear in mind that for mains powered lighting you need access to a plug socket.

Are festoon lights weatherproof and durable?

Yes, modern festoon lights are designed to be weatherproof and durable and are suitable for outdoor use in all weather. The bulbs are made from shatterproof plastic and the LED filaments do not emit heat, therefore contemporary garden lighting is much safer and has greater longevity than incandescent lighting.

What is the energy consumption of festoon lights?

The energy consumption of festoon lights varies, but LED festoon lights are particularly energy efficient, using about 0.5–1W per bulb. This significantly reduces the electricity cost compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, making them an eco-friendly option.

In terms of power source, choose from mains, battery or solar festoon lights. Lights4Fun has comprehensive guides on all types of festoon lights, and it gives the wattage and IP rating in the technical specs for each set of lights in stock.

To hang festoon lights, use hooks, clips or ties to attach them to structures like trees, fences or pergolas. Additionally, you can purchase festoon poles from which you can hang lights across a lawn or along a path. Ensure your lights are securely fastened and evenly spaced.

Best festoon lights
©Getty Images/Flashpop

What are the practical benefits of festoon lights?

Modern festoon lights are low maintenance and long lasting. LED bulbs mean fewer replacements and maintenance tasks.

As well as being more energy efficient, LED bulbs are better for the environment because they consume less energy. Plus, they won't have an eye-watering impact on your electricity bill.

Festoon lights are more than just decorative. They illuminate pathways to reduce the risk of falling at night. Plus, better outdoor lighting can potentially deter intruders so your property is more secure.

Finally, it's easy to rearrange festoon lights, meaning they are a versatile form of garden lighting. Drape lights over pergolas, wrap them around trees or hang them across open spaces to create different visual effects. Festoon lights can be easily relocated to suit different layouts and occasions.

What to read next:

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Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for Modern Gardens, specialising in garden trends. When she's not flexing her mow-how, Natalie is a successful artist and illustrator.

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