Holiday Light Bulbs 101

September 25, 2022

During the holidays, does your family like to drive around, looking at all the beautiful light displays?  Do you take notice of the different combinations, styles, and options? The desire to incorporate joyful and colorful Christmas lights around our homes is present in many of us. Holiday lighting is an amazing way to create memories in the most magical time of the year. 

Let’s get familiar with the most common Holiday Light Bulbs types and sizes, and how they’re used. 

Holiday Light Bulbs Size

Mini lights are the popular holiday light bulbs we think of when envisioning Christmas tree lights. The bulb shape resembles a candle with a pointed tip. They are generally 1/4 inch in diameter and 5/8 inch tall.

C6 lights are the smallest of the strawberry-shaped lights that many consider the “traditional Christmas bulb” shape. The bulbs are around 3/4 inch in diameter and 1 1/8 inches tall.

C7 lights are the middle size between C6 and C9 bulbs. C7 lights have the same strawberry shape as C6 but are a little larger. They measure 1 inch in diameter and 1 1/2 inches tall. They have a round, bulbous appearance. C7 bulbs are a great, less expensive option to decorate your large outdoor tree or for lining the exterior of your home.

C9 lights are the widely recognized picturesque, traditional Christmas lights. They are extremely popular and have been around for over 90 years. C9 bulbs are big, bright, cone shaped bulbs. C9 lights measure 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches tall and are often a go-to for many people. They’re ideal for outdoor displays and are eye-catching when lining areas like patios, porches, archways, windows, and rooflines. They are favored among professional lighting designers because of their high quality. 

G Series bulbs are shaped like globes and come in an array of sizes. The number after the G represents the maximum diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch. To calculate the approximate diameter, take the number after the G, divide it by 8, and round to the nearest inch. That means a G25 bulb is approximately 3 inches in diameter, and a G15 bulb is almost 2 inches in diameter.

Popular Holiday Lighting for Your Property

Icicle lights have become very popular over the years. Icicle lights are becoming a classic. These light ropes and strings give the visual effect of icicles hanging. When they are twinkling, they  have a dazzling effect of dripping. They create a snow covered look around the edges of your roof and home. Icicle lights are great for Christmas displays and even for event lighting. 

Net lights are string lights that have been connected to form a grid, and can easily cover exterior areas in a fast, hassle-free process. They are great for wrapping tree trunks and giving your yard a festive makeover. They are ideal for covering square, rectangle, and cone shaped bushes because of how well they drape. Net lights come in a variety of colors and options to help you create the perfect theme for the holidays. They can even be draped across odd-shaped objects such as rocks, making them ideal for decorating large structures when trying to save time.

Twinkly Pro RGB lights are smart lights that create eye-catching animated effects! They allow you to control and customize the colors and animations of your display with a smartphone or tablet. Think of the homes that have stunning light shows featuring light patterns that are synchronized with holiday music. Simply hang your lights in any design you desire, map them with the Twinkly app on your smartphone, then choose from 16 million different colors, effects and combinations! You can create your own unique holiday light design and change it as often as you wish. 

LED vs Incandescent Holiday Light Bulbs

Incandescent holiday light bulbs have small wires, known as shunts, that sit under the filament. The shunts have a special coating allowing them to work as insulators. While the filament is intact, no electricity can pass through the shunt, so the filament gets all the electricity and creates light. However, the bulbs become hot to the touch and the filament can burn out over time. When the shunt becomes very hot, it melts the coating on the outside, burns out, and the wire underneath conducts electricity to the next bulb. Hence, sometimes you can have one light out but the other lights on the strand are functional. Although the classic incandescent light creates a warm and inviting glow that is quite beautiful, they are more fragile, and need to be replaced more often. Incandescent lights are less expensive than LEDs, but they require more electricity to run. 

LED bulbs are more complex. LED lights rely on a diode. In the diode, there are two semiconductor materials. When current moves through the wires, electrons travel from the negative semiconductor to a positive one. The electrons collide, which causes them to release energy. This energy release shows up as light. If an LED bulb fails, only the failed bulb shorts, allowing the current to travel through the dead LED and into the other bulbs.

LED lights use less energy than incandescent lights, last longer, are brighter, and burn at a lower temperature. Yes, they are more expensive up front, especially if you are replacing all your incandescent lights, but LEDs will save you money in the long run. 

Helpful Holiday Lighting Tips

  • Do not overload extension cords with too many lights.
  • Plug in your light strings before hanging them so you can locate any missing or burned-out bulbs. 
  • Be sure to plug indoor holiday lighting into a surge protector to protect your lights from voltage spikes.
  • Always use replacement bulbs of the correct voltage and type, because replacement bulb voltage may vary.
  • Consider switching to LEDs. This is a great way to save energy and since LEDs produce less heat than traditional lights, they are less of a fire hazard when left on for long periods of time.

As the winter season gets closer, it’s time to think about your christmas lighting. Learning about LEDs vs incandescent lights, and the different types of holiday bulbs are a good start! Our team of experts have a passion for creating beautiful holiday scenes during the season of giving. Click here to contact one of our experts at Mobile Illumination today.

Want to see more deck lighting tips? Check out our photo gallery!

Have Any More Questions?

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