Lighting is a key element when it comes to eliciting a certain mood, and string lights are especially great for cozy, whimsical, industrial, or festive spaces. The
best indoor string lights (also known as fairy lights) will largely depend on the type of aesthetic you're going for; bulb size, type, color, and warmth are mostly a matter of preference. Still, there are a few important factors that'll help you narrow down your options.
difference between indoor lights and outdoor lights really only matters if you're planning on using them outdoors. For the yard, you'll need something waterproof and weatherproof, but for inside, those features are a convenience — not a necessity. Feel free to decorate with either one inside the home, the exception being solar outdoor lights; when used inside, these likely won't get enough sunlight to power themselves.
It's also extremely important to note the length of the strand and the amount of lights you're getting for the cost. A $12 price tag might initially seem like a good deal — until you realize the strand is 10 feet long and has barely any bulbs.
Measure out your space or potential hanging area before you start shopping. String lights can't be cut without damaging the wiring, and most can't be combined end-to-end on the same strand.
Finally, consider the power source. Your standard string lights are likely going to have a plug for an AC wall outlet. The more technologically advanced ones may offer a USB plug instead, which allows you to use an AC outlet alongside a charging block, but can also be powered via a laptop or power bank. Last but not least, some options run off batteries or — even better — rechargeable batteries, so you're not limited by outlet proximity when decorating. (Since the power source is one of the most important factors for shoppers, the best string lights on this list are largely organized using that criteria.)
The Overall Best String Lights For Indoors
There are several reasons why
myCozyLite string lights are the best overall pick, the first being that they're extendable. This means that you can plug one strand into the next to connect up to 10 strands on a single power source — it's a feature that very few string lights offer.
Also unlike other options, this pick comes with a remote control that you can use to set automatic timers, dim or brighten, and choose between eight modes, including waves, twinkle, and flash. It also comes with twist ties, a low-voltage transformer, and a waterproof design that can be used inside or out. Purchase
extension strings for just $13 each. Length: 49 feet Amount of lights: 100 LEDs Power source: AC outlet plug Color options: warm white
The Most Budget-Friendly Fairy Lights
Even though thousands of reviewers can't stop raving about the quality,
TaoTronics string lights are one of the most affordable options. At $12 per each 33-foot strand, you can cover a significant amount of square-footage on a budget. These lights also offer a 5-foot adapter cable, a waterproof design, and a thin, flexible copper wire that easy bends around fixtures and tucks into corners. Length: 33 feet Amount of lights: 100 LEDs Power source: AC outlet plug Color options: warm white
The Best Globe String Lights
Globe lights are an alternative to small fairy lights, and they give a retro, industrial feel to your space. With thousands of reviews,
LAMPAT globe string lights are the highest-rated option in this category. They offer end-to-end connections so you can attach up to three strands at once, and they're weather-proof for use in your sunroom, entryway, or patio. (They do get warmer than LEDs, but reviewers say "they are still cool enough to touch" after a few hours of use.) Length: 25 feet Amount of lights: 25 bulbs Power source: AC outlet plug Color options: white
The Best Curtain String Lights
Rather than a single strand, curtain lights create a waterfall effect. They're great for windows, pergolas, bed frames, and anywhere you want a so-called "wall" of lights. The
Twinkle Star LED curtain is easily the most popular option in this category. It features eight different lighting modes for various effects and can be used inside or out. Length: 6.6 feet by 9.8 feet Amount of lights: 300 LEDs Power source: AC outlet plug Color options: warm white
The Best USB String Lights
If you're looking for more versatile ways to power your string lights, these
12APM starry string lights utilize a USB plug instead of an AC adapter. As a result, you can plug them into your laptop, phone charger, or power bank. They're also waterproof and available in various different lengths, designs, and colors (including curtains in both warm white and cold white.) Length: 33 feet Amount of lights: 200 LEDs Power source: USB plug Color options: warm white or cold white
The Best Color-Changing String Lights
Personalize every aspect of your mood lighting with these
Omika color-changing string lights. The included remote control allows you to choose between 16 different shades, as well as the time, speed, and effect pattern (meaning you can pick one color, or cycle through all of them). They're also flexible, water-resistant, and coated in a soft plastic to prevent tangling. Length: 66 feet Amount of lights: 200 LEDs Power source: AC outlet plug Color options: red, orange, light orange, dark yellow, light yellow, green, light green, light blue, blue, dark blue, indigo, navy, purple, magenta, and pink
The Best Battery-Operated String Lights
For spaces or events with minimal access to outlets,
ZOUTOG battery-operated string lights allow you to decorate without limitation. They run on three AA batteries and come with small, opaque LED globes (or light-up clothespins specifically for hanging pictures). The included remote lets you control the modes, brightness, and time functions. Length: 33 feet Amount of lights: 100 LEDs Power source: AA batteries Color options: warm white
The Best Rechargeable String Lights
SanGlory rechargeable string lights, you won't be limited by outlet proximity, but you also won't have to waste money on battery replacements. This set comes with two LED strands, each with their own USB-rechargeable power pack that lasts up to 14 hours when fully charged. The silver strand is flexible and easy to secure, and each one offers four different modes: slow glow, fast flash, slow flash, and constant. Length: 9.8 feet Amount of lights: 30 LEDs Power source: USB-rechargeable battery Color options: warm white
The Most Popular String Lights In Different Shapes
For those looking to extend a theme,
WSgift LED fairy lights come in various colors and shapes. They're also weatherproof and feature a remote control so you can choose between eight different modes — that way, you don't have to worry about moisture or switches. Note that some designs are AA-battery operated, while others utilize a USB port. Length: 13 feet Amount of lights: 40 LEDs Power source: AA batteries or USB port Color options: green turtles, yellow and blue dragonflies, yellow bees, green cacti, pink flamingos, pastel hummingbirds, or yellow pineapples
The Best 100-Foot String Lights
Finally, if you're looking to cover an extremely large area,
Moobibear's LED string lights are the most cost-effective way to do so. For just $40, this set comes with two strands, each nearly 100 feet long. They also feature a 14-foot adapter cord (which is much longer than most) and work alongside remote controls, which let you set the brightness, modes, and speed. Each is made from a flexible, easy-to-secure copper wire and can be used outdoors, too. Length: 99 feet Amount of lights: 300 LEDs Power source: AC outlet plug Color options: warm white Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.