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What Is Festoon Lighting? The Ultimate Festoon Lights Buying Guide

Festoon lighting is a type of low-voltage lighting that is commonly used on the outside of buildings or to decorate parties and events. Festoon lights are also known as rope or string lights and are made of a flexible, synthetic cable that carries electrical current through them.
LED Festoon lights are traditional, big bulb garland lights. They come in oversized glass globes, usually in warm whites or multi-coloured.

As lighting experts, we spent hours installing and setting up festoon lighting in various locations every day. 

That’s why we want to make sure that you’ll make the right decision when buying your set of festoon lighting. In this article we’ll show you what to consider before your purchase:

Festoon Lighting Buying Guide
#1 – Solar Festoon Lights VS Regular String Lights
Are Solar Festoon Lights Any Good?
#2 – Festoon Light Bulbs
IP Rating
Bulb Types
Bulb Colour
Bulb Shapes
#3 – Festoon Light Cable
Standard String Lights
Hanging Festoon Lights

Keep reading to find out what to consider when buying festoon lighting to avoid costly and time-wasting purchases.

Festoon Lights Buying Guide

#1 – Solar Festoon Lights VS Regular String Lights

Solar festoon lights are a great alternative to regular lights and are more cost-effective long-term.

Are Solar Festoon Lights Any Good?

To make it short: Yes, solar festoon lights are good, but it’ll depend on the quality of the lighting and the season.

Solar festoon lights are similar to regular string lights, except that they can be powered by a small solar panel instead of an electrical outlet. The panel is then connected to a power regulator that regulates the voltage and current flow from the panel. Batteries store the energy overnight. 

The whole set-up is quite small and light, so you can easily place it on the roof of your house or in your backyard. The lamps have a photocell that senses the amount of daylight and turns the light on at dusk, keeping it on as long as there is daylight.

With decent days of sunlight, the solar lighting will produce an excellent light shine in the evening. During more cloudy days, it might struggle to light up unless there is a day of glorious sunlight. 

Some solar lights do work in winter and these will usually cost a little more than the regular set. Festoon lighting that does work in dull weather has to use an amorphous panel. This amorphous panel has a much higher light absorption rate and can therefore store sunlight even on cloudy days.

#2 – Festoon Light Globes

When buying LED festoon lights, make sure to choose the IP-rating, voltage, bulb type, colour and shape that suit your needs!

IP Rating

The IP-Rating indicates the protection level of light against dust and water. The higher the number, the greater the protection. Looking through different stores, you’ll find that most cheap festoon lights sold have a low IP of 20 or 23, which might be okay for indoor use or a one-time event. 

We recommend installing fittings with IP44 if you wish to install outdoor festoon lighting for the long term. IP44 fittings have a waterproof seal at the base of the lamp holder.


We recommend a 24V low voltage option with LED bulbs if you want to install your outdoor festoon lights long-term and are planning on letting them run all night. 

A high-quality LED festoon string (20m length) can run with 40 watts, whereas an incandescent string (20m length) could use up to 500 watts! You’d definitely need deeper pockets for the latter option.

Bulb Types

How much electricity string lights use will depend on the bulb type that you choose (we’ll talk more about that in the next section). Generally, halogen and incandescent bulb types chew through power, run hot, and are old technology.

Incandescent festoon lights could consume up to 90 percent more electricity than LEDs and consequently cost considerably more to run.   

Furthermore, LED bulbs don’t produce heat, look stunning, and last for years and years to come, plus they are made dimmable.

Tip: Make sure to only purchase shatterproof bulbs for your festoon lighting. Regular glass bulbs break quickly and could leave a mess.

Bulb Colour

Do you prefer coloured or transparent festoon lights?

The choice isn’t easy, but it’s all yours! Choose a colour that fits your event best.

Go for transparent bulbs for your festoon lighting if you want to create a romantic, low-key mood in your backyard or over your dining table.

But choose the coloured ones, if your goal is to create a happy and upbeat party setting with your family and friends!

Choose coloured or transparent festoons depending on the mood of your event!

Bulb Shapes

Choose a bulb shape that fits the mood of your venue!

Standard Bulb

The standard bulb can be seen everywhere and is a classic design that was first invented by Thomas Edison. It’s the perfect complement to every event or party display.

This is a standard bulb.

Small Round

The smaller and rounder version of the bulb is a typical choice for LED festoon lights. These minimalistic bulbs are very versatile and don’t take the shine of other decor features.

This is a small round bulb.

#3 – Festoon Light Cable

This is the last thing to consider – promise! There are two different models of festoon lighting that can completely change the mood of the setting they’re hung up in.

The difference between standard and hanging cables is minimal, but can make a significant display to your party!

Standard String Lights

The fitting of standard string lights is directly connected to the cable. This festoon light is perfect for lower ceilings or if you prefer a bigger drop when hanging them up.

Hanging Festoon Lights

The fitting of hanging festoon lights is suspended from the cable and creates even more style for the application. These are perfect for romantic weddings, candle-light dinners, and lovely outdoor spaces.

What to do next?

Be sure not to make any of the most common mistakes when trying to hang festoon lights. Check out our guide on how to hang LED festoon lights. If you’re looking to buy LED festoon or fairy lights, make sure to check out our LED festoon light shop.

Looking for Festoon Lighting Adelaide can help you set up for your next event? Click the button below to get a free quote below or call us on 08 7082 9332.

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