What are Battery-Powered Christmas Lights?

Dan Cavallari

Battery-powered Christmas lights are strings of small lights, very often LED lights, that are powered by batteries rather than electricity conducted through a power outlet and plug. These allow a user to string the lights in more places, particularly places that are far away from an electrical outlet. While these Christmas lights offer versatility in their placement, they are limited in the amount of time the lights can be used. The batteries will die after a certain amount of burn time, so many people choose to use rechargeable batteries. LED lights tend to use less energy than other types of lights, thereby increasing the amount of potential burn time.

Battery-powered Christmas lights offer versatility in their placement due to the fact that they are powered by batteries rather than by electricity through a power outlet.
Battery-powered Christmas lights offer versatility in their placement due to the fact that they are powered by batteries rather than by electricity through a power outlet.

Most Christmas lights feature a similar design: several small lights are connected by woven wires that provide the power to the individual bulbs. The power source is connected to one end of the string of lights. They usually have a plug on one end that can be affixed to a wall outlet that supplies power. Battery-powered Christmas lights feature a battery pack at one end of the string of lights instead of a plug, thereby eliminating the need for a wall outlet. The size of the batteries, as well as the number of batteries necessary, will depend on the length of the string of lights as well as the size of the lights. Smaller strings of light will require only AA batteries, while longer strings or larger bulbs will require larger batteries.

LEDs use less energy than traditional lights.
LEDs use less energy than traditional lights.

Other styles of battery-powered Christmas lights exist as well. One increasingly popular style of battery-powered Christmas lights is the window candle. These lights feature a plastic shell that mimics the look of a wax candle; the top of the candle is a bulb that imitates the light of a flame from a regular candle. The batteries are usually inserted right into the body of the plastic candle to conceal the power source. Many plastic candles feature a plastic base to provide stability as well, and the bulbs can be replaced easily if necessary. Since these lights are low wattage, the battery life is quite long. The batteries may last an entire Christmas season or more.

Many battery-powered Christmas lights are small and portable; some can even be worn on a garment. These types of lights might operate off an even smaller battery, such as a watch battery. Since LED lights have become the standard, battery life has been extended and the power requirements have been reduced, thereby allowing the use of smaller batteries that will last longer than in times past.

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Discussion Comments


Probably the worst use of battery-powered Christmas lights is inside a gaudy sweater. We've all seen those overly decorated Christmas garments that people wear just to make fun of how awful they look. The gaudiest by far are the ones that incorporate blinking lights into their design.

My cousin had an ugly Christmas sweater party last year, and guests tried to outdo each other. The winner was a woman who wore a sweater with all twelve reindeer on it. Every one but Rudolph had a blinking yellow light for a nose, and of course, he had a red one that was bigger than the others.

Most Christmas sweaters I have seen have used just one battery-powered light. This woman's sweater really took the cake.


@StarJo – My favorite kind of battery-powered Christmas lights are the ones that my uncle had at his December wedding last year. They came woven around tall willow tree branches and stuffed inside a base that took three AA batteries.

It looked as if the bridesmaids had spent hours delicately weaving the strings of white lights around the branches, but they told me that they bought them that way. The branches were very realistic looking, so I was fooled.

The white lights gave off a gentle glow perfect for a winter wedding. In the reception hall, someone had also stuffed some battery-operated lights down into empty wine bottles, and that was also a very nice effect. My cousins loved this so much that they strung smaller glass bottles filled with lights from their porch ceilings as part of their outdoor Christmas decorations!


I have seen those fake candles in people's windows during Christmas season before, and I used to wonder why they kept them burning while they slept. It wasn't until just a few years ago that I saw one up close and figured out it was battery-powered.

To me, they aren't very attractive. They don't look like real candles when you get near them, and they actually look really cheap.

What other types of battery-powered Christmas lights are out there? I would like to hear about some interesting ones that look fancier than a plastic candle.


I had never heard of battery-operated Christmas lights before reading this article. It sounds like an awesome idea. I know that having extension cords strung all over your yard to various trees and bushes can really create a hazardous zone, because I've tripped over quite a few in my lifetime.

Most of my trees are on the far edges of my yard, so I finally gave up on decorating them. I hated having those cords pulled way out there, and I worried about a neighbor's dog chewing on them and setting off a fire.

I will be looking into getting some battery-powered lights next year. It would be great to be able to decorate the big blue spruce near the road again.

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