Custom Patio Lights vs. All-in-One Kits
Now that longer days and warmer nights have arrived, it’s time to break out the barbecue grill and outdoor furniture. When the sun begins to set, the harsh glare of flood lights doesn’t really say “summer party”. That’s why businesses and homeowners alike use patio string lights. This common and popular decorative choice for outdoor lighting varies in length and uses a diverse mix of light bulbs. We’re here to outline which patio lighting option is best for you.
When to Use All-In-One Kits for an Easy Solution
Simple to install and great for the home, you can purchase all-in-one patio lighting kits with the bulbs included. The drawback is kits tend to come only in shorter lengths, which you can connect end-to-end when the kits have male to female end plugs. A kit helpfully takes all of the math out of the experience, removing worries about whether the total wattage of the bulbs is too much for the light strings to handle. These kits plug into the nearest outlet and skip the potential need to call in a professional to properly hard wire longer lengths which commonly come without any end plugs at all.
Lighting Tip: Not sure if your patio string lights are long enough? Add 2 to 6 feet in length to your patio measurements. This accounts for the inevitable sag or droop in your light strings. Purchase strands in lengths that match the final numbers.
When You Want Customized Patio Lighting
Custom patio string lights give you the most control over your lights by allowing you to purchase the strand of sockets separate from the bulbs. You can use any bulbs you want as long as the bulbs’ bases match the sockets and you don’t exceed the maximum run or wattage rating of the light string. Our post The Dos and Don’ts of Patio Lighting describes how to determine the maximum run. Maximum runs are typically listed in Watts instead of in feet or number of strands. The number of strands you can connect end-to-end is dependent on the wattage of each bulb; the higher the wattage of each bulb, the fewer strands you’re able to connect. For this reason, LEDs are a good way to go, especially if your space requires a long run. If you want to connect strands for a longer run, make sure that set of patio lights has a female end plug. Male plug only string lights are not connectable and should not be spliced together.
If you’re lighting a restaurant patio, public gazebo, or any commercial outdoor area that is sure to see heavy use, you are more likely going to need commercial grade, outdoor rated patio lights in lengths exceeding 50 feet. Custom string lights are the perfect décor accent when you need certain colors for special occasions like a wedding or to show pride for your favorite sports team. Furthermore, if you need specific bulb shapes, color temperatures, have decided on a complex lighting layout, or prefer LEDs over incandescents, you will also want to consider custom patio lights.
When You Need Suspended vs. In-line Sockets
Both the all-in-one kits and the longer patio light sockets are available with either in-line or suspended sockets. The type of patio lights you choose is determined by aesthetics and the permanency of your installation. In-line sockets are better for temporary, short distances and have that “string light” look. Suspended sockets make each bulb resemble a short pendant fixture and are perfect for larger areas. These sockets are considered the more permanent installation of the two because they generally have a small hole at the top of each socket, allowing you to run a supporting line (aka “guy line”). The guy line reinforces and prevents sag across long distances.
Do you have outdoor lighting advice or suggestions? Leave your comments in the area below. Visit our patio string lights page for more options and ideas. You can also call 1-800-624-4488 to speak with our knowledgeable 1000Bulbs.com staff, providing easy solutions to your everyday lighting problems.