Can You Leave Outdoor String Lights Out In Winter? 

Outdoor string lights in winter on patio.

Outdoor string lights are a popular and stylish addition to any backyard or outdoor space. They create a warm and inviting ambiance and are perfect for outdoor gatherings, parties, or just relaxing outside on a warm summer night. However, as winter approaches, many people wonder whether they can leave their outdoor string lights out in the cold and snow. 

It’s important to understand that not all outdoor string lights are created equal. There are different types of string lights, and each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some string lights are designed specifically for outdoor use and can withstand harsh weather conditions, while others are meant for indoor use and won’t hold up as well outside. 

So, before we dive into whether outdoor string lights can survive the winter, let’s take a look at the different types of string lights available.

Types of Outdoor String Lights

There are two main types of outdoor string lights: incandescent and LED. Incandescent string lights are the more traditional type of string lights and are recognizable by their warm, yellowish glow. They use a filament that heats up to produce light, which means they tend to use more energy and produce more heat than LED lights. LED string lights, on the other hand, use light-emitting diodes to produce light. They are more energy-efficient and produce less heat than incandescent lights.

When it comes to outdoor use, LED string lights are generally the better choice. They are more durable, longer-lasting, and energy-efficient than incandescent lights. They also produce less heat, which means they are less likely to cause a fire or overheat.

Can Outdoor String Lights Survive the Winter?

Now, let’s get to the question at hand: can outdoor string lights survive the winter? The short answer is yes, outdoor string lights can survive the winter, but it depends on a few factors.

One of the biggest factors is the type of string lights you have. LED string lights are generally more durable and can withstand colder temperatures better than incandescent lights. However, even LED string lights can be damaged if they are exposed to extremely cold temperatures for an extended period of time.

Another factor is the material the string lights are made of. Outdoor string lights made of high-quality materials, such as heavy-duty wire and weather-resistant bulbs, are more likely to survive the winter than cheaper, lower-quality options.

How you store your string lights during the winter months can also play a role in their survival. If you leave your string lights outside all winter long, they are more likely to be damaged by snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. However, if you take the time to properly store them indoors or in a covered area, you can help prolong their lifespan and ensure they are ready to use again when the weather warms up.

Pro Tip

Patio string lights that are made for outdoors like these Govee color-changing smart LED bulbs are perfect for surviving harsh winters. I have color-changing LED lights on my house, and since I can choose the colors… I use them for many different holidays! That means less clutter since I don’t have as many lights to store.

Govee Outdoor String Lights H7021, 96ft RGBIC Halloween Lights Outdoor with 30 Dimmable IP65 Waterproof Warm White LED Bulbs, 2 Ropes of 48ft Outdoor String Lights Work with Alexa for Decoration

Tips for Protecting Outdoor String Lights in Winter

If you want to ensure your outdoor string lights survive the winter, there are a few things you can do to protect them:

  1. Choose high-quality string lights made of durable materials that are designed for outdoor use.
  2. Consider using LED string lights instead of incandescent lights, as they are more durable and energy-efficient.
  3. Before winter arrives, take the time to properly clean and dry your string lights.
  4. Store your string lights indoors or in a covered area during the winter months.
  5. If you must leave your string lights outside, consider using weather-resistant covers to protect them from the elements.
  6. Check your string lights regularly throughout the winter to ensure they are still in good condition.


Outdoor string lights can survive the winter, but it depends on several factors. Choosing high-quality string lights made of durable materials and using LED lights instead of incandescent lights can help increase their chances of survival. Properly storing your string lights indoors or in a covered area during winter can also help protect them from damage.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that even the best-quality outdoor string lights can be damaged by extremely cold temperatures, snow, ice, and other harsh weather conditions. If you’re unsure whether your string lights can handle the winter, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take them down or store them indoors until the weather warms up.

With proper care and maintenance, outdoor string lights can add a beautiful and inviting touch to your outdoor space year-round, including during the winter months. By following these tips and taking the time to protect your string lights, you can enjoy their warm glow and ambiance even in the coldest months of the year.