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The 8 Best Cheap String Lights

A strand of string lights can add a bit of twinkle to any indoor or outdoor setting — without breaking the bank. When shopping for the best cheap string lights, you should know the exact measurements of your space, so you can choose a strand (or strands) that measure a few feet longer than the space to ensure the lights will fully cover it. You’ll also want to consider types of power sources before you buy — some lights plug into standard outlets or USB adapters, some run on batteries, and some are solar powered. For outdoor use, always choose string lights that are waterproof.

The best cheap string lights aren’t just budget-friendly, they’re practical for your specific space and needs too. If you want a traditional tree-light look, opt for basic string lights. Rope lights and fairy lights are fantastic for bending and shaping strands into different shapes. Globe lights have larger, eye-catching bulbs, and tape lights offer discreet lighting in places such as underneath upper cabinets. Curtain string lights feature multiple strands that can be hung up to frame a bed or outdoor space.

Most of the string lights on this list are LEDs because they’re more energy-efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs. While LED lights might cost a couple of bucks more than incandescent bulbs up front, they’ll save you money over time, and you won’t have to replace them as often.

From basic lights perfect for decorating a tree to self-powered solar rope lights, here are some of the best cheap string lights you can snag on Amazon.

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1. The Best Basic LED String Lights For Indoors & Outdoors

Length: 42.6 feet

Power source: Standard plug

These JMEXSUSS LED Indoor Outdoor String Lights are designed to look like old-school string lights, but they have energy-saving LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. They stay cool to the touch no matter how long they're on, and they're safe for both indoor and outdoor use. Unlike many string lights, this strand has about 10 feet of lead wire, so you're less likely to need an extension cord to reach an outlet. (The portion of the strand that has lights is just under 33 feet long.)

The lights have have eight different modes to choose from, including twinkle, wave, and steady on. In addition to a warm white color, you can find the string lights in blue, multicolor, and a cooler white to suite all your aesthetic needs.

Positive Amazon review: “There is a lot of room before the lights begin, so plugging it in is easy and looks nice. They’re super bright and they do cool different light show settings. Oh, and they’re also really long so you can cover a decent amount of ground with them."

2. The Best Cheap Rope Lights

Length: 40 feet

Power source: Three AA batteries (not included)

If you're looking for cheap rope light with many different settings, try these YoungPower Battery Operated LED Rope Lights. The warm white LED lights have eight modes, ranging from steady on to flashing, and 10 brightness levels. You can bend and shape the strand to your desired shape. It comes with a remote control that allows you to operate it from up to 16.4 feet away, and it also has timer functionality with auto shut-off.

The YoungPower LED Rope Lights come with a one-year warranty and are available in a colorful version too. It's important to note that the battery case isn't completely waterproof, which means these lights aren't ideal to use in wet weather. Should you need a weatherproof option for outdoor decorations, try these Areful LED Rope Lights or the solar-powered option below.

Positive Amazon review: “Love the different light settings and that you can control it with either the battery box or the remote. I liked that the wires are inside tubing so it won't rust. Not bright in the daylight but at night it's the perfect amount [...] Nice ambiance. Would buy more sets!”

3. The Best Cheap Solar-Powered Rope Lights

Length: 33 feet

Power source: Solar

Solar-powered lights are generally more expensive than other types of string lights, but these JosMega Upgraded Solar Powered String Rope Lights are very reasonably priced, and you won't need to spend money powering them through an outlet or batteries. Instead, they come with a built-in solar-powered rechargeable battery. Depending on the amount of sunlight available, the battery can fully charge in as little as four hours and last up to 12 hours.

The string lights are designed specifically for outdoor use, which makes sense for something that's powered by the sun. For this reason, the lights are waterproof, with durable, flexible tubing that protects the LEDs from the elements. They're easy to move around, too — the solar panel is attached to a stake that you can drive into the ground, or pick up and move whenever need be.

These string lights also have eight different lighting modes. They're available in packs of one or two, and in a warm white, cooler white, or multicolor variation.

Positive Amazon review: “I like that the lights can be used outside without having to run electricity to it. Very bright and pretty.”

4. The Best Cheap Globe String Lights

Length: 25 feet

Power source: Standard plug

Looking to add some light to your backyard, patio, or deck? Consider snagging these indoor/outdoor SkrLights Globe String Lights. Large, eye-catching globe lights tend to cost a few more bucks than smaller, more basic string lights, but they're well worth the price. These incandescent bulbs are waterproof and weatherproof, and they feature convenient hooks to hang them. If you need to cover more distance than 25 feet, you can safely connect up to three strands together, or you can opt for the 50 or 100-foot versions. You don't have to worry about all of the bulbs turning off if one light burns out, and the manufacturer includes a spare fuse and two spare bulbs, just in case you need to replace any of them. These globe string lights are available with white, black, or brown wire, and you can opt for LED bulbs instead of incandescent if you'd prefer.

Positive Amazon review: “I just love how these light up my space and create an awesome environment for patio sitting and wine sipping! And great price!”

5. The Best Cheap Fairy Lights

Length: 33 feet

Power source: USB port

With wire made of a lacquer-coated copper and tiny lights integrated throughout, Ehome's LED Starry Fairy String Light are dainty, sweet, and easy on the wallet. The thin wire is flexible and bendable, and it all but disappears when it's dark out and the lights are on .

These lights come with a two-year warranty and are available in three colors and either a 33- or 66-foot length. Interestingly, this set of lights plugs into a USB port rather than directly into a standard outlet or batteries, so you'll need to have a phone charger or other USB adapter on hand. The manufacturer says that the wire is appropriate for both indoor and outdoor use.

Positive Amazon review: “These little lights are perfect! The USB is genius. They are so so light weight you can hang them anywhere. You can shape them anyway you want because they are wire and flexible. Great value for the money. I'm ordering 2 more sets!”

6. The Best Cheap Tape Lights

Length: 16.4 feet

Power source: Standard plug

Unlike standard string lights, these dimmable LE LED Strip Lights can be cut to size and are backed with 3M tape. Tape lights are ideal for under-cabinet lighting or other places where you might need extra light but would like to discreetly hide away the light strip itself. Simply measure how long of a strand you need, cut it to the appropriate length, peel the backing off, and stick the strip wherever you need some extra light. The lights come with a power adapter that you plug into a standard outlet.

Positive Amazon review: “Very happy with this strip. Even at full brightness it has a very nice warm color. The fader is easy and the fades are smooth. [...] Overall a great buy for the price.”

7. The Best Cheap Curtain String Light

Length: 6.6 feet wide and 9.8 feet tall

Power source: Standard plug

If you're looking to decorate an interior wall, outdoor patio, or event space with a backdrop of lights, look no further than Magictec's LED Curtain String Light. These string lights have multiple vertically hanging strands to create a literal curtain of light. The strands are waterproof and the LED lights won't overheat. They have eight different lighting modes that you activate with just one button. Plus, they come with a money-back guarantee.

Positive Amazon review: “These are beautiful, soft white led lights. I’m amazed at how nicely they were wrapped, so undoing them to put up was very easy! You cannot beat the price for how really nice these are.”

8. The Best Budget-Friendly Incandescent String Lights

Length: 21.5 feet

Power source: Standard plug

While LED lights are the smarter option for cutting down on utility costs in the long run, you can save a couple bucks up front by opting for basic incandescent Holiday Joy Clear White Mini String Lights. They're safe to use both indoors and outdoors, and you can connect up to five sets of string lights. If one bulb goes out, the rest of the string won’t — and each strand comes with spare bulbs and replacement fuses. These particular lights have a white wire; if you're on the hunt for green string lights (perhaps to decorate a tree) take a look at the these PrexTex Christmas Lights instead.

Positive Amazon review: “These lights were relatively inexpensive, light up the room quite well, and look nice too!”