Store-Bought vs Commercial-Grade Christmas Lights: What’s the Difference?

Store-Bought vs Commercial-Grade Christmas Lights

Every year, you deck your house out in holiday decorations. You might have considered things like LED or incandescent lights or light ropes vs. icicle lights. But one question you might not have asked is:

What’s the difference between store-bought and commercial holiday lights?

Although store-bought lights have some advantages, it’s commercial-grade Christmas lights that give you more bang for your buck. For one, most pro grade holiday lights are made from more durable components. As a result, they tend to last longer. Also, they’re typically full-wave lights, which results in brighter displays.

Are you planning your holiday lighting display and considering your options? Here’s a closer look at the differences between retail Christmas lights and professional-grade lights.

Advantages of Commercial Grade Holiday Lights:

There are a variety of reasons you might consider commercial holiday lights. They tend to be more durable, brighter, and they also last longer. Here are some of the advantages:

  • Water-Resistant Design – Most retail lights have bulbs that can be removed
    from the socket. Commercial holiday lights, on the other hand, typically feature a sealed, one-piece design. Why does this matter? This design style prevents water from seeping into the socket – which is a common reason for light failure.
  • Long Lasting Performance – Commercial grade lights average about 75,000
    hours of performance. That’s significantly better than retail lights. Most commercial strands perform for about 8-10 years.
  • Higher Quality Components – Most commercial light strands feature high-quality diode lights, as well as 12- or 18-gauge wire. This makes them brighter than the majority of retail lights.
  • Full Wave Brightness – You might not know this, but LED lights actually cycle on and off numerous times per second. Full-wave lights cycle much faster than half-wave lights. As a result, they tend to provide more brilliant, brighter lighting. Most commercial lights are full-wave.
  • Shorter Lengths – Although a shorter light strand might not seem like an advantage, it actually is. Shorter light strands tend to perform longer, as there are fewer components that can lead to light failure. Typically, commercial light strands will have 50-100 bulbs. Any longer and you can run into trouble.

Why You Might Consider Retail Lights?

One reason a lot of people consider store-bought lights is convenience. They’re
widely available every holiday season, and you’ll find them at nearly every Big Box
store. Commercial lights, on the other hand, aren’t as widely available, and
sometimes have to be special ordered.

The biggest advantage of retail Christmas lights, though, is price. These lights tend
to come at a cheaper price point. But the lower cost, also means you’re getting
lower quality lights. Store-bought incandescent lights may only last 3,000 hours,
while a regular strand of LED lights might result in 50,000 hours.

Commercial Grade Christmas Light Installations

Finally, you might also consider commercial-grade lights, because often times,
they’re installed primarily by a Christmas light installation company, like Clean and Clear Lighting.

When you work with a professional holiday lighting installer, you experience even
more benefits:

  • Light leasing – Light leasing is one option, where you only lease the lights for the holiday season. You don’t have to worry about storage or replacement costs.
  • Cut-to-Order lights – Often times, commercial Christmas lights can be cut to specific lengths to properly fit your home. As a result, there isn’t excess wire, and the lights fit your home better.
  • Better displays – Christmas lighting companies help you decorate your home for maximum appeal. Not only will your display be brighter, it will a look better (thanks to professional design help).


Need help with your holiday lights in the Twin Cities? Contact Clean and Clear Lighting today for an Free Estimate. We install holiday lights throughout the Twin Cities, and offer light leasing and design expertise.

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We install outdoor holiday lights throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro. Contact us today for a quick estimate or to schedule an appointment!