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How Many Strands Can be Linked Together?

With the bright holidays coming, soon it will be time to decorate with festive strings of light. Before the decorating begins, it is important to know how many strands of lights can be connected together while maintaining important safety standards. Being aware of current standards and what type of lights should be used will help to easily determine how many strands can be connected together.

Safety Standards

Being aware of current standards helps determine how many strands can be linked. UL, Underwriters Laboratories Inc., is the most relied upon source globally for determining safety standards of products. Any product purchased by Christmas Lights, Etc has been manufactured under UL standards. In the past, the standard was that only three strands could be linked together. In February 2008, the section UL 588, which specifically deals with seasonal and holiday decorative products, was revised. It now took into consideration new types of lights that use lower wattages. The standard states as long as the total number of wattages does not exceed 210 watts, safety is maintained. This is using 22 gauge wire which is a good commercial grade to maximize wattage.

LEDs Use Less

LEDs are highly recommended because they use lower wattages which allow more strands to be connected safely. LEDs use 1 to 3 kilowatt hours of energy, whereas incandescents use 12 105 kWh. If an LED string has 2.4 watts, as many as 87 strings can be linked together. Do not worry if the cord tag or instructions on the strand states only three strings maximum. This just means the strand was manufactured before the newer version of UL 588.

LEDs, because of the way they work, are safer than incandescents. Incandescents work by filaments in each bulb heating up and run a higher risk of fire. LEDs use a path of electrons and run much cooler. LEDs should be used to get the maximum number of strands and to ensure safety.


Get creative and link many different types of strands together. Just make sure the wattage of each strand is included in the total. The color of the bulb is not a factor in calculating wattages. To get a finished holiday look, add a prelit garland.

Using LEDs and being aware of the new UL 588 standard allows linking many strands together safely. Just add the total wattage of each string and make sure it does not exceed the maximum of 210 watts. Now decorating can be done more easily and safely.


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