How Many Lights for Trees?

How Many Christmas Lights for Trees

LED Christmas Lights
LED Lights on Outdoor Trees

When trying to calculate how many lights are needed for trees, there are a few industry standards, as well as considerations that must be taken.

Quick Light Calculation Q/A

Shop Best Christmas Lights for Trees

Mini Lights Shop Mini Lights
  • Use: tree trunks and branches
  • Clear, color and twinkle
  • Connect up to 500 bulbs
Wide Angle 5MM LEDs Shop Wide Angle 5MM LEDs
  • Use: tree trunks, branches, bushes
  • Bright colors, whites, twinkle
  • Connect over 3,000 bulbs!
M5 Mini Ice Shop M5 LED Mini Lights
  • Use: tree trunks, branches and bushes
  • Bright bold colors, soft white light
  • Connect over 3,000 bulbs!
LED Cascade Lights Shop LED Light Tubes
  • Hang from tree limbs
  • Resembles falling snow or meteors
  • Unique bulbs with C7/C9 bases
C6 Stawberry Shop C6 Stawberry LED Lights
  • Use: wrapping tree canopy
  • Also great in hedges and shrubs
  • Connect over 3,000 bulbs!
G20 LED Lights Shop G20 LED Lights
  • Round 20mm globe lights
  • Use: trees, dense greenery
  • Connect many LEDs!

There is no exact calculation to determine how many lights are required to light outdoor trees. Slender and deciduous trees will require the least amount of lights for desired affect. Evergreen trees including Spruce, Pines and Firs that retain most of their foliage in the winter may require up to 25% more lights than the recommended count.

Recommended Number of Lights for Outdoor Trees

Tree Height Mini Lights C7 Lights C9 Lights
4' 100 25 -
6' 200 50 -
8' 300 100 -
10' 400 150 -
12' 600 200 -
15' 800 250 250
20' 1,000 300 300
25' 1,300 400 400
30' 1,600 600 600
40' 2,200 1,000 1,000
50' 3,000 1,500 1,500

Recommended Number of Lights for Christmas Trees

Rule of Thumb: Christmas trees

  • For medium lighting, figure 100 mini lights per vertical foot of the tree
  • For heavy lighting, figure 200 mini lights per vertical foot
Tree Height Mini Lights 5mm LEDs C7 Bulbs
4' 400 300 25
6' 600 450 50
8' 800 600 100
10' 1,000 750 150
12' 1200 900 200
14' 1,500 1,125 250
20' 2,000 1,500 480

Factors in Bulb Spacing and String Length

String length is a consideration when calculating how many lights are needed. 100 light count strings can come with various spacing between bulbs, resulting in string lengths that can differ by 15' or more.

  • Indoor Christmas trees: Light counts are standard with the chart below, following the rule of thumb for 100 lights per vertical foot
    • Most popular: 4" bulb spacing to allow for maximum lighting with minimal wire
    • If wrapping branches: 6" or 8" spacing is recommended to allow space for wire to wrap tightly around each branch
  • Outdoor trees
    • Evergreen trees are thick, needing additional string length to ensure complete coverage. 6" bulb spacing is ideal. Consider using C7 and C9 bulbs.
    • Deciduous trees shed leaves, requiring fewer lights if simply draping and more if wrapping trunks and branches. 8" spacing is ideal.
    • Trunks and branches require higher light counts. Learn more through our dedicated resource page for Wrapping Outdoor Trees with Lights. For lots of lights, 4-5 light strings should cover trunks and main branches. Many trunks can be wrapped with 1-2.
    • Bushes and hedges - light counts remain standard, however many people choose to use net lights for quick and even coverage. When using light strings, choose random light patterns as opposed to uniform for best effect.

Popular Lights for Trees

The type of light string chosen makes a difference in light count. The most popular bulb sizes for trees are mini lights, 5mm wide angle LED bulbs, and C7 bulbs.

  • Mini lights: the most popular bulb in Christmas tree lights for indoor and outdoor use
    • Standard grade - 210 watts can be connected, (typically 600 bulbs)
    • Premium grade - 210 watts can be connected (typically 600 bulbs), includes lamp lock to ensure bulb stays secure in the socket
    • Commercial grade - 420 watts can be connected (typically 1,000 bulbs)
  • 5mm LED lights: the preferred LED bulb size for indoor Christmas trees. Less bulbs are required per foot since the light in a wide angle LED light is much brighter than an incandescent mini light. Over 3,000 5mm LED bulbs can be connected together - approximately 48 sets of lights.
  • C7 bulbs: a popular bulb size due to its retro appearance. Larger in size and light output, far less C7 bulbs are required for tree lighting than mini lights
  • C9 bulbs: intended for large and overly dense or tall outdoor trees

C6 LED Christmas Lights on trees
C6 Green Strawberry Lights Wrapped in Trees

Light Calculations for Power

Every Christmas lighting project requires light calculations for power. Lights will burn brighter and last longer when the proper calculations are used to determine how many lights can be plugged together. The UL standard for how many lights can be connected has recently changed, allowing for up to 210 watts to be plugged together on a standard 22 gauge wire, and 410 watts on a commercial grade 20 gauge wire. C7 bulbs vary greatly depending in wire gauge used, which can be as thick as 18 gauge, allowing for up to 100 C7 bulbs to be connected.

For additional detail, read our informational page on calculating Christmas lights wattage

LED Christmas Lights
Lights on Outdoor Trees

Additional Tips

  • To best determine how many Christmas lights you need, we recommend lighting counts based on:
  • Before the decorating begins, plug up each string to test it. It is a lot easier to correct any issues before the lights are on the tree.
  • Christmas trees: When stringing lights, start from the top of the tree and work your way to the bottom. The female end of the plug can be connected to the tree topper.
  • Christmas trees: Run the light strings along the inside of the tree branches to give the tree more depth.
  • Outdoor trees: Start at the base of the tree, work your way up the trunk and branches, and back down.
  • Personal preference is the ultimate deciding factor, so while these are recommended counts, you should be safe increasing or decreasing the bulb count to your own tastes.

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