Fairy Lights vs String Lights: What’s The Difference

fairy lights vs string lights

Have you ever heard of fairy lights and wondered about the difference of fairy lights vs string lights? Wonder no more! In this article, we clear up common misconceptions about these and a few other decorative lights. So if you are in the market for a novel lighting solution for your indoor or outdoor space, read on! 

What Are Fairy Lights?

Fairy lights are decorative lights that may be used for indoor and outdoor applications. Commonly installed as special lighting fixtures during holidays and festive events, they are often referred to interchangeably as “Christmas lights”. 

Fairy Lights vs String Lights Explained

Because fairy lights typically come in strands, they are also called string lights. But string lights encompass a wide variety of designs, so the term isn’t quite accurate when referring to fairy lights. To put it another way, fairy lights are only one type of string light, and there are many others besides, including: 

  • Festoon globes
  • Lantern string lights
  • Vintage string lights
  • Outdoor string lights
  • Twinkle star lights
  • Jar string lights

The Fairy Light-LED Light Connection  

LED string lights are another type of light commonly confused with fairy lights. But a closer look at the bulbs shows an important difference. Standard fairy lights use traditional bulbs that can burn out. LED lights generally last much longer due to the absence of a filament. 

Standard fairy lights and LED lights are both single-use lighting solutions, which means they aren’t typically repaired when one or more bulbs give out. When this happens, the entire light strand is simply thrown away. Nevertheless, LED lights generally last longer than standard fairy lights. 

Of course, there are fairy lights that use LED bulbs as well, which is where most of the confusion comes from. These have LED bulbs attached to thin metal wires that can be bent and shaped to fit into confined spaces and around objects. Many models are designed to run on batteries with a timer that allows for hands-free control. 

What Are Fairy Lights Used For?

Fairy lamps can be used pretty much anywhere there is a need for subdued lighting. If standard lighting fixtures such as globes and lamps are just too bright for you, consider switching to fairy lights instead. 

The use of fairy lights and string lights for Christmas and other holidays and festive events is well known. But they are also commonly used as nightlights and nursery lights due to their ability to provide adequate illumination that never gets too overbearing. 

It might also surprise you to know that fairy lights have been used for vaporization purposes. Although this application is fairly rare, it has been beneficial for easing symptoms of respiratory conditions in some patients. 

Fairy lights are also useful as part of a home security system. In some cases, subdued lighting is a better option for deterring potential intruders, and fairy lights have proven suitable for these purposes.

Of course, fairy lights can also be used to create a more relaxing and mellow atmosphere. You don’t necessarily want the full glare of overhead lights or even a bedside lamp when you are reading in bed or sleeping in. You might find that fairy lights are better suited to your needs, whether wrapped around your bed posts or laid across your headboard. This could be just the thing to give your room a warm and cozy glow.

Powering Fairy Lights 

Like most string lights, fairy lights come in battery and mains-powered versions. Electrical fairy lights don’t take up much power, so they are suitable options if you have a free power outlet nearby. 

Of course, you can’t beat battery-powered models for convenience. With these types of lights, you don’t even have to worry about being anywhere near a socket or your home, for that matter. Simply string them up, and you can illuminate any area you wish. 

You do have to worry about the batteries running down if you plan on leaving your lights on for long periods. As we said previously, fairy lights don’t consume too much power, but you still have to account for occasional battery replacements from time to time. 

Alternatively, you could go for solar-powered lights that draw power from the sun to charge their built-in batteries. These are the most cost-effective options and are perfect for outdoor spaces that you want to illuminate constantly.