How Many Lights for Wrapping Christmas Trees?


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How Many Lights for Wrapping Christmas Trees?

Decorating trees with lights is an ageless holiday tradition. But estimating how many lights for wrapping Christmas trees you need to get your desired look can be a bit complicated. Simply guessing probably won’t get you the results you want – you need to consider factors like brightness, tree dimensions, type of lighting, and more.

How Many Lights for Wrapping Outdoor Trees?

Large outdoor trees are perfect for decorating using LED lights. A well-lit tree can serve as the centerpiece for the rest of your outdoor decor and create a fun, festive atmosphere for your guests.

But decking one out fully will require a fair quantity of string lights, especially if the tree is large and you’re looking for dense coverage on the branches too. You may need upwards of thousand mini-lights.

Basic Rule of Thumb

The basic rule of thumb is that for each foot of the tree’s height, you need 50 to 100 lights to getan ideal level of coverage and brightness. Go with the lower end of this range if you’re lookingfor a more laid-back display.

On the other hand, you may need as many as 150 lights per foot of tree if you want the tree to look particularly bright and flashy.

But, remember that this is just a general guideline. While this estimate is good enough to getyou in the right ballpark, you may need more or less depending on a bunch of factors – let’sdiscuss those

Other Considerations

Here’s what you need to consider to get a more accurate estimate of the amount of lights you’ll need.

  • The circumference of the tree.
    In addition to height, you should measure the circumference of the tree, especially the trunk and major branches. A larger circumference means more string lights are required for each wraparound.
  • Your desired level of brightness.
    If you want your tree to stand out and attract the attention of your guests, visitors, or customers, you’ll want more brightness and lighting. On the other hand, a dimly lit tree can be a better option in some cases, such as when you’re looking to place more attention on the overall ambiance and atmosphere of your property rather than just the tree.
  • The number of branches to cover. 
    Many outdoor trees lose their foliage and turn bare during the holidays. Now, you don’t have to light up every single branch that’s visible, only the major ones – But if you neglect the branches entirely and only light up the trunk, you might have an incomplete look.
  • The density of the foliage.
    Evergreen trees retain most of their foliage year-round. Dense foliage diffuses the light from small LED bulbs, decreasing brightness but simultaneously creating a beautiful luminous glow around the top of the tree. You can get away with using fewer lights in foliage-dense areas and still achieve this glowing effect.
  • The type of lights you’re using.
    LEDs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The smaller ones, like mini LEDs and 5mm bulbs, have faint lighting and need to be packed densely. The larger C7 and C9 bulbs are more luminous, so you won’t need as many for the same level of brightness.

Getting an Exact Measurement

To know exactly how many lights you need for any tree, you’ll need to take some measurements. These are:

  • The height of the tree.
  • The circumference of the trunk. Take this measurement at 4.5 feet above the ground. Here’s a quick guide on how to properly measure a tree.
  • How much distance to leave between each loop of string lights.

The sweet spot is generally defined as 3 to 4 inches of space between each loop, but depending on your desired level of brightness, you can leave as little as 2 inches and as much as 6 inches between each spiral.

Now for some quick math.

  • Convert your tree’s height from feet to inches.
  • Divide the height of your trunk with your spacing. This gives you the number of loops you’ll need to make around the trunk for full coverage.
  • Multiply the resulting value by the circumference of the tree.
  • The final answer is the length of string lights you need (in feet) to do one complete loop around the tree, top to bottom.

To make you understand better, let’s use an example. Assume we have a tree with an 8-foottrunk and a 3-foot circumference.

If we leave 3 inches between each loop of string lights, we would require roughly 32 loops (8feet or 96 inches divided by 3 inches) to uniformly cover the full trunk.

Since each loop has a 3-foot circumference, we would need 96 feet of string lights for the trunk.You can repeat the same process for branches and add them to the total.

Bulb Spacing for Outdoor Trees

Smaller lights, such as mini LEDs, 5mm bulbs, and C6 bulbs, come connected to the cord. The spacing is pre-set by the manufacturer – usually 4 to 6 inches of space between each bulb.

The larger C7 and C9 bulbs require more spacing. The standard spacing on the light strands for these bulbs is 12 inches.

A quick tip: C7 bulbs are the most versatile option for decorating outdoor Christmas trees due to their moderate size. C9 bulbs can look out of place on trees under 10 feet in height.

Lights for Different Size Christmas Trees

Artificial Christmas trees have a uniform build, so you can reliably estimate the amount of lights you’ll need from the height.

You generally want 100 to 150 light bulbs per foot in height for your indoor or outdoor Christmas tree

Here’s a chart to eliminate the guesswork.

Tree Height (Feet)
Recommend Quantity of Lights
300 - 450
400 - 600
500 - 750
600 - 900
700 - 1050
800 - 1200
900 - 1350
1000 - 1500

How Many Lights Do You Need for Your Christmas Tree This Year?

The amount of lights you need comes down to your Christmas Tree’s height and your desired level of brightness.

If your Christmas tree has no lighting at all, stick to the earlier recommendation of 100 to 150 mini bulbs per foot of height.

If you have a pre-decorated Christmas tree that just needs a touch more lighting, one or two strands of mini LEDs should do the trick. But you may not need LED lights in this case. Consider going with glowing ornaments instead.

Should You Buy Extra Lights?

Buying extra lights is usually a good idea. It’s better to have more lights than necessary – you can pack them in more densely or layer some of them for more volume and glow. But if you don’t have enough, you’ll be left with a bare tree at the top.

Having backups can also come in handy in case some of your lights suddenly stop working.

FAQs on How Many Lights for Wrapping Christmas Trees

Dekra-Lite has answered some of look at some of the questions our customers commonly ask:

How many lights for a 6-foot Christmas tree?

For a 6-foot Christmas tree, you should have 600 lights for normal coverage. Use up to 900lights for a brighter display.

How many lights for a 7-foot Christmas tree?

A 7-foot Christmas tree generally requires 700 lights, with 1050 lights on the upper end.

How many lights for an 8-foot Christmas tree?

800 lights will get you good coverage on an 8-foot Christmas tree, although you may want touse as many as 1200 lights if you’re looking for a truly fantastic and vibrant display.

How many lights for a 9-foot Christmas tree?

900 lights is the minimum recommended amount for a 9-foot Christmas tree, and you’ll want closer to 1350 lights to really make the tree pop.

How many Christmas lights can you string together?

Most modern LED Christmas lights allow you to connect at least 8 to 10 strands end-to-end, and many allow for even more. However, remember to always check the manufacturer's recommendations for the “maximum run” because going over the maximum run can overload electrical circuits and is a safety hazard. For example, our 5mm mini LEDs have a maximum run of 42.

How many Christmas lights per foot of tree?

For an indoor Christmas tree, 100 lights per foot is the recommended amount. For outdoor trees that tend to be bulkier and more uneven, you may need as many as 150 lights per foot.

Measuring the height and circumference of the tree will provide you with a more accurate estimate of the amount of light needed.

About the Author

Located in the heart of Orange County, California, Dekra-Lite, Inc. is a trusted leader in the commercial Christmas industry. We decorate hundreds of commercial properties, shopping centers, amusement parks, and cities each year, making holiday dreams come true all across the country.

We’d love to bring your extravagant vision to life!

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