Fairy Lights vs LED Lights: All You Need To Know

The comparison of fairy lights vs LED lights is getting hot, with many people wondering which is the best option for their lighting needs. 

The truth is that both options can offer you a touch of enchantment and illumination to brighten your space. 

Generally, fairy lights, or string lights, are known for having delicate, dainty bulbs linked on a thin wire. 

These lights are responsible for a warm and soft light that produces a whimsical atmosphere.  

Conversely, LED lights are technologically advanced lights with energy-efficient diodes and are responsible for producing vibrant and bright light. 

Moreover, you can control their brightness and intensity to fit your lighting requirement. 

The choice between fairy and LED lights depends on your intended application and desired aesthetics. 

Today’s article highlights the differences and similarities between fairy and LED lights to help you make an informed lighting decision. 

What Are Fairy Lights

We sometimes call these lights twinkle or string lights, a decorative light type with small bulbs on a flexible string or wire. 

These lights are great for creating a whimsical and magical ambiance in any setting.  

Traditionally, these lights consisted mainly of incandescent light but are now replaced with more energy-efficient LED technology. 

Check at any wedding or party, and you’ll find fairy lights in use to enhance the ambiance. 

What Are LED Lights

Different current LED technologies

(Different current LED technologies)

These lights employ semiconductors to produce the most energy-efficient lighting solution. 

When you allow current through a semiconductor (light-emitting diode), the holes and electrons will recombine, causing light production. 

When we compare LEDs with conventional lights, they convert a larger percentage of their incoming energy into useful light. 

Moreover, they emit limited heat and have no harmful elements that might cause environmental pollution. 

As per research, LEDs convert at least 90% of the electrical energy into light, compared to 10% for conventional options. 

You’ll find LEDs in different colors (white, warm, and cool) and different applications (commercial, industrial, and residential).

 LEDs stand out because of their customizable and control features that allow you to control light brightness and intensity to meet your requirements.  

Fairy Lights vs. LED Lights: Differences

A young woman holding fairy lights in her hands

(A young woman holding fairy lights in her hands)

We have many differences between fairy and LED lights, as we’ll highlight below.

Light Source

First, fairy lights use incandescent or small incandescent-like light-emitting diodes to produce a soft and warm glow. 

These lights create an intimate and cozy environment. 

Conversely, LED lights produce light thanks to the current flowing through LEDs. 

These lights produce many colors, including vibrant hues, warm light, and cool light. 

Energy Efficiency

One main characteristic of LED lights is their high energy efficiency since they convert most incoming energy into useful light. 

This makes them cost-effective in the long term and environmentally friendly. 

Surprisingly, modern LEDs convert over 90% of their incoming energy into useful lights. 

Since fairy lights are mainly designed with incandescent light, they’re less energy-efficient, converting less than 10% of their incoming energy into light. 

They lose most energy in the form of heat. 


A street with bright LED lights

(A street with bright LED lights)

Regarding durability, LED lights have one of the longest lifespans boasting about 50,000 operating hours. 

Therefore, using them guarantees a lower replacement rate, thus lowering the long-term running costs. 

Conversely, incandescent lights have an average of 1,000-2,000 hours, thus requiring regular replacements.


Since LED lights are highly energy-efficient, they produce less heat, thus less risk of causing a fire. Moreover, they function on a lower voltage, limiting cases of an electric shock. 

Conversely, fairy lights that use incandescent bulbs might overheat, causing fire-related risks.

 Moreover, they come with harmful elements like mercury, which can harm humans and the environment. Therefore, fairy lights are less risky than LED lights


Generally, you’ll find it cheaper to buy fairy lights than LED ones. However, considering the durability, lifespan, replacements, and energy efficiency, you’ll find LED lights more cost-effective. 

Fairy Lights vs. LED Lights: Similarities

Fairy lights chain on golden glitter

(Fairy lights chain on golden glitter)

Despite the above differences between LED and fairy lights, some similarities are worth your attention. 

Decorative Lighting

First, you can use both LED and fairy lights for decorative purposes since they enhance the visual appeal of any location.

 Therefore, you’ll find these lights being used to enhance the ambiance at events, weddings, and parties.


These lights present versatility regarding placement and usage. 

For example, you can drop them on walls, wrap them around objects, and hang them from ceilings. 

Moreover, nothing stops you from using them in indoor and outdoor settings to decorate different spaces. 

Multiple Colors

Although we mainly link fairy lights with yellow or warm white tones, you can still find them in various color options. 

Similarly, LED lights are available in different lights, including blue, green, red, cool white, warm white, and white lights. 

Therefore, you can use these lights individually or in combinations to fit specific occasions or your preference.  

Ease of Use 

You’ll find LED and fairy easy to use even if it’s your first time. These lights come with a plug-and-play functionality that provides hassle-free operation and easy installation. 

Modern fairy and LED lights also feature programmable settings and remote control features to help you adjust brightness, intensity, and color. 


What can you use fairy lights for?

Fairy lights, just like LED lights, find application in different use cases and situations, including the following:

  • Enhancing the atmosphere in cafes and restaurants
  • Decorations in homes, especially during Christmas
  • Creating an enchanting and cozy ambiance in living spaces
  • Illuminating staircases and pathways to improve aesthetics and safety
  • Incorporating a romantic touch into events such as weddings

What can you use LED lights for?

LED lights are versatile, and you can use them for energy-efficient lighting. 

First, these lights are common for general lighting purposes, especially in bathrooms and bedrooms.

 Secondly, few lighting solutions can compete with LED light regarding decorative lighting, especially in giving parties a vibrant ambiance. 

Thirdly, since some LEDs are water resistant, no better lighting fits the outdoor lighting purpose, especially for lighting landscapes and pathways.

 In recent years, LEDs have been incorporated in hotels and restaurants for commercial use. 

And if you check most electronics you’re operating, like smartwatches, they’re likely operating on LED lights. 

Finally, LEDs offer the best solution for accent and interior lighting. 

How long can you leave fairy lights on? 

There is no limit to how long you can have your fairy lights on. However, what would be the point of leaving the lights on when you don’t need them? 

Generally, fairy light can be left on for longer periods without damage. 

But the exact period you leave them on should depend on the manufacturer’s recommendation, bulb type, and light quality. 

For example, we have highly efficient fairy lights that you can safely leave on for more than 24 hours without worrying. 

But if the fairy lights are low-quality or older, limit the time to prevent overheating. 

Final Remarks

If you’re looking for a worthy lighting solution, consider fairy lights or the more efficient LED lights. 

Both options will offer vibrant decorative lighting with multiple colors and high versatility. 

However, while LED lights excel in energy efficiency and improved safety, fairy light stands out for a friendly initial cost. 

Also, consider LED lights if you don’t intend to invest in other lighting options sooner.