How long do batteries last in fairy lights?

November 2, 2019

Great question!

Battery-operated Christmas lights can last anywhere from 4-7 hours or well over 100 hours per battery set.

Battery lights should come with an expected battery life usage time. Be on the lookout for this specification.

A few tips to keep in mind about battery lights and their batteries:

  1. Battery life is highly affected by the brand and age of the batteries. Make sure to purchase batteries of all sizes at a store that has great turnover (not the dusty battery display at the Route 66 convenience store) and is a reputable brand.

    Also make sure the batteries haven’t been in your decor stash for a couple of years.
  2. Lifespan of the batteries depends heavily on the current draw of the light strings which is a function of bulb type and wiring style.

    From shortest life to longest life here are the battery light string families:
  3. Incandescent light strings with 10-15 traditional warm bulbs are an economical choice for centerpieces and wlll last about 4-7 hours per set of C batteries.
  4. LED battery sets with traditional wiring and larger, bulb lenses. These sets look as good during the day as they do as night. A set of AA batteries will last an average of 18-24 hours.
  5. LED batteries that are of a style known as “micro drop” or firefly lights with wiring that is not insulated – fantastic little blobs of lights on “strings” – these light strings will usually last over 100 hours with fresh batteries.

Keep in mind that for LED battery lights that are multi-colored that different colors of LED bulbs use different amounts of current. Blue and green are special energy gluttons and when batteries first start to fade, these two colors are the first to go.

LED battery bulbs don’t go out all at once, they tend to fade away. If you notice that the green and blue bulbs on your string are unevenly lit compared to other colors, replace the batteries and more than likely this will totally solve the problem.

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Shellie Gardner
Aside from throwing dinner parties that feature at least two kinds of cheese dip, Shellie's passions include travel, Mid-Century Modern furnishings and finding the perfect street taco. Has been known to snort laugh champagne.

6 thoughts on “How long do batteries last in fairy lights?”

  1. Crazy lady of 85 I have always done craft of all kinds i decided to keep myself busy I started to make wreaths and snow babies for my great 5 grandbabies ok no stopping now I’ve and still making wreaths for my granddaughters (3) and now I’m making for my daughter’s (3) vases with lites yeh that’s right fairy lites in vases I was lost till I came upon your blog .my ? Is do I turn the lites just before I give them their gift I don’t want them all to go out. That would not be funny I think I would cry.thank you barbaragrizzy1111@gmail .com

    1. Hello Barbara!

      Sounds like you are having a fun time making gifts! I love that you’re keeping so busy.

      To answer your question, yes, you’d want to wait and give your gifts to your family before you start turning on the lights to preserve their battery life. Be sure to test the lights and then let your family have the honor of turning them on when they receive their gifts.

      You might also consider making the projects that can be located near an outlet with a short string of either standard or LED craft lights. These strings come with 10, 15, 20, and 35 bulbs to the string and have a 3-foot wire between the cord and the last bulb.

      You can find them in our craft lights category.

      Please don’t stop being crazy. That’s the only way to be. 🙂 Have a Merry Christmas.

  2. I’m planning to buy a couple of fairy lights for Christmas, so I was wondering how many batteries I needed to buy to keep them lit all throughout Christmas to New Year. I’m glad you mentioned that a fairy lights’ battery life largely depends on the brand and the battery age. With that in mind, I’ll buy from a reputable brand even if it’s a bit more expensive, so I can save from buying too many batteries. Thanks a lot!

    1. Hello!! Sorry for my late reply. It depends on the exact model of battery lights. It will be noted on the battery lights themselves but most of them take 3 fresh AA batteries.

      Hope that helps! Let us know if you have other questions.

      1. Do the batteries last longer if the lights are left on steady mode vs flashing or fading. I was told by my science teachers years ago that if you are only leaving a room for a short period of time, leave the light on because it takes more energy to turn your average light bulb back on then if you were to just leave it on. Again this is only when you are leaving the room for a minute or two.

        1. Thanks for your comment. I have heard about not turning off a car engine but not turning off lights before leaving a room for a short time is new for me.

          We do not have any hard and fast data to answer your question but here are some thoughts…

          For incandescent lights, since it does take more energy to ramp up and ramp down a string of lights, the batteries might very well last longer if the lights are left on. So, I guess, that’s a win for your science teacher.

          For LED lights, the way they function is different and there is no ramping up – they are either on or off. But it would stand to reason that just the act of turning on and off would run the batteries down faster.

          So, your science teacher is two for two. Yes, steady burning would preserve energy in the batteries but by how much, we don’t know.

          Thanks for asking such an interesting question and after the Christmas season, we may put it to the test.

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