What are LED Icicle Lights?

Maggie Worth

Icicle lights are strands of decorative lights that have varying lengths of shorter light strands attached at intervals. When the main strand is hung horizontally, the shorter strands hang down like icicles. LED lights are those created from a light emitting diode. They are generally brighter and more energy-efficient than standard light bulbs. LED icicle lights, then, are strands of icicle lights made from LEDs.

LED icicle lights were originally used only during the holiday season.
LED icicle lights were originally used only during the holiday season.

The first LED lights were introduced in the early 1960s and were used primarily as low-brightness indicator lights on electronics. Eventually, their small size, long lifespan, low energy cost and potential brightness made them a popular choice for a wide variety of uses. Today, LED lights are used in automobiles, airplanes, traffic lights and, of course, decorative lighting such as LED icicle lights.

Icicle lights first appeared on the market at Christmas time in the mid-1990s. The unique shaping made them surprisingly popular. They soon became a common sight on homes decorated for Christmas. In the 2000s, the popularity of icicle lights merged with the technology of LED lights and LED icicle lights emerged.

These light strands are popular for decorating for a number of reasons. LED icicle lights use less energy than standard icicle lights, so they have less impact on seasonal power bills. They generally last far longer than traditional lights, so they are efficient for seasonal displays that are operated each year, for several days or weeks in a row and for a large portion of each day. Their size and construction makes them less prone to breakage and burnout than traditional holiday mini-lights, which decreases homeowner frustration with the light-testing and -hanging process.

LED icicle lights are brighter than other available icicle lights, so a greater effect can be made with fewer strands. LED lights also produce a truer color. Traditional lights can fade over time and can appear pastel rather than primary.

While LED icicle lights were originally available only in white and were used only during Christmas or other winter holidays, use has spread. Such lights are now available for December holidays in all white, red and green, red and white, blue, blue and white and multi-colored. Red, white and blue strands are used in the United States for patriotic holidays such as the Fourth of July. Strands are available in purple, green, orange, black and combinations thereof for use at Halloween. Other colors and color palettes are available for use in general party or event decorating.

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Discussion Comments


@Charred - I like the energy efficiency of the LED lights. This has practical applications. For example, not everyone puts up Christmas lights, and the reasons for some people may not only include the hassle of putting them up, but the costs of keeping them on during the holidays.

LED lights bring those costs way down. So I predict more people will start using this technology as news of its energy efficiency continues to spread.


@MrMoody - I would like to point out that you need to check your icicle lights periodically just as you do your regular Christmas lights.

While it is true the color quality is truer than incandescent bulbs, you can still have problems with rusted sockets and things like that. If the sockets rust out then the lights will go bad or dim.

So, the LED lights are not maintenance free. Do an online review of the different LED string lights and find out what others have to say first.


No matter where you live, there’s always one neighbor on the block who has the most decorative lights around Christmas time. In our neighborhood it was the guy who had the corner house, and he did everything imaginable.

LED Christmas icicle lights were part of his light show. I didn’t actually know what they were called at the time; I just know that they were cool.

His color scheme was red and green, true to Christmas, and as the article points out, the lights were solid hues, almost like they were photographic gels or something. I suppose this is the unique characteristic of the LED lights over the other kinds.

He climbed up his oak tree and hung them down from the middle, all around, and so the effect of “Christmas icicles” was quite real.

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