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Christmas is approaching and if you’re planning on updating your decorations, some new Christmas lights may be in order.
Smart lights can give you more colour options and more control (no more crawling around under the tree to find the switch). You can set up schedules, choose patterns and change colours at the touch of a (virtual) button.
Plus, we’ve found some options for decorative smart lights that can stay up all year and don’t need to be packed away with the baubles and tinsel come January. Take a look at our round-up of the best smart lights for more ideas.
Following, we share our pick of the best smart Christmas lights available (sadly, none of them are able to untangle themselves yet).
Twinkly String Lights Generation II
- Preset patterns
- Different designs
- Placement scan via the app
- High quality
See Twinkly lights in real life and you’ll understand how far Christmas lights have come from the dusty, tangled ball of wires and bulbs you used to drag out every year. Yes, Twinkly products are expensive, but they’re also the best Christmas lights you’ll find.
They connect via Wi-Fi to the free Twinkly app, which you can use to control them and play effects – either of your own design or pre-set. Once wrapped around the tree, you can scan the set-up of the lights which gives you more accurate pattern control. You can set a timer, group them in sets with other Twinkly lights and control them together – or make them sync with music if you buy the Twinkly Music dongle ($39.99/ £23.99). If you use a voice assistant, you can even switch them on and off using voice commands.
There’s also a button on the power cord so family members without an app can switch the lights on and off and change the pattern.
But it’s not just what you can do with them that’s a big step up. They’re a significant leap in quality from standard lights, with rich colours (16 million of them, in fact) and opalescent whites.
There are numerous lengths available, so choose wisely depending on the size of your tree – or, get a longer string to decorate an entire room. We’ve reviewed the 400 LED set but Twinkly offers several smart light designs for Christmas, including an icicle design (get it in the US or the the UK).
Ollny 800 LED Christmas Lights
- Comes with remote control
- Timer and pattern options at the touch of a button
Ollny lights aren’t connected, but they are smarter than your average string of lights. They are also absolutely great value and a beautiful crisp white light (not as yellow as shown in the picture). The set here has 80 LEDs over 80m/ 262ft.
As well as your lights, you’ll get a remote control (with a battery included). There’s no messing around: from the moment you plug them in, they’ll start working. Using the remote, you can set them to play one of eight patterns: steady, in waves, sequential, slow glow and more. You can also choose their brightness level from one of four settings. Best of all, you can set a timer for six or eight hours, so they’ll be illuminated throughout the evening and switch off when you go to bed – without you needing to remember. They are also completely waterproof.
Ollny also makes indoor Christmas lights that connect via USB, which gives you another option if your plug sockets get busy around Christmas. You can opt for coloured or white and curtain or string lights. You can browse all the Ollny lights by visiting the Ollny Amazon Store in the US or the UK. Prices start from around $8.99/ £7.99.
Brizled Christmas lights
- Bluetooth connection
- Connect up to five devices
- App functionality a bit limited
Brizled Christmas lights are also smart, but they work in a slightly different way to Twinkly’s. You can choose between cool white, warm white or multi coloured LEDs, and the connected app controls the brightness rather than the patterns or colours.
Things get more interesting when you discover the pulse and disco function of the app, which can coordinate the lights with the music you’re playing.
You can also connect the lights with up to five devices, meaning the whole group can control them, although we imagine this could become quite chaotic. But what’s more Christmassy than that?
Additionally, there’s a timer and schedule feature that means you can make sure your lights are already on when you arrive home and off when you go to sleep, for example.
The app isn’t quite as polished as Twinkly’s and the usage is a little more limited, but they are much cheaper at $25.99 for 200 lights. Sadly, the Bluetooth lights are only available in the US right now, but if you’re after remote control lights there’s a big selection on Amazon in both the UK and the US.
- Touch sensors
- Screen Mirror
- Smart home integration
- Light doesn’t reach to the edge of the panels
- App unhelpful in explaining features
Nanoleaf Shapes aren’t typically used for Christmas, but they are smart and they can be used to make your home feel festive if you select particularly warm and cosy colours, or a pattern such as the one shown here.
The Wi-Fi enabled wall-mounted lights can be used to create different patterns and sequences using the accompanying app. They’re easy to set up and use, although we’ve found that the app isn’t great at explaining all the features.
Nanoleaf Shapes are expensive but you can use them year-round and change their pattern for Christmas. You can combine panels of different shapes (there are two sizes of triangles, plus the hexagonal panels we reviewed, all of which can be used together) to create your own interlocking designs.
Shapes can be set up to mirror your TV or monitor and have touch sensors so that they can be used for games. You can could create a star or a tree design that lights up in complementary colours to your favourite Christmas movie.
If you like this option, there are plenty of Nanoleaf sets to choose from. Browse them all in our dedicated Nanoleaf round-up.
Read our full Review Nanoleaf Shapes Hexagons
LIFX LED strip
- Great colour reproduction
- Easy to set up
- Not easy to move once in place
Like Nanoleaf, the LIFX LED strips aren’t designed with Christmas in mind, but they could be used to add some festive cheer to a room.
Each strip has eight colour zones, enabling you to change the overall theme using a selection of pre-set options in the connected app, or ‘paint’ your own colours if you want to make your own design.
These are bright lights with good colour reproduction – and they don’t require a hub.
Thanks to separate white LEDs, the strip also creates fantastic white light. You can choose from 2500-9000K, which is a huge range covering very warm white to cold bluish light.
The strips will adhere to most flat surfaces, are water resistant and bend vertically.