Christmas Light Energy Cost Calculator

christmas light cost calculator


Your Christmas lights are probably up and you’re wondering, “Just how much do Christmas lights cost to run?” To learn the DIY method of calculating your energy costs for your lighting display this holiday season, check out the formula below. Or if you would like an estimate, see the handy Christmas Light Energy Cost Calculator at the bottom of this article to help you figure it out.

To calculate your Christmas light energy usage yourself, you’ll need to know:

How many strands of Christmas lights you put up

  1. The type of Christmas lights (LED or incandescent)
  2. The size of Christmas light bulb (mini, medium C7, or large C9)
  3. The number of watts used per strand for an exact calculation. You can find the wattage on the tag of the light strand near the plug, or see the chart below for some estimates.
  4. The number of hours each day you will run your Christmas lights (average 6 hours).
  5. The number of days you will run your Christmas lights (average 45 days).
  6.  The average cost per kilowatt hour, which is 11.3 cents per hour nationally or 10.65 cents per hour in Florida. You can also use the exact cost per kilowatt-hour that your energy company charges, which you should be able to find on your monthly electric bill.

If you don’t want to dig up all these numbers, you can use our Christmas Light Energy Cost Calculator below based on the average user’s holiday light use to estimate your holiday light energy cost.

How many watts do Christmas lights use?

The watts for each string of Christmas lights should be listed on the plastic tag which you can usually find near the plug. In the chart below we have included the watts for popular versions of white Christmas lights based on products sold at Home Depot. It should be noted, though, that sometimes lights use more watts than what is listed on the tag. To test how many watts your lights actually use, you can get a power meter like this one. For example, while a string of incandescent mini lights is listed as using 42.5 watts, it might actually use around 51 watts when tested.

You can see from our article “Eight Ways To Save Money On Your Christmas Light Bill” that LED lights use significantly less power than incandescent lights, especially for the large old-fashioned style Christmas light bulbs. While the cost to buy LED lights is more upfront, they can save you up to 90% on energy costs in the long run.

Check out our chart below to see how many watts your Christmas lights use.

How Much Do Christmas Lights Cost To Run?

In order to find out how much basic Home Depot Christmas lights cost to run, we used the national average electricity cost of 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour and this simple formula:

  1. Find how many watts each strand of lights will use.
  2. Multiply times 0.001 to find kilo-watt hour.
  3. Multiply by 11.3 cents to find cost per hour.
  4. Multiply by 6 hours a day to find kwh/day.
  5. Multiply by 45 days to find kwh/season.

Chart with Christmas light watts per hour and season

Christmas Light Energy Cost Calculator

Here’s how you can calculate your total energy cost for your Christmas light display this season.

  1. Find your type of Christmas lights and the average cost per season for each strand in the last column of the chart above.
  2. Plug the cost per season into the calculator.
  3. Enter how many strands you will be using in the calculator.
  4. The “Answer” that appears is the cost per season for that type of lights.
  5. If you have more than one type of lights, repeat and add the totals together to find your total Christmas light energy cost per season.


Christmas Light Safety

While you are calculating costs for your Christmas light display, it is important that you are considering safety as well. Overloading a circuit with Christmas lights is unfortunately a common cause of electrical fires and other electrical emergencies. You can estimate the amps used by each strand, but to ensure safety you should always consult with a professional before adding Christmas lights to circuits that already power other appliances and lighting, such as your outdoor residential or office lighting. If during the holiday you have an electrical emergency, please remember we will be open 24/7 to assist you.


If you have already installed your Christmas or holiday lights and want to ensure that the load for each circuit is safe, the professionals at Palmer Electric can help. The licensed electricians at Palmer Electric have been providing safe installation and general electrical services for over 65 years. Our team can assist you in making sure that your Christmas lighting display is safe for your home and your family. We also provide outdoor lighting installation services. It is much better to prevent an electrical emergency at your home or office than to wait until a crisis to call for professional assistance. Visit our contact page or call us at 877-732-1951 for a free quote.

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