Can Christmas Lights Get Wet? – Outdoor Christmas Lights IP Ratings


The Christmas holiday is never complete without the beautiful lights illuminating the Christmas tree and surroundings. But outdoor holiday lights are exposed, unlike indoor lights, which are safe from harsh weather conditions. Primarily, this is because a Christmas tree will remain outdoors where it’s likely to come into contact with water. So this begs the million-dollar question, can Christmas lights get wet? Let us explore more on this below. 

What Kind of Christmas Lights Should I Get for Outdoor Use?

You probably place your Christmas tree lights outside. Hence, it’s vital to use outdoor lights for the fixture as they are weather-resistant and more durable. Check their IP rating if you’re unsure whether your Christmas lights are fit for use in the outdoor space. 

IP means “Ingress Protection” and represents the level of resistance of a lighting fixture to moisture and harsh weather. It also measures the tolerance of the outdoor fixture to foreign matter, such as dirt. 

IP ratings range from zero to 69. An electrical item with an IP0 rating has no protection from rainy conditions and foreign objects. Meanwhile, an IP60-rated component has complete protection from rainwater and other objects. 

Colorful Christmas lights

Colorful Christmas lights

Top Outdoor Christmas Lights IP Ratings

The following are some of the top IP ratings you should consider for your outdoor Christmas lights. 


Strings of lights with such a rating have protection from water sprays and are thus fit for use in wet locations. Nonetheless, they are not the best option for wet conditions, as others have a better rating. If you’re operating on a tight budget, you can go for IP44 light bulbs. 


Light strings with an IP55 rating will fare better than IP44 lights regarding tolerance to harsh weather. IP55 LED lights are not only resistant to wet weather but also dust. 

Hence, they are the commonest option for LED light fixtures


IP66-rated LED lights are common as outdoor garden lights thanks to their resistance to high-pressure water jets and dust ingress.

IP code mark

IP code mark

Are Christmas Lights Waterproof?

Most outdoor lights are waterproof

Most outdoor lights are waterproof.

Many modern Christmas lights are waterproof, especially with an IP44 rating. But, although most Christmas tree lights are suitable for use in dangerous situations, not all are fit for all weather.

Hence when choosing Christmas outdoor lights, define the degree of resistance you’re seeking. 

If you want lights for extreme applications, use specialist pool LED lights. Finally, for outdoor decoration lights involving flowing or dripping water, IP55 and above-rated fixtures are the best. 

How to Keep Outdoor Christmas Lights from Shorting Out in the Rain

A Decorated Christmas tree with sparkling lights.

A Decorated Christmas tree with sparkling lights.

Here are some top safety tips on keeping lights Christmas lights protected from water: 

a.) Ensure the outdoor plugs are dry

Secure the outdoor plugs from contact with water by wrapping electrical tape around them. This way, your Christmas tree may get wet without the risk of electrical shocks and circuit damage. 

b.) Seal all Electrical Appliances

You maintain dryness on any connection on the circuit leading to outside elements. 

c.) Limit the number of appliances on one outlet

There’s little chance of accidents if you have installed the correct fuses on your appliances. Nonetheless, short-circuiting is likely when you stack numerous appliances into one outdoor outlet. 

Thus, don’t cramp up appliances on one outlet to keep your Christmas tree safe when it’s raining. 

d.) Fix the faulty bulbs

Fix faulty LED bulbs to prevent short-circuiting. 

Fix faulty LED bulbs to prevent short-circuiting. 

Bulb failures could hamper the functioning of your Christmas tree circuit. For instance, if one bulb is faulty, it can short-circuit the entire circuit. Thus, isolate the particular faulty bulb and replace it. 

Similarly, fix broken wires leading to the decorative lights as they are an electric shock hazard. 

How to Protect Your Outdoor Christmas Lights Display

Christmas Tree with Colorful Lights

Christmas Tree with Colorful Lights

Following these tips, you can ensure that your outdoor Christmas lights remain in top condition. 

a.) Conduct regular checks and maintain the bulbs

This method applies to those who already own Christmas lights. Before installing them onto the tree, check their condition and fix the faulty ones. Besides, ensure your replacement bulb is similar to the former regarding ratings and type. 

Again, regularly check the condition of the wires. 

b.) Cover exposed connectors

If your circuit has exposed connectors, you should keep them covered using Teflon tape. This safety precaution will prevent contact with water and thus hinder short-circuiting. 

c.) Ensure the power supplies are safe

You need a power source to give electricity to your outdoor lighting and Christmas lights. But the easiest way to avoid accidents is to leave your power supplies and the electrical connections exposed to water. 

Keep power supplies safe, preferably using a waterproof box as a shield from rainwater. 

d.) Be neat and avoid Trip Hazards

Trip hazards result from wires and connectors indiscriminately lying all over. You will likely encounter trip and fall hazards with a Christmas tree, especially with kids playing around it. 

Hence, conceal the connectors as much as you can. 

e.) Consider Solar-Powered Christmas Lights

Install Christmas tree Solar lights. They are easy to maintain and will help you save significantly on energy bills. 

What To Do If Your LED Light Strings Get Wet

A wet light bulb

A wet light bulb

If your LED lights are wet, check their moisture rating first. A wet-rated LED light string is waterproof and should not cause concern if it gets wet. 

Then, disconnect the LED light from the power source. It would help if you were careful not to come into contact with a live wire. Next, clean the water and dry the light string with a dry cloth. 

You can leave it in the sun to dry naturally for a while. Now, test if the water affected its functionality and if it is okay, connect it back. Note that the LED will most likely be functional if it’s IP55 and above. 

Still, LEDs with a lower rating than this may survive the water to a lesser degree than higher-rated ones. 

Christmas Lights FAQs

Are Outdoor Christmas Lights Safe In The Rain?

Most Outdoor lights are designed to be waterproof and are thus safe in the rain. Primarily, there are two kinds of Christmas lights: 

  • Indoors lights
  • Outdoor lights

You can use outdoor Christmas lights indoors, but they’ll appear brighter than the average indoor lights. 

Are All Outdoor Lights Waterproof?

All outdoor lights with a waterproof IP rating are indestructible, even in the rain. Hence, when choosing outdoor lights, ensure you choose those with a relatively high IP rating. 

Will LED Lights Work If They Get Wet?

All LED lights with a high IP rating will work even when they get wet. 


Christmas is a time to convene and enjoy the moments with your loved ones. Thus, the safety of your outdoor Christmas lights, especially if it’s raining, ought to be the least of your worries. All lights are prone to damage by water and dust. But if you choose lights with a high IP rating, the lights have the utmost protection against water jets and other weather. That’s all for this article. Thank you for reading. 

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