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In-Line vs. Suspended Socket Patio Lights
Patio string lights with suspended sockets have an eye above each socket through which you can run a guy line (also called a guy-wire). This adds extra support and tension when spanning long distances so that the bulbs in the middle don’t droop. You can use wire with some elasticity, but the more solid the cable, the less the middle of the line will sag. In-line sockets keep the bulbs closer to the string and the bulbs don’t swing as much in the wind. Available in different lengths, these patio lights can accommodate spaces large and small. If you need your patio lights to cover even more distance, connect them together. To prevent any gaps in the bulbs where the strings connect, it’s recommended to get the closest string size possible for your application, or measure it out so that the connection is made near an anchor point rather than in the middle of a run.
Which Bulbs Can I Use?
Some of our patio strings come with the bulbs included. If you'd like an all-in-one solution, this takes the math and guess work out. These strings list a max run in ft. to let you know how many strands can be connected together. When replacing bulbs as they burn out, you’ll need to use the same wattage replacement bulb or replace all the bulbs on the string at the same time. For example, if a string comes with incandescent bulbs, you cannot replace individual bulbs with LED as they burn out. This would need to be done all at the same time because the surrounding incandescent bulbs will draw too much power and burn out the LED prematurely.
If you want more freedom to customize your outdoor patio lights, patio string lights sold without bulbs can be paired with any outdoor rated bulb so long as the bulb base fits the socket and the total wattage of all bulbs on the string does not exceed the maximum wattage rating of the string. For these strings, the max run, listed under Specifications on each product page, will tell you how many Watts that string can handle. For example, a 24 socket string with a maximum run of 1,200 Watts can support up to 50-Watt bulbs (1200 divided by 24 is 50). Connecting two of the same strings together doubles the number of sockets, but does not change the maximum wattage rating. This means the 1,200 Watts would be spread out over 48 sockets instead of 24, meaning the maximum Wattage for each bulb would come down to 25.
Using LED bulbs in your patio lights eliminate most of the math because LEDs draw so little power compared to incandescents. For example, a 165 socket string with a 1,800-Watt max run can only use 10 Watt bulbs or lower. This could put you at only 50 Lumens per bulb and make it difficult to use S14 bulbs because many start at 11 Watts. However, an LED globe producing 300 Lumens can use as few as 3.5-Watts, six times as bright and well below the maximum rating of the string. LED patio lights are also popular because they are more durable making them less prone to breakage. As far as shape, globes, S14s, and vintage bulbs are some of the most popular.
Not sure how many lights you can string together? Give us a call, our friendly staff is more than happy to help.