Are Festoon Lights Waterproof?

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Festoon lights come in waterproof and non-waterproof options to suit your lighting preference and needs. Waterproof rated festoon lights are ideal for outdoor spaces as they’re durable enough to withstand wet weather and stormy conditions. Conversely, festoon lights not rated for outdoors should only be used indoors, or temporarily in outdoor settings due to their short shelf life.

Waterproof Festoon Lights: What You Need To Know

Both waterproof and non-waterproof festoon lights are beautiful lighting options that lend a nostalgic ambience and enhance aesthetic appeal to any space. The two lighting options are highly DIY, customisable, and versatile, great for spaces of all sizes. Nonetheless, this article will zero in on the rating of waterproof festoon lights to ensure a safe and trouble-free installation.

What’s the Ideal IP Rating of Waterproof Festoon Lights?


The ideal Ingress Protection (IP) rating of waterproof festoon lights starts at IP44 and, in rare cases, can exceed this number. The IP rating can start as low as IP20, which means not all festoon lights are created equal (or waterproof).

The Ingress Protection rating is the international standard of measuring the protection level against weather elements like water and dust. The first value of the IP rating indicates the protection level against solids like dust, while the second value indicates the water protection level.

For a safe and durable festoon lighting feature ensure you’re working with an IP44 rated product with a rubber seal at the lamp holder base, which creates a watertight seal when lightbulbs are screwed in tightly. The higher the IP rating festoon lights have, the greater their level of protection against the elements. Thus, always look at a lights’ IP rating before buying or installing.

Why Select Waterproof Festoon Lights?

Waterproof festoon lights are an excellent buy as they offer a return on your investments. These fixtures are not only hardy but provide the perfect indoor and outdoor illumination that your home or commercial space needs.

Here’re some of the benefits you get when you buy waterproof festoon lights:

1. Efficiency and Affordability

Festoon lights are affordable as they don’t need occasional maintenance and repair due to their robust nature. The lighting fixtures don’t cost an arm and a leg to buy and install because they are DIY and easy to install. As if that’s not enough, waterproof festoon lights provide high illumination by creating an unforgettable ambience while remaining stable regardless of the weather conditions. Opt for LED festoon lights which last as long as 20,000 hours compared to traditional incandescent festoon systems, which may only last 400 hours. 

Related: Check out our article “what are festoon lights” for our guide on the different types of festoons on the market.

2. Withstands Harsh Weather Conditions

Waterproof festoon lights are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions like rain, extreme heat, and heavy storms. Commercial quality festoon lights are ideally constructed with UV-resistant rubber, which adds to their durability. UV-Resistant rubber can withstand Australia’s harsh outdoor conditions much better than regular plastic-coated cables and will prolong the products working life.

Tip: Work with a qualified electrician to install festoon lights safely outdoors.

Condensation and Water Ingress in Waterproof Festoon Lights

Bulb condensation and water ingress are the two main factors that cause the accumulation of moisture in your waterproof festoon lights. Bulb condensation can naturally occur in your festoon light globes when moisture absorbed by the plastic parts of the bulbs is heated. Consequently, the evaporated moisture forms as tiny water droplets at the coolest part of your festoon bulbs.

Luckily, condensation won’t impact the operating system of waterproof festoon lights. So, if you happen to notice condensation in your festoon light bulbs, don’t be alarmed, it doesn’t suggest a hazard or a defect. Waterproof festoon light globes are designed to allow this moisture to escape through evaporation when they heat up. FYI: Festoon lights that use halogen light bulbs get rid of the humidity faster than those with LED bulbs (although they’re less energy efficient).

On the other hand, water ingress is the water that leaks into your waterproof festoon lights during a rainy or snowy day. This, in turn, appears as large water droplets or water pooling at the base of the bulb.

Water ingress is caused by having festoon lights whose IP seals are leaky due to loose light bulbs, screws, bulb damage, or faulty installation. The dreadful thing with water ingress is that it can cause severe system failure leading to unwarranted maintenance and installation costs.


Waterproof festoon lights are undoubtedly one of the most effective fixtures you can install in your home or commercial space. The lights not only offer you value for your money by serving you for a long time but do wonders in illuminating areas.

When buying your festoon lights, paying special attention to their IP rating is the surest way to be on the safe side. Be wary of misleading and vague marketing terms like “waterproof” or “water-resistant.” The waterproof festoon light’s Ingress Protection rating is the most effective measure that will guarantee the reliability of your fixtures.

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