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Good Return on Investment: LED Holiday Lights

Conventional holiday lights have become disposable goods. They're so cheap that we expect to get about two seasons out of a string before cursing it and replacing it with another $3 set. And if you pay that little, you know you're getting the kind that are wired to go out entirely if just one tiny bulb has a problem. LED lighting should change all that. A good set of LED lights features "stay-on" wiring, plastic (not glass) bulbs, a three-year warrantee (see Don't Cheap Out, below) and an estimated 20,000 hours of bulb life. Compare that last number to Consumer Reports' finding incandescent holiday lights that started burning out before 2,000 hours. LEDs also use 70% to 90% less energy to run, and therein lies your best bet for a favorable ROI (that's short for return on investment, for any financial Luddites out there).

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