Ultimate Patio Light String Showdown – PLT vs Better Homes & Gardens

134
Ultimate Patio Light String Showdown - PLT vs Better Homes & Gardens

Patio lights being used in a backyard.

As spring approaches, it’s time to prepare your yard for summer, and what better way to enhance your outdoor space than with beautiful patio light strings. Ideal all outdoor spaces, patio lights are an easy way to add lights around backyards, patios, walkways, RVs, and more. However, with so many different brands available, it can be challenging to find a quality set that will withstand being permanently installed outdoors. That’s why we’ve decided to compare our commercial grade stringers to ones sold by other retailers.

What We Compared

For this comparison series, we looked both online and in store for outdoor string lights similar to the patio string lights we offer. We exclusively offer commercial-grade patio lights from PLT. For a full in-depth look at their features, check out the Product Spotlight video on our YouTube channel. 

We ultimately purchased competitor patio lights from a wide selection of stores, including Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart. All of these string lights are readily available online and/or in stores. We compared the wire type, sockets, bulbs, and end plugs, as well as customer reviews. 

For this first segment of the series, we’ll take a look at Better Homes & Gardens string lights available at Walmart.

Better Homes & Gardens outdoor string lights

Better Homes & Gardens Outdoor String Lights from Walmart

Measuring 21.5′, the Better Homes & Gardens patio stringer has 15 sockets spaced 17.2″ apart along a black wire. It come with 15 LED Edison style bulbs that are listed as being shatterproof. These stings can be found both in-store or online. The online cost for the string is $21.96.

Split socket found during unboxing.

Initial Unboxing

The first thing we noticed during unboxing was that one of the sockets was split. There were also noticeable dirt and scuff marks on the sockets, making us wonder if it the set might have been a return.

Wire

This patio stringer uses SPT-1 wire. This is the type of wire normally used for Christmas lights. It’s meant to be used outdoors temporarily, no more than 45 to 90 days. It should not be used for permanent outdoor lighting as it is not designed to withstand long-term exposure to the elements.

Commercial-grade PLT Stringers: Our commercial-grade string lights are made of SJTW wire, which is a weather-resistant thermoplastic wire rated for 300V. It’s perfect for long-term outdoor use.

Shell removed to view C7 Christmas socket.

Sockets

While the sockets appear to be standard patio stringer sockets, they are anything but. While taking a closer look at the split socket, we found that it was actually a decorative shell. The real socket, a standard C7 Christmas socket which has a candelabra E12 base, was hidden inside.

Due to this design, the socket spins inside the shell making it difficult to unscrew or screw in the bulb.

Commercial-grade PLT Stringers: The sockets on our stringers are a made of durable PVC and have a thick rubber gasketing that seals around the bulb when you screw it in. This ensures that no water can enter the socket.

Better Homes & Gardens bulb vs standard LED Edison Bulb

Bulbs

The Better Homes & Gardens string comes with some very unique looking bulbs designed specifically for this string. They resemble Edison bulbs with a candelabra base, however they are about half the size of normal Edison bulbs. The envelope is a very thin plastic that is flexible. We were able to easily press it in to the point of cracking with just our thumbs.

Per the instructions and warnings, you can only replace these bulbs with the exact same bulb as the string will not work with anything else. And unfortunately, replacement bulbs are not available.

Commercial-grade PLT Stringers: Bulbs for our stringers are sold separately, allowing you to fully customize your stringer. Choose from a wide variety of traditional bulbs for a classic look, or go with LED bulbs to reduce energy costs. This also makes getting replacements easy.

Plugs

This outdoor stringer uses standard indoor rated plugs with replaceable fuses, the same you might see on a table lamp or desk lamp. They are not rated or designed for outdoor use at all. There are hug gaps around where the wire enters the plugs. The plugs themselves also have gaps where the pieces are snapped together. If out in the rain, it would be very easy for water to enter and short of the patio lights.

Commercial-grade PLT Stringers: Our patio lights use outdoor rated male & female plugs that are molded the the wire, ensuring that water cannot enter.

Male Plug - Front

Male Plug – Front

Male Plug - Back

Male Plug – Back

Female Plug - Front

Female Plug – Front

Reviews

While this string has a 4.6 star rating, the majority of the 4 and 5-star reviews have ‘Incentivized Review’ and ‘Walmart Associate’ banners. The 1, 2, and 3-star reviews all appear to be customers. They complain about a variety of issues, primarily focusing on the longevity and quality issues. Several mentioned that their strings didn’t work at all right out of the box. Some strings shorted out after the first rain or had bulbs fail within weeks or months. Other customers complained about the lack of replacement bulbs.

Commercial-grade PLT Stringers: Customers rave about how much they love our commercial-grade PLT stringers. They love the customization options, the overall quality of the wire and sockets, and how long they last.

Final Thoughts on this Patio Stringer

This Better Homes & Gardens patio light stringer was by far the one we looked at. Between the wire and the indoor rated plugs, this string is not safe for outdoor use at all. It will short out if it gets wet and the bulbs cannot be replaced. This is essentially a one-and-done string, and doesn’t even come close to comparing to our strings.

Our PLT patio light strings are specifically designed with outdoor use in mind. With their outdoor rated wire, sockets, and plugs, they are safe to be permanently used outside around your home and will stand the test of time. And you get to choose the bulbs you want, making finding replacements quick and easy.

If you are ready to add some PLT patio stringers to your outdoor space, call 1-800-624-4488 to speak with one of our lighting experts. They can help you find everything you need, from the right lengths to cover your yard to the perfect bulbs. You can also visit our website, 1000Bulbs.com. And keep a lookout for our next segment of this series, where we will take a look at the Addlon string from Amazon.

blog.1000bulbs.com